Chapter Eighteen

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Dawn came in the early hours in summer, and as the light trickled through the window panes and spilled onto the seat, Cassidy stirred in the bed and squinted at the approaching morning. It hadn't been her intention to stay out all night, and she hadn't sent her mother a message to inform her of her change in plans. This turn of events had always been a possibility, and she could only hope that Meghan hadn't flown into a panic when she realised her daughter wasn't going to return until morning.

Cassidy's blonde hair was splayed across the pillow, unkempt and tangled, and the thin white sheets were tucked in under her side and tight across her bare legs. Oliver's arm was beneath her neck, strong and supportive, and his chest was pressed up against her back where he'd curled his body against hers. All at once, she felt satisfaction and guilt. This was something she'd often thought on; Oliver walking back into her life and holding her so tightly that their pasts simply disappeared into nothing, and the night had far exceeded her expectations. On the other hand, she hadn't been honest with him. Nothing Cassidy had said to the man during the course of the evening had been an outright lie, but by omitting certain key details, she'd led him to think there was nothing more to her story or their breakup than a simple accident. A braver person would have come clean in the morning and let him process the information before he made any decisions about their future together. Cassidy had never claimed that she was such a person. Knowing as she did that Oliver and Finn would leave at the end of the summer and they might fall back into their old routine of spending only six weeks a year in one another's company, she couldn't find enough reason to spill her guts to the man and ruin what remained of his time in Whitstone Bay. Selfish though it might have been, all she wanted was to enjoy herself for one summer – their seventeenth summer – and to pretend that the past had never happened.

Sensing that Cassidy was awake, Oliver brushed his fingers against her side from her ribs to her hip before he smoothed his palm down against her supple thigh. Cassidy shifted onto her back and looked up at the tired, handsome man who'd driven her to the point of ecstasy mere hours earlier and reached up to run her fingers through his dark hair.

'Morning,' she greeted with a satisfied smile.

'Morning,' he replied, and leaned in to kiss the bridge of her nose. He hugged her body to his and murmured against her hair, 'I've been wanting to do this with you for so long.'

'Cover me in your morning breath?' she joked.

'Hold you. Kiss you. Say good morning to you before anyone else.'

Cassidy laid her leg over his and Oliver rested a hand against the small of her back, holding their bodies together suggestively. There was no question as to what he wanted to spend their morning doing, it was clear in the way he began to caress her skin and nibbled on the side of her neck. Unlike Oliver, Cassidy had to get to work, and was aware of every minute which ticked by. When he gave her rear a firm squeeze, all thoughts of the café flew from her head like fickle bluebirds, and she gave herself over to him once more.

 When he gave her rear a firm squeeze, all thoughts of the café flew from her head like fickle bluebirds, and she gave herself over to him once more

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