“Twenty, to be exact.”
Discreetly, I ran my fingers over my lips, checking for any dried remnants or active drips of drool.
“I wasn’t asleep that long and how would you know anyway?”
“I’ve been sitting here for fifteen. I tacked on the extra five allotting for the time it would take to fall asleep,” he said, the hint of a playful smirk appearing on his chiseled face.
“You’ve been watching me for fifteen minutes? Creep much?”
“I only glanced at you a few times. You know, to make sure you were still breathing. The rest of the time I was checking emails.”
“Exactly why were you doing that?”
“I had a lot of emails to catch up on.”
“Not that. The other.”
“Oh, because my keys fell out of my pocket.”
With hunched shoulders and raised brows, I gave him the international look for more info, please.
“I was in here earlier, sitting right there…” His gaze dropped to the spot currently occupied by my ass.
“And you’re just now realizing it?”
I had to admit, I was still in a bit of a haze brought on by either my lack of sleep or how incredibly handsome this dude was.
“I stopped in here to grab a coffee before hitting the gym a couple of doors down.”
My gaze roamed down to his broad shoulders and toned chest covered in a white T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. There was a sweat stain over his toned pectoral region. It wasn’t icky, just the opposite; it looked sexy on him. His arms were sculpted and strong. I was afraid if I went any lower, I might get caught, so I did a cursory glance at his flat stomach and muscular legs. When I got back to his face, a bright white smile flanked by big dimples and dark brown stubble was waiting for me.
“Do you mind if I check between the cushions?” he said, pointing to the area between the end of the sofa and the cushion I was sitting on.
“Cushions?” My voice sounded wistful.
“Oh. Yeah. Of course. Keys in the cushions,” I said, shifting with every intention of standing up.
As I scooted, he reached around me. He was close and smelled of citrus and man. I assumed the man part was the sweat. But again, not a gross out. As his hand slipped in and out of the search zone, my body jostled. Our faces were so close I’d make contact if I puckered.
“Got ‘em!” he said abruptly.
Inhaling a deep breath, I blinked away his effect. “Good.”
He stayed put, sitting close beside me, neither of us making a move to rectify the situation.
“Thank you…?” His dark brows scrunched together waiting for me to fill in the blank.
“Evie,” I said.
A sweet satisfying smile appeared. “Evie. I like it.”
“It’s short for Evelyne,” I blurted out. He nodded. “I don’t know why I just told you that.”
My head shook slightly as I narrowed my eyes in question.
“Your last name,” he clarified.
I chuckled. “I’m not telling you my last name. For all I know you could be a serial killer.”
“Do I look like a serial killer?” he said with a smirk.
“No, but neither did Ted Bundy.”
“You’ve got me there. Well, Evie with no last name, it was nice meeting you and I’m sorry I interrupted your nap time.”
“Don’t worry about it.” I smiled.
He leaned toward me, causing my pulse to quicken, and whispered, “You’ve got a…um…stir stick in your hair.”
I froze with embarrassment as my body shuddered. Inwardly I cursed my mother for providing the DNA that produced the magnetic red hair that sat atop my head. Gently reaching up as if he were about to remove a thorn from a lion’s paw, Butler pulled the stick from my hair, bringing it into view.
I took it and said, “Thanks.”
“You’re more than welcome. I gotta go now, but maybe I’ll see you around here again soon.”
“I’m here every Saturday…sleeping.” I cringed at my lame attempt at being flirty.
Butler stared at me for a few seconds longer than appropriate for a first meeting, then flashed me another bright smile before he stood and left. As he was walking away, he looked back at me a couple of times before reaching the exit.
I glanced down at my hoodie, worn jeans, and a pair of dingy pink tennis shoes. Add to that sad list my rat’s nest hair, puffy eyes, and coffee breath and another wave of embarrassment washed over me. I tipped to the side and face planted into the sofa.
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