Home > While It Lasts (Sea Breeze #3)(8)

While It Lasts (Sea Breeze #3)(8)
Author: Abbi Glines

“Bet that was funny as shit,” I replied.

“Or nightmare-worthy. Depends on how you look at it.”

~*~

The one-hour trip with Marcus was easier this time. He wasn’t pissed off the entire trip. Probably because Low was so damn happy I hadn’t been fired yet. After he dropped me off, I thought of stopping by the house and talking to Eva. Her dad’s truck was still gone. She probably wouldn’t be real thrilled about me showing up at her door at nine o’clock at night. Might just need to wait until she came to me.

Before I could get to the far end of the house, I heard the gravel crunch in the driveway as a car pulled in. Turning around, I checked to make sure it was Wilson. I didn’t want just anyone showing up with Eva alone in the house.

The passenger side to Jeremy’s truck swung open and Eva jumped out.

“Cageisback!” she slurred happily. Her hand was gripping the side of the door to steady herself.

“Eva! Dammit, I told you to wait on me. You’re gonna fall down on the gravel and get hurt.” Jeremy ran around the front of the truck and quickly wrapped his arm around Eva’s waist.

“She’s drunk?” I asked in amazement as I walked back toward the driveway still not sure I was seeing what it looked like.

“Hammered is more like it. She went out to the damn honky-tonk with Becca Lynn. I got a call from Nelly, the owner, about an hour ago. She said I needed to come get Eva. Becca Lynn was passed out on the top of the bar. She’d already called Becca’s daddy.”

“Itwasfun,” Eva said with a sloppy grin and stepped out of Jeremy’s arms and into my chest. I wrapped my arms around her quickly to keep her from face-planting on the gravel.

“Yeah, looks like you had yourself a good ‘ole time,” I replied as she slipped her arms up my chest and clasped her hands tightly behind my neck.

“Youshouldcometoo.”

Nodding, I lifted my gaze from her adorably drunk expression to look at Jeremy. He was standing behind her waiting on her next move.

“We need to get her to bed. Her daddy ain’t coming home till tomorrow. He’s still got a bunch of people up at his hunting camp.”

“Should she be left alone in the house like this?” I asked as she leaned heavily on me.

“Probably not,” Jeremy rubbed his hand through his hair and glanced back at his truck. He had other plans. I could tell he was trying real hard to figure out the right thing to do.

“I gotta get some stuff packed up tonight and head out early in the morning to check on an apartment I’m looking at moving into with my cousin in the fall. You think you could watch her?”

So Jeremy was getting ready to move on with his life. Had he told Eva yet? Was that why she was completely wasted?

“I got her. You go on. We’ll be fine.”

The indecision on his face as he studied the back of Eva’s head had me thinking he might end up staying to watch her after all. I understood that kind of protective streak. I had it with Low. Eva rested her head against my chest.

“You good with that, Eva?” Jeremy asked.

“Mmmmmmhmmmm,” she replied then began sniffing my shirt.

Jeremy shook his head then looked back up at me. “She’s dealing with life. It’s moving on without Josh and she’s just now realizing it. Be good to her.”

“Of course,” I replied and dropped a kiss to the top of her cigarette scented hair. Not something I ever expected to smell on Eva Brooks.

Jeremy studied me a moment then with a quick nod he turned and headed back to his truck. I waited until he was pulling out of the drive before moving Eva.

“I need to get you to your bed, sweetheart. Do you want me to pick you up or do you want to walk? Or do you need to puke?”

Eva giggled against my chest and tilted her head back to smile sleepily at me. “Takemetoyourbed,” she slurred.

“Now that’s a bad idea, beautiful. You see, when you’re sober my bed is the last place you wanna be.”

She shook her head and standing on her tip toes pressed a tequila tasting kiss to my mouth.

“I wanna sleep in your bed puhlease.” She managed not to run her words together this time.

How was I supposed to tell her no when she was all sweet and playful? She was drunk off her ass but she was a nice drunk.

“Just sleep?” I asked

“Jussleep.”

I bent down and slipped my arm under her knees then cradled her against my chest and carried her to the barn. This was probably not my most intelligent moment but I wasn’t about to give up what could be my only chance at sleeping all night with Eva Brooks in my arms.

