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Depended on whether or not they were ready to kill each other by the time they got here, but I nodded. “Any room works, really.”

“How about this one?” He strolled down the hall, stopping between the last two. The room he normally stayed in was directly across the hall. I couldn’t help but think he’d hear anyone who came in and out of this room. Not that I’d have any traffic.

Him on the other hand? I sighed. It would be like a bus stop.

When I nodded again, he nudged the door open and headed in, placing my suitcase on the deep brown bedspread. “I was thinking about heading down to the main lodge to get dinner. You want to come with?”

It would probably be a good idea for me to stay back and give him space, but I was hungry and I…well, I wanted to spend time with him. “Sure. When do you want to head down?”

“In about an hour or so.” Kyler headed for the door and stopped, glancing back at me. He looked like he was about to say something, but then his lips tilted up in a half-smile as his hand tightened around the strap on his oversized duffel bag. “See you then.”

I waited until he’d shut the door behind him before I dropped onto the bed and stared up at the wooden beams. I really needed to cut this shit out. I’d made it this long without letting my attraction get in the way. This week couldn’t be any different—I couldn’t risk destroying our friendship. Lusting after Kyler was only going to end one way: a broken heart.

And a whole lot of sexual frustration.

Chapter 5


After dragging my stupid butt off the bed, I opened my suitcase and dug out my toiletries. In the bathroom that was the size of my dorm room, I freshened up the best I could. I wanted to take a shower, but my hair was way too long and heavy to go through the annoying drying process again.

While I untied the pigtails, I noted there would be no need for blush. My cheeks were still flushed and my eyes a bit too big as I threaded my fingers through the links. Freeing one braid completely, I leaned forward as I moved onto the other side, staring at my face. Was that a zit popping up on my chin?

I sighed. Why not? Perfect.

A splattering of freckles covered the bridge of my nose, and my lips were grossly bare. They needed some color. My best feature—or at least what my mom always told me—was my eyes. They were a bright shade of blue that stood out against my dark lashes and hair.

Finishing with the braids, I shook my head, happy to discover that my hair fell in tousled waves down my back instead of looking like I’d taken a crimper to it. I rummaged in the makeup bag, pulling out a tube of mascara and lipstick. After a few swipes, I went back to the bedroom and started toeing off my boots. If I couldn’t shower, then I could at least put something fresh on.

After yanking out all the clothes I’d brought with me, which was way too much for a week, I realized I didn’t have anything remotely sexy with me. A bunch of jeans and sweaters. There was a cami that I could wear under a cardigan, but I’d freeze my ass off in that. Then again, I really didn’t own anything sexy. And seriously, who was I trying to impress?

Kyler, whispered an evil, bitchy voice.

That evil voice wasn’t helping.

Pulling off my jeans, I left them on the floor and tugged the bulky sweater off, letting it join the messy heap. Standing on the tips of my toes, I held up a pair of dark skinny jeans. These could be cute with a turtleneck. Not that the evil, bitchy voice in my head was right or anything. There could be a hot ski instructor at the lodge for all I knew and maybe my bedroom would turn into a train station instead of a bus stop and I—

The bedroom door suddenly opened. “Tanner just called. He said…”

My heart stopped and the jeans fell from my suddenly boneless fingers. Oh, my God…I couldn’t even think. I just stared at Kyler. There I was, standing in my bra and panties. Couldn’t forget the knee-high snowman socks, because they provided oh-so much coverage.

Both of us were frozen, struck absolutely immobile by my nakedness. Time stopped, and kyler…he kept staring at me. I couldn’t remember the last time he saw me naked or at least half-naked. Not since I’d developed breasts, probably, and they weren’t much to stare at. Someone once said more than a mouthful was a waste, but I sincerely believed that saying was made up by girls with small breasts like me just to make ourselves feel—oh dear God, my brain needed to shut up.

Heat infused my cheeks and traveled down my neck and then even further south, to the edges of the white lace, because Jesus H. Christ, I couldn’t have been wearing something sexier than a white bra and striped boy shorts.

Fuck. Me.

And those were the worst two words to even think, because now I was thinking about that, and Kyler was still staring at me like he’d never seen a chick in bra and panties before, which I knew was so not the case. But he was staring at me in a way I had to be completely imagining after years of hopeless wishing, because there was a heat in his eyes, an intensity that felt like a caress against my flushed skin. My lips parted as my pulse sped up, pounding through every point in my body.

He stared like the way he’d said Paul stared at me.

Kyler had never looked at me like that.

The muscles in my tummy tightened and there was sharp sensation snaking down my spine. My knees felt wobbly.


His voice was a hard explosion that jarred common sense into me. I dove toward the bed, yanking an oversize sweater off it and holding it to my front. “Don’t you know how to knock?”

He thrust his fingers through his hair. “Shit.”

