The Destiny Watermelon Festival had been a big deal for as long as I could remember. Mom and Ronnie used to bring us here every year. Now, apparently, the club were a part of it. They ran a barbecue cookout stand to raise money for the local hospital. It was a silent payoff for building a strip club across the road from their Emergency Room.
It was busy. Being a Saturday, the showground was packed with families. Parents pushed strollers while kids ran around hopped up on cotton candy and corndogs. Teenagers hung in groups, while lovers strolled hand in hand. There were tantrums. There was laughter. There was a festive vibe in the air as the town gathered on the small showground to celebrate their biggest export: the watermelon.
Here you could get it all. Watermelon cotton candy. Watermelon slushies. Watermelon ice cream. Fresh watermelon. Juiced watermelon. Watermelon cut in the shape of your favorite Pokémon. Watermelon socks. Watermelon stress balls.
At midday, there would be a watermelon-eating contest, followed by a seed-spitting competition.
Yep. A seed-spitting competition.
Because we did that here.
It had been a long time since I’d been to the festival and I had almost forgotten about it. The last time I’d visited it, I was with Cade and we’d just become official boyfriend and girlfriend, and he had won me a gigantic soft toy in the shape of a donut.
I stopped walking. “Why did you bring me here?”
Cade turned around. Two dimples deepened in his cheeks. “Something tells me you need to be reminded how to have a good time.”
I put my hands on my hips. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“It means you need to lighten up and have some fun.”
When he started to walk away I stomped after him.
“I know how to have fun!”
“I don’t think you do.”
I had to walk quickly to catch up to him. Cade was tall. His stride was twice the size of mine.
“Just because I don’t want to hang out at some stupid watermelon festival, doesn’t mean I don’t know how to have a good time.”
“Yeah, it does.”
“My friends all think I’m fun,” I insisted. “Anyway, I have things to do. More important things than hanging out at some fruit carnival.”
He stopped walking and turned around. “Fine. Just let me kick your ass at Shootout and then we’ll go.”
He started walking again.
“Kick my—I don’t think so!” Again, I had to walk fast to keep up. “My aim is on point, I’ll have you know!”
“Still not as good as mine,” he said, stopping beside the Shootout booth.
I knew he was baiting me to play, but I couldn’t help myself. And he knew I wouldn’t be able to resist the challenge. Because he knew me so well.
Even when he paid for the both of us to play, I still resisted.
“If you beat me, we’ll go home,” he said, picking up a wooden air rifle and loading it. “If I win, we stay and ride the wheel.”
“There is no way you’re getting me up on that thing.”
“Oh, that’s right, I forgot. You’re afraid of heights.”
“I’m not afraid of anything,” I said raising my chin. “I just don’t trust their safety standards, is all.”
“Sure, you don’t.” He cocked his gun. “We got a deal?”
For a moment, our eyes locked in battle.
“Fine,” I snapped, picking up a rifle. “You win, we ride the wheel. If I win, we aren’t leaving right away, I’m going to pick out the biggest soft toy there is and make you walk around the park with it all morning.”
She kicked my ass.
I mean, she really mopped the floor with me.
When she won the first game, I insisted it was the best out of three. When she won all three, I talked her into game four.
Which she won.
And I had to admit, watching her handle that rifle like a badass made me hard as fuck.
Now I was walking around cuddling a gigantic soft bunny with the biggest floppy ears known to man.
And Indy was enjoying every second of it.
The upside—she wasn’t running away from me. Or telling me what an asshole I was. She wanted to stay and make me walk around with this damn thing attached to my hip all morning as some kind of payback.
The downside . . . well, there wasn’t one. Hanging out with Indy was turning out to be the best day I’d had in a long time. She was relaxed. And she laughed . . . a lot. I missed that laugh. And the way she tilted her head back and half closed her eyes when she found something hilarious.
Being with her was easy.
And a turn on.
Because I had a hard-on that wouldn’t quit.
“What should we do next?” I asked as we walked down Sideshow Alley, eating corndogs smothered in ketchup.
When I looked at her, she was already looking at me. She had a smear of ketchup at the corner of her mouth, and when I reached over to wipe it with the pad of my thumb, I found myself resisting the sudden urge to lean down and brush my lips against her mouth. Everything in my body begged me to touch her. To lick the sweet sauce from her skin. To part those luscious lips with my tongue and kiss her to hell and back. To reach for her and crush her body against me so she could feel everything she was doing to me. She lifted her lashes and smiled, but it slowly faded as the moment deepened and something shimmered between us. Her lips parted and said kiss me. While her eyes darkened and said don’t.