Boom by Sabrina Stark

Chapter 1

Arden

I was lathered in the shower when I heard it – a loud thud from somewhere outside the bathroom. With a gasp, I whirled toward the sound.

My hair was foaming with shampoo, and the shower was still running. From behind the shower's frosted glass, I stared at the hazy image of the locked bathroom door.

When nothing happened, I tried to laugh. Obviously, I was only hearing things, which made total sense considering that the events of today would've driven anyone insane.

See, I wasn't in any danger. I was merely losing my mind.

It was such a cheery thought – not that I had time to enjoy it. Way too soon, I heard the sound again. A split second later, the bathroom door flew open and banged into the nearby wall, where for some stupid reason it stuck like a magnet to metal.

Well, that was weird.

But that was hardly the worst of it.

In the now-open doorway stood the shadowed silhouette of a man. He was tall with broad shoulders and narrow hips. He wore faded jeans and a plain white T-shirt.

The jeans were tattered, and the shirt was soaking wet – so wet that it clung to him like a second skin, accenting muscles so fine, I might've marveled at their perfection, if only I didn't feel like screaming.

But I didn't scream. And why?

It was because this wasn't my bathroom. Not officially. And there was the tiniest chance that I might be trespassing.

Still, my heart hammered as I crossed my arms over my naked breasts and blurted out, "Who are you?"

Sounding a lot calmer than I might've expected, he replied, "I might ask the same."

And yet, he didn't ask – not directly, anyway. Instead, he strode to the bathroom sink and stopped when he reached it. Turning once again to face me, he leaned his ass against the ancient countertop and crossed his muscular arms, all casual-like, as if he hadn't just busted through the bathroom door.

I should've been terrified. And part of me was. But I'd been on edge for so many hours now that I'd grown nearly numb to its effects. "The house…" I stammered. "I thought it was empty."

In a voice tinged with amusement, he replied, "Obviously."

I stiffened. Well, at least someone was jolly.

I sure as heck wasn't.

And yet, I had one thing to be thankful for. My thin, white towel was draped at hip level over the dented towel bar that spanned the narrow shower door. This meant that my pelvis was hidden from his prying eyes – assuming they were prying.

I couldn't be certain either way. Between the steam and the frosted glass, I was having a hard time making out the guy's face.

Sure, I saw a mess of thick dark hair, a strong jaw, and all the standard features where they belonged. But as far as the specifics, it was impossible to say.

On the upside, this meant that he couldn’t see me clearly either.

Still, he could surely tell that I was naked – not that he needed eyes for that. It was, after all, customary to remove one's clothes before stepping into the shower.

Clothes?

My stomach sank. Oh, no.

My fresh clothes. I'd laid them out near the sink with my undergarments on top – black panties and a lacy black bra. And my other clothes – the ones I'd just taken off – were lying scattered across the faded wooden floor.

I scanned the familiar worn surface, and felt myself frown. Unless I was mistaken, that bit of pink fabric near the guy's left boot was the bra I'd removed just ten minutes ago.

Well, this was just terrific.

If I wasn’t already so traumatized by the rest of it, I might've had the luxury of embarrassment over the fact that my unmentionables were on clear display – and in imminent danger of being stomped.

But now? Well, let's just say, trampled undies were the least of my worries.

The truth was, I had no idea what to do.

It was the middle of the night, and by now, I was pretty sure I didn't belong here. If he belonged here, I might be arrested. And if he didn't belong here? Well, that was infinitely worse, wasn't it?

Just then, shampoo slid into my eyes, making them sting like a mother-you-know-what. With a stifled curse, I plunged my head back under the steaming water and tried to rinse the suds first from my face and then from my long, dark hair – all without using my hands, because the way I saw it, keeping my goodies covered was infinitely more important.

Stinging or not, I kept my eyes partially open, keeping a watch on my new bathroom buddy.

He wasn't leaving.