Cheater's Regret (Curious Liaisons 2) - Page 21

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Call him if it hurt.

It always hurt.

Always.

But what to do when the man offering his help was the one who caused the hurt in the first place? I refused to tell him yet again how he broke my heart—that he’d broken us. That I was still upset and dealt with my tumultuous feelings on a nightly basis when I slept alone in my childhood bed.

“Thanks for this,” I said lamely, pointing to my cheek. “I guess I should get working on my assignment, right?”

“Yeah.” He rocked back on his heels. Silence stretched between us. “What time are you coming tomorrow?”

I licked my lips as he finally stared me down, his face emotionless.

“After class,” I finally said. “Possibly in time to take some really interesting notes on a rhinoplasty.”

The corners of his mouth tugged into a playful smile. “Sounds exciting.”

“I’m sure it is.”

“Tomorrow.” He leaned in like he was going to kiss me and then froze. I was afraid to move.

Finally, he leaned over and kissed my forehead, then walked out of my house basically the same way he walked into my life, with a slow, confident swagger that left me aching in all the wrong places.

Mainly. My heart.

Chapter Eighteen

AUSTIN

The cursor kept blinking at me. My new blogger site mocked me.

Because the only stupid words I could think to type were things like, His hands were smooth as they cupped my breasts, his thumb an inch from my nipple as he measured. He was warm. I gulped. Large.

And every time I typed those words, I had to delete, you know, because I wasn’t writing an erotic novel.

I leaned my head down against the computer and sighed. After the trauma of feeling a piece of glass stick out of my cheek, I decided to go to bed and wake up early to write my first post before class.

And there I was, an hour before I had to leave.

Still staring at the blank screen where no words were present, and wondering how I was going to sound professional when every single touch had me nearly jumping out of my skin and ready to maul the good doctor.

The difficult part—I knew what his mouth tasted like.

I knew what his touch felt like.

So, my body couldn’t help itself—it craved him.

“Be professional,” I repeated to myself as I started to drily document what happened at a breast-augmentation consult and with my emotions during the appointment.

I replaced the word “erotic” with “gentle.”

Made sure to include that the experience was a bit jarring but that because there was a nurse present, it didn’t feel that awkward.

The blog post wasn’t all that spicy—but it talked about boobs, made Thatch sound like a good doctor, and I knew that if someone was interested in legitimate content via a firsthand experience, they would find it in my post.

I hit “Publish” and grabbed my things.

The minute I stood, I had one of those flashbacks, the really aggravating ones where your mind goes, Wait, we didn’t get to overanalyze this moment last night, quick, do it now.

I groaned.

And closed my eyes.

I could almost feel the brush of his lips across my forehead.

What the hell did that even mean?

And why!

Why would he do it?

A forehead kiss was almost worse than a mouth kiss—because it conveyed a degree of tenderness.

And sadness.

Love.

He just had to go and ruin a good night’s sleep and a productive day by kissing me on my stupid forehead.

Whatever. Thatch had his chance and he rejected me—he even had his chance to explain—he chose not to.

So, forehead kiss or not—I wasn’t for him.

I just wished my body and mind found it easier to align with that simple fact.

Besides, after I passed this stupid class, I’d have absolutely zero reason to hang out with him.

The thought was a bit depressing.

So, I focused on happier ones.

Like the fact that at least for today, I was going to see him.

Yeah, I was screwed.

“So, how’s it going?” Avery asked with concern as she handed me a MoonPie and winked. “You know, other than the weird Band-Aid on your face and that dreamy look in your eyes.”

She’d texted me with all caps that if I didn’t give her an update on the Thatch situation, we’d be on a friendship time-out, and last time that had happened, I’d had to buy her a week’s worth of Starbucks to get back into her good graces. Besides, maybe she’d have some Thatch wisdom. God knew, I needed to be fully armored every time I walked into that man’s office.

Especially after the day I’d had with him.

He’d held a child’s hand and told him he was going to fix his cleft palate. I’d literally had to leave the room so he wouldn’t see me cry. The blog post was going to be killer. In fact, I couldn’t wait to write it and include research on cleft palates as well as up-to-date nonprofits that worked with children. Before I’d left, Thatch had given me a bunch of awesome resources, damn him.

“Chocolate?” I pleaded.

“Please.” She rolled her eyes.

I dug into the MoonPie. Yes. That was what I needed. Sugar.

Avery smirked and then pulled out a can of Mountain Dew. My eyes got so blurry, it was hard to see her. “You love me.”

“This stuff will eventually kill you, you know that, right?”

I snatched the can out of her hands, my fingers going numb from the cold, and popped the tab, chugging at least half before putting it down on the table. “How did you know?”

With a sigh, Avery placed her arms on the table and leaned forward. “You do realize that when you get sad, you start sending me random emojis, right? A toaster. A high five. A chicken. Today you sent me ten shrimp.” I winced. “In a row.”

“Sorry. It’s my cry for help.”

“Yes, kind of like your bat signal.” She grinned. “So here I am, on a Thursday night, at your yet-again-empty mansion, cheering you up.”

“You’re a good friend.”

“Lucas says he’s going to run you over with his car and bury the body if you keep me longer than an hour.”

“Geez, possessive much?”

“He also said if I don’t show up, he’s coming here.”

I groaned. “Is it really so hard to share?”

“Funny. You’d think he’d be all over sharing, being the whore he is, but now that he’s in a committed relationship, it’s like he forgot all the rules of kindergarten.”

I bit off another piece of chocolate goodness and sighed. “Honestly, I’m fine.”

“And there it is, the ‘honestly.’”

“Huh?”

“Truthfully. Honestly.” Her eyebrows arched. “Those are your tells, basically you’re not fine, and I bet you ten dollars that if I checked under your bed, I’d find a half-eaten Snickers.”

My cheeks heated.

“Uh-huh.” She tapped her fingernails against the table. “So, are we watching a movie and ignoring the giant Thatch in the room, or are we going to talk about how much of a struggle it is for you to see him every day and not hump him?”

I scowled. “I would never hump him at work!”

She was silent.

“I mean . . .” I shrugged, picking off another piece of MoonPie. “He does have this really sturdy desk that I’m pretty sure could hold both of us, and I’d probably be lying if I said I haven’t thought about it at least one time.”

She coughed.

“Or a dozen.”

“There we go.”

“But . . .” I banged my forehead against the table a few times before glancing up again. “It’s like he’s immune to everything! When he did the breast exam, he was all horny, I saw it, and he was sweet last night, and now, ever since that day, he’s been super distant.”

&nbs

p; “It’s been three days.”

“Exactly!” I threw my hands in the air. “Three days of him being so professional that I want to flash him!”

“Yeah, maybe not the best life choice.” Avery scrunched up her nose. “Have you been wearing sexy clothes? Perfume? Makeup?”

My mouth dropped open. “Do you know me at all?”

She was silent and then pointed at my outfit. “Did you wear that today?”

“No, I came home and changed for our date!”

“Whoa!” She held up her hands. “I’m just trying to help.”

“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?”

“You’re in black skinny jeans, a tank top, and black heels. You look . . . sad.”

I frowned. “I thought black was professional.”

“It is, but you look like you’re in mourning.”

Tears filled my eyes.


Tags: Rachel Van Dyken Curious Liaisons Romance
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