Eva

“Don’t you go to sleep yet. You need to drink this water and take the aspirin first.” Cage’s voice was even sexy when he was being all bossy.

I giggled and stared up at him as he stood hovering over me. His bed was nice and soft and I really just wanted to close my eyes. How was a girl supposed to turn down orders from a guy that looked like that? I stuck my arm up in the air, “Pull me up,” I told him. Cage grinned and reached for my hand that was unfortunately numb so I didn’t get the complete enjoyment from his touch.

Once he had me sitting up on the edge of the bed he squatted down in front of me until we were eye level. The glass of water he’d run up to the house to get was in one hand and the white chalky pills I hated were in the other.

“Can I just drink the water?” I asked, scowling at the pills. I hated swallowing pills. I did it if I absolutely had to but I hated the taste they left in my throat and the way they felt going down.

“If you don’t take the aspirin you’re going to have one helluva hangover in the morning. Drink this whole glass of water and take the pills.”

His voice was all deep and hypnotic. I wondered if he’d talk to me while I fell asleep? I’d have to ask him that. First, I needed to drink the water.

“I hate swallowing pills,” I grumbled, reaching for the glass of water.

Cage’s smile reappeared and he reached up and tucked a lock of my hair behind my ear. I’d tried to tuck that hair behind my ear earlier but I couldn’t get my hand to cooperate. I kept missing my ear.

“You can do it. I’m right here if you need me. I’ll even hold your hand. Just please, Eva, swallow the pills.”

His eyes were too ridiculously pretty to belong to a guy. Especially a guy with abs like his and back muscles… oh, I liked those back muscles.

“It’s not fair that your eye lashes are so long and curly. Girls spend a lot of time and money trying to get eyelashes like yours.”

Cage laughed and reached up and ran his thumb under my left eye. “Yeah, well my eyelashes have got nothing on your eyes. They’re f**king incredible.”

Oh. Wow.

“I wish I hadn’t run off last night,” I admitted as he continued to caress my cheekbone, then my jawline.

“It was a good thing you did. I was close to losing my control.” His voice had dropped to a husky whisper that made me shiver.

“Maybe I wanted you to lose control.”

Cage’s grin returned. “You’re drunk, Eva. I can assure you that the sober Eva doesn’t want me to lose control. She wants me to keep my distance.”

Was that true? No, it wasn’t. The sober Eva was just so determined to live by her own set of rules.

“Drink the water,” Cage nudged the glass toward my mouth.

I took a small sip and the cold taste of water on my tongue was refreshing. I hadn’t realized how dry my mouth was. I took several longer swallows when Cage reached up and took the glass from me.

“Now take the aspirin,” he ordered, holding the pills up for me. Obediently I opened my mouth and he placed them on my tongue. He brought the water back up to my lips and I swallowed the pills with ease. I didn’t even taste them in my throat. Maybe I should just get drunk every time I got sick and needed to take pills. Maybe I just needed Cage to give them to me.

“Good girl,” he said as I finished the rest of the water. “Now, lie back down but scoot your cute little ass over against the wall. I have to fit in this bed too.”

Looking up at his wide shoulders and long legs I began wondering if that was going to be possible. I really didn’t want to sleep in the house tonight. I wanted to be with Cage. But was I making it hard on him to get good rest?

“I’ll make it work. I happen to know exactly how to sleep in bed with a girl comfortably,” he assured me. I scooted over until my whole left side was touching the wall. “Now roll over on your side.”

I did as he instructed. Then the bed dipped down with his weight and he slid in behind me. One warm arm wrapped around my stomach as he tucked himself against my back. This was nice. Really nice.

“Cage?”

“Yeah?”

I wanted to feel close to him. I didn’t want the lies between us anymore. But the thought of saying Josh’s name while drunk and snuggled up against Cage seemed wrong. I couldn’t do it. So, instead, I closed my eyes.

Chapter Nine

Cage

After a week of waking up with the sun, my eyes easily popped open before the sunrise was complete. Eva was making some soft purring sound in her sleep. Her legs had gotten all tangled up with mine at some point last night.

