Avery Spark is living her best life. Between her friends, her sisters, and Spark House, the event hotel her family owns, she doesn’t have much time for anything else, especially relationships. She’d rather hang out with her best friend and roommate, Declan McCormick, than deal with the dating scene. But everything changes when she is in a car accident and needs someone to care for her as she heals.
Declan avoids relationships, giving him a playboy reputation that he lives up to when he puts a one-night stand ahead of a promise he made to Avery. While he may not have been the one driving the car, he feels responsible for Avery’s injuries and is determined to make it up to her by stepping into the role of caretaker.
Little did they know that the more time they spend in compromising positions, the attraction they’ve been refusing to acknowledge becomes impossible to ignore. When they finally give in to the spark between them, neither is prepared for the consequences. Their love is fragile and all it will take is a blow from the past to shatter it all.
I’m in the middle of a set of crunches when I notice Avery standing at the end of the hallway, her phone in her hand, aimed at me. “What are you doing?”
“Entertaining my followers. I saved the last video in my highlights, and it has over six thousand views. I figured they could use another hit of your abs. Maybe you should do a few burpees, just for fun.”
“No one does burpees for fun, but I’ll do a few for the sake of your entertainment.” I roll to a sitting position and grab the towel at my side, swiping it over my face before I stand up and roll my head on my shoulders. “Ready for the gun show?” I waggle my brows and flex one of my biceps.
She shakes her head, but she’s smirking. “Stop stalling, McCormick, and show us what you got.”
I do a set of burpees, my sweatpants slipping lower and lower. I stop before I lose them and flash Avery. “How was that?”
“Good.” She clears her throat. Her gaze moves slowly from my waist back up to my face. “The fans will appreciate your dedication.”
“I’m gonna jump in the shower. You want pancakes or something for breakfast?” I grab the towel from the floor.
“Yeah. Sounds good.” She nods a few times, eyes bouncing around, face a little flushed.
“Do you need my help with anything first?”
She blinks a couple of times. “Uh no. I’m good. I’ll put on a pot of coffee and get changed.”
“Sounds good.” I brush by her on my way to my bedroom. Usually she’d be grossed out by the fact that I’m sweaty, but today she seems distracted. “You okay?”
“Yeah. Fine. Just burpee envy.”
“Don’t worry, Ave, you’ll be back to hating burpees soon enough.” I kiss her temple and head down the hall.
Fifteen minutes later I’m showered, and I pass Avery’s closed bedroom door on the way to the kitchen, but pause when I hear a soft groan. I wait a few seconds, unsure if I’m imagining things, or maybe I stepped on the spot on the floor that creaks, but ten seconds later she groans again, longer and lower this time.
Worried she’s hurt herself trying to get to the bathroom and isn’t within reach of her phone, I wrench the door open. At first I’m confused, because Avery’s expression isn’t one I can read. At least until another low sound escapes her, and what I’m finally seeing makes more sense. It’s also 100 percent not what I expect. And Avery most definitely did not hurt herself trying to get to the bathroom. At all.
Her nightshirt is pushed up high, exposing a few inches of toned stomach and a thin sheet covers most of the lower half of her body. Her uncasted leg is bent with her knee and calf peeking out from under the sheet. Her head is thrown back, exposing the smooth expanse of her throat. Her good arm is hidden under the sheets, but the angle and the way the sheets are moving tell me exactly where her hand is and exactly what she’s doing under there.
She’s so focused that she doesn’t notice me standing in her doorway. And I’m so shocked, and maybe a little concerned, or enthralled by how aggressively her hand is moving under that sheet, that all I can seem to do is gawk.
She groans again, and this time it’s one I’m familiar with because I’ve heard it a lot since the accident. Frustration.
“Come on!” The slap is unexpected and based on the sound, she isn’t hitting the mattress.
I jump back, bashing my elbow into the doorjamb.
Her eyes pop open and her head lifts, gaze locking with mine.
“Shit! Sorry! I thought you’d hurt yourself.” I back out of the room, slamming the door shut.
“What the fuck. What happened to knocking?” she yells from the other side.
“I’m really sorry!” I shout back.
I should move away from her door, but I don’t. Instead, I stand there, like a dumbstruck idiot, with my hand still on the knob, trying to wrap my brain around what I walked in on. I don’t know why I’m so surprised. I take care of my own needs at least once a day, so why wouldn’t Avery do the same?
I’ve seen the black packages that come in the mail for her periodically, which indicates that she’s taking care of her own needs. Not once have I allowed myself to think about what that might look like or sound like. But now I’ve seen and heard it, and based on what’s going on below the waist, my body would very much like to witness that again. I shake my head, trying to make the images disappear and force my body to calm the heck down. “I’ll get breakfast started.” I figure the best way to deal with this is to go about things like normal and pretend it didn’t happen.
I’ve managed to get my body under control again by the time Avery appears in the kitchen.
“Hey!” I cringe at the high, almost-prepubescent pitch of my voice and the excessive chipperness.
All I get in return is a grunt. She adjusts her crutch under her arm, hops a couple of times as she finds her balance and opens the cupboard door.
“What do you need? I can help.”
She wobbles, and an elbow gets me in the side as she reaches up to open the cupboard. “I got it, thanks.”
She finally manages to grab the knob, but she loses her hold on her crutch in the process and hops perilously on one foot. I catch it before it hits the ground and wrap my other arm around her waist to keep her steady.
“I’m really sorry, Ave. I thought maybe you’d fallen and hurt yourself. I should’ve knocked first.”
“I should’ve locked my door,” she mumbles, face red, refusing to meet my gaze.
“You don’t need to be embarrassed about it, okay? We all masturbate.” I pull down a coffee mug and move around to her other side to grab the carafe. The last thing I need is Avery spilling hot coffee on herself.
“Please, Deck, I’m good without the pro-self-exploration pep talk.”
“It’s a good thing you’re getting your drive back, right? It means you’re healing.” I fight a cringe. There’s a solid chance I’m making things worse. While we’ve jokingly talked about my masturbation habits in the not-so-distant past, talking about it and witnessing it firsthand are two totally different things.
“Seriously, Declan, can you please drop it? The cheerleading isn’t really all that helpful.” She dumps a heaping spoon of sugar into her coffee and stirs it aggressively. Coffee sloshes over the side of the cup.
“You’re not mad at me, are you? It was an honest mistake.” I can’t read her right now.
She sighs and tosses the spoon into the sink. “I’m not mad at you. I’m frustrated.”
That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. “Shouldn’t you be relaxed?”
“Yes, Declan, I should be relaxed, but I’m not because I couldn’t finish. I can’t maneuver properly and it’s too freaking awkward to manage dual stimulation.”
“Dual stimulation?” I have no idea what she’s talking about, and I’m pretty sure where my mind has gone can’t be right.
Her face turns red. “Both buttons need to be pressed at the same time.”
“Both buttons?” What the hell kind of high-tech vibrator is she using?
“The G-spot and the bean! I don’t even know why I’m explaining this to you. It’s the girl equivalent of blue balls!” She waves her left hand around. “I’m probably not going to have a freaking orgasm until this stupid cast comes off, unless you’re planning to help me out with that too!”