I tightened my legs around him and let them hold me up, freeing my hands to explore his face. I ran a tentative hand through his hair and watched as his eyes closed, then reopened. He gripped my butt, one cheek in each hand, and thank God I’d wore sexy underwear. I traced my fingers over his forehead, his cheeks, his jaw. Those lips. He watched me, those dark blue eyes almost glowing. I avoided meeting them, putting my focus on the small scar on his nose, the light shadow of facial hair along his jaw, the strong cleft of his cheekbones. He was heartbreakingly perfect. Masculine—yet, in those eyes, a hint of vulnerability.
It should have made me bolder, but it only caused my panic to rise. “I—”
I was going to say that I didn’t know what to do with him, but then he leaned forward and pressed his lips against mine. Softly, like he was creaking open a door, unsure if anyone was home. My lips parted, and I inhaled, then pressed back, a sweet and salty connection that deepened as his tongue met mine. One of his hands tightened on my ass as the other journeyed up my back, crushing me to him as our kiss grew more frantic and needy. I lost my hesitation and scraped my hands through his hair, fisting the short strands as our mouths battled against each other. Soft then hard. Deep then shallow. He cupped my face and kissed the side of my mouth, my jaw, my neck. He bruised my skin with his tongue as I clawed at his back. His hand found my breast, and I gasped as his touch turned gentle, his mouth softening, finding mine again as he caressed me.
I pulled back, my legs coming loose of his torso, and I put the soles of my feet against his chest and pushed, propelling me away from him.
He let me go, and I treaded in place, catching my breath as my body hummed with the insane need to get back into his arms. I had thought for a long time about kissing him, and it was better than I had ever dreamed. It wasn’t fair. He shouldn’t have everything. Fame, followers, and sex appeal, plus chemistry and a mouth like that? How was a woman supposed to co-exist with that? How was I supposed to live in a house one hallway down from that and function as a member of society?
I should get back to the house. This wasn’t part of the script, wasn’t on the episode list. I was supposed to be making out with Layton next to the bonfire, then starting an argument with Eileen about her parents versus my parents. It was all there, cut into ten-minute segments and printed on 8.5 by 11 paper and distributed to all of the cast members and crew.
An engine rumbled from somewhere, and I glanced at the shore.
“Hey.” He splashed water in my direction. “Come here.”
I ignored him, ducking under the water to wet my hair and shock myself back into reality. I was Emma Blanton. Cool and witty Emma Blanton. Practically famous. Worthy of the click-to-follow action of forty-two million people.
I could do anything. Swim back over to him and kiss him again. Laugh at his seduction abilities and make a cruel joke. Play the aloof friend card and pretend that none of what just happened mattered, and I kiss hot boys in cold oceans all the time. I bobbed in the water and watched as a spotlight traveled across the water and flickered over us. “I’m a virgin.”
I couldn’t see his face in the dark, and I was grateful for that. I didn’t want to know what he was thinking or how that reaction played out on his features. I swam one stroke toward the shore, making sure to keep my distance from him. “I just thought you should know. In case you thought something was going to happen between us.”
“Something already has happened between us.”
He had no tone when he said it, the words not giving me any hint as to what he was thinking, but that had been a major confession for me. Bojan didn’t even know about my virginal status, though he had called me a prude on several occasions. I swam further toward shore and heard the splash of water as he followed. “Emma, wait.”
I ducked underwater and breast-stroked, wanting to hide my position, but his hand closed around my ankle, and I was pulled back and suddenly back in his arms.
“Are you fucking with me?” Water dripped from his eyebrow, and a wet lock of hair fell over his forehead, and I couldn’t believe that I was in his arms, practically naked against his chest, and he was staring at me as if he cared.