I dug my fingernails into the palms of my hands to keep myself from touching Max. What I really wanted to do was brush my fingers down that glorious chest of his, nibble on his neck, and forget my problems. My temperature began to rise along with my heartbeat. I closed my eyes, rolled over, and silently crept out of bed. I unclenched my hands, blood formed in small crescent shaped moons on my palms from the bite of my nails.
I turned on the shower and stood under cold water. I needed to focus on that thing out there, not Max. After convincing myself I needed to ignore Max I toweled off, applied some makeup, dressed warmly, and snuck downstairs for coffee. Chase and Killer were nowhere to be found, more than likely they were at Roses house with the girls. Smiling I threw a few more things into my backpack, thinking now might be the perfect time to leave.
I sipped my coffee. No. I wouldn’t get much of a head start and I’d be found, quartered, and probably duck taped to the wall. I debated checking on the horses, but didn’t want to get Max’s back up. But seriously, this was my house, my property, and my horse. I should be able to do what I want, not sit and wait for him.
I sighed, feeling like a prisoner in my own home. I needed some air. I stepped outside and shoveled the rest of the snow off the deck, making sure to make as much noise as possible for Max’s benefit. With that accomplished I went inside for a refill of coffee, then out to the back deck for a smoke.
My sixth sense kicked in the moment Max woke up and found my side of the bed empty. His eyes started to burn a hole in my back. I swiveled and waved up at the top window. I turned back around when he acknowledged me and stared out at my property.
“Do you sense anything?” Max asked from the back door.
“No, its all clear.”
I turned around to face him, trying not to notice he was in his sweatpants only, again, to no avail. He was doing it on purpose. My resolve melted away as my eyes roamed over his body. He hadn’t shaved yet, and the day old stubble on his face was oh so sexy. My eyes skipped down to his rock hard stomach and trailed the line of black hair that stopped where his sweats rode low on his hips.
I licked my lips and forced my eyes to stop there. I glanced back up; his strong arms were crossed over his well defined, muscular chest. Heat radiated off him, tempting me to snuggle into his embrace. He cleared his throat. My eyes darted back up to his. He gazed at me so fiercely I started to blush. I darted around him and back inside before both of us fried my circuits, and busied myself starting a fire. Damn he was hot. I was thoroughly disgusted with myself. I had Max on the brain again. He wandered back inside a few minutes later. He watched me build the fire, then followed me into the kitchen.
“We should go out riding today.” I said, pulling a protein drink out of the fridge.
“I don’t want you leaving the house.”
I yanked the tab open on the drink. “It’s either going to be you or Chase that goes with me. Take your pick, because I’m not going to take no for an answer.” I had a plan and I couldn’t continue to get distracted, or let him get in the way.
“Fine, but I need some fuel first,” he shook his head at my drink. “You should probably eat too.”
“I’m not hungry, but if you go get dressed I‘ll cook up some breakfast.”
He raised an eyebrow.
I couldn’t focus on what I needed to do with him standing in my kitchen half naked, to top it off he was contemplating my cooking ability.
“Don’t worry; I won’t burn the food.”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Yeah, but you were thinking it.”
I stuck my head in the fridge and began to unloaded the breakfast items. When I closed the refrigerator door he was gone. I started the bacon frying and was whipping up some eggs when my internal radar picked up three more starving people and a dog hiking up to the house. Just what I needed, the universe was definitely working against me. I put more bacon in the frying pan, toast in the toaster, and began to make some spinach and cheese omelets.
“Oh man, it smells good in here,” Trina said as they all piled through my front door.
Chase sidled up behind me and glanced over my shoulder. “I didn’t know you could cook.”
“I can. I just don’t like to.
“I’ll set the table.”
“You might as well add two more, I hear the snowplow. Bear and Tree can join us.”
I added more bacon and eggs, took a deep breath, then braced myself for the noise and chaos that was going to invade my space, and the possible mental breakdown that would follow.
Chase laid a hand on my shoulder, his calmness balanced me out, until Max came in. His jealousy was strong enough to break through, the noise rushed back at me.
“Here Max, you can take this out to the table,” I said, clinching my teeth. I handed him the bacon, instead of chucking it at him. I have amazing self control when I want to.
“I’m sorry.” Max said as he came back into the kitchen and picked up the plate of omelets. “It bothers me that he can help you and I can’t.”
I reached up and slide my fingers down his cheek, the fire emanating off his skin ran down my fingertips and up my arm. Okay maybe I had absolutely no self control. I couldn’t tell anymore.
“Its because there isn’t any heat between me and Chase, Max.”
Max lifted my fingers to his lips and kissed them one at a time, leaving a burning sensation on each one.
“We need to take out the food, everyone’s starving,” I whispered, breathless.
Max left the kitchen, leaving me to collect myself, yet again, before joining them.
I sat down at the table with Chase on one side of me, and Max on the other. Chase kept his hand on my leg throughout breakfast, when no one was looking, to help keep me calm. Max avoided touching me altogether. Bear and Tree were explaining their business investment to Alexis and Trina, while Killer waited patiently at the end of the table for his share. I gave Killer the toast I never touched, after refilling my coffee.