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It is weird. Horribly so. And yet I’m determined to make it happen. Because I’ll admit it: I really want control of that remote. The thought of no ditzy reality TV, the possibility of unlimited sports, all the time…

I move toward her again and I reach out my hands, suddenly feeling a little unsure of where to put them. Waist? Face? Hips?

Don’t overthink it.

I settle for resting them gently on her upper arms, since this is only going to be a quick, prove-my-point kind of kiss. And, yes, I can prove my point with a brief kiss. I’m that good.

Her hands stay where they are, although she licks her lips nervously, and my eyes follow the motion of her small pink tongue.

“You have to be honest,” I say, my voice lower than it was before. “If it’s good you have to say it’s good.”

She nods, and I trust her. The girl’s honest to a fault, at least with me.

My head moves forward a fraction of an inch, and then I pause as reality hits me. I’m about to kiss Parker. I’m about to kiss my best friend in the entire world, the most important person I’ve ever—

I push the thought aside. For right now she’s not Parker. Not my Parker. She’s just a gorgeous girl looking for a kiss.

I move closer, my eyes locked on her mouth and then…

She giggles.


She slaps a hand over her mouth. “Sorry! I’m sorry, truly. Okay, do your thing.”

I grit my teeth, confidence shaken, and now I’m even more determined to prove her wrong. Make her regret the laughter. Make her—

My lips settle against hers just barely, and I hear her sharp intake of breath.

Feel it to my very soul. I take advantage of her surprise and move closer.

Her eyes are still open, as are mine, and the close-up eye contact is too weird, so I close mine as I try to deepen the kiss. My lips move against hers in careful friction.

My brain is spinning out of control, both with the unfamiliar yet familiar taste of her, as well as with what feels like a montage of every kissing trick I’ve ever learned.

Not too much slobber, not too much pressure. Don’t drool, don’t breathe too hard, don’t chafe, don’t rush…

So busy is my brain, so desperate is my attempt to be not gross, that it takes me far too long to realize that I’m the only one doing the kissing.

Parker isn’t responding. Isn’t kissing me back. Certainly isn’t moaning in helpless pleasure.

Slowly, I pull back, my eyes opening, only to realize that hers have never closed.

To her credit, she doesn’t laugh. She doesn’t mock. But when she takes a step back, her expression is just the tiniest bit smug, and I can’t blame her.

“Sucks about the month of cold showers you have ahead of you,” she says in a sugary voice. “I, for one, won’t be needing a cold shower, because that kiss was hardly—”

I advance on her, using my bigger frame to back her into the wall behind her, giving her about five seconds to realize what’s about to happen before my hands clamp on her wrists. I lift her hands above her head, pinning her arms to the wall.

I have the briefest moment of satisfaction at the pure shock and lust on her face, before my body presses against her soft curves, before my mouth claims hers.

And this time, I kiss her for real.

Chapter 9


I’ve made a mistake. A horribly foolish tactical error:

I’ve underestimated Ben.

I should have known better. I know him better than anyone. Know him better than I know myself. I know how competitive he is, and should have known that those competitive urges would apply to his sexual prowess.

And holy crap, the guy has a hell of a lot of that.

The first kiss had been tepid at best. He’d been trying too hard, yes, but it wasn’t all on him. Because I’d been trying pretty damn hard myself not to feel a damn thing. To not register that his lips felt just right and that he smelled really damn good. But there’d been too much brain at work, on both of our parts.

But this kiss—the second one—I don’t even know where my brain is located.

There are only hands and lips and the feel of an aroused Ben against me. I should be running for the hills, and when this is over, I likely will.

But for now…

I kiss him back.

I’ve never been kissed like this. Never been pinned against the wall, my hands held out of commission by strong fingers and even stronger arms. Never had my mouth devoured like it was the best kind of dessert as a firm male body reminded me exactly how female I am.

I try to remember that this is Ben.

I do.

And then his tongue finds my upper lip, flicking twice until I gasp, and his tongue slides inside my mouth, tangling with mine, and I forget that I’m Parker, and he’s Ben, and remember only that he is man and I am woman and that this is what we were meant to do.

I wiggle my fingers, twisting my wrists until he finally releases me, and my hands immediately go to his head, my fingers winding around his neck to keep his mouth close. His hands go to my waist, pinning me even more firmly to the wall as his hips tilt forward in a perfect reminder of what happens next.

And ohmigod, do I want what happens next.

I meant it when I backed off my crazy idea—because his rational explanation that we’d ruin a good thing made sense.

But I’m not caring even a little bit about sense right now.

Not when his mouth has moved to my neck, pressing hot, wet kisses beneath my ear, not when his hands have slid around to my back, moving over me in possessive strokes.

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