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Authors: Crystal Red

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BOOK: He's on My Mind
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He dropped to her side and pulled her
to her feet. His heart jumped at the feel of her smooth skin against his. He
scooped her up into his arms and then carried her toward the door that was next
to Beth’s room.

“This is your room, right?” He gripped
her tight with one arm while he turned the doorknob.

“Hmm, yeah. It’s about time,” she
murmured.

“I’m putting you to bed, Kelsey.”

Brandon stepped inside the cream
colored carpeted bedroom. He laid her on the queen-sized bed. After he pulled
her red slippers off, he slipped her under the comforter.

“Come in here with me.” She slapped
the extra pillow.

He shook his head. “I’m going home.
You need to sleep this off. See you tomorrow.”

Kelsey groaned, jumping to her feet, a
hand on her mouth. “Uh-oh.”

Moving out of the way, he waited until
she ran into the bathroom. The sounds of her blowing chunks and gagging filled
the air.

He hurried over to her, wincing when
she threw up again. “Are you going to be okay?”

She gazed up at him. “I don’t know.
Maybe you should stay and keep me company.”

“Kelsey, you have Beth to stay with
you. I live next door. You’re going to be fine.”

“Okay. I guess it’d be a bad idea if
we slept together this soon.” She took his hand and stood.

He helped her back into bed and then shut
the door behind him. With a heavy knot in his chest, he walked over to Beth’s
door and knocked.

She answered with a scowl. “What?”

“Kelsey’s really drunk. Can you make
sure she’s okay?”

Beth nodded. “Of course. What’s your
deal, anyway?”

He slid his fingers into his hair and
tugged. “What do you mean?” He held his breath until she answered.

“Do you like Kelsey?”

“Yes, but I’m not the type of guy
she’ll end up married to.” For some reason, his gut turned at the words.

“Why’s that?” Beth crossed her arms
over her cat nightgown.

He sighed. “You wouldn’t understand.”

Beth’s brow lifted, her gaze boring
into him. “If you get involved with her and she gets hurt, just know I’ll come
after you. No one is going to hurt the people I love and get away with it.”

“You don’t have to worry about me.” He
rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. “I’m not looking for a serious
relationship. I already told Kelsey it wasn’t a good idea for her and me to
start anything.”

“Okay, just remember what I said and
we’ll be cool. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, Beth.” Brandon waved. He
exited their house and then hurried over to his.

As he prepared for bed, he really
wondered if he could keep his promise to Beth, let alone to himself.

Chapter Three

 

Kelsey sat up with a moan. She rubbed
her pounding head.
Why the heck did I drink so much last night?
Her head
and stomach ached. A hangover and work the next day didn’t help make her a
happy woman. Not a good way to start out a Tuesday.

She shuddered, and hoped she wouldn’t
run into Brandon for a while. She didn’t normally act that way by getting drunk
and trying to seduce the hunk next door. Heat rushed to her cheeks at the
thought of her actions last night. No more drinking for her. Not if she couldn’t
keep it under control.

After a quick shower, she stepped
outside with Beth and then headed to the bookshop.

“Did you have fun last night?” The
corners of Beth’s mouth quirked into a smile.

Kelsey winced. “Yeah, until I threw up
a few times.”

“That’ll teach you.” Beth snickered.

“Laugh it up, Miss I-have-a-boyfriend.”

A cool breeze hit Kelsey’s face, but
it didn’t stop the heat that remained. Brandon had stayed with her until she’d
fallen asleep. Why hadn’t he tried to make a move on her? Most guys would take
advantage of a drunk girl. Maybe he was different. She hoped so.

“Brandon likes you. He admitted it,
but it’s only a matter of time before he breaks his promise.” Beth laughed
again.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Kelsey
muttered.

Her friend’s brows shot up. “What?”

“You talked to him last night when I
was drunk, didn’t you?” As Kelsey bit her lip, she looked at her friend.

Beth sighed, pushing a few loose
strands of hair away from her eyes. “Yeah, he wanted to make sure I kept an eye
on you.”

“Really?” Fire filled her belly, making
her tingle with lust.

“Yes.”

Her heart fluttered. Maybe Brandon
wanted her too. Damn, she desired to climb him like a tree. She imagined
throwing him up against her bedroom wall and kissing every inch of his
well-built body. Starting with his lips, she’d work her way to his neck, then
his broad shoulders, and trail her tongue along every inch of his collarbone.

Maybe he was the type of guy who liked
his nipples teased. Hmm, she couldn’t wait to find out. As well as some other
kinky things she’d never dared to do with her past boyfriends. She squirmed.
Sex should have been the furthest thing from her mind. Too bad it wasn’t.

