Heat of Passion
Page 8

 Elle Kennedy

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She knew he wanted to talk to her. She could see it every time she delivered another tray of beers to his table. But each time she walked over there he just stared at her with those killer blue eyes, a million questions on his face. Well, she didn’t want to answer any questions. Wasn’t the point of one-night-stands that you weren’t supposed to make excuses? She’d been upset that night, she’d wanted to forget about Steve, so she’d propositioned a stranger and had sex with him in a closet. Then she’d crashed down to earth after a spectacular orgasm, realized what she’d done, become mortified and ran away. Why couldn’t they just leave it at that?
And why wouldn’t her clit stop throbbing, damn it? It was getting hard to walk with that ache between her legs.
Fortunately, the party was dwindling. Most of the guests had wished the bride and groom well and headed out. Even the happy couple had left. The only people who remained were a few couples laughing over wine, and the four SEALS.
Zoe walked over to her. “Vanessa said to start packing up.”
“Thank God. My feet are killing me.”
They headed over to the buffet area. Holly spent the next twenty minutes wrapping up the leftovers, gathering empty bottles, and making countless trips to and from the catering van. When she finally finished, she was relieved to find that everyone was gone. The tables on the beach had been folded up, the guests had taken off, and only catering staff remained.
Her sexy SEAL was nowhere to be seen, which obviously meant he didn’t care enough to question Jessica and had decided to call it a night.
That should have been a relief, and yet a part of her was a little disappointed. Carson was probably the best-looking man she’d ever met in her life. Definitely the best lay of her life—not that she had a lot to compare him to. She’d only slept with two other men—Steve, and a boy she’d dated in her senior year of high school.
She shouldn’t care that Carson had left. They were nothing more than a couple of strangers who’d happened to have sex one night. She didn’t know him. He didn’t know her.
Darn it, she’d liked the way she’d felt that night with him. She’d liked being Jessica, not thinking about how much she disliked her life, not worrying about having to take care of anyone but herself. She’d been in control, lived for the moment, seized the pleasure. And tonight, with Carson sitting at that table watching her all night, she’d felt that way again. She’d forgotten about being late for work, about her stupid broken bra, about everything but the fact that a really sexy man was undressing her with his eyes.
Oh well. She was foolish to think he could actually have been interested in her. She was too short, her boobs too small, her personality too sarcastic. Normally it didn’t bother her. Because along with all those other irritating toos, she was also too busy cleaning up her siblings’ messes and helping them with their even messier love lives to care about her own.
“I’m heading out,” Zoe called. “You coming?”
Holly walked over to her friend. “I think I’ll stick around here for a bit longer. I have a feeling if I go home I’ll find a dozen SOS messages on my machine from the delinquents.”
Zoe sighed. “You’ve got to stop letting your family dominate your life, Hol. You’re twenty-four. You should be having fun, enjoying your hotness and screwing tons of guys.”
At the moment, everything Zoe said sounded like pure and total heaven. Too bad it wasn’t going to happen. With her job, her family and the culinary course she was taking, it was tough enough finding time to eat, let alone screw.
“You going to be okay out here alone?” Zoe asked, gesturing to the deserted stretch of beach.
“I’ve got my cell and my pepper spray. I’ll be fine.”
Zoe leaned forward and gave her a quick hug. “I’ll see you Sunday at the Grier wedding.”
Holly watched her friend disappear up the steps leading to the lot, then turned around and walked toward the shoreline. She kicked off her sandals, dug her toes into the sand and breathed in the warm night air. God, she loved the ocean. Nothing relaxed her more than the sight of the waves lapping against the shore, and the sound of gulls squawking as they soared over the calm turquoise water.
But tonight, not even her favorite view could make her feel better. She should’ve pulled Carson aside and talked to him. She’d served his table all evening. She’d seen him staring at her. Seen the undisguised interest and curiosity in his eyes. The lust. And instead of doing something about it, she’d kept walking up to him like a robot, handing him a beer and hurrying away. No wonder she had no luck with men. These days a woman needed to be proactive, not scurry away like a skittish animal whenever a hot guy looked at her.
The sound of footsteps put an end to her self-pity party. She figured it was someone from the catering company who’d forgotten something, but when she turned around, her gaze collided with a pair of sexy blue eyes. Carson was back.
He strode up to her, his muscles rippling beneath the dress whites he wore. What was it about a man in uniform that never failed to make a woman’s heart pound?
“You’re still here,” he said then winced as if he hated that he’d just stated the obvious. “I was waiting for you in the parking lot. I got worried when you didn’t show.”
Holly’s pulse sped up. “You were waiting for me?”
He nodded then raked a hand through his dirty-blond hair. “We never got a chance to, um, catch up. And I was going to offer you a ride home.”