Book Title: (WIP)
Author: Jenny Kaczorowski
“Go fish.” She rested her head against his shoulder and tilted her eyes to watch his. The smile that extended beyond his lips curved his cheek, rearranging the landscape of his face.
He picked up a card and slid it into his hand without meeting her gaze. “Your turn.”
“Do you have any hearts?”
Now his eyes swept to hers and held her still. “You already took my heart.” There was no levity. No room for the words to sound as cornball as they should. “Two turns ago.”
“Oh. Right.” She lifted her head and shifted away from him. “I guess I’ll take a card.”
“That is how the game works.”
Her cheeks felt hotter than a sunburn. “Right. I just.” She made the mistake of looking up. “I thought for a second you didn’t mean the cards.” Her voice barely squeaked out, but she could hold it back either.
“Bastian.” His name came out laced with pleading, but she wasn’t sure what for.
“I’m here as a friend,” he said. “And I will leave as a friend, but you should know you have me in your hands.”
“Bastian, I’m not who you want me to be.”
“Because of your past? Your reputation? I thought we were past that.”
“Because I am not a good person.”
He set down his cards and shifted. “There are no good people, only broken people trying to do the right thing.”
“What about you? You’re the best person I know.”
He leaned further into her, his body pressed to hers. “You have no idea what kind of terrible thoughts I’m thinking right now.” The hungry sparkle in his eyes more than his words kicked her heart into hyperdrive.
He kissed her or she kissed him. Either way, one minute they were staring each other down and the next their lips were pressed together. It’s took a second, a quick repositioning, to take the hard, awkward smash of over-eager lips and transform into something soft and subtle and oh, sweet sunshine, what did he just do with his tongue?
Summer lost her balance and clutched his shirt, bringing him with her onto the lush carpet.
He was stronger than she expected, more agile. His hands moved along her arms, bringing them up above her shoulders and knotting his fingers in hers.
In some other world, a boy pinning her down was something to fear, to fight, but the warmth and weight of him, pressed belly to belly, hip to hip, mouth to mouth, is nothing more or less than freedom.
He kissed her sweet and slow and deliberate, like he was systematically erasing every other boy from her lips and her mind and her heart.
Oh, her heart. It beat against her chest, against his, in the veins in her neck, and in her fingertips.
And her tongue tingled with peppermint. Everything about him was clean and fresh and just the right amount of rough. The slightest shadow of scruff brushed her cheek, the touch so light it set off fireworks in her brain and a soft cry of delight broke free, muffled by his mouth.
“Are you that ticklish?” he whispered too close to her skin.
“I’m not.” Her breathing hitched in an unreasonable rhythm.
His cheek brushed hers again, a bazillion nerve endings firing at once.
“Not.” She had to squeeze her eyes shut and teased her body to hold back the twitching.
He popped up to look at her. “Liar.” He released her hands and caught her around her middle, fingers tickling up and down her bare skin.
She laughed so hard it hurt, rocking and rolling and half-heartedly pushing him. Her elbow collided with his face and he jerked away.
“Oww!” He held his hands to his face, glasses askew. A drop of blood slipped through his fingers and landed on her shirt.
“Shit.” Her eyes went wide. “Shit. Sorry. What do I do? What do you do?”
“It’s fine.” His hands muffled his voice. “It’ll stop in a few minutes.”
“What if it doesn’t?”
He shrugged. “I’ll need an infusion of clotting factor.”
He laughed, disentangling himself. “You should see your face.”
“You could bleed out on me or something, right?”
“It’s better if I stay calm.” He stumbled toward the kitchen and grabbed a damp washcloth to hold to his nose.
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