It’d been way too long since she’d had
a man’s touch. Even though she knew it was too soon to go that far with
Brandon, she wanted to imagine it anyway. There was nothing wrong with a little
fantasizing. It was the real thing that got a girl into knee-deep trouble. If
she got involved with Brandon, that could be the outcome of the situation. He
could break her heart, and she sure as hell didn’t want that.

Beth snapped her fingers. “Kelsey?
What planet have you gone to?”

“Sorry. My head still hurts.” She
rubbed her achy temples.

“Hmm, sure.” Beth unlocked the front
door to the gray building of their bookshop. Her friend obviously didn’t
believe her, judging by the sarcastic tone of her voice. It didn’t matter to
her, though. A girl could dream.

Kelsey followed her friend into the
shop. She flipped the closed sign to open, then turned the lights on. She
squinted as she forced her eyes to adjust to the well-lit room.

Beth walked over to the cash register.
She grabbed the key from her jeans pocket and then pulled the lockbox out from
under a counter shelf before she opened it.

“I can do that.” She reached for the
stash of cash as her friend unlocked the register, but Beth waved Kelsey’s hand
away.

“No, it’s fine. You can take care of
inventory in the back. It’ll be less stress on you.” Beth placed a stack of
twenties, tens, fives and ones into each slot of the cash drawers. She filled
the change last.

Kelsey touched Beth’s shoulder. “You
okay?”

Beth nodded. “I thought about asking
you the same thing.”

“Nothing happened last night.” She
stared at the ground.
Even if I’d wanted it to. Brandon rejected me every
time. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.

She had no idea what to do about her
new telepathic ability either. Could the woman who’d visited her the night of
her birthday have been behind it? There had to be a good reason it happened.
What if the strange woman had something to do with Brandon? Something about him
didn’t add up. Maybe she was his aunt or older sister. He had a secret, and she
intended to find it.

Beth stared at her with a stony
expression. “You wanted to sleep with him, didn’t you?”

“Yes.” She swallowed as she looked
away.

“Well, maybe it’s a good thing you
didn’t sleep with him. I worry about you.”

Kelsey continued to stare at the
floor. “I’m not going to drink brandy anymore. I want Brandon to give me a chance,
but I feel as if there is something he isn’t telling me.”

“I have the same feeling.”

A smile spread on Beth’s face as
Kelsey looked up at her. “Maybe he’s a vampire.”

“Yeah, right.” Kelsey laughed.

“Oh, yeah, that’s right. You ran into
him during the day.” Beth slapped her thighs as she sat on the stool.

“Very funny. Not. I’m going into the
back now. Give me a holler when you need me.” Kelsey entered the backroom.

The bell dinged, and her heart went
into overdrive. What if that was Brandon? She ignored her nerves and rummaged
through a stack of science fiction books.

“Kelsey? Brandon wants to talk to
you,” Beth called.

Oh, great
. How was
she supposed to face him now, after she’d made a total fool of herself last
night?

Her heart hammered hard and fast as
she sauntered out into the front. She didn’t look him in the eye as she
approached. Instead, she stared as his feet. Size twelve maybe? Could the old
saying really be true? Large feet equals a big…

“Kelsey?” Brandon tapped her shoulder.

She flinched and forced herself to
look him in the eyes. “Yeah?”

“I wanted to ask you something.”

Kelsey sighed, eyeing the white shirt
that highlighted his flexing muscles. “Maybe you should ask Beth. I have some
things to take care of in the back.” She tugged her ponytail. She dropped her
gaze to the tight Levis he filled out with his long, sturdy legs. She really
had to stop staring at him or she’d melt into a puddle of goo. The last thing
she wanted to be at work was all hot and bothered.

Is she staring at what
I think she is? Hmm. Could drunk Kelsey be the same as sober Kelsey? A secret,
naughty girl. Damn, I hope that’s true.

“It won’t take long, I promise.
Besides, I already asked Beth, and she had no clue.”

Her eye twitched. “Wait. How did you
know I worked here?”

“You told me last night.” His
expression remained blank.

How odd…

“Oh.” She gestured with her finger for
him to follow her into the backroom. Would she regret being alone with him again?
What if he tried to make a move on her this time?

His warm breath tickled the back of
her neck as he followed her. Goose bumps rose all over her skin. She tingled in
her most sensual areas. Why did she want him so bad? Brandon wasn’t the usual
type of guy she went for.

She whirled around to face him. Her
back pressed into a bookcase. She sucked in a breath. Their lips were only an
inch apart.

“What do you want?” she managed.

