Page 4

Glancing over his shoulder, he winked as he hooked his thumbs into the band of his boxers, sliding them down so the very top of his ass peeked out.

“Oh my God.” I leaned over the couch, picked up a throw pillow, and threw it at him.

He caught it with startling reflexes and tossed it back. The pillow bounced off my chest and hit the floor. “You liked it.”

Although I supposed he did have a nice ass crack, I started to tell him that it wasn’t something I honestly looked forward to seeing, but the bathroom door with a YIELD sign on it opened.

I held my breath.

Who could it be? When I’d left the bar last night, he had a legion of girls surrounding him. The leggy blonde whose middle name should’ve been “Jell-O shots?” Or the sexy brunette that had the deep, throaty laugh that I was sort of envious of? I sounded like a hyena when I was trying to be sexy. Was it the redhead who couldn’t make up her mind between Kyler and Tanner? It was anyone’s guess at this point.

Long, tan legs were what I saw first, and then the hem of a denim skirt that was slightly askew. I recognized the legs immediately, but the skintight black turtleneck sealed the deal.

It was Blondie—the ice cube queen.

It had been like fifteen degrees outside last night, with a thin layer of snow covering the streets of College Park, but this chick had dressed like she was in Miami.

And I felt seriously drab in my oversized sweater and worn jeans. Not to mention I felt like I was rocking a training bra compared to this chick’s boobs.

She took one look at me and frowned. Black mascara was smudged under her eyes. “Who is this, babe?”

“You met her last night at Dry Docks.” Kyler made his way back over to me and picked up the pillow. “Don’t you remember?”

Confusion poured into her face, and I figured this was going to take a while.

Kyler’s lips curved up on one corner. “You spilled a drink in her lap.”

“Oh!” Blondie giggled. “Sorry about that.”

“Yeah,” I drew out the word. I had forgotten about that. “No biggie. Smelling like a Popsicle really draws out the guys.”

Kyler frowned as he looked at me sideways.

“Has she been here all night?” Blondie asked, head tilted to the side.

I arched a brow and started to open my mouth, because was this scenario so common that the chick wouldn’t have remembered another girl joining in on their party? If so, I really needed to get out more.

“No. She just got here. We’re heading out to Snowshoe,” he cut in smoothly, rubbing a palm along his jaw. “So…”

Blondie swayed her slim hips right up to him and placed a hand on his chest in a familiar, intimate way. An irrational pang of envy hit me. Touching him was so easy for her. I’d known Kyler since forever, and I’d choke on my tongue if I started feeling him up.

“You two are going to Snowshoe all alone? Sounds romantic,” she said, a bit of a bite in her words.

“No.” Kyler slid out of her grasp. “We’re meeting a bunch of friends up there. Soon. So I need to get going.”

Blondie so wasn’t taking the hint, and it was about to get awkward. That was the thing about Kyler. He could charm the panties right off a nun, but he didn’t do the morning-after thing. And while he was typically nice, he had the patience of a cornered rattlesnake.

“Man-whore,” I muttered as I brushed past him.

Kyler ignored that. “I’ll see you later, Cindy.”

Blondie hadn’t moved. “Mindy—my name is Mindy.”

I shot Kyler a look, but he was completely unrepentant. Shaking my head, I headed into the kitchen. There were a few cups in the sink, but like all the other rooms in the apartment, things were neater than most dorm rooms I’d seen. Not mine, though. I was so obsessive about it that it drove Andrea nuts.

Hopping up on the counter, I crossed my legs and turned on my e-reader. As engrossed as I’d been in the story earlier—so much so that I was sneaking peeks at it at red lights on the way over—I was way too distracted by the muted conversation in the living room.

I eyed the bottle of Jack on his counter. Little early to get started, but the longer he took the more I wanted a shot.

Who was I kidding? I’d nursed my rum and Coke last night until it’d been completely watered down Coke and Coke. All our friends had gotten pretty tipsy, celebrating the beginning of winter break. Andrea had puked in the alley behind Dry Dock. She was going to be joy at the lodge later tonight, and Tanner had been so out of it that he’d been holding up her jacket instead of her hair. Kyler could hold his liquor like a mother, but he’d let loose.

Me? I didn’t like the idea of letting loose and losing control. Wasn’t like I was uptight or anything, but… okay, maybe I was a little.

Every winter since freshman year in high school, I’d asked myself why I agreed on going to Snowshoe. We still had two weeks until Christmas. I could’ve gone straight home. I couldn’t ski, unless skiing consisted of sliding down a snowy hill on my ass. On the other hand Kyler was a natural on the slopes and a pro at letting go. It was tradition, though, and there was no way I could skip out on it.

“You are really, really early, Syd.”

I jumped at the sound of his voice. “I like to be on time.”

“Obsessively.” He leaned against the counter across from me.

I may have been a little early, but I hated being late. Walking into a class after it had started was worse than a zombie apocalypse to me.

