I toss my suitcase onto the bed and unzip it. Unpacking gives me a reason not to stare at Paxton. Obviously he’s already settled in because he’s swapped jeans and a T-shirt for a ridiculously bright pair of swim trunks and nothing else. They ride low on his hips, showing off his ripped body. My fingers twitch as I pretend to be absorbed in my task, but I can’t stop myself from biting my lip as my pulse starts to race. Damn it. I can’t afford to be attracted to him. He ruined my life. I don’t like him.
It’s just a simple physical reaction to a gorgeous man. I haven’t had sex in a long, long time and there’s no question that he’s hot.
“Hey, I have those. They’re great.”
He’s referring to the travel cubes that hold all my clothes. Made of nylon and mesh, they come in various sizes and enable me to keep everything organized and wrinkle free.
“You mean you don’t stuff everything into a duffel and head out?”
“With all the traveling I do, I needed a better system than that.” He gives me a long, lazy look. “Hey, there’s something else we have in common. I bet we spend the weekend finding out that we’re two peas in a pod.”
I don’t like the way he’s looking at me. Heat begins to build beneath my skin and suddenly I’m imagining the two of us in that huge shower I can see in the bathroom beyond him, naked and going at each other. I’m almost overcome by the urge to moan.
I. Am. Not. Attracted. To. Paxton.
I can’t be. His actions resulted in my broken heart. How many times do I have to remind myself of that?
“Look,” Paxton says, “I want to be cool with you this weekend.”
Cool? I’m feeling anything but that. I grab my make-up bag and head toward the bathroom. He backs up just enough to let me by. Again I’m assaulted by the scent of him. Bittersweet citrus, mint, and something peppery for heat. Clean and manly. Faint enough to make it necessary to lean close. Almost before I realize what I’ve done, I suck in a deep breath. Sharp desire spears straight to my core, awakening a keen ache.
And suddenly I want something besides my lungs filled with him. My stomach drops as I imagine wrapping my legs around his waist as he enters me. Damn it. I hate carnival rides and that’s what being around Paxton is like. Pulse stopping dips and exhilarating twists.
As I scowl at his reflection in the mirror, it’s no challenge to pitch my voice into frustrated tones. “But that’s going to be really hard if you talk to me. At all. Why don’t we keep the distance of the house between us at all times and everything will be great.”
“So you need me to stay away from you to remain cool? What happens if I get close?” His voice is a self-satisfied purr. “Are you going to heat up?”
He demonstrates by setting his hand on the countertop and shifting in my direction. My heart hammers so hard, I’m sure he can hear it. There’s no missing the bright color that pops into my cheeks or the sudden glazing of my eyes. Despite the warmth of the room, goose bumps appear on my arms.
“Please.” My voice breaks on the word. “Don’t play with me. It’s not fair.”
“I’m not playing.” And he’s not smiling. His gaze is keen and probing as it meets mine in the mirror. “I’m deadly serious about you.”
My mouth opens to ask a question but nothing comes out. I don’t want to know what he has in mind or why. “We’re not a good fit, you and me.”
“Are you so sure?” The light kiss he drops on my shoulder make my toes curl. “You’ve never given me a chance.”
I gape at him. “Why should I after what you did?”
“I mean before. Back in high school.”
“High school?” We’d barely known each other. We hadn’t had any classes together and I’d hung with my own friends. I didn’t know who he was before Julie started dating Zach. And I don’t think I said two words to him after that. “We ran in completely different circles.”
“You with the future leaders of America,” he says with the lightest touch of sarcasm. “Me with the future losers?”
“I’d hardly call you, Paul, or Zach losers.” In fact, they all owned their own businesses and had done exceptionally well. “And I’m no leader.”
In fact, when I allow myself to think about it, I’m disappointed in both my career and personal life.
“Besides,” I continue, “From what I remember of you then, I wasn’t the sort of girl you were interested in. You liked to party and that wasn’t me.”
“That doesn’t mean I wasn’t interested.”
“We would have been a terrible fit.” I don’t know why I’m so insistent that he agrees with me. “It’s no better now.”