Natalie Goldsmith has a fabulous life and an equally awesome boyfriend. So what is her best friend Bianca thinking when she says she suspects West is cheating—and confesses that she’s hired a PI to prove it? Totally not cool.
Especially since the cynical PI, Kyle Winslow, is her grade school nemesis. With a smug, know-it-all look on his face, Kyle declares he can smell a cheater from a mile away, and he’s willing to bet it all on West. Well, if he wants to waste his time chasing a lie, more power to him. But just days later, he presents irrefutable evidence of her boyfriend’s unfaithfulness, and Natalie’s enviable life takes a total nosedive.
Determined to not let this ruin her New Year’s Eve, she goes out on the town, dressed to the nines…and ends up having a drunken night of mind-blowing sex with Kyle. Now the guy she hates is the one person she can’t get out of her mind. Even crazier, he seems just as drawn to her too. The more time they spend together, the more she realizes Kyle could be everything she’s been looking for. But should she risk it all on a guy who says he doesn’t believe in love?
“Natalie,” Kyle said. I looked up at his rough voice to see his eyes locked on mine. Everything he was thinking and feeling was right there on his face. The realness, the openness of it stunned me. “You shouldn’t be alone tonight. Not after what you just went through.”
“I’m fine,” I repeated in a low whisper. Strangely enough, being this close to Kyle shoved all thoughts of West out of my brain. I swallowed. Now that I was looking at Kyle, really looking, I could tell that what I’d identified as anger in his eyes was actually worry.
He was concerned? About me?
I sucked my lower lip. His gaze dropped to my mouth then moved down my deep, exposed neckline. My skin tightened like he’d given me a physical caress. I saw his Adam’s apple bob, and a light sigh flew out of my mouth, unbidden.
“That dress is dangerous, you know.” There was a guttural element to his voice that made my sex clench. Holy shit, how had I never realized how potent the guy could sound? His eyes grew heavy-lidded, the right side of his jaw ticking. “I think you should go home.”
All I could do was shake my head in response. My entire body throbbed, and my mouth opened with a sight part of my lips. If I weren’t here right now, I wouldn’t believe I was having this strong of a reaction to Kyle. I knew he could read my desire on my face; I wasn’t sure why, but I wanted him to see what I was feeling.
Wanted to see what he’d do with the open invitation in my eyes.
I wasn’t normally this impulsive, but some earthy, feminine part of me ached to push him into action. Was it the alcohol? My long-denied sexual hunger? Or was something else at play here?
Kyle blinked and looked away to rest his hand on the stall door. Then he muttered a cuss word and took a step toward me, his fingers moving behind his back. The sound of the metal sliding in the door lock made my heart give an excited lurch.
Before I realized what was happening, Kyle tugged me to him then dug his fingers into the bound hair at the nape of my neck. He lowered his head and took my mouth in a hot kiss.
There was no asking for permission, just claiming.
Sensory detail came to me in little pieces. The strips of weak sunshine through the blinds on the window. The rich cotton of the pillow and sheets that touched my skin. The firm mattress.
The warm hand resting on my naked hip.
I froze, cracked one eye open. This wasn’t my bedroom. I wasn’t in my apartment. Where the hell was I? I ordered my brain to think faster, but it was like trying to navigate a boat through a thick fog.
Snippets of memories from last night finally seeped through the swiss cheese holes in my brain. Tino’s bar. Kyle showing up with friends. His mouth on mine in the bathroom stall. Coming back to his place to talk. And then…
Oh, God. My face erupted in a burst of flames that spread down my throat, across my chest. Had I really had sex with him? I was lying naked in not-my-bed, with not-my-hand touching me. My pelvis and thighs had a slight tenderness that wasn’t unpleasant. All signs pointed to yes.
Conflicting emotions battered at me. Part of me wanted to run away, pretend like this had never occurred. After all, what was gonna happen between him and me now? Would he wake up, look at me and be horrified about last night? Regretful? Rude and dismissive?
The other part of me couldn’t stop focusing on the gentle pressure of his fingers cupped around my hip. How his hand flexed in his sleep so he gave me little unconscious squeezes. The soft cadence of his breath stirring the back of my hair.
My chest tightened, and I sucked in a breath. I’d had sex with Kyle. And now that the pieces were filling in, I remembered that it had been amazing. The best I’d ever had, hands down. Unbelievably hot and intimate too. There had been moments of genuine connection between us last night. Not just physical lust. And maybe that was the thing that was tripping me up the most right now. Because I’d felt something for him.
I bit my lower lip. How could I have experienced an emotional link with someone who wasn’t my type? A guy who tended to aggravate me more often than not? And to add to the issue, I was freshly single. Twenty-four hours after dumping West, I’d been all too willing to hop into the sack with Kyle.
Or the couch, to be technical.
What kind of a girl did that? This kind, apparently. Bianca would approve of my sexual revolution. Hell, she’d probably give me a box of condoms and tell me to keep up the good work.
I lay there for another moment, coming up with scenarios that wouldn’t end this event in total awkward disaster. Finally, I rolled onto my back. His hand slid possessively across my belly and cuddled me closer.
I swallowed as my heart squeezed. It was so dumb, the momentary flare of wanting this to be real. Never gonna happen.
Rhonda Helms started writing several years ago. She has a Master's degree in English and a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. She also edits for Carina Press (an imprint of Harlequin Publishing) and freelance edits.
When she isn't writing, she likes to do amateur photography, dig her toes into the sand, read for hours at a time, and eat scads of cheese. WAY too much cheese.
Rhonda lives in Northeast Ohio with her family.