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Chapter 21

I walked downstairs that Saturday morning in a threadbare blue tank top and sleep shorts with unicorns on them. I’d gotten them when I was thirteen and they fit a bit tighter now, but I loved them and wasn’t ready to let go. My hair was pulled back in a loose bun. Girls’ voices and the smell of coffee greeted me as I made my way toward the kitchen.

Ava, Jen, and Emily were sitting around the table talking. They were dressed casually, but their makeup was done. Given the relatively early hour, there was some plan in place I didn’t know about.

“Hey, Lex!” Jen called when she heard my feet on the steps. “We’re going to the mall, then the beach. You should join.” It had been unseasonably warm this fall. Which was why I could wake up sweating even though I was wearing almost nothing. The only reason.

Rounding the corner to the kitchen, I pulled up short. Standing before me in glorious 3D was my very own guilty pleasure, complete with bottomless brown eyes and just-fucked-looking hair. The best part? He was holding the coffee pot.

“Want some?” An innocent grin accompanied the rest of the package.

It wasn’t enough for him to be in my head 24/7, now he had to be in my kitchen? Freaking great. Yeah, I wanted some. Wanted to knee Dylan Cameron in the nuts. Then pull him down on top of me.

I was grumpier than usual. That happened when a girl didn’t get her sleep. When she lay in bed at night thinking about lips and tongues and …

“Shouldn’t you be at the Delta Zeta house or something? You know it’s Saturday morning, right?” I grabbed a mug from the cupboard and set it down in front of him so he could pour.

“Funny. You know I come here for the scintillating conversation.” Dylan’s voice was smooth and pleasant.

“Mmmm. Big word for 9:00 a.m.,” I muttered into my coffee cup as I took the only empty seat at the table.

“It means brilliant and clever. See, hanging with you is teaching me all kinds of new things.”

I nearly choked on the coffee. Glared at him out of the corner of my eye. If it were possible, his grin got bigger.

“So are you in or what?” Ava interrupted our exchange, blissfully ignorant to the subtext.

I loved the beach, but had committed to finishing a first draft of our business plan. Kirsten was going to review it and give feedback at the end of November, and one of my business professors had volunteered to look it over once first.

“I’ll pass. Maybe catch up with you later.” Turning to Dylan, “Is shopping part of your lifelong learning experiment?”

“Nah, I just came to drop off the car so they could.” His dimple flashed.

“What a good brother.” I emphasized the last two words, wondering if he’d get the hint. He clearly did and ignored it.

“I am, aren’t I?” He was leaning up against the counter, looking maddeningly at home. In my kitchen. “Thought I’d stay and study for a bit, figured it’d be quieter here than at my house.”

“Knock yourself out,” I said. Fate was clearly trying to throw him in my face. Punishment for letting him do wicked things to me.

“We should go!” Ava jumped up and gave Dylan a quick hug. “Thanks for the car. Stay as long as you like. But fair warning, Lex is pretty OCD when she’s working, and she’s been extra cranky lately.” I opened my mouth to protest, and from the corner of my eye—since I refused to look at him—saw Dylan’s lips twitch. “If you aren’t quiet she might take your head off. Consider yourself warned!”

The girls grabbed their bags and vanished out the door. It was suddenly too quiet and I was in a bad mood. I stared at my mug of coffee, hoping it would swallow me up or explode or do just about anything to get me out of this situation.

“Are you going to take my head off?” Dylan smirked. I had to look at him.

“Are you here to study or piss me off?” I countered. My tone was unusually biting, but the words seemed to roll off him.

“You’re right.” Grabbing waffles that jumped out of the toaster, he popped one in his mouth and put the other on a plate. He walked across the room with that damned catlike grace and dropped into a chair across from me. It looked like he actually was going to study, I thought as he reached down and grabbed a stack of books I hadn’t noticed off the floor. He opened one on the table in front of him as he chewed thoughtfully, lashes lowered as he focused on something on the page.

Maybe he was just provoking me, and had gotten past his ulterior motives. I hadn’t received any more heated texts since earlier in the week. If he was making peace I could at least try to be cordial. “What are you working on?” I asked as I stood up to go wash my mug out in the sink.

