Peach - *Book Four*

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Summary

At 28, Emma is perfectly content with her life: she loves living in New York, and she loves her job and her friends. She doesn't even mind that she's still single. If only her mom would stop pushing her to finally settle down. But Emma's track record isn't the best. After her last one-night stand throws her out of his hotel room, she swears to herself to make better choices when it comes to men from now on - stay away from them, that is. Her resolutions are put to the test when she meets Jack, who seems like the worst candidate to give her heart to with his secretive and brooding nature, but something draws her to him. When their paths cross again and again, it becomes harder for Emma to stay away from Jack, even though he doesn't seem to be interested in her in the same way at all. What happened in his past makes it impossible for him to pursue anything that's close to a relationship. But when surprising news turns Emma's world upside down, Jack is there to offer his shoulder to lean on. And maybe even more.

Genre:
Romance / Erotica
Author:
Lilly Henderson
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
33
Rating:
5.0 9 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

One

Emma

The first thing I feel when I wake up is my head. Damn those vodka martinis. Even though last night is more of a blur, I remember those distinctly. I open one eye and squint to take in my surroundings. My gaze falls on the half-drawn curtains, letting in too much of the bright morning sun for my liking. I open the other eye and try to figure out what feels off. Oh, right, those are maroon curtains. I can’t remember when I bought those because the throbbing pain in my head impedes my ability to think.

It dawns on me only slowly. I’m not in my bedroom, and this isn’t my bed. I attended my colleague/friend Abby’s wedding last night at this fancy hotel in midtown Manhattan, and apparently, I’m still at that hotel. I groan and rub my forehead. Fuck, I’m never touching alcohol again.

A rustling noise next to me makes me flinch. I almost fall out of bed when I sit up way too quickly to turn towards the commotion. I groan once more and bury my face in my hands, trying to get the dizziness under control.

“Good morning, sunshine.” A deep, raspy voice makes me lift my head. When I look into that handsome face with those beautiful dark blue eyes, last night’s events come crashing back to me.

A sexy stranger in the elevator.

A couple of drinks at the bar.

A couple more in his hotel room.

And sex. Lots of hot and sweaty sex.

It’s settled, no more alcohol for me. How could I jump into bed with a complete stranger? I don’t even remember his name. When it comes to men, I never made the best choices, but this just fucking takes the cake. I curse and mumble under my breath.

“A little hungover, are we?” A dazzling smile spreads on the guy’s face. But what made my panties melt off last night makes me feel sick now, and that’s not only due to the mother of all hangovers. I curse some more and scramble out of bed. I grab the bathrobe that conveniently lies on the floor next to me to cover my completely naked body.

“I’m gonna take a shower,” he says. “You know the way out?”

I turn around and look at him with narrow eyes. Wow. I didn’t expect him to dismiss me this quickly.

He gets out of bed too, and my gaze wanders over his perfectly shaped body. At least this drunken mistake is totally hot. Pictures flash in my mind of how I ran my tongue all over that chest and his abs, down to his huge–

“Listen, Emily–”

I frown, not liking the reality check. “It’s Emma.”

He lets out a deep sigh and grimaces. “I’m sorry if this is not what you thought would happen, but we both knew this was gonna be a one-time thing. Even though you give amazing blow jobs, I’m not planning on pursuing this any further.”

I gasp and point my finger at him. “Okay, listen–” I hesitate and pinch the bridge of my nose. I really can’t remember his name. What the fuck?

He rolls his eyes. “Dylan.”

“Yes, listen, Dylan. I’m perfectly aware we’re not going to do this again.” I point to the bed. “So don’t give me that pitiful look.” I point back to him.

“Are you sure? You seem to be surprised I’m not taking you out for breakfast.”

It’s my turn to roll my eyes. “Not surprised at all. I’ve just woken up; give me a damn minute here before you throw me out. No need to worry. So go back to Boston–”

“Washington.”

I groan. “Whatever. Just don’t worry I’ll be wasting even a minute of my time reminiscing about last night, wishing it could happen again.”

“Glad we’re on the same page here. So, again, why don’t you get dressed and see yourself out while I take a shower? Don’t get me wrong, last night was great.”

I hold up my hand to stop him. “Yeah, I get it.”

I gather my things and avoid looking at him. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him grab his clothes and disappear into the bathroom. Unbelievable! How could I have been so stupid and blinded by his flashy smile? The only explanation I have for this is that I hadn’t had sex in over six months, so I was a little starved for physical contact. He offered it and took part of my dignity in return.

I’m still looking for my panties when I find the condom wrappers on the floor next to the bed. My insides churn when I think about how good he made me feel last night and how he’s a total jerk right now. No, I’m not going to do something this stupid ever again. Next time I have sex, it will be in a serious and loving relationship. No matter how long I have to wait for it.

Damn, still no panties in sight. I don’t want to spend another minute in this hotel room, so I slip into my red cocktail dress and put my messy hair in an even messier bun. I grab my shoes, coat, and purse, and get the fuck out of here.

Time for my pantiless walk of shame.

With my high heels in my hand and my coat hung over my arm, I stand in front of the elevator when my phone buzzes in my purse. I look at it with a frown. A call from my mom. Not what I need now. I’m going to let it go to voicemail. While I watch my phone’s screen, the elevator doors open, and without looking up, I step in and press the button for the ground floor.

