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As she hit the bottom of the stairs and saw him standing in her kitchen with his back to her, his sweatshirt gone, she stopped short.

Shit, he had stayed the night. Did that mean they . . .

“Ahem, uh, hey,” she said clumsily.

He turned with a smile. “You’re up. Here.” He set a glass of water and two white pills on the counter. “For the hangover. Coffee is almost up, and I’ve got pancakes made and keeping warm in your oven.”

“Thank you.” Sitting at the counter, she downed the pills and half the glass of water. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and nearly groaned aloud at the horrible disarray of her hair. Not to mention her mouth tasted disgusting . . .

Oh, God, please don’t try to kiss me.

“So, you, eh, you stayed over . . . ” How to ask this delicately? “Upstairs?”

He set a cup of coffee on the counter near her elbow with a grin. “Are you trying to ask if we slept together last night?”

His teasing made her face burn. “It’s not funny!”

“No, I did not take advantage of the beautiful, passed-out girl in my care. I carried you upstairs, and when you brought up the fact that it was late and not safe to drive, I crashed on your couch. Which, by the way, is incredibly comfortable.” He turned his head from side to side, and his neck cracked. “Hardly a crick.”

Relief swept through her. “So, no sex?”


“No, believe me”—when he paused, shooting her an affronted look, she rushed on—“I just meant that if I’m going to have sex for the first time in almost three years, I’d at least like to remember it.”

His coffee cup stalled on its way up to his lips, and his eyes widened. “Three years?”

With a smirk, she sipped her own coffee. “I’ve been a little busy.”

“Three years,” he mused.

“It’s not as if I couldn’t have gotten some, I just didn’t want to fall back onto bad habits. And there’s more to consider when you’re a mom. I’m not going to go home with some guy I just met and take the chance that he’s a serial killer. None of the guys from my past are men I want to go down that road with again, as you’ve witnessed from my last ex.” Running a hand over her messy hair, she sighed. “It was just a better option to be celibate.”

By the way he avoided her eyes and turned to pull out a plate piled high with pancakes, she had a feeling his dry spell wasn’t as long as hers.

“Where’s your syrup?” he asked.

“In the cabinet next to the fridge.”

Why wasn’t she more freaked out by him being there? Or by the fact that her mom could show up any second with Noah and she was a grumpy disaster in the morning?

Because he put you to bed last night, and instead of taking advantage, he slept on the couch? Or perhaps you like the way he looks in your kitchen.

“Glass measuring cup?”

God, why did she think he was so cute bustling around her kitchen? “Under the silverware.”

He poured syrup into the measuring cup and heated it in the microwave. He grabbed two plates from her cupboard. “How many pancakes?”

“Two, please.”

“So, what time is your mom bringing Noah home?” he asked.

“After church gets out, usually around noon. Unless my parents take him for lunch after.”

His gaze flicked toward the clock on the oven. “I guess I better hurry up and eat then. Sorry I slept so long, but like I said, your couch is comfortable.”

“It’s okay; it’s not as if Noah hasn’t met you before. He knows you’re a friend.” What the hell? Why was she saying it was okay, when five minutes ago she’d panicked seeing him still there?

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