40 - Villain and Vigilante

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"Nnngh," I groaned. Everything hurt.

Another groan answered mine, and I glanced down my body to see where it came from. Was my stomach talking to me?

But my stomach doesn't have ears on it . . .

My eyes widened as I realized the moaning lump on my belly was actually Rian's head. We were on the couch, his arms encircling my waist and him extended halfway across my torso. His legs poked out over the end of the sofa, with me sprawled out at its front.

I scowled. I was his freaking body pillow.

"Hey," I muttered, patting his head. Somehow, his hair was still unbelievably soft, despite the wild night we'd had. I ignored my desire to run my fingers through it and patted him again, harder this time.

"Hey," I repeated gruffly. "Wake up." 

He growled throatily and nuzzled his head further into his pillow. Which, again, was me. 

"Get off," I mumbled irritatedly, pushing uselessly at his arms. "Off. C'mon, sleeping beauty."

After another wrenching groan, he raised his head blearily. A few slow blinks chased the sleepiness away, and he lazily propped his chin on my belly. The blinding morning light, streaming in through the windows, cast long shadows underneath his eyelashes. Rays of sun glittered in his irises, like precious gems embedded in a wall of obsidian.

I swallowed, my mouth dry. No human deserved to be that dazzling.

"If I'm sleeping beauty, does that make you Prince Philip?" he asked, his lips curving into a crooked smile.

His remark broke the spell I was under, and I scowled again. I gestured to his outstretched body, pinning me underneath it. 

"Let me up, please."

He sighed, removing his arms from around me with a groan. His hair flopped down over his eyes as he drew himself away. 

I immediately heaved myself out from under him, sitting up at my end of the couch. He crashed down onto the other end, his head lolling backwards. 

"Why do I have so many windows?" he muttered angrily, raising a hand to block the light. 

I stretched myself out, wincing when I heard a few pops. My head pounded. I threw Rian a cursory glance when he shifted around, and immediately did a double take.

"Where the hell is your shirt?" I demanded, unable to keep from drinking in the sight of his toned torso. 

Warm, caramel skin pulled taut over lean muscle. Those tattoos were on full display, curving over his left shoulder and right hipbone. The jagged edges called out to my fingers, waiting to be traced. 

My eyes shot away from his abdominals when their owner cleared his throat. He raised a brow, hair still a glorious mess, and sat up. 

"It's over there," he answered drily, jutting a thumb to the floor. The shirt was in a crumpled heap, two feet from the couch. "It was hot, so I took it off. I am allowed to undress in my own home, aren't I?" he asked mockingly.

I simply rolled my eyes, too hungover to respond. My own clothes were a mess; I was still in Rian's giant wool shirt, the socks I'd borrowed scrunched up around my shins. The sweater's neckline had stretched and left both my shoulders completely bare, exposed to the chill.

A surprising throb twinged near my collarbone, sensitized by the cold. I frowned and glanced over to look.

Red . . . ?

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