Goosebumps rose on my arm. My heart beat so loudly I imagined Nick could hear it, too. Maybe if I waited out the seven minutes in silence, I’d escape whatever torment he’d inflict.
Loser. The taunt hurt.
“It’s you, isn’t it?” he asked. Suddenly his breath whispered against my ear and his hand ran through my hair.
I opened my mouth to object. Tell him that it was me and not Brooke.
But his lips brushed mine in the dark, a soft, delicious pull I felt to my toes. He pressed against me, backing me up until the steel shelves pushed against my spine. His fingertips traced my jaw, my ear, my neck as his kiss grew firmer. A rush of heat started in my chest and spread slowly through my body, reaching every last limb. For a moment, I forgot what had happened between us and imagined we were back by Crystal Falls, that I hadn’t stopped him when he’d leaned close. This time, my hands ran along the curve of his back and the swell of muscles under the short sleeves of his T-shirt.
He cupped my face and kissed me so deep I thought I’d pass out. Nick. Happiness exploded inside, his touch igniting a firestorm of emotion. For just a few more minutes, I could pretend that he had forgiven me and we were together at last. Three years of waiting, longing, wishing, regretting—over. I smiled even though I knew it was just a fantasy, and his lips nipped the corners of my curving mouth.
Did he know it was me? My God, didn’t he have to know it was me?
His lean stomach contracted when my palm pressed against its ridges. Our synchronized breaths sounded in the cramped space. In an instant, we went from tender to passionate, our hands and lips everywhere at once. My head buzzed, and I felt the heat of him through his thin shirt, smelled his musk and spice scent. Firm hands spanned my waist, and I shivered against him.
“I don’t care if it isn’t seven minutes,” a nasal-pitched voice sounded. “This game is done!”
It took a moment to process, blinking in the sudden flood of light, that Nick had slid away. He’d left me where I stood, my lips still puckered, as laughter broke over me. I hung my head in the humiliating spotlight of someone’s Eveready. Fool me once—I glared up at a speechless Nick—shame on you. Fool me twice—my arms crossed and my fingernails dug into my elbows—shame on me.
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