The One For Me(10)By: Sydney Landon
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Mark stood staring down at the woman in his bed. It unnerved him that she looked so right lying there—as if she belonged. He rarely brought women to his home, and he certainly didn’t do sleepovers. He’d broken all of the rules with her already. He’d nursed her back to health for the last two days and then asked her to stay with him for another night. Hell, he was pretty sure he’d have begged if she’d refused. He was drawn to her and he had no idea why. He fucked women—period. She was beautiful—but he could get that anywhere. She was sexy—again, that was a dime a dozen. She was also innocent—even though she’d apparently been married at some point.
She might not remember it now, but while she’d been sick, she had looked at him as if he was her hero. She had nestled into his arms between bouts of sickness, bringing out protective instincts that he didn’t know he possessed. Dr. Francis had suggested Mark hire a nurse to care for Crystal until she had recovered, but Mark had brushed him off quickly. He didn’t want anyone else taking care of her, which was fucking insane. Even having another man’s hands on her creamy skin while the doctor examined her was torture. He’d excused himself from the room at that point to have a glass—or two—of bourbon.
Mark was an alpha male; he always had been. He was the one in control of sexual encounters. Being that way, he’d learned, kept emotional hassles to a minimum. He was a leader—never a follower. He was dominant in the bedroom and liked to push boundaries. He didn’t cuddle, nor indulge in sweet talk. He’d never sent a woman flowers or anything even approaching a romantic gesture like that. So why was he so tempted to get in the bed and pull Crystal into his arms? He’d showered in one of the guest rooms with the intention of sleeping there as well, yet here he was. He couldn’t stay away. He’d been with her almost constantly because she’d needed him since she’d been here. She seemed fine today, though.
He had turned, forcing himself to leave, when her voice brought him back around. “Mark?”
Going to the bed, he sat next to her. “It’s me, Angel. I was just checking on you. Can I get you anything?” She didn’t need to know that he’d been staring at her for the last ten minutes.
“No,” she answered almost hesitantly. When he started to rise, her hand shot out and she grabbed his arm. “Do you—think you could stay with me for a while?” Before he could answer, she rushed on. “It’s just that I get kind of nervous in new places sometimes.”
He felt a wave of tenderness go through him as he remembered her telling him earlier about her ordeal in the hospital when she was younger. God knows he hadn’t grown up with nurturing parents, but at least his nanny would have stayed with him had he been hospitalized. His poor Angel had been left alone to suffer. What a bunch of assholes. The decision made, he motioned her over, and settled in beside her under the comforter. Without a word, he lifted one arm and she was instantly under it and curled into his side. He dropped a kiss onto the top of her head as if it were the most natural thing in the world for him to be doing. He had no idea what was happening, but he had a bad feeling that he was in over his head with her.
The only thing he couldn’t figure out was why he wasn’t running the other way. He’d been so damn restless and edgy lately. Nothing seemed to excite or appeal to him anymore. He blamed it on stress, but his reaction to Crystal had him wondering if maybe it wasn’t more. Spending time with someone who appeared so different from most of the women he met had been surprisingly appealing.
Always in the past if he was in bed with a woman, then there was sex involved. But now, he found himself content to hold the beauty who had literally fallen into his arms—just like an angel.