Snow kept falling in a steady light shower that coated my head and shoulders. I had an urge to tip my head back and catch snowflakes on my tongue, but I ended up throwing my arms out, tipping my head back, and belting out, “If you want a woman with a tight little kitty, then find one with itty bitty titties!”
Kyler got an arm around my waist, laughing. “God, you are so trashed.”
“You haven’t heard of the song.” I leaned into him, wrapping my arms around his waist, but my grip ended up around his thighs. Odd. “It’s by Haven Palen Pole.”
He held me up. “That would be David Allen Coe, baby.”
I frowned. “That’s what I said.”
“Whatever you say.”
We walk—or shuffled along—about a yard and then I walked straight into a mailbox. I grunted. “Son of a bitch jumped right out in front of me!”
Kyler stopped, shaking his head. “You are a hazard to yourself right now.”
“I’m fine.” I waved him off, edging around the tricky inanimate object as I shot it a dark look. “I’m watching you.”
“Let me help you,” he offered. “Okay? I’ll get us both home in one piece and keep us far away from ninja mailboxes.”
Sounded like a good plan, but when Kyler wrapped his arms around my waist and lifted me, practically tossing me over his shoulder, I was so not expecting that. I let out a squeal and immediately started squirming.
“Behave.” He smacked my ass.
He smacked it again, and I got in a good punch in the kidneys. My butt was too cold to really burn, but his grunt brought a smile to my face. This whole position wasn’t real good for the alcohol sloshing around in my stomach, though.
Kyler took three steps, and I decided I needed to get down. I reared back suddenly and he stumbled to the side. He stepped into a snowdrift. I wiggled down his front, causing our legs to tangle.
“What are you doing?” he asked, trying to get a grip on me.
“Down.” I swung back and ended up taking our legs right out from underneath us. Kyler twisted at the last moment, taking the brunt of the fall in the drift, and I landed on top of him.
Neither of us moved for a second, and then his hands clamped down on my hips. Under me his chest started to move slowly and then faster. Loud laughter barreled out of his throat, bringing a happy smile to my face.
I planted my hands on his chest and lifted my head.
He stared up at me, smiling. My breath caught and I felt dizzy. “You’re beautiful.”
Kyler reached up, brushing my hair from my face and tucking it back behind my ear. “I think that’s my line.”
“You think I’m beautiful?”
His gaze roamed over my face like he was committing every freckle to memory. Giddiness swept through me, like I was caught up in a bubble. “I’ve always thought you were beautiful, Syd.”
The world was bright and shiny and new. “Really?”
“Yeah,” he replied, his hand falling away from my hair, back to my hip. “Yeah, I have.”
There was nothing else for me to do. I only had one option. Kyler said I was beautiful and I’d waited since forever to hear him say that.
So I kissed him.
Or at least I tried to.
My aim was completely off. My lips collided with his cool cheek.
“Syd,” he said, and the way he spoke my name, like it was caught between a curse and a prayer, hollowed my stomach.
His hands slid up to my waist, under the hoodie and my sweater. His fingers brushed my bare skin and I felt the contact in the sharpest, most delicious way. My back arched, and it all seemed like the go ahead to me. I rolled my lower body down onto his and I sucked in a sharp breath as I felt him pressing against the softest part of me. Kyler made a deep sound in his throat, his fingers digging into my sides and setting fire to my nerves.
Kyler moved so fast. The world turned upside down, and I was suddenly on my back and he was above me, his hair falling over his forehead in a messy sweep. Hey now! I liked where this was heading.
Tiny snowflakes covered his head, glimmering in the dim street lamp. Cold snow crept under my clothing, but I barely felt it. I was on fire. I was burning up from the inside, my senses were all over the place, and it was the best feeling I’d ever had. I reached up, letting my fingers thread through his soft hair. His reaction seemed to be on instinct. He closed his eyes and tilted his cheek into the palm of my hand. Warmth blossomed in my chest.
“You have no idea what you’re doing,” Kyler said, catching one of my hands and holding it down in the snow, next to my head. His fingers circled my wrist in a firm grip.
I wiggled under him. “Yes, I do.”
His eyes closed again and when they reopened, they were like black pools. “You’re so drunk, Syd.”
“Nah-uh.” I managed to get a leg out from underneath his, but then he sat up, pulling me along with him. A second later, I was on my feet and the sky did a little jig. “Whoa.”
“Yeah, whoa, exactly,” he said, his voice deeper than I’d ever heard it. “Let’s go home.”
“Sydney,” he snapped, and I flinched. “You are drunk. The only thing that I’m going to let happen is me getting you home.”
