Frayed Page 44

She whips her head around. ’’To surf.’’

’’Yeah . . . not quite yet.’’ I give her a serious look.

She looks at me, confused. ’’Okay, what is it?’’

I step toward her and even with the chill in the air, a heat flares between us regardless of what ’’guidelines’’ have been set. Today the attraction feels stronger than ever. But now that I have a mission, teach S\elle Wilde how to surf, I have something to take my mind off it for now. I push forward and answer her question. ’’You can\ surf with your jewelry on. You have to be able to move without restraint,’’ I tell her.

’’Oh,’’ she says, shrugging before circling her hands around her neck. The wind catches in her hair, and the necklaces seem to get caught in it.

’’Look down,’’ I say.

She does without question and I carefully untangle the necklaces from her hair and remove them from around her neck. When she raises her head, her eyes lift to meet mine and we stare at each other for a few short moments. My heart is beating wildly and I have to cut my glance sideways to slow its pace. With the necklaces gripped firmly in the palm of my hand, I step closer and pinch my fingers around her earlobe to gently remove the hoop from her ear. ’’These too.’’

Her breathing quickens, I can see it in the rise and fall of her chest. With almost no space between us, her eyes meet mine again and we speak to each other clearly without words. We seem to be able to communicate best that way, or maybe we are just more honest about our feelings with our silent acknowledgments? I\m not sure. But our relationship began with unspoken words and has moved painfully slowly in the very same manner.

The sun beats down, but that\s not where the heat I feel is coming from. When the rays become even brighter as the morning clouds burn away, I blink rapidly at the sudden abundance of light shining on us. The magnetism between us is undeniable and I have to remind myself of what I am doing. Glancing down, my eyes hit my board. Yes, right, getting her ready for our surf lesson. Shifting my gaze, I catch the sparkle in the sand and grin before saying, ’’One last thing.’’

She watches as I drop to my knees. I let my fingertips trail down her legs on the way and notice the deep breath she draws in. I motion for her to lift her foot and set it on my leg. When she does she braces her hand on my shoulder and her touch sears me, makes me ache for her. I try to catch her gaze, but my eyes dart to the gleam in her belly button. The ring pierced inside it is a four-leaf clover fabricated with gold and green emeralds.

Glancing up, I ask, ’’Are you Irish?’’

’’A little. My grandfather was Irish.’’

’’Is that the significance of this?’’ I point to the clover.

She stiffens. ’’No, it\s not.’’

My eyes are pulled back to it. I want nothing more than to run my tongue around it: it takes every ounce of control I have not to. I have to keep reminding myself I\m supposed to be teaching her how to surf. Focusing on the task at hand, I glide my fingers across the top of her foot as I slowly unbuckle the sandal strap. Her leg quivers slightly from the contact. I run my palms up the back of her calf. Her skin is soft and smooth and feels so good. I grip her calf tightly as I raise her leg slightly and slowly remove her sandal. Brushing some of the sand off her perfectly painted toes, I drop my knee to the ground and to steady herself she rests her other hand on my bare shoulder. Her body cages my head. With her stomach so close to my mouth, I let my lips skim the ornament. Nothing that seems obnoxious, just enough to let her know that I want her.

Her whole body trembles and she quickly stands up straight. ’’I can do the other one.’’

’’No, please let me,’’ I insist with a devilish grin.

Once I\ve repeated the process, I can only hope that it turned her on as much as it turned me on. With my heart pounding and my pulse racing, I stand up and take a deep breath. Letting it out, I let my eyes rove over her one more time she\s so f**king se*y. When they land on her face, I pause and allow our eyes to lock. Then I force myself to shake away the thoughts of what I want to do to her and instead lift the large bag she\s got draped over her shoulder and dump everything I\m holding in it. ’’There, now you\ e almost ready. Just tie your hair back so it doesn\ catch in the wind.’’

While she fumbles through her bag, I take a moment to pull myself together. When I agreed to this friends thing, I knew I was agreeing to take it slow, but it feels like utter torture with her standing in front of me practically naked and I can\ help blurring the lines a little. In the past if a girl I was interested in had ever thrown out the friend word, I would have deleted her number from my phone. But there\s just something about S\elle . . .

She lifts her arms and pulls her hair up off her shoulders. She smiles at me as I watch her. Yeah, there\s something about her. Everything about her is se*y as hell the way she moves, the faces she makes when she\s concentrating on something, even the way she stands.

’’Ready,’’ she says with a small bounce.

Does she have any idea what that does to me? I scan her body again as I pick my board up, and this time I notice the hint of a scar peeking out from her bathing suit bottoms.

I point to it. ’’What happened?’’

She glances down and quickly adjusts her bottoms.

She blows some stray pieces of hair out of her eyes. ’’Are we going to start this lesson today or what?’’

I laugh and toss my board to the ground. I sit on it and pat the empty space beside me.

She stares at me.

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