The beginning of a relationship is exciting. It’s scary as hell too. There are all sorts of emotions running through your head and sometimes you even second guess everything that is said or done by either of you.
It’s no different in a romance novel. The hero and heroine go through the same things, the same mixed bag of emotions. They each have their own hurts and vulnerabilities and issues. And while we may not always think so, those things are part of the excitement, too.
Oh God. She was really there, staring at him, and he — bless his gorgeous face — he looked happy to see her. Looking at his smile, she suddenly felt out of her element again and for some reason not quite up to the dress code in her denim knee-length skirt and brown hoodie. Her pink painted toes curled under as she shifted her weight nervously from one foot to the other in the cute, sparkly flip-flops Alli had talked her into wearing. But there wasn’t a dress code, given that he was in faded, threadbare jeans with holes in the knees and one of the back pockets ripped at the seams. His T-shirt was black with a washed-out logo she couldn’t make out, and his sneakers had seen much better days. Still, she felt uncertain about how she looked to him standing there while they stared at each other. What was it about him that drew her and scared her all at the same time? Maybe it was his freshness, his youth, his smile that was flawless and bright and aimed at her.
He stopped in front of her. “You’re here.”
“Yes. I-I hope it’s okay that I just showed up like this without calling first.”
“Yep. I’m glad you’re here. I can stop checking my phone every thirty seconds now.”
Checking his phone? Was he serious? Surely not. “I-I’m sure you have things to do. I just wanted to…” Lily hated that she was stumbling all over herself and couldn’t seem to get a string of words to come out in some semblance of order and make sense. The man had her all tongue-tied and she wished she hadn’t had that particular thought, because she would love to be tongue-tied, naked, and wrapped around him.
Dammit. She really had to stop thinking things like that. If she could just stay focused on the fact that he was so much younger than her, she might actually get out of this awkward mess unscathed.
And he had to stop looking at her like he wanted to devour her.
“I have nothing else that I’m needed for until tomorrow, so that means I’m all yours tonight.”
“Oh.” She likely hadn’t hidden the surprise at his choice of words, because he laughed. All hers? Yeah, right. In what universe was a man like Cam Carter ever going to be “all hers”?
“You like that idea.”
The man was reading her mind again, just as he’d done at the autograph session. She had to learn not to be so transparent. Alli was forever telling her that everything she thought or felt could be seen in her eyes and in the expressions on her face.
“Well, yes, of course. How could I not?” She’d play along, though. How often did an average, ordinary music teacher and orchestra member get this kind of opportunity? “I’d be crazy to not want you all to myself.”
“Great. Because that’s how I want you.” He stepped closer and lifted his hand, then traced the outline of her cheekbone, causing her breath to catch in her throat. “I want you all to myself.”
He was going to kiss her. She knew it because he took off his sunglasses, because the pulse beat in his neck had kicked into high gear, because his lips actually brushed hers. Oh. My. God.
He’s too young. He’s too young. He’s too young.
Her mind rattled off the litany. She promised herself she needed to remember it in the event she got carried away and gave serious consideration to spending any kind of time with him. But all of it flew away in the breeze when she let herself get swept up in the softness of his lips, the insistent tip of his tongue, the feel of his hand sliding into her hair, holding her mouth to his.
It was a brief kiss, just a taste of him, but it was enough to whet her appetite for more. The little devil inside her head laughed. As if she needed her appetite whetted. She had thought of little else in the last six days, and she’d never wrestled with anything more. Should she or shouldn’t she? Should she call or just show up?
More than once, she’d picked up the phone and dialed his number but never let the call go through. What if he hadn’t remembered her by just her name and voice alone? What if he put her off or changed his mind or hadn’t meant for her to take the date and time on the picture seriously?
She’d been so uncertain that Alli had actually followed her to the race shop and waited while she got out of her car and sat down on the bench. As soon as Alli left, Lily had entertained the same notion, but then Cam walked out, and she couldn’t walk away without trying. Trying what, she didn’t know, but there was definitely something between them, some chemistry even she couldn’t deny.
“Just as sweet as I knew you’d be.”
Lily smiled, unsure what to say. You are just as hot as I remembered, and I want to see how hot you are naked in bed.
“What do you want to do? Dinner? A movie? A concert? A club? Whatever you want to do, we will do.”
“Yes. What did you think this was?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t know you wanted to go out with me. On a date. In public.”
Cam looked at her curiously, his smile faltering, his eyes hooded and unreadable. “Was I being presumptuous in thinking that you might like to?”
“I… No. No, not at all. ”
The light returned to his face and it took her breath away. Again. Damn. The effect the man had on her… Cam Carter wanted her, wanted to spend time with her, go out on a date with her. She wasn’t strong enough to deny him or herself. He was offering her a chance few women ever got. Why not make the most of it?
“Just so we’re clear here, I want more than one date, Lily.”
Well, she wasn’t expecting that. She swallowed hard. “More than one date?”
“Oh yes. A lot more than one.”
“What do you mean?”
Cam smiled at her and bent to kiss her again, short and sweet, just a meeting of lips. “We’ll talk about it later. What do you say we go have dinner? I’m starving, and a steak sounds great.”
“Do you mind if we take my truck?”
“Truck? You drive a truck?”
“Yeah. What were you thinking I drove?”
“Honestly, I don’t know, maybe a sports car, but a truck never entered my mind.”
“My family lives for trucks.” His grin was megawatt as he slid his sunglasses back on.
“I can drive my own car.”
“I know, but I’d rather us take one car. Like a proper date. Besides, this way I know we’ll get to where we’re going together, and you won’t run on me.”
Lily laughed. “Yes, but you’ll have to bring me back here to pick up my car.”
“I don’t care. Just gives me a little more time with you. C’mon.”
He didn’t give her time to say anything else, because he took her hand and pulled her along behind him. And the view was amazing. Her “good girl” side was admonishing her for staring so blatantly at Cam’s ass, while her “devil girl” side was rooting her on with fist pumps in the air.
The man had a fabulous set of buns in denim, and she wondered if he was a boxers or briefs kinda guy.
“You can find that out for yourself later if you really want to know.”
Oh God. She’d said that out loud? Humiliation stopped her in her tracks, and she covered her face with her free hand. She was so embarrassed. What the hell had gotten into her? She couldn’t look at him, even when he tried lifting her chin with his fingers.
“Oh Cam. I am so sorry. I…”
“Why are you sorry? I’m flattered that you want to know. I am more than flattered.” He waggled his eyebrows at her, and she could barely contain her smile. “I am eager for you to know. I can’t wait for you to find out. So don’t be embarrassed. Besides, I want to know what kind you wear too.”
“Yes, I want you like that. I want to take you out on dates, and I want to take you to bed.”
“I don’t know what to say.” And she didn’t.
“Don’t say anything other than yes. Don’t think anything other than yes.”
Yes. Yes. Yes.
She repeated the word inside her head as he tugged her along behind him again.
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Have a wonderful holiday weekend!