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Authors: Kendall Ryan

Hard to Love (6 page)

BOOK: Hard to Love
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Alexa looked up and met my gaze, her eyes wide with curiosity.
Christ
. She couldn’t look at me like that, or I wasn’t going to be able to hold
it
together.

Even though I believed it, I had a hard time understanding how she could still be a virgin on her twenty-first birthday. She was beautiful, pure and innocent. Her hair flowed in soft curls over her shoulders, resting just at the top of her full breasts. She was fucking perfection, and she didn’t even know it.
Her skin looked so soft, I wanted to reach across the table and stroke my th
umb along her cheek just to prove to myself that
it
couldn’t possibly be as soft as
it
looked.
I settled instead for
taking another drink
.
At this rate, I was going to need another beer really soon.

MacKenzie raised her glass in the air, as if to toast herself.
“Best idea ever!”
S
he
signaled
the waitress and asked for
a
round of shots for the table. “Patron okay?”

I nodded my indifference. Mostly I just wanted to know
what
Alexa
was thinking
right
at that moment
a
nd what exactly she had
to
ld
her friends
about me
.

The shots arrived
and I took the glass from Alexa’s fumbling fingertips.
“No more for you
, cupcake
.”
I downed
both my
shot and hers,
one after the other, the liquor burning on its way
down
.

She pouted, and
took a s
ip
of
the water I pushed in front of her.
But as we watched each other, her lips parted and her breaths grew faster. She leaned forward in interest, a shaky smile on her lips that grew bolder with each passing second.
A bark of laughter from her friend Tyson surprised us all. “Are you fucking kidding me?
This guy?
No.
Alexa, if you’re really going to do this, it should be me.
Not some
guy
you don’t even know
,
who probably has God-knows-what kind of diseases.”

Alexa swallowed
visibly.
As insane as this
idea
was, it was her decision. I
forced
my mouth shut, and
kept
my face composed. A low wave of nerves rolling through my stomach told me I wanted this

I
want
ed
her

more than I had any right to.

“Okay,” she squeaked. “Just let me think.”
She pressed her fingers to her temples.

A
n unexpected
surge of protectiveness sprung up inside me, and I found myself holding my breath.

MacKenzie shook her head. “
Lex
, please, please,
I beg of you,
on behalf of
women everywhere
. Have hot, kinky sex with the porn star. Tyson will always be around.” She waved in his direction and he narrowed his eyes
at her
.

One thing was clear as day to me. Tyson had feelings for her.
Real feelings.
I should probably stop cock-blocking the poor bastard, but the look in Alexa’s eyes told me she didn’t return his feelings.
Not one bit.
Her eyes wandered
down my chest
again and she bit her lip.
Her cheeks flushed pink.
She was growing turned on by just the thought of being with me. Fuck, I was going to get hard right here if she didn’t stop looking at me like that.

Tyson set his drink down.
“Come on,
Lex
, this isn’t you. You play things safe
.
Y
ou’re
not
going to do…him”
he
tipped h
is head
toward
me “and we all know it.”

She frowned and pulled her bottom lip into her mouth, considering his words. “I’m sick of everyone thinking I’m Miss
Goody Two
-s
hoes
, with my perfect grades, and days of the week panties. You know what? I have my Wednesdays on today

it’s
Saturday

and
that’
s
a pretty
sad
way of
rebelling
,
huh?

Day
s
of the week?
Damn, picturing her in her panties was doing nothing to tame my overactive libido.


Well forget that! I’m doing this.”
Alexa
straightened her shoulders, which pushed her tits out. That little tank top she was wearing left very little to the imagination. And fuck it to hell, her nipples were hard.
That protective surge I’d felt earlier was back, nagging at me
more insistently.
I would not stand back and let
just
anyone touch that pretty little pussy of hers. I’d kick
Tyson’s
ass to keep him away from her if I had to.
Which wouldn’t be
difficult
,
considering I was ready to
kno
ck
his teeth in
if he looked at her like that again
.


Lex
?”
Tyson
asked
,
h
is voice soft
and
pleading.

Alexa’s eyes were back on mine,
drinking me in. She just sat there
blinking
up at me, waiting expectantly
.
Oh fuck, I was going to hell.

“Fuck it, I’ll do it myself,” I growled.

Her swift intake of breath at my declaration made the hair on the back of my neck
stand. I swallowed roughly.

But not tonight.
You’ve had too much to drink.

Her mouth dropped open in surprise.

