“Don’t say it.” I reach out and touch his mouth again, like I have no control over my hand. My fingertips press into the fleshy part of his lower lip, testing it. Savoring it. His breath is a hot blast of air as he parts his lips and I almost withdraw my hand.
Not yet. Enjoy it. Enjoy having him this close.
“You should go,” I whisper, my voice trembling, my entire emotional being shaken to the core. I haven’t been this rattled since I went to my parents’ sentencing in court.
But that was a different kind of rattled. I was scared then. Worried for my parents yet mad too. Conflicting emotions ran through me that entire morning as I nervously paced and wrung my hands and freaked out over my future. While I worried, my parents consulted with their team of lawyers, never once asking if I was all right.
I should’ve taken that as a sign. They were selfish. Always. Putting their own actions and feelings above everything else and not giving a shit about their kid.
When the sentence was formally handed down, I felt a weird sense of relief. At last I finally knew. I was truly alone.
But I’d been alone a long time before that, I just never fully faced it until that moment.
With Tristan, I know absolutely nothing, and that’s the scariest part. What’s going on in his head? What motivates him? Why does he try to hook up with every girl he meets? I don’t know why he’s here, why he’s interested, why he won’t leave me alone. I’ve shown him in as many ways as possible that I don’t want anything to do with him.
Yet here he is. Persistent as hell and by the determined look I see on his handsome face, he’s not ready to give up on me. I let my hand drop, afraid I might do something crazy. Like grab the back of his neck and pull him down for a kiss.
“I came here for you,” he admits, his voice low. “But you were sleeping. I didn’t want to wake you.”
His confession is…sweet. And Tristan doesn’t do sweet. I know this. I’ve heard enough about him—from Kelli—to understand that he’s a man-whore of the highest caliber. When Shep began dating Jade, Tristan started screwing around even more. And when Gabe and Lucy got together?
Kelli said Tristan was going out with a different girl every night, like he was making up for what Shep and Gabe had lost.
Taking a shaky breath, I decide to be honest with him. “I think you’re going through an I-want-what-I-can’t-have stage, Tristan. This has nothing to do with me.”
His eyes darken. “See, that’s the thing. It has everything to do with you. I can’t stop thinking about you.”
We stare at each other silently. I can’t believe he just said that. From the look on his face, I’m thinking he can’t believe he said it either.
“Are you interested in Steven? He’s a nice guy.” Tristan pauses. “I’m not.”
“I like Steven.” The flicker of disappointment in Tristan’s gaze at my admission is unmistakable.
“Of course you do,” he mutters, sounding disgusted. “I get it. You’re right. I should go.”
He lets go of the doorframe, his arms falling to his sides and I reach out to touch him, my hand resting on his chest, feeling the thundering of his heart beneath my palm. “Don’t go,” I whisper.
Tristan frowns. “What about Steven?”
“I don’t like him in—that way.” I curl my fingers into the fabric of his shirt. He’s so warm. So hard. I wonder if he’s that warm and hard everywhere. My entire body flushes at the thought and I want to fan myself. The air crackles with an unseen energy that I can feel swirling between us, making me dizzy.
Making me want him, even though I shouldn’t.
“Not in what way?” he asks, his gaze flicking down to where I’m grasping his shirt.
“Not in the way that I like you,” I confess in the barest whisper. My throat’s dry. My heart is racing. If he says something mocking and stupid I’m going to punch him. Seriously. I just confessed something I never wanted him to know and if he makes a mockery of me I will lose it.
Slowly he reaches for me, those long fingers I admired earlier curling around my wrist, his grip loose, his touch sending tingles shooting up my arm, scattering throughout my body. “You like me.”
“Most of the time I really don’t.” His thumb sweeps across the inside of my wrist and I sink my teeth into my lower lip to stop the whimper that wants to escape. “You’re kind of annoying.”
He smiles, his thumb pressing into my skin, right against my chaotic pulse. Can he see what he does to me? “You think?”
“And beyond arrogant.”
He shrugs. “Always have been.”
My God, I want to slap him. Or pull him in close and kiss him. “You act like you’re God’s gift to women,” I point out.
“I’ve been with a lot of women.”
My heart sinks. He keeps this up and I’m definitely going to push him away. “What’s awful is that you’re proud of that little fact, aren’t you?”
“Only because it’s helped me see what I want.” He tugs on my wrist, pulling me in closer. What does he mean by that? “Aren’t you curious, Alexandria?”
He brings my hand up to his mouth and kisses the back of it, soft lips barely pressed against my skin. My legs feel boneless and I lock my knees to keep from falling. I want to die, just combust into a million tiny pieces. Never to be seen again. All from a simple kiss on the back of my hand.
I wait breathlessly, my fingers trembling in his grasp. He lifts his head, his gaze meeting mine, dark and mysterious and so incredibly sexy I want to say yes to whatever he says next.
“Curious about what?” I finally ask, proud that my voice is so steady. Inside, I’m an absolute mess.
“What it would be like between us.” He takes one step forward and I take one back, suddenly needing the space. “I think we’d be good together.”
“If you’re talking sexually…” I start and he shakes his head.
“Does it always have to be about sex?” He smirks.
This from the guy that lurks around bathrooms, looking to find a chick who’s down to fuck. Please. “With you, yes.”
He chuckles, the rich sound sending a pulsing sensation throughout my body, settling in between my legs. “Maybe I want to do something different with you.”
I frown. “Like what?” What, I don’t rate? This man is so incredibly infuriating. One minute I don’t want to ever see him again and the next, I’m breathless with anticipation for him to do something, anything to me to help ease the ache deep inside.
Like the bossy asshole that he is, he pushes his way into my room, giving me no choice but to step back, letting him in. He shuts the door behind him and grabs hold of me, whirling me around so I’m pressed against the wall and he’s…
Pressed against me.
“Just a kiss,” he whispers, shifting his hips so I can feel every inch of him. And trust me, there are a lot of inches. “I’ve been dying to know what that mouth of yours taste like, Alexandria. Let me have one taste?”
His voice is deep. Sensual. Intoxicating. I part my lips in anticipation, my eyes shuttering closed when his fingers drift along my jaw, his thumb tracing my lower lip. A shuddering breath escapes me and my mouth falls open.