I finally understood what prison would be like.
After his pep talk where I imagined kissing him about a million times before he gave me a pat on my shoulder and helped me to my feet, he walked me back to set and watched each scene.
When I was done and Lincoln asked if I wanted to go out with the rest of the cast for drinks, Will stepped in. “She can’t.”
Did I call him a babysitter earlier?
The man was like a parent.
One that oozed sexuality with a swagger that refused to go away every time he walked in any direction. Hell, the guy was going to be eighty years old and still turning heads when he walked into restaurants.
“I should have gone,” I said once Lincoln walked off with Dani and Jay. “It’s good for the cast to bond.”
“He’s your brother. You’ve had your time.” Will shrugged.
I clenched my teeth and followed him to the parking lot, but instead of going to his shiny car, he walked right past it.
Shit, he was going to make me walk back to the beach house again, wasn’t he?
“Come on,” he called over his shoulder. “Keep up.”
“You’re twice my size!” I yelled in a struggle to keep up with him in the flip-flops I’d packed into my bag that morning. “Hey, wait up!”
If anything the bastard picked up his pace until he reached the sidewalk then stopped.
My flip-flop got stuck on the sidewalk sending me into his arms. I braced myself on both of his biceps. My fingers tingled with the need to squeeze and swoon into his embrace.
Instead, I shoved away and crossed my arms. “So? What now?”
He licked his lips, drawing my attention to his mouth. I licked mine in response. Like an idiot.
“You did good today, Ang.” He held out his hand.
I narrowed my eyes. “Is this a trick?”
“No.” He smirked. “This is a hand. You take it in yours, see?” He demonstrated by lacing our fingers together. A shiver erupted down my right arm, goose bumps popped up.
I forgot what warmth had felt like.
“Dinner.” He squeezed my hand and let it fall against my side before he nodded to the busy main street of Seaside where families ran back and forth between ice cream and taffy shops like sugar addicts. “It’s the least I can do.”
He grinned. “For actually not sucking today.”
I smacked him in the shoulder. It was a kneejerk reaction. He laughed harder and rubbed the spot.
“I see you still know how to hit pretty hard.”
“And you’re still a sarcastic ass,” I said sweetly.
“Always will be.” He winked.
My diaphragm refused to work.
I nearly stopped breathing.
Why did he have to remind me how easy it had been between us? Because in a life full of harsh realities — he’d always made me realize one thing about love.
In the beginning, it should be easy.
Like sucking the sweet salty air through my teeth and exhaling in the same breath.
Love was as simple as the air surrounding us.
And between us, it had been more than natural; it had been effortless. Love shouldn’t start out hard, the struggles happen once you’re together long enough to realize that the other person isn’t perfect, and the anger comes when you blame them for not living up to expectations.
Because it had been easy.
Until it was so hard that I bailed.
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal,
and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When
she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting
her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son,
and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
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