Dylan glanced up, then back down. “Physics. The underpinning of every good engineer’s training.” He played with the corners of the book while he read, absently fanning through the pages with his thumb and index finger. “Everything you need to know in a mere six hundred and seventy-eight pages.”

Maybe the funny, easy Dylan I could relax with was making a comeback. “I never took it. Probably a good thing I’m in business. If it doesn’t have a dollar sign in front of it I don’t care.” I didn’t sound like myself but was mostly looking for things to say. Safe things. I felt a sudden kinship with that gazelle on the Discovery Channel—the one that tries to play it cool while mentally adding up whether the lion is far enough away.

Dylan didn’t look up when he spoke again. “Money is fine, but physics is real. Dollars are just something we cooked up a few hundred years ago so we didn’t spend our lives trying to figure out how to trade goats for medicine.”

“But I don’t know anything about physics,” I argued, “so it’s not that real to me. What’s real to me is finance. And marketing. And production. It’s a matter of perspective.”

“What is this, ‘my major is better than your major’?” His voice had a teasing note under the challenge. “Cause if it is, I’m going to win.”

“Mhmm. I didn’t say business was better. I just said it made more sense to me.”

I felt his eyes on me even though my back was turned. “But that’s the beautiful thing about science. It’s the backdrop of our experience. Gravity, light … you might not know all the formulas, but everyone gets it intuitively.”

I was skeptical. That was why I’d stopped taking science after grade ten. Somehow the numbers that were friendly when it came to accounting and economics became tricky when applied to weights and forces.

“I bet you I can teach you the first three chapters of this book in five minutes.” His voice was cocky. I risked a glance over my shoulder. Sure enough, he was watching me.

“Is engineering that easy? Maybe I should look into a transfer.” There were other dishes in the sink and I’d started on them since I was already there.

He fell silent for a moment and I figured he hadn’t heard me. Or he had gone back to studying. The water was running, and I put another clean dish on the mat beside the sink.

“Nice PJs.” I froze at the sound of his voice just behind me. Definitely not from the table.

Was he checking me out? It suddenly occurred to me that my outfit left too little to the imagination. I hadn’t planned on having an audience this morning. Especially a Dylan audience.

“Thanks,” I said, turning around. Dylan was standing just a foot away, holding his empty plate. He was gazing down at me with those big, brown eyes. I tried to hide the flare of awareness in my eyes but wasn’t fast enough.

His hair was getting too long. I wanted to push it out of his face.

Instead I grabbed the plate from his hand. Turned and added it to the pile in the sink.

“Tell you what. Five minutes,” Dylan stated from behind my back. He didn’t sound like he was in a hurry. “I’ll teach you physics. Consider it repaying the favor—I can teach you something for a change.” His voice was friendly. “Deal?”

“Knock yourself out.”

“You can keep doing the dishes. I’ll talk.”

“Whatever you say.” I needed to get out of there and start working. I could smell him, his shampoo and something all his own. Just the proximity was starting to melt away my resolve. Showing up unexpectedly before a girl had even had her coffee definitely wasn’t fighting fair.

“The first thing you should understand is friction.”

Placing another bowl on the mat beside me to dry, I glanced down and saw his hands appear on the counter on either side of my hips. The lion was definitely too close.

“It works better with a little demonstration. I have to admit, you’re the one who turned me on to this whole experimental method thing. I should thank you.”

I froze for a moment before forcing myself to continue. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing he got to me. Wash faster.

“So here’s the thing. Frictional resistance happens when two objects are pressed together and moving in opposite directions.”

Dylan leaned into me, slowly, as if waiting for me to resist. I refused to move as his hard chest fit against my shoulders, but my traitorous heartrate spiked. He knew it, I could tell by the way his body tightened against mine. Slowly, his hips pressed into my lower back, and I could feel him growing hard against my spine. Holy shit.

This was the trouble with Dylan. Friendly Dylan would lull you into a false sense of complacency, then crazy-hot Dylan would club you over the head and drag you off before you even noticed anything had changed.

“Lex”—his mouth was close to my ear—“are you with me so far?”

