Sleeping Beauty

Your immediate impulse is to react; to scream, to hit him…to do something.

Anything.

But all you can do is lie there right next to him like a weathered log, staring at his magnificent form as he holds your hand in the same way a toddler would hold a highly treasured candy bar while he slumbers away.

You can’t help but notice that even though his grip on your wrist is firm and unrelenting, it makes you feel…strangely at ease. Relaxed, even.

Relaxed and…

Safe.

The idea is ludicrous. Why are you suddenly calm? And while in the presence of a soul reaper, no less? You wonder if your indecisive emotions are just another effect of the sleeping pills.

One minute you’re fine and relaxed, and the next you’re scared out of your mind convincing yourself that you’re dead, and then another minute later, you’re staring at the face of a familiar grim reaper like he’s gracing an extra special edition cover of GQ.

And, gosh, what a special edition it would be. His impossibly gorgeous face would no doubt set the pages ablaze and have magazine stands equipped with fire extinguishers.

You couldn’t help but roll your eyes at yourself, internally cringing at how utterly ridiculous you sound. Here you are again, shamelessly gushing and swooning over this strange dream devil like a hormonal teenager, feeling the same weird and indescribable attraction you felt when you first laid eyes on him.

You just continue to stare at him, as if watching a grim reaper sleep is the most normal thing in the world.

The only thing more absurd than that is the idea that grim reapers sleep at all.

In actual beds.

With comforters.

His breathing is sound and steady, the constant rise and fall of his chest even as he takes in deep breath after deep breath, gracefully inhaling and exhaling as if he fucking invented the mechanism itself. He’s only respiring and he looks so damn good doing it. You’re almost jealous of the air around you.

Wait…did I just say that? I’m jealous of the fucking air?

You guess that settles it: you’re officially cuckoo. Not only weird, but straight up crazy.

You don’t know why you feel it; this much baseless admiration and attraction you have for this familiar stranger, how in awe you are of him, but there it is. And you as much as you don’t want to admit it, you can’t deny or veil your emotions. You think a part of you doesn’t want to.

His long, dark lashes move intermittently, shifting under the slight twitch of his eyelids, as if he’s blinking with his eyes closed. His skin is incredibly smooth, glowing under the kind of brilliant, sun-kissed tan that only Photoshop can give a person—not exactly the complexion anyone would picture for a grim reaper.

Your eyes inadvertently travel down to his mouth. His full lips are slightly parted, and their dark pink hue is slightly reddened. It’s as if they’re silently inviting you to come closer even though their owner isn’t even aware of it. His cupid’s bow looks more pronounced than you remember; so defined and animated it’s as if both Michelangelo and Da Vinci had tag-teamed and drawn it onto his face.

His mouth is etched into a slight frown, a mere shadow of the scowl he had on when you first saw him, but reminiscent of it all the same.

Even so, his lips look so damn good, and you find yourself inching your face closer to his, wanting so desperately to feel them on yours again.

God, help me.

He’s undeniably beautiful.

Just…gorgeous and exquisite and…

Ugh, just annoyingly hot.

In a very, very, very distracting way.

In the kind of annoying way where you stop to look because you simply can’t not look, and even more so annoying that when you do look, you can’t seem to look away.

Sigh.

Yeah. He’s that.

And then some.

You’re not even the type to swoon and twirl and sing along with little forest animals about how attracted you are to a guy, but he really makes you want to bust out your dancing shoes and do just that.

It’s stupid and you know it. But even acknowledging that your instant attraction to him is ridiculous and baseless doesn’t make it feel any less real or powerful.

Your eyes travel north again and you quietly observe the pair of eyes that made you forget who you were the first time you had set your own eyes on them. You find yourself considerably disappointed that they’re closed, but in spite of that, they still look amazing; laced with thick, dark lashes that match his disheveled but lustrous, jet-black hair.