There was that tone again—the kind that said “shut up and do as I say.” Usually I bucked at that, but I was shocked into listening. He took my hand again and started walking back to the house. I stumbled alongside him, confusion eating away at me along with the tequila. I didn’t understand. He was attracted to me. He’d said I was beautiful and that he’d always thought I was beautiful, and I’d felt him. Like I felt how attracted he was against me. There’d been no hiding that, but he’d rejected me.
Kyler had rejected me.
And he didn’t reject any female.
I wanted to cry—to sit down in the snow and cry. Humiliated, confused, and still more than a little horny, I forced myself to stay quiet and to keep walking. Both were equally hard. Diarrhea of the mouth was building in my throat. No good could come from that. It took forever to get to the house and by then I couldn’t feel my hands or legs and I didn’t think the snow had anything to do with that.
Kyler let go of my hand as he turned on the lights. The harsh glare hit me hard, causing the room to make like a Tilt-a-Whirl. He was right there—perfect timing too, because I was sure my legs had stopped working.
Lifting me up, he cradled me close to his chest as he started toward the stairs. “You shouldn’t have drunk so much, Syd. There was no reason for that.”
I burrowed my face into his shoulder. Being admonished for drinking too much by Kyler Quinn was the height of irony and embarrassment, but he was right. I was so drunk I could admit I was drunk.
Kyler said nothing as he carried me upstairs and to the room I was staying in. He said something when he placed me down on the bed, but the moment my head hit the pillow, I was blissfully and luckily out cold.
What in the fuck just happened?
Seriously. I was waiting for some divine intervention to offer up an explanation.
I stared down at Syd, totally convinced that when I entered Snowshoe I must’ve walked into some kind of warped reality where seeing Syd half-naked occurred, watching her get drunk off her ass, and then having her try to kiss me was run-of-the-mill.
I was absolutely struck stupid, and kind of pissed, too. If I hadn’t been with her tonight, she would’ve hooked up with some random ski instructor. And fucking Zach at that? Acid burned in my stomach. Holy shit, that didn’t sit well with me at all.
And I was also sort of turned on, but then again, she had just been wiggling in my lap like any number of the girls back at school did. And she’d felt really damn good wiggling in my lap—too damn good, and real hard to turn down.
Man, I had no business even thinking about this. Of course I was attracted to her, but I couldn’t go there, because if I really started to acknowledge that, then I’d have to get real about other things.
I scrubbed my hand over my face. Syd was drunk, really drunk. The girl needed to stay away from Jose.
She shifted, her brows pinching as she whimpered softly.
I was by her side before I even realized I’d moved. “Syd?”
No response from her, and I could tell she wasn’t comfortable. Straightening, I bit back a curse. I couldn’t leave her like this. And what if she got sick? Grabbing a pillow from the head of the bed, I slipped a hand under her head and placed the pillow underneath. She didn’t wake, but flopped onto her back.
I grinned and wondered if she even knew she had lain down the wrong way on the bed. I was going to go with a no. Moving to the head of the bed, I sat down and gently tugged off her boots. They were some kind of fake sheepskin or something and came up to her knees. The wedge soles were damp from the snow.
Placing them near the chair in the room, I turned in time to see her trying to sit up. “Syd?”
She mumbled something and the only thing I made out was the word, “Hot,” and then she started tugging at the hoodie I’d made her put on. Within seconds, she got it stuck around her head.
I laughed as her arms dropped to her sides.
Her voice was muffled but it did not sound friendly. Then she bent over, trying to pull it off that way. Good God, she was going to suffocate herself.
“Hold on,” I said, sitting beside her. “Let me get this off.”
She smacked at my hands, but I got her head free and she went for her sweater underneath.
Sighing, I grabbed her wrists. “Syd, let me get this for you.”
Her eyes were completely glazed over, and I doubted she had any idea what was going on, but she settled down enough that I was able to get her sweater off, leaving her in her tank and jeans.
“I need…” she mumbled, leaning forward and resting her forehead against my shoulder. “I need to get undressed.”
I chuckled as I wrapped an arm around her back, holding her up. “Baby, you just took off two sweaters.”
“Pants.” She wiggled up into my lap, so her legs were on either side of mine and sighed.
“I’m going to sleep.”
Turning so she didn’t slip out of my lap and hit the floor, I smiled against the top of her bent head. “You’re going to sleep just like this?”
I laughed again. “You can’t sleep in my lap.”
She burrowed closer, curling up in a little ball. Goosebumps spread across her arms. “Why not?” she grumbled pitifully.
“It’s not going to be very comfortable.” I brushed her hair off her cheek as I leaned back, my gaze searching her face. Eleven freckles. That was how many are sprinkled across her nose and cheeks. Thick lashes fanned her cheeks. Was she asleep? “Syd?”
My brows rose. “You want your jeans off?”
She pressed her cheek against my chest and tapped my leg once. I guessed that was drunk Morse code for yes. Swearing under my breath, I knew what I was going to have to do. Something I never thought I’d ever do with her.