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Beautiful distraction, p.13
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       Beautiful Distraction, p.13

           J. C. Reed
 

  “What are your plans for tonight?” Kellan asks, his gaze cemented on me.

  He doesn’t want me to leave.

  The realization hits me like a wall.

  I shrug and look at Mandy, her attention jumping back and forth between Kellan and me, like a ping pong ball, as she’s analyzing our every move and word.

  “What are your suggestions?” Mandy says. “Ava likes to go out just as much as she enjoys an evening in.” Now she sounds like she’s in a TV reality show and trying to get the guy to choose me instead of the two other desperate floozies.

  “I was planning on getting to bed early. You know, catch some sleep,” I say.

  Mandy shoots me a dirty look.

  “What?” I mouth and frown.

  “You’re a lost cause. I’m going to take a shower because I’m most certainly not staying in tonight,” she mutters and walks out. She calls over her shoulder, “And you’re not staying in either. There’s got to be something remotely exciting to do in this town. And I’ll find it, dammit.”

  “I think she wants you to go out with me,” Kellan remarks, amused, as soon as a door slams down the corridor and we’re alone again.

  “Yeah, she’s not very subtle at expressing her wishes.” I brush my hair out of my face and look all the way up to meet his impossibly green gaze.

  That was a big mistake.

  “Is there a bar somewhere around here?” I ask.

  “Sure, there is. And it serves the best beer in the state.” Kellan’s arms are crossed over his chest as he regards me with that challenging flicker in his eyes.

  Does he want me to go out with him?

  I can’t imagine a guy like him needing someone like me to keep him company. And yet, his expression says it all.

  He wants me around.

  I heave an exaggerated sigh as I consider my options. I’m not afraid of being on my own, but the idea of being stuck in my room with no one to talk to isn’t exactly appealing.

  Wherever Kellan’s going, there are bound to be people.

  I won’t even have to sit at the same table.

  Or talk to him.

  I won’t even have to look at him.

  Heck, I bet I can shut him out completely until I won’t even know that he’s around.

  “Let’s hit it.”

  His brows shoot up.

  “I mean the town.” I gesture with my hand. “You know the saying.”

  He shakes his head.

  “Everybody knows the saying ‘let’s hit the town’,” I say. A thought occurs to me—I don’t even know how old he is. “How old are you?”

  “Twenty-eight. I thought you would have Googled me by now,” Kellan remarks. I stare at him, unsure whether he’s joking or being serious.

  Did Mandy say something? Because I swear to God his stunning green eyes are twinkling with knowledge that yes, I tried to Google him after our first encounter, even though I didn’t know his name.

  “Not everyone’s obsessed with you,” I say through cringed teeth, already regretting my decision to go out with him. But I can’t go back on my word now, lest he think his words might carry a morsel of truth to them.

  “Hmmm.”

  That look again, like he knows more than he should and is annoyingly smug about it.

  I swear to God, I’m on the verge of saying something I might come to regret to wipe that grin right off his face.

  “I’ve never been obsessed with a guy, ever.”

  “That is, until you met me, right?”

  “No.” My tone comes out defensive, my voice conveying my annoyance because he’s so damn right. “Honestly, you could own all the nightclubs in the world, and I wouldn’t be interested.”

  He shakes his head. “Like I said, you got the wrong Boyd, baby. I’m just an investor in my brother’s business.”

  I look up at him to see if he’s lying. Yeah, that’s what my cheating, lying ex did to me.

  Kellan keeps denying it, and his expression is honest, so it must be true.

  “I’ll leave you to get dressed,” he says and heads down the corridor to his bedroom, I assume.

  “What’s wrong with my jeans?” I mutter and grimace at the air.

  Of course guys like Kellan like a woman all made up and probably wearing barely more than a piece of fabric to cover their modesty.

  It’s what they’re used to.

  If he expects me to turn into Mandy, then he’ll be thoroughly disappointed. Not in the least because I don’t own Mandy’s wardrobe…or long legs to show off. So I refrain from squeezing into clothes that will only accentuate my shortcomings.

