Neither Nikki nor Molly bothers following him.
The rest of the night is filled with drinks and laughing, with pushing people in the pool and ordering forty dozen Krispy Kreme donuts from concierge. The music doesn’t stop, and neither does the party. Sometime around three in the morning, when Shawn’s discreet touches have grown too much for me to bear, I meet his eyes across the sunken sitting area in the middle of the suite and chew my lip between my teeth. When I stand up, his eyes follow me. When I turn away and cross the room, I know they’re still watching. When I slip outside the suite into the hotel hallway, I know no one notices—no one except him.
I’m leaning against generic eggshell wallpaper when the door opens, and when he steps through it, I grin. But only for a second, because that’s how long it takes him to cross the space between us, thrust his fingers into my hair, and pin me against the wall. His lips cover mine in a kiss that’s been building all night, and breathing becomes something I no longer need to do—because his fingertips are sliding down my neck, over my shoulders and arms, and around my wrists. He stretches my arms above my head, and I’m so his right now, I let him. He parts my thighs with his knee, pressing up against thin jeans until I’m squirming on top of him, making sounds against his mouth that are desperate and pleading. I’m on fire, and Shawn kisses at the flames, making them burn hotter and hotter until I’m devouring his lips just to keep them off my molten skin. If only I could free my hands, I’d be able to put us out, but each time I tug against Shawn’s grip, he pulls them even higher.
Light and music from Van’s suite suddenly spills into the hall, but Shawn doesn’t stop kissing until I do, and even then, he doesn’t release his hold on my wrists. He watches me as I watch over his shoulder—a new cluster of girls enters the suite, and when my dark eyes turn back to Shawn’s, he’s staring at me like nothing else in the world matters. When I try to lower my hands, he refuses to let them budge, and I surrender control faster than I ever thought I would. His eyes darken, my knees go weak, and I just wait. And wait. When he brings his lips to mine again, it’s powerful, dominant, and it makes me squirm between his body and the wall.
“I want you,” he breathes against my neck, sending a sweet rush of heat between my legs. His breath is warm against my skin, his tongue smooth as he dips it into the hollow of my collarbone. With my hands restrained, there’s nothing I can do except let him have me. And God, I want him to have me.
“Let’s go somewhere.”
He lifts his head from my skin to meet my eyes, and the smoldering look in them makes my heart trip and stumble. When I move to lower my hands this time, he lets me, and when I step away from him and start walking backward, he calls after me.
I give him a devilish smile that he can read like one of his books, and when I start to sprint down the hallway, he’s right on my heels.
I have no intention of getting away—I never have, never did—but the fact that he’s chasing after me . . . it makes the running worth it.
ON THE ROOF of the hotel, under a thick blanket of summer stars, Shawn and I are completely, completely alone. During our sprint through halls and stairwells, I nearly crashed into housekeeping, who we ultimately convinced to let us on the roof. I pretended to be a groupie, Shawn pretended to be a member of the “huge rock band” the entire staff had heard about, and by the time we got on the roof, we were both giggling like mischief-making kids. Shawn tried to kiss me, I laughed and jumped away, and he chased me to the edge of the roof. But the view is what caught us, and now, as we stare out over a city that seems to shine just for us, he takes my hand in his.
“It’s beautiful,” I say, mesmerized by the skyline. Touring hasn’t left much time for sightseeing, but I know none of it would have been like this—just Shawn and me, alone, standing at the edge of the world.
When his soft chuckling sounds from beside me, I turn my head and say, “What?”
“Is this the part where I’m supposed to stare at you instead of the view and say something corny like, ‘Yeah, it is’?” I laugh and look back out at the lights, but from the corner of my eye, I can see him still staring at me. His voice becomes exaggeratedly serious when he says, “Because it is. Beautiful, I mean.” I laugh harder and nudge him with my shoulder, and he wraps his arm around me.
“You’re a dork.”
“Only around you.”
I smile out at the sky, content under his arm because there’s not a single place I’d rather be. The breeze carries the crisp scent of his cologne, and it wraps itself around me like a cool summer blanket as the silence between us stretches and stretches, out into the dark, winding through sleeping city streets.
When it reaches too far, I ruin everything by opening my mouth. “I thought we’d have our clothes off by now.”
I blush fiercely as soon as I say it, curling my toes tightly in my boots to punish my foot for putting itself into my mouth, but Shawn’s voice is honest, soft, when he says, “So did I.”
I relax under his arm, thinking—and hoping—that this isn’t something friends with benefits would do. They wouldn’t race to an abandoned roof just to laugh and hold each other. They wouldn’t stand here like we are, creating a memory like this.
When I turn toward Shawn this time, curling my fingers around his shoulders and bringing my lips to his, the kiss is soft, controlled. It’s not a fire. It’s a message. It’s a million things I can’t say, and I when I lower from my tiptoes, I can’t help smiling up at him, warming from the inside out when he mirrors that smile right back at me.