The third installment of Christina Lauren's Wild Seasons series, Dark Wild Night, reaches new levels of sexy. Now that they're only friends, Lola is all Oliver can think about. He tries to forget about her by distracting himself with a crazy hookup, but now he finds himself torn between getting over Lola and getting pulled in by a new and exciting stranger.
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Dinner is about as close to torture as I've ever been. It never occurred to me that serving Lola BBQ ribs might have been a bad idea, and that for what watching her eat them does to me I might as well have handed her a banana, or reached across the table and had her suck my finger.
And so I spend a good part of the meal half-hard and shifting in my seat as Lola sits across from me, working through some thoughts on a new series, and completely oblivious to my struggle. She's clearly avoiding thinking about Austin's ideas for the movie version of her comic, Razor Fish, and I want to give her useful feedback, but it takes superhuman strength to drag my eyes from her mouth while she licks sauce from her fingertips.
Finally I give up, claiming a need to use the bathroom so I can get some air. I splash water on my face and give myself a long, hard look in the mirror. This is exactly why I didn't let things go too far between us in Vegas. Why — as much as I wanted to punch myself in the face at the time — I turned down her invitation to join her in a hotel room. Lola is smart and beautiful, and, knowing we were going to be living in the same city and I would really, really want to be her friend, I didn't want to ruin things or make them weird by f*cking her.
But things are definitely weird now. We clean up the dinner dishes together, working side by side in companionable silence as we load the dishwasher and wipe the counters. She isn't talking, but there's a determination in the set of her jaw that says she's thinking, plotting. It's an expression I'm familiar with, though it seems different tonight. I'm not sure why but my stomach twists with nerves as the number of things keeping us in the kitchen and away from the comfortable sofa in my dark living room dwindles down to nothing. What is she planning?
It's her turn to pick the movie tonight, and so I watch from my spot near the stove as she scrolls through the choices on my iPad, her mouth turned down into a frown until she finds exactly what she wants.
"Point Break?" she says.
Bank robbery and explosions, guns and testosterone? Exactly what I need to keep my eyes and hands to themselves. I start the dishwasher while Lola heads into the other room. Grabbing the popcorn and a couple of beers from the fridge, I flip off the kitchen light with my elbow. The previews are playing as I get to the living room. Both lamps have been dimmed, and the couch is huge, big enough for at least four grown adults. Lola is sitting squarely in the middle. Okay . . .
She pats the spot next to her.
My heart slowly melts into my gut. I take a seat and after a moment of hesitation, she crowds a bit closer, tucking herself neatly into my side. I go still, holding my breath before exhaling and molding into the shape of her against me. Lola and I have always had what Finn and Ansel call a touchy relationship — lots of playful shoves, pinky swears and high fives — but cuddling on the couch? Definitely new.
"Do you want me to grab the ice cream?" Lola says, lifting her chin to look up at me.
I imagine her this close, eating ice cream from the carton and licking melted strawberry from the spoon. That would be f*cking catastrophic.
"In a while," I say, and she nods, taking the popcorn and stretching her legs out in front of her. I think I hear her exhale in one long, calming breath. She's wearing a soft gray T-shirt that slopes off one perfect shoulder, a pair of black skinny jeans, and her bare feet rest next to mine on the coffee table. Lola is small boned but tall, with curves that make my mouth water. I'd never describe her as delicate — but that may be primarily because she exudes a certain steely aura — but I'm so much bigger than she is, so much longer, and I've never been more aware of it than I am right this very moment.
Picking up her hand, I place it over mine, palm to palm. "You're so small."
Lola laughs, looking down at our hands. "I am not, you're just a giant. Is that how all men are made in Australia?" She tilts her face up to mine. "I might have to plan a visit and go hunting."
"You're cheeky tonight," I say, reaching with my free hand for the bowl of popcorn in her lap, and shift my eyes to the television.
But I can feel the way her eyes linger on me, and can't resist looking back at her face. We're so close, shoulder to shoulder. Out of the corner of my eye I catch the jerking rise and fall of her chest as she breathes.
"Still picturing me in my boxers?" I whisper.
"Is it that obvious?" she says. There's a hint of a smirk on her lips, but her cheeks grow warm and pink. She clears her throat.
"Pipe down and watch the movie," I tease dryly, feeling my c*ck tighten in my jeans.
"You've already made me miss the first ten minutes—you know where we really get into the nuances of Keanu's excellent characterization."
"I can tell how upset you are," she says with a small laugh and sits up. Each point of contact we just shared cools and I use every ounce of my mental Jedi skills to wordlessly coerce her to sit back close again and touch me. My skills being apparently far more powerful than I imagined, she takes a long pull from her bottle, sets it on the table in front of us, and swings her legs onto the couch so she's lying with her head in my lap. I take a deep breath and keep my eyes on the screen, waiting with fire in my veins while she shifts around and makes herself comfortable. After a moment she's settled in and looks up at me with smiling eyes.
"You're so comfy. Is this —" she swallows — "is this okay?"
"Pretty comfy yourself," I say, and try to set the bowl on her face, anything to keep my focus off the fact that her head is practically pressing into my d*ck. Her ear is almost pressed against it. She has to realize what she's doing to me.
Out September 2015
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