  I sigh and head for my room, where I change into a dark blue pencil skirt that reaches down to my knees and a white button-up blouse—my usual work attire. I top it all off with ankle boots and a thin jacket.

  It’s all very demure.

  It’s all rather suited to an office environment.

  I stand back, disappointed.

  I look like a secretary or a librarian.

  Regarding myself in the mirror as I apply a thin layer of red lipstick, I’ve no idea why I packed the kind of clothes I did. But it’s too late to ask Mandy for help because a knock raps at the door. Before I can answer, Kellan’s voice bellows, “I’m leaving in two minutes. Don’t be late, woman.”

  Without a doubt, he’s piling on the caveman charm.

  I swiftly roll my hair into a bun, then, deciding that it might be too much, I let my hair cascade down my back in a waterfall of brown, messy waves.

  “I thought I might have to drag you out of there,” Kellan remarks as soon as I join him in the hall. There’s an easy smile on his lips as his gaze brushes over me, his eyes narrowed, expression veiled.

  My hands turn damp and my skin begins to tingle just a little bit.

  Damn!

  I have no idea what he’s thinking, and it makes me nervous.

  Even though I shouldn’t give a fuck, I want him to find me sexy.

  Kellan inches closer and places his big hands on my hips, keeping me at arm’s length as his gaze drinks me all in.

  “Is that what you’re wearing?”

  There’s a twinkle of amusement in his eyes.

  He’s laughing at me.

  I can’t believe the audacity.

  “You said you wanted me to change. Well—” I push his hands away from my body and take a step back. “—here I am. Take it or leave it. I’m a grown-up woman, not one of your usual floozies who dress to impress you. If you want a hooker, I can call one for you. This is all you’ll be getting from me.”

  His head shoots back, and a roar of laughter erupts from his chest, the sound vibrating all the way down to my core.

  In spite of this man’s arrogance and the fact that I know that’s something you don’t want in a guy, I can’t help but want him.

  I want him with all my body.

  I crave his hands all over me.

  Crave feeling his fingers slip beneath my clothes and enter all those places I didn’t know could come to life from a man’s mere voice.

  “What’s so funny?” I narrow my eyes as I take in the shirt stretched over his broad shoulders. The top button is undone, revealing taut, tanned skin. His jeans hang low on his hips, and there’s that clearly defined bulge that keeps drawing my attention to it.

  The picture of him stroking his cock flashes before my eyes.

  For a moment, I lose focus. It’s all a bit too detailed—especially the part of his face drawn in pleasure. The telltale heat of a major blush rushes to my face.

  Damn, he looks so good I want a piece of him.

  “Can you handle it?” Kellan asks.

  “What?” I frown at his irritating grin.

  Holy shit!

  He just caught me staring at his crotch. I can only hope my face isn’t on fire. Though, judging from my burning skin and his smug expression, I’m most certainly wrong.

  “I’ve handled way more than this,” I mumble.

  “I w
as talking about your ankle and a night out in those shoes, but…” He winks and lets his gaze brush over my lips. It’s all so lascivious, I can almost feel him on my skin, and it sends a shiver through me. “…I’m glad to hear you’ll be able to handle certain parts of me.”

  I smirk. “You’re such a—” I shake my head, lost for words. Whatever I say couldn’t possibly deflect from the fact that I was thinking about handling certain parts of him.

  Either he has mind-reading abilities, or he’s so full of himself, he assumes that his dick’s every woman’s fantasy.

  “Jerk?” Kellan prompts. “I think we’ve already established that.”

  “Oh, God, Ava,” comes Mandy’s voice from the door. “You didn’t!”

  She’s dressed in a short denim skirt and cowboy boots with fringes, the ruffled low-cut top putting her cleavage on display. Her outfit suits Kellan’s blue jeans and snug shirt to a T. It’s like they coordinated in advance, which annoys me to no end.

  Mandy and Kellan seem to have so much more in common than Kellan and I do, starting with the looks and attitude, to the dressing style.

