“Okay, beautiful, we got some training to do.”

Sally’s brow bunched together. “What are you talking about?”

“We are going to be bartending,” he said with a wink.

“What do you mean we? I thought I was just along for the ride,” she said nervously.

“Oh, no, my sweet mate, you are going to be behind the bar where I can keep an eye on you and keep groping hands and paws off of you. I would hate to blow our cover by ripping some schmuck’s arms off.”

Sally cringed at the picture he painted.

Costin tucked a towel into the back pocket of her jeans and gave her a soft pat on her backside.

Her head snapped around to look at him in shock. He just shrugged his shoulders, not remorseful in the least.

“Okay, first things first,” he began. “Drinks on tap.” Costin showed her the different beers on tap and explained how this was different from a bottled drink. Then he pulled out bottle after bottle of different kinds of liquor. He explained the technical difference between liquor and alcohol and explained each bottle’s contents. Next, he pulled out a sheet of paper that had lists of drinks and then the ingredients for those drinks.

Sally blushed as she read aloud, ‘Sex on the beach?’

Costin had his back to her, pulling down glasses.

“I figured it was a little early on in our relationship for that,” he said, “but I’m up for whatever.” He turned around to find a stunned Sally. He placed his finger under her chin and gently closed her mouth, which had dropped open.

He leaned down and pressed a gentle, yet somehow electrifying kiss on her lips. Her eyes closed as she attempted to keep breathing.

“One day, Sally mine. One day.”

When he pulled away she slowly opened her eyes and smiled.

“I really like it when you do that,” she admitted boldly.

He set the glasses down and walked her back until she was pressed against the bar. He placed his hand on the counter on either side of her, effectively pinning her in. As he leaned closer, he took a deep breath and let out a low rumble.

“I really like doing it,” he told her softly. Sally’s breathing came in short gasps as she tried to control her racing heart. Costin slid his hands on the bar so they were touching her hips. He smiled when she stopped breathing all together.

“Breathe, Sally. How will I kiss you again if you pass out?”

“I imagine it would be rather difficult and not very enjoyable,” she rambled.

Costin’s smile widened. “No, I imagine it would not be very enjoyable for either of us.”

He leaned closer until his lips were so close that they touched hers as he spoke. She could feel his warm breath blow across her face and closed her eyes, enjoying the sensation.

“Sally,” he whispered.

“Mm-hmm,” she moaned out.

“I’m going to kiss you now.”

“Please,” she pleaded.

Costin chuckled as he closed the rest of the distance and pressed his lips firmly to hers. They both let out groans as they gave into the tension that had been building.

Sally reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him tightly to her. She felt him smile against her lips and nipped his bottom lip at his smugness.

He pulled back and rubbed his nose against hers. “Feeling feisty?”

“You always make me act out of character.”

Costin laughed. “Oh no, you can’t blame me for your sudden desire to ravish me.”

Now Sally’s face was as bright as ripe tomato.

“I guess now that I have thoroughly embarrassed you maybe we should call it a night. We can work on mixing the drinks tomorrow.” He tugged her close to him and leaned down and buried his face in her neck. After several minutes of him breathing her in, he bit gently on her neck just below her ear. She gasped and then moaned when his lips gently kissed away the pain of his bite.

“Soon, my love,” he whispered in her ear, “you will bear my mark.”

Sally tried to respond but she had yet to regain the ability to speak. Costin stepped back and grinned, his dimple appearing on his handsome face.

“I better take you back to your room before I talk you into letting me bite you now.”

That snapped Sally out of her stupor. She let him pull her behind him as he led her from the room.

When he dropped her off at her door he kissed her gently on the neck where he had bitten her. As he turned to walk away she grabbed his arm.

“Wait,” she said a little desperately. She looked up into his eyes and told him with all the sincerity she could, “I’m so glad it’s you.”

Costin understood what she meant and took her face in his hands and kissed her fiercely. When he pulled back they were both breathing heavily.

“Let me stay,” he whispered, nearly as desperate as she had sounded. Sally’s eyes widened.

Costin’s lips lifted in a crooked smile. “Just to sleep, Sally mine.” He ran his fingers through her hair and then down her back. “I just want to hold you. I’m not ready to say goodnight.”

“Me either,” she admitted.

He grinned wickedly. “Excellent.” He grabbed her hand and tugged her into the room, shutting the door behind him.

Sally’s brain was going ninety to nothing as she tried to process what she had just agreed to. She had never slept with a guy.

“Don’t overthink this, beautiful. I promise to be a perfect gentleman.” Sally heard him through the bond and had to admit she loved the intimacy in it, that she was the only one he could do that with.

“I trust you. It’s just weird,” she told him as she grabbed her pajamas and head into the bathroom to change.

When she came out of the bathroom she froze. Costin was lying on his back in her bed, arms behind his head, legs crossed. He was attempting to look as innocent as one could on his girlfriend’s bed…shirtless. She took slow breaths as she approached her bed, unable to keep from noticing his defined chest and arms, and flat, washboard abs. She closed her eyes as she climbed into bed next to him. Her only thought was how she could ever compete with such perfection. She wasn’t athletic in any way – in fact, the only exercise she ever got was when Jacque and her had to run for their lives because of some stunt Jen had pulled.

She didn’t have washboard abs, she didn’t have defined arms, but she had a defined chest, just not in the same way his was.

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