The smooth silk of her skin sliding against my calves was hard to resist. But I’d managed. I wasn’t a complete angel though. I couldn’t help myself. When she’d grabbed my arm with her hand and pulled it up closer around her my hand had been left to palm her left boob. So, yeah, I’d copped a feel. But damn, I’m a man. They were real nice too. Soft but firm and her nipple had been nice and hard even in her sleep.

The erection I had pressed into her ass probably wasn’t going to go over real well when sober Eva woke up. As much as I hated to, I eased my arm from around her and untangled my legs from hers. As quietly as I could I slipped out of bed. Grabbing a pair of jeans, a work shirt and my boots I left the room to go get dressed. I didn’t want to wake her. She really needed to sleep that shit off. I’d be willing to bet that was her first drunken experience. She’d been so damn cute. If only sober Eva liked me as much as drunk Eva did. With a sigh, I pulled on my jeans and laced up my boots. It was time to get back to the cows.

Stepping out into the morning sun, I wasn’t surprised to see Jeremy there. I wondered if he’d even gotten any sleep worrying about leaving Eva with me. I had to question his common sense a little. I would’ve never left Low with a guy like me while she was drunk and not thinking clearly.

Jeremy was pacing back and forth in front of the barn door with a worried frown. His hair looked like he either forgot to brush it or he’d been running his hands through it so many times that he’d messed it up good.

“Thought you had to leave early this morning,” I said in greeting.

Jeremy stopped pacing and closed the distance between us. He almost looked brave enough to take me on. “Dude, please tell me you didn’t—“

“I just gave her aspirin, some water and slept beside her.”

“She okay? Did you do anything to her? Is she sick? DAMMIT, I shouldn’t have left her. Josh would be furious with me. She was vulnerable and I just left. I can’t just leave.” He stopped his tirade and starting pacing again.

“She’s fine. I took care of her. She’s nice and safe. No harm done.”

Jeremy shook his head and kept pacing. “No. No, she isn’t okay. She ain’t ever gonna be okay. I’ve been waiting for her to be okay for eighteen months. I know Josh would want me to stay and look out after her. I’ve been doing what I know he’d have wanted for a year and a half. I gave up my scholarship to Vandy. I lost a semester of school. I went to this dumbass cowpoke community college just so I could stay near her. But I can’t keep doing this. I want to live again. I will miss Josh for the rest of my life but I don’t want to keep mourning him.” He stopped and put his hands on his hips. His eyes looked glassy like he was trying to hold back tears. “I can’t stop my life for her anymore. But I’m afraid that if no one is here to catch her when she falls, like last night at that damn bar, then she will crash and burn. I’d never be able to forgive myself if something happened to her. She always had Josh. He was her best friend, her protector and he made her feel complete. But I’m not Josh.”

I closed the barn door firmly behind me after checking to see if the bedroom door was still closed. I didn’t want Eva hearing this. I understood that Jeremy needed to let this out but Eva didn’t need to be so f**king close when he did.

“Why don’t we go somewhere else and talk about this,” I suggested walking away from the barn and closer to the house.

“You’re right. Sorry. Damn, she’s still asleep, isn’t she?”

I nodded and led him to the front porch where I had a view of the barn door but we were far enough away that I knew she wouldn’t be able to hear us.

Jeremy walked up the steps and ran his hands through his hair again. He even pulled the ends a little as if he were trying to inflict pain on himself.

“I just need to do this. I need to go to Louisiana and get everything set up for the fall. But every time I think about coming home and telling Eva that I’m leaving in August to go away to school I feel like I’m gonna vomit.”

Poor guy was beating himself up. He was right, though, he couldn’t keep putting his life on hold for Eva. She wasn’t his responsibility. Just because she’d been his brother’s didn’t make her his now his brother was gone. Why hadn’t someone told him this before now?

“I’ve got a best friend who also happens to be a female. I understand what you’re feeling. I know that if Low needed me, I’d be there. I’d drop the world for her but there were times in our life that I wished I didn’t have that responsibility. Difference is that Eva wasn’t your best friend. She was your brother’s. This isn’t about Eva. This is about you wanting to fulfill what you believe your brother’s last wishes would have been. In my opinion, you have. I didn’t know the dude but I think you’ve done your job. I don’t think he ever wanted you to give up your life for Eva.”

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