“My mom likes the
Twilight
Series. Do you have the books? You know the ones by Stephanie Meyer.” His lips
widened into a smile.

Damn. I wish I didn’t
want to kiss her so bad. I should really leave her alone. Too bad my body has a
mind of its own.

Okay, so maybe he did want advice on
books. At least that’s what he’d told her, but his thoughts weren’t matching
up. It was obviously a trick. Her heart continued to pump double its normal
beat. What was it about him that made her want to kiss him and then jump his
bones? His good looks? Maybe.

“I think so,” she whispered.

“Hold on a second,” he murmured into
her ear, all hot and husky-like.

Her pulse jumped as he reached out and
touched her cheek.

“Don’t move. Hold really still.” He
smiled, brushing something off her cheek.

She grabbed the edge of the bookcase
to steady herself from the shaking he caused.

“You had some dust on your cheek. I
got it off.” His gaze was hot and devilish.

Damn, he shouldn’t have said that. She
wanted to get him off, starting with using the tip of her tongue. A shiver
snaked down her spine. Her body ached for his touch. Would he try to kiss her?

He cupped her trembling chin. “Do I
scare you?”

“Yes,” she choked out.

She clung to the shelf as he bent to
meet her. His lips were so close she could almost taste them.

“Hmm. You had coffee this morning. And
whole wheat toast with butter, right?”

She gasped. “How did you know what I
ate?”

He chuckled low and soft. “Wouldn’t
you like to know?”

“You want to kiss me, don’t you?” she
asked in a shaky voice.

His gray eyes darkened with lust as he
traced a calloused thumb over her bottom lip. “Since the day I first saw you,
but only if you want me to.”

“I, uh…” Why did she always struggle
to speak whenever he was around?

Beth peeked into the doorway. “Hey,
Kelsey? I need your help with something in front.”

Kelsey freed herself of his grip and
rushed into the front of the store. “What do you need, Beth?”

Beth pointed to an older gentleman.
“He’d like some help finding Steven King books.”

“Okay. Follow me.” She walked ahead of
the customer and led him to the shelf where all the Steven King horror books
were neatly stacked.

“This is great. Thank you.” The
gentleman smiled.

“Let me know if I can help with
anything else.” Kelsey headed back to Beth.

It was a good thing Beth had saved her
from a make-out session with Brandon. If she had let herself go there with him,
there might be no stopping them from going all the way. Shit. How could she
want a guy like him so much? Sure, he was sexy, but he had to have more than good
looks to make her checklist.

She only wanted to be with a guy who
had the same goals as her, which included: falling in love, marriage and two or
three kids. It didn’t seem as if Brandon wanted those things, but maybe looks
could fool a person. A girl could dream, couldn’t she?

With unsteady steps, she walked toward
the backroom where Brandon waited for her.

“Hey.” He grinned.

She tightened her jaw and crossed her
arms. If she didn’t stand her ground with him, who would? “What about what you
said last night?”

His smile faded. “You were drunk
then.”

She frowned. “Yeah, and I’m at work now.
You have really bad timing.”

Brandon ran a hand through his hair.
He tugged hard at the strands as if he struggled with his next words. “Maybe I
don’t want to fight the attraction anymore. I get that you’re not used to guys
like me, but I think you should give me a chance.”

“To do what? Break my heart?” A muscle
in her jaw ticked. Did he really think he could fool her so easily?

He groaned. “Beth already warned me
about that last night. I don’t want to get my ass kicked by a girl.”

“A woman. We’re twenty-six.”

“Right.” He shoved his hands into his
jeans pockets.

Damn. She fills out
those black skinny jeans. So sexy. I bet she’d look better with them off.

She gritted her teeth. “You know I can
read your mind, but you still think about seducing me?”

“Sorry.” He held his hands up. “I
can’t help it. As I said, I’m attracted to you.”

“I’m not going to have sex with you.”

He chuckled. “I figured you weren’t a
one-night stand kind of girl.”

That’s a good thing,
but I still want her so much.

“Damn right.” She inhaled a sharp
breath. “I’m the kind of woman who wants to fall in love and get married. So if
you don’t want that, I suggest you stay far away from me.”

He took a step back. “Wow. A woman who
speaks her mind. I like that.”

“Did you really come here seeking
books for your mom or did you just want to seduce me?” She narrowed her eyes.

His laugh had a shaky edge to it.
“Okay, maybe I lied, but I did want to make sure you were all right.”

Can’t blame a guy for
trying. Still, her tight clothes don’t leave much to my imagination.

“I am. You can leave now.” She shooed
him toward the door.

BOOK: He's on My Mind
5.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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