Isn't She Lovely Page 38

I want to touch her everywhere, but I don’t trust myself, so I satisfy my fingers’ need to feel her by putting my hands on either side of her waist, letting them idly stroke along her rib cage, moving from bikini top to bikini bottom, but always reversing direction when my fingers touch fabric, never letting myself go over the fabric. And certainly not under. That would be the end of me.

Stephanie’s arms are around my neck, keeping my mouth glued to hers, and I have absolutely no objections. I feel her shift before my brain registers her movement, and I almost groan as I realize she’s spread her legs slightly, allowing me to rest in the cradle of her thighs. There’s no possible chance of hiding my erection now, and from the way she tilts her hips up to mine, I don’t think she minds.

“Yo! Ethan!”

I hear the voice vaguely, but since it’s not Stephanie’s, I don’t care, and my arm finds its way around the small of her back as I jerk her closer because I can’t get close enough.


This time I register Stephanie’s palms pushing against my shoulders, and I pull back slightly, ready to kill whoever’s interrupting the hottest f**king kiss of my life.

My eyes find Stephanie’s, and she looks as completely lost as I feel.

“What are you kids trying to do, outburn the sun?”

I tear my gaze away from Stephanie, looking up to see Andrea standing on the driver’s seat, grinning down at us.

“Really, Andi?” I ask in irritation.

And then I remember that this whole thing is for her benefit in the first place, and I shake my head to clear it.

“Brian and I are starving,” she says. “Let’s head back to the house for something to eat.”

I want to tell her to piss off, but Stephanie’s squirming under me, and not in the aroused way of before, but in a panicked little get-off-me squirm, and I drop my head briefly in resignation before rolling off her. I move quickly into a sitting position, resting my forearms over my knees as I face away from Andrea. I pretend I’m taking in the setting sun, but really I need a second for the lower half of my body to be fit for company.

Stephanie is fixing the swimsuit that’s become twisted in our kiss, and she ignores me completely as she climbs to her feet and makes her way back toward Andrea. She’s chattering animatedly about what we should have for dinner, and her voice doesn’t have even a trace of the sexual frustration that has me feeling like punching something.

I hear the start of the motor, and I reluctantly get up, being careful to keep Stephanie’s towel in front of my crotch as I rejoin the rest of the group.

Brian and Andrea don’t say a word about the fact that Stephanie and I were about two minutes away from screwing on their boat, and I can only hope that it’s because they’re convinced we’re just like any other new-ish couple who can’t keep their hands off each other.

Except Stephanie and I aren’t a couple. Not really.

And yet I have absolutely no interest in keeping my hands off her.

I drop into one of the free seats in the back of the boat as the realization hits me like a ton of bricks: I’m totally hot for Stephanie Kendrick.

As though sensing my thoughts, she pivots in the chair in front of me to face me. Her sunglasses are back on, and I’m annoyed that I can’t see her eyes. To see if that stormy heat is still there.

She gives me a little smile before reaching out to give my knee a pat. The gesture is as chaste as it gets.

“I think we did it,” she says quietly. Triumphantly.

My mind goes blank for a second. Did what?

“They totally bought it,” she continues as she pulls her long hair into a messy knot. “Plus this is a great potential scene for the screenplay.”

She might as well have tossed cold water on my balls. Apparently I’m the only one who wants to finish what we started.

But I can’t be mad at her for keeping her head on straight. I was the one who messed up. I broke the cardinal rule in this little game we’re playing: I went and forgot that it is a game.

A mistake I have no intention of repeating.

Chapter Thirteen


Ethan is grumpy.

And I tell him so as he unlocks the door to our apartment after a long weekend of boating, fake flirting, and drinking a little too much local wine from some of the fabulous Finger Lakes wineries.

Ethan drops the cooler and his duffel bag in the entryway and turns to give me a look.

“Of course I’m grumpy, Kendrick. I spent two nights sleeping on the floor.”

“I gave you a pillow and a blanket!” I call after his retreating back. “And it’s not like you warned me that your friends would expect us to share a bedroom.”

“They think we’re a twentysomething couple that’s shacking up, Stephanie. Of course they expected that we’d want to share a bedroom.”

And not just a bedroom. A bed. A really big bed that I had all to myself both nights.

Honestly, I intended to suggest that we share the bed. Platonically, of course. It was king-sized, and a few strategically placed pillows between us could have kept the whole thing very PG.

But then that kiss happened that first afternoon on the boat. And there was no way in freaking hell that I trusted myself to share a bed with Ethan Price and keep my hands to myself.

Which is weird. I’ve never really gotten that hot-and-heavy urge with guys. I mean, sure, when I was fifteen and first with Caleb there was the usual awkward groping and necking. I wasn’t easy or anything, but it wasn’t all that long before I let Caleb get to second base.

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