Scorched (Frigid 2) - Page 20

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At the moment, Syd hauled herself out of the pool, her hair glossy and black and her body… I sighed. She was a tiny girl, and she looked perfect in a bikini, completely at ease. I should’ve packed a one-piece, but I didn’t think I owned one.

Clutching the bottle to my chest, I glanced at Tanner. He hadn’t moved, and I felt like one of those cartoons where the character’s tongue rolls out of its mouth. Both guys out there blew the hotness charts, but Tanner…he’d always caught my eye.

And I’d never caught his, until now.

What the hell was he up to? His behavior in the car? In the bedroom earlier? Yeah, it was weird that he’d come over last night to apologize and make sure we weren’t going to ruin the trip for Kyler and Syd, but his impromptu visit hadn’t prepared me for the way he was acting. And I seriously doubted “behaving ourselves” meant hooking up.

Could I hook up with Tanner?

Apparently I could kiss him when I was drunk.

He lowered his chin, his lips spreading wide as he laughed at something Kyler shouted from the other end of the pool. I couldn’t hear it, but my tummy fluttered nonetheless.

Oh, yeah, I could totally hook up with him.

That moment, without warning, I felt it—the flutter in my stomach had moved to my chest. And it wasn’t a pleasant, delicious feeling. Oh no, it was sudden and sharp, kicking my heart rate up.

No. No. No. This is not going to happen.

Turning away from the door, I leaned against the counter and closed my eyes. I tried to take a deep, even breath, but my chest squeezed in, cutting it off. No. My chest was not squeezing in. Nothing was happening. It was all in my head. It was always in my head and nothing more. Pressure clamped down, but that also wasn’t real. I forced my lungs to expand, desperately ignoring the way my heart raced. My knuckles ached from how tightly I held the bottle. A wave of shivers rushed up my neck and over my scalp like an army of ants.

A sharp pain lanced across my chest, and I shook my head, clamping my lips together so fiercely my jaw ached. What if it was going to happen? What if I couldn’t stop it? I would—

I cut those thoughts off as I opened my mouth wide, gulping air. Nothing was going to happen. Nothing had happened. The sudden violent anxiety wasn’t really tied to anything. It was all in my head. A handful of seconds turned into a minute, and that minute turned into two. Eventually my pulse slowed and the tingling receded from the back of my neck. Hand shaking, I lifted the bottle and swallowed.

The sliding glass door opened, and I opened my eyes, breathing a sigh of relief when I saw that it was Syd. Hair twisted over one shoulder, she was securing a beach towel along her hips. “There you are,” she said. “I’ve been wondering where you were.”

My smile felt as weak as my knees. “I was just getting the hamburgers ready for later.”

She glanced around the kitchen. “You were?”

“Yeah. Just finished,” I lied, pushing off the counter. “They’re in the fridge.”

A knowing look crossed her face. “You’re hiding.”

“No. No, I am not.”

She crossed her arms as she lifted a brow and waited. I sighed.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

Syd knew that sometimes…sometimes I wasn’t okay. In the beginning, I’d tried to hide it from her, but being that Syd was going for a doctorate in psychology, there wasn’t much she missed when it came to my weird behaviors. She was one of those people who always read you within five minutes of meeting you, and was dead-on in her observations.

“I’m okay.” I took another drink and then set the bottle on the counter. Tugging the elastic band off my wrist, I swept my hair up in a quick, messy ponytail. “I am hiding. Kind of.”

“Do tell.” She headed to the fridge, grabbing a soda. She wasn’t much of a drinker.

I glanced at the door. “Tanner…he’s acting weird.” I knew I had her full attention in that moment. “He actually came over last night.”

“What?” Her eyes widened. “You didn’t tell me.”

“I didn’t think it was a big deal. He wasn’t there for long. He actually apologized for being a dick the other day.” I stopped, pursing my lips. I so wasn’t ready to vocalize the fact that I had kissed him Saturday night. “Well, I wasn’t very nice either, but whatever. He stopped by to apologize. I didn’t think much of it.”

“I think a lot of it,” she replied. “He could’ve called you. Or he could’ve said something here. He didn’t need to stop by your place.”

“I know.” I picked up my bottle and then drifted toward the glass doors. Water sprayed out of the pool as Kyler and Tanner screwed around. “He’s been really flirty. I mean, really flirty.”

“I’ve noticed that. I’m not surprised.”

I shot her a look.

“What? You two have been dancing around each other since you met.”

My stomach dipped. “But why now? Why all of a sudden?”

“I don’t know. Does there have to be a reason?”

I laughed. “Yes.”

“There really wasn’t a reason why Kyler and I finally moved from friends to more. Yeah, we were stuck in the cabin together, but it could’ve happened at any other point. It just did then. Maybe it’s the same thing with you and Tanner,” she explained. “Maybe you two just needed to be someplace—a place like this, all romantic and what not.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Frigid Romance
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