What Are Friends For?(8)

By: Lynn Lafleur

Luke had the feeling they were no longer talking about racing in the pool. He rose to his elbow so he could see her better. The sun’s position put them in the trees’ shadow. A sudden breeze blew over them. Her nipples puckered inside her top. With a flick of his thumb, he could move that tiny triangle and tug her nipple into his mouth.

In the four years he’d known Erin, he’d never had as many sexual thoughts of her as he’d had today. It terrified him to think of letting his hormones overrule his common sense and fucking up their friendship.

He stood and reached out a hand to her. “C’mon. It’s time for a snack.”

* * * * *

Erin had seen the interest in Luke’s eyes, had seen the way he stared at her breasts. His sudden desire for something to eat didn’t make sense.

She let him help her to her feet. He threw one arm over her shoulders the way he always did, kissed her temple the way he always did. Everything he did was typically Luke. Yet she sensed something different, something…deeper. Or perhaps she wanted to sense something deeper between them. It would make it a lot easier for her plan to work if he looked at her as a woman and not simply a friend.

He guided her to the pool house, where he handed her a wine cooler and container of salsa from the refrigerator. After grabbing another beer for himself, he picked up a package of tortilla chips and led the way to the table for four next to a willow tree.

Erin sat to his right while he opened the chips and salsa. “What, no cookies?”

“Gotta have something salty with beer and wine coolers.” He scooped up a generous amount of salsa on the chip and popped it into his mouth. “Oh, yeah. Hits the spot.”

She chuckled. She’d never known anyone who enjoyed food as much as Luke. No one would be able to tell by looking at his amazing body how much he could put away at a meal. He burned off the calories at his job and with swimming. “Don’t eat too many of those chips or you won’t have room for steak.”

He gave her a look that clearly said she had to be kidding as he dipped another chip. “When have you known me not to eat?”

“Never.” She slowly chewed her chip and swallowed. “And I hate you just a bit because of it.”


“Because you never gain weight. It’s completely unfair.”

Luke looked at her breasts. “You have no reason to complain about any part of your body, Erin.”

His gaze lingered on her breasts, long enough that Erin’s nipples tightened in her bikini and her clit began to gently throb. Trying to appear unaffected by his intense stare, she dipped another chip in the salsa and ate it.

“What’s with the new swimsuit?” he asked after sipping his beer.

Erin shrugged. “I told you, I decided it was time for something new.”

“Why one so skimpy? Hell, you might as well be naked as to wear that little bitty thing.”

His comment gave her the perfect opening. “Would you rather I was naked, Luke?”

Eyes downcast, he set his bottle on the table. “You’re a gorgeous, sexy woman, Erin. I’m a man who thinks about sex at least twenty-three hours a day. So yeah, if I had the chance to see you naked, I’d take it.” He turned his head toward her, spearing her with his blue gaze. “That doesn’t mean I’m going to search for that chance. I don’t want to do anything to fuck up our friendship.”

“Why do you think it might get fucked up if we take our friendship to the next level?” She reached over and laid her hand on his arm. The muscles bunched beneath her palm. “I care about you, Luke. You know that.”

“I care about you too, which is why I wouldn’t ever do anything to hurt you.”

“You think having sex with me would hurt me?”

“Physically, no. Emotionally is another matter.”

She glanced at her hand on his arm. Even with her summer tan, his skin was so much darker than hers. “I’m willing to take the chance.”

He covered her hand with his. “I don’t know if I am.”

She had her answer. He didn’t want her. She could seduce him and his body would respond, but his heart wouldn’t be in it. He’d be performing just because she wanted him to. That meant she wouldn’t be able to relax, wouldn’t be able to please him. She’d end up embarrassed and frustrated and still not know what she needed to do sexually to keep a man interested in her.

“I’m going to start the grill, okay?” Luke asked.

Erin nodded. “Sure.”

The chips and salsa she’d eaten formed a lump in her stomach. She pressed a hand against it as she watched Luke walk to the grill and get it ready to cook. Maybe she wasn’t meant to find someone to love her. A lot of people went through life without finding their soul mate. Maybe she was one of those people.

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