North of Light(10)

By: J.M. Paul

I flip him the bird. Trey and Connor laugh.

“Who said I was single?” I arch a brow.

The smiles fall off their faces.

“You are single, so stop being a tease, Noles.” Cami stumbles into me, and I reach out to steady her. She giggles and rests her head on my shoulder.

“You’re so pretty.” She pets my hair, and I know she’s drunk.

“CC, please. Don’t embarrass me,” I mock scold and then smirk. “We all know, I’m freaking smokin’.”

“Mmm.” She lifts her head. “I heart you, Noles, and you’re yummy, but you’re not my kind of yummy. Now, these two”—she waves in Connor and Trey’s direction—“are as hot as sin and definitely something I can sink my teeth into.”

“I bet you’ve done a hell of a lot more than sink your teeth into them—and probably at the same time,” I say shrewdly.

The quick shock that passes between Connor and Trey tells me I’ve hit the mark.


Somewhere deep inside, an ache named jealousy starts to rear its ugly head. I couldn’t care less about Cami and Trey, but that newly discovered morsel of information flips things onto a new level. It tells me Cami’s been keeping risqué secrets from me when we used to share everything, and these three are way out of my league.

“Don’t be so brash, Noles.” Cami playfully smacks my butt. “Come on, let’s go chug-a-lug.” She pulls me toward the group gathering a couple of feet away, and Connor and Trey follow.

The guys slam their beers and finish before us girls are even halfway through our drinks.

They start to chant, “Chug it, chug it.”

I only make it through two-thirds of my drink before I give up. This lightweight can’t swim in the big kids’ drinking pool—even when I wear floaties.

“Phew.” I reach out to steady myself and grab the firm bicep of the person standing next to me.

“It’s the carbonation. Goes straight to your head.” Connor crouches to my level. “You okay?”

“My head’s still attached to my body, but should I be concerned that there are two of you?” I squint one eye to try to focus on his beautiful face. My attention gets stuck on his succulent lips, and I wonder how they would feel against mine. Pretty damn good I expect.

Connor’s mouth spreads into a smile, his lips beckoning me. I bend toward the beauty … and then lose my balance to the carbonated alcohol zinging through my system.

“Whoa.” He places his hands on my shoulders. “Do you need to sit?” his pretty lips ask.

I tighten my hold on his bicep and then squeeze a couple of more times, moving my hand up and down his arm. “You’re very hard and … big.”

Connor chokes out a laugh. “That’s what all the ladies say.”

My brows pinch together as my gaze seeks his. Jade eyes full of humor and satisfaction gaze back at me.

“What?” I think back to what I said. My mouth pops open, and my eyes widen. “Oh shit.”

Connor chuckles.

“I’m such an idiot.” I squeeze my lids closed and shake my head.

“No, you just say whatever’s on your mind.” He brushes my hair over my shoulder, and I open my eyes. “I like that you’re thinking about how hard and big I am, Journal Girl.” He leans forward and says in a raspy voice, “It makes me even harder and bigger.”

I know he’s doing it to tease me, but it’s still sexy as hell.

“You’re such an ass.” I push him back and smack his shoulder.

“Now, you’re thinking about my ass? Get your head out of the gutter, woman.” His dimples dent his cheeks.

I start to retort with a sassy comment, but my words fall short as something in the crowd behind Connor captures my interest. I’m not sure what drew my attention in that direction—intuition?—but when my eyes connect with hauntingly familiar chocolate-brown eyes, I lose all sense of anything around me.

Our gazes stay locked as my body, my spirit, sparks to life at the sheer nearness of him. It’s like I’ve been missing a part of myself until this moment. His closeness clicks something back into place inside my chest because I’ve been grasping at his shadow for what seems like an eternity.

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