Jesus, we sound spoiled even in my thoughts.

“There’s one right back there,” Tristan says, pointing the way we just came from the garage. “First door on the left.”

“Thanks.” She flashes me a look, one that says she’s petrified, before she leaves.

I turn toward Tristan. “What the hell are you doing here?” I ask him quietly. We share the house that we’ve lived together in since we came here for college. Family sticks together and all that bullshit. Our dads are brothers, meaning Tristan is a Prescott too and he’s even more irresponsible than I am. Or at least, he used to be. Lately he’s actually been concentrating on school and getting decent grades, versus partying all the time.

“Uh, I live here?” Tristan scratches the back of his head, his gaze going to Jade’s retreating back. The bathroom door closes with a soft click.

“I know that, dickhead. I just thought you’d be somewhere else tonight.” It hadn’t been my intention to get her in my bed. Not really. I’d hoped to just hang out and…talk to her. Get to know her.

But the minute she started accusing me of being able to think of only one thing, I could only think of…one thing. Sex. With Jade. Hot and sweaty fucking with my name falling from her lips as I make her come over and over again.

Then Tristan had to show up and ruin everything.

“A few people are coming over.” At my death glare he shrugs, totally unfazed. “Nothing big. Gabe is bringing a couple of chicks so I wouldn’t be lonely. We were going to watch the Giants game I DVR’d. Drink beer. Smoke a bowl. You in?”

I don’t want to be in. I want to spend time with Jade. Alone. But I don’t want her to be uncomfortable either. Would she care if I smoked a little weed? I’m amped up. Feeling a little edgy.

I blame it all on sexual frustration.

“I’ll see what Jade wants to do,” I start, then clamp my lips shut when I see the shit eating grin on Tristan’s face. “What?”

“You’re going to consult with the redhead first? When do you ever consult with anyone? You always do whatever the hell you want.” Tristan’s smile somehow grows wider. “You like this chick.”

There’s no use denying it. “Don’t call her that. She has a name. And didn’t we already have this conversation?” I ask irritably as I walk away from him and head for the fridge, opening it so I can check out what’s inside. I should offer Jade something to drink but all we have is beer and bottled water. Oh and a fifth of vodka in the freezer.

“Yeah, but now I’m seeing it in action. You looked ready to maul her in your car, man, which is stupid when you have a perfectly good house you can put to use.”

Couldn’t put the house to use with his ass in it. “You didn’t see shit,” I mutter, slamming the double doors of the refrigerator. I turn and face him. “Just…lay off tonight, okay? She’s skittish enough.”

“What do you mean, she’s skittish? Around you?” Tristan asks incredulously. “Give me a break. You usually have them tearing their panties off within minutes.”

I say nothing. He’s right. But Jade’s proven different from the moment we first met. She’s unlike any girl I’ve ever been with. Hell, I haven’t even been with her yet. I haven’t kissed her. We haven’t done shit but torture each other.

And it’s been pure torture. I had my chance and denied myself. Tonight that’s the last thing I want.

“So tell me.” I glance up when Tristan approaches. He leans against the kitchen counter, contemplating me. The smile is long gone, his expression serious. “What’s so different about this girl compared to the others? Is it only about the challenge? I can understand the appeal. She’s beautiful. And there’s something to be said for wanting what you can’t have.”

“I’ve always gotten whatever I wanted my entire life. So have you,” I tell him and he nods in agreement. “But there’s something about this girl that I think…might be worth waiting for.”

“Really.” Tristan’s voice is flat, downright disbelieving. “But what makes her so different, man? I don’t get it.”

I don’t either. I’m about to tell him that but then I hear the bathroom door open and I clamp my lips shut, not about to let Jade overhear our conversation about her. I turn to face her, watching as she enters the kitchen, her gaze everywhere but on mine.

“You all right?” I ask, looking over my shoulder real quick to discover Tristan is gone. Like a ghost. He’s good at that sometimes. Other times, his timing is for shit. Like out in the garage.

She smiles but she still won’t look at me. She seems fascinated by the oven that’s just behind me. “Your kitchen is gigantic.”

“Yeah, it is.” I try to see it through her eyes but it’s hard. I’ve lived here three years. I’ve come in and out of this kitchen every day to get to the garage and I don’t pay attention to shit. I don’t really ever hang out in the kitchen, beyond rushing in for a bag of chips or a beer. “You like it?”

She goes to the oven, her fingers drifting over the burner knobs. “It’s a professional range.”

“What?”

“The oven and stove. It’s professional grade. Like, out of a restaurant.” She touches one of the burners. “It looks like it’s never been used.”

“Probably, because it really hasn’t been. Tristan and I don’t cook much,” I admit.

“Such a shame.” She sighs, her gaze finally lifting to meet mine. “I like to cook,” she admits.

“Really?” I’m surprised. But then again, I’m not because I don’t know anything about this girl. Nothing.

Jade nods. “I really like to bake. Growing up, my grandma used to bake all the time and I would help her. I’m sure I was more a pain in her butt, but she was always so patient with me.” She smiles but it’s sad and her eyes get this far away look in them. “It’s one of my favorite memories of her.”

“What’s your favorite thing to bake?” Her grandma must’ve died but I don’t want to ask. The memories might be too painful.

“Homemade cookies. Cakes. My grandma made this chocolate cake that’s to die for.” Her smile grows. “I can bake a mean apple pie too.”

“A mean one versus a nice one?” I tease, wanting to make her laugh. I don’t like thinking about her sad.

She rolls her eyes. “You know what I mean. My grandma’s recipe is the best apple pie I’ve ever tasted. I even make the crust from scratch.”

“Wow, I’m impressed.” I take a step closer to her, catching her scent, warm and sweet. “So tell me. What’s a guy gotta do to get you to make him a chocolate cake from scratch?”

“You don’t like apple pie?” she asks, her eyes going wide when I draw even closer to her.

“I prefer cake, especially ones that are to die for.” I smile. “I like the frosting part best.”

She laughs. “I bet you were the kid who always stuck his fingers in the frosting bowl when your mom wasn’t looking.”

“My mom has never baked a thing in her life. Besides, I wasn’t allowed in the kitchen when I was a kid. I’d just get in the servants’ way.”

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