When He Was Bad...

When He Was Bad... by Anne Oliver

Book: When He Was Bad... by Anne Oliver Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anne Oliver
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    When Ellie woke, her stuffy head had cleared somewhat and her throat was a little better, courtesy of the cold-and-flu medication Matt had included on the tray.
    Early-winter gloom had plunged the room into semidarkness, but rather than the dank chill of her apartment, the afternoon sunshine’s warmth still lingered in the room, the fragrance of fresh linen filled the air.
    And for a moment she was a little girl again, in her own bedroom with the fairyland wallpaper and chintz curtains. A time when she’d been too young to understand the meaning of loss, or to appreciate the value of family.
    Snuggling deeper into the lavender-scented sheets, she indulged in those long-forgotten memories of safety and warmth, love. All the more precious because once upon a time this home had belonged to her grandfather’s family.
    As she shifted position, she caught sight of Matt’s mobile number on her wrist. Heat flooded through her when she remembered the feel of his hand brushing her arm as he’d penned the numbers.
    And another thought occurred to her. Was it only the history of the house or was Matt also partially responsible for bringing all these feelings to the surface?
    She’d seen a different side to him over the past couple of days. He might be hot, but whether she wanted to admit it or not, there was a comfortable warmth there too. A warmth thathad nothing to do with sexuality and everything to do with the kind of man he was. The kind that made you want to cuddle right up and share…what? Your deepest secrets? Hopes and fears?
    How could she reconcile that with the sexy Matt who made her want to cuddle up and share a whole lot more than confidences?
    Matt was also a take-charge kind of guy. How would that translate in the bedroom? she wondered, her mind straying into forbidden territory. Would he expect to make all the moves? Or did he like to lie back sometimes and let a woman do the work? Her body tingled, grew languid at the new and dangerous direction her thoughts had taken.
    Until she remembered that he’d had a date last night. The feeling seeped out of her, leaving a cold empty space in the pit of her stomach. Probably someone like Yasmine from the office. Tall, career-oriented, killer body, long smooth straight hair. Unlike her own flyaway frizz that hadn’t seen a pair of straighteners in the past forty-eight hours.
    She needed to ignore that warm cosy feeling that kept creeping up on her whenever she thought of Matt’s caring side. She needed to ignore those hot forbidden fantasies that sprang to life whenever he looked at her.
    He wasn’t in Melbourne for long, she reminded herself. She only had to survive a few more days, and in the meantime she’d give him no reason to think she was interested in pursuing what they’d started any further.
    So it wouldn’t be a problem when he left.
    And she’d go back to her life the way she preferred it. No-one with promises they didn’t keep, no unrealistic expectations, no broken heart.
    Alone.
    Safe.
    Â 
    The house was in darkness when Matt let himself in around 6:00 p.m. He headed straight for the guest room, a strange anticipation twirling through him like streamers at Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade.
    A glimmer of light slanted across the hallway. Her door remained partially open as he’d left it. The lamp on the night stand, dimmed to its lowest setting, cast subtle shadows over Ellie. He’d intended asking her what she fancied eating but quickly decided she needed sleep more than sustenance.
    Her hair formed a curly halo around her face; long lashes rested on porcelain cheeks. The top button of her pyjamas had slipped undone, revealing the gold locket she always wore nestled in her dusky cleavage. Beautiful.
    And vulnerable.
    He should step back, give her privacy, but his eyes refused to look away. His feet held fast and his hand tightened around the edge of the door.
    He wanted to

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