She wasn’tsure what the hell to do about Ryder’s offer of sleeping in his bed. He was right, it would be easier for her to wake him every hour if he was laying right next to her. She was dead on her feet and the thought of trudging across the hall every hour, to wake him up, seemed tedious. So, she gave in and after she cleaned his dishes, she climbed back up the stairs and into his bed. Ryder was already asleep and she knew that had everything to do with his pain pills.
At first, she laid next to him, rigid and afraid to move around for fear of hurting his leg. He had it propped up on a couple of pillows, and the last thing he needed was her bumping it in her sleep. Tatum rolled over to her side and watched him as he gently snored next to her. He was a handsome man. His dark hair and blue eyes made him just her type—well if she had a type. Honestly, Tatum didn’t know what kind of guy was her type, but she was pretty sure Ryder fit the bill. He made her girl parts stand up and take notice. Hell, he made her girl parts feel like they were doing a happy dance every time he was in the same room as her.
When she heard his big body hit the floor earlier, her heart sank thinking that he might be hurt. Tatum rushed into his bedroom and found him lying on the floor and she worried that he had hit his head on the way down. His forehead looked like it hit the floor pretty hard, but he was coherent, ate some food, and held a conversation with her. She knew what to do about his concussion since her brother had his share of them over the years. Tatum ended up taking care of him more than a few times. Her mother used to tease that she was a natural caretaker and even tried to convince her that she should go into nursing but that wasn’t her thing. She liked taking care of people she cared about—her mother and Jackson—well, and now, Ryder. But having to take care of others felt daunting. No, she was better with clothes and dressing people than she was at changing bandages and giving needles.
When Ryder came to, putting his hands and lips all over her body, she couldn’t help but writhe against him. God, he was big—all over. She felt his impressive erection against her belly and the thought of that inside her both excited and terrified her. She knew how sex worked—the ins and outs of it all, but she had no experience when it came to being with a man. It was one of the reasons she ran off after dinner. The way Ryder kissed her made her feel and want things she never thought she’d want with a man. It scared her the way he took charge of their kiss, but what scared her more was the way she let herself go when she was with him. She felt crazy with lust and need and that just wasn’t her. At least, it never had been. Tatum worried that once Ryder found out that she was a virgin, he wouldn’t want anything to do with her and she wouldn’t be able to blame him, really. He didn’t seem like the kind of guy who wanted to be with a virgin. He told her that he liked to hook up with women at Savage Hell. He was into one night stands and hot biker chicks. A sheltered virgin, saving herself for someone special, definitely wasn’t his speed.
Tatum tossed and turned for about thirty minutes until her mind was able to calm down enough for her to drift off. She set her alarm on her cell phone to wake her up every hour. She’d make sure that Ryder was all right and then, in the morning, she’d insist that he get checked out. She was sure her brother would know of a doctor who might make house calls and then, Ryder would have no choice in the matter.
* * *
Tatum woke wrappedup in a solid wall of hard, warm muscle and she cuddled into it. Her alarm was sounding but for the life of her, she couldn’t figure out what the hell it was for? Shit—Ryder.
She opened her sleepy eyes to find him smiling down at her and God, he looked perfect. How did someone look so damn good in the morning? She was pretty sure she looked a mess, probably needed a shower and her toothbrush. Tatum covered her hand over her mouth and Ryder chuckled.
“Mornin’,” he said. “You’re finally up.”
“Oh God,” she squeaked, “I forgot to wake you every hour for your concussion.”
“Yet—here I am,” he teased, “still alive.” Ryder wrapped his arms around her and she squirmed to get away from him.
“Ryder,” she protested. “I’m not here for that.”
“You’re in my bed, Honey. What exactly are you here for?” he asked.
“To wake you every hour so you don’t die,” she explained. He laughed at her again and she knew that staying in his bed with him would get her nowhere. Ryder’s hands were skillfully roaming her body and it was getting harder by the second for her to want to extricate herself from his glorious body and get out of his bed.
“Job well done, Baby. I’m not dead,” he said. “In fact—” Ryder reached for her hand and guided it down his muscled form to rest on his impressive erection. “I’m very much alive,” he insisted. She gasped and pulled her hand free from his.
“Ryder,” she whispered.
“Tatum,” he murmured back. “Can we stop playing games here?” he asked.
“I’m not playing any games, Ryder,” she insisted. “I’m here to take care of you.”
“Great,” he said. “Well, as you can tell, my dick needs to be taken care of right now.” He seemed so serious that she wanted to laugh but what he was asking her for was no laughing matter—especially since she’d never done anything like what he wanted, ever.
“I—I,” she stuttered, not knowing what to say to him. “I meant your leg, Ryder. I’m here to take care of your leg.”
“My leg’s going to be just fine, Honey,” he promised. He sighed and turned to face her. “Tell me what’s going on, Tatum,” he said. “Every time we start getting close, you pull away and put up your walls. Tell me what I’m doing wrong. How can I fix this?” he asked. It was funny that he thought that he was doing something wrong when that was all on her.
“It’s not you, Ryder,” she quickly insisted. “It’s me.”
He chuckled and pulled her closer into his body. “That’s one I’ve heard before but it usually is said right before a break-up. You breaking up with me, Honey?” he asked.
“What?” she questioned. Honestly, she was having trouble keeping up with him. “No,” she said. “We aren’t even together, so how can I break-up with you, Ryder?” she asked.
“Good question,” he agreed. “So, want to go out with me, Tatum?” he asked.
“No,” she immediately answered. “I said it last night and I’ll say it again—we are a bad idea.”
“Because your brother says so?” he asked.
“No,” she said. “Because I say so.” He looked her over, squinting his eyes at her as if he didn’t believe a word she was saying.
“Liar,” he accused. “Let’s just say that I believe you don’t want me,” he said.