  I don’t need to ask what Mandy’s thinking because, as usual, she’s quick to share.

  “You look like a secretary.”

  “I like secretaries,” Kellan leans in to whisper in my ear, his hot breath brushing my earlobe. “In fact, they’re my favorite kind. You sure know how to stoke a fire in a man’s pants. I wouldn’t mind pinning you to that couch, pushing your panties aside, and licking your hot pussy until you’re ready and I can take you hard from behind.”

  My pulse thuds in my ears, drowning out all the dirty things he’d like to do to me. But I don’t need his account to help me get the picture.

  The image of my face buried in his sofa while Kellan’s hands hold my hips in place, entering me from behind, makes me jump in my skin. I almost choke on my breath as I jump a few steps back, freeing my heated body from his sweltering breath.

  “Let’s go.” I swoosh past him, walk down the stairs, and yank the door wide open in the hope the darkness will hide my burning face.

  Kellan laughs, and I know I am what amuses him.

  I thought my outfit would put him off.

  That he’s the kind who likes double Ds spilling out of push-up bras and short skirts riding up oiled legs. That he might not be into that never even occurred to me.

  He likes a challenge. I should have known it. And of course his caveman ego would make him think I dressed like this to get a reaction from him.

  I got a reaction big time. I can see it in the swelling of his pants.

  Now I’m screwed.

  I know it.

  It’s the memory of our kiss that’s making me lose it, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

  I can’t help myself. I want more.

  CHAPTER SIXTEEN

  According to Kellan, it’s a thirty-minute drive to the bar. However, in his SUV, in spite of the mud caking the tires, we make it in fifteen. He drives like a maniac, which is most certainly the reason why he bumped into my car.

  I sit in the passenger seat, grasping at the armrest for support. When the SUV finally comes to a screeching halt, we’re in front of what looks like another oversized barn with a big flashing neon light showing a rodeo rider sitting on a bull.

  As soon as we step through the open door, I can see it’s full. A live band is playing, and people are dancing.

  Kellan and Mandy will fit right in. I can see that the moment we enter and join the crowd of patronage. There are people of all ages, all singing and chatting and having a good time.

  As we head straight for the bar area on the left side, I peer around me at the vastness of the space. The wooden décor screams Western chic. The hayforks hanging on the walls would be a major security breach back in NYC, but not here.

  Here, they actually give the place an authentic atmosphere.

  As we approach the bar, countless eyes turn to take us in. Back in NYC, we’d be barely more than shadows. But here, off the grid, where everyone seems to know everyone, I bet we’ll be the talk of the town by tomorrow morning.

  My work attire doesn’t seem to help either. Everyone’s staring at me like I’ve just stepped off a different planet. I wouldn’t be surprised if people assumed if I was Kellan’s accountant or attorney.

  Mandy disappears after coming up with a bullshit excuse that she has to visit the restroom when I know for a fact she’s going to check out the live band.

  Kellan waves over a bartender to place an order while I turn away to take in the scene.

  “I think I’ll have to punch in a few faces tonight,” Kellan whispers in my ear, his hot breath brushing the nape of my neck as he leans into me. His palm is flush against the small of my back, riding so low his fingers are almost caressing my ass.

  “Why? Because every woman in the room hates me?” I ask, ignoring the evil glances addressed at me.

  “Forget the women. I’m talking about the men.”

  “Got it. Wearing an office outfit isn’t something people around here do,” I mutter. “You could have told me.”

  “Women wear business outfits, just not in this establishment, which is why you’ll be every guy’s wet dream tonight,” Kellan whispers again. His hot breath is on my earlobe now, doing incredibly sexy things to my body. My nipples stab the fabric of my shirt, begging to be sucked into his hot mouth. His fingers travel a little lower, brushing the contours of my hip bone, then moving to my ass. “Damn, woman, you’re so hot you’ll be my wet dream.”

  My head snaps back to him and our lips almost meet before I jolt back, seared by the want in his green eyes.

  Where the hell did that come from?

