“Why’d you quit?”
“It stopped being fun,” I said with a twinge of sadness. “Being part of the swim team wasn’t cool. If I hadn’t stopped, then maybe…”
“Maybe I could’ve gotten a scholarship for swimming or something.” Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten into trouble. Maybe I would’ve graduated from school with my class. Maybe I could still go back to my hometown without people telling me to get the hell out.
“Where did your thoughts just go?” he asked. “You were miles away.”
I twisted my beer bottle into the sand so it wouldn’t fall, stood, and wiped the sand off my butt. “I didn’t go anywhere. I was right here.”
“Your thoughts wandered somewhere. You were overthinking something.”
I stared at him, confused.
“Your forehead furrows, and you get this cute little wrinkle between your eyes when you’re thinking something through.”
“Guess I need some Botox.” I ran to the water’s edge then ran into the foaming surf, followed by Evan.
“Race you to the net,” I called back.
“What does the winner get?” he asked when he caught up.
“If I win, you have to come work on my truck for the day. Make coffee from dawn till dusk.”
We both treaded water, circling one another.
“You’re on, but if I win, you have to come on a proper date with me.”
“I hope you like making coffee.”
“I hope you like eating dinner.” He threw his head back and laughed. “That sounded better in my head. Do you want a head start? I’m fair like that.”
“I don’t need one,” I shot back.
“Don’t say I didn’t offer. On your marks, get set, go.”
Because he had a few inches on me, he had a strong head start, but I soon picked up the pace, and after a few seconds, we were head-to-head. But at the last minute, he got a burst of energy and pushed forward, reaching the net before me. He held his arms up in victory.
“Looks like I’m the winner,” he said when I reached him. “And I’ve changed my mind about what I want. I want a kiss.”
I splashed some water at him, breathing hard and trying to get some air into my burning lungs.
“No changes allowed. It’s against the terms.”
“I changed the terms. You kiss me, and I’ll work at your truck.”
I mulled over his change of terms. My hormones urged me to agree. They jumped up and down, screaming at me like the audience from Deal or no Deal. One kiss wouldn’t hurt, would it?
“And when would this kiss happen?”
“No time like the present.”
I flicked water at his face. “You’ve got to catch me first.” I raced back to shore. I didn’t care how much my lungs burned. If he wanted me, he would have to catch me. By the time I reached the sand, an inferno incinerated my lungs, and my legs wobbled like melting jelly.
I was almost at my towel when he caught me and tackled me to the sand, his strong, wet body pinning me down from behind.
I screamed and kicked in an attempt to escape. “I’m going to have sand in every single orifice.”
“I’ve got plenty of showers.”
I was still trying to catch my breath from the swim, but I was also trying to catch my breath from having him on top of me. His weight was delectable, and his hard muscles against mine sent me to the stars.
He flipped me around until we were face to face.
“I’ll have that kiss now.”
I gazed into his dilated eyes and licked my lips, tasting the tang of saltwater. Still breathless, I swallowed hard, feeling more nervous than I should be.
“One kiss,” he whispered.
“One kiss.” I opened my mouth a little knowing full well we wouldn’t stop at one kiss, and I was more than okay with that. He lowered his head until our lips were a wisp apart.
“You’ve no idea how much I’ve imagined this moment, Willow.”
He pressed his lips to mine, and I just about died and floated to heaven.
My fingers dug into his biceps, and we kissed hungrily, desperately. The day-old stubble on his jaw scratched my face, but it felt glorious and sexy. His lips were firm, his kiss powerful, and when his tongue swept into my mouth, I gave a slow shuddery sigh.
A rough groan tore from his throat, causing me to writhe and arch up. I needed more. I needed all of him.
I knew one kiss wouldn’t suffice. Pandora’s box had been well and truly opened, and we’d never be able to close it again.
He lifted his head and locked his eyes on mine.
He flexed his hips and nudged his erection against my crotch. Instinctively, I hooked my legs around his waist.
“It’s just a kiss, remember?” I said, grinding against his hardness.
He flexed his hips again. “Sure.”
I closed my eyes on a moan. My entire body trembled, and my inner muscles clamped down like I was having a mini orgasm.