She laughs, but it’s a brittle sound. “Come on. We didn’t actually have a wedding last night.”
“We didn’t? You’re sure?” I perk up. Great. She remembers last night. I squeeze my eyes and try to recall something—anything—that happened after Declan and Shannon said their goodbyes at the reception last night.
“I’m, well, I mean...” Twisting in my arms, she looks at me with those big, wide, trusting eyes, her left hand splayed against my bare chest, digging in where the robe has separated. “You don’t remember what happened?”
My voice drops with uncertainty.
Hers goes up.
“We both can’t remember any part of last night?”
“When does your memory end?” I ask.
Mascara is streaked along the corner of her eye, and any makeup she wore last night currently resides somewhere on my skin or on the bedsheets. I can only imagine what I look like.
Amanda, though, is gorgeous. In my arms and looking at me with a perplexed expression, biting her lower lip while she flips through the filing cabinets of memory in her mind, and—
“I don’t know.”
I sit up. “You’re the fixer.”
“I know! But I remember saying goodnight to Shannon, hugging Declan, and then—poof!Nothing.”
“That’s when my memory ends, too,” I say, my skin beginning to crawl. “I know one thing: we did not have a foursome.”
“And I soooooo did not sleep with Josh. He’s gay. The man can’t handle watching a birth video. A real-life vagina would send him into cardiac arrest.”
“I know my heart pounds whenever I see yours,” I whisper. She gives me a reluctant smile, in spite of her hangover.
“That was baaaaaad,” she groans.
“All signs point to the sex question being put to rest. Worst case, all we did was sleep with each other,” I note.
“Worst case? Buddy, sleeping with me is best case. Best case. Always best.”
That was an unfortunate choice of words on my part. Before I can do damage control, she speaks.
“What if we are?” she hisses.
Her eyes dart to mine.
EXCERPT #3: (Sexy)
Water is my second home. Swimming twice a week keeps me sane. Lap after lap, stroke after stroke, I disappear into the pool at Declan’s place, the one in my apartment building too warm for miles of swimming. You fade into nothing but the differentiated cells of the body when you turn into a machine that reaches, kicks, breathes—and repeats ad infinitum.
Here in the resort's hot spring inside the spa, I reach, I kick, I breathe—and I kiss her until I disappear into the water and Amanda, my own name fading as I become nothing but water and love, tongue and heat, fingertips and pulse. We kiss in the water, my arms steel bands that cage her, our bodies melting in the humid heat of a fake rainforest that contains too much real love.
Releasing her, I wriggle out of my wet pants, kick off my shoes, and swim away, letting the water take me, a simple crawl speeding me to the end of the meandering pool. Designed to look like a naturally-shaped pond, there is no true side, and I misjudge, whacking my hand on the green-painted cement edge.
I can’t do an underwater flip, so I pivot, returning to her, roaring up with a few butterfly strokes designed to cover her with a giant wave of foam.
She’s laughing when I surface, her hair covering her like wet ribbons, her mouth open with joy, eyes wide and amused. I hope her headache’s gone. I hope her hangover has dissolved. I hope we can capture this moment for a few more seconds and laugh together, because it’s the first time in my life that I’ve felt like infinite good exists in the world, and I’m only touching a tiny grain of sand in a vast ocean of it.
“You swim like Michael Phelps!” she gasps.
“Michael Phelps swims like me,” I correct her.
A fit of giggles overcomes her and I watch, cocking my head to catch her at an odd angle, the tiny perspective change an order of magnitude in difference. Luminous and winsome, Amanda’s eyes catch mine, darting between them, as if she’s trying to look at me forever.
I grab her and the brush of her breasts against my bare, wet chest takes my breath away.
“You have the body of a swimmer,” she says, her voice rumbling, making me groan as she nips my earlobe.
“And you have the body of a goddess.” I reach for her and she pulls away, giggling.
“We can’t have sex in public!”
I look around. “No one else is here. I own the resort.” I bridge the gap between us and watch her react to my words. Lust and restraint fight for dominance in those lush brown eyes, warm and tempted, her pupils big and open.
“It’s not like we can just lock the door.”
I walk out of the zero-gravity pool and grab the corded phone by the door. Two sentences later, it’s done. A red light on a control panel pops on. Locked.
“Yes,” I say, turning to her with a grin. “We can.”
It’s good to be the king.
I can’t get back to her fast enough, the water welcoming me, the knowledge that we’re alone and will not be disturbed a titillating, erotic secret that makes me so hard, I ache. She’s in my arms and I’m kissing her, bare, wet skin dominating every second, and if I can’t get inside her soon, I’m going to die.
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