I cleared my throat. “Yes.” No witty comebacks today. It wouldn’t have escaped him. But there was nothing to be done; my brain was a blank canvas.

“Friction’s proportionate to the force pushing the surfaces together, and also to the roughness of the surfaces.” His lips tickled my ear and I shivered. He must’ve felt it as his hands settled on my hips, harder than was comfortable. I thought he was going to just hold me there, but then he slowly turned me around to face him.

My wet hands gripped the sides of his shirt for balance. Because somehow standing on two feet was too hard.

Dylan didn’t seem to notice the fact that his shirt was soaked through in two spots. Hungry brown eyes devoured me as I looked up at him, helpless to do anything else. He was sexy as hell in a blue button-down with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. The color set off his tan, his dark eyes and hair.

For once I could easily read his intentions. He was entirely focused on me, and that knowledge alone drove everything else from my mind.

His hands ran slowly up my sides, just under my tank top. I sucked in a breath at the fabric dragging along my flesh, the feel of his fingers grazing the sides of my breasts.

“So friction increases the more tightly the surfaces are pushed together.” Dylan pressed his hips into me, his hardness against my stomach. “And it reduces when the surfaces are smooth,” he murmured, running the backs of his fingers along the underside of my breast. My eyes started to flutter closed as I drowned in sensation. I wondered vaguely if he was going to kiss me, but he seemed content to watch my reaction to his touch.

Damn he was good. My mind was quickly spinning off to dark and desperate places, Dylan’s seduction breaking me where I was weakest.

“C’mon, you promised me five minutes,” he reminded me, as if I was thinking of running. I opened my eyes. A boyish smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “Don’t chicken out on me now.” He knew me too well, knew I wouldn’t back down.

It wasn’t about physics. It wasn’t even about the lesson. He was betting he’d crack me. I was betting he wouldn’t.

The week of seeing me in the car, of texting me sweet and hot things, hadn’t worked. He had wanted to get me alone.

All of it made me want to resist, but even more so, it made me want him. Fiercely.

I shut my eyes to escape the intensity of his gaze. The past two weeks had been agonizing. I’d had no idea when I walked to his place that night, upset and pissed off, that one night would turn into this.

I’d slept with guys before and never had this reaction. I knew it wasn’t just me blowing things out of proportion. This was some other brand of madness. All I could think about was this complicated guy with the dark eyes and secrets.

When he squeezed my breast softly, my eyes flew open. His hips pressed harder into my stomach, eyes boring down into mine with an intensity that left me breathless.

“Hey, smart girl.”

I could feel it building, the fire inside me. Wondered how long I could keep it at bay. Realized it was way too late.

He and I knew it in the same moment: I’d lost. Dylan’s head angled and dropped to mine, a sound of satisfaction low in his throat.

His kiss contained all the hunger of the first time, and a possessiveness that was new. I knew with sudden certainty that he’d been thinking about this too.

I arched toward him, reveling in the feel of his mouth hard and demanding on mine.

I hooked my leg around his hips. He grabbed my other leg and lifted me onto the counter. His mouth was lighting fires everywhere, down my jaw, my throat, back to my mouth, but something didn’t feel right.

“Not here,” I said breathlessly, and pulled him upstairs with me.

We tripped on the stairs but somehow made it in one piece. He pressed me up against the wall at the top of the stairs. His body was hard, his hips against mine. One hand was cupping my breast under my tank and the other behind my neck. There was a desperation that caused him to move roughly, in contrast to the usual smoothness of his movements.

“Do you have any idea,” he murmured between kissing my lips, my neck, my collarbone, “how fucking useless I’ve been?” He grazed a thumb over my tight nipple and I moaned. “The guys think I have the flu. I spend every free second in my room or in the shower, because I can’t think straight. All I think about is you.”

Something made me want to reciprocate and I told him how my law professor had caught me daydreaming about us on the desk.

“Mmmm. You have a desk, don’t you?”

“Sure do.”

His hands stilled and he looked down at me, his lips turning up in a wry grin made tense because of our current situation. The wanting was there, but so was something else.

It seemed to spur him on as he grabbed my ass with both hands now and lifted me against the wall, pulled my legs to wrap around him.