Finally, the buzzing stops. I put the phone back in my purse, lean against the wall, and close my eyes. Damn again. How could I have been–

A chuckle interrupts my thoughts. I open my eyes, and when I look at an all too familiar face, my cheeks flush and my eyes widen. “Rob! What on earth are you doing here?”

He laughs out loud while he eyes me up and down through his black-rimmed glasses. “Fulfilling my duty as your best friend,” he says with a nonchalant shrug.

I give him a look that should tell him I don’t understand what he’s talking about. “Which is...?”

“Taking you to my place for a hangover breakfast.”

I still have no idea what he’s talking about or why on earth he’s in this elevator. The confusion must be written all over my face because he laughs again. “Well, sweetie, I knew you would need some picking up this morning, so I stayed too.”

I rub my forehead as if that could make me understand what he’s saying. “Can you please elaborate? I still don’t know why you are here right now.”

“You remember the blonde I was talking to yesterday? Abby’s cousin?”

“Yeah...?”

“Well, I just left her hotel room. Running into you here is pure coincidence, but I would have sent you a text and waited for you in the lobby.”

“You just left her room?” I look at him wide-eyed. “Are you telling me you, Robert Jenkins, had a one-night stand? You? The epitome of sweet guy and commitment?”

“Who said it was a one-night stand? I intend to see her again because I enjoyed the sex, unlike you, judging from the look on your face.”

I cross my arms and glare at him, but then I sigh. “Who am I kidding? I mean the sex was great, but the guy turned out to be a real asshead. He threw me out.” I let out another long, frustrated sigh. “Tell me, why do I only attract jerks?”

“I don’t know, Emma. You seemed pretty excited when you texted me last night.”

I give him a questioning look. “I didn’t text you.”

We arrive on the ground floor and walk through the lobby out of the hotel. I quickly put on my shoes and coat, as the January air is freezing cold. I groan due to the still terribly bright winter sun and squint at Robert, who is holding out his phone to me, and indeed, I sent him a text last night: “Don’t wait for me, Robbie. I’m gonna have mind-blowing sex with Mr. Sexy-Ass from the bar.”

I groan again and rub my face. “Ugh! Why didn’t you save me?”

“Would you have listened?”

I grimace. “Probably not.”

Rob hails a cab, and we both get in. He gives the driver his address, and before we take off, I take one last look at the hotel and shudder at the memory of this morning.

I turn to my friend. “So after I sent you that text, you picked up Abby’s cousin?”

He shrugs. “There was some kind of tension building up between us all day, actually, and as I couldn’t leave you, I jumped at the chance to stay as well.”

“So you’re saying you jumped her to do me a favor?”

“Yes.” He grins widely at me as I shake my head and roll my eyes.

“Hey,” he says. “Don’t be upset it didn’t end well. I told you, you could have had me, but you turned me down.”

“And you know why. We work together, and I’d never hear the end of it if I dated Dr. Hottie.”

He bursts out laughing again. “No one calls me that.”

"Of course! All the nurses do.”

He narrows his eyes at me as if he was trying to figure out if I was making that up or not.

Please, meet Dr. Robert Jenkins, one of the ob-gyn at the hospital where I work as an ER nurse and who’s on everybody’s list of doctors you want to spend a night with. Not necessarily at the top of those lists, but a very close second to third. He’s utterly oblivious to his status, probably due to his nerdiness. He’s not sexy in an obvious kind-of-way with hard as steel abs and a cocky confidence, but he has these beautiful eyes that light up when he flashes you his gorgeous smile.

Sadly, it’s not working on me because he would be the perfect guy for an easygoing, no-drama relationship. He’s every mother-in-law’s dream too, including my mom’s. She loves him and can’t understand for the life of her why I don’t. And believe me, I tried. We went on a couple of dates when we first met, but we both realized quickly we work better as friends. Even though Rob still jokes about me turning him down, I know he feels the same way.

“Are you telling me I could have any of the nurses?” he asks incredulously.

“Yes.”

“Even Tamara?”

“No, not Tamara.”

“Why not?”

“She’s a bitch who sleeps around. She’ll break your heart.”

"Aw, how kind of you to look out for me after you’ve broken my heart.”

I hit his shoulder when he chuckles. “Shut up. I did not break your heart. And what about Abby’s cousin? I thought you were dating her now?”

Rob shrugs. “She’s from Maine, so I don’t think I’ll see her too often. Just checking my options.”

In the meantime, we’ve arrived at Rob’s place. I give him a quizzical look when he takes my coat from me. “Who the fuck are you, and what have you done with my friend?”

“I seriously need to start thinking about my future. I’m getting old.”

I snort. “Thirty-three is not old. If someone needs to worry, it’s me. I’m almost thirty, and my mom is giving me hell about finally settling down.”

Rob laughs. “Yeah, your mom is something. I’d be worried too if I were you.”

“Gee, thanks!” I give him a little shove, but he laughs it off.

“Come on, go use my luxurious shower while I make some coffee.”

Yes, a scalding hot shower to wash off last night’s events and Rob’s freshly brewed coffee from his fancy, fully-automatic coffee maker to silence my mom’s nagging voice in my head sounds like pure bliss.

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