I stared at him, my entire body burning for two different reasons. Shit? That’s all he had to say? Not ‘Baby, I want to lick your body’ or ‘Ew, cover that shit up.’ At least with that last one, the word ‘shit’ became a viable part of a sentence.

And then Kyler laughed—laughed so hard I thought he was going to physically hurt himself. “I’m sorry,” he gasped out. “But you should see the look on your face.”

My mouth dropped open. “Get out.”

His laughter went up a notch, deep laughs that sent shivers skating over my skin. I grabbed the first thing off the bed and threw it at him.

Kyler’s hand shot out and he snatched my projectile out of the air. His brows went up, and my stomach hit my toes. Something red and lacy and bulky hung from his fingertips.

Oh, sweet baby Jesus on a merry-go-round.

It was my bra—my Victoria’s Secret push-up bra. The kind that had so much padding in the cups that it added five pounds once I put it on.

I clamped my mouth shut to stop the scream building up in my throat.

Kyler’s gaze flicked from the bra to me, and then back to the bra. “Do you wear this thing?”

Unable to answer, because I was pretty sure my response would be all stabby-stabby, I said nothing.

He walked it over to the bed and lay it down like it was some kind of wild animal about to wrap itself around his face. His lashes swept up, his gaze meeting mine. Humor danced in his eyes. “No wonder your suitcase was so heavy.”

“Get out!” I yelled.

Laughing under his breath, he backed away slowly. “Don’t you want to know what Tanner called about?”

I shifted my weight from one foot to the next. “And if I say no?”

“I’m still going to tell you.” He flashed a grin. “They’ve met up with the rest of the group, but they’re staying the rest of the night in Frederick. It’s snowing really bad down there.”

At this point, I expected anything and everything to go wrong. “Crap. Do you think it’s going to get bad here?”

“Don’t know. Guess I’ll go check the news while you put some clothes on.” Kyler started toward the door and added, “Floozy.”

“Shut up, you non-door-knocking-peeper.”

“Nice undies by the way,” he said, dipping his head back in the room. “I like the color scheme. Does it have the day of the week on them?”

I screamed.


Closing the bedroom door behind me, I tipped my head back against it and stared at the exposed beams in the ceiling. Mom was into the whole rustic look. I thought it made the house look unfinished.

I focused on the deep oak beams, desperately trying to get the image of an almost naked Syd out of my mind. Wasn’t working. The beams morphed into hips and breasts.

Jesus. H. Christ.

Holy Mother of God, that was not what I’d expected when I’d opened that door. I also hadn’t expected Syd to be so… curvy under her clothes. She was a tiny thing, barely reaching my chest, and I’d assumed she was all straight lines and little else since the last time I’d seen her so damn close-to-naked was in junior high school. Since then, I hadn’t even seen her in a bathing suit.

Boy, was my assumption so far off it was ridiculous.

The girl had hips on her, sweetly flaring out from a narrow waist. For someone so short, her legs looked a mile long when there was nothing covering them. And those breasts?

I scrubbed my palm across my jaw and closed my eyes.

They were small, but the size fit her perfectly, and I bet they were perky as hell under that chaste white bra, and the tips would be a sweet dusky pink—whoa. What in the hell? I needed to stop thinking about her breasts. Totally off-limits.

But because I was a dude and once that image took hold, I pictured them in my hands and her back arching into my touch—

“Shit,” I growled. Lust stirred with a vengeance—that heated, almost-crazed kind of lust that never amounted to anything good.

And the way she’d been looking at me? No. No way. I had to be imagining that shit, because this was Syd, for chrissakes. She was my Syd, but never in that way. And there was no way she could be looking at me with those damn baby blue eyes of hers filled with want. Like she had wanted me to do something about the fact she’d been standing there with barely anything on.

Like she had wanted me to see her.

Aw, hell, I had seen her.

And there was a good chance I was losing my damn mind, because Syd had never looked at me like that. She just simply didn’t think of me that way, or—as far as I knew—any guy that way. Not since that punk-ass Nate had screwed her over. Ever since then, she just didn’t date. And I was okay with that, because I hadn’t met one guy who was good enough for her, and especially not me, not after what she’d said in the car on the way up here.

I pushed off the door and crossed the bedroom. Yanking my hoodie over my head, I tossed that and the shirt underneath onto the bed.

I headed into the shower, not because I really needed one, but because I just had to do something before I really did do something stupid.

And there was a lot of stupid in me—a whole lot.

I was still rocking the hard-on of my life, which I told myself had nothing to do with Syd, when I stepped into the hot spray of water. Probably had more to do with the fact that I hadn’t gotten laid last night. Yeah, that sounded good. There was only one way to fix this without a cold shower. Resting my head against the slick tile, I reached down and closed my eyes.

It was fast. It was hard. And I thought about the wrong person the whole time.