Something was tickling her nose. Using her hand, she tried to swipe it away and felt the brush of hair against her knuckles. Planting her hand, she felt the warm flesh beneath her palm.
Recognition hit and woke her with an angry slap. Eyes shooting open, she sat up quickly and instantly regretted it when the room spun wildly around her. Laying back down, closing her eyes, she waited out the dizziness the hangover had caused. Her mind raced to the night before.
The pounding rhythm in her head reminded her of what she had drunk. The soft ache in her loins reminded her of what she had done. Carefully opening her eyes, she turned her head to see a naked C.J. beside her.
“Oh, God.” Her eyes wandered and she drank in the beauty of the man beside her. Dear God, she’d had sex with him. She hadn’t been that drunk that she couldn’t remember the event, and Lord, what an event it had been.
They had literally torn each others clothing off. She’d been an animal, which was so not like her.
What did they do now? Would they go on as they had been, sniping at each other, treat this as a one night fling and move on? She felt more than a little awkward. In truth, the guy irritated the hell out of her, yet he’d made her feel so incredible the night before. How was she supposed to respond to him now, after sharing something so intimate?
“Dowling,” she spoke quietly. “Dowling,” she called out louder, careful of her pounding head. When all he did was moan, she slapped his chest. “Dowling!”
“Jesus,” he swore, his eyes opening, his hand coming up to the burn she had left on his bare skin.
“I’m awake. Ouch.” He turned his head to her, the frown on his lips turning to a smile. “Morning.” Then his eyes went wide. “Holy hell.” He bolted upright and jumped to his feet. “Oh, my God.”
“What?” Had that been a smile on his lips? Carefully she sat up, minding the spinning room, and turned in the direction he was looking. “What the hell?”
Before them, the room was a complete mess. The sofa stood on its end, both chairs slammed up right against it, all pushed against the window. The coffee and end tables stood one on top of the other, in front of the fireplace.
Carefully, Jessie stood up, waiting out the dizziness and had a better look. She had to rub her eyes to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. “How…”
“I need to check my equipment.” He flew off, still nude and not realizing it, and she had the pleasure of watching his ass muscles moving gloriously as he ran.
Searching for her clothes, Jessie finally found them off in the corner by the fireplace. Grabbing her shirt, seeing the straps torn and split down the middle, she opted for
C.J.’s shirt instead.
“This is incredible. The meters went off the scale. The temperature recorded several degrees below freezing at one point. It didn’t last long, though, as it rose exponentially. And we slept through it all. Damn, I have never seen anything like this before. It’s phenomenal.”
“You’re naked, you know?”
“What?” His face was glued to the readouts.
“You’re naked.” She tossed his jeans at him, hitting him square in the face. Not that she minded seeing him naked.
Unaffected by it, he grabbed the jeans and slipped into them, his eyes never leaving the data before him. “The cameras.” He rushed to the video equipment as he did up his pants. “Do you know what this means?”
“That you were a busy boy last night.”
His eyes lifted to her, confused. “Beg pardon?”
“I don’t know how you managed it all alone, but I give you credit for a job well done.”
Straightening his back, C.J. angled his head at her.
“You think I did all of this?”
“No, I know you did all of this. Boy, you’ll do anything to make me a believer.”
Clearly angry, C.J. let his calm demeanor slide as the darker side of him slipped out. “You think I did all of this just to make you believe there are other forces around us aside from ourselves?”
His voice sounded incredibly deep and more than a little dangerous. “Well…yeah.”
“Fine.” Walking to her, he grabbed her arm and led her to the camera.
“Let go of me.”
“Not until you see this.” Taking her by the shoulders, he turned her to face the monitor attached to one of the cameras. “Watch.” He pressed play.
Folding her arms across her chest, Jessie glared at the screen. There, at the bottom to the left they lay on the floor, naked and cuddling. “Great, you captured us sleeping on tape.” It was actually quite sweet.
“Oh, darling, I captured more than us sleeping on these babies, but that’s not it. Watch.”
“What do you mean… Oh my God, you taped us making out? How could you?”
