For Seven Nights Only - Sarah Ballance

Chapter One

Friday night. Alone. The situation went beyond an aberration and straight into rainbow-shitting unicorn territory, but it was what it was: Sawyer Chase was bored. The usual weekend crowd at Foam’s For You, the neighborhood bar he frequented, had been out in full force, but a thorough search of the room left him without prospects. He’d been left to choose between the girl who declared every single hookup a “relationship”—he’d learned that the hard way—and the one who had a thing for stealing his T-shirts, which might have been a bit more tolerable if she’d be down for anything other than missionary. In the end, vanilla sex hadn’t been worth it, and neither had the potential for a restraining order.

So here he sat, kicked back on a leather recliner with a cold beer and real potential for a kickstand problem.


A small ring of moisture spread on his chest.

Plop. Plop.

He looked from his shirt to the ceiling in time to see another drop fall. A brand new water stain marred his ceiling, and the rate at which it spread before his eyes indicated he’d have a lap full of plaster soon, if someone didn’t handle their business. Which meant he’d have to handle his and head upstairs to the source of the leak. Hopefully his neighbor was home.

He drained his beer, then climbed out of the chair and pushed it safely away from the damaged ceiling. He found a pot in the kitchen and put it under the drip, then grabbed his keys and hit the hallway, counting doors on the way to the elevator since he wasn’t sure if the numbers lined up. After a short trip upstairs, he counted his way back down the corridor, then knocked on the door of the apartment directly above his.

No response. That would be just his luck, for the ceiling to cave in while no one was home. He knocked harder and put his ear to the door.

The sound of a woman’s muffled, not-the-least-bit-pleasurable screams greeted him.

He snatched at the knob, and a sense of foreboding hit him in the chest when he realized the lock wasn’t engaged. He threw open the door just as another shrill screech split the air. Directly across from him, on the kitchen side of the small apartment, a geyser of water spewed in every direction, except the one that would muffle the woman’s eardrum-splitting noise.

Entertaining a small sense of relief that the issue wasn’t more serious, he launched across the room, his long legs quickly closing the distance to the sink. He tore off his shirt and crammed it over the broken faucet. The water shot sideways and soaked him before he had enough pressure on it to kill the spray, but he had it tamped down in seconds, leaving the apartment silent but for the wrong kind of heavy breathing and the discontented gurgle of water from the plumbing under his shirt.

He and the woman stared at each other for a stupidly long time, all things considered. Water droplets clung to a pair of cat-eye glasses better suited to a 1950s librarian. Her wet dress, despite its shapeless, bohemian vibe, made little mystery of a nice set of curves. There was enough damp, translucent fabric for him to see her bra covered a little too much for his taste, but he could remedy that easily enough, and then there’d be nothing to stop him from closing his mouth on those tight nipples of hers. He bet that would warm her right up. He could almost feel them stabbing his tongue—

A distinct hissing caught his attention seconds before a cold stream of water smacked him in the side of the face. He tightened his grip while her discontent edged into amusement territory.

“Hold this here?” he asked, focusing for the first time on her eyes. They were a deep, velvety brown that matched her hair. Or the top half, anyway. The strands lightened on the way down to nearly blond tips that fell in damp waves and rested midway down her back. “I need to cut off the valve.”

She nodded and placed her hand over his, at which point he noticed a towel in the sink. “I tried,” she said. Her voice wavered, hinting the water works might not be over.

“It’s fine,” he said.

She managed a small, unconvincing smile. Close enough. With some regret, he reclaimed his hand, then closed his fingers over hers to make sure her grip was secure. Then he dropped to his knees and