What Are Friends For?(2)

By: Lynn Lafleur

“Sounds like a generous guy.”

“That’s what I thought too.” She broke a cookie in half and took a bite. “Oh wow, this is good. Your mom makes the best cookies.” Erin laid down her treat, picked up the coffee mug. “I figured any guy who would lay out that kind of money for his parents had to be considerate and thoughtful. And he seemed to be on our first two dates.”

“What happened on the third date?”

“We had sex.”

When she said nothing else, he prompted her. “And?”

“And what?”

“Did he ask you out for a fourth date?”


Damn. That Gary guy was an idiot. “Did he at least say he’d call?”

“Oh, sure. But he hasn’t.”

Scratch idiot. Gary was a moron. If things didn’t click with a woman, Luke told her so up front instead of giving her the “I’ll call” line. “You said the sex was lousy. Why was it lousy?”

She shrugged one shoulder. “Maybe it wasn’t lousy, but it wasn’t…what I want.”

“What do you want?”

Erin set down her mug and stared into it, as if the answer to his question could be found in the hot liquid. “I want a connection, something that makes me feel there could be more than just sex.”

“Don’t you think you should give the guy more time? You can’t expect to fall in love after the third date.”

“Why not?” She raised her head and looked at him. The tears shimmering in her eyes tugged at his heart. “My parents did. They fell in love on their first date. That was thirty-five years ago and they’re still in love. I want that too, Luke.”

He understood how she felt. Seeing his two brothers and one of his sisters happily married with children had awakened a yearning inside him, one he tried to appease by dating any woman he could. He hadn’t done any better in the satisfaction department than Erin. The orgasms left him feeling more empty than fulfilled.

“Maybe it’s me.” Erin picked up her half cookie and broke it into two more halves. “Maybe I’m lousy in bed.”

He didn’t believe that for a second. “No way.”

“How can you say that? You don’t know. We’ve never had sex.”

“Of course we haven’t.”

She dropped all the cookie pieces to scatter across her napkin and onto the table. Pain flashed through her eyes. “Why do you say it that way, like you can’t stand the thought of touching me?”

Okay, Duvall, you have to fix this before you dig a hole you’ll never get out of. “You’re my best friend, Erin. I can get sex anytime. I can’t find another best friend.”

She looked at him for so long, he almost fidgeted in his chair. “Why are you staring at me?”

“Have you ever thought of me sexually?”

What man who saw you wouldn’t think of sex? “Erin, you’re a beautiful woman. I’ve seen you in a swimsuit lots of times and you have a killer body. Plus you have all that long blond hair that can wrap around a guy’s fingers. Your eyes are…” He stopped before he admitted looking into her eyes made him think of cool sheets and moonlight shining on naked bodies.

“My eyes are what?”

“Nothing.” Needing some time away from her, he grabbed his mug and carried it to the coffeepot. “Do you want a refill?”

She didn’t answer him, but he sensed her walk up behind him. He quickly replaced the carafe on the warming plate before he dropped it.

“My eyes are what, Luke?” she asked.

Her low, husky voice caressed his cock. Shit. He didn’t want to develop a full-blown erection in front of her.

She touched his back, between his shoulder blades. Her hand felt cool against his skin that suddenly seemed stretched too tight. “Finish your sentence, Luke. I need to know. Please. I need something positive right now.”

He turned to face her. Once again, her eyes shimmered with unshed tears. He did what he’d done dozens of times since he’d known her—he drew her into his arms. He kissed the top of her head, rested his cheek on it. “Your eyes are as beautiful as everything else about you. The only problem you have… Well, okay, you have more than one.”

His arms tightened around her when she tensed as if to pull away from him. “We all have problems or quirks or whatever you want to call them, Erin. Your main one is a lack of patience. Two of your friends recently got married. Your sister had a baby. You’re looking in from the outside and wanting what they have. I understand that.”

“You do?”

“Sure. Guys want love and happiness too. We just aren’t sappy about it the way women are.”

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