The Heat is On
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Matt jabbed a finger in Carson’s direction. “Like I said, none of your business.” He glanced at Ryan. “And Annabelle is exaggerating. I’m not in love with anyone. Savannah and I are just having a little fling.”
“If it’s just a fling, then you should have no problem sharing the juicy details,” Ryan pointed out, a wide smile on his face.
Matt faltered. His friend had a point. In the past he’d had no qualms discussing the measurements of the current female in his bed. For some reason, though, he felt guilty objectifying Savannah in that way. Sure, she was a knockout, but that wasn’t the only reason he liked her. She was smart, unbelievably funny, sarcastic…stubborn. Yeah, definitely stubborn. He’d left the ball in her court after their encounter in the shop two days ago, and she still hadn’t called him. A part of him feared his taunting had only annoyed her, and that she’d washed her hands of him and went after some other dude. Like Hank.
“Still want to convince us it’s just a fling?” Carson said when Matt hadn’t answered for more than a minute.
“It is,” he finally replied. “She’s fun to be with. And she has no interest in anything serious, so it’s, you know, perfect for me.”
Had they heard the tremor in his voice during those last three words?
Shit, they had. All three men were staring at him as if he’d slathered on lipstick or something.
“You want more,” Carson accused.
“No,” he said quickly. “No way.”
“Fuck, you totally do. I know the feeling, man,” Carson added with a sigh. “When Holly and I first hooked up, she insisted she didn’t want a relationship. It took me weeks to convince her to give us a chance.”
“I don’t want to convince Savannah of anything,” he objected. “Like I said, it’s just a casual thing. I don’t plan on—” His cell phone, which he’d placed on the table, began to vibrate. Matt’s heart did an involuntary lurch when he noticed the caller ID. “Hold on. I gotta take this.”
He was out of his seat and moving to the other end of the patio in nanoseconds, while Carson and Ryan burst out laughing from behind. “Say hi to Georgia!” Carson the five-year-old called.
Matt clicked the talk button and lifted the phone to his ear. “Hello?”
“You’re playing hard to get,” was the greeting he received. “I don’t know how I feel about that.”
He grinned at the petulant note to her voice. “I’m doing no such thing.”
“I don’t like games, Superman.”
“Neither do I.” He paused. “Except Scrabble. I’m pretty good at that one.”
A heavy sigh echoed in his ear. “Are you waiting for me to beg, is that it? Because I don’t like begging. I’ve always thought I’d be a terrible beggar, sitting there on the sidewalk, holding out a tin can. I think eventually I’d get bored and go look for a job.”
Laughter rolled out of his chest. “I’m not sure, but that comment might have been politically incorrect.”
“I don’t like politics either,” she said breezily. “Now, what’ll it take to get you to come over?”
“Who says I want to? Maybe I’ve grown bored of having sex with you.” He smiled to himself, proud that he was finally back on track. All the charm he’d perfected over the years had dissolved during those first few encounters with Savannah, but he’d slowly begun regaining ground here, and the outrage in her voice confirmed it.
“You have not. I am unbelievably good at sex.”
“Uh-uh, no way. I’m awesome. So level with me, what do I have to do to get you to see me again?”
“For sex?” he clarified.
He pretended to think it over, then said, “A date.”
She balked. “I told you how I feel about that.”
“Those are my terms, take them or leave them. One date for every round of sex.”
“You’re an awful person.”
“Is that a no?”
There was a long pause, followed by a soft curse. “No, it’s not a no.”
“Then it’s a yes?” he prompted with great amusement.
“Yes, it’s a yes.” Another pause. “Where are you now? The store’s pretty empty so I can leave Chad in charge for the rest of the day.”
“I’m in Coronado. We were doing a training demo at the base.” An idea entered his mind. “Why don’t we go to the beach? You mind driving over here?”
He expected another protest, but to his surprise, she sounded enthused. “Sure, I’ll head over to you.”
They arranged to meet in an hour, and Matt was smiling again as he hung up the phone and wandered back to the table. Of course, his friends immediately honed in on the smile and proceeded to harass him.
“Was that Georgia?”
“Is her ass as nice as her boobs? Annabelle didn’t mention.”
“Wanna baby-sit Penny to prepare for the baby you’ll have with your future bride?”
“Ha ha,” he said, rolling his eyes as he reached for his coffee. It had grown cold, but he still swallowed a mouthful of the lukewarm liquid so he wouldn’t have to dignify any of their juvenile questions with a response.