Welcome to Day 18!


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Chapter One

I met him at a bar. He marched into the restaurant, every cliché come to life. Tall, dark, handsome, and he looked at me like I was the one he’d waited for all his life. If I hadn’t been so damn lonely, caution would’ve kept me away, but I was drunk, maudlin, and did I mention he was gorgeous?

Our coupling was fast, furious, and ended with him biting me on the neck. That was the last thing I remember before I lost consciousness.


“Come on, come on. You have to wake up before he returns.” A soft, pleading voice broke through my sleep-shrouded mind.

I struggled to awaken and open my eyes. Blinking rapidly, I tried to make out shapes and forms from the solid darkness.

“That’s it. Open those beautiful eyes. You can do it.” The soft whispers continued as I felt hands tentatively touching my body.

Pushing myself up, I turned my head toward the voice. A young, slim blond, who looked to be in his early twenties, leaned over me. As my eyes adjusted to the dim morning light, I could see his troubled expression.

“Who are you?”

“We don’t have time for introductions. We’ve got to get you out of here.”

I didn’t stop to ask him why—my mind was too clouded to understand anything more. I flipped off my covers and swung my feet over the side of the bed. Modesty wasn’t a trait I had. The skinny guy averted his eyes and handed over my clothes, still not looking.

“Relax, honey. I’m not going to jump you.” I slipped on my pants and shirt and was searching for my socks and shoes when I heard the front door slam open.

I quickly slipped on my footwear and followed the cute blond into the living room.

My supposed rescuer flinched as my hookup from the night before strode toward us, carrying a bag that looked suspiciously like pastries.


“Hey, babe.” I greeted him, smiling. “Blondie here seems to think I should run off without my goodbye kiss.”

I had no trouble tossing the blond to the wolf. My dark-haired love god glared at the kid.

“John, why are you trying to scare my guest?”

Damian’s voice rolled across my skin like liquid sex. I grew hard at the sound as I remembered the night before and the hot words he muttered against my skin as he plunged into me.

I held back the moan aching to break free. Snatching the pastry bag out of his hands, I placed a soft kiss on Damian’s cheek as I passed.

I opened up the sack, freeing the scent of flaky, buttery croissants. This time, I let the moan break free.

“Damn, these smell good.”

“You’re just going to let him buy you off with baked goods?” John asked. He didn’t bother to hide his scorn.

I shrugged, not the least offended. “What can I say? I’m easy.”

I bit into a croissant and made appreciative noises while eating the crispy, flaky goodness.

Looking up, I saw both men were staring at me.

“I think you made those same sounds last night.” A smile curved Damian’s sexy mouth, and I almost choked as I remembered exactly what he’d done to earn those noises.

John shook his sandy head. “I don’t suppose I can convince you to go away with me?” He flashed me a hopeful smile.

I looked from John to Damian and back again.

“No offense, honey, I mean you’re cute and all, but my mama raised me with manners. It’s not polite to let a man fuck you then leave with his friend.”

Damian laughed, a full belly laugh that crinkled his eyes and showed off his dimples.


“Anyway, I appreciate the croissant, darlin’, but I’ve gotta go.”

“Go?” Damian’s eyes narrowed and a furious expression crossed his face. For the first time, a shiver of unease trickled down my spine.

I checked my watch, only to remember I’d taken it off before we went at it.

“Looking for this?” Damian dangled my Rolex from one long finger.

“Thanks, babe.” I sidled up to him and let my eyes rake over his body. Damian’s tall, lean body had just the right amount of muscles to keep me interested. I liked a man who could overpower me during sex, and Damian knew how to do that oh so well. Thoughts of the night before made me hot and needy. Not something I wanted with a stranger in the room and no relief for my quickly hardening prick. The look in Damian’s eyes told me he knew what I was remembering and would be open to the idea of doing it again.

As I approached Damian, he held the Rolex out of reach and dangled it above my head. Not a difficult feat since he had about six inches on my five-foot ten-inch frame.

I wasn’t about to leave that watch behind. It was the only thing I had left of my granddaddy.

“Give me a kiss before you go.”

“You only had to ask,” I told him. Sliding a hand behind the back of his neck, I brought his lips down to mine.

He smiled against my lips before he parted his and let me inside.

“Mmm,” I hummed against his mouth.

“Like a lamb to slaughter,” I heard John whisper right before a sharp pain pricked my lips.

“Ouch.” I jerked my head back.

“Sorry, honey, but I need breakfast too.” Damian leant forward and licked my throbbing lip. Immediately, it felt better.

Not understanding his statement but appreciating the skill of his mouth, I let the gorgeous man kiss the ever-living hell out of me. Damian licked my lips and slid his tongue inside my mouth as he used his big hands to pull me closer. I wiggled against him, letting him know I approved.

Memories of my responsibilities forced me to pull away.

“Sorry, Damian, but I have to get home. Simon is waiting.”

“Simon?” Damian’s voice stayed calm, but his hands tightened hard enough to bruise.

“Ouch. Stop that.”

For a moment, I thought red flames flared in Damian’s eyes. Maybe I hadn’t slept as well as I thought.

“Who is Simon?” He spat the words out like they left a bad taste in his mouth.

“My cat, and if I don’t go home and feed him soon, he’ll rip apart my living room.” I hadn’t nicknamed him Hell Kitty for nothing.

