Straight Up Love (The Boys of Jackson Harbor #2)(4)

I swallow hard and tuck the blankets in around her. “We talked about it. We’ll talk about it more in the morning, okay? And we’ll talk about the drinking too.”

“No more drinking. My body is a temple starting tomorrow.” She closes her eyes and smiles. “You’re such a good friend, Jake. The best.”

“Yeah,” I whisper. “I’d be the best kind of anything you’d let me.”


When my phone wakes me up, I’m aware of a few things all at once.

One, whoever’s on the other end of that call is a total asshole.

Two, I have a hangover to top all hangovers.

Three, I’m in Jake’s apartment.

This isn’t the first time I’ve slept over. While I don’t drink to excess often, when I do, it’s at Jackson Brews, because that’s what you do when your best friend owns a bar. I drink downstairs, and when I’m ready to pass out and don’t want to walk home, I borrow his couch.

But this time I’m not just in Jake’s apartment—I’m in his bed. And that would be fine, because Jake’s the kind of guy who’d rather take the couch and let his guest have the better night’s sleep, but I’ve always insisted on sleeping in the living room. But last night’s coming together for me one piece at a time, and waking up in his bed seems . . . significant.

I told the girls about the baby and my decision to finally take my life into my own hands and start a family. I told them my reservations about sperm banks but how badly I wanted to carry a child. They told me to get Jake’s sperm.

And . . . he said yes? Did he give it to me last night?

I sit up in bed, and my head pounds. Next to me, my phone buzzes to let me know I have a voicemail, and I press my palm to my forehead. Why is it that subsequent drinks seem like such a good idea when you’re buzzed? Lots of things sound like good ideas when alcohol’s involved. More liquor. Dancing on tables. Asking friends for sperm.

I spot the turkey baster in bed beside me and groan as I slink back down under the covers. Surely he didn’t jack off into a cup and let me put that to use.

First of all, awkward. Second of all, what drunk me thought was a brilliant idea, sober me recognizes as a disaster. I’m not leaving Jackson Harbor, and neither is Jake. Even if he was willing to hand over his sperm, carrying his child would change things between us. Wouldn’t it?

So why am I in his bed?

The sound of footsteps spurs me to open my eyes, and I see Jake leaning in the bedroom doorway.

“Good morning, birthday girl,” he says.

“There’s nothing good about this morning,” I mutter. “I feel like death.”

Jake’s shirtless in a pair of jeans, the tattoos on his arms and chest on full display.

Intellectually, I can appreciate his body. It’s not the sort of body you’d expect on a total nerd, especially not one who drinks as much beer as he does. But there’s no gut in sight. He and his brothers spend too many hours together at the gym to let that happen. Also, they have freakish genetics that make them all ridiculously good-looking. Yes, intellectually, I can appreciate the body of the man in front of me.

But attraction isn’t an intellectual thing. Attraction is an emotional thing. And emotionally, I think of Jake as my best friend. That’s it. And that’s been it for a long time now. So when a girlfriend of mine looks at him and purrs, or tells me how badly she wants to get in bed with him, I get why. I’m not blind to his appeal. I just don’t get jealous. And that’s good, since he’d laugh in my face if I did.

“Why did you let me drink so much?”

He folds his arms, and tension ticks in his jaw. “Because I didn’t know you were pregnant, for one.”

For the second time this morning, I sit up straight in bed, and for the second time this morning, the rapid movement makes me grab my skull.

“It’s kind of bad to drink when you’re pregnant,” Jake says.

“You don’t think I know that?”

“I’m not judging. I just would have thought—”

“I’m not pregnant.” Am I? Did I use the turkey baster? God, I feel awful.

“Last night you told me you were going to have a baby.”

“I am.”

He scowls at me. “So which is it?”

I shake my head and immediately regret it. “Could I have some Tylenol? And a cup of coffee, and some water, and, I don’t know, maybe one of those knives for hara-kiri?”

He disappears, and when he returns, I’m lying down again, and he has everything but the knife. Go figure. He places it all on the bedside table by my head. “Are we going to talk about this?”

“I am so hungover and you’re not making any sense, so no. I’ll pass on the chat.”

“I’m not making any sense?” He props his hands on his hips. “You told me you were pregnant.”

“I didn’t. I told you I was having a baby. There’s a difference.”

“How exactly?”

“I don’t know. Something with verb tense, and conditions, and . . . don’t make me talk grammar this early in the morning.”

“It’s ten o’clock, Ava.”

I grab the Tylenol from the bedside table and use the cold bottle of water to swallow it down, grimacing when it hits my stomach. “I want to have a baby, Jake. And last night, I told you about it because . . .” The only thing that could make this conversation more awkward is if he were holding the cup of jizz in his hand while we discussed the possibility of him handing it over to me. I take a breath and spit it out. “I need some . . . help.”

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