As soon as I thought that, I wanted to smack myself. I needed to get him out of my head now.

“You know why,” I said, as I pointed to the tuition due notice in the middle of our table scattered on top of our mail, including Jennifer’s therapy dog renewal certificate. Anaka knew well and good that romance didn’t mesh with me. Just the memory of those out-of-control days sophomore year when I’d become beholden to food made me cringe. I was a control girl, and had every intention of staying one. That’s why I took that brief hit of William and nothing more. Okay, more like a long and lingering hit. The kind that could feed a late-night fantasy alone in my bedroom.

“You are so not fun,” she said with a huff. “Why did you kiss him if you don’t want to go on at least one date?”

“Because all I wanted was a quick fix, nothing more. I need to focus on finishing my senior year and paying for med school next year. There is no time for boys, guys, or men. Speaking of love, is there any chance you can find out where in Malibu Belle and Bowman are getting hitched? I hear it’s at one of their good friend’s homes. And I need that shot to pay for next year.”

“Sure,” she said. Even though Anaka didn’t believe in nepotism for herself, she took advantage of tidbits her dad might drop and fed them to me. We were quite symbiotic.

“Are you going to the wedding?”

She scoffed. “As if. Besides, if I had gotten an invite, don’t you think I would have told you? My dad’s definitely going, though, so I’ll see if I can get some details. Let’s get Kennedy on it, too,” she said, and opened up an email.

“It’s like we share a brain sometimes,” I said. “I was going to suggest we ask your cousin.”

“Then I’ll just copy you on this note,” she said with a wink as she tapped out a quick email, then closed the browser. “Now tell me more about this kiss with the hot British guy.”

I was about to give her all the details, every single one, when my phone buzzed. I pulled it from my pocket and looked at the screen.

There was a text message from a number I didn’t recognize.

How do I move that maybe to a yes?

An hour later, I still hadn’t replied. Nor had I deleted his note. Which meant I was still squarely in the maybe camp, and definitely not in the no camp, but absolutely fighting off the yes camp.

Because on the one hand, there was that bill. That bill was my future. But on the other hand, here was my present. The tingles that raced down my spine every time I replayed that moment on the boardwalk reminded me of how much a good kiss could turn a day around.

On the third hand, I had been on a nice even keel with food and grades for a few years now. Perfect even. No slip-ups when it came to bulimia, and nothing less than a B when it came to grades. Maybe I was stronger. Maybe I knew how to handle change without spiraling. Perhaps I could manage a little flirtation from a distance.

After washing my face, brushing my teeth, and slipping into bed, I chose the third path. I clicked on his text, adding him to my contacts, and listing him as HBG for Hot British Guy. Keeping him nameless would help me keep him at the necessary distance, I reasoned.

I tapped out a reply.

Generally speaking, one relies on moving trucks for such tall tasks.

I hit send, then hit the pillow. Seconds later, the phone vibrated.

HBG: Funny thing. I have a truck. With a very large bed.

A grin tugged at my lips. Damn that William.

Nice try. But I saw your bike.

I switched off the lamp on my nightstand.

HBG: You were checking out my wheels?

He had me on that one.

Maybe I was. And I’m not sure that bike has enough room for a yes.

I held the phone tighter, eager for a reply.

HBG: But it definitely has enough room if you ever want to go for a ride with me.

My eyes floated shut as a spark rushed through my veins. How I would love to get on the back of his bike, wrap my arms around his waist, and hold on tight.

I thought you were asking me out for a pizza. Now you want a ride, too? You are demanding.

I tossed the phone to the foot of my bed, as if that would stop me from wanting to hear back.

But in seconds, it lit up again. And in seconds I swiveled around and clicked open the screen.

HBG: That’s only because you kissed me. Now I know what I’m missing if you say no. Don’t say no, Jess. I want to see you again, and I want to kiss you again.

Tags: Lauren Blakely Stars In Their Eyes Romance