Frayed Page 112

I stand back with my arms against the counter watching him as he dices the onions, chops the peppers, and juliennes the carrots.

’’Show-off,’’ I mutter as he slices perfect rectangle wedges out of the last orange stick.

I take a sip of my drink and move closer. ’’I think you need an apron,’’ I whisper in his ear, and then nibble on it.

’’I have to concentrate and with you doing that, it\s hard.’’

I giggle.

He picks up the cutting board and pours all the perfectly cut vegetables into a bowl. I lean over and grab a carrot, popping it in my mouth.

He turns and looks at me, raising an eyebrow.

I shrug. ’’They look edible the way you cut them.’’

He shakes his head.

I squeeze his butt. ’’Don\ you want to know why I think you need an apron?’’

’’Sure, I\m dying to know.’’

I let my hand trail between his legs to that spot I know he likes me to touch.

He sets the knife down and turns. He grabs my wrists and lets his tongue slip out of his mouth, wetting his lip. I\m getting wet just thinking about what I want him to do with that tongue.

’’I thought you were hungry and you wanted to eat,’’ he growls in my ear.

’’I am and I do. I just wanted to say you might want to wear an apron the next time you cook because I think you should be naked and this’’ I rub myself against the erection I saw bloom the minute I sucked on the lemon ’’might stand out.’’

He grins, unashamed. ’’You noticed, did you?’’

’’Yep.’’

He walks me backward away from the island and toward the bank of cabinets behind me. His hands go first to my waist, then my hips, and farther down. I wish I wasn\ wearing jeans. ’’Next time we cook together, you\ e going to be wearing one of those little black-and-white maid outfits.’’

’’I don\ have anything that resembles an outfit like that.’’

’’You will,’’ he says with a se*y smile that sends tingles all the way down to my toes.

He kisses me a few times, on my mouth, my chin, my ear a taste here and there.

’’Ben.’’

He doesn\ stop. My shoulder, my collarbone, my other shoulder. ’’Hmm?’’

’’You have to finish dinner,’’ I manage to say.

We have been taking turns cooking and sometimes we cook together. The problem with cooking together is we usually end up eating cold meals because we have a hard time concentrating on the food, like right now.

His mouth quirks up. ’’Okay, but you distracted me with the whole apron thing. And I know you just really want to wear one.’’

I scoff. ’’How do you manage to always turn things around?’’

He looks over at me, his eyes heavy lidded. God, what he can do to me with one look. I draw in a breath, squeezing my thighs together to control the pulsing.

He moves back to the island and turns the stove on. I want to tell him let\s skip dinner, but I\m also starving. He avoids making eye contact as he moves around. I\ve figured him out it\s the only way to accomplish his task without distraction. I go about my own business. Back to the cutting board, where I continue slicing lemons.

When he looks up he sees me holding a lemon under my nose. His stare grows curious. ’’Okay, spill it.’’

I give him a smile. ’’What?’’

’’Why are you smelling the lemon?’’

I breathe it in again, but this time the smell I\ve always loved hits me in a sour way and almost makes me want to gag. The oil crackles from the wok and he momentarily drops his gaze and lowers the heat so he doesn\ notice. When he looks back up I outstretch my hand. ’’Here, smell it?’’

His hand covers mine around the yellow oval. He inhales with an exaggerated whiff. ’’Okay, I give.’’

I drop my hand and make a little noise, trying really hard not to sigh. ’’Argh . . . don\ you smell the lemony scent?’’

’’Yes, I smell it. I smell you. You know I love that scent, because I tell you that all the time. But if you want to know if one is ripe, you\ e supposed to squeeze it, not smell it.’’

I peel the skin back with my nails and toss it in the sink. I slip the tip of the wedge in my mouth, hoping it doesn\ make me gag again.

’’Um . . . so good,’’ I say.

’’I bet,’’ he teases, flinching at the thought of eating a lemon.

’’Ben, it doesn\ matter what it tastes like. Don\ you know that when you eat a lemon it\s readily absorbed into your body and acts as a natural perfume? That\s why I always smell it before I eat it to make sure that\s what I want to smell like.’’

’’F*k . . . sometimes you actually can make sense out of your nonsense,’’ he teases, grabbing another from the bowl and quickly slicing it into quarters and offering me the wedge with skin on. My lips circle his fingers and I put the piece in my mouth. I take my time, sucking all the juice, hollowing out my cheeks as I do. I know what I\m doing. He stays close even after I drain the liquid from the lemon. He puckers his own lips and I know exactly what he\s thinking. When I finish I take another quarter and hold it up for him to eat.

’’I\m good.’’ He holds his hands up.

’’Please try it. It tastes like lemonade.’’ I lick my lips.

He sighs in exaggeration. ’’If I do you\ e going to owe me.’’

I pop up on my toes. ’’I\ll let you pretend to be Tom Sawyer.’’

’’Huck Finn and you have a deal,’’ he counters with a devilish grin.


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