Something flashed in his eyes and I knew he caught my slip. Thinking that way was dangerous. You’re not with him. Never forget that.
He patted the seat. “Hop on.”
“What? Ride it? Now?”
“No. It’s too cold, but try it on for size.” His eyes roamed my face in that way of his that made my stomach flutter. Like he was really looking at me. Memorizing me.
I looked down at the seat and shrugged. Why not? I lifted one jeans-clad leg and straddled the bike. It wasn’t like hopping on my beach cruiser back home. It was bigger. I had to spread my thighs wider. My hand stroked the seat cushion.
It was a little intimidating to think about flying sixty miles an hour down the highway on this thing.
His voice sounded close to my ear. “How’s it feel?”
I grasped the handlebars in front of me. “It feels . . . dangerous.”
“Here. Like this.” His bigger hands closed over mine, adjusting my grip. My heart raced faster at the texture of his callused palms on the backs of my fingers, at the solid press of his chest against my back. I trembled, longing to twist on the seat and wrap my arms around him, pull him close and taste him again.
Only I knew where that would lead.
“And sit back a little farther.” His hands skimmed along my arms. Even through my sleeves goose bumps broke out all over my flesh. His hands settled on my hips. He pulled me back on the seat in one easy drag. Like I weighed nothing at all. It heightened my awareness of his strength, his size. I was used to being smaller than average, but even I couldn’t be called skinny. I had my curves. But Shaw made me feel almost delicate. “You don’t want to be so far up front.”
I nodded dumbly.
“Feel better?” he asked, his voice a deep purr near my ear. The question was innocent enough, but his hands lingered on me. The weight and pressure of them made me think of where else those hands had been. The delicious things he had done to me.
And how much I craved his doing them again.
As though he could read my mind, his hands drifted, skimming my hips, moving up to my waist. My breath hitched. I sat a little straighter. He hesitated for just a heartbeat. And then continued over my stomach, stopping just below my br**sts. His thumbs pushed against the bottom swells, lifting them higher. My ni**les hardened. The satin of my bra felt abrasive against the tips and I wiggled a little on the seat of the bike.
Suddenly the bike dipped a little with his weight. He sank down behind me, his thighs aligning with mine. Instantly, I felt warmer with his body behind me. He fit himself snugly against me. His lips grazed my ear, a teasing brush. I just had to turn my face and my lips could reach his.
I didn’t move. My chest lifted high with deep breaths, thrusting my br**sts out higher. His thumbs continued to drag back and forth against the undersides. I bit my lip to stop a moan from escaping, a small plea for him to stop tormenting me and just take me in his hands.
He pressed closer against my back and that’s when I felt him against my bottom. The hard bulge of him prodded me and I clenched my teeth to stop myself from grinding against him. That was begging for trouble and I was already knocking at its door.
I released the handlebars and quickly climbed off the bike. I slid my sweaty palms down my front and then brought shaky hands up to tuck my hair behind my ears. “I don’t think I’ll be riding one anytime soon.” At least I didn’t stammer the words. The way I shook on the inside, it was surprising.
He sat there looking up at me, his eyes dark and heavy. “You don’t have to. Maybe you can just take a drive with me sometime. In the spring when it warms up a little.”
Riding with him? As in sixty miles an hour with the wind blowing all around us and my arms wrapped around him. Just the idea left me feeling exhilarated. He made the offer so casually as he climbed off the bike and stood with one hand tucked halfway in his front pocket. Even crazier than that was the idea that he would still be hanging around me come spring.
“Maybe.” I shuffled my feet toward the shed door. “I really need to get back now.”
He followed me from the shed without trying to stop me. Not a touch or a kiss. I almost expected him to. What was all that on the bike if he wasn’t even going to try for more? Again, just more evidence that he wasn’t like any other guy I’d encountered. And even more confusing was that I didn’t know which emotion humming through me was stronger. Relief or disappointment.
He watched me back out of the drive, still looking relaxed. When I pulled out onto the street and left his house behind, in my mind I could still see him standing there.
I didn’t think I would ever close my eyes again without seeing him.
I WAS WAITING FOR Pepper the following morning. It was close to nine when I heard her enter next door. I bumped the partially open adjoining door with my hip. She and Reece sat near her desk, sorting through a bag of bagels.
She looked up. “Hey. Em!” Reece gave me a wave.
She must have read something in my expression. Pepper approached me, holding half a bagel in her hand, her eyes bright with worry. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Why wouldn’t I be?”
She slid an uncertain look to Reece. “Well, last night Logan saw you and was a little worried that maybe you were in over your head—”
“Logan? Reece’s man-whore brother? He was worried I was in over my head?” I pressed a hand to my chest.
“Yes!” Pepper’s eyes flashed. “If Logan thought the situation was bad, then the situation was bad.”
“Uh, hello?” Reece waved his bagel, his expression grim. “I’m right here. Can you not call my brother a whore anymore?”
“Sorry, baby.” Pepper smoothed a hand over his shoulder.
“I just would like to know why you thought it was a good idea to text Shaw?” I tossed my arms out wide on either side of me. “Why? Is there something I should know?”
Pepper glanced at me and then looked at Reece searchingly.
Reece looked at me, his stare unflinching. “Is it that hard to figure out? The guy is into you.”
“So that is supposed to mean—”
“He gives a shit about you, Em,” he said, clearly having no trouble being direct with me. “Maybe that should mean something. He’s a helluva lot better for you than those other losers you waste your time—”