Rush Too Far (Rosemary Beach #4)(6) by Abbi Glines

If we were lucky, Blaire would be asleep.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Two days had passed since I’d seen Blaire. Avoiding her hadn’t been easy. Fighting the urge to come downstairs and see her every morning was hard. But that wasn’t why I was breaking my rule today. At least that was what I was telling myself.

Grant had shown up drunk with one of his regular girls. I didn’t know if they would be up early, but I didn’t want Blaire encountering them in the kitchen. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t want her getting the wrong idea if the girl was there alone. She’d already made her feelings about my sex life very clear. I should have let her think this was another one of my hookups . . . but I was heading downstairs anyway. Unable to stop myself.

“Did you just come out of the pantry?” the girl, whose name I couldn’t remember, was asking Blaire in a confused tone. I took longer strides, needing to get into that damn kitchen and shut the girl up. Blaire didn’t have to answer to her.

“Yes. Did you just come out of Rush’s bed?” Blaire asked. Her soft voice curled around the words, making the question seem innocent. I slowed down, surprised to detect a territorial undertone.

“No. Not that I wouldn’t get into his bed if he’d let me, but don’t tell Grant that. Never mind. He probably already knows,” the girl said.

I stopped at the doorway and searched the kitchen for Blaire. She was standing on the other side of the island. The girl was between us, hindering my view.

“So you just got out of Grant’s bed?” Blaire asked. I bit back a smile. The confusion in her voice sounded awfully like relief to me.

“Yep. Or at least, his old bed.”

“His old bed?” Blaire asked.

I fought the urge to remain and listen to just how far Blaire would go with her questioning. I f**king liked it. She gave a shit, and I liked it. Damn, this was bad.

The girl moved, and Blaire’s eyes shifted until they locked with mine. I was caught. Conversation over. Time to fix what was becoming an issue. Me dealing with interest in Blaire was one thing; her having interest in me was another. She knew nothing. I couldn’t let her like me. Not even a little. In the end, she’d hate me, and I never needed to know what it felt like to have her feel anything other than lack of interest toward me.

“Please, don’t let me stop you, Blaire. Continue to give Grant’s guest the third degree. I’m sure he won’t mind,” I told her, as I leaned against the doorway and acted as if I were getting comfortable.

Blaire’s eyes went wide before she ducked her head and dusted crumbs off her hands into the garbage can. I had never actually seen her eat. I was glad to see signs that she was eating.

“Good morning, Rush. Thanks for letting us crash here last night. Grant drank entirely too much to drive all the way back to his place,” the girl said.

“Grant knows he has a room when he wants it,” I said, without looking at the girl. I kept my eyes on Blaire, then made my way over to the island.

“Well, uh, I guess I’ll run back upstairs, then.” The girl was still talking, but I ignored her. She wasn’t of any consequence to me. I’d prefer it if she left. When I heard her footsteps fade away down the hall, I closed the distance between Blaire and me.

“Curiosity killed the kitty, sweet Blaire,” I told her, loving the way her cheeks turned pink. “Did you think I’d had another sleepover? Hmmm? Trying to decide if she had been in my bed all night?” Fuck, I wanted to touch her. She was shifting nervously, but for just one goddamn minute, I wanted to feel her close to me. No! I had to remember who she was. What I’d done. That keeping her away from me would save us both in the end. “Who I sleep with isn’t your business. Haven’t we gone over this before?” She was supposed to be angry with me. She wasn’t supposed to be looking at me with those big, defenseless eyes. Unable to keep my hands off her, I reached over and wrapped a lock of her hair around my finger. The silky texture made me tremble slightly. I was getting too close. This was wrong, and it was dangerous. “You don’t want to know me. You may think you do, but you don’t. I promise.”

If she would just see that, this would be easier. But instead of running from me, she kept looking at me like there was something more here. Something other than an arrogant asshole. How the f**k was she seeing through the persona I was projecting for her? She wasn’t supposed to see anything other than the spoiled brat the world assumed I was.

“You aren’t what I expected. I wish you were. It’d be so much easier,” I whispered, realizing I had said it out loud. Dropping her hair, I stepped back, then turned and left the kitchen. I needed to stay away from her. But how the f**k could I do that with her in my house?

It had taken me hours to finally fall asleep, only to be woken up by my phone ringing. Rolling over, I grabbed my cell phone off my nightstand and squinted against the light of the screen. It was Will. My little cousin. Shit. Not again.

“What?” I snarled into the phone, already knowing why he was calling. He had either run away again and was on his way to my house, or he was already at my house and needed to get inside. My mother’s sister was a bitch. A raging bitch. I understood that completely, but the kid couldn’t keep running away. Especially to here.

“I’m outside,” he said.

“Shit, Will. What is it this time?” I asked, throwing the covers back and searching for a pair of discarded sweats to pull on.

“She’s making me go to camp. All f**king summer,” he replied. “In Ireland!”

Which translated into: she wanted a summer free of the burden of motherhood and was getting ready to ship him off. It would probably be the best summer of his life. A summer free of her.

I ended the call and threw the phone down before making my way downstairs to the front door. Opening it, I winced at the sight of Will holding an overnight bag as if I would actually let him move in. I had raised one kid; I wasn’t raising another.

“You’re going home in the morning. You will f**king love Ireland. Go to Grant’s room for the night. Sleep there,” I grumbled, closing the door behind him.

“I don’t even speak Irish,” he complained.

How the f**k had this kid made it to high school? “They speak English, you dipshit,” I said, slapping him on the back of the head. “I’m exhausted. You woke me up. Now, go the f**k to sleep.”

