The Heat is On
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“Yeah, we’ve been hanging out,” she said carefully.
“Does he make you melt in bed every time he calls you darlin’?” Annabelle mimicked Matt’s faint drawl, then laughed. “I just about did.”
Savannah’s eyebrows shot up. “Wait—you slept with Matt?”
Looking sheepish, the other woman nodded. “Yeah. I figured he’d tell you.”
“Oh. He didn’t.”
The icy jealousy coursing through her veins came out of nowhere. For some reason, her claws were out at the revelation that Matt and Annabelle had slept together. She tried to stop the annoying reaction, but it only intensified when she unwittingly pictured Matt and Annabelle naked together.
“It was just a one-night thing,” Annabelle added. “Ryan was there too.”
Savannah pasted a bright smile on her face, but she suspected Annabelle could see right through it. The other woman’s cautious tone had spoken volumes. “I’m sure it was fun,” she said, cringing at her overly cheerful voice.
Annabelle let out a laugh. “You’re jealous.”
“And you’re laughing about it,” she grumbled. “Aren’t you nice.”
“I’m not laughing at you. Well, I guess I am, a little, but that’s just because you’re totally busted.” Annabelle’s brown eyes shone with delight. “You keep acting like you don’t care about Matt one way or the other, but this proves that you do.”
Savannah eyed her suspiciously. “Did you…you purposely told me about having sex with Matt, didn’t you? You wanted to see my reaction.”
“Yep,” Annabelle said, making no move to apologize. “I just know he’s really into you, and I wanted to make sure you felt the same way. Obviously you like him more than you’re willing to admit.”
She wanted to protest, but couldn’t bring herself to do it. Annabelle probably wouldn’t believe her, anyway, if she insisted she didn’t have deep feelings for Matt.
But she didn’t have deep feelings for him. She liked him. She loved having sex with him. That was as deep as her feelings ran.
Surrrre, said the mocking voice in her head.
Gritting her teeth, she ignored the internal taunt. Even her own consciousness was trying to convince her she was in love with the guy or something. Which she wasn’t. She didn’t do pesky emotions like love. Apparently she liked Matt O’Connor enough to experience a spark of jealousy at the thought of him with another woman, but that did not mean she liked him enough to have a relationship with him.
She suddenly realized she needed to make it clear to him where she stood. Matt and Annabelle believed there was some love connection happening between them, and who could blame them? Here she was, going to movies and lunch dates with the guy, listening to his funny family anecdotes. No wonder Matt and his friends thought this whole fling was turning into something more.
Maybe it was time to set them straight.
Matt knew something was up when Savannah suggested they go to one of the busiest bars in San Diego for their next date. The past week, they’d gotten closer than ever, and he’d started looking forward to their non-sex moments. He usually did most of the talking, but eventually he’d gotten Savannah to open up and tell him more about her life. She even confessed about her cheerleading days, which he teased her about mercilessly. Somehow he couldn’t imagine her doing cartwheels and shouting “B-E aggressive!” to a crowd of high school football fans.
Each time she revealed something personal, though, she immediately pulled back, and this morning, when they’d made plans to meet up tonight, he’d heard the unmistakable distance in her voice. He knew Annabelle had been at the shop earlier in the afternoon to go over some wedding details, and he wondered if Annabelle had done something to upset her. Somehow he couldn’t imagine that happening. In fact, he was pretty sure he knew exactly why Savannah was acting the way she was.
They were getting too close for her comfort.
Pushing the thought aside, he focused on Savannah, who was sipping on a vodka-cranberry cocktail and laughing at the antics of a few younger guys arguing over by the pool table. Again, he knew why she’d suggested the Sand Bar for tonight’s date. The place was loud and always filled to capacity, offering pretty much the opposite of an intimate atmosphere. This bar was one of his favorite dives—he came here often with the guys—but it wasn’t the place to have a real conversation, which was something he’d been looking forward to all day. He knew this was Savannah’s way of distancing herself, though. She’d been doing it ever since the beach. The sex was still as hot and passionate as before, but the emotional barrier Savannah kept in front of her heart had only seemed to grow higher.
“I’m in the mood for something different tonight,” Savannah announced, a sensual smile curving her mouth.
Matt’s guard shot up. “What kind of different?” He had to raise his voice over the din.
Her gaze swept over the throng of bodies in the bar. She lingered for a moment on a tall, blond-haired guy wearing a Chargers football jersey. “Him, maybe? What do you think, is he good in bed?”
Uneasiness washed through him. “What are you suggesting, darlin’?”