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Copyright © 2011 Jayne Rylon
“Hey, you okay?”
She blinked. When had Dave moved? He dragged faded denim over his lean hips. Damn it. She licked her lips as he tugged on a thin gray T-shirt, which obscured his firm pecs, then his six-pack and finally the ridge caused by his inguinal ligament—her absolute favorite spot on a man’s body. She could lick the crest it created from his hip straight to his…
“Kayla?” Dave rested his broad hand on her elbow, shaking her from the daydream.
Shit! For a woman considering founding a naturist haven, she certainly had a hard time separating this man’s form from his radiant attractiveness. A problem she’d never had before.
“Change your mind about staying? You can bunk with me if you’re not interested in plugging your ears to block out the soundtrack accompanying all the sex rocking Mike and Kate’s apartment.”
She laughed. “Nah, I’m good. Ready for a couple quiet days, that’s all.”
“You’re not sleeping enough.”
No kidding. If she didn’t order supplies, build a website, draft design concepts and secure the funding remaining to fill the gap after her sibling’s generous contributions, who would?
“Fuck. Sorry. It’s none of my business—”
“If her friends can’t tell it like it is, who can?” Another heckler waltzed in on their conversation.
“James.” She hugged Dave in a quick, silent apology as the slighter man neared. “You’re right. Both of you. I promise to take a little time off to enjoy the season. You know, frolic in the snow and crap.”
“Damn straight you will.” Neil joined them in the suddenly cramped area. How had it seemed spacious to her before? “Not much else you’ll be able to accomplish anyway. It’s turning nasty.”
Kayla ushered them out of her living room and onto the front porch, crossing her arms over her chest to ward off the intense chill. It could be a hundred below yet she’d rather endure the sting of the wind for a couple seconds than add another layer of clothing to her frame.
The more she went nude, the more it stifled her to be dressed. The holidays she’d spent with her family had driven her insane with discomfort. A few moments longer and she could retreat to the bliss of her fireplace.
Dave tugged on his leather jacket while the other two men piled into their beast of a truck.
Now that the guys prepared to pull out of her yard, a rebellious fraction of her mind wished she’d accepted Dave’s offer. Several days without their easy company seemed like an awfully long time. How could that be when she’d only met them six weeks earlier?
“We will.” He buttoned the flattering coat, inspiring a gulp.
She’d never seen him wear the thing before, never mind fasten it to the neck. Sporting something so constricting would suffocate her. Still, she wouldn’t complain about the extra time his actions granted them.
“Call if you need anything, baby.”
Like a hot construction worker to keep me toasty? Hopping from foot to foot to prevent her toes from numbing—still preferable than stuffing them into the prison of heavy shoes—she indulged her stubborn streak, which refused to abandon the porch until he’d vanished from sight. She chaffed her arms. Snowflakes swirled around them, drifting onto her hair. When one landed on her bottom lip, she licked the miniature puddle it left behind.
Dave’s eyes slitted a moment before he growled, “Forget this.”
Kayla gasped between his parted lips when he swooped in to taste the moisture for himself. The kiss caught her completely off guard. He hadn’t telegraphed a single hint he’d noticed the electricity arcing between them. Not once had he taken their flirtation beyond harmless.
She sank into his loose hold.
His tongue stole its first taste of her mouth. The gust of passion he inspired knocked her off balance. She wrapped her arms around his neck to keep from losing her footing. When she thought she might try to crawl up him right there at the top of her stairs, in plain sight of his best friends, he retreated with a sigh.
Dave stroked wisps of hair from her cheek. “You’d better head in before you catch a chill.”
“As though I could have a cool molecule left on my body.” She touched her lips with her fingertips. “What was that?”
“I think it’s called a kiss.” He laughed.
“Jesus. Not hardly. I’ve kissed plenty of guys before.”
“None of them fired me up like that. Amazing.”
“How about we work on it some more after the storm?”
She couldn’t speak so she nodded instead.
“Call me, Kayla. Let’s talk.”
Dave pivoted and leapt down the stairs, grinning at her over his shoulder as he loped to the truck. If Neil had pressed his face any closer to the driver’s side window for a peep at the exchange, he’d have left a nose print on the glass. The instant he spotted his friend approaching, he turned the key in his truck’s ignition.
The powerful engine roared.
Then it sputtered.
Right before it died.