Page 34 of Erotic Research

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“I’m not hungry.” She casually shrugged off his hand and crossed the room. Time to up the ante.

“Would you like some help packing?” she asked, picking up his duffel bag from the corner.

At the sight of his frown, she turned her back to him, gathering up his clothing.

“I didn’t realize you were so anxious for me to leave.”

“I wouldn’t say anxious, Ross,” she said with forced lightness, refusing to look at him. “It’s just, you must admit, I haven’t been getting much work done. I came here to write this book at your request.”

“And I’ve been hindering you in that?” Ross barked. “Last I checked, I was helping you.”

“With the research, yes, but let’s face it, Ross, I’d say we’ve covered more than enough ground. I can safely say I have enough information to write the damn thing.”

“Damn thing?” Ross yelled. “Well excuse me for forcing such an unwanted subject on you! I thought you wanted to write the book. I had no idea you were merely humoring me and suffering for the sake of your career!”

“Dammit, Ross. Why are you putting words into my mouth? You know perfectly well that I liked—” She paused, unsure what to call their actions. If she said making love, surely he would laugh. However, it wasn’t in her to refer to their time between the sheets as merely fucking, even though that’s what Ross had called it the first night they were together.

“Researching,” Ross replied through gritted teeth. “That’s all it was to you, wasn’t it?”

Julia didn’t know how to respond. Research was his word and their sexual experimentation was his idea.

Surely he didn’t mean for it to mean more than that.

Perhaps it wasn’t her casualness that was offending him.

In past relationships, she’d listened as he complained about the fits of temper his jilted lovers displayed when he broke things off.

Could it possibly be that the King of Casual Sex wasn’t happy about her lack of emotion?

What did he want?

To have her clinging to his legs, begging him to stay?

A watering pot?

A total breakdown?

Could he be that arrogant?

To want some big display of dashed love?

Was he angry she was beating him to the punch?

“Of course that’s all it was,” she answered evenly, refusing to swallow her pride and give him his show.

“Fucking research!” Ross grabbed his duffel from her hands and threw it across the room. “This is great,” he yelled, fury written in every part of his body. “What have I done?”

“Ross,” Julia said quietly, hoping to calm him down. “If this is about last night—”

“What about last night?” he asked.

“I know I asked you not to leave me, but Ross, you know how things are in the heat of the moment. I didn’t mean it literally.”

“What the hell are you saying?” He closed the distance between them until they were standing toe to toe.

Julia held her ground, refusing to take a step back even though her mind was screaming for her to retreat. Why was he so angry?

“I just wanted you to stay inside me. I didn’t mean I wanted you to stay with me forever.”

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