THE SEX HAD been good enough that it wasnt a matter of deciding how long to cuddle afterward, it was simply we both fell asleep. We fell into that deep, exhausted, damn near unconscious rest that comes after the sex has been long, and hard, and sweaty, and amazing, and the day has been too long, too hard, and you can finally let it all go. You can finally rest, against the skin and touch and weight of your lover.

I woke with Jason and I wrapped around each other; legs and arms intertwined, bodies almost melded together with sweat, and fluids, and sleep.

He made a small, soft sound that was almost a laugh, but not. The sound was one of those utterly contented noises that have no spelling, no place in a dictionary, but they are often the sounds that say more than any full word just how happy we are.


He turned his head enough to see me, and gave me the smile and the look that went with that soft almost-laugh. I moved my head toward him, still on the pillow, and he moved, too, so that our lips met in the middle of the pillow, our bodies still intertwined.

Jason drew back just enough to look at my face, our faces still pressed to the same pillow. Thatwasamazing.

I smiled. Yes, it was. I focused a little past his face and saw marks on his shoulders. I lifted my head enough to see better, and found nail marks on his back. Jesus, Jason, Im sorry.

Its a compliment, he said, giving that lazy smile.

I laid my head back down on the pillow, because it still seemed too much effort to move much. Thats why you pinned my wrists.

Yeah, he said, grinning, I love that you lose control with me like that, but I wasnt really in the mood to bleed too much tonight.

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I rose up again, to see the marks more clearly, bending from the shoulders this time and not just the neck. There werent many marks, but what there were had dried blood in them. I made a face. Sorry.

He shook his head and cuddled closer to me on the pillow, so that our faces touched when my shoulders relaxed. Never apologize for enjoying being with me, Anita. I love that you enjoy me.

I kissed his forehead because it was closest. I know a lot of women enjoy you.

They have, he admitted, but not lately.

I stroked my hand down his shoulder. She really screwed with your head, didnt she?

You mean, Perdy? he asked. Hed gone very still beside me.


She said she loved me, but she told me what I wanted to do with her was wrong, perverted.

Did she actually say perverted? I asked, and put another kiss on his forehead.

No, he said.

See, youre projecting.

She said evil.

That made me go still beside him, with my lips against his face. Evil? I made it a question.


What the hell could you have asked for that she would have called evil?

He tensed beside me and looked toward the door. There are people at our door. One of them has been drinking, a lot.

You can smell it, I said.

He nodded, still looking at the door. I didnt immediately go for my gun on the bedside table. I mean, they could just be a bunch of partiers going to their own room.

Then someone pounded on our door, and a womans voice said, Keith, I know youre in there, you bastard! Open this door, you cheating bastard!

Jason looked at me. Dont look at me, I said, this is so not my kind of problem.

So you dont know what to do either?

Not a clue, I said.

Great, he said, me either.

She hit the door so hard it shook. Where she was hitting the door said she wasnt that tall, but she was giving it all she had, and drunk she was using more strength than she would have used sober. Shed be bruised in the morning, and probably not remember why.

Jason went for one of the thick robes that were always in the nicer hotel rooms. He tossed me the second robe.

Were not going to open the door, are we? I asked, and let my voice sound suitably horrified.

Shes not going away.

Shes also drunk enough that one look at us in this room like this is going to convince her shes right.

I cant help that I look that much like him.

Keith, you son of a bitch, open this door!

Mr. Summerland, do you really want the eleven oclock news to show you leaving your fiance outside your door while you have sex with another woman?

I sat up, suddenly very serious about the robe. Oh my God, there are reporters with her.

He started looking for Chucks business card. You call Chuck, tell him whats happening. I didnt argue, I just took the card and started punching buttons.

Jason went to the door but didnt open it. He yelled through it, My name is Jason Schuyler, I am not Keith Summerland.

You tried that in high school, Keith, pretending to be Jason when you were screwing Nan Brandweiss.

I had Chuck on the phone. This is Chuck.

Anita Blake. We have reporters outside our door with Keith Summerlands very drunk fiance, demanding to know why hes cheating on her.

Oh, shit. He said it with real feeling.

My sentiments exactly. What do we do?

I thought you werent going to call, Im not at the hotel. Ill be there as soon as I can. Ill alert some of the other guards. Hell, they should be with her now. Do not open the door.

Do you want the eleven oclock news to show Keiths fiance banging on the door, but not having it open? Thats what the reporters are threatening. Shes crying and shes drunk.

Damn it, Ill be there. Just, oh hell, this is going to go to shit.

Going, Chuck? I think its already gone.

Jason called through the door, Lisa Bromwell, is that you?

Keith, this isnt funny, dont humiliate me like this, dont make me beg.

Jason started to unlock the door.

Gotta go, Chuck, Jason is unlocking the door.

Cant you control him better than that?

About as much as you can control Keith and his fiance, I said.

Then were screwed, Chuck said. He hung up. I hung up. And I couldnt have agreed more.

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