I didn’t argue, because I was pretty certain I couldn’t move, even if I wanted to. My hand slightly massaged my lower region while he was gone, as I groaned in pain. When he came back, he had a pack of frozen peas in his grip and gave me a sloppy smile. “Sorry, this was all we had.”

I held my hand out, not even caring. I grabbed the vegetable bag from him and slammed it against my lower half in unbelievable pleasure. “Oh my gosh, yes,” I moaned in excitement from the coolness hitting my lower region. Sweet dreams are made of peas.

Ian sat down on the coffee table directly in front of me. He still had a smile plastered to his lips. “Is that enjoyable?”

I closed my eyes and nodded. “You have no clue. I never thought I’d dream of the day when I’d be able to place peas against my vagina.”

“If you want, I can hold them in place,” he said, tongue in cheek. I opened my eyes to see his mischievous smirk. “You know, just a helpful roommate.”

“Well, aren’t you just the roommate of the year?”

“I take my roomie duties seriously,” he joked, eyeing the peas. Or, well, eyeing my vagina. It was hard to tell at this point. “You were doing pretty good riding until Dottie lost her mind.”

“I know, right? I really thought Dottie and I were friends. Needless to say, we aren’t on speaking terms for a while.”

“I’d never seen her do that before. Maybe she was trying to be a wingwoman to help get me to ice you.”

I laughed. “She could’ve found a better way to do it.”

“Are you okay, though? I feel shitty, because it was my idea to get you riding. I figured it might’ve been a nice break from the day-in-and-day-out ranch work. Plus, you and I haven’t had a chance to hang out outside of working with the band and working on the ranch.”

He wanted to hang out with me outside of work and music?

Well, that was surprising to hear.

I combed my hand through my hair and gave him a weak smile. “Maybe next time we can just go out for ice cream,” I joked.

“I’ll keep that in mind. Damn . . . the guys are going to give me a hard time once they hear I put you on Dottie and she treated you bad. You wouldn’t believe the hell they gave me once they heard I pretty much treated you like shit when we first met. They love you. It’s like you’re a manager to them or something. I swear, sometimes they come up with music ideas when you aren’t around and say, ‘We should run it by Hazel first. She’ll know if it’s good or not.’ I don’t know how you did it, but you got them all wrapped around your finger.”

I smiled. “And what about you? Are you wrapped around my finger too?”

His dark brows lowered, and he leaned in toward me. As he pierced me with his stare, every hair on my body stood up with nerves. “I’m wrapped so tightly around that finger you could tell me to go dive into the pigpens, and I think I would.”

I bit my bottom lip while my hand stayed placed against the peas. “I know I joke about us being best friends, but we are friends, right? Like, we’re not just roommates and coworkers, right?”

“Right. You’re my friend, Haze. I don’t deserve to be your friend, but I’m happy I am.”

Just friends, though? I thought to myself, but I didn’t let the words leave my mouth. I shifted around on the sofa and cleared my throat.

Ian looked from my eyes down to the peas. “Are you sure you don’t want my help icing your vagina? I’m pretty sure that would make me the best of friends, helping you out like that.”

I smirked and shook my head. “I’m sure you have enough women that you could be icing down south if you wanted to, even though you haven’t brought anyone home in a while.”

He grew a bit somber and shrugged. “I don’t find the need to hook up with random women anymore.”

“Oh, and why’s that?” I asked, somewhat terrified of the answer.

He narrowed his eyes in confusion, as if I were the slowest person alive. “Come on, Haze,” he whispered, running his hands through his hair. “You can’t really be asking that, right? I think you know why.”

I blinked. “Maybe, but—”

“Because of you,” he said, cutting me off, making it clear as day. “I don’t want any other girl to try to give me inspiration. Because I have you.”

No words left my mouth, because I wasn’t certain if I was dreaming or having delusions due to my throbbing lower half. Did Ian just confess to having some kind of feelings for me? Did he just open up in a way that I hadn’t expected him to do?

Did he like me in the same way I liked him?

He gave me a small smile and got to his feet. As he turned to walk away, I called after him. “Where are you going?” I asked.

“I think we’ve got some broccoli for your vagina. Maybe if I’m lucky, you’ll let me hold that against you.”

Oh, Ian.

You can broccoli my vagina anytime.



There were a lot of things that I didn’t like about small-town life, but one of the best parts of Eres was our summer bonfires. We held a big festival each summer with a shit ton of bonfires going on around the lakefront. Every youthful person in town came to the bonfire festival, where they’d dance, drink, and be merry. The night sky lit up with fairy lights that I was certain a bunch of girls twisted around the tree branches, and music was blasting through the speakers whenever the band and I weren’t performing. It was the best feeling in the world—summer nights and bonfires.