Frayed Page 45

’’Sit down.’’

She does but makes sure our bodies don\ touch.

I smirk over at her. ’’Let\s go over the guidelines.’’

She blinks at me without speaking.

’’The guidelines of surfing.’’

’’Surfing has guidelines?’’

’’More like generalities, things you should know. But I\ll call them guidelines.’’

She rolls her eyes.

I grin and raise a finger. ’’Number one, the instructor must always be respected.’’

She laughs and shoves my shoulder. Again her skin against mine feels anything but wrong.

I raise an eyebrow.

’’Go on, I\m listening,’’ she says.

’’First, do you know what a rip current is?’’

She shakes her head.

Five minutes into my guidelines, it\s apparent she has no knowledge whatsoever about surfing and there\s no way I\m letting her go out there on a board today. When she asked to come surfing, I assumed she knew how but she doesn\ even know how to stand on a board or which end is which.

We need to start with the basics. I find a stick to draw in the sand. She pays attention and her eagerness to attempt surfing does nothing but fuel the fire between us. I point out to the water. ’’She\s in charge out there. You have to respect her. Know what you can handle and what you can\ . No two waves are ever the same.’’

An hour of Surfing 101 later, we both need a break. She takes a sip from the water bottle I hand to her, and some spills from her mouth down to her chest. Immediately I have a vision of licking the drips up for her. When she bends over toward her giant purse, I follow the lines of her body and notice the sand sticking everywhere and think I should wipe it off for her. But she stands with a cup of grapes in her hand before I get close enough.

I bite down on my lower lip instead. ’’Do you have a picnic lunch in there too? Because if not we need to take a break and eat.’’

She pops a grape in her mouth. ’’No.’’ She laughs. ’’I stopped and grabbed these with my coffee this morning, but I think I should have picked up some sandwiches too. I didn\ know it was going to take this long to learn to surf.’’ She blows some hair out of her eyes.

I can\ help laughing at her. ’’I\m only kidding.’’

She extends her hand, offering me the cup. ’’Want some?’’

I flash her a boyish grin. ’’Yes, I want some.’’ I move closer and tuck that same strand of hair back behind her ear before curling my hand around hers and pinching a grape from the container.

Our faces are so close that it\s hard to tell whose breathing is louder. But I\m sure it\s mine when she lowers herself to the ground and brushes against me before she takes a seat. She wipes her face and drinks thirstily from the bottle.

’’You all right?’’

’’Yes, I think I just need a breather. This is hard.’’

I plop down beside her. ’’Want to go grab some food? Call it a day?’’

’’No. I\m having fun.’’ She buries her toes in the sand and I mimic her action.

’’Okay, but let\s take a short break.’’

She nods.

We sit on the shore in comfortable silence for a bit and both watch the way the waves break. I assess the wind conditions as she studies the current rolling in. But I also find myself glancing over at her and thinking about how much fun I\ve had with her over the past few weeks. And even though we haven\ had se*, I\ve enjoyed her company. I seem to want her near me all the time. It\s not a feeling I\m used to. But se* or not, things have definitely progressed between us since our first date. And I haven\ pushed her. I\ve let her set the pace for the most part. And the fact that she joined me this morning in something she knows I love triggers an odd feeling in my stomach.

CHAPTER 14

I Choose You

Bell

It\s a beautiful day for the beach. The sun is shining, there\s just a slight breeze, and he\s here sitting next to me.

He leans in close and startles me. ’’Look over there. Watch what he does.’’

With a grin, we both watch the guy as waves rise from under him and he catches one just right. ’’It looks like heaven.’’

He jumps to his feet and pulls me up. ’’Come on, let\s do this. Lie down on the board on your stomach.’’

’’Shouldn\ we be in the water?’’

’’Red, you have a few dry land lessons to complete before we take you out there.’’

My hands go to my hips. ’’What do you mean? Surfing is done in the water, not on the beach.’’

’’Yes, it is. But not for us not today.’’

I pout my lips but mostly for show because dry lessons means his hands are on me, and I can\ deny how much I like his touch.

He drops down on the board and all his muscles flex in the most delicious way. ’’Like this. See, you have to move fast.’’ He snaps from his stomach to his feet. ’’It looks easy but it\s not. Speed is what matters. And as simple as it sounds, the less time you spend trying to get to your feet, the more success you\ll have staying up. Do you know how to stand on the board?’’

My eyes are ogling the ridges of his abdominal muscles and I fear I might be drooling.

’’Red? You got that?’’

I start to shake my head mostly because I haven\ tried to process what he said, not because I don\ understand it. I was too busy looking at what I haven\ seen in what seems like a very long time.

’’Come here.’’ His tone is commanding and his voice deep.


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