Wicked Sexy Liar (Wild Seasons #4)(11) by Christina Lauren

“Show me where they are and I’ll help you. I helped my sister move a few weeks ago, and according to her I missed my calling in manual labor.”

“No, I can—” I start to say, but he’s already shaking his head.

“I’m not offering because of some chivalrous bullshit reason or because you’re a girl and I think you can’t do it alone—I think we both know you can probably do whatever the hell you want,” he says with a wink. “I’m offering because the sooner you’re done, the sooner I can monopolize more of your time.”

“Thanks,” I say again, ignoring the way his words make my blood vibrate in unexpected pleasure, and motioning for him to follow me. “But there’ll be no hanging out going on back there. No being a friend. Just to clarify.”

“I know, I know,” Luke says, rounding the bar and offering Fred the requisite Man Nod as we pass. I don’t miss Fred’s smug I told you so expression when his gaze flickers to me, and I give him a threatening look before ducking around the corner and down the hall.

It’s so much quieter back here, away from the sharp crack of the pool table, the clink of glasses, or shouts aimed at the TVs.

Luke peeks inside Fred’s office, and then stops just outside our tiny break room. It’s more of a kitchen, really, with a refrigerator and a microwave, and sometimes after work I fall asleep in the worn leather chair in the corner.

“Glamour, right?” I say, and lean in to see what’s caught his eye.

He looks around and shrugs. “I like it,” he says. “The break room at my office has ergonomic chairs and three different espresso machines. Honestly, I feel like an asshole just sitting in there.”

I laugh as I continue on into the storeroom. Luke follows me in, standing in the middle and looking around for a moment, before joining me where the boxes are stacked and reaching out for me to hand him something.

“Hey, can I ask you a question?” he says.

I check my list and then search the boxes for the right label. “Sure.”

“This is really none of my business, but how do you know Mia?”

I look up at him, surprised. “Mia? She’s best friends with my roommate, Lola. Why?”

Instead of answering, he asks, “You live with Lola?”

“Yeah, we were always in the art buildings at the same time,” I tell him. “We didn’t hang out much outside of school, but she moved in last summer and is quickly becoming my favorite human.”

“Other than me, of course,” he says with a grin, before helping me by grabbing a box high on the shelf.

I mumble out a thanks and go back to studying my list. Luke is sweet, definitely attentive, and a total fucking flirt.

Danger.

“No problem,” he says. “So Mia is more Lola’s friend than yours?”

That’s an odd question. “I guess. I mean, we’re friends, but I haven’t known her that long. How do you know them?” I ask.

Luke shifts the box to one arm and runs a hand along the edge of a shelf. “We grew up together: Me, Mia, Lola, and Harlow. We all went to the same high school.”

When I don’t say anything in response, he looks up. He must notice the subtle lift of my brow implying and? because he adds, “We’ve sort of known each other forever.”

It feels like there’s more, but this is Luke and there probably always is.

Besides, I can certainly appreciate his desire to keep his cards close to the chest.

I turn away and go back to my boxes.

“So have you been in Fred’s before?” I ask. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you.”

“Once, a few months ago, but Dylan likes the vibe so we came back. Lucky for me you work here,” he says with another grin.

I roll my eyes but it’s surprisingly hard not to smile back. His smile is infectious.

And as if I need a reminder that his good mood is likely the direct result of a booty call, his phone goes off in his pocket. He pulls it out and glances down at the screen, and I watch the way it illuminates his face. I’d consider giving up every dollar in the car fund tonight to see what is making his eyes go wide right now.

“Good news?” I ask.

He knows he’s been caught, but I’m not sure if it’s that or whatever he’s just read that has him more flustered.

“Just a friend,” he says, pocketing his phone again.

“Uh-huh.” I straighten and check the last thing off my list, and feel him just behind me. He reaches around to take a small box of cocktail straws out of my hands and I can smell his subtle cologne, feel the heat of his arm through the fabric of my shirt.

“Thanks for letting me help,” he says, and I look over my shoulder, his face only inches from mine. This room suddenly feels way too dark and way too small for two people. Especially if those two people have had sex and aren’t supposed to do it again.

“You’re a lot of fun, Logan.”

“Easy, tiger.”

Luke laughs, sending little bursts of warm air across my skin. “I meant in more of a general sense but, yeah. That, too, obviously,” he says, gently squeezing my hip before he steps back and toward the door. Goose bumps make their way across my body and I try to hide a shiver.

Luke Sutter is going to be trouble.

Chapter FOUR

Luke

“DO YOU NEED me to send them?”

For a beat, I think I haven’t heard Margot correctly, but knowing my sister, odds are I have.

I pull into a parking spot, shut off the ignition, and put my phone to my ear when my car’s Bluetooth disconnects. “Do I need you to mail my law school applications?”

“It’s just that the bulk of them are due Tuesday,” she continues, “and—”

“Margot—”

“—the post office is just down from here so it’s easy for—”

“Margot.” I cut her off as gently as possible. “Seriously. I can handle this. Everything is all taken care of. Listen, I just got off work and am starving. Can we talk later?”

“I’m just excited for you,” she says, mildly sheepish now. “Your application is so strong. I know I’m being super-controlling, but it’s such a big deal . . .”

I sigh, nodding. I’m lucky to have such an involved older sister, but there are days I want her to have just a few more things in her life to distract her from living mine as well. “I know, Gogo.”

She quiets, sighing as the name I’ve used for as long as I can remember makes her stop and take a breath. “Do you feel ready for all of this?” she asks. “It’s only a few months left here and then somewhere new.”

“Unless I go to UCSD.”

“But you won’t. I know you. I can tell you want to move.”

“Yeah,” I agree. “I think I’m ready for a change.” We’ve had this conversation a hundred times—maybe more—and I do want to prepare her for the chance that I’ll be across the country this time next year. Margot gives me more shit than everyone else in my life combined, but she’s still my best friend. Staying close to her is really the only argument for going to UCSD Law next year. “I mean, sometimes it’s overwhelming. Like, yesterday—”

“Wait, let me conference in Mom.”

I sit up in my seat, eyes wide. “For the love of God, why?”

But she’s already gone.

I stare around the parking lot—home of the most delicious Mexican food in my neighborhood, and where I hope is also the location of my dinner sometime in the near future—and watch a handful of seagulls fight over a few scraps of tortilla someone has thrown their way. My stomach growls.

Two seconds later I hear the line click, and Margot asks, “Everyone here?”

“Yeah,” I mumble.

“Here,” Mom says brightly. “What’s going on, Bubbles?”

Mothers and nicknames. Honestly.

“Nothing,” I say. “I honestly have no idea why I’m not eating dinner right now instead of having a conference call.”

“Luke was nervous about applications,” Margot says.

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