Home > Hold On (The 'Burg #6)(4)

Hold On (The 'Burg #6)(4)
Author: Kristen Ashley

So, yeah.

People annoyed me.

These were my thoughts as I felt the bed move again, and the bed moving freaked me way the fuck out.

So I opened my eyes and got freaked out a whole lot more.

Merry was not sneaking out of my room.

He was instead clothed and sitting on the edge of the bed, chin dipped, dark hair the good kind of hot mess, some of it falling on his forehead, sleepy, gorgeous blue eyes aimed at me.

He also had a hand coming my way, and I tensed when he used it to brush the hair off my neck, then curl it warm there.

God, no man had ever touched me like that.

Not one.

Not in thirty-four years.

“Hey,” he whispered.

What was happening?

“Hey,” I whispered back, uncertain how to proceed in this unprecedented situation.

“Didn’t wanna wake you.” He was still talking quietly. “But also didn’t wanna disappear on you.”

At his words, I felt something weird happening to me. Like the beginning of a release. A release that was both pain and relief, the kind that comes as a splinter is being pulled out.

Or a thorn is working its way out.

“I’m on this weekend,” he continued. “Gotta get home, shower, change clothes, get to the station.”

That was when something weirder happened to me.

I felt like I was going to cry.

The last two times I shed tears, I remembered.

One was sitting in Mimi’s Coffee Shop, listening to Alec Colton be cool to me after what I’d thought was a death blow had been delivered. Not a literal one, but definitely a figuratively emotional one.

The other was when I’d heard that Dennis Lowe was dead.

The first were tears of bitterness, sadness, defeat, and shame.

The last were tears of happiness.

Considering Merry was talking, I realized I had to pull my head together and respond.

So I said, “Okay.”

“I’m on all weekend, but we’ll talk later,” he declared.

I stared into his face, my eyes tipped up his way, not moving my head from the pillow.

I tried to read something, anything that would tell me what was going on in his mind.

He just looked sleepy and kind of cute.

This was shocking.

Garrett Merrick was all man, not all-cute man.

He was a cop. He was built, muscular but lean. His tough, sinewy frame, which I knew from my time as a waitress, then a stripper, and finally a bartender, concealed the power packed in his build. He wasn’t a hulk, and therefore, you might think you could mess with him when you absolutely could not. I knew this from looking at him. But he’d broken up three bar brawls in my tenure at J&J’s Saloon, so I’d also seen it firsthand.

Further, he was handsome in a smooth way that didn’t quite succeed in hiding the fact that, under the surface, he was not smooth at all. He was rough.

His sense of humor was wicked.

And his personal sense of right and wrong was razor-sharp (if perhaps a little crazy). There wasn’t a lot of gray in the world of Garrett Merrick. There was black and there was white. He had a reputation in that town and I was a bartender in that town, so I knew his reputation. He was a cop for a reason. He was about order and justice. There was just a part of him that was compelled to decide what kind of order there should be and how justice should take place.

He had a good ole boy exterior.

Under that was something else entirely.

I got this. I knew his history. There were several ways to go on with your life after what had happened to his family and none of them were good.

Except the one Merry chose.

So he was not cute.

Not at all.

Until right then.

Sleepy and cute and not even looking a little bit hungover.

“Cher?” he called.

I blinked away my thoughts and muttered, “Sorry, kinda out of it.”

He grinned, the cute took a hike, and a miracle occurred.

I had been completely hungover, freaked out, and uncertain.

Witnessing that cocky grin, I was straight up, full-on turned on.

He knew what he did to me last night. He knew how much I liked it. He also knew I might have participated fully, but he’d dominated the play and he got off, but he got me off spectacularly.

Five times.

My legs shifted and Merry bent closer.

“Rest up,” he murmured. “Get some aspirin in you when you wake up. I’ll call you later.”

I nodded, head sliding on the pillow.

He bent deeper, and I didn’t know whether to brace or turn my head just in case he needed a straight shot to my mouth because he intended to give me a kiss.

I found he was giving me a kiss. A sweet one. Brushing his lips lightly along my cheek, he moved his mouth to my ear.

“Never forget last night, babe. None of it,” he whispered there, then gave me another kiss, touching his mouth to the skin in front of my ear before he finished, “Thank you for that.”

I didn’t know what to make of that. It was sweet, but was it final?

Or was it a beginning?

He pulled his head away but slid his hand from my neck to my jaw, where he used his thumb to sweep the apple of my cheek as he caught my eyes.

Another touch no man had ever given me. A simple maneuver, only his thumb moving, but it still felt like it spoke volumes, every word beauty.

“I’ll call you.”

That said beginning.

Oh God, were Merry and me beginning?

My heart clutched.

“Okay, Merry,” I replied.

He grinned. He winked. My stomach curled in a nervous, excited way I almost didn’t recognize because I hadn’t felt it since I was fifteen years old.

Then he straightened from my bed and walked out of my room.

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