I Bet You (Page 36)
There’s a long pause, and I’m holding my breath as I wait for his reply. The tension builds inside me, and my mind races, trying to figure out what Ryker is thinking.
Smart move. You’re never going to be a pool shark. When’s your next date with him?
I smirk. Ryker has assumed Connor wouldn’t care that I lied. Men. There isn’t one.
Why? he sends back immediately.
I open my nightstand drawer that houses my collection of lip balm. I swipe on some mango and stare at my phone. God. What do I say? This feels like a significant moment.
I’ll have to tell you in person.
Tell me now, he sends.
I picture him in his bed sending the message, his face intense.
You know why, Red.
Even though he’s not here in the room, I sense the alpha male in him coming through the phone, the command in his tone. Heat pools in my lower body, and I squirm on the bed.
Several moments have gone by and I think maybe he’s done texting me—but then a new one comes through…and I die.
You were meant for me, he sends.
I can’t breathe. Looking down at his words, I read them over and over, my heart pounding.
Something has changed. I feel the shift in my heart, opening up.
I toss my phone across the room, and it scares Vampire Bill.
“S**t! Ryker!” he squawks.
The sound of knocking on my front door comes about fifteen minutes later.
Vampire Bill is squawking like crazy as I jump up, grab my long cardigan, and slip it on over my shoulders. I run to Charisma’s room and open the door. She isn’t there, and I exhale, recalling a message saying she was staying over with someone.
A knock comes again, and I fly into the den with my pepper spray in hand.
“Who is it?” I shout, once again cursing the fact that I don’t have a peephole. I really need to get one installed.
“Ryker. You didn’t reply to my text. Did you really think I was just going to let that go?” His voice is dry.
I dash the few steps over to the hall mirror and check my appearance. I look…insane. My hair is poking out in crazy places everywhere, and I do my best to smooth it down. One side of my face has a bit of drool from where I had just fallen asleep, and I scrub at it frantically.
“Penelope. Open the door.” I hear a quietness in his tone that makes me work even faster.
I jerk open the hall drawer, pull out a tube of lip balm, and slap it on. It’s not my preferred color tint, but what’s a girl to do when she has a six-foot-four sexy man outside her door? You gotta take what you can get.
And my b***s. S**t! I have no padding. Nothing but a lace camisole. I tug the sweater around me.
“Give me a minute,” I call out and turn toward my bedroom. Maybe I have time to put on a bra—
“Nope, Red. Now.” Oh. There’s that teeny bit of command in his tone, and I like it.
Squaring my shoulders, I turn back around and fling open the door.
Wearing black gym shorts and a button-up white shirt—very confusing—his broad shoulders shift as he slouches against my doorframe. His hair is brilliantly mussed and his eyes gleam.
Crazy outfit or not, he is gorgeous. “Kinda late for a visit. I’d definitely classify this as booty call category.”
He straightens up and rakes stormy eyes over me, lingering on my lips. “You put on lipstick.”
“It’s tinted lip balm.”
He grins. “You only put that stuff on when you’re nervous.”
“Don’t even try with me.”
A smirk plays around his full lips, and I let out an exhale. “Did you drive all the way over here to discuss my makeup routine?”
His eyes glitter. “Invite me in. Isn’t that what you have to do for vampires?”
I give him a quizzical look. “No, not all vampires. It’s different depending on who wrote the book. Twilight’s vamps can enter any door they want, but Stephen King’s scary vampires in Salem’s Lot have to be invited inside.” I wrinkle my nose. “His version is particularly scary. Razor sharp teeth, black eyeballs.” I take a big breath. I’m rambling.
“I’ll let you tell me all about it if you want.” His eyes flash to the inside of my house. “I want to come inside.” The silky sound of his voice vibrates every atom inside me.
I’m thinking bad thoughts.
“Why?” My voice is wobbly with nerves. I grip the door. “There’s only one reason a guy shows up at a girl’s house at one in the morning.”
“But you aren’t that kind of girl,” he says softly, his gaze lingering on my chest and working its way down to my legs. His eyes come back to mine and I falter, seeing the way his have darkened. “G*****n, you’re beautiful.”
I suck in a breath.
He huffs out a laugh and props a muscled bicep against the doorframe then leans down until our faces are inches apart. “You ignored my text, Red. You ignored a text where I said some pretty revealing s**t. I’m not sure how I feel about that.” He lifts an eyebrow. “Should I be pissed off? Should I pretend it never happened? Or better yet, should I just come over here and prove to you that I meant every word?” He pauses and pretends to think. “But you know, in a way, I’ve been doing that already. I feel like I’m always proving s**t to you. Hell, I spent two hours fixing your car tonight. What else do you need to see that I’m the one you want?”
“You left me at Cadillac’s with another guy!”
“So you could see you didn’t really want him.”
My mouth is open, and I quickly shut it. My body, which has a mind of its own, leans toward him until I’m standing on the threshold, our bodies an inch from touching. “I want you,” I say.
He cups my face, his blue-green eyes at half-mast. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve wanted you?”
“How long?” I ask on an exhalation, our breaths mingling. He smells like toothpaste and it makes me smile. He prepared before coming here.
“Maybe since the moment you wrote that article, and I saw you on campus and made the connection. You don’t care who I am. You’re the most honest person I know.”
“So before I spilled water on you?”
Butterflies flip in my stomach. I tug on his shirt until his lips are a breath away from mine. “Then shut up and kiss me.”
He captures my mouth and murmurs my name as his hands go to my lower back, pressing me against him. Forget that bookstore kiss. Forget every kiss I’ve ever had. This one is real. This one is fire and ice and burns so good. His tongue tangles with mine, going deeper, searching and tasting me. His lips consume me and I give it back just as good, our mouths battling for dominance. He pushes his hands into my hair and I moan as his teeth nip at me, his tongue insistent. Need and desire build momentum within me, and I think I might combust from a kiss alone. This. Him. I’ve wanted him forever. Maybe back to the first time I saw him come out of that bathroom at the Tau house with only a towel wrapped around him.
He stops to breathe, his forehead resting against mine as our chests heave. “F**k me, Red. You’re on fire.” He presses his mouth against my neck and sucks hard, and I groan at the flashes of electricity it sends straight to my core.
“I’m so glad you came for me,” I whisper.
He pauses, and I look up to see his throat working. “I like those words on your lips.”