His Southern Temptation(10)

By: Robin Covington

“Lucky, it would be more than that. We’re friends, not some random bar pickup.” She ducked under the arm he had propped against the doorframe, sidling up close but not touching. In the intimate circle created by their bodies, she dropped her voice, forcing him to lean down to catch her words. “It’s been a long time. I miss you.”

“What happened to the good girl who grew up in this house?” His voice was low, more of a growl than actual words, and she barely managed to keep her hands to herself with the heat it shot through her veins.

“I gave up being good a long time ago. You know that.” She risked trailing one finger down his chest, over the ridges of muscle on his abdomen, ending with a gentle tug on the waistband of his jeans and a fleeting caress of the hard-on just below. His sharp inhale of breath was her reward. “It isn’t like we haven’t shared a bed before. What’s the problem?”

“That wasn’t here in Elliott and it was before…” He stopped, pressing his lips into a firm line as if he forcefully kept the rest of his words from spilling out.

She didn’t ask the next logical question. She knew why it was different, and it scared the hell out of her. They wanted different things from what lived and breathed between them.

“Shit. I am in so much trouble.” He dropped his head to his chest, his dark laugh shaking his shoulders. “Your brother would kill me for even having this conversation with you.”

“I’m not going to tell him.”

“Listen, I’m here to fix things, get my shit together, and you’re just one big complication I can’t handle right now. Taking you to bed is something the old Lucky would do.” He reached out and grabbed her by the shoulders, shifting her to the side and out of his path to the safe place behind the door. “The new Lucky is going to bed. Alone.”

“You’re running away?”

“I’m beat. I’m covered in stripper glitter, I’ve almost been shot, I was lectured by the local sheriff at gunpoint, and you aren’t wearing any underwear.” He rubbed a hand over his face, the stubble rasping loudly in the still of the night. He really did look exhausted. With one good shove, he’d probably fall over and sleep on the floor. “A good soldier knows when to make a tactical retreat in order to fight another day.”

“Fine.” It wasn’t a final no. She could live with it for now. Taylor stepped up, weaving her fingers through his hair to pull him down for the briefest of kisses. They pressed their foreheads together, and she cherished the moment to just soak in his warmth and the combination of musk and saddle leather that was always pure Lucky. It reminded her of the few afternoons spent on the Landon farm, soaking up the sun and the peace. “We’ll talk more tomorrow.”

Lucky nudged her lips up for another whisper of a kiss before turning the doorknob and pushing the door open to her brother’s old room. He shot her a glance over his shoulder, his blue eyes filled with affection and a hint of the sizzle that made her insides melt. “Next time, do me a favor and put on some panties.”

Laughing, she shuffled down the hall as his door closed with a firm click. She’d be fortunate to get a couple of hours of sleep with the arousal buzzing in her veins and the knowledge that he slept in the room at the other end of a Jack-and-Jill bathroom. No worries—she’d use the time to plan. Fate had dropped Lucky in her lap, and it was her goal to ensure that she went back to Hawaii with enough memories of him to last a lifetime. Her mind was a disco, tons of ideas dancing around and doing the Electric Slide.

And none of them involved wearing underwear.

Chapter Four

Why was it that you remembered everything from your childhood as being so much bigger?

Taylor sat behind the desk where her father had spent the better part of thirty years practicing law and playing mayor of Elliott. She kicked off her flip-flops and propped her feet up on the desk, her inner child blowing a big raspberry at the voice in her head telling her to sit like a lady. The office was large and the desk adequately sized for a solo practitioner—definitely not the forbidding monolith she dreaded standing in front of when she was in trouble. Not that it had happened very often.

Now, she waited in her father’s former office, ready to work with her brother to fix the mess he’d left behind.

“She’s here?”

Teague’s voice rumbled from just beyond the door, his low baritone distinctive and clipped as he spoke to Jerline, the receptionist his father had left behind with his practice and a bunch of pissed-off clients. Taylor’s stomach clenched tightly, the sharp edge of the reaction surprising her. She was nervous to see her own brother. There was something really wrong and sad about that. They’d been close at one time, but distance, time, and opposing views about the way to live had created a gap she’d been unable to close over the years.

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