His Unlikely Lover (Unwanted #3)(8)

By: Natasha Anders

Gabe groaned softly and ran his hands roughly over his face and into his hair—he sat there for a brief moment, hands clenched in his hair before inhaling deeply in an attempt to calm himself. He had been doing pretty well, had had the situation under control. She was his friend, they had grown up together—there was absolutely nothing but friendship and deep affection between them. That was the way it had always been, the way it would always be.

So why the hell did the sight of her in that tiny white tank top and those skimpy blue boy shorts send his blood pressure sky-rocketing? He’d seen her in similar clothing before, seen her in less really—but he’d never fully appreciated the pert perfection of her small breasts and had certainly never wanted to cup the firm, ripe curve of her butt before.

And even worse, the inescapable realization that she was wearing absolutely nothing beneath all that innocent cotton had him fighting a losing battle to keep his inevitable hard-on at bay.

One kiss . . . one damned kiss and he was behaving like a teenager with his first crush. He needed to regain his perspective here. He needed to put these unsettling and erotic thoughts aside.

With that in mind, he pushed out of the chair and walked over to the bathroom door, listening for a few seconds to ensure she wasn’t sick again. He knocked quietly.


“I’m fine,” she called back. “I just need . . .” The rest of her words were said too quietly for him to catch.

“If you’re sure you okay, I’m heading off to bed, okay?” He waited, but she didn’t respond. “I’ll be in the next room. I’ll leave the adjoining door open. If you need anything, just let me know.” God, he hoped she wouldn’t need anything. It would be bad enough getting any sleep with that damned door open between their rooms.

“Okay,” he heard her say, the word soft and uncertain.

“Good night.”

“’Night.” Her response was faint.

He stood there for another few seconds before shaking his head and striding toward her bedroom door, collecting his jacket along the way. He was in his own room a few moments later and went straight to the adjoining door, knocking once before opening it. Her room was still empty and he heard the sound of running water coming from the en suite.

He shed his shirt and jacket hurriedly and took less care putting them away than usual. He wanted to be in bed with the lights out when she returned. He didn’t want to see her or speak to her again tonight. Everything would be back to normal in the bright light of day. It had to be . . .

He had stripped down to his trousers by the time she stepped back into her room, and the shadow her small figure cast on her bedroom wall startled him into pausing while unbuttoning his fly. His hands dropped to hang loosely at his sides. He was facing the adjoining door; his intention had been to keep an eye on her room in case she needed him, but her abrupt reappearance had caught him off guard.

She froze when she saw him and her eyes dropped to his naked chest. He swallowed audibly as her eyes tracked over his body . . . God, he could feel her gaze brushing across his skin like a brand.

“Don’t.” The word jerked from him involuntarily.

“I can’t not . . . ,” she said hoarsely, taking a small step toward him and then another and another still. He was helpless to stop her and watched her approach until she stood right in front of him. A mere handsbreadth away from him, so close he could feel her heat being absorbed into his naked skin.

“Bobbi.” He tried to instill some sense of warning in his voice, but her name on his lips sounded like a plea. His hands clenched into fists as he fought his desire to touch her.

“You’re gorgeous,” she whispered in a reverent voice. He watched fascinatedly as she lifted a hand, and in that moment felt absolutely powerless to stop her from touching him. His breath sawed from his lungs in an uneven whoosh as the silky pads of her fingertips traced delicately from the outer edge of his left clavicle straight across to the other end of his right clavicle. Her fingers drifted down to his shoulder before scorching their way over his chest, skimming over his flat nipple in the process. He shuddered and the sound that was torn from his throat was halfway between a long groan and a sigh. The noise startled her into jerking her hand away and she peered up at him uncertainly. He almost howled in disappointment, aching to have her hand back on his skin, but not daring to touch her for fear that he’d be unable to stop until he had her naked and writhing beneath him.

Her luminous amber eyes searched his sherry-colored ones for an infinite amount of time while he tried to regulate his uneven breathing. He had no idea what she saw because she seemed to nod to herself before returning to the task at hand. Her fingertips began their agonizing exploration again and his knees nearly buckled in response as her hands fluttered to the center of his chest, exploring the texture of the fine hairs sprinkled there before following the trail down . . . past the taut ripples of his abdomen, tracing the faint circle of hair around his belly button before resuming the path even further down . . .

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