His punishing grip slackened, and Damian placed soft kisses on either side of my mouth. “Sorry. I don’t usually get so possessive.”

“That’s true,” John piped up. He looked quite comfortable on Damian’s couch, despite trying to drag me out of the place just minutes before.

“And who are you?” I’ll admit to a splash of jealousy, which was ridiculous considering Damian was just a one-night fuck.

“John’s my little brother,” Damian said.

I looked back and forth between the men. “I don’t see a resemblance.”

There was in fact no similarity between them.

“I’m adopted,” Damian said. His dark eyes sparkled with amusement as if he didn’t think I’d buy his story, but he’d decided to try it out anyway.

“Whatever.” If they wanted to claim they were brothers, who was I to say differently? I’d probably not see either one of them again.

Damian returned my Rolex with a smile.

I snapped my watch on my wrist, then gathered up my jacket.

“Thanks for a fabulous time,” I told Damian. I planted another kiss on his lips but stepped quickly away before he could grab me. Nodding to John, I headed for the door.

One of Damian’s big hands slapped down on my shoulder, halting me in my tracks.

“Don’t forget to give me your number,” Damian insisted with such sincerity I almost thought he’d actually call me. I rattled off my number and repeated my goodbyes.

Leaving the apartment, I wondered if I’d ever see either of those two again. I rarely saw the same hookup twice, but then again, my one-night stands weren’t usually so gorgeous. If Damian called, I might even answer.

* * * *

My apartment looked just like I’d left it. Why I found this odd, I don’t know. Simon meowed at me and looked me over with a disapproving eye. For a moment, I felt like I was the disreputable tomcat… maybe I was just projecting.

He hissed as I went to pet his soft head.

“I’m sorry I’m late,” I apologized before heading to the kitchen to feed my angry animal.


Simon wound around my legs, marking me with his scent. He did this periodically. It was one of the few times he let me close enough to pet him. I personally thought it was to warn off other cats. Simon knew he had a sweet deal. Prime cat food, a soft bed, and an apartment all to himself for most of the week.

He didn’t want to share.

I think he instinctively knew that pissing on me would result in instant expulsion, which is why he kept his marking to a minimum. I set his now-filled bowl in front of him.

He polished off his food at an astonishing rate. Once he finished, he sat down and groomed his fur while purring.

“So we’re buddies again?” I asked the golden-eyed feline. Simon was a beautiful cat, and if I didn’t keep him inside, I would probably have a neighborhood of sleek Bengal kitties parading around the block. I know, I know, I should’ve taken him in to be fixed, but just the thought made me cross my legs and had my balls shriveling in sympathy. I just couldn’t do that to my furry friend so I kept him exclusively inside.

What can I say? I love the little fucker.

I made sure he had fresh water before I opened my laptop to check my email. As I got settled, my cell phone went off.

The number wasn’t familiar.

Frowning, I flipped it open. “Hello.”

“You didn’t call me when you got home.” Damian’s deep voice rolled across me like soft velvet, an aural aphrodisiac.

“I didn’t say I would,” I protested.

“You meant to.” For anyone else, I would’ve thought they were teasing. I had a feeling Damian didn’t have a sense of humor.

“No, I didn’t. Besides I don’t have your number.”

“A mistake on my end,” Damian admitted. “But you have it now.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Be ready at seven, and I’ll take you to dinner first.”

“First?” Just because I asked, didn’t mean I planned to go. I was a master at rationalization.

“Before I take you home and fuck you until you forget your mother’s name.”

“If I have any thought of my mama while you’re fucking me, you’re definitely doing something wrong.”

Damian’s low laugh made me smile. Even if the guy was strange, there was something so likeable about him. His outstanding body didn’t hurt either. So sue me, I’m shallow.

I gave a sigh to indicate he was a pain in the ass. “If I finish my work, I’ll let you take me out.”

“You’ll let me take you out anyway,” Damian said in a confident voice.

“You think so, do you?”


“We’ll see.”

I hung up, not bothering to say goodbye. I liked to make a guy work a little bit. Damian didn’t have my address either, but I didn’t think that would stop him.

My drafting table sat in the far corner of the studio. They’d called it a loft when I purchased it, but I think it was just to make it sound nicer than it was. As a junior architect, I wasn’t exactly rolling in the funds. I still have student loans to pay off, and I don’t see an end to my debt in sight.

Although most of my work was done on the computer, I still preferred to sketch out my initial ideas on paper. It made me feel more connected to my work. Besides, my project for the day was not for my job but a bed for my goddaughter. My friend Sal can make anything I design. He’s an amazing woodworker but not overly imaginative, so we worked out a trade over the years. He’ll build me whatever I draw for free, and I let him use my design for as long as he wants. So far, I’d gotten some very fine handcrafted pieces, and my friend’s business had tripled in the past year, even with the recession.

My darling goddaughter, Olivia, was the little girl of my friends, Max and Jeff. She was turning four, and it was time to transition her from a shortened toddler bed to a full-size big girl bed. It would be the bed where she’d have her childhood dreams and her teenage angst. I wanted it strong enough to tolerate her little girl bouncing and her teenage flouncing.

It had to be perfect.


19 thoughts on “Welcome to Day 18!

  1. It is another often read book and I wish there had been more stories. John needed a HEA and maybe Simon too.

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