Scorched (Frigid 2) - Page 34

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As I slowed down and lifted my head, I saw that he was staring at me with wide eyes and in a way I couldn’t decipher. I didn’t move as he sat up and gripped the sides of my face, and I sure as heck didn’t breathe when he hauled me against his chest and kissed me. And it was no small kiss either. It was deep and scorching, lighting me up.

When we broke apart, he rested his forehead against mine and let out a short breath. “Well, Andy, this, by far, has to be the best trip to a cabin ever.”

A slow grin pulled at my lips and then spread into a full smile—a real smile, and before I knew it, I was laughing, and it felt like the first real laugh in a very long time.

Chapter 11


We lay side by side, our heads propped up on the abundance of pillows stacked at the head of the bed. I’d finally fixed my bra and had pulled my shirt back on, but Tanner was still rocking his bare chest hotness and I was okay with that.

He’d gone downstairs at some point and had grabbed us two sodas. Normally I drank diet, but I slurped up the good old-fashioned kind without complaint. He’d also brought up a block of cheese that he’d pulled apart in chunks, and I think I might’ve fallen in love with him a little at that moment.

Because cheese equaled happiness.

I had no idea where Syd and Kyler were or if they had any suspicions about the kinkery that had just gone down in this room, but I was trying not to do a lot of thinking, because thinking led to stressing and stressing led to stupidity for me.

Tanner talked about some of the calls he’d responded to while working at the fire hall. The funny ones—like when someone had locked themselves out on the balcony of their apartment…naked as the day they were born. Or when the department was called by an overeager child who’d just learned in school what to do in case of an emergency and was more of a show than tell when it came to explaining to their parents what they’d learned.

He laughed a lot, and I liked it when he did. It was a good sound, one I had tried not to pay attention to before, but now I couldn’t help but smile when I heard it. I was slow to realize that he was always laughing. I just had to pull my head out of my ass and pay attention.

“So how did your parents react when you changed your major?”

My eyes widened. “Oh, my God, they flipped out. They think I’m throwing away all of my education and that I’m ruining my life by wanting to become a teacher.”

“I don’t think becoming a teacher is ruining your life,” he said. “Plus, it’s just as important as becoming a doctor.”

I raised one hand and rubbed my thumb and pointer together. “Money. A teacher makes way less money.”

“And that’s all they care about?”

Was it? “That’s a hard question to answer, to be honest. Money is important to them. I don’t think it’s the only thing.” I frowned slightly. “I think they just want to make sure I have a…a good life, you know? That I don’t struggle.”

“That’s understandable, but being a teacher doesn’t mean you’ll be dirt poor.”

I laughed softly as I bent one leg. “Yeah, and they also wanted me to become a plastic surgeon like them—like Brody was going to do. Unless I decided to specialize in emergency procedures, I’d spend my life augmenting boobs and noses.”

“Did Brody change what he’s doing? He’s in med school, right?”

Surprise flitted through me. I had no idea that he remembered anything about my brother. He’d met him once, though it had been brief. “He’s not doing plastic surgery. He’s going for trauma. I think he likes the adrenaline.”

I also think he liked the whole God complex that came with the job. Good fit for him.

“My parents have accepted it,” I added as I wiggled my toes. “Begrudgingly, but hey, at least Brody hasn’t disappointed them, so they have that.”

He cocked his head to the side. “You haven’t disappointed them.”

The way he said it was almost like he completely believed that, but I knew better. They were disappointed. One day they’d fully get over it, and I was sure it wasn’t the only decision I’d made or would make in my life that would upset them. I really didn’t want to think about that.

It was so…different hanging with Tanner like this. Not like we hadn’t had moments, lots of them, when we weren’t trying to kill one another, but this was kind of like we were together, really together. Of course, I knew we weren’t, but…

I cradled the can against my chest, staring down at it, smiling as Tanner’s laughter faded. “You’ve gotten quiet,” he said, knocking his knee off mine. “You okay?”

Shaking my head, I glanced over at him. “I’m okay. Really good. It’s just…this is nice,” I said lamely. “I mean, I haven’t just sat like this with a…”

“With a dude?” he supplied.

I nodded. “Not for a long time.”

“How long?”

I coughed out a dry laugh. “A really, embarrassingly long time. Not since I dated this really dumb quarterback in high school.” My cheeks heated. “So, yeah, that long.”

Tanner didn’t respond.

Ugh. I peeked at him again, expecting to see him looking at me like I was some kind of sad specimen of a person, but he was just…he was just looking at me, his eyes soft. “What?” I whispered.

“I’m glad you picked me to do this with, then,” he said after a moment.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Frigid Romance