Everywhere.

He doesn’t just kiss my lips. His mouth travels along my neck, visiting the hollow of my throat. Dear god, that’s spectacular. His lips on my throat send an electric charge straight through me, and I’m operating at a high voltage. He senses my reaction. I can feel his naughty smile against my skin as he kisses his way up my neck now, on a path for my ear where he nibbles on my earlobe.

And I squirm.

The good kind of squirm.

The kind where my knees are jelly from the nip of his teeth right there.

This kiss hits me all over—toes, knees, belly.

It sizzles through me, frying my brain and filling it with thoughts of where it could lead to.

Kiss me everywhere. Kiss me all over. Kiss every inch of my skin.

These thoughts run rampant in my brain, surprising me.

Stunning me with the depth of my response to him.

We hit it off instantly online, and in spite of all the mix-ups and all the puzzle pieces that didn’t quite fit earlier, I feel far more connected to him in person than logic dictates I should.

Than the strange circumstances of this most bizarre date say I should.

I feel connected to him. I like him. And I don’t want this to end.

But we have to disconnect.

I break the kiss, pressing a palm to his chest. “We should stop before . . .”

“Before it goes too far?” he asks.

“Yes. Exactly.”

“We better. Because far would feel far too good.”

“It would feel amazing.”

* * *

Later, much later, it rains.

It seems fitting, especially since it’s time to say good night. There’s an empty ache in my chest.

I didn’t expect to feel a hollow spot as I said goodbye to Cameron.

But the ache is real, and it hurts as I stand curbside. The rain falls, so I grab my red umbrella from my purse and open it, holding it above us.

“One more picture. Just for me,” he says.

I smile faintly, and he tugs me closer and snaps a close-up. He tucks his phone away and hands me a rose.

“Where’d you find a rose?”

He wiggles an eyebrow. “I have my ways.”

“No, seriously. Where did you find a rose?”

Laughing, he tells me, “Elvis gave me one to give to you.”

“Well, thank you to Elvis.”

Cameron runs a thumb across my jawline. “One more kiss? Just for me. No cameras.”

I smile, and it seems to reach to my toes, the ends of my hair, my fingertips. “No cameras. Just us.”

“Just us,” he echoes as he slides a hand into my hair, brings me close, and whispers, “I’m so glad she tricked us.”

“Me too.”

As I hold the rose, he kisses me goodbye, and this one is bittersweet.

It’s full of promise. It speaks of where those kisses could have led. To how far they would have gone. To the kind of nights that might have unfurled between us.

But it also tells stories that must end, since the story of our one and only date is marching toward its inevitable final line.

His lips linger on mine, the barest of touches, like he can’t bear for this to end.

Same for me.

“One more,” I whisper, and I’m the greedy one.

But he obliges, banding an arm around my waist, hauling me close, and planting one helluva goodbye on my lips, like the kind a sailor gives his woman when he leaves.

Then he does just that.

He leaves.

He takes off on a plane to Vegas for real this time, and I run my finger over my lips, remembering.

I go home, set the rose in a vase, and crash. I’m glad too that Grams tricked us, but I’m also not, because I wanted to believe this was something real.

14

Jeanne

Earlier that day

As she finished up the Camaro, her phone dinged.

Wiping her hands on a red bandana, she took the device from her back pocket, clicked opened the text, and nearly squealed when she saw that Kristen and Cameron were having such a good time.

Kristen: We had a blast! We’re going to spend the whole evening together since we’re taking a little trip.

Jeanne had never been so pleased.

Grandmas always knew best. With seventy-five years on this earth, she was simply right.

They were so dang perfect for each other. All they needed was somebody to bring them together, even if it took a little subterfuge. No harm, no foul. Besides, they were both so stubborn in their own ways. That was why they’d needed her—to smush them together as only she could. So what if she’d had to pretend to be Cameron for a few nights? All for a good cause, and clearly she’d made the right call.

Jeanne: I knew you’d hit it off! So thrilled. I won’t say I told you so.

Kristen: You did tell me so. I have to turn my phone off now, but we’ll be there in five hours and I promise to send you a barrage of photos!


Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance
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