“Oh my God,” Tess groaned as she rolled over the next morning. She flung her arm over her eyes, sighing heavily. She wasn’t necessarily hung over. She considered herself lucky in the fact that she rarely got one to the extent others did. A gentle breath fanned her cheek and a heavy arm tightened around her waist. She removed her arm, her heartbeat picking up in panic until she remembered how she got home last night. Turning her face, she breathed a sigh of relief as she took in Nico’s sleeping face. His dark lashes fluttered against his cheeks, his dark blond hair messy and dipping over his forehead. God, he truly was beautiful and he was in her bed. Perfect chance to forget. She just couldn’t bring herself to do it.
“Morning, malyutka.” A slow smile parted his plump lips as he opened his gorgeous brown eyes, the color of melted caramel. “Did you sleep well?”
“I did. I’m just a bit confused though. Um, how did you end up in my bed?” He rolled over and stretched his muscled arms over his head, the covers slipping down around his waist to reveal a chiseled set of six pack abs. “Did we, like, have a skin party I don’t remember?” Nico let loose a deep rumble of laughter, gathering her in his arms and kissing her temple.
“No, Tess. You needed a friend last night so I volunteered. You are a beautiful woman with a body made for sin but you are too dear to my heart.” His accent was more pronounced so she guessed it was because he was still hazy from sleep. She relaxed into his hold and laid her head on his chest.
“Damn shame, Nico,” she muttered. “I feel the same way.” They laid together for a bit longer, Tess’s mind darting in too many directions. “Well, thank you for staying with me then. Come on, handsome. I’ll whip you up my world famous Tess’s Texas Scramble for breakfast. It’s the least I can do.”
“I could eat,” Nico chuckles as he smothers a yawn. “Does this scramble come with coffee?”
“Well, duh,” she giggled. “Is that even a question that should be asked?” Nico smiled warmly and sat up. Tess held her breath, hoping he wasn’t naked under the covers. She was sure the rest of him was just as impressive as what she’d seen so far. She watched him stretch again, the muscles along his back moving as he cracked his neck. When he finally stood, she slammed her eyes shut only to be greeted with his deep laugh again.
“Relax, malyutka. You can open your eyes.” When she pried one eye open, she pushed out the breath she’d been holding. Nico was already in the jeans he wore the night before, shoving his arms through his tight tee shirt.
“There’s an extra toothbrush in my bathroom in the little stand next to the sink. Help yourself.” She threw back the covers and hopped to her feet. She shuffled downstairs to the kitchen, not bothering to get dressed. It was a lazy day for her now that she no longer had to report to the hell hole she’d called work for the last five years. It was going to be nice to lounge around in her jammies doing whatever the fuck she wanted.
Nico tromped behind her a few minutes later. She handed him a cup of hot coffee while she set about making the scramble. It was the one dish she knew she was a master at making and her father’s favorite breakfast. She made him many a scramble over the years growing up and the dish always brought sweet memories to her mind. She found herself smiling and humming while she cooked, Nico’s eyes on her as she moved around the kitchen.
“And voila!” she announced as she put a plate of the steaming scramble in front of Nico. The meal consisted of fluffy scrambled eggs mixed with onions, peppers, spicy sausage and her own mix of seasonings. Nico took a bite.
“Oh my God, Tess this is amazing!” he groaned. She beamed at him and shoved a forkful in her mouth.
“My dad loved it. He would have eaten it every morning if Mom would have let him,” she giggled. “She got on this health kick when I was about fourteen, I think, and tried to ban the scramble from the family menu. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. Dad slept in the den for three nights until she agreed to bring it back.”
“Only three nights?” Nico’s eyes sparkled.
“Oh yes. That’s all Mom could stand before she totally caved. She admitted to me later that Dad laid on the seduction hot and heavy until she gave in. She never could resist him for long.” Yeah her parents had a great love story. She wanted a story like theirs. She hoped she would have it with Apollo but she now knew that was never going to happen.
“You miss your father?” Nico tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. She nodded with a forlorn smile.
“Like mad,” she sighed. “He was the best father a girl could ever have. He always encouraged me, you know? I remember wanting to be like him so badly I even became a goalie. Did pretty well at it too.” Nico’s eyebrows almost disappeared under his messy hair.
“You played hockey?” Tess laughed, taking a long drink of her coffee.
“Of course I did! Why, do you find that hard to believe or something?” She could tell she flustered the guy.
“Ah well…yeah,” he finally answered.
“Well I did, up until I graduated college. I played for the University of Michigan women’s team. I mean, how could I not play, being the daughter of the legendary Yadkin “Barricade” Pritchard? I wasn’t big enough to play defense or fast enough to be center. Goalie just kind of came naturally so I stuck with the position.”
“Do you still play?” She absently refilled both their coffee mugs.
“I haven’t played in so long I’ve forgotten when the last time I was on the ice. I’ve been so busy working for that lousy meathead Mr. Winslow that pretty much everything took a backseat. I really miss it. It kept me in great shape, that’s for sure, especially when Meda was the one running practice.” Nico winced, which made Tess laugh. “I take it she’s hard as hell on you too?” Nico rolled his eyes and shoved another forkful of the scramble in his mouth.
“Yes, she’s a slave driver,” he groaned. “But she’s a hell of a player and only wants what’s best for the team. She gives everything she’s got every practice, every game. It does not surprise me that she expects the same from her team mates.” They talked amicably over breakfast, Nico helping Tess clean up when they were finished. After Nico left, Tess wandered back upstairs to take a hot bath. The soothing sounds of Norah Jones filled the large bathroom, setting Tess at ease while her body soaked up the heat of the water.
Singing along with the lyrics, she let the soft music flow over her and she lost herself to the oblivion of a blank mind. She had a good voice, at least for singing in the shower she thought. No one had ever complained so she must be decent. As she soaped up her legs, she sang as she soaked. It felt good to relax like this. The only problem with letting her mind go was that it tended to wander over to forbidden territory. She felt her body heat up with thoughts of a certain dark haired blue eyed man with the body of a Greek god. Apollo. Shaking her head, she tried to shift her thoughts to Nico. He had looked so delicious sleeping next to her but the minute she pictured his face, the heat dissipated.
“FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!” She screamed at no one but herself. Sighing heavily, she let the water out and stepped out of the tub. Wrapping herself up in a large fluffy towel, she strode into her bedroom to dress. She took her phone with her and made a quick call to some of her girlfriends. Before long, she had a date lined up for some retail therapy. New shoes always did the trick. Throwing her hair up in a messy bun and going light with her makeup, she donned a cute little floral jumper with peep toe booties to match. She was going to get him off her mind if she had to spend every dollar she had. And with what her father had left her as well as her wise investments over the years, that was saying something.