This is exciting, right? I mean, it is to me – the first “Sample Sunday” in almost two months, which is a bit of an anomaly. That’s no complaint – absence makes the heart grow fonder or something. In any case, I’m excited to start sharing snippets and visuals (shout out to Porsha at brwnstock) for this project, which I hope you enjoy reading as much as I’m enjoying writing. Ben and Kyle (the heroine) have a great enemies-to-lovers dynamic, even though it’s not typically a “trope” that I enjoy. (And yet, I somehow end up writing it often. Go figure.)
This snippet is unedited, and subject to change.
“I guess there might be some hope for you, Desmond,” I heard, as I approached the door. When I stopped, to look over my shoulder, Ben wasn’t even looking at me. He was looking out the window.
Against my better judgment – which I was very, very good at – I took a step back. “Is that a compliment?”
“It’s an observation.”
“An unexpected one, based on your tone.”
One eyebrow was raised when he turned halfway, looking at me. “You seem surprised by that, but I can’t imagine why. Have I not saved your ass on the mountain twice?”
“The first time was a freak accident. The second time, I was only up there because I needed something I’d lost the first time. I was afraid it would be lost to me forever if I didn’t get it as soon as I could.”
“That doesn’t change the facts.”
I shrugged. “Sure, I’ll give you that, but it definitely creates some much-needed nuance, since you want to treat me like I’m stupid.”
“I’ve never said you were stupid.”
“But you certainly thought it,” I accused, and he didn’t argue against it because he couldn’t argue against it. “I’ve made mistakes up there, absolutely, no argument there. And really… you can think whatever you want about me. I don’t really give a shit. But you will not speak as if I’m not one of the most brilliant minds you have ever had the privilege of being acquainted with.”
By this time, Ben had turned to fully face me, eyebrows lifted. Once I stopped speaking, a smirk spread across his lips, and he gave me a single nod. “Fair enough,” he conceded, ambling toward me, with his clipboard still clutched in one hand. “I won’t talk to you as if you’re stupid. But let’s be clear – that doesn’t mean you’re going to start liking what I have to say. I still don’t like you. I still don’t believe you belong on this mountain. I’ll still be glad when you leave.”
I smiled down at Domino, who had apparently recognized me, and walked up to push her head under my hand. Giving her an affectionate rub, I returned my gaze to her owner, and let the smile drop from my lips.
“It’s a good thing I don’t really give a damn what you believe because I’m not here for your pleasure.”
“Whose pleasure are you here for?” he asked, his gaze dropping to my lips and lingering there before he met my eyes. “Ol’ boy that was just grinning in your face?”
“Mm.” He was so close now that I could feel the heat from his body, and every breath I took was a subtle inhalation of his aroma – a dual assault on my senses that brought back memories of the night I’d spent at his cabin.
Apparently, that night was on his mind as well.
“Your place or mine?”
My eyebrow lifted. “Excuse me?”
“You said you were here for your pleasure, and well… I think we both remember exactly how much you enjoyed yourself that night.”
“One night is nothing,” I shot back. “Anybody can be good for one night. A fluke.”
He chuckled. “Nothing about this dick is a fluke. Maybe a gift, if you need something to call it.”
“Two minutes ago you were making sure I know that you don’t even like me.”
“You know as well I do, that I don’t need to like you, to make you cum.”
“I’m ready now!” someone behind me gushed, from the classroom door. That interruption saved me from responding to Ben’s words – or so I thought.
He grabbed the hanging part of one of the straps on my bag, using it to keep from escaping as he replied to the student rejoining the class.
“Desmond,” he said, clearly intent on getting an answer. “Yours or mine?”
“Neither,” I told him, drawing the strength to resist from the fact that this conversation was much less private now, as the room started to fill again. I pulled away, knowing he couldn’t hang on too tight unless he was willing to make a scene, which I doubted.
I was right.
I shot him a smirk as I moved away, practically walking right into Morgan as he re-entered the room.
“I am now fully prepared,” he declared, momentarily grabbing me by the arms to make sure I stayed upright.
I smiled at him – because I was grateful for the assistance, and because I could feel Ben watching.
“Perfect,” I told him, then looked to Ben, who was wearing exactly the glare I expected. “Let’s hike!”
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