Heat of Passion
Page 7

 Elle Kennedy

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She’d stood in the shadows, trying not to think about Steve, trying not to cry, and that’s when she’d overheard those guys talking. About sex. About needing to get laid. Normally she thought those types of men were sleazy, but at that moment, something inside her snapped. Suddenly she’d found herself wondering, what would be so bad about sleeping with someone she didn’t know? What would be so terrible about using another man to distract herself from how much Steve had hurt her?
Never in her life had she had a one-night-stand, and if Steve hadn’t ended things so abruptly and left her so distraught, she might not have even considered it. But that night, it seemed like a good idea. So she’d walked up to the guys, asked one to dance, and before she knew it, she’d transformed into someone else. She wasn’t responsible, stressed out Holly Lawson anymore. She was Jessica. Jessica, who didn’t clean up her family’s messes or work too hard or get dumped. Jessica did whatever the hell she wanted, whoever the hell she wanted, and consequences be damned.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t Jessica, was she? Nope, she was Holly. And in Holly’s life, there were always consequences.
Case in point—the man staring at her from across the sand.
“Holly, this is awesome,” Zoe gushed, jerking her out of her thoughts. “He’s so freaking hot, I’m getting aroused just looking at him. I can’t believe the two of you hooked up! Give me details, girl!”
Holly had no intention of revealing anything, and fortunately she didn’t have to, because Vanessa, the owner of the catering company, was signaling the two waitresses to get back to work.
Of course, getting back to work meant having to deliver the tray of beers to the hottie table, where she’d have to look into the eyes of the man she’d f**ked in a closet and explain why she’d run out on him.
Which only confirmed what she’d already accepted years ago—when it came to her life, she could never catch a break.
Chapter Two
“Is it just me or can you totally see through that waitress’s shirt?” Ryan asked, his gaze glued to the brunette who approached their table with very reluctant steps.
Carson couldn’t tear his gaze from her either. He still couldn’t believe she was actually here. Obviously she worked for the catering company, but a part of him couldn’t help wondering if fate was responsible. Hadn’t he just decided that it was time to seek out something more meaningful when it came to women?
Well, who better to explore it with than the woman he’d had the best sex of his life with?
“Oh, I can definitely see through her shirt,” Matt agreed with a little grin. “And I most certainly like what I’m seeing.”
“Hey…” Ryan squinted. “Shit, that’s the girl from the club.” He immediately stared at Carson. “Didn’t you—” He stopped abruptly as Jessica finally reached the table.
Although she was as pretty as he remembered, she looked nothing like the sexy seductress who’d rubbed herself against him on that dance floor. This Jessica seemed shyer, more wholesome, and Carson’s curiosity instantly piqued.
“Hi,” she finally said, awkwardly standing in front of them with a tray full of beers in her hands. “Are you boys having a nice time?”
“We are now,” Ryan muttered, his eyes never leaving her chest.
Carson felt a spark of irritation. Yeah, you could see the outline of her ni**les perfectly through that thin white blouse, but he didn’t like that Ryan was ogling her. Jessica deserved more respect than that.
He locked his gaze with hers and smiled faintly. “Good to see you again, Jessica.”
She swallowed, her cheeks reddening. “Um, yeah, you too…um…”
“Carson,” he filled in, bristling. She didn’t even remember his goddamn name?
“I remember,” she said, obviously reading his mind. Her hands trembled as she started lifting bottles off her tray and setting them down on the table.
Carson ignored the beer she placed in front of him, his eyes never leaving hers. Her nervousness practically radiated from her pores, and he could tell she was both embarrassed and uncomfortable. He wanted to say something, ask her why she’d hurried off that night, ask her if they could talk when the reception ended, but all of his friends were watching him curiously and he couldn’t seem to form any words.
A short silence fell, until Jessica finally cleared her throat and said, “Um, okay, so I’ll be back in a while to check on you guys.” And then she whisked off like a scared bunny.
Another silence.
“Well. That was awkward,” Will finally said, his voice dry. He reached for his beer and took a long sip. “What exactly happened at the club that night, man?”
“Nothing,” Carson muttered.
He hadn’t told any of the guys about the closet f**k. The encounter had totally messed him up, made him reevaluate his lifestyle, and he hadn’t wanted to talk about it with anyone, especially guys like Ryan and Matt, who were still so hooked on the notion of casual sex.
“Nothing?” Ryan echoed. “Then you won’t mind if I ask her out, right? Because, jeez, she is hot.”
Carson clenched his fists. “Don’t even think about it.”
Ryan nodded. “That’s what I thought.” He grinned. “Nothing, my ass.”
He was watching her again. Holly could feel his eyes on her as she handed a glass of red wine to the mother of the bride. She had to force herself not to turn her head. Lord, that gaze was burning her up. Her skin felt so hot she was tempted to sprint toward the waves and dive in, but she doubted the cold water would lower her body temperature. He’d been sending those sizzling glances her way for three hours and she was past the point of cooling down. She was so turned on she could barely breathe.