“Like it’s any of your business.” Dropping my arms, I turn away from him, intent on returning to the hotel so I can hide out. It was a mistake, shopping. It was probably more of a mistake to fool around with Caden last night. I know nothing about him. He has a girlfriend. He’s probably a loser. A sexy-as-hell, gorgeous loser, but a loser nonetheless.
“Hey, hey, why the attitude?” He grabs hold of the crook of my elbow, stopping my escape. I glare at him from over my shoulder and the confusion written all over his face doesn’t offer any satisfaction. It just makes me feel bad. “What did I do?”
“You found me, that’s what you did.” I jerk out of his hold. “Go buy lingerie for your girlfriend.” I turn and he lets me leave. I’m fighting the disappointment that’s trying to take hold when I realize he’s walking right beside me. What’s wrong with me? Do I want to shake him or do I want to keep this going? He confuses me completely. I don’t like it.
I stop and so does he. “Go away,” I murmur, keeping my head averted so I don’t have to look at him.
“She’s not my girlfriend,” he says for what feels like the fiftieth time. “I already told you that.”
Finally I look at him. “You’re staying with her,” I point out.
“Doesn’t mean that we’re together.”
“Are you sleeping with her?”
“We sleep in her flat, yes.”
I roll my eyes, irritated that we’re talking in circles. “Are you fucking her?”
He cocks his head, contemplating me as a ghost of a smile plays at the corners of his too sexy lips. “I’ve fucked her before.”
This time I can’t fight the disappointment. It settles over me heavily, making my shoulders slump. “Then this,” I wave my hand between us, “can’t happen again.” I start walking and damn it, so does he, keeping pace, which means he probably has to slow down because his legs are infinitely long and mine are not.
“Who says it can’t happen again?” he asks.
Do I need to break into a full run to get away from this guy? “I do.” I thrust my thumb at my chest. “I don’t care if you say you’re not with Whitney. If you’re casually banging her, then I’m not going to casually bang you.”
He bursts out laughing, the asshole. Sexy, insufferable asshole. “What if I told you the last time I casually banged Whitney was months ago? Maybe closer to a year ago?”
He’s tempting me just by saying that. And I shouldn’t be tempted. I should walk away from this man and remember my two interactions with him fondly. A girl is allowed to indulge. To make mistakes and do careless things, all in the name of stupid youth. That’s all Caden is to me. A careless mistake. A naughty indulgence.
“I’d say you’re probably lying, thinking you can get in my panties,” I throw back at him. I’m just saying this out of spite, feeling defensive. I have no idea if he really is lying or not.
“You don’t usually wear panties,” he drawls, and I want to punch him.
Or kiss him. Take your pick.
Caden moves closer, the heat of his body emanating toward me, drawing me in. I take a step forward, as if I have no control over my feet, and he grabs my shopping bag, snatching it right from my fingers. He opens it, pushing aside the tissue to examine the contents nestled within. “Looks like I can get in your panties right now, hmm?” He reaches into the bag and pulls out a handful of colorful lace.
I pluck a few scraps of lace from his grip, my cheeks hot with embarrassment. “Put those back,” I hiss when he lifts the bag high above my head right as I reach for it.
“Are you embarrassed, Rose? After everything we’ve shared?” He shakes his head, then glances down at the small pile of lace in his palm. “I thought you weren’t a big believer in panties. You weren’t last night.”
I hate him. Making fun of me, throwing my underwear around on a public street. God, it’s so embarrassing. “Give them back.” I hold out my empty hand, clutching the rest of my new panties in my other hand behind my back.
“Say please.” He smirks. I usually hate when guys smirk at me but for whatever awful reason, this guy looks particularly hot while smirking.
“No.” I scowl.
“Then you won’t get your new panties.”
We stare at each other for a long, heat-filled moment. People are still passing us by. We’re on the sidewalk, for God’s sake, and fighting over my new underwear. This is the stupidest thing ever. I don’t need to deal with this crap.
“Fine,” I finally say. “Keep them as a memento.” I turn and walk away, one last time.
And this time, he doesn’t follow me.
I followed her, though she didn’t see me. Feisty little thing, calling me out on my shit. No one ever does that. I get away with everything. Hell, I’m a criminal. I steal jewelry for a living and I’ve yet to be caught. I’m either extremely lucky or extremely good.
I’m going with the former mixed with a hint of the latter.
It’s easy to believe the lies I tell myself. I staked her out because I want another chance at that necklace. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I found her, why I’m following her.
But deep down inside, I know that’s not the truth. I’m here because I wanted to see her again. Talk to her. Touch her. Kiss her …