The muscle in his jaw ticked, his nostrils flared, and Piper’s body tightened in response.
“Are you sure we can’t stay in?” he whispered, eyes on her mouth. “I don’t want to think about the school or anything else. Just you. Us. And whatever these feelings are.”
The man was more tempting than Satan himself, but she had to take this slowly. Over twenty years of friendship couldn’t be thrown aside for a few hours of sweaty passion. She had to think long term here.
“You make it hard to be strong for both of us, Ryan.” She tried to make light of the situation, but soon...soon she would let down her guard and her own emotions would come flooding out. “Just give me some time.”
“Baby, we’ve known each other for so long, what’s a few more days?” He grinned, his eyes meeting hers. “You’re worth waiting for, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give you, and me, something to think about.”
His lips moved softly over hers, lightly at first, then he coaxed hers apart with his tongue. His mouth was firm yet tender, and Piper nearly melted against him. She knew what he was doing. Seduction at its finest and Ryan Grant was the president of the club.
Ryan leaned into her a bit more. From torso to knees they were connected with only the thin barrier of their clothing. Damn material.
Piper nearly lost her mind with want, with need, but Ryan pulled back and smiled, the same smile he used to throw at cameras when he was asked about the circuit. There was love in that smile and Piper was going to have to think about what that meant.
“You ready? I’m starving,” he told her. “I hope you can keep your hands off me tonight.”
Piper smacked his chest and turned the doorknob behind her back. “I’ll try to resist and let you have a nice meal without me molesting you.”
“I can make sacrifices anytime you feel like molesting me, Red. You just say the word. Hell, I could probably eat my steak, drink my beer and enjoy your molesting all at the same time. I’m good at multitasking.”
The warm evening air greeted them as they stepped onto her narrow porch. “That’s such a guy answer.”
“Babe, I’m all guy. And when you’re ready to find that out firsthand, you let me know.”
He moved by her, opening the door of his full-size black truck.
When she gripped the armrest on the door and put her foot on the running board, Ryan cupped his hands around her rear end.
“Need a spotter?” he asked.
Piper glanced over her shoulder to see him squatting, smirking and staring up at her. “Get your hands off my butt, slick.”
“Just trying to help a friend.”
His hands remained until she swatted him. “You’re trying to cop a feel, pal.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Simply helping you get into the truck.”
Piper climbed in, by herself, and stared back at him. “I’ve climbed into this truck, and my own, for years. You’ve never offered to spot me before.”
“A guy can’t decide to just help without being ridiculed? I’m hurt.”
Ryan closed the door to her laughter and Piper crossed her legs. This was going to be one very interesting “date” if he kept up this playful flirtation. She liked it.
* * *
Ryan was going to die. He couldn’t handle this anymore. The romantic ambience of Claire’s with its crisp white table linens topped with fresh floral centerpieces and tapered candles... Between all of that and the damn wrap dress just begging for him to peel off of Piper, he didn’t know how he was going to make it through the rest of dinner.
Thank God their steaks had arrived and he was able to concentrate on the big slab of meat and not the vee of that material that crossed between her breasts.
How could he possibly even think of ordering dessert when he only wanted to taste what sat across from him?
“You’re going to get us thrown out of here if you don’t quit looking at me like I’m a piece of chocolate cake.”
Ryan grinned. “It’s a shame you’re not.”
“You need a new topic, cowboy. I’m well aware of where your mind stands, but can you think of something else to focus on? Your new school? Alex? Anything?”
“I suppose.” Ryan shrugged. “The school is coming right along and I have some teenage boys who are helping and getting the hang of how things will be run. I’m hoping to hire them to help the younger kids and at the same time train them a bit more and get them ready for the circuit. There’s one in particular that has potential.”