Tess isn’t sure she should go to her college reunion. She’s grown from an awkward girl with a crush into a successful woman, and this might be her chance to win the charismatic Russ, but fear has always held her back before. With her best friend Harris acting as wing-man, she can finally declare her love. It doesn’t go as she planned, but she wasn’t the only one harboring a passion, and she’s not the only one who can learn to desire a long-term friend.
I leaned up and kissed him. I wasn’t sure how I felt about him, but I wanted to know. I wanted to give him the chance I hadn’t gotten.
At first I only thought of little pieces of sensation—his mouth was cold from the ice in his drink, and he tasted like lime. His lips were slippery and full, satin against mine. His tongue was finely grained and clever, brushing against my mouth. I opened my eyes for just a flicker and saw that his stubble had picked up the light in strange ways, showing his hair wasn’t just brown but red, gold, black, silver. He sighed and his huge chest rose and fell like an ocean swell. His hands tangled in my hair, but soft. He was holding back to a degree I wouldn’t have managed, but I could feel the desire and strength trembling just under his fingertips. I wanted to feel what it would be like when he let go. I kissed back harder, taking his lower lip between my teeth, darting my tongue deeper into his mouth, and urging his body closer to mine.
“Oh, God,” he whispered and pulled me close with a crushing embrace. That was what flicked the switch. The longing I had for Russ, the impossible crush that had kept me distant from the few and far between men who had courted me, was falling away. My brain filled with all the clues I had ignored over the years. The generosity I had taken for granted, the closeness I had depended on, the way Harris smiled for me like he smiled for nothing else.
But I didn’t let myself feel like a fool for long. I was due this, and I was going to take it.
I pulled back, and when I saw the dismay in his eyes, I put my hand on his cheek and looked at him to let him know how I felt. When he was reassured, I began to unbutton his shirt. He held himself still, barely breathing. This was like unwrapping a gift. I had seen him topless countless times before, but this was different. Now he belonged to me. The collar bones, surprisingly delicate. The muscles of the chest, casting shadows down his stomach. His nipples, dark and pretty. Soft hair on his stomach, disappearing down his pants.
I would go slow. I had time. He let me push the shirt over his shoulders, shrugging it off and throwing it on the floor. He played his hands in my hair and against my face, using just a fingertip to trace my cheek and nose. I was rougher. I wanted so much. I kissed his shoulders. Someday I would have to count the galaxy of freckles there, but for now, I just wanted the clean taste of his flesh, and to feel his shuddering as I grazed him with my teeth.