Dirty Rowdy Thing (Wild Seasons #2) by Christina Lauren

Chapter ONE

Harlow

I BURST THROUGH THE doors of this random Starbucks in this random neighborhood in the hopes of forgetting the second-worst lay of my life. Toby Amsler: Fantastically flirty, hot, and with the added bonus of being on the UCSD water polo team—he had all the makings for a night of world-class, toe-curling fun.

False advertising at its finest.

You see, when it comes to potential love interests, guys typically fall into three basic categories: the manwhore, the misunderstood, and the mama’s boy. The manwhore, in my experience, comes in any number of shapes and sizes: dirty rock star, muscled quarterback, even the occasional irresistible hot nerd. Their strength in bed? Generally, dirty talk and endurance, both of which I’m a fan. Sadly, this doesn’t always translate into skill.

The misunderstood often takes the shape of an artist, a quiet surfer, or a soulful musician. These boys rarely know what the hell to do, but at least they’re willing to try for hours.

The mama’s boy is the easiest to spot. Here in La Jolla, he usually drives his mom’s hand-me-down Lexus and keeps it in pristine condition. This type takes his shoes off as soon as he walks indoors and always maintains eye contact while speaking. In bed, the mama’s boy offers few benefits, but at least they tend to be tidy.

Toby Amsler turned out to be the rare combination of mama’s boy and manwhore, which somehow made him exponentially worse in bed. The only thing more awkward than his vacuum-suction oral skills was being woken by his mother bringing him tea and Cheerios—without knocking—at six in the morning. Not my finest wake-up call.

I’m not sure why I’m surprised. Despite what film and music would have women believe, these guys are all hopeless when it comes to the female orgasm. They learn sex from watching porn, where giving the camera a good view is the goal and no one really cares if it works for the girl, because she’ll pretend it’s awesome regardless. Sex happens up close, and inside, not at camera’s length. Guys seem to forget that.

My heart rate has yet to return to normal, and the couple in front of me is ordering at a snail’s pace. He wants to know, “What’s good for someone who doesn’t like coffee?”

Probably not a coffee shop, I want to snap. But I don’t, and remind myself that it’s not this particular man’s fault that all men are clueless, that I’m frustrated and cranky.

I swear I’m not usually prone to dramatics. I’m just having a bad morning, and I need to breathe.

Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath. There. Better.

I step away and scowl at the pastry case while contemplating my choices. And then I stop, blinking twice before narrowing my eyes and peering more closely at the case. Or, rather, at the reflection in the glass.

Is that . . . no . . . Finn Roberts . . . standing behind me?

Leaning forward, I can see that visible beside my own reflection, and in line just behind me is, indeed . . . Finn. My brain does the immediate mental pat-down. Why isn’t he in Canada? Where am I? Am I awake? Am I having a Finn Roberts nightmare in Toby Amsler’s twin-sized water bed?

I convince myself it’s a trick of the light. Maybe my brain has finally shorted out on the one morning I’d give my left arm for an orgasm—of course that would make me think of Finn, right?

Finn Roberts, the only guy who ever managed to dodge my convenient guy-category strategy—Finn Roberts, the notorious ex-husband-of-twelve-drunken-hours-in-Vegas, who was good with hands, lips, and body, and who made me come so many times he told me he thought I passed out.

Finn Roberts, who turned out to be an asshole, too.

Trick of the light. It can’t be him.

But when I chance a tiny glimpse over my shoulder, I realize it really is him. On his head is a faded blue Mariners cap pulled low over hazel eyes lined with the longest, thickest lashes I’ve ever seen. He’s wearing the same hunter green T-shirt with his family company’s white fishing logo as when I surprised him in his hometown only a little over a month ago. His arms are tanned, muscled, and crossed over his wide chest.

Finn is here. Fuck. Finn is here.

I close my eyes and groan. My body gives in to a horrifying reflex: Immediately, I feel soft and warm, my spine arches as if he’s pressing up behind me. I remember the first moment I knew we would hook up, in Vegas. Drunk, I’d pointed to him and dropped out loud to everyone, Probably gonna fuck him tonight.

To which he’d leaned over and said directly into my ear, That’s sweet. But I like to be the one doing the fucking.

And I know if I heard his voice right now—deep, calm as still water, and a little gravelly by nature—as keyed up as I am, I’d probably have an orgasm in the middle of this coffee shop.

I knew I should have just waited and driven over to Pannikin for my usual morning fix. I stay silent, counting to ten. One of my best friends, Mia, jokes that I’m only quiet if I’m surprised or pissed. Right now, I’m both.

The skinny barista kid catches my eye by leaning forward. “Would you like to try our pumpkin spice mocha?”

I nod blankly.

Wait, what? No, that sounds disgusting! A tiny, still-functioning corner of my brain yells at my mouth to order my usual: large coffee, black, no room. But I’m frozen in my stunned silence while the Starbucks barista squeaks out my order with a black Sharpie. In a daze, I hand over the money and shove my wallet back into my purse.

I steady myself and when I turn to go wait for my coffee, Finn catches my eye and smiles. “Hey, Ginger Snap.”

Without turning to face him, I make a show of studying him over my shoulder. He hasn’t shaved this morning, and his dark stubble cuts a dangerous shadow on his jaw. His neck is deeply tanned from working on the wide-open ocean all summer. I let my eyes travel lower, because—let’s be real—I’d be a fool to not drink in the sight of this man before telling him to go fuck himself.

Finn is built like one of Lola’s comic book superheroes—all broad chest and narrow waist, thick forearms, muscled legs. He gives off the appearance of impenetrability, as if that golden skin of his covers titanium. I mean, sweet Jesus, the man works with his hands, sweats when he works, fucks like it’s his vocation, and was raised by a father who expects, above anything else, that his sons are capable fishermen. I can’t imagine any of the guys I know standing next to him and looking anything other than snack-sized.

His smile slowly straightens and he tilts his head a little. “Harlow?”

Although the shadow of his hat partially hides his eyes, I can tell they widen slightly when I lift my attention from his neck. And now I remember how his gaze feels like a hook. I close my eyes and shake my head once, trying to clear it. I don’t mind swooning if the situation calls for it, but I hate the feeling when it tries to shove aside my very well-deserved, righteous indignation.

“Hold. I’m contemplating my response.”

His brows pull together in confusion . . . at least I think it’s confusion. I suspect on Finn that emotion looks the same as impatience, frustration, and concentration. He’s not exactly an open book. “Okay . . . ?”

Okay, here’s the problem: After our matrimonial adventures in Vegas, I flew up to see him. I showed up on Vancouver Island of all places, wearing nothing but a coat. Surprise! We had sex for nearly ten hours straight—rowdy sex, loud, on-every-flat-surface sex—and when I told him I had to head to the airport, he just smiled, leaned over to slide his phone off the nightstand, and called me a cab. He’d just come all over my tits, and he called a cab to drive me to the airport. In fact, it pulled up at the curb behind Finn’s brand-new, cherry-red Ford F-150.

I’d concluded, calmly, actually, that we weren’t a good fit, even for the occasional border-crossing booty call, and called it a day.

So why am I so angry he’s here?

The barista offers the same drink special to Finn, but he makes a mildly disgusted face before declining and ordering two large, black coffees.

This makes me even more irritated. His reasonable reaction should have been mine. “What the hell are you doing at my coffee shop?”

His eyes go wide, mouth forming a few different words before any actually come out. “You own this place?”

“Are you high, Finn? It’s a Starbucks. I just mean it’s my town.”

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