He nodded and slumped as if I had just ended his world. I ignored the pouting and followed him up the stairs. This wasn’t a first for us. Will ran away to my place whenever I was nearby. His mother liked to visit Rosemary Beach in the summers, so it happened most often then.

“You ever been to Ireland?” he asked, as he reached the door to the room he would be crashing in for the night.

“Yep. Gorgeous country. Now, go to sleep,” I replied, then headed back up to bed.

He was going home tomorrow, but I’d have to call Grant to come get him. As soon as I got to my aunt’s and he started fighting with her, I would cave and bring him back here with me.

Grant would be able to take him home. He had done it for me more than once.

CHAPTER NINE

My bedroom door slammed, and I sat up in bed, rubbing my face and trying to block out the sunlight.

“He’s back home,” Grant announced.

“Thanks,” I muttered. I had texted Grant last night about Will’s appearance and asked if he’d take Will home before he went to work that morning.

“Little shit is a handful. He tried to take Blaire home with him.” Grant chuckled.

At the sound of her name, I dropped my hand and looked at him. “She still here?” I asked.

Grant nodded his head toward the windows. “Out there. In a f**king bikini. I may stay here all day instead of going to work, if you don’t mind. Besides, you owe me one for taking Will home and dealing with the evil witch.”

I grabbed my discarded sweats and yanked them on quickly before walking over to the window.

Miles and miles of empty beach stretched just beyond my front yard. Blaire was lying out there with her eyes closed and her face tilted toward the sunshine. Yeah . . . Grant’s ass was going to work. He wasn’t staying here to sit around and stare at her all day.

“She’s gonna burn,” Grant said in a hushed whisper, and I tore my gaze off Blaire to see him staring down at her just as reverently as I was. Fuck that.

“Don’t look,” I snapped, and moved back from the window.

Grant let out a laugh. “What the hell does that mean, ‘Don’t look’?”

It meant not to f**king look. “I don’t . . . just . . . you remember who she is. She’ll hate us, and she’ll leave soon. So don’t.” I wasn’t sure what I was saying. I just wanted him to stop looking at her. She was barely covered up, and all her smooth skin was right there for anyone to see. I didn’t want anyone to see it.

“She won’t hate us, just you. And Nan. And her father. But I didn’t do shit,” Grant said.

My hands clenched into fists at my sides, and I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. He was doing this on purpose. He wanted to see if I reacted to her. He was trying to piss me off. “Don’t you have work to do?” I asked calmly.

Grant glanced back at the window and shrugged. “Dude, I work for my dad. I’m the boss. I can take off when an emergency comes up. Besides, aren’t we celebrating Nan’s birthday tonight?”

He was baiting me. Reminding myself of that, I walked over to the closet and found a pair of board shorts. I was going out there. She might not be wearing sunblock, and she needed it. Her skin would burn. I would hate for her to burn her skin.

“You going for a swim?” Grant asked teasingly.

I didn’t look back at him. “Go to work, Grant. Nan’s party is tonight,” I replied, and slammed the bathroom door behind me. I had forgotten that I was giving Nan a party for her birthday tonight. Blaire was making me forget everything.

“You’re playing with fire, man. Like massive flames that will eat you up! Should’ve let me have her. This ain’t gonna be pretty,” he called out loudly enough that I could hear him through the door.

“You don’t know what the f**k you’re talking about. No one gets her. She’ll be leaving soon,” I yelled back.

Grant’s laugh faded away as he left my room. He was right. This was fire, and I couldn’t seem to get away from it. I kept moving closer, knowing it was going to consume me if I wasn’t careful.

I didn’t think about what I was doing. I just changed and headed outside to check on her. “Please tell me you have sunblock on,” I said as I sank down onto the sand beside her.

She covered her eyes from the sun before opening them and looking over at me. She didn’t respond. Had I woken her up?

“You are wearing sunblock, aren’t you?” I asked.

She nodded and pulled herself into a sitting position on the small bath towel she was using. Her body was distracting as hell.

“Good. I’d hate to see that smooth, creamy skin turn pink,” I replied before I could stop myself.

“I, uh, put some on before I came out here.”

I really should have looked away from her, but that seemed impossible at the moment. The tops of her br**sts were right there, swelling over her bikini top. If she were anyone else, I would have no problem reaching over and tugging the small piece of fabric down until I could see her nipple. Then I’d . . . no! Dammit. I needed to focus on something else.

“You not working today?” I asked.

“It’s my day off.”

“How’s the job going?”

This time, she didn’t reply right away. I watched her as she stared up at me. She wasn’t paying attention to my words so much as she was studying my face. I liked that. Too damn much. “Uh, what?” she asked as her face turned slightly pink.

“How is the job going?” I asked again. I wasn’t able to keep the amusement out of my voice.

She sat up straighter and tried to look less interested in me. “It’s going good. I like it.”

The guys who no doubt flirted with her and gave her ridiculous tips annoyed me. “I bet you do,” I said.

“What is that supposed to mean?” she asked.

I let my gaze travel down her body slowly. “You know what you look like, Blaire. Not to mention that damn sweet smile of yours. The male golfers are paying you well.”

She didn’t get angry or snap at me. Instead, she looked surprised. I turned my attention to the water. I didn’t need to look at her. She distracted me. I forgot about everything else when I was focused on her. Remembering why she was here and that I’d had a hand in her pain should have made it easy enough to stay focused. But she made me forget everything. One bat of her eyelashes, and I was lost.

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