Going Under Teaser
Jesse Boone’s POV
Somewhere between Point A and Point B, something has gone astray. Screwing Claire was the perfect vengeance against Forbes but spending time with her has changed everything. I didn’t plan on liking her so much—or at all—but I do. I wasn’t supposed to become emotionally involved but I have. I drive away from her tonight realizing my heart doesn’t care a thing about my original intentions.
She thinks I pulled away because I was on the verge of ravishing her. That much is true but it isn’t why I needed to distance myself. I want her in a different kind of way––one I’m not good enough for and requiring me to give more of myself than I’m willing to share.
She was freely giving herself to me tonight. I never expected that. I’m stoked about it––but spooked as well.
Once I’m home, I lie in bed recalling the taste of her skin and the breathless way she allowed me to kiss her. I wanted her more than air in my lungs and that’s a problem. It means I’ve lost sight of the prize. I no longer desire screwing her as a way to get to Forbes. I want her for myself.
I need to get a grip. To have a girl like Claire means allowing her to be a part of my life, and I’m not willing to go there. I can’t risk her knowing my past, or even my present. I can’t bear seeing my true self in her eyes.
Nick Hawke’s POV
I lick my lips as I look at her shiny gloss, imagining how soft and slick her mouth would be against mine. I’ve never wanted to lean in for a kiss so badly in all my life. Being at the top of this Ferris wheel with her couldn’t be more perfect but I can’t do it. I’m too scared.
I’m Nick Hawke—a sexpert and fearless daredevil—but that doesn’t matter. I’m too chickenshit to kiss this girl because she’s wonderful and perfect and different—everything I never knew I wanted—so I don’t want to blow it by pushing too hard, too fast.
The wheel stops to load another couple. “I’m sorry I didn’t say this already, but thank you for taking care of my drunk ass last night. I didn’t think I’d get wasted after two drinks. Guess I drank them too fast.”
I reach for her hand and give it a squeeze. “I didn’t mind. It was my pleasure—puke and all.”
She shakes her head while looking down. “Liar.” She laughs. “The whole thing with Cooper was stupid. I guess I tried to make him be my version of Jesse. I know that’s a weird thing to say. I’m sort of messed up that way.” She looks up at me. “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I told you that.”
Claire’s right. She’s seeing her relationship with Cooper for what it is.
All the carriages are loaded so we rise and fall as the wheel rotates. A gust of wind picks up as we soar to the top. A wild strand of hair blows into her face, sticking in her lip gloss. I can’t resist the excuse to touch her so I reach forward to set it free.
All I can taste and breathe is this moment with her. Our time together will be over soon and I don’t want to go home without telling her I have to see her again.
I twirl the wild strand around my fingers before tucking it behind her ear. “You told me you wouldn’t go out with me because you were looking for something different, but you’re here with me now.”
A painful expression crosses her face. “You’ve been really sweet to me and I’ve had a wonderful time with you tonight—as a friend—but we can never be more than that. You’ve gone through too many girls.”
“I used protection every time without fail. I swear I haven’t caught anything, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
She’s blushing. Shit. I think I’ve embarrassed her. “I’m glad to hear that you had the good sense to practice safe sex but that’s not what I mean. I’m looking for something lasting and you’re looking for your next romp.”
She has this all wrong. “I know that’s what you think, but I’m not.”
“You are, and I’m a quest. I won’t flip on to my back for you and it’s driving you crazy because it’s new territory.”
“That’s not true.”
“It’s only a matter of time before you grow tired of me and move on to the next chase. If we leave well enough alone, we’ll walk away from this unscathed. We might even be friends.”
I want to be so much more than friends. I want Payton Archer for reasons other than sex.
I am being honest with myself about what I really want for the first time in a long time.
“You’re wrong, but it’s going to take a while for you to see that. In the meantime, I’ll take your friendship.”