Razed (Barnes Brothers #2)(2)

Written By: Shiloh Walker



“You’ve been.”

He lifted a brow.

“Your pictures. You mentioned it.” She shrugged self-consciously. She wasn’t about to mention that she sort of stalked him online. It wasn’t like he didn’t have a blog. It was easy to follow him through the pictures and posts.

“Yeah. Had a freelance thing there not too long ago. Didn’t pay much, but it was worth it just to go.” The black-framed glasses he wore caught the light, hiding his eyes from her for just a moment and then they swayed, the angle changing.

Her breath caught.

He wasn’t looking at her eyes.

His gaze was on her mouth, something hot flashing in the blue green depths. Her heart slammed hard against her chest and without even thinking about it, she licked her lips.

Then he blinked.

She felt like the air had been knocked out of her. Whoa—

Unconsciously, her hand tightened on his.

Dragging her eyes away, she stared out over the dance floor, looking back at Zach and Abby.

Her heart started to slow.

“He’s where he belongs.”

Swinging her head up, she met Zane’s level gaze. Blood rushed up to stain her cheeks. Well, hell. Of course Zane knew. Zach and his brothers were tight, but there was no denying he was closest to his older brother. She had the urge to pull away, find a dark corner and just hide until it was polite to leave. The reception had only been going on for forty-five minutes. They hadn’t cut the cake. Too early to leave yet.

Besides, she wasn’t about to make a habit of cutting and running just because she was uncomfortable. It wasn’t an easy habit to break, after all.

Mentally bracing herself, she confronted Zane’s stare. “Trust me, I’m well aware of that. That I didn’t figure it out earlier just means I’m an idiot. But then again, I wasn’t blind to it for what . . . fifteen or twenty years?”

“Give or take.” Zane smiled a little. “When something is always there, it’s easy to overlook it.”

She blew out a sigh. “I guess.”

“So you’re okay with . . .”

His words trailed off.

Blushing, she focused on his throat. It was easier to do that than to look at him now. She took a deep, slow breath and then wished she hadn’t, because suddenly she was aware of something almost painfully intense—Zane Barnes smelled really, really good. “Okay? Yeah. It’s not like I have much say in it.” She darted a look up at him. “I’m going to make a startling observation here and just say I assume you know I kissed him. It was stupid. But I figured something out almost right away—even if those two somehow decided they weren’t right for each other, it wouldn’t matter. Kissing Zach was like kissing Javi. There’s nothing there. If I felt what I thought I felt, there should be something there, right?”


*

It took more restraint than Zane thought he had not to pull her closer.

He didn’t know he had that kind of self-control. He’d been doing just fine up until she’d given him a quick, almost nervous glance under her lashes and he felt something arc between them.

He knew that sensation, all too well.

He’d been feeling it burn on his side almost from the first time he’d seen her.

Need. Lust. Plenty of it.

But Keelie was oblivious.

Suddenly, though, she wasn’t quite as unaware.

Of course, it would happen at his little brother’s wedding.

And it would happen now—when they were talking about that kiss that caused the first real fight between Zach and Abby.

“Something there,” he murmured, splaying his fingers out wide across her slender back, feeling the smooth, elegant line of her spine under his palm. Her dress, the same pale blue as her left eye, stopped three inches above her knees and clung to her slight curves like a lover, rising high on her chest, the sleeves long and tight. It was smooth under his hands and all he could think of was peeling it away and tasting the skin underneath.

Of course, he’d had those fantasies about Keelie for a long time.

“Yeah,” he said, nodding, like he wasn’t thinking about seeing her naked. Having her under him. Over him. Kneeling before him. Sweat started to bead along the back of his neck. “I guess there would have been.”

Hunger. Heat. Kind of like what he was feeling now.

“You okay?” Keelie cocked her head. “You look kind of hot.”

“Yeah.” He needed to get away from her—probably for the rest of the night, he decided.

“Me, too. Wanna go outside?” She’d broken away, although her left hand was still gripped by his. “They’ll cut the cake soon, but I need to get away from the noise for a few minutes anyway.”

Outside.

Not a good idea.

But he wasn’t about to say no.

The French doors spilled golden light outside and they moved into the warm night, leaving the noise and the laughter behind them. Keelie didn’t go to one of the tables set up near the doors, though. She let go of his hand and kept right on walking, down the steps and into the night-dark garden.

The hotel set up on the outskirts of town was an old, elegant sprawl, the gardens designed for Tucson’s desert climate. Zane moved in her wake, trying not to stare at her ass, but he was having a hard time with it.

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