“See, now aren’t you glad for friction?” he managed as his mouth slanted on mine. “Otherwise you’d be on the floor right now.” Of course he’d sneak that in at a time like this. That was part of what made Dylan himself—the nerdy smartass intertwined with the sexiness. Damn, I liked this guy.

“I was thinking of something with a little less friction.” As I pulled his mouth to mine, I unwrapped my legs from around his waist and backed toward the shared bathroom at the end of the hall, pulling my tank over my head and tossing it on the floor on the way. His eyes were hungry as he followed me, like a predator stalking its prey. And who was I kidding—this gazelle had already given it up.

One of the great features of this house was a giant glassed-in shower. I’d imagined us in it more times than I cared to admit.

Dylan followed suit by stripping off his shirt, started on his jeans. I pulled down my shorts and moments later we were naked, our gazes hot and hungry. His body was as perfectly formed as I remembered, his impressive cock already straining upward toward me. He was devouring me with his eyes, like he’d waited years and not two weeks to see me.

I turned on the shower and stepped in. He was half a beat behind me but I held up my hand to his chest before he crossed onto the tile. “Um …” I glanced down and he followed my gaze. He realized he still had his socks on.

“Fuck,” he half laughed and half swore it, stumbling to pull them off. It thrilled me that he’d been so distracted he forgot to get his socks off. But I was impatient. I grabbed his hand and pulled him under the streaming water with me. I wanted to feel him slippery and desperate against me.

He cupped my breasts with his hands while he bent to kiss me. His thumbs slid over my nipples, this time sliding from the water. The sensation was entirely new but just as hot.

Every stroke was driving me exponentially higher. And still, I needed more. My hands were in his wet hair, then running down his chest, around his back, pulling him closer. My fingers brushed his cock experimentally, which made him groan.

Dylan bent his head to suck on one of my nipples and his hand moved lower to squeeze my ass. I didn’t think I’d ever been this turned on before. Then his fingers moved around to my wet opening, and he slid two into me at once. I wanted to growl.

It was hot, like the first time, but somehow different. The first time we’d been caught off guard by the need, the sensation. Surprised by the way we fit together so well and the way our bodies responded to one another.

This time we knew.

This time we’d been waiting on it, thinking on it for days. So the moment we touched he was on a mission to take more from me. Take everything. And his taking still gave so much back because his pleasure fuelled mine and mine his. Dylan completely overwhelmed me with his words and his body.

“I want to be inside you.” His voice was hoarse while his fingers worked me. A whimper escaped at the slick sensation of him sliding over me. “Fuck, you’re so tight and wet. Are you this wet for me all the time?”

“Yes,” I admitted on a low moan. His mouth was still on my breasts while his fingers did wicked things to other parts of me.

“Dylan, we can’t be doing this.” My brain started to catch up, but I worried it was too little too late.

“Uh … we kind of are.” And so we were.

“This is the last time.” His teasing was too much, the fingers driving me higher, harder, hotter. His mouth sliding over my breasts, my collarbone. Tongue then teeth then lips, a whirlwind of sensation.

I grabbed his cock and stroked it along my folds while he hissed out a breath. It was impossible to prolong this.

“Tell me what you want,” he said through a clenched jaw. “Fast, slow … tell me.” I wanted anything he could give me. But I had a week of material to draw on. And because of how much he wanted me, how powerful he made me feel, one vision in particular rose to the top.

“I want you to fuck me from behind while I touch myself. Then I want you to come all over me.” His eyes blazed at my words, and he set out to do exactly that.

Turning to brace myself against the tile with my forearms, I felt one of his hands rest possessively on my hip as he positioned himself to slide into me. My head turned so I could lock eyes with him just as he found my opening with his hard length and slid in slowly.

His bottomless brown eyes watched me as he entered inch by excruciating inch. He was so big and I was tight around him. I arched and felt him slide even deeper.

“Wait,” I gasped, and he stilled until I nodded for him to move. When he did it was unreal.

