After a scorching hot kiss that happened years ago, Jesse Daniels has wondered what it would be like to have something more with her longtime best friend. The only problem is, besides some mild flirting, Bradley Lawrence has never hinted at sharing her feelings. In fact, he doesn’t even remember the kiss.
Bradley has many loves—his hometown, farming…and women. For the most part he lives a carefree life with no plans of changing—until he discovers the feelings Jesse has secretly had for him. Now, she is all he can think about, and it’s going to take a lot of convincing to get Jesse to see that he is a changed man. But in the end it all comes down to one simple fact—is it worth the risk of ruining their friendship over the possibility of finding love?
A knock came at the back door. It had to be someone she or her parents knew, because those were the only people who used the back way. She pulled open the door to find…Bradley.
He stood under the soft glow of the porch light, wearing a devilish grin. His gaze swept down her body before he jerked his focus back on her face. Jesse was reminded of what she wore. Clearly, she almost being naked was the last thing he’d expected when he decided to grace her door. It was the last thing she’d expected. But she was at home, dressed for comfort and the stifling heat threatening to steal all oxygen.
Her skin tingled. There was nothing sexy about her hair pulled back in a loose ponytail and sweat covering her body and sliding between her breasts, but…if he kept looking at her like he’d just come upon a naughty little secret, she would be convinced he was picturing her naked.
Her first instinct was to retreat to her room to pull a shirt over her electric-blue sports bra, but instead, she forced her legs to stay planted. Plus, whatever the temperature was downstairs, it was twice that upstairs in her room.
“Why are you here?” She hadn’t seen him since the diner incident the day before. She was hoping she wouldn’t have to face him again so soon. “Tommy’s not here.”
“I’m not looking for Tommy. If I was, I would just go to his house,” he said. “I wanted to see you.”
She swallowed back her fear of what he would say next. “Why?”
He raked a hand through his hair and briefly stared at his boots. “Hell, Jesse, I don’t know…I just do. You seemed really upset yesterday, and I don’t know why you’re mad at me, because for once I don’t think I did anything wrong.”
“I’m not mad at you, Bradley.” She didn’t know if she was lying or not. Everything was messed up at the moment.
“Then why are your eyes shooting darts at me right now? You can’t lie to me, Jess. I know you better than you think. What’s wrong with me asking you out?”
Her face heated at the memory of the day before. “Just because we kissed, that doesn’t mean you have to be honorable or anything.”
“The honorable thing? I’m not asking you out because we kissed…well, I guess I am, but I don’t feel like I have to or anything. I want to go out on a date with you. It has everything to do with how that kiss made me feel, and nothing to do with me being honorable.”
“When did you start examining your kisses with women?” She turned her back to him, leaving the door open for him to follow if he wanted, and walked back toward the living room. “We kissed, please don’t read anything more into it.”
She heard the door shut, followed by Bradley’s swearing. “God, Jess, it’s a fucking scorcher in here. No wonder you’re stripped down to practically nothing. How are you standing this?”
“I’m not. I’m just trying not to think about it. The air conditioning unit went out today.”
“Is someone coming to look at it? This can’t be good for your dad.”
“The repair man is coming tomorrow, I hope. My parents went out tonight. So, my dad isn’t home right now.”
She sat down on the couch first, allowing Bradley to sit as close as he wanted to her. Big mistake. He wasn’t right on top of her, but he also wasn’t sitting on the far end either. For the entire second inning of the game they sat and stared at the television. She didn’t know about him, but she was looking at the screen and not really seeing it. The change between them had become awkward, and she didn’t like it. Her longing for them to be something more than what they really were was causing a rift in their friendship. And the obvious solution would be to take him up on the offer of going on a date, but one date wouldn’t be enough for her. And Bradley’s track record told her one date was all he could offer her.
During a commercial break, Bradley spoke up, “I don’t like this.” When she didn’t say anything in return, he sighed. “Tell me you’ve thought about us…together.”
Together…as in sex? If that’s what he meant, then yes…she thought about it often. She would have to be dead to not think about the possibility of being with him.
He muted the television as he turned to face her, making him a lot closer than she was comfortable with. “I have lately.”
She took a chance and stared back at him. “I don’t know what else you want me to say, Bradley.”
“Maybe I don’t want you to anything. Maybe I really just came here for this…”
Bradley was cupping the back of her head, drawing her in, and she was too lost in the heat in his eyes to know she needed to push him away. His lips were touching hers before she could suck in a breath.
At first the kiss was slow—too slow for how she was feeling.
The more his mouth moved over hers, the more she allowed herself to go with it. When his tongue swept inside her mouth, she leaned into him, leaving little to no space between them.
His hands glided along her bare skin. With every tantalizing stroke of his work-hard hands, she found herself wanting what he had to give her…just for the moment anyway. She’d accepted the fact that he was not going to suddenly fall in love with her. Wanting a commitment and leaving a life of bachelorhood was not him, and she had to be okay with that. It was either accept him…or drive herself crazy.