Once more, my gaze dropped to his lower stomach. Had his boxers slipped down? “Can’t you put a shirt on? And maybe some pants.”

Kyler arched a brow. “I’m pretty sure you’ve seen me naked, Syd.”

An ungodly amount of heat swamped me, which was so inappropriate considering the circumstances of how I had seen him naked. “You were, like, five and had chickenpox. You kept stripping off your clothes. That is so not the same thing.”

“What’s different now?”

Did I really need to explain this?

Laughing under his breath, he pushed off the counter and prowled up to me. Sitting on the counter, I was finally his height. He was ridiculously tall, coming in at six-foot-two, and I was insanely short, barely over five feet. Most of the time I felt like I belonged in the Lollipop Guild when I was around him.

Kyler reached up and tugged on the hair that hadn’t come undone in the hallway. “Pigtails. Sexy.”

I shrugged.

He took the end of the braid and smacked me in the cheek with it. “Do I have time for a run?”

I snatched my hair away from him. “If you don’t then you’ll be whiny all day.”

Kyler gave me his most charming smile. A dimple appeared in his left cheek, and my heart skipped a beat. “Want to join me?”

Waving the e-reader, I made a face. “Do I look like I want to go running with you?”

He leaned in, placing his hands on either side of my legs, which made him way, way close. Even if I weren’t nursing an undying lust for him, I wouldn’t be immune to his proximity. Any female with ovaries would be affected. Kyler oozed sex appeal, a dangerous mix of looks and intelligence wrapped in an air of unpredictability.

I inhaled—oh wow did he smell good. Not like he’d drunk a trough full of alcohol last night and then had wild monkey sex for hours. Oh no, he smelled like man and a fine cologne I couldn’t place.

Man, I couldn’t believe I was smelling him like some kind of creeper extraordinaire.

Leaning back, I looked away.

“You’ll have fun. I promise. Come on.” He tugged on my pigtail again.

I shook my head. “There’s snow and ice everywhere. I’ll break my neck. Actually, you might break your neck. One day of not running isn’t going to kill you.”

“Yes, it will.”

Keeping my gaze focused on the photo stuck to the front of the fridge, I clasped my hands together. It was a picture of us together, in elementary school, dressed in our Halloween costumes. He’d been a werewolf and I’d been Little Red Riding Hood. It had been my mom’s idea. “I can’t believe you even want to go running after all you drank last night.”

He laughed, and his breath was warm against my cheek. “I can handle it. Don’t forget, you’re drinking with the big kids.”

I rolled my eyes at that.

Closing the space between us, he kissed my cheek. “Go sit someplace more comfortable. I won’t be that long.”

When I didn’t move, he made a disgruntled sound deep in his throat, and then placed his hands on my hips. Without any effort, he lifted me off the counter and set me on my feet. He gave me a little smack on the ass, which sent me scurrying out of the kitchen.

I plopped down on the couch, glaring at him. “Happy?”

Kyler cocked his head to the side and looked like he was about to say something, but then he just grinned. “I’m going to teach you to snowboard this week. You know that, right?”

Laughing, I leaned back against the overstuffed cushion. “Good luck with that.”

“You have such little faith in me. I have skills.”

“I’m sure you do,” I said dryly, staring at the narrow Christmas tree in front of his window.

A laugh burst out of Kyler, a nice, deep laugh, and my muscles tightened. “Wouldn’t you love to know the full extent of my talents?”

“If I did, it would be easy to find out. I could ask about ninety percent of the girls living on my dorm floor.”

Grinning shamelessly, he backed out of the room, heading toward his bedroom. “Actually, it would be more like eight-nine percent. I didn’t sleep with the girl at the end of the hall. She just gave me—”

“I don’t want to know.”

“Sound jealous, don’t you?”

“Not likely,” I replied, turning my e-reader back on.

“Uh-huh. Keep telling yourself that, sweetheart. One of these days you’re going to admit that you’re madly, deeply in love with me. It’s my boyish charm—hard to resist.”

“If you’d gone with your body being irresistible, it would’ve been more believable.”

He laughed again as he turned. I watched him disappear from the room with a sinking, weird feeling in my tummy. It was the painfully embarrassing truth that Kyler never knew. He might joke with me and tease me, but he was clueless when it came to how I felt about him, and it had to stay that way.

I tipped my head back and closed my eyes, groaning softly.

Girls were like flavors to him and I wasn’t one he wanted to taste. He’d been like that since high school, and I’d accepted it as the way it was. It had to stay that way, because I knew that, if Kyler discovered how I truly felt, our friendship would be over in a heartbeat.

Chapter 4


Shit. Shit. Shit.

My feet pounded the cleared parts of the sidewalk, which wasn’t much, and my breath puffed into little white clouds. I really could’ve skipped the run this morning, but I needed to get out and get my muscles moving.

I needed to run.

The burn in my muscles and the cold air worked as one hell of a brain cleaner, but the sour shit was still in my stomach and that had nothing to do with the alcohol I drank last night.