Slow Play (The Rules 3) - Page 24

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“You don’t know?” I chug half my PSL as quick as possible, needing that extra caffeine to jolt my system awake. “Why am I studying with you again?”

“Because I have the hook up.” Kelli’s sly smile tells me everything I need to know without wasting a word. “He should be here any minute.”

Oh. Crap. She’s talking about…

“I’m going to kill you,” I mutter as I cross my arms onto the table and let my head fall on top of it. Damn it, he better not show up. I don’t want to see him. My lack of sleep is all his fault and I look like ass because of it so I’m blaming him for that too.

He’s going to take the blame for everything right now and I don’t feel one ounce of guilt over it either.

“Good morning, ladies.”

His deep, slightly rough, totally sexy voice is super close and I lift my head, cracking my eyes open. Kelli’s watching me with this amused expression on her face and I know he’s standing behind me. Above me. Whatever. I can feel him. All of his warm, deliciously sexy vibes are coming straight at me, trying to draw me into his dangerous web.

Slowly I turn and tilt my head back until my gaze meets his. He’s smiling at me, as friendly as ever, without a care in the world. Looking so freaking good in jeans and a—yep you guessed it—dark green Henley long-sleeved shirt that conforms to his shoulders and chest, making his eyes look more green than blue. His hair is damp, as if he just got out of the shower only moments ago and he’s got a coffee in his hand. The epitome of casual nonchalance, like a good friend stopping by to help us out of the kindness of his warm and giving heart. A heart I don’t believe exists if you want my honest opinion.

“Looking fresh and bright eyed this morning, aren’t you,” he drawls, staring pointedly at me. There’s not a flicker of acknowledgement of what happened between us last night in his expression.

Yeah. Fine. No big deal. If he can act nonchalant, so can I.

“I can’t shake you, can I?” I ask wryly. I’m pretending too. Like he didn’t have his tongue shoved in my mouth and his hands all over my body only a few hours ago. Like I wasn’t moaning and rubbing against him, my hands in his hair and every bit of common sense fleeing my brain.

Laughing, he pulls out the chair next to mine—did you expect he would sit next to Kelli? Please—and settles in, his arm bumping against my elbow. “I’m here to help you, Alexandria. I know statistics is your worst subject.”

“It is.” I reach into my backpack and pull out my stupid textbook, determined to make this all about school and nothing else.

“Why is that anyway?”

“Because it’s math, duh.” Oh, I sound like a petulant child. He should tell me to grow up. I deserve it. He did help us a few days ago at the library. I can’t forget that. He’s here on a Sunday morning, taking the time to help us cram. Either he’s just being nice or has ulterior motives.

I’m pretty certain it’s ulterior motives bringing him here but I guess I should take advantage of his help while I can.

“I’ve discovered those who hate math are usually just scared of it,” he says, his gaze snagging mine. For a moment I see a flicker of something dark in his eyes. A reminder of the Tristan I was with last night. The one who kissed me and touched me and drove me out of my freaking mind with lust. “You shouldn’t be afraid of simple logic. It can’t hurt you.”

Is he talking about stats or himself?

Kelli clears her throat and Tristan jerks his gaze from mine. “This test is huge,” she stresses. “Not just a weekly quiz, Tris, but a complete review of everything we’ve learned so far this semester. I’ve forgotten pretty much everything from the first few weeks of class. Haven’t you, Alex?”

I nod, unable to speak. My heart feels like it’s bouncing around in my chest like a basketball and I don’t think I can blame the espresso shots in my latte.

“Not a problem,” he says breezily, reaching over to snag my textbook. I mutter a noise of protest but he ignores me, bending his head over the pages as he starts flipping through them. His hair falls over his forehead, brown highlighted with gold and so tempting. As in tempting me to push it away. Run my fingers through it because it’s so soft and I like the way it clung to my fingers…

Making an irritated sound in my throat, I glance up at Kelli and send her a stern look, one that says I cannot freaking believe you. But she just smiles and waggles her eyebrows.

And so begins an hour of absolute, pure torture. Not just the stats review because that’s bad enough. No, the worst part of it all is sitting next to Tristan, listening to him speak, watching his hands move over the paper as he demonstrates a formula, as he taps the book spread out in front of us to point out something in particular. He has nice hands.

Beautiful hands, with long fingers, wide palms, hands that knew just how to touch me. Now they’re being wasted on paper and textbooks, running over statistics problems and trying their best to get me to focus. But I can’t. I can’t focus when all I can do is feel him. Smell him. His hair is now dry and it curls around his ears and neck. He still has scruff on his jaw and chin, which tells me he didn’t shave this morning and I want to feel it. Run my hands over his face and feel the prick of his stubble against my palm.

Clearly I’m losing my mind. I’m also going to fail this test because I’m not retaining a word he’s saying.

“You’re so smart, Tristan,” Kelli says for about the twentieth time. “I don’t know what we’d do without you.”

I say nothing because he’s not helping me whatsoever.

“I need another drink.” Kelli rises to her feet and panic washes through me. I should go with her. Or go use the restroom—anything to avoid spending time with Tristan alone.

But I do nothing. Just sit in gape-mouthed horror as Kelli heads over to the front counter to place her order. I can feel Tristan looking at me and I remain facing forward. Biting off the little gasp that forms when he gently grabs my hand and interlaces our fingers together.

Just as he said last night, sparks form between our palms, sending a trail of heat up my arm, coursing through my veins. I swallow hard and work my jaw, trying to come up with something to say when he beats me to the punch.

“You’re not listening to a thing I’m saying are you?”

His gruff voice melts my resolve and I dare to look over at him. Still can’t seem to muster up a word to say yet though.

He must think I’m an idiot.

His smile is soft, unlike the normal, cocky smirk that he usually flashes at me and I’m instantly wary. “Are you getting it? Or is it all just going over your head?”

I shrug, my mouth twisting to the side in a grimace. I don’t want to tell him I’m not getting it because the mere sound of his voice is too distracting? Or the fact that I can smell his clean, soapy scent and it’s making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside? I can’t even speak because he’s touching me, his fingers curling around mine…

“Alexandria.” My gaze zeroes in on his mouth as he says my name. I like how he pronounces it, the way his lips form, that little glimpse of tongue I see when he trips over the second syllable. “Have you turned mute? Deaf—ah hell, maybe both? Shit, are you Helen Keller reincarnated?”


Tags: Monica Murphy The Rules Romance
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