Home > Flirting with the Frenemy (Bro Code #1)(11)

Flirting with the Frenemy (Bro Code #1)(11)
Author: Pippa Grant

“Obnoxious—” I start, but I stop when our lips touch.

A shudder races through me, but it’s not a bad shudder. It’s not a good shudder either. It’s my body craving human affection while my mind recoils in fear, because the last time I was here, with Wyatt, his perfect lips rubbing mine, his hot breath lighting up my veins, it literally changed the entire course of my life.

Maybe this is what I need to do.

Maybe kissing him will end this weird limbo I’ve been in. It’ll make the pain in my leg go away. I’ll find my balance at work again. The stars will realign, the man of my dreams will walk in the front door, I’ll start running again, and I’ll be living the life I always wanted to have.

I won’t care that Patrick’s life went on perfectly with his nurse girlfriend. I won’t care that my injuries might be more than skin and bone deep. I won’t care that I have to pick a new future for myself.

My free hand loops around his neck and drifts up to rub the prickles of his short hair. He suckles my lower lip and leans me back to the pillow, deepening the kiss as we go.

This isn’t the kiss we had at Christmas.

No, this is a who are you? kiss. It’s an I’ve been worried sick over you kiss. A let’s do this right kiss.

I’ve hated this man most of my life, from the day his grandmother knocked on our door and asked Beck if he could come out and play with the short, wide-eyed, floppy brown-haired boy with the stained T-shirt, through my pre-teen years when he grew into an obnoxious know-it-all, into my teen years when he didn’t even acknowledge I existed anymore.

I shouldn’t like kissing him.

Last time he kissed me, he told me it was a mistake.

And it was. It was the biggest mistake of my life.

But now I’m stroking my tongue against his and my breasts are aching for his touch and my clit is pulsing with a desperate need for attention.

I haven’t had sex in six months.

Not since Wyatt.

Not since the accident.

I part my legs, and pain erupts in my left thigh. I break the kiss with a gasp, Wyatt and I make eye contact, and he leaps off the bed. A brief flash of terror skitters over his face before he rubs his hands into his eyes and takes one more step toward the door. “Do you have pain meds somewhere?”

“That bad, was it?” I deadpan while I rub my thigh.

He watches my hands and doesn’t even spare me a dirty look. “For your leg.”

“I’m fine.”

He mutters a curse and stalks into the bathroom. I hear him riffling through my crap, and I don’t bother telling him to stay out of my stuff since he won’t listen anyway, and a pain pill sounds like heaven.

Not quite as much heaven as him kissing me, which is a paradox I don’t want to deal with right now, but I take some comfort in knowing he’ll see my vibrator if he looks hard enough, and let him think about that all night long.

He returns, slaps a prescription bottle on the nightstand, and marches out of the room.

My body sags, and I realize I must look crazy in my pirate wench costume. My mascara’s probably running, and who knows what’s happened to my lipstick.

I’m unscrewing the bottle when he appears in the doorway again with a glass of water. I ignore it and swallow my pill whole, almost choke, because I hate taking pills dry, and then reluctantly gulp the rest of it down with a glass of water.

“Give me your phone,” I say crossly.

He hands it over wordlessly.

I hand it back because it’s password-protected and glare at him.

He unlocks it, still without saying a word, and once again gives it to me.

Once I find Beck’s number—what the fuck? They freaking talked earlier. My brother is dead—I program it into one of the burner phones, then surrender Wyatt’s phone to him. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

We’re the most obnoxiously polite people in the world right now.

He stares at me a beat too long.

I stare back.

You’re not a bad kisser.

“You’re on the hook for playing my boyfriend all week,” I inform him. “My smitten boyfriend who adores me. And don’t try to get out of it. You asked for this when you ruined my plans with Grady.”

“Fine.”

“Fine?” What the hell? He’s not going to argue?

“Yes. Fine.”

“I’m telling Beck.”

“So he can blab to Monica that it’s fake?”

Fucker. “So he doesn’t freak out when he sees you grabbing my ass in any of Monica’s photos.”

He smirks. “So that’s what you want from me.”

“Yes, Wyatt. I want you to be a total Neanderthal and take me on every horizontal surface in Shipwreck, and then I want you to fondle me in public until we both get arrested for indecent exposure, because you’re so manly and I just can’t resist the allure of your testosterone.”

He smirks again. “Goodnight, Ellie.”

