Page 55 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

“Who is she?” Adam asks Shawn, and I practically lift him out of the seat by his elbow, curling my fingers around his arm and yanking him away from the table.

When Michelle hurries to follow, I stop dead in my tracks to glare back at her and spit, “NOT YOU!” She stumbles back a step as if my words literally slapped her in the face, but I’m too panicked to feel good about it and immediately start hauling Adam toward the door again.

“You better tell him!” Shawn calls after us, but I ignore him, getting Adam out of that club as fast as humanly possible. He’s looking at me like I’m crazy, but he follows me without question.

Once we’re outside, he stops walking, and my tug on his arm gets us nowhere. “What was that about?”

I turn around and stare at him, gnawing on the inside of my lip. It’s going to be so sore tomorrow. “Can we just forget that happened?”

“No,” he says, his tone so much more serious than I’m used to hearing him, “tell me what he was talking about.”

I sigh and stare at the concrete beneath my feet; it takes me a moment, but I eventually summon the courage to look up at him. I take my glasses off and admit, “We’ve met before . . . Before this weekend.”

Adam eyes me curiously. “Where?”

I don’t want to say it, but Shawn is leaving me no choice. “Mayhem.”

“When?”

I tug on my earlobe nervously. I don’t want to have this conversation. This is the last thing I ever wanted. “A little over a month ago.” When I realize I’m still not saying enough, I finally add, “You’ve only been turned down by one girl, Adam. Not two . . . just one.”

Adam stares at me for a long moment, realization slowly washing over him. His eyes soften under the bright street lighting, the breeze gently blowing brown tendrils of hair across his forehead. “Just you,” he agrees quietly, and then, with his eyes still on mine, he reaches behind me. His fingers wrap around my hair tie and pull it down, letting my blonde waves fall free. Then they comb over my temples, pulling my long hair forward and over my shoulders.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you,” I say, frowning as he plays with my hair, but then he reaches up and caresses my bottom lip with the heel of his thumb. And just like last night, I’m frozen. I watch as the memories of our first kisses play in his head. With him touching me like that and looking at me like that, I have no idea what to say or feel or do . . . or . . . or . . . am I even breathing? Holy shit, I need to breathe.

When his gaze falls to my lips and he starts leaning into me, I inhale a sharp breath and take a nervous step away from him. “Whoa.”

He follows the step I take, his eyes smoldering. He slides one of his fingers through my belt loop to pull my hips forward as he forcefully closes the distance between us. My body is suddenly on fire, and I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to fend off all the bad decisions it’s begging me to make. At least he’s not mad . . . I don’t think . . .

“Adam,” I somehow manage to say, my voice breathless and uneven, “we’re still just friends.”

He shakes his head, spinning our bodies around in one quick motion so that I’m pressed with my back against the brick wall. He steps in tight, with one hand still holding my belt loop and the other braced beside my ear. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he asks. His voice is low, dangerous, and sexy as sin. It makes my head spin. Is he pissed? Shit . . . I can’t even tell.

“I . . . I didn’t want you to know.”

“Well now I know.” He’s so close and so tall, I have to look up to meet his eyes. They’re burning down into me, setting every cell in my body into a heat-induced frenzy.

I nod and swallow hard.

“You’ve been in my class for an entire month.”

I nod again, biting down on my bottom lip. But that only draws his attention back to my mouth, so I release it.

“And now you’ve spent the past three days with me, and you told Shawn—”

Cutting him off, I say, “I did not tell Shawn.”

“Then how does he know?”

“He recognized me. You didn’t.” I sound more irritated than I meant to.

“I knew I knew you.” He leans in to press his mouth to my ear and whispers, “You lied to me, Peach.” When he leans back again, his eyes are dark and his expression is unreadable.

“I . . . I’m sorry.”

He slowly shakes his head. “Another lie.”

I stare down at the ground. He’s right, and he has me so damn flustered. Adam’s finger lifts my chin so that I’ll look up at him. “Why didn’t you come backstage that night?”

“I was a mess.”

“I wanted to see you again.”

I want to tell him I’m sorry for the millionth time, but I manage to stay quiet.

Adam’s hand cups the side of my neck, his thumb caressing the soft skin beneath my ear. “You come along on this trip with me . . . and you haven’t even let me kiss you.”

My breath catches in my throat. I . . . what am I supposed to say to that?

His body envelopes me, pressing my back tighter against the wall, shutting everything else out. I can feel how much he wants me. He leans down, agonizingly close to my lips. “Now that I know who you are, will you let me kiss you?”

I nervously shake my head from side to side.

He leans in a little closer, our noses brushing. “Why?” He’s so close, I can feel his breath on my lips.

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