Dylan’s arm wrapped around my waist to hold me to him, the other palmed my breast. I reveled in the heavy drag of it, of him sliding in and out. Alone it was incredible, but when I reached down to graze my clit with my fingers, it shot me right into the stratosphere. He was breathing hard. He looked down to watch me, watch us, and I saw his jaw tighten. It gave me a perverse pleasure knowing I was the one who made him feel this, who got to see this beautiful and complicated guy unravel.

Our flesh slapped together over and over, just audible above the rain-like sound from the shower. Our heavy breathing was locked in an old rhythm. We picked up speed, and I felt the bolts of hot tension building down my spine, through my legs.

“God, Dylan, I’m coming,” I moaned, and the feel of him and my fingers pushed me over the edge. My head fell back against his shoulder harder than I’d intended, but my neck muscles weren’t cooperating. Suddenly I was drowning, not in water but in sensation. He was all around me and over me and in me. Through my lowered lids I could see Dylan’s dark hair, plastered to his face, the water beading on his dark eyelashes.

My spasms seemed to get him there, and he groaned my name as he jerked out of me and spilled himself on my back, one hand braced against the wall beside me. Dylan collapsed forward, pressing me against the wall. I could feel his wet hair against the side of my face and his heart jackhammering in his chest.

We stayed there for minutes, me leaning against the tile, him above me. His face was tucked into my shoulder, his lips on my neck. I could feel his hot breath and its pace gradually slowed. The hot water continued to rain down on us, oblivious to all that had happened.

“You’re killing me, Lex.” When he finally regained enough composure, he grinned and kissed my cheek. “Not that I’m complaining.”

I let him pull me back to my bed after that, grateful the girls were gone for the day. I had no idea what I’d do if they walked in and found out what, and more importantly who, I’d just done. But I forced it out of my head.

“Can I tell you something? Promise you won’t jump down my throat.” Dylan was propped up on his side, trailing his finger over my shoulder as I lay on my back beside him.

I looked at him, suspicion on my face. “OK.”

“I used to think about you sometimes,” he confessed. “In high school.” My eyebrows shot up but he continued. “I’d see you in the hall, or at my house with Ava, and you were always so much … more than the girls my age.” His smile grew smug. “I never pictured you naked until I was sixteen though.”

“Seriously?” I hit him lightly in the shoulder, though part of me warmed thinking about it.

“Yeah. Teenaged guys are sick like that.” He grinned, not looking apologetic in the least.

“But we never hung out.”

Dylan shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. I remember your eighteenth birthday, you were wearing these black leggings and those boots with a spikey heel.” His head tilted back like he was remembering. “I used to imagine you wrapping those legs around me, my fingers grabbing all that red hair.” Dylan drew a strand though his fingers as he talked. “Do you still have those boots?” His eyes glanced toward my closet and I laughed.

I would’ve hit him again but was too busy wondering what else he’d imagined. As much as it shouldn’t have been hot, it was.

“And now that you’ve had reality to compare it to?” I teased him.

The smile stayed on his face but his eyes lost some of their humor. “You’re a thousand times better in real life, Lex. Nothing compares to this.”

Wow. OK.

“But it’s not just … this.” He trailed a finger down my arm gently. Returned his gaze to mine. “It’s you. You’re so unlike the other girls here. Smart and funny and driven.”

I was still trying to drum up words. They weren’t coming.

Dylan sensed I didn’t have anything to say and continued. “Your ass isn’t half bad either.”

This time I hit him. It seemed easier than trying to process his words.

“I guess growing up isn’t the worst thing in the world.” He winked and dropped his mouth to my shoulder, trailing light kisses across to my collarbone. He was as sweet and leisurely as he’d been hot and desperate minutes before.

“What else is better? Now that you’re all grown up and everything.” When I found the casual words, my voice was languid.

“School’s actually been pretty great.” Was he actually talking about school now? I tried to focus.

“Is the new school, new image program working? Or is the preppy bad boy thing following you here?”

“Preppy bad boy? Is that how you think of me?” He looked amused.

“Maybe. You have to admit, you give off this James Dean vibe. But in a very likeable way.”

“Uh-huh. Well I don’t know about this preppy bad boy thing, but I have made some pretty good friends.” He pulled back and was quiet for a moment. Dylan was getting that introspective look.

