Scorched (Frigid 2) - Page 22

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I waved.

Her head tilted to the side, and in the fading sun, her hair was a burnt auburn, reminding me of the season not too far away. Lips pursed, she glanced in the direction of Kyler and Syd.

“Andy,” I called before she interrupted them.

Her head swung toward me. “Tanner?”

“Come here.” I smacked the spot beside me. Surprise shuttled through me when after a moment of hesitation she made her way over. After that afternoon, I figured I’d have to get down on my knees and beg her. As she sat down beside me, dipping pretty toes into the water, I could barely drag my gaze away from her shapely legs. “I’ve missed you.”

She laughed as she folded her hands together. “You did not miss me.”

“Yes, I did.” I leaned back on my hands as she stared at the water. There was a freckle under her left ear. I wanted to taste it.

“I’ve been right here,” she said, splashing the water with her feet.

What would she do if I ran my tongue along that little speck? “Still missed you.”

“You are so full of shit,” she replied, but she was smiling, so I figured that was a good thing. Not good enough for me to lick that freckle. She’d probably punch me in the balls if I did that. Glancing at me, she lifted a brow. “It’s a good thing you’re cute.”

“You think I’m cute?” I reached up, tugging gently on the black string around her neck.

“Sometimes.” She smacked my hand away.

Grinning, I tapped her fingers with mine. “That’s because the other half of the time you think I’m a sexy beast.”

“Sure.” Her eyes flashed to mine. “If that’s what helps you get on with your day.”

I laughed deeply. “You know what will help me get on with my day?”

“What?”

“Seeing what’s under this top and those shorts,” I told her. “You’re wearing a bathing suit, and seeing that is something that will definitely get me through the rest of my days.”

Shaking her head, her attention returned to the pool, to where her feet paddled in the water. “You are just on a roll, aren’t you?”

“I have no idea what you mean.” I totally knew what she meant. Leaning my arm against hers, I savored the warmth of her skin and the way she bit down on her lower lip. “So… you changed your major, right?”

She nodded as she tipped her head in my direction. “That’s right.”

“What do you plan to do, then?” I asked, genuinely curious. “Live a life of leisure?” The moment that question came out of my mouth, I wanted to punch myself. It was supposed to be joke, but it was about as funny as an accident on the beltway.

Andrea twisted at the waist, facing me. Her brown eyes had darkened, turning stormy. “Contrary to popular belief, asshole, I don’t sit around all day and have people wait on me hand and foot.”

I pulled back. “Andrea—”

“I’ve changed my major to teaching, and as you know, teachers aren’t living the life of Riley. And when I’m not in class, I’m not just hanging around, getting manicures and pedicures. I spend the bulk of my time volunteering at Holy Cross Hospital. And not as a candy striper, either.” She pulled her feet from the water and stood briskly. Too quickly. “You don’t—”

Her feet slipped in the puddle gathering on the deck and she went down, her knee cracking off the edge. My hand shot out, reaching for her arm as she started to pinwheel, but I wasn’t fast enough. One minute she was standing next to me, and the next second she was in the pool, water spraying into the air.

“What the…?” Kyler broke away from Syd and turned toward us. Disbelief colored his tone. “Did you push her?”

Ignoring him, I jumped into the pool just as Andrea’s head broke the surface. “You okay?”

Gasping from the cold shock, she treaded water, her eyes wide when they met mine. Anger flashed across her face, quickly followed by a red stain that seeped into her cheeks. I doubted that was anger. Oh no, that was a very different kind of emotion. With a little shake of her head, she turned from me and swam to the ladder. Soaked, her hair stuck to her cheeks as she climbed out of the pool, her clothing clinging to her curvy form.

I followed, but she stormed across the deck, not looking back. Cursing under my breath, I reached for the side and launched myself out of the pool.

“What happened?” Sydney asked, already starting toward the steps.

“She fell.” I shot them a look. “I got this.”

Sydney frowned. “But—”

“I got this,” I repeated, and thank God she backed off, because Kyler would probably flip his shit if I had to repeat myself for a third time, because it would not be pretty.

“Tanner,” Syd said.

Losing my patience, I faced her. “I—”

“She volunteers in the mental health part of the hospital,” she said, letting me in on the fact that she’d heard a part of our conversation. “And she also volunteers at the suicide hotline center in Georgetown whenever they need her.”

Stunned, I blinked. “What?”

Kyler was staring at Sydney like she’d sprouted a third tit. “Are you serious?”

She nodded. “It’s not something she broadcasts, but I thought you should know.”

For a moment, I didn’t move as I absorbed that hidden piece of knowledge about Andrea—the girl I thought of as a rich girl, a little spoiled and definitely a party animal. Never once had it crossed my mind that she volunteered her time for anything, unless the volunteering involved drinking or shopping for purses.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Frigid Romance
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