I scowl, because he’s not taking the bait, and I’m out of other ideas to annoy him. “Goodnight, Wyatt.”

He snorts softly, which feels like him getting the last word, when he’s probably making a not-so-silent commentary on me getting the last word.

I don’t snort back. For the record.

Not until he closes the door anyway.

Eight

Wyatt

Tucker and I are at the island in the kitchen, chowing on eggs, Mrs. Ryder’s biscuits—god bless that woman for teaching me to cook—and bacon, debating if we’re going to play miniature golf at Scuttle Putt first or go check out Davy Jones’s Locker—Shipwreck’s water park—when the doorbell rings.

We both look at the tablet hung under the cabinet, because everything around this house is wired with security cameras, including the doorbell. Half a biscuit falls out of Tucker’s mouth. “Dad…” he whispers while I take in the muscled guy on the front porch with a bicycle leaning against his hip and a white bakery bag in hand. “That’s Cooper Rock. Cooper Rock came to see us.”

“Yeah, bud, looks like he did.”

While I’m sitting there growling to myself, wondering why a pro baseball player is dropping by at this hour of the morning, Tucker takes off like a shot, dashing to the door and flinging it open. “Cooper Rock! You came to see us! Can I have your autograph? Can we play catch? Can you please win today? I know you can win. You won a game just last week. You can do it again.”

I put in the alarm code while it beeps in warning, then pull Tucker off the guy, who’s grinning in amusement once again. “Gonna do my best, little man. You like donuts?”

“Yeah!”

“Have to save two for Ellie, but here, you can have the rest.”

“Eggs first,” I tell Tucker, rescuing the bag before he can make off with it and eat all seven pounds of donuts inside.

“But, Dad—”

“Go on. You were almost done anyway.”

He looks back at Cooper. “Can you sign my arm?”

“How about a pirate sword?”

“Yeah!”

Cooper points to a sword on Beck’s entryway table. “May I?”

I hand it to him. He pulls a Sharpie out of his back pocket and scribbles his name, then presents it to Tucker, who stares in awe.

“How’s Ellie?” Cooper asks.

I cross my arms and study him carefully, because I don’t care if he plays baseball or if he’s a fucking priest, and I don’t care how nice he was last night, I want to know if he has ulterior motives for asking. “Fine,” I say shortly.

“She’s still sleeping,” Tucker offers.

Cooper clearly tries to swallow a grin, though I don’t know which of us he’s more amused by.

“She should be, the way she was dancing last night.”

“She was dancing?”

“But don’t worry. We helped her get up on the table and made sure she didn’t fall down.”

“You—”

“Man, you should see your face.” He shakes his head. “She sat at the balcony table at Crusty Nut most of the night, then did the mini-golf course with her friends. But good to know she’s in good hands.” He slaps me on the shoulder and turns, straightening his bike as he flashes Tucker a grin. “Thanks for the support, little man. Stay strong, okay?”

My boy nods. “The Fireballs are gonna come back and win the World Series this time for sure! I’ve waited seven years for this.”

“Yeah, I’ve waited twenty. And I gotta run, or I’m gonna be late getting back to the city for practice.”

“Hit a home run!” Tucker yells, but I hear something else too.

Something that distinctly sounded like a woman yelling, “Oh, fuck!”

Somewhere beneath us.

I peek in the donut bag, which sends the heavenly aroma of fried dough and sugar wafting into the foyer, and I spy at least a half-dozen cake donuts smushed in there.

“Eggs,” I remind Tucker, and while he slumps off to the kitchen, I open the door to the basement and head down.

The game room’s open. Ellie’s on a stool, muttering enough fucks to make a pirate blush while she bangs on the controller on Beck’s Frogger arcade game.

The pink in her cheeks and that stubborn set to her jaw make my dick twitch.

Kissing her in December wasn’t a fluke.

Is she obnoxious? Yes. Short-tempered? Sometimes. Determined and smart and driven and fucking unstoppable?

Fuck, my pants are getting tight. Because there’s nothing hotter than a woman taking charge and going after what she wants, and that’s what Ellie Ryder has done every day of her life.

While thumbing her nose at me.

“Work work work, you son of a bitch,” she growls.

“Donut?” I ask.

She throws a wild-eyed look over her shoulder. “Frogger is broken.”

I almost drop the bag, which would be a catastrophe, and not only because they smell delicious, but also because I’d have to clean it up. “What? No, it’s not.”

   
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