“So what about high school? The popularity and the parties and everything. Was that just you going along with it?” I had wanted to ask for a while but hadn’t found the right moment. Wasn’t sure this was it but figured I’d try.

He was silent for a moment, gazing up at the ceiling before he responded. “There’s something you need to understand. I didn’t ask to be … whatever I was. It was like I woke up in someone else’s life. In high school everyone wanted to be my friend. I didn’t know why, but for a while, it didn’t matter. It was what I thought I wanted.

Dylan glanced over at me. “When you’re sixteen what’s better than being the center of attention, right? But after a while the sheen wears off. You realize a lot of the people that smile and laugh and pat you on the back really aren’t your friends. They’ll take what you say and twist it, use it against you. And there are all these expectations.

“The parties got out of hand. One time I was busted for possession. I didn’t even use, but knew lots of people that did. Lots of my so-called ‘friends.’” He shook his head. “The fine wasn’t a big deal, but my dad found out and made me do two hundred hours of volunteering to make up for it.

“By that point I was just going through the motions because it was easier to keep up appearances than to get out of it. The kicker for me was the thing with my dad. When I decided to cover for him, all my friends vanished. Then when I came back, it was like I was either a rock star or a pariah. That’s when I knew I needed to start over.”

It was possibly the most he’d shared with me at a time. I mulled it over while he continued.

“That’s part of the reason I was looking forward to school. I just wanted to be me and not the guy everyone thinks I am. Not worry about what blowing four years of expectations out of the water might do.

“I’ve met some pretty cool people.” He grinned to let me know present company was included. “Even the guys at the house are great. And though I wasn’t sure if my knee would hold up enough to play varsity, I talked to the coach and he’s going to let me try.

“Classes are probably even better than at Penn. I’ve wanted to be an engineer since junior year, but it’s like I can actually see it now.”

“Why?” I was intrigued by everything he said but latched onto the last part. Though it was clear that Dylan was one of the smartest guys I knew, I wouldn’t have pegged him for having been on a career trajectory that early. Plus, I wanted to keep him talking. I loved hearing him, what he was thinking, without having to guess at it.

“I want to build things that matter. Things that connect people, and support people. To create something that lasts.” He sounded so earnest. When I thought about it, it was totally him. As much as he could never fly under the radar, he was a behind-the-scenes guy. One who cared more about substance than flash, and doing what mattered more than what was easy. One who kept his closest secrets guarded. Except, for some reason, with me.

It felt strange hearing him talk this way. Until this year I’d always thought of him as a slightly younger, darker version of Jake—the guy with the charmed life who got everything and everyone he wanted without lifting a finger. But each revelation peeled back yet another layer, adding to what I’d already learned of Dylan. And the more I learned, the closer I felt to him.

“What are you thinking?” His brow furrowed.

“I was wondering why you do all those things for your family. Even though it cost you.” It didn’t sound like they entirely deserved him.

“Family’s not perfect, but you only get one, you know? I feel like cutting them some slack is the right thing to do.” I knew that I wouldn’t go to the wall for my family the way he had for his.

“You’re a pretty great guy, you know that?” His eyes searched my face like he was looking for something more.

And I realized suddenly that I actually wanted more. At least, wanted this—whatever this was—and the affection that came with it. Wanted not to have to banish the thoughts of him. Wanted to be able to watch a movie, and have incredible shower sex, and do normal things a guy and girl who liked each other did. To see if there was something here I’d somehow been oblivious to because of Ava, because of our age difference.

With that sudden surge of conviction, right at this moment, I wanted to blow his mind.

Dylan latched onto my devious expression. “What’s that look?” He was clearly intrigued and suspicious.

I pushed him back and moved on top of him, our gazes still locked. When my mouth descended on his, I felt his body flex as I pressed him into the bed under me. My teeth scraped his bottom lip and his hands grabbed fistfuls of my hair, used the leverage to angle me better against him.

I could have kissed him forever, but there were other priorities at the moment. Other things I wanted to do more.

