Price of a Kiss(5)

By: Linda Kage



Yes, the chemical current between us was exactly that powerful. I’m not even exaggerating. Okay, maybe a little. But not much.

He broke the connection by shifting his attention to Eva. I gasped from the release as if someone had just ripped a Band-Aid off my soul.

Not that I could really tell, but I swore his eyes narrowed when he focused on my cousin. He sent me another quick dart, which suddenly seemed full of accusation, and swiftly turned back to his group, dismissing us both entirely.

Never before had a mere glance rattled me so deeply.

Blowing out an unsteady breath, I set my hand against my wildly thumping heart. If I had just flatlined and someone had used a defibrillator to bring me back to life, I don’t think I would’ve felt more jolted than I did now. “Whoa.”

“Yeah,” Eva murmured, sounding similarly affected. “I think I need a cigarette.”

I turned to her and blinked. “You don’t smoke.”

She rolled her eyes. “I swear, sometimes, we cannot possibly be related. You weren’t supposed to take that literally, ReeRee. Gah.”

My rational cognition was still too fried for me to think properly, so I merely murmured, “Oh.” Then I shrugged. “Well, my sparkly ballet flats still kick your sandals’ ass.”

“Dream on.” She snorted. “Sandals are so in this season.” And with that, she chomped her gaze back on my piece of man candy.

“Whatever,” I mumbled with a petulant sniff, battling this insane urge to pull her hair and scream that I’d seen him first, or at the very least remind her she had a boyfriend. “Chillax, E. I was just looking anyway. It’s not like I want to get married and set up house with him. I am so not ready for another relationship right now.”

“Whatever,” Eva repeated right back, but in a much nastier tone than I’d used. “I told you he was unattainable.”

Damn, what had crawled into her Wheaties and died? And why did she keep staring at him? Seriously, it pissed me off something crucial, because now I couldn’t sneak another peek. Two girls eye-gushing over the same guy was just plain pathetic.

Oh, hell, it didn’t matter if she wanted to hog all the ogling to herself. I was a little too intimidated to look at him again, anyway. I mean, what if he looked back? I wasn’t sure I could take that kind of shockwave twice in one day.

I assume no one had ever actually overdosed from a lusty glance before, but with Hotness around, I had a bad feeling I’d probably be the first.

So, I focused my attention on my class schedule I’d pulled up on my cell phone two-point-five seconds before becoming intensely aware of Mason Lowe’s existence. Draining the rest of my latte, I looked up the room number for my first class. The heat and steam from the drink burned all the way down, but I kind of welcomed the pain. It kept me distracted from you-know-who.

Gasping out a silent gulp to cool my inflamed esophagus, I blinked back tears. “So…” It took me a few tries before I could add, “You said you had Brit Lit with me, right?”

“Right,” Eva answered. From her breathy reply, I could tell she was still busy staring.

“Well, it starts in…three minutes. Maybe we should get going.” At this point, anything to get her to heel and take her eyes off my hunk would do, even attending Early British Literature.

Spotting a trashcan nearby, I took aim and sank my empty cup, nothing but net, thanks to three years on the high school basketball team. “So let’s do this,” I announced, gathering my backpack and getting ready to stand.

But Eva slid over, slamming her body into mine until she smashed us together, hip to hip. “Wait.” Her voice went hushed and serious as her hand landed on my leg, holding me in place. “He’s coming this way.”

Drawing in a sharp breath, I glanced up. He’d abandoned his bronco statue and was strolling down the sidewalk by himself toward the main entrance of the school. Problem was, the bench Eva and I inhabited sat along the edge of that very path. He was going to walk right by us.

Nothing but ten feet of dead air was going to separate him from me.

Dear Lord in heaven, please deliver me. Could I survive such close proximity? I honestly didn’t know. My chest heaved from the sudden unsteady rhythm of my breathing.

“Watch this,” Eva whispered in my ear.

I glanced at her, hoping to find some kind of direction, for her to tell me what to do. But she didn’t look a bit aware of my approaching panic attack. The girl looked damn mischievous.

I grabbed her wrist. “Oh, God. What’re you going to do?”

Eva merely smiled her infamous Cheshire cat grin as she settled her gaze on the passing hottie. “Good morning, Mason,” she called.

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