Wicked Sexy Liar (Wild Seasons #4)(6) by Christina Lauren

“Use your sniper rifle!” she shouts, even though she’s right next to me.

Our thumbs hammer on the controllers.

“No, I like the MK5.”

“Dude, you’re blasting everywhere, you’re going to hit me, just be more precise for like two fucking seconds!”

Laughing, I switch my gun and in a few shots manage to take down an Ogre, clearing a path forward.

“Tell me I was right,” she sings.

“You were—fuck!” I yell. In a rain of blood, my pilot is killed by fire from a chain gun from the other team. “Where the hell did that one come from?”

She pauses the game. “Wow. You didn’t last very long.” Her eyes are bright with amusement, lips twisted in a sardonic grin.

She seems so comfortable cracking innuendo, joking about sex—about why we’re here—but I sense the act itself is what she can’t initiate.

“Can I ask you a question?” I say.

She reaches for her beer. “You mean another one?”

I stare at her, straight-faced.

Giving in with a teasing smile—those fucking dimples make something inside me melt then begin to boil—she says, “Yes, fine. As long as you won’t be offended if I decline to answer.”

“Why did you leave with me tonight? At the risk of sounding like a complete asshole, you said you don’t go home with customers, but here you are.”

“I don’t,” she says quickly, but quietly. “Ever.”

I meant the question generally, but her answer surprises me. “Never?”

She shakes her head.

I wonder if that’s all I’m going to get. She didn’t answer my question, but when I look at her, it feels like she’s still mulling it over. Finally, she pulls one leg up on the couch, facing me.

“Let me ask you a question, too,” she says.

Lifting my chin in a small nod, I take a sip of my beer, waiting.

“Do you do this a lot?” she asks.

Although her gesture when she says this encompasses the whole room, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t mean the video game.

I try to do a quick count in my head. Maybe ten in the past couple of months? That might sound like a lot to her. “I mean . . . not every night, but yeah, sometimes.”

“Why?” she asks.

Why? The question sounds absurd. Why do I have sex? Is she for real?

I study her; those brilliant blue eyes are fixed on my face, waiting for an answer. How is it possible for someone to seem so innocent and so wary all at the same time?

Truthfully, I’ve been asked some variation of this before, maybe a handful of times. Usually the woman looks up at me in bed, before or after we fuck, and voices it as casually as possible.

You must have a lot of girls in your bed.

When was the last time you just brought someone home?

I hope you know I don’t do this all the time. This is different, Luke.

But I never get this question on the couch, conversationally, while fully dressed, with clear eyes staring at me and mostly free of judgment. It just feels like Logan wants to understand.

“Right now I’d be terrible at anything more,” I tell her. “I don’t mean I’m scared of commitment or any shit like that. I mean, I’ve been in love before and am not sure I could do all that again.”

She lets out a short, sharp laugh at this, nodding as she tilts her beer to her mouth.

“At least,” I continue, “not right now when I’m working like crazy.” This sounds ridiculous. I can hear it, can hear the absurdity. We’re all working like crazy. We’re all busy and young and chaotic. “But, regardless, I’m a guy. I like sex. I like women. Is that the level of honesty you’re looking for?”

She nods.

“Your turn,” I say. Something ancient seems to be creaking to life inside my chest. It’s been forever since I’ve had a conversation like this—earnest, and open—with someone other than my family, and I forgot how nice it feels.

She drinks deeply from her beer again before answering. I watch her throat as she swallows. It’s long, pale, and smooth. “I left with you because I was barreled by a wave this morning.”

She surfs . . . that certainly explains her body.

“It’s been so long since I was rolled like that,” she says, staring down at the bottle in her hand. “I forgot how scary it is. For the first part of the morning, I couldn’t catch a single good wave. And then one came along that just ground me to dust. All day, I’ve been tense and out of sorts. It’s like it never occurs to me to work out tension with sex. Tonight I figured, Why not?”

“Why not?” I repeat quietly, feeling my pulse charge forward as it seems to become a possibility.

She nods but her eyes are on my lips now.

“Whatever you want, okay?” I tell her.

Slowly, so slowly I can see every emotion pass through her eyes—uncertainty, fear, desire, determination—she leans forward and brushes her mouth over mine. It feels like silk.

“We’re only doing this tonight,” she says, pulling back a few inches to meet my eyes. And when she says it, it sounds nothing like it has coming from other girls. She’s not worried she’ll fall into the trap of thinking it’s more; she’s worried I will. Her dimples dig into her cheeks as she smiles, saying, “So make sure to show me all your tricks.”

I laugh into another kiss. “Yes, ma’am.”

“And don’t come back to the bar expecting to get head in the parking lot,” she says against my mouth. “I’m not that girl.”

See? I was right.

I pull back to look her in the eye and salute her with my fingers at my forehead. “Understood.”

Without much ceremony, she reaches for the hem of my shirt and helps me out of it. Her hands come up, warm but tentative, fingertips before palms smoothing over my skin. Exploring, as if it’s been forever since she did this and she’s forgotten what skin feels like. Her hands are soft; her nails are only long enough to scratch lightly down my chest and over my stomach before she gets to work on the buttons of my jeans.

Whoa. Jesus.

I slide my hips just out of her reach, pulling a condom out of my pocket and placing it near her hip. “Do you want to go to my room?”

She shakes her head. “Here is good.” She tugs me closer and works my pants and boxers down my hips before a thought seems to halt her movements. “Do you live alone?”

I kiss her, speaking against her lips, as I kick my pants to the floor. “You’re getting me naked on my couch, so, God, I hope so.”

I feel her giggle against my mouth when I bend to suck at her throat, and subtly shift away from her hands. I don’t want her hands on my cock yet; neither of us is ready to fuck and what’s the hurry? It’s a complete one-eighty from only five minutes ago. She’s not hesitant anymore, not even a little. I wonder if she’s like that in everything: cautious, then almost recklessly committed. Even so, there’s still a film of detachment there, as if she’s checking things off a mental list without really giving over to anything.

It’s weird.

Usually I sense a frantic need for connection—the inescapable snare of eye contact, a quiet string of questions, kisses that feel like secrets being offered—and it means I can choose how much of it I want. But Logan isn’t looking for deep connection with me; she seems to want the paradox of getting it over with and being consumed.

I’m oddly reminded of driving through the Rockies with my parents during a snowstorm: Mom happily remarking on how lovely it was while Dad focused intently on the mechanics of getting us all there safely. My job is to navigate us both through this.

She guides my hands to her shirt and then closes her eyes as I unbutton it down her front, kissing. She smells like oranges and the sweet scent of girl.

I pull her shirt from her shoulders, down her arms, and unclasp her bra. Fuck, her chest is nice, too. Breasts just bigger than my hands. Flat, toned stomach. She has the body of a girl who unself-consciously surfs in a bikini: curved, tanned, and defined. I want to lose myself in this, want to sense her own relief from it, or even feel some urgency overwhelm her ability to control. For once I want to linger on my bed, lights on, talking nonsense while I kiss all these perfect parts of her.

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