My Not So Super Sweet Life (Unedited)
Cat sticks her head back through the door and calls out, “Love you!” then closes it firmly behind her. “Do I at least get a tiny hint about tonight?”
I take her jacket from her and hold it out, helping her slip her arms through the holes. Grasping her shoulders, I spin her around and let her see my bike waiting in the drive. “Clue number one.”
Cat squeals and does a bounce-like dance. “Are you serious?” She shoots me a quick questioning look, and when I nod, her face becomes a mask of confusion and eagerness. “Did you clear it with Dad first?”
“You think I’m stupid, woman?” I wrap my arms around her slender waist, imagining how it’ll feel having her arms wrapped around mine. And thighs straddling my hips. I glance at the photographers snapping away near the fence, and immediately begin thinking about puppies. “Of course I cleared it with him. As if I could get away with not clearing it between your bodyguards and Star Magazine staked outside your door.”
“Touché,” she says before doing another bounce step. “I’m gonna ride a motorcycle. That’s so badass!”
I chuckle and link our fingers, tugging her forward. “Come on, little badass. Let’s give the paparazzi something worth capturing.”
Her answering smile is so dazzling it nearly steals my breath. Knowing I put it there makes me feel like a freaking king. “Are you trying to get me in trouble, Mr. Cappelli?”
“Always, Miss Crawford,” I reply. “Always.”
With a knowing nod at the bodyguards as we approach my bike, I remove my second helmet from the seat and help her put it on, smoothing back her hair and strapping it. I step back and look at her. Standing beside my bike in curve-hugging denim and leather, the black helmet in place, she does look like a badass. My badass. And she’s never looked hotter.
“Damn I wish I could kiss you right now.” Both the helmet andthe prying eyes of the paparazzi keep that from happening, but when I catch her licking her lips in response, I groan and shove on my own helmet. “The quicker we get where we’re going, the better.”
Her eyes light up from behind the visor as I flip it down. I hop on my bike and take her hand, tugging her close. “Swing your leg around and scoot up close.”
Cat does as I say, intuitively grabbing onto my hips, and pulling herself closer. She’s not close enough. She’ll never be close enough, but I take her hands and lace them around my stomach, then grasp her knees and tug them firmly beside mine. She slides an extra inch. The scent of leather and rose mingle in my nose as the heat of her body seeps past the denim. I could get used to this.
I look back to see her face. Her flirty grin says she’s enjoying this as much as I am. “During a turn, you’re gonna lean slightly. When we turn right, look over my right shoulder, and keep your body in line with mine. When we turn left, look left. Got it?”
She lowers her gaze to where my lips are behind the visor and shifts closer. “Look and lean. Got it.” Her voice is a mixture of excitement, fear, and desire. This was an excellent idea.
“One more thing?” I say, waiting for her eyes to flutter back to mine. “Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.”
Cat laughs, and pressed up against me like she is, I feel the vibrations throughout my body. I yank the clutch, press the starter, and feel her jerk behind me as the engine rumbles to life.
“Best Valentine’s Day ever!” she screams in my ear.
And it’s only just begun.
Fine Art of Pretending
SATURDAY, AUGUST 21st
6 WEEKS until Homecoming
• BRANDON •
ALY’S HOUSE, 7:30 p.m.
I ring the doorbell and step back to gaze up at Aly’s window. She’s tied back her yellow curtains, and I can see her running around inside, probably trying to find a purse or matching shoes in her disaster of a room. I kick the red brick and ponder the night ahead.
As I see it, the night can end in one of two ways: our comfortable friendship will return after a night of fun and goofing around, or being with Aly on a date—even a pretend one—will make kissing her again all too tempting.
I close my eyes and beg the universe for the first outcome.
From the other side of the door I hear the click clack of shoes hitting the ceramic tile. I straighten in preparation to greet Aly, but when the door opens, I feel my smile freeze on my face.I take in her white lace halter-top and the short denim skirt showing off her tan legs and swallow.
I hadn’t been sure which outfit I wanted her to choose, and now...well,I’m still not sure which would’ve been better for our friendship, but I’mdamn sure enjoying the view.
“You look amazing.”
A blush creeps up her neck. She bites her lip and fidgets with the neckline of her top. “Um, thanks.”
I clear my throat and remember why I’m here. Playful and fun. I hold out my elbow and say, “Your chariot awaits,m’lady.”
She grins and hesitantly slips her hand into the crook of my arm. The feel of her soft skin instantly has me imagining other soft things: her hair, her cheeks, her lips. I screwmy eyes shut, replace the thought with baseball stats, and glance down. “I see you’ve banished the heels for the night.”
Aly nods vehemently. “They are the devil. From now on, it’s either ballet flats or sneakers on these bad boys.” She stops to wiggle ablack, flat-footed shoe.
Ibreathe a sigh of relief at her playful tone. This is good. We stop at the passenger door and as Ihelp her into the cab, my fingers graze her bare lower back. Her blue eyes meet mine and then dart away. I cough and close her door, muttering a string of curses as I round the bumper and slam the door on my side.
Aly smiles nervously. “So, where you taking me?”
By the grace of God, I choke down the response I’d like to give, back to my room, and force a nice, lighthearted, friendly smile asI back out of her long driveway. “All will be revealed in time.”
“The thrill of suspense, huh?” She leans back, obviously getting more comfortable with the situation. “I am intrigued, Mr. Taylor.”
“Good,”I say as I wave at the security guard in front of her neighborhood. “You should be.”
About the Author
Rachel Harris grew up in New Orleans, watching soap operas with her grandmother and staying up
late sneak reading her mom's favorite romance novels. Now a Cajun cowgirl living in Houston,
she still stays up too late reading her favorite romances, only now, she can do so openly. She firmly
believes life's problems can be solved with a hot, powdered-sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of
king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain
She homeschools her two beautiful girls and loves watching reality television with her amazing
husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult Fun, Flirty Escapes, and LOVES talking with
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