  And what the fuck was I thinking not following my first instinct and staying away from him?

  We’re at the bar, his hand on my ass, and people are still staring. No one knows me, but they know Kellan. Even though I shouldn’t care because I’ll be gone in a few days, I don’t want to be the talk of the town. I don’t want people to think that I’m his squeeze or fuck or whatever Kellan calls his conquests. He’s pretty much made it clear that he doesn’t do relationships, and I’m not stupid enough to think I could possibly be the exception.

  The bartender approaches us with our beer bottles, exchanges a few words with Kellan, and then leaves again.

  “You could have told me to wear something more inconspicuous.” I throw him an icy glare, which earns me a laugh in return.

  “Ava, you wouldn’t be inconspicuous wearing a paper bag over your head. It’s the ass.”

  “What about it?”

  “It’s hot.” As though the word doesn’t convey the right meaning, his gaze lowers to my backside appreciatively and he licks his lips. My clothes seem to evaporate before my eyes. “I’d know a thing or two about what to do with it. You’d like it. I’m incredible at that.”

  No doubt about that.

  Slightly breathless, I scowl at him.

  His eyes gleam a shade darker than usual. “Think about it. The invitation’s standing.”

  “There’s not going to be any ass play, today or ever,” I say in the kind of raspy voice that betrays just how much I’d like him to touch me and show me what I’m missing.

  His brow shoots up in amusement. “Why? Because you’d like it too much?”

  “No.”

  “Ava,” he whispers.

  “What?”

  “I know you’ll enjoy it.” He raises his bottle. “Here’s to us meeting again. To new beginnings.”

  I eye him cautiously as we clink our bottles, and then we chug down a few gulps. I feel the effect instantly. My head is lighter, my limbs like jelly.

  “Wow. You’re right. This is the best beer I’ve ever had,” I say.

  He leans forward. I expect my body to go rigid, but instead I find myself strangely relaxed.

  “You’ll be panting my name as I take you on the ride of your life.”

  Emphasis on the ride.


  It takes me a moment to realize he’s resuming our conversation from before.

  He’s talking about my ass.

  Oh, my gosh.

  That monumental ego of his is back.

  I roll my eyes so hard it almost hurts. “No.” I draw out the word again. “Because I don’t do that.”

  “You’ve never tried? Or you tried but didn’t like it?”

  Whoa!

  When did a harmless dress code conversation take such a dirty turn?

  “I’m so not going to answer that, Kellan.” I cross my arms over my chest and manage to draw his attention to my hard nipples.

  “Because you’ve never tried,” he says, as usual convinced that he knows everything.

  Arguing with a guy who thinks he’s the living and breathing equivalent of Adonis is a waste of time. Arguing with one who thinks he’s all that and all-knowing is like banging your head against a wall. I like my head the way it is, so I’m not even going there.

  I swat his hand off my ass and put a few inches of space between us. “No. Because it’s none of your business.”

  “Fine.” He throws his hands up in mock surrender. “But just some food for thought. The uptight ones are always the ones that enjoy it the most. Give me a night, and by morning you’ll be screaming for more.” He guzzles down half of his beer as I stare at him.

  Wait, did he just call me uptight?

  I should be offended, but I’m not in the slightest.

  He hasn’t hit a nerve. I haven’t tried all the things he’s tried. Maybe because I’ve never met someone who really rocked my boat and made me want to abandon all my inhibitions.

  So what?

  I’m not ashamed of it.

  “Yeah, right.” I laugh. “I’ll be screaming all right…for you to get the hell out of my room before I throw something at you.”

  “Hmmm.”

  I laugh again. “Hmmm? That’s all you have to say? Did I just manage to shut up your insufferable ego?”

  His green gaze pierces into me, shimmering, flickering.

  Oh, shit!

  I did it again.

  I’ve just managed to challenge him.

  Why can’t I ever keep my big mouth shut?

  “No, baby. You haven’t shut me up. On the contrary, there’s so much more I can say and show. My promises are always accompanied by actions.”

 
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