“I have my cameras set on timers that begin taping on their own. I didn’t know we were going to go at it like rabbits last night. Watch.”
“You will erase those tapes,” she insisted, then grunted when he turned her face back to the monitor. “What the hell?”
She couldn’t pry her eyes away if she tried. There before her, the furniture moved on its own, sliding into the position they now rested, and at the bottom of the screen they slept like babies. “Oh my God.”
“My sentiments exactly. I need to check the rest of the house.” He left her mesmerized in front of the TV.
How was this possible? How were they moving on their own? It wasn’t possible, yet she stood here now, watching as they moved completely on their own. How had they not heard the commotion?
“Jessie, you have to see this,” C.J. called out from the kitchen.
Turning, prying herself from the monitor, she walked to the kitchen, noticing the dining room table was on its side, blocking the window and the chairs placed on top of one another. In shock, she met C.J. in the kitchen.
“Look at this.”
Like the dining room, the kitchen table was set up against the door, but unlike the dining room chairs, the kitchen ones were broken in pieces, wood scattered everywhere. The cupboard doors lay torn from their hinges, some hanging by only one hinge. The contents of the cupboards were strewn everywhere.
The place was an utter mess and all she could do was stare with her mouth hanging open.
“Incredible, isn’t it?”
S he was speechless.
“Jess, Jessie. Are you okay?”
“What did you call me?”
“Jessie.” He smiled.
It was enough to break her shock, and as she turned to him, she felt something click inside of her. “You called me
“Yeah, well, even I’ve been known to make mistakes.”
He stood before her in only his jeans, his chest bare, blonde hair curling over tanned flesh on his chest. His curly hair was disheveled, a day’s worth of stubble on his face, and he was the most beautiful man she had ever seen.
“C.J. Dowling make mistakes? Has hell frozen over?”
Grinning, he slung his arm over her shoulder, pulling her closer to kiss her head. “Must have. So, what do you think?”
I think I’ve fallen in love with you. “About what?”
“This, what you see, what happened.”
He turned to her, pursing his lips. “Please tell me you aren’t still thinking I did all of this.”
“No, no, I saw enough to know you couldn’t have.”
“Then what’s up?”
“I think I need a moment to let it all sink in.” Sliding to the floor, she sat, legs crossed among the filth, and stared blankly ahead.
“Want a drink?” he asked, kneeling down in front of her.
“God, no,” she said abruptly.
“There’s a Mariachi band inside my stomach.”
“Ouch.” He placed a hand to her belly. “You look good in my shirt.”
She looked down at herself, gave a shrug. “Mine was kinda shredded.”
“Wonder how that happened?” he smirked.
She followed suit and smirked back. “There are ghosts here.”
“Yes, darling, there are.” The smirk turned to a smile.
“Real ghosts, not make believe.”
Kissing her head, he laughed. “For real ghosts.”
“I don’t think I know how to process it all.”
“Give it time.”
Her eyes lifted to his. “You always believed? I thought you were a nut case, but this is for real.”
“It certainly is.” He stroked a hand along her arm.
“Now what do we do?”
“Well, I could think of plenty we could do...”
She shivered as his finger slid along her bare thigh.
“Are you for real?”
“In the flesh.”
“The place is a mess and…” she momentarily lost what she was about to say when his hand slid between her legs. “Okay, I give.” But as she sat up to nibble on his scrumptious lips, her stomach rose just a bit too high for comfort. “Oh, I think I might barf.”
“Isn’t that romantic.”
“No, seriously.” She jumped up and bolted from the room. She barely made it to the washroom and decided she was never ever going to indulge in that much booze ever again.
Stepping from the washroom, she found C.J. leaning against the wall, waiting for her.
He let out a long sigh. “Then you’d better put some clothes on.”
“Why?” she asked curiously as she followed him down the stairs.
“Because, darling.” He turned to her and she felt herself moisten with the sexual intent she saw on his face.
“If I have to see you traipse around in nothing more than my shirt for much longer, I may not give a damn if your feeling ill or not.”
“Oh, now who’s being romantic…”