“I don’t think I need you as co-leader.”

“Ooh, now that’s a shocker right there,” I said sarcastically. “Antonio ordered it, it’s out of my control. You can confront me or sulk or whatever else but none of it will change that. Talk to Antonio.” I looked away from him again.

“Why is it you can’t seem to look at me for long without squirming or turning away?” It was said tauntingly. “Surely you’re not feeling self-conscious.” His tone dared me to object.

My peripheral vision alerted me to the fact that he had taken a slow step toward me, leaving only one step between us. I looked at him and watched as his eyes drifted to my lips a few times. Yes I’ll admit my libido thought this was great and I was tempted to give his lips a look or two. Or a kiss or two. I was also tempted to put more space between us. I did neither. “Trying to aggravate Max, are you?” No doubt the bloke was glaring at us.

“I don’t give a shit about Max.” He said it in a way that implied that there was something else he gave a shit about.

“So then you just want to make me feel uncomfortable, you want to aggravate me. Come as close as you want, it won’t work.” He did come closer, which I hadn’t actually expected him to do. My body was now pining for him, aching even more because he was close enough to touch and I was doing nothing about it.

He looked pleased with himself so I gathered he’d picked up on it, maybe by the fact that I’d stiffened a little and clenched my fists. “So, you were saying it won’t work...”

I turned so that I was facing him. Then I covered a little of the space left between us. Oh he was taken aback. My tone and posture and expression were all confrontational. “I can’t work out what I did that’s pissed you off this much. You certainly want to get me just as riled as you and you’re wasting no time at all in doing it. Just tell me, Jared.” I placed my face even closer to his. “Be a big boy and tell me what it is that’s really making you be a prick.”

His irises began to glow red. But he didn’t look angry. “Don’t push me, Sam, or I swear to God I’ll kiss you right here, right now with everyone round to watch and we both know you won’t stop me.”

Why did disputing get this bloke horny? “I won’t stop you?” I probably wouldn’t, actually. I doubted I’d be able to. As soon as his lips touched mine the same thing always happened; fire through the veins.

“No.” His eyes dropped to my lips again. “And I seriously doubt that your boyfriend will like it. Does he know we’ve kissed before? Twice?”

“What’s up, Jared? Worried one of your recruits might just get to shag me while you can’t? That’s a worryingly big ego you have there.” I demolished the remainder of my NST, plonked the empty bottle on the bar and went to walk away. His hand seized my wrist. His grip was possessive.

“I’m not finished.”

“Take your hand off me or I’ll snap it off.”

He snorted. “I’m not hurting you, you probably like it.” I did. “I want you to stop leading my brother on.”

Alright that was the last thing I had expected to hear, hence why my response was, “Say again?”

“Evan’s not like me.” Too right he wasn’t, that was why me and Evan got along so well. “When he likes a woman he wants the whole thing, and seen as you’re not interested in a relationship with anyone all you’re doing is leading him on.”

“You think Evan and me are interested in each other?”

His jaw went tight. “Don’t be cute with me, Sam. It’s obvious with the amount of time you spend with him.”

“You should try it some time.”

“Meaning what exactly?”

“Meaning that he’s your brother, you’re twin, and you’re barely a part of his life. I know more about what’s going in his life than you do.”

“I don’t need advice about my brother from you, alright. Now stop trying to change the subject. I won’t watch while you lead him on, not when he likes you.”

I half-snorted half-giggled. “Do you know that what you’ve just said adds further support to the argument that you don’t know anything about what goes on in his life?” I went to walk away again but although I’d tugged hard to free my wrist he’d tugged harder to keep it.

He was speaking so close to my ear that he was almost nibbling on it. “You can wander off back to Max and Evan but we both know that you don’t want either of them as much as you want me. You think that’s fair to Evan? To either of them? I wonder what they’d think if they knew about our little encounters.”

I snickered and faced him again. “If you honestly thought that having this little info that we’d kissed gave you some power, then you’re thick as pig shit. It gives you nothing. Just because I hadn’t told them doesn’t mean I care if they know. If you really want to find out what Evan and Max would think then go ahead and tell them. Better still, we’ll go together.” I grabbed his free hand with mine and pulled. “Come on, let’s see what they say.”

I could almost sense Jared’s ego screaming at him not to back down. Jared eventually listened to it – typical. He released my seized wrist and allowed me to pull him with my other hand to the dance-floor where Max and Evan where stood amongst the rest of the squad and Fletcher and Norm.

“Hey bro,” greeted Evan, smiling. “Everything sorted between you two now?”

“What was all that about?” Max asked me discreetly.

I smiled and looked to Jared, totally unconcerned if they knew or didn’t about the kisses.

“I can’t have my bro and my honorary little sister fighting,” said Evan, ruffling my hair exactly like a brother would.

Jared’s expression suddenly changed. His eyes danced between Evan and I, studying us as if truly seeing us together for the first time. Realisation of the truth seemed to hit, and then he nodded. “It’s sorted.” His smile faded slightly when his glance slid to Max.

Max, being Max, moved slightly closer to me and grinned at Jared sort of evilly. Then he said to me, “I thought I saw him grab you...?”

Jared, having heard, started laughing. “You don’t need to worry. I’d never hurt her. We just like to play rough, don’t we?” I would have responded with a sour scowl but his crooked smile just made me want to laugh. Evan seemed amused too. “Getting my ass kicked by Sam is my idea of foreplay, and she’s very good at foreplay.”

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