You take it back. Even if he were a human in real life, he’d probably never make it onto a GQ cover. He’d disorient the photographer and crack the camera lens with a single look and set the whole damn studio ablaze. His breathtaking eyes would impair anyone and anything, leaving everything that fell into his line of vision helplessly at his mercy.

Including you.

Especially you.

You remember all too well the incredibly imposing, sheer intensity of his mesmerizing eyes. It was almost too much to bear. And yet…you want to see them again.

You want them to paralyze you with the same blend of fear and excitement and desire like they did before.

Your eyes move up to his pitch-dark mane, noticing how the previously sleek locks now lay tousled and carefree around his chiseled face.

Holy moly and a pink pony!

He has the sexiest bed hair ever.

You just want to reach up and touch it, to run your fingers through it and know what it feels like. But you don’t. You can barely even move, but even if you could, you wouldn’t want to risk waking him.

You continue to watch him sleep, his breathing even and his brows furrowed as he lets out snore after snore. He looks…tired. And a little bit frustrated, as well.

Yet, somehow, he’s still able to look so fucking hot. Ugh.

It’s almost annoying.

Almost.

You lie there for several minutes—or maybe it’s several hours, you don’t know. You can barely move the rest of your body so you can’t tell if there’s a clock nearby.

He catches you off guard again as he mumbles something in between his snores, his palm completely engulfing yours as he grips your hand even tighter. You stiffen as you feel the weight of his other hand on your thigh, traveling upwards and leaving a blazing trail of prickly sensations so intense they make your skin cells want to give his fingers a standing ovation.

God, his hand feels so good on my bare skin…

Wait…my bare skin?

Your feel-good moment is slightly dulled as you realize something you probably should have right from the get-go:

You’re completely naked under the thick duvet.

No sheer nightgown this time.

And you can see that he’s at least half naked. Your eyes are certain of that much.

You’re not, however, about to check to see whether or not he’s only bare from the waist up.

Although…you are having a particularly hard time convincing yourself that that isn’t exactly what you want to do.

God, Eli. You. Are. A. Perv.

Your cheeks burn with embarrassment at the thought of wanting to see this dude in all his commando glory; completely stripped of any clothing and with every last inch of his big, muscled body laid bare.

And you feel yourself getting even hotter at the thought of him seeing you naked.

Your sex clenches with an abrupt intensity, shocking you and forcing an involuntary moan from your throat.

God, not again.

You can’t believe this overactive libido syndrome thingy was actually making its way into your sleep. Honestly, who gets this hot and bothered in their sleep?

A deep, guttural growl surprises you, and you realize it’s from Mr. Reaper. His brows are furrowed, like he’s annoyed at something. He tugs on your hand as his other hand moves from your hips, gliding up the side of your stomach, further up your chest, and finally settling on your right breast.

And suddenly you. Can’t. Breathe.

The contact is electric; his hand blazes a trail of ticklish heat along your entire upper body, and the feel of his large palm moving possessively against you sends sharp tingles all over your skin that chaotically settle in your core below. You can practically hear your nerve endings firing away in applause, screaming and cheering their appreciation for his touch.

Your nipples bead up instantly, hardening under the gentle pressure of his fingers and surprising you with their eagerness. They protrude with a bit too much enthusiasm, as if they’re reaching out to him for a handshake.

For one hell of a handshake; like a mere commoner would reach out to the Pope.

Wow. Really, Eli? Talking about your nipples and the Pope in the same sentence? Go-lly! You certainly have a way with words.

The reaper makes another growling sound, mumbling something incoherent and removing you from your latest inner scolding.

His voice is gruff, but it also has a slightly relaxed, mellow undertone to it.

He sounds almost…contented.

Peaceful even.

But then his hand suddenly moves from breast to your neck with an almost eerie speed, his fingers swiftly closing around your throat in a strong grip. The abrupt action shocks you to oblivion, and your body reacts before you can stop it.

Immediately, a loud sound cracks through the silence around you, resounding with an incredibly clear echo:

The sound of your palm connecting with his face.

***

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THIS CHAPTER MAKES ME FEEL...
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

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