“What errand do you have to do tonight?”
“I already did it. I had to go see an old friend.”
She looked up at me with questioning eyes as I pushed open the door and let my arm linger over her head. I told her I would let her get her schoolwork done, and I had every intention of sticking to it, but if she kept batting those copper-colored lashes at me and looking at me like she wanted me to shove her against the door and have at it, I totally was going to.
“Did you find out anything about Race on Sunday?”
We went into the living room and I saw her surprise when she took in the TV and the computer that were now part of the furnishings. I had dropped a mint at the electronics store yesterday. I didn’t know how to work half the stuff, but if I was going to be crashing here, I needed the basics.
“No.” I wasn’t going to tell her about Old Man Hartman putting a price on her curly head. I don’t care how tough she pretended to be, hearing that her blood wanted her dead was bound to throw her for a loop, and I would just rather avoid the drama, at least until I had a clearer idea of what was going on. “You want something to eat?”
She made an incredulous face and flopped down on the couch. “You can cook?”
I lifted an eyebrow and smirked down at her. “I’m a man of many talents.”
I gave myself a mental high five when I saw a blush race up her neck.
“Sure, I can eat.”
“It won’t be anything fancy, but I can feed us.”
“Whatever. I’m gonna try and do my homework. Do you care if I use the computer?”
I shrugged and gave her the password to log on and went into the kitchen. When your mom was a drunk and your older brother was too busy trying to claw his way out of the muck and mire, you learned how to fend for yourself. I was never going to have a show on the Food Network, but I could throw together some stuff that would taste all right and keep us going.
I plopped a plate in front of her and turned on the TV. I wasn’t the type of guy who ever just lounged in front of the TV. I was always up to something, had somewhere to go or someone to meet. Maybe that’s why trouble had no problem finding me. I kicked off my boots, pulled off my hoodie, and settled in for as long as it was going to take me to wear Dovie down and convince her to go back to bed with me. Or maybe go down on me. Really, I wasn’t picky.
“This is good, Bax.” It made me grin that she sounded so surprised. I looked over at her and caught her watching me instead of looking at the computer.
“It was fend for yourself or starve around my house when I was little. I learned to make do.”
She swiveled around in the chair so we were facing each other.
“Is that why you started stealing? That’s how you fended for yourself?”
I put the empty plate on the coffee table and gave her a stony look. She was always trying to make me into something better than I really was.
“No. People had stuff that I wanted, so I took it from them. Cars, TVs, credit cards . . . I wasn’t stealing to make do, I was stealing because I wanted stuff that I was never going to work for.”
She made a face at me and turned back to the computer. “That’s not entirely true.”
I gathered up my plate and her now-empty one. I needed a smoke and to get laid, and not particularly in that order.
“What do you know about it?”
She lifted a shoulder and let it fall. “I know you love that car and you didn’t steal it. I know that you wanted to do something nice for your mom, so you used your talents, as felonious at they might be, to get her this house. It wasn’t all about taking stuff just because you wanted it.”
I wasn’t used to anyone else being able to pick my true motivations out from the smoke screen I usually threw up. I couldn’t say I liked it very much.
“I’m gonna step outside for a minute.” She waved me off and I grumbled at her under my breath. Spending time with this girl was more headache than it was worth, even if I could still taste her all across my tongue and feel her like she was embedded under my prickly skin.
I let the smoke of a cigarette fill and escape out of my lungs and tried to get a handle on my rampant thoughts. There was just too much going on. Everything with Race, Titus popping back up on my radar, this girl twining her way into the very fabric of who I was. I wasn’t sure I could handle any of it with barely a month of freedom under my belt. I wasn’t the kind of man who was big on self-discovery and personal growth, only right now it didn’t seem like fate wanted to give me the option of burying my head in the sand.
I flicked the cigarette butt into the gutter at the end of the driveway and walked back in the front door, pulling my shirt off over my head as I went. I figured I could at least take a shower and work out some of my pent-up frustration on my own if Dovie wanted to continue to be a good little schoolgirl. Man, if that didn’t just put images of her in a short, plaid skirt and shiny Mary Janes all up in my head. This chick was going to make me lose my mind.
“I’m gonna take a show—” I got cut off when I entered the room and was simultaneously attacked and shoved back over the edge of the couch by a redheaded flurry of activity. The cushions of the sofa scattered and my pants and boxers ended up clattering to the floor under her small and hasty hands. I grabbed her around the waist as she climbed on top of me, still fully clothed. She put her hands on the center of my chest and loomed over me, her hair a bright curtain closing us in our own moment.
“Why didn’t you call me on Sunday?” I don’t know how she could talk with my dick standing up straight between us, but she started pulling at her top, so I figured if talking to her would get her naked faster, I would struggle through it.
“Because I wanted to.”
She paused with her arms over her head and I took opportunity of her position to unhook her bra and set those awesome br**sts free. The pink tips were already hard and she shuddered when I rubbed the pads of my thumbs over them. She responded sweeter than any girl I had ever touched before, like it was a special treat to have my hands on her.
“So you wanted to call me, which means you didn’t?”
“Dovie, I only ever call chicks to hook up, not to chitchat, so yeah, I didn’t call you because I wanted to.”
She giggled a little because I ran one of my hands down her front and circled her belly button with my index finger. I wanted to lick it and put my mouth on every inch of her, but I had to work on getting her as naked as I was first, and it seemed like all she wanted to do was catch up.