THEN HE KISSED ME Excerpt
“There’s one thing on my list I haven’t told you about.” The tease in Nash’s voice had been roughened away.
“How am I going to help if you don’t tell me?” Tally couldn’t stop staring at his mouth, and dabbed her tongue along her lower lip.
“I wasn’t sure if you’d be willing to help me cross it off.”
“Is it dangerous?”
“Could be. Might start a fire even.” He removed his glasses and tucked them into a pocket of his shorts. The moon had risen and his brown eyes seemed to reflect back the meager light.
“I want to kiss you.” The words fell between them like it was a done deal, yet he moved more like a predator, slowly, cautiously, giving her a fighting chance at escape. “Not a peck on the cheek like when we were eight, but an honest-to-goodness, grown-up, man-woman kiss. Does that freak you out?”
It totally did. Not because she was disgusted or creeped. The opposite. The compulsion to kiss him at the river had almost overtaken her. But this was Nash. Her Nash. Her stomach spiraled in a slow arc of nerves and anticipation.
Whenever she was nervous about something, like the school spelling bee, Nash had made her list the worst, most outrageous things that could go wrong. She reverted to old habits, the questions popping out in a rush of words. “What if you start thinking about Charlemagne to keep from being bored? What if you’re totally grossed out? What if you can’t look at me the same way? What if we can never be friends again?”
She had backed into the tower, and he braced his hands on either side of her head. “I can guarantee I won’t be disgusted or bored. I’ve been thinking about kissing you since that first night at the Rivershack Tavern. Maybe you’ll hate me slobbering all over you.”
“Maybe,” she whispered, even knowing it was a lie. Every part of her was drawn to him like filings to a magnet. Good sense kept her from confessing her biggest fear.
What if she didn’t want him to stop at a kiss?
“Listen, this is just an item on my list. One kiss. If the kiss is weird and either one of us doesn’t like it, let’s agree that it won’t affect our friendship. We’ll keep hanging out.”
“What if we do like it?” The possibility threw open a door she wasn’t sure she wanted to slam shut or run through.
“Well then. I might have a lengthy addendum to my original list.” He cocked his head. “What’d you say we do something really crazy?”
Unlike at the river, the narrow platform offered no escape, and she was glad. She didn’t want to escape, even as the most vulnerable parts of her screamed at her to run. While she was perfectly willing to risk life and limb and trouble with the law, the risk Nash posed to her heart was too great to contemplate. But this was only a kiss—how dangerous could it really be?
“Okay.” The word came out as soft as a breath.