All He Feels - Dax & GinnyBy: Melanie Shawn
“We didn’t even have sex.” Dax Archer blew out a frustrated breath as he curled and uncurled his fingers around the cold metal of the barbell hanging above him. “Which means it wasn’t even a one-night stand. I wish it was, but it wasn’t.”
After yet another sleepless night spent tossing and turning, unable to shut his brain off, he found himself laying on his weight bench, staring at the ceiling of his basement, trying—again—to make sense of the night that haunted him, the night that played on repeat in his mind, the night that action-wise, basically equated to a middle school sleepover. Actually that wasn’t true. He’d gotten more action when he and his friends had crashed Summer Nixon’s sleepover in seventh grade. That time he at least made it to first base.
“It was nothing. Nothing happened.” Dax lifted the bar and grunted out another set of ten reps. A loud clang rang out as he set the barbell back in its cradle. Lowering his arm he wiped his forehead with the back of his wrist and inhaled with determination. “I just need to forget about it.”
This was not a new conversation. He was sure that Cap was tired of hearing Dax talk about, pick apart, and rehash the tragically un-sordid night. If something, anything had actually happened on the non-one-night-stand-night, then that would be a different story. He wouldn’t be obsessing over it or the fact that he was unable to get over it and Cap wouldn’t have to suffer through another early morning bitch session.
But instead, nothing had happened and so Dax was a broken record and his morning workout partner was just going to have to deal. The cold, hard truth was that night and the woman he’d spent it with had plagued him since the morning he’d woken up alone on the couch with a bar napkin lying on his chest with words that were as simple as they were final:
“Thank you for last night. It was amazing.
I’ll never forget it or you.”
One thing was for damn sure, he hadn’t been able to forget it or her.
It wasn’t that he hadn’t tried to move on and put her out of his mind. He had. Over the past few months he’d hung out with a dozen women—hot, sexy, willing women—but he hadn’t sealed the deal with any of them.
Dax couldn’t remember the last time he’d gone this long without sex. He’d had a healthy appetite for it since he was fifteen and lost his virginity to his older, more experienced seventeen-year-old neighbor Ashley Noble. Since then there hadn’t been a shortage of women who wanted the same thing from him that he wanted from them, bumping and grinding fun. That was it.
Wanting to burn off the excess tension he’d been plagued with thanks to his dry spell, he came here to push his body to its limit. Straightening his arms he lifted the bar above him. His biceps burned and shook as he bent his elbows lowering the barbell down to his chest and then pushed it back up. He repeated the motion nine more times to complete his eighth rep of ten. The energy he expended did nothing to distract him from the ache that he feared was now a permanent resident in his chest, constantly reminding him just how empty and hollow he felt.
Since he was in his late teens he’d been accused of being unable to commit. He’d even been labeled a womanizer and a man-whore. It had never bothered him, in fact he embraced it. It became part of his identity. He enjoyed sex and believed variety was the spice of life. He never wanted to commit to one meal when he could take his plate and sample an endless selection from the buffet table. He wasn’t breaking hearts. He wasn’t a player. He wasn’t lying to anyone. He never led anyone on.
Dax lived by a firm Triple-No policy: No strings. No attachments. No feelings. He made sure every woman he was with was clear on the rules he happily lived his life by before any boots got knocked.
The women who saved a horse and rode this cowboy were hopping on for one thing and one thing only, mutual satisfaction. He was upfront about his expectations and they were too. It was a beautiful thing. Until the night that changed everything. The night he never saw coming with a woman that broke the mold and in the process, broke and changed Dax too.
He still had a firm ‘Triple No’ policy. But thanks to her it had turned into: No interest. No spark. No desire.
Since the morning after, he hadn’t wanted to be with anyone except the woman who had disappeared from his life leaving only a napkin as a souvenir. Not the hot blonde he met outside the Yoga studio who wanted to demonstrate her flexibility in the bedroom. Not the voluptuous brunette who rear-ended his SUV and made it clear that she had no problem with him rear-ending her. Not the sexy redhead he met at the gym who offered to prove that she was all natural by letting him confirm that the carpet matched the drapes.