Spirit Page 38

But her eyes were so close, sparking with light. “Are you imagining me na**d again?”

“Ah . . . only in the most respectful way.”

She smiled. Beyond her, the stars were still. They’d come to a stop at the top of the Ferris wheel.

She leaned in close, until her br**sts were against his chest and her breath was warm against his ear. Her hands went under his jacket again, sliding over his shoulders, and he wished that one of his abilities could make clothes disappear.

Then she spoke against his ear. “Touch me again.”

He hesitated, unsure. But then she kissed him again, thrusting her tongue into his mouth. When his palm slid up her side, she grabbed his hand and slid it under the low neckline of her shirt, until his fingers were inside her bra.

He almost came undone right there. His senses were firing like crazy, and all he could think about was apples and cinnamon and the wet addictive pull of her mouth and the softness of the skin under his fingertips.

Suddenly he was powerfully aware of the elements surrounding them. The sharp bite in the air, the electricity firing in the bulbs of the Ferris wheel, the sweat on her skin. A breeze swirled through the car, making her shiver and break the kiss. The lights on the fairgrounds blazed brighter.

Hunter shrugged out of his jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders. They were moving again, so she tucked in close to him and breathed against his neck.

He ducked his head and brushed a kiss against her temple, wondering how the night had conspired to put him in this position. Kate was a warm weight against him, thrilling and provocative and challenging—yet someone he wanted to wrap up in his arms and protect.

When she turned her head, he met her lips, kissing her slowly, without the fierce aggression that had gotten out of control so quickly. And even slow, kissing her was like setting a pot to simmer. All sizzle on the surface, searing heat on the inside.

Maybe Becca and the Merrick brothers had been right: maybe he just needed to relax and stop worrying about everyone’s angle.

Her phone buzzed, and he was so close that he felt the vibration through her body.

Ignore it, he thought. Ignore ignore ignore—

She sat up, straightened her shirt, and reached into her pocket, not meeting his eyes.

She sat back on his knees and kept the phone out of view.

Hunter looked past her, out at the night. He’d completely forgotten about “her friend.” All it took was a little skin, and he’d turned into the world’s biggest moron. God, he’d been such an idiot.

He didn’t know how to undo this. He felt hurt, but that was stupid. What did he expect? They’d just been talking about the other guy! How had he let it go so far? Thank god he hadn’t said anything about wanting to hold her forever or any of that other crap.

Now he wanted to bang his head against the wall of this car for an entirely different reason.

Kate was shoving the phone back into her jeans. Hunter didn’t even want to look at her.

She put her hands against his chest, but she must have felt the stiffness in his body.

He expected her to climb off his lap, but she didn’t. “Jealous of a text message? Already?”

“Don’t play with me.”

“You weren’t fighting me off a minute ago.”

“Now I wish I had.” He had things to do here. He needed to find his focus before he forgot all that.

He quickly scanned the grounds. No problems that he could see.

Kate was watching him, and the wicked look was off her face. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

That surprised him, and he met her eyes. “You don’t even know me.”

“I’d like to.”

He couldn’t think with her saying things like that while straddling him. He grabbed her waist and lifted her, setting her beside him on the bench. Then he ran his hands back through his hair. “I don’t know what’s real. I don’t know if you’re screwing with me, or if you really want to know me. You know what? Play it straight for a minute. Because I can’t do this.”

Her breathing was quick, and she looked troubled and doubtful.

He was glad, because that was exactly how he felt, too.

“I can’t tell you,” she whispered.

“Why?” he demanded.

Her lips parted.

And then, across the fairgrounds, generators started exploding.


Hunter stood and grabbed at the bars of the car, feeling it rock with his motion. Two generators had exploded, and flames blazed against the sky. On the ground, people were screaming, forming panicked swarms moving in every direction.

He had a perfect view from up here, though the wheel was still turning on its axle, as if the fires were just another spectacle to see from up high.

Another generator exploded, off to his left.

More people screamed. The swarms shifted, moving in a new direction.

Kate was beside him, leaning out as well.

Then her phone chimed, and she looked at it.

What was up with her and this other guy?

Hunter leaned over the side, yelling for the ride operator to let them out—or at least to make the ride stop. He almost couldn’t hear himself over the pandemonium below, so he wasn’t surprised when the guy didn’t look up.

People from other cars were leaning out and screaming, too.

The panic in the air was almost enough to choke him.

Another generator exploded.

The kid running the Ferris wheel yanked a lever in his booth and bolted.

The ride lurched to a stop, so suddenly that Hunter lost his balance and clutched at the bar. The car swung wildly, stuck in the two o’clock position.

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