Boys Have Baggage, Too

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They were in the midst of their kissing session five minutes later, still standing by the door, when Riley's phone began to ring, or rather, tinkled like a series of fairy bells. It kept chiming, pausing only to allow the caller to redial the moment the call went to voicemail.

"Are you going to answer that?" Ashe asked. "It could be an emergency."

Emergency, my ass, Riley wanted to tell him. Everything was an emergency to Paige. "It's my sister," she whispered.

They were still standing by her door with Riley leaning against the wall. Her legs had grown weak from his kisses, which had begun on her lips and continued to her cheeks and her eyelashes before moving down to her neck. His deft hands drove her mad, palms that cupped her breasts and squeezed them, fingers that rubbed against her nipples, gently tugging at the barbell clips through the fabric of her shirt that she whimpered shamelessly against him, her thigh rubbing against the side of his leg. It was maddening, but he was a man who took his time, and she wanted more.

The phone rang again.

"She might just come over here if you don't answer it," Ashe said, disengaging himself from Riley. "And I don't think she's going to be happy knowing I'm here, is she?"

Riley didn't answer. He was right, of course. She rushed toward the couch and retrieved her phone from her purse.

"I'm going to leave, Riley," Ashe said.

No! Riley mouthed as she answered her phone. But it was too late.

Ashe was slipping on his coat and opening the door while mouthing back to her, I'll talk to you tomorrow.

"IS HE THERE?" Paige demanded to know from the other end of the line. Her voice was so loud that Riley had no doubt Ashe must have heard her. "He better not be in there with you, Ri, or I'm coming over. You promised me you wouldn't see him again!"

The door shut silently behind Ashe and Riley groaned. She wanted to cry, but it would have been pointless. In fact, it would have made her look desperate.

"No, he's not here," she said. "I had the phone set on Quiet."

"Really?" Paige asked.

"Yes, really," Riley replied, collapsing on her couch. She wasn't actually lying. She had put her phone on Quiet mode when she was at work, and at that moment, Ashe was not there with her.

Paige didn't say anything for a few moments. Then Riley heard her exhale. "You better not be lying to me, Ri. I'm not in the mood to get dressed and go over there just to check on you."

"Then don't. I'm not a kid, and I'm not lying to you, Paige," she said. "It's two in the morning. What the hell?"

"I called to apologize," Paige said, and Riley rolled her eyes. Sure, Paige also kept hitting the redial button four times in a row. "I may have come on too strong tonight, kicking Ashe out of the house and all, and for all I know, he's probably a nice guy."

"He is."

Paige sighed. "But I want you to find someone normal, Ri, someone who has a regular job, who will come home to you every night, not someone who'll run off to Africa because he's doing a movie and come back three months later. That's just a load of potential heartbreak, and you can't handle that. No one can handle that unless they're into pain. Lots of pain."

"You're starting to nag again," Riley said as she hugged her knees in front of her.

"I just worry about you, Ri," Paige said. "So, hear me out, all right? I think he's a nice guy, really I do. Even Clint said so. Anyone who can spend three hours with the boys and keep their sanity has got to be decent. But if he wants to woo you—"

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