My mouth dragged down his throat before I changed to a lighter touch, kissing down his pecs. Dylan’s breathing turned ragged in an instant. I glanced back up at him and was rewarded with heavy-lidded eyes gazing down at me. Understanding dawned. “Lex, you don’t—”

I continued down over his abs. My long hair trailed over his semi-erect cock and I could feel him tense under me. My hand replaced my hair, the lightest touch of my fingers across the head of his hard length. Then my fingers wrapped more firmly around him and squeezed.

“Who’s going to stop me?” I grinned, made reckless by the feel of him in my hand, the intoxicating sight of him already starting to come apart under me. “You?”

“Definitely not. I like a woman who knows her mind.” Dylan’s voice was rough. I loved that I did that to him.

When I took him into my mouth, my tongue swirling slowly around his tip, he groaned. I did it again, sucking lightly. “You’re unbelievable,” he uttered hoarsely. One of his hands tentatively reached out to wrap in my hair again, but he didn’t pull me harder onto him. So after several licks and strokes I did it myself, sliding my mouth down and opening my throat to take him as far in as I could. I wanted to make it amazing for him.

If the guttural sounds coming from deep within him were any indication, Dylan wasn’t disappointed. I built him up as slowly as I could to prolong the feeling, pausing a few times to take him down a few notches when I thought he was close to the edge.

After several minutes he was definitely building again, and I was nearly as ready to explode as he was. The hand in my hair had become more assertive, pulling a bit harder than I was used to, but I sensed he didn’t realize or notice what he was doing. It thrilled me that I could make Dylan come so unglued. The fact that no one else had had the privilege only made it better.

He was close, and I moaned with my mouth on him, my lips and throat vibrating. Dylan’s body tensed like he’d been shocked and he tried to push me off of him. I held on, and he came hard in my mouth. The best part? The way he shouted my name when he did.

I pulled myself up to lie on my side and peer down at him. He looked deliciously wrecked, like he’d been crawling through the Sahara on his hands and knees with no water for weeks.

After a minute he pried his eyes open, and I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. His eyes were warm and satisfied as he gazed up at me.

“What’s the verdict?”

“Jesus, Lex.” He sounded exhausted. “That was like Christmas and a new Corvette and a giant chocolate cake all wrapped into one.”

I grinned. “That’s what all the virgins say,” I teased.

Something shifted in Dylan’s face. “No,” he said firmly. He looked like he was grasping for words. “Don’t make light of this. You keep saying there isn’t anything between us, but there’s something here. I may not be experienced, but I’m not stupid.”

It was hard to admit, but he was right.

Telling him no, telling me no, was about as fun and productive as banging my head against a brick wall. Eventually it might leave a dent. I realized I’d been grappling with it for weeks. He was growing on me, in a way that was definitely more than friendly. Even besides the sex I cared about him. Wanted to see where that went. Would deal with the fallout later.

“OK,” I said finally.

His smile beamed back at me. The dimple that only seemed to surface on special occasions, probably because it would ruin his bad-boy image if he used it too often, was back. “OK you’ll be my girlfriend?”

Something like panic flared in the back of my mind. “Easy, tiger. I’ll … do whatever this is again sometime. And maybe watch a movie with you. But we can’t tell anyone.”

Confusion mixed with the triumph. “Why not?”

“Because whatever is going on between us, I don’t want to bring other people into it. People like Ava. Who might not understand.” Who might not understand that this is just a crazy phase. I didn’t say it.

Dylan started to argue with me and I cut him off.

“Those are my terms, Cameron. Take ’em or leave ’em.”

He watched me with those sinful brown eyes for a few moments. Apparently he concluded correctly that my mind was made up. Dylan decided not to complain.

Instead he took advantage of the element of surprise to flip me onto my back and initiate round three, which started slow and sweet on the bed but grew urgent and ended with both of us, and a pile of blankets, tangled on the floor.

He snuck out of the house late afternoon before the girls got back, kissing me on the forehead on his way out the door. “Thanks for the study session. Watch a movie with me tomorrow?”

I smiled. “OK. But I get to pick.”

Dylan grinned the biggest smile I’d ever seen. “You got it.”

Something had definitely shifted between us. But I was tired of fighting it. So for now, that was fine with me.

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