I’m wondering what it would be like to be kissed by you.”
“Let’s not go there,” he said. “I don’t want to mess up our friendship.”
“It wouldn’t,” she said, grinning suddenly. “I’d like to know how it feels. I mean, as an experiment.”
“Put the wrong chemicals together, and they explode.”
She frowned. “Are you saying you don’t think I’d like it? Or that I would?”
“It doesn’t matter, because I’m not going to kiss you.”
She looked up at him shyly, from beneath lowered lashes, and gave him a cajoling smile. “Just one teeny, weeny little kiss?”
He laughed at her antics. Inside his stomach, about a million butterflies had taken flight. “Don’t play games with me, Summer.” He said it with a smile, but it was a warning.
One she ignored.
She crooked her finger and wiggled it, gesturing him toward her. “Come here, and give me a little kiss.”
She was doing something sultry with her eyes, something she’d never done before. She’d turned on some kind of feminine heat, because he was burning up just looking at her. “Stop this,” he said in a guttural voice.
She canted her hip and put her hand on it, drawing his attention in that direction, then slid her tongue along the seam of her lips to wet them. “I’m ready, bad boy. What are you waiting for?”
His heart was beating a hundred miles a minute. He was hot and hard and ready. And if he touched her, he was going to ruin everything.
“I’m not going to kiss you, Summer.”
He saw the disappointment flash in her eyes. Saw the determination replace it.
“All right. I’ll kiss you.”
He could have stopped her. He was the one with the powerful arms and the broad chest and the long, strong legs.
But he wanted that kiss.
“Fine,” he said. “Don’t expect fireworks. I’m only doing this because we’re friends.” And if she believed that, he had some desert brushland he could sell her.
Suddenly, she seemed uncertain, and he felt a pang of loss. Silly to feel it so deeply, when kissing Summer had been the last thing he’d allowed himself to dream about. Although, to be honest, he hadn’t always been able to control his dreams. She’d been there, all right. Hot and wet and willing.
He made himself smile at her. “Don’t worry, kid. It was a bad idea. To be honest, I value our friendship too much—”
She threw herself into his arms, clutching him around the neck, so he had to catch her or get bowled over. “Whoa, there,” he said, laughing and hugging her with her feet dangling in the air. “It doesn’t matter that you’ve changed your mind about wanting that kiss. I’m just glad to be your friend.”
She leaned back in his embrace, searching his eyes, looking for something. Before he could do or say anything to stop her, she pressed her lips softly against his.
His whole body went rigid.
“Billy,” she murmured against his lips. “Please. Kiss me back.”
“Summer, I don’t—”
She pressed her lips against his again, damp and pliant and inviting. He softened his mouth against hers, felt the plumpness of her upper lip, felt the open, inviting seam, and let his tongue slide along the length of it.
“Oh.” She broke the kiss and stared at him with dazed eyes. Eyes that sought reason where there was none.
He wanted to rage at her for ruining everything. They could never be friends now. Not now that he’d tasted her, not now that she’d felt his want and his need. He lowered his head to take her mouth, to take what he’d always wanted.