Forever in Cape May

Page 42

“I can handle my sisters. The guys won’t care.”

Pierce arched a brow. “You’re temporarily delusional. Carter and Gabe are worse than your sisters. They live for gossip. I’ll be getting a call or text within fifteen minutes as the news spreads.”

She covered her face in her hands. “You’re right. Shit. We’re doomed.”

“Let’s get our stories to match. They’re all going to be mad we didn’t tell them.”

“I know! Okay, we tell the truth. We got super drunk one night, had sex, and decided to just keep having fun until I go away. It means nothing. We’re still best friends, and this is just an extra bonus for a temporary time.”

“Sure.” His gaze drilled into hers. “Because that’s the truth, right?”

Her chin lifted, and Taylor lied to her best friend. “Yes, it’s the truth.”

“Then we’ll be fine. I’d better shower and get dressed. It’s gonna be a long day.”

She watched him walk out of the kitchen with a shred of regret, but she didn’t know what to do or say to change it.

Better to leave things be.

She could handle her sisters.

Chapter Fifteen

“You lying little slut. Tell us everything.”

Bella’s usual calm demeanor had been replaced by an almost rabid need for information as she sat in Taylor’s kitchen and drank her chardonnay. Taylor didn’t even bother to look to Avery for help. Her oldest sister sat beside Bella and used silence as her way of torturing out the gossip. Her gaze was direct, probing, and a bit scary.

God, what a day. They’d both texted within minutes of Bella finding Pierce naked, demanding a meeting that night. Then Pierce had called and said the guys were taking him out for beers and to talk.

Another drawback from living in a small beach town—everyone cared way too much about other people’s lives.

Taylor held back a sigh and decided her usual direct approach would work best. “It’s simple, really. One night we ended up getting drunk, and I crashed at his place like I usually do, but this time we got physical and slept together. Afterward, we talked it out and decided to continue the benefits portion of our friendship until I leave for Paris. We both know it’s temporary, and it doesn’t mean anything. That’s why we wanted to keep it a secret—both of us didn’t want anyone thinking this had changed our relationship.” Proud of her summary, she took a sip of wine and stared at her sisters.

“Bullshit,” Avery said.

Bella regarded her thoughtfully. “Interesting. You’re both in denial.”

A sliver of uneasiness slid down her spine. “What are you talking about? I just told you the truth!”

“Your sanitized version of the truth,” Avery said. “You and Pierce have always been like a married couple without the romance. You can’t tell me introducing sex into your relationship hasn’t changed anything.”

Taylor blinked. “It hasn’t. Everything has been exactly the same, in addition to some amazing orgasms.”

Her sisters shared a look, then did something that horrified Taylor.

They laughed.

Holding on to each other, they laughed uncontrollably until they both wiped tears from their eyes. Irritation bit at her like a snake.

She stood up. “I’m glad you think this is so damn funny. You’re the ones who barged into my house demanding answers. If you want to make up your own stories to believe, go ahead, but leave me out of this. And leave me my damn wine, too.”

Avery waved her hand in the air. “Sit down. God, you have the worst temper. I’m sorry, T, we didn’t mean to make fun of you. It’s just that you’re so good about confronting both of us on our bullshit—it’s amazing you can’t call out your own.”

Taylor sat down, her shoulders stiff. “Whatever. Pierce and I understand each other. I’d just appreciate it if you’d keep this to yourselves.”

“Sure. How long has this secret affair been going on?” Bella asked.

“About six weeks.”

“Wow, you guys were sneaky. I had no idea,” Avery said, looking impressed.

“And you wouldn’t have if Zoe listened to my constant requests to knock first.”

Bella winced. “Sorry, that’s on us. I had to deal with endless questions about what type of food must have spilled on him because all of his clothes were missing. Thank God she didn’t say anything about his manly parts.”

Avery raised a brow. “Impressive?”

Bella nodded. “Very.”

Taylor snorted. “You have no idea.”

This time, when they laughed, she laughed with them.

Avery spoke up. “Listen, we’re not against some friendly hookup that’s safe and consensual. But I think you’re lying to yourself. There’s not a lot of people you open up to, and Pierce has a special place in your heart. Though it may sound cool and manageable to add sex to the mix, I think you have real feelings for him. As more than a friend.”

Her usual instinct to deny died on her lips. Her sister’s words hit her like a sucker punch, driving the breath from her lungs. Images flashed before her eyes.

His hands all over her naked body, smeared with paint.

His fiery gaze burning possessively into hers.

The ferocity and tenderness of their lovemaking as she shattered in his arms.

Taylor shoved the memory aside and shrugged. “He’s not. I’m gone in two weeks and plan to stay overseas for at least a year. He’s staying in Cape May. We want different things. This is black and white here, and we both have our eyes wide open. Okay?”

She knew her sisters didn’t believe her but were smart enough not to push. “Okay,” Bella said. “But I have a caveat here you’re going to listen to.”

“What?” Taylor asked.

“If you find things have changed, and you’re struggling with new feelings you don’t know what to do with, you call me or Avery. Don’t be alone in this. We’ve both gone through some rough transitions with the men we love, and you helped both of us. We deserve a chance to help you if you need it. Deal?”

She was touched by their obvious concern, and her irritation died. “Deal,” she said.

“Good. Now that we’ve got the emotional stuff out of the way, it’s time to share the other details,” Avery said briskly. “Namely, on a scale of one to ten, how good is the sex?”

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