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That was a mistake.

Sucha mistake.

With every punch, I hit the heavy bag a little harder, trying to work through my frustration with myself at having slept with Wilder.

Big mistake.

Not because the sex was bad – it wasn’t, by any stretch of the imagination.

It had been….Hot.

Ridiculously hot.

Which wasexactlythe problem.

All this time, I’d been keeping to myself, having come to accept a lack of human interaction. In fact, I’d come toappreciateit.

Now, one night of sweaty skin-to-skin contact had me completely re-evaluating my commitment to the loner lifestyle.


So goddamned weak.

Giving my gloved hands a break, I stepped back, trying to catch my breath as I played through it all in my mind again. Wilder had most certainlyhandledme, and he hadn’t even been weird about it afterward, which was pretty relieving.

We were just two single adults, who happened to have sex, and happened to work together. It didn’thaveto be awkward now, as long as we didn’t make it that way.

“You need a sparring partner?”

I looked back to see the man himself approaching, dressed for a workout.

“Nah,” I told him, shaking my head as I turned back to the bag. “Just working through some stuff in my head.”

“You need to talk it out?” he asked, coming around the opposite side of the bag to hold it in place for me as I peppered it with jabs.

“With you? No.”

He frowned. “Why not me?”

“Well, most people tend to not want to talkabouta personwiththat person.”

His eyebrows went up. “Ohh. I must’ve made quite impression on you last night if I’msomething to work through in your headthis morning.”

“Really?” I snapped, dropping my arms to my sides. “This is the angle you want to take with me?”

“No.No,” he laughed, stepping between me and the bag, arms extended. “I’m messing with you. I’m sorry.”

“Get out of my face.”

Instead of doing that, he wrapped his arms around my sweaty frame, pulling me into him – intimacy we hadn’t yet built up to, but… it didn’t really feel out of place.

“I’m gonna leave you alone, but… I did want to say… I had a good time with you last night. Andifyou stick around… we should do that again sometime. A lot of times.Allthe time.”

I sucked my teeth. “Ireallydidn’t peg you as a clingy type. We spendonenight together, and you’re already hugged up on me like we’re a couple or something?”

He chuckled, releasing his hold on me. “I’m not beingclingy, I just like touching you. And looking at you. Being inside you, all that. And I don’t see a reason to act like I don’t. I’ve done enough acting, I’m over that shit. I have a chance now to just be real, say things that aren’t rehearsed, that aren’t based on a dossier. I can be whatever I want, and what I want is to be somebody who says and acts on what he’s feeling, without reservation. Iwantto know more about you. If you’re not into that, I won’t press. But I also won’t pretend.”

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