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He pulled back just enough that he was able to turn me in his arms. Thrown off, I gripped his shoulders. My eyes met his and held. A heartbeat passed as he stared down at me. Our legs tangled and then he pressed in between mine. I felt him, right against my core. A strange sound rose from the depths of me, part moan and part yearning.

“Me?” He lowered his forehead to mine. His hips did this remarkable and downright sinful roll. “I can—”

Sharp bright light cut through the sky above us, wrangling a gasp out of me. Tanner’s grip tightened, and a moment later thunder boomed so loudly it felt like it rattled my bones.

“Oh my God,” I said, eyes wide.

Tanner was already turning me around, lifting me with one arm, which was freaking impressive. “We need to get out of the pool before we’re fried.”

I so was not going to dispute that.

We scrambled out of the pool, and I stopped to grab my dress just as the sky ripped open and cold rain pounded down, causing me to shriek. Tanner laughed as he grabbed my arm, dragging me over the deck as our feet slipped in the rapidly gathering puddles.

Neither of us said anything as we stared at each other in the chilled air of the house, soaking and dripping wet, but there was nothing that needed to be said. The truth lay in the open between us.

Everything had changed.

Chapter 9


We stared at each other as the thunderstorm raged outside, the thunder cracking so loud it rattled the windows. The storm mirrored what I felt inside. My fingers still tingled from where I’d touched her, and her cheeks were flushed, eyes still shining with bliss.

Dammit, I was harder than a rock.

I wanted to go to her, but she stumbled a step back and hastily drew the dress on over her head. Once she had it situated, she swallowed hard as she looked out the windows. Rain pounded the deck. “God,” she said, voice scratchy. “Syd and Kyler are out there in this.”

“They’ll be okay. Kyler will make sure of that.”

She cast me a quick look over her shoulder. The passion had faded from her gaze, replaced by a keen wariness. “So will Syd. She can take care of herself.”

“I didn’t say that she couldn’t.” I scrubbed my hands through my wet hair and then grabbed a towel that had been left on the back of a bar stool. I soaked up as much water as I could and then dropped the towel on the puddle I’d created. The dress Andrea wore was soaking up the wetness and clinging to her curves in a way that made my mouth water, but she had checked out of the fun and naughty stuff.

I didn’t blame her. I hadn’t planned on that happening. Okay. Maybe I’d planned on kissing her, but I hadn’t expected it to go that far, especially when we hadn’t even kissed. Now I had no idea what she was thinking as she turned around, her gaze bouncing off mine.

“I think I’m going to go nap,” she said, not meeting my gaze.

My chest tightened. “Andrea, what happened—”

“It’s okay. I mean, it was great.” Her cheeks flushed as she edged around the island, steering clear of me. “We don’t have to talk about it or anything.”

I frowned as I tracked her across the kitchen. “But I want to talk about it.”

She neared the living room and the stairwell. “No guy wants to talk about that…whatever that is. I don’t have crazy expectations, so you don’t need to set me straight or anything like that.”

My mouth flopped open. “What?”

Her face matched her hair. “I know that what happened doesn’t mean anything. I know it doesn’t—”

“Excuse me?” My voice rose as irritation flooded me. “It didn’t mean anything?”

Confusion pinched her pretty face as she stopped at the bottom of the stairs. “Did it?”

Did it? Holy fuck, I stared at her, and the only good thing I could think at that moment was the fact that I no longer had a raging, rock-hard boner. “Of course not,” I snapped.

Andrea flinched—fucking flinched like I’d hurt her feelings or some shit. She nodded jerkily and then turned, racing up the steps in her bare feet. I stepped forward, partly worried she was going to fall and break her neck and also to run after her.

But I stopped myself, knowing I was too damn angry to have a normal conversation that wouldn’t end in us screaming at each other. Whirling from the stairs, I stalked back into the kitchen, stopping at the glass doors with my hands on my hips.

What the fuck? That didn’t mean anything? What did she think I did? Went around randomly getting chicks off for shits and giggles? Well, actually, she probably did think that.

“Shit,” I groaned, dipping my chin.

Based on what she knew about me—what she’d seen from hanging out with me—I was an equal opportunity fucker. Hell, why would she think she was any different than the slew of girls that had come before? But she was different, and damn she had to know that. I wouldn’t just fuck around with a friend of Sydney’s. That was obvious, because if that was the case, I would’ve tried to get between those pretty thighs the first time she’d mouthed off at me.

I heard the front door open and I turned, spying Kyler and Sydney. They looked like they’d swum in a river to get there, but both were smiling.

“Holy shit,” Kyler said, dropping his backpack by the glass door. Laughing, he shook the rain out of his hair. Droplets of water flew in every direction. “That storm is crazy.”