Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating

Page 27

My gaze drops lower and I realize I’ve half expected him to bend down and pick up the towel and ask for a blanket again. But in the time since I first peeked and then did a leisurely perusal of his torso, Josh has gotten … hard.

And, with my eyes focused on that hard part of him …

he goes the rest of the way.

Just watching me looking at him got him hard. I don’t even know what to do with that information. I’m afraid to blink, afraid all of this will disappear in the split second my lids close. When I look at his face, I see his mouth is open slightly. He has a question in his eyes, but he’s also looking at me in a way I imagine is similar to how I’m looking at him.

I can’t look away.

What is breathing? Why do I need to do it again?

In a rush it feels like all the elements in my body pool low, between my legs. I take a step forward, and—because I have zero impulse control when I’m sober, let alone drunk—slide my hands up and over the warm skin of his chest. His groan is barely audible. It’s not a sound I’ve ever heard him make before, but it fits him—restrained and quiet, an understated gust of relief.

In contrast, I let out a colorful string of expletives when my fingers dip into the hollows of his collarbones. Josh is so smooth and yummy. I want to dust him with sugar and lick him clean.

Apparently I’ve said it out loud, because he whispers, “You could. If you wanted.”


Josh Im is giving me permission. I’m touching the unattainable.

Holy shit, what are we doing?

“This is a bad idea,” I tell him.

He nods, but his hands come up anyway, thumbs sliding beneath the elastic of my shorts, stroking my bare hipbones. He gently works my shorts down until they’re a puddle of dalmatian polka dots at my feet.

I let my fingers go where they want, and apparently they want to slide down the ridges of his stomach and wrap around where he is so warm and hard and perfect. He lets out a little grunt, and his eyes fall closed.

“We’ll only do it once,” I promise him.

His voice comes out tight, and I have to let go of him when he slides my tank up and off, throwing it behind him onto the floor. “Once.”

“We both just need to burn off some steam.”

His hand finds my breast, thumb gliding back and forth over the sensitive peak, before he presses, hard. “Exactly.”

“Because you don’t want to date me,” I remind him in a shaky voice.

“You don’t want to date me, either.” But as soon as he says this, his hands come to my face and his mouth comes over mine and it’s intense, just the way I always dreamed it might be, to kiss someone I love so deeply already and who’s seen me exactly as I am. He still tastes a little like scotch, his mouth is soft and firm, and he kisses me so good, like this is exactly what he needed tonight.

Tilting his head, he comes at me again, and deeper, tasting my sounds.

I can’t get enough. I feel like a worshipper wrapped around a golden god.

Josh’s hands have undressed me with a fantastic combination of impatience and skill, and his tongue slides over mine, his sounds of pleasure and need echoing in my mouth and brain. I’m reminded how not sober we are when we collapse gracelessly onto the floor; it’s clear we’re doing this here, right now, and won’t even bother to move out of the hallway. My last bit of clothing is pulled free and then Josh climbs between my legs, reaching down to feel, eyes closed as he holds his breath and slides in deep.

But I can’t close my eyes. I can’t stop looking at him no matter how much his form swims over me—even in the dark, even drunk, I can see clearly enough: the solid mass of muscle and bone, the perfect angles of his shoulders, his jaw, the way his mouth is open and soft, letting out these quiet, deep grunts with each shift forward, each drag back.

He leans down, sucking a nipple into his mouth and then tugging with his teeth. I pull in a sharp breath at the twist of pleasure and pain, and feel more than see the way he smiles against my skin.

In the morning, I’m sure I’ll try to remember every little bit of it, because it feels frantic and wild here on the floor, with my hands on that perfect ass and my legs wrapped around him, pulling him in, silently telling him, Deeper. I’ll want to confirm internally that I really did have drunk sex with my best friend.

In the morning, I’ll tell myself it’s okay that I scream into his ear when my orgasm hits me with the momentum of a train. I’ll tell myself it’s fine that I bite his shoulder when I surprise us both and melt beneath him again. But right now, I only want to think about how warm he is, how good he feels moving inside me. I want to focus on how his hair slips between my fingers and how he babbles about soft and skin, how the words fucking and wet sound both filthy and reverent in my ear. I focus on how he kisses my neck and grows rigid all over when he tells me he thinks he’s coming.

So hard, Haze. Oh, God, I’m coming so hard.

I know I’m drunk, and I know it’s Josh Im—the blueprint for Perfect, who should never want Hazel Bradford—but when it’s done, and he goes still over me, breathing heavily into my neck, I choose to melt into that sublime blur of pleasure, the way I used to think it might feel to live in a cloud.



I must have fallen asleep beneath Josh on the new hardwood floors of my hallway, because I don’t remember getting into bed. The only reminder that last night happened is the fact that I’m naked, sore, and a little sticky. Josh is gone.

But Josh being Josh, there’s a little note on my pillow that says, simply,

I’ll call you later this morning


My stomach takes an anxious leap. On the one hand, last night was pretty great—I think?—so I don’t imagine he’ll be mad that we both got laid. On the other hand, sex always changes things, and the last thing I want is for anything to change between us. I might have enjoyed the sex more than I’ll admit to him, but I’m Crazy Hazie and he’s Awesome Josh (hangover prevents me from finding something that rhymes with Josh) and nothing—I mean nothing—scares me more than the idea of us dating and him deciding that I’m too wild, too weird, too chaotic. Too much.

Rolling over, I attempt to avoid all of this by falling back asleep, but my cotton mouth rears its head and I’m aware I’ll need to hit the ibuprofen sooner rather than later. As soon as I stand, I feel the sickening lurch of my bad drinking decisions waking up. And my phone rings.

It’s 7:17, and Josh is calling.

I drop back down to the bed. “Hazel’s Den of Sin,” I answer in a dry rasp.

“Hey, Haze.”

My throat tightens at the deep vibration of his voice, at the memory of his words last night:

You feel as soft as you look.

Ah, fuck. You’re wet. It’s good. It’s so good …

Oh, God, I’m coming so hard.

“Hey … you.”

Josh clears his throat, and I’m realizing we’ve seen each other naked. Maybe he’s thinking the same thing, because all he can manage is “So.”

I laugh, and it sounds like a screech. “So.”

“I hope … you’re okay?”

“Yeah.” I look down at my bare legs. There’s a bruise on my knee, and my tailbone is a little sore from the unrelenting reality of being fucked against the wood floor, but other than that, I’m intact. “I’m good.”

“And we’re okay?”

Nodding, I rush to reassure him. “I’m your best friend, Hazel. Of course. We agreed just once. We’re perfect.”

I understand the relief in his slow exhale. “Good. Good.” He pauses and I hear him inhale like he’s going to speak, but then the quiet stretches into five, ten, fifteen throbbing seconds. I like to think I’m more confident than the average person, but his silence makes tiny bubbles of insecurity rise to the surface. I know it wasn’t the best idea, but I don’t want him to like, regret it, either.

Regret me.

“The thing is,” he begins, “we didn’t use a condom.”

Well, that explains why I’m so sticky. My stomach tilts. “Oh. No, it’s okay. I’m covered.”

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