“Do you have a pen?” I motioned to
MacKenzie’s
giant purse sitting on the table. She jumped into action, rooting around inside and seconds later, thrust a pen
toward
me. I reached across the table and turned over Alexa’s arm, brushing the soft flesh with my thumb.
Her skin
was
as soft as I’d imagined, and the sensation stopped me in my tracks for a second.

If you still want to tomorrow, and I doubt you will
,
sweetheart,
meet me here
.” I
scribbled the address along her inner arm
, tossed some bills on the table
and left.

Chapter 4

Alexa

 

“Alexa
.

M
y mother’s disapproving tone demanded my attention. She tapped a
red
lacquered nail against the table. “You look a mess. I hope your night out with your friends was worth it.”

I straightened the sundress around my knees, and shifted in my seat. Though my memories of
the night before
were somewhat foggy, a slow smile crossed my lips. It was everything
a
twenty-first birthday was supposed to be. And
this morning, I’d had the hang
over from hell to prove it.

She dug through her purse, offering me a compact. “You need some concealer.” The only thing my mother criticized more than my poor manners were my looks, and though applying makeup in public would have typically earned me an exasperated sigh, apparently things were dreadful enough that immediate intervention was warranted. That and I guess being tucked back in the tall booth of a dim restaurant wasn’t exactly public.

I took her compact and flipped it open, inspecting my appearance.
The
re
were dark circles under my eyes, and my hair hung limply around my face since I hadn’t had time this morning to dry it. I twisted it into a
low,
loose bun and secured it with a few pins dug from the bottom of my purse. Then I swiped some of the concealer under my eyes until I was satisfied it was the best I could do.

“That’s better
,

m
y mother said, holding out her hand
to retrieve
the compact.

We were waiting for my father to arrive, and
so far
he was an entire seven minutes late. I was sure he’d get an earful about it later
.
My mo
ther had chosen the restaurant

a
high-end
steakhouse.
I was never much of a meat eater, but she and my dad were on a high-protein diet. I
scanned the menu for something that didn’t make me want to hurl.
I decided on a C
a
esar salad with grilled shrimp.

My father arrived, slipping into the booth beside my mother and offering her a chaste peck on the cheek in apology. “Sorry I’m late. Business meeting ran over.”
He reached across the table and gave my hand a squeeze.

I nodded. “
It’s
okay, Daddy.”

I knew my dad had a stressful job. He was a partner at an accounting firm and worked hard to give me and my mother everything and then some. I couldn’t be mad at him for being a few minutes late to a lunch I didn’t want to be at either. 

My stomach
was
still queasy from last night,
and
I nibbl
ed on bread and sipped my water while my parents discussed the upgrades they had planned to our vacation home in Aspen.
M
y mind
wandered
to last night’s events
.
Oh, all right, directly back to Cade
. This morning while I’d stood under the steaming hot spray of the shower, scrubbing his address from my forearm, I couldn’t help but remember his sexy
,
challenging smile.

S
eriously, w
ho in th
e hell arranges a meeting to lose their virginity?
It
wasn’t
like I was
actually
going to go through with having sex with a porn star
, and
a complete stranger at that. God,
was that insane or what?
I really needed to keep MacKenzie on a tighter leash. This was all her doing.
W
hen I
remembered
the look she gave me when I admitted that I was a virgin, I shudder
ed
. Even Tyson
had
jumped
in
, saying he’d be happy to make me a woman himself. Too bad there was zero attraction there
.
H
e was a nice guy, and I knew he’d do anything for me

but that? No thanks. It’d be like kissing my brother.
Gross
.

The look on Cade’s face at hearing Ty step up to the plate was pure anger, and when his eyes flashed to mine they were filled with something else…
L
onging? No. I couldn’t think about the
possibility
of desire in Cade’s expression. That had me shuddering for an entirely different reason.

But
what was etched most deeply into my memory was the smug look on his face, the certainty that I wouldn’t have the guts to show up today
.

That
,
coupled with my mother’s disapproving glances and not-so-subtle hints about setting me up with Peter Wyndham III were enough to convince me. E
ven though I’d scrubbed away every trace of his writing from my skin, I remembered the address.
715 Evergreen
Terrace
.

Not that I
was
actually
going to go
. God, could you imagine?
Sorry, Mom and Dad, I have to cut this horrendous lunch short to go meet a porn star
so I can
lose my virginity.
Ha! I choked on my
water
at the absurdity.

The
few bites of
solid food
in my stomach
and multiple glasses of iced water
had returned me to my former self
. I would go
to Cade

but only to tell
him
off.
Who the
hell did he think he was? Offering his services l
ike it was a
total
inconvenience for him, but
still
agreeing to
take my virginity?
I shuddered.
He was about to get an earful.

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