Page 19 of Scary Hot

Behind me, I hear Wes tell Z, “I’m beating the shit out of you tomorrow,” and my suspicions we interrupted some hanky-panky are confirmed.

A few seconds later, July enters the kitchen, and we start to cook dinner.


“How much trouble did I get you in with Wes?” I ask with a wince.

“None. Well, he was pissed, but he got over it.”

“I didn’t mean to open my mouth, but when I got home, Z was there and it just came out,” I confess.

“I kinda got that. What’s going on with you guys anyway?” she asks, handing me two tomatoes to dice.

I duck my head, trying to hide the guilty look on my face when I lie, “Nothing.” I’m still not ready for her to know I slept with a guy I barely know.

“Didn’t look like nothing when I opened my front door and his tongue was down your throat,” she says gently, and my eyes widen. I must’ve been too consumed by his kiss to realize July had opened the door and seen us there.

“That was an accident,” I chirp.

“He accidently kissed you? Or you accidently kissed him back?” she clarifies, and I shrug.

“I don’t know.” I sigh.

“He seems to like you.”

He does. And I really like him too. But this is all happening so fast! I want to confide, but instead, I only whisper, “I don’t know.”

“I just don’t want you to miss out on something great,” she tells me after a few minutes of us silently preparing the food.

“He makes me crazy,” I tell her, looking into my best friend’s beautiful eyes.

“I think that if you don’t explore things with him, you’re going to end up regretting it,” she implores, and I feel that statement deep in my soul. I know she’s right. What I feel when I’m with Z, what I feel right in my very bones when he smiles at me, or kisses me. That’s not just some regular old chemistry. I know in my heart it’s a much deeper connection than anything I’ve ever experienced in my life, and I should probably stop fighting him off before I ruin my chances and finally push him away for good.

I don’t say all this though. I give her a quiet, “I know you’re right,” and look down at the pan in front of her, frowning. “I thought we were making tacos.”

She gestures at the concoction she put together. “These are tacos. They’re ‘I don’t want to wash a million dishes’ tacos,” she explains, and I see she’s just dumped everything into one large container. I guess we’ll be eating it like a taco salad, which is fine by me. It’s all going in the same place anyway—my growling belly.

I laugh and shake my head at her, going back to chopping.

“Psst,” July whispers conspiratorially, and I lift my eyes once more. “I thought you should know, Wes just told me something about Z that might soften you up a bit.”

“Oh yeah? What’s that?” I ask, moving closer to her so the guys won’t hear us.

“When I asked Wes if you’d be safe with him, he told me they’ve been friends since they joined the Navy when they were eighteen. Said he was one of the best guys he knows. And call me crazy, but I kind of trust Wes. He seems to have a fine-tuned radar for trustworthy people.”

I have to agree with that. After all, he’s in love with best girl I’ve ever known.

Z

“So what happened with your girl after I called?” I ask Wes curiously, taking a drink of beer.

“What do you mean?” he questions.

“Did you tell her what we found out about the guy?” At his sideways look, I put my hands up defensively. “I only ask, because I’m not sure how much to tell Kayan. I was going to let you be the guinea pig. See how July reacted before I did the same with her wonder twin.”

He chuckles, shaking his head. “Yeah, I told her some. She was being hardheaded as fuck, so I had to scare her a bit so she’d listen the fuck up.”

“I see. And how did she react to your tough love?” I wince.

“Made her cry. Felt like shit, but it had to be done,” he confesses, rubbing the back of his neck.

“What did you say exactly? Maybe I’ll take a different approach. Don’t think I could take seeing Kayan cry. Not after seeing her that way after that fucker broke into her house.”

He eyes me but doesn’t call me out on the clear feelings I have for her. “I told her that the person this young guy and his father are involved with—the one fighting the dogs he ends up bringing to her clinic—are drugging women until they have no idea what they’re doing and put them on the street, only letting them quit prostituting when they are too broken to make them money.”

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