Page 56 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

“I . . . I just . . .”

Before I can finish or even figure out what I want to say, Adam’s lips surge forward to claim mine. In one controlled movement, he closes the distance between us and sucks my bottom lip into his mouth. He presses his hips into me, and a breathless moan escapes my throat when I feel him, all of him. I want him to pick me up. I want him to wrap my legs around his waist and pin me to this wall so I can have him where I really want him. I don’t think—I just kiss him back. I kiss him so desperately that there’s no disguising how much I’ve wanted him.

Adam’s hand slides up the back of my neck to tangle in my hair. He kisses me until my thoughts are nothing but haze, and then he drops his lips to my neck and grips my hip, pulling me even tighter against him. I’m putty in his hands. He’s kissing me so passionately that I know there will probably be marks, but I don’t care. It isn’t until his cold fingers slip under the hem of my top, roughly clinging to my bare waist, that I’m shocked into opening my eyes.

We’re in front of the club, out on the open sidewalk. I catch the disapproving stares of people walking by, and I inch myself away, panting. “Adam.” I shake my head. “No.”

He looks around, realizing the public display we’re putting on. He seems equal parts agitated and amused as he roughly rubs his fingers over his eyes with a wide grin plastered on his face. “Bus,” he says, and then he stops rubbing his eyes and reaches for my hand.

“No,” I breathe, shaking my head. “We can’t.” My body screams in protest, but it really needs to learn to shut the hell up.

His face contorts with confusion. “Why?”

“Because . . . we’re friends.”

Adam growls and runs both hands through his hair, frustration rolling off him. “We are not friends.”

His words cut right through me, and I’m afraid I might start crying right here in front of everyone. He must be able to see it, because he immediately backtracks. “No, no, that’s not what I meant.” He looks almost nervous, reaching his hands forward like he’s afraid I’ll shatter into a million pieces and he’ll have to hold me together. I know he’s telling the truth, which makes me feel better. But there’s still the matter of the bus.

“Going back to the bus would be a really bad idea,” I tell him.

“What would be so bad about it?”

Nothing. And everything.

“I’m not looking for a one-night stand . . .” I force a weak smile. “Not even with Adam Everest.” Especially not with Adam Everest.

“How do you know it would be a one night stand?”

I give him a look that says it all. All Adam does is one-night stands. He can’t even deny it.

“Why did you come along on this trip, Peach?”

“I wanted to help you . . .”

“Why?”

“I just did.”

It’s Adam’s logic, so he can’t argue with it. He sighs and takes a step back, running his hand through his hair. After a few seconds, he asks, “Can’t we just see where this goes?”

I shake my head. “I still just want to be friends.” We both know where it would go. It would go straight to bed and then leave me sitting by a phone that never rings, crying on Dee’s shoulder.

“Honestly? After that?” Adam lets out a humorless chuckle. “I don’t think this ‘friends’ thing is really going to work.”

Frowning, I say, “This is exactly why I didn’t want to tell you.”

He steps forward again to rest his forehead against mine. “Peach,” he says, gazing deeply into my eyes. “I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything as badly as I want to pick you up and carry you back to that bus right now.”

I brace my hand on his chest and slowly push him away. He doesn’t look happy, but he lets me move him.

“What am I supposed to do?” he asks me.

“Cool down,” I say with a counterfeit smile.

“And then what?”

“Forget what happened at Mayhem.” And just now. Because God knows just now has been scorched into my memory and will still be sizzling a year from now.

Adam shakes his head. “I can’t do that.”

“Then just pretend.”

He shakes his head again, this time smiling. “Not gonna happen.”

“Why?”

“Don’t want to.” He takes my hand and pulls me away from the wall so he can wrap his arm around my shoulders and walk me back toward the door.

“So you’re cool with being friends?” I ask as we walk.

He laughs against me. “No.”

“But . . . we’re going to try, right?”

He grins down at me, not giving me an answer as he walks me back inside.

Chapter Nineteen

SEEING SHAWN SITTING at the kitchen table the next morning, with his shoulders slumped and his head in his hands like a fifty-pound bowling ball, brings the evil out of me. His messy hair and his dirty clothes from the night before scream killer hangover, and I owe him payback for forcing me to tell Adam my secret.

I make my way to the coffee maker and then rummage through the cabinets and drawers as loudly as humanly possible. I open cabinet after cabinet, slamming them closed as I search for the ground coffee. I find it and slap the can onto the counter. Then I find a drawer filled with miscellaneous spoons and spatulas and shove my hand into it, swirling it around like I can’t find the tablespoon measurer even though it was lying right on top.

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