I’d been like this before Owen died, but I’d really been like this since he passed.
Maisie was packed, and I was almost out of Fallen Crest when I pulled into the gas station. It was on the outskirts, right before I’d hit open road. I could turn right and end up in Roussou or go left and drive through Frisco. Those two towns made a weird triangle with ours, but this time, my plans were somewhere farther than Roussou. There was a small state park an hour past, and I was going to try it out. There was a river I could camp next to.
Plus, the redwoods.
I was super stoked.
After filling the tank, I went inside. I’d made my usual trip to the grocery store, so I had most of what I’d need, but this was a tradition of mine. I liked to stock up on coffee and gas station food on the way to wherever I was going, unless it was super close—those trips weren’t worth the gas station food. I perused the aisles, my coffee in one hand and so far a bag of jerky in the other. I mostly liked the hot deli selections, and I know, they’re gross on a good day. But Owen had always loved the stupid little pizzas and hot dogs, so who I was to turn up my nose?
“Yeah! I hear ya. I’ll grab some—”
Hands came to my arms, steadying me.
I rocked back, blinking, dazed at whatever had just happened. It happened fast.
I stared up at concerned brown eyes, and a zing of lust seared me before I cleared my thoughts. That’s when the burn of the coffee filtered through, and I opened my mouth.
A bloodcurdling scream came out.
I was burning.
My skin was melting.
I could feel the sizzle.
“Oh!” Blaise seemed to realize what was happening. He looked at my chest. “Shit! SHIT!” He grabbed my arm and dragged me through the gas station and into the men’s bathroom.
“Shut it,” he snapped as he turned the faucet on.
After that, I had no idea what was happening.
He ripped my shirt off. Literally. He grabbed the collar with both hands and tore it apart. Water was poured on me. I gasped, but it started to help. After that, he pressed wet towels over my breasts and down my entire front.
With a curse, Blaise took inventory. Some of the coffee had gotten to my pants. He went for my front button, but I caught his hands just in time.
“I got it.”
“But—” His eyes went to mine, and he stilled.
But there wasn’t anything in his face except concern and horror.
I blamed the haphazardness of the situation for what I did next, because if I’d been in my right mind, I would’ve pissed my pants just thinking about what I did. And that was, I cupped the sides of his face and lifted up on my tiptoes. My head angled as I zeroed in, and then my lips were on his.
My lust amped up tenfold, and a buzz roared through my body.
I started to pull back, but he didn’t allow it. His hands were on my face, and his mouth was on mine. He was demanding, pressing hard.
That first kiss had been a lot, but this one set me ablaze. An inferno started in my body, and I knew it had nothing to do with the third-degree coffee burns.
Holy cabana manna, this was—I’d never been kissed like this.
The door opened. “Dude? Wha—”
Blaise shifted. The door shut, and he moved us back. I felt him reaching to lock the door, and then he pressed me against it and his hands were on me.
His hands stroked my stomach, over my skin, and I had enough foresight to gasp for air as his fingers reached under my bra. I had a split-second warning before his mouth was back on mine. He popped the cups of my bra up, and his thumbs rubbed over my nipples.
I jumped as if he’d taken a live wire to me. I could almost hear the spark in the air, and my whole body washed over with pleasure.
I moaned, opening under his mouth, for him. His tongue claimed me, and I was lost after that. I’d like to think I’d been thinking during the first few minutes of our make-out, but when his tongue touched mine. I was done.
I was gone.
He could do whatever he wanted.
“Dude!” There was a pounding at the door.
Blaise ripped his mouth from mine, cursed, and shouted back, “It’s busy!”
He’d turned back to me when his friend pounded on the door again. “Manager is coming. Get your girl covered.”
The words penetrated our lust, and Blaise cursed under his breath. After that, it was a race. I had no shirt, so as I put my bra back in place, he tore his off and flung it at me. When I didn’t catch it, he cursed and scooped it up. He pulled it over my head.
My arms shot through the sleeves, and he pushed me to the back stall. I had a glimpse of him raking his hand through his hair as he slammed the door shut, and I heard a key in the bathroom door.
This was so embarrassing. So embarrassing!
Blaise coughed, just as the door opened.
“Is there a problem in here?” a man asked.
“What? No problem.”
Blaise’s voice was strained. “I, uh, had a run-in with someone. Got coffee spilled on me. I was trying to stop the burn, you know?”
“Oh!” The man’s voice changed. “You’re okay?”
“Yeah. I’m good. All good.”
“Well, are you…” A squeak of a shoe on the floor. The manager’s voice sounded closer, “Are you alone?”
The snort guy said loudly, “Holy fuck! I think someone’s trying to pump and ditch.”
“What?!” Then the manager was gone. I heard him run out. A second later, the snort guy started laughing.
“Ha-ha, dickhead.” A door slammed shut, and Blaise came to the stall. He knocked gently. “It’s all good.”
I unlocked the door, letting it swing open.
Gah. I was melting and dying at the same time. His hair was messed up and looking seriously sexy, and not only did his chest look hella hot, but hello? Where had those grooves come from? They outlined his stomach perfectly, as if they were arrows, pointing right down to where I’d felt him grinding against me.
I gulped. And swallowed.
He’d been so hard. And big. Massively big.
I was back to my goldfish impersonation.
My eyes snapped to him, hearing a little bit of pity. He knew what was going through my head and probably my body—well, most definitely my body, and I swallowed again.
“I’m just embarrassed,” I whispered, hanging my head a little.
“I’m getting that, but you don’t need to be. You know that, right?” He gestured to me. “You’re hot, Aspen.”
What all girls want to hear in a gas station after almost getting caught in the men’s bathroom by the manager.
I sighed. “I know people saw.”
Blaise tipped his head to the side, his hands sliding into his pockets. It only seemed to accentuate his six-pack. I groaned on the inside and wet my lips, because I was starting to salivate. One kiss from him had me hooked. He was like crack. My body was now fully on sexual conditioning response.
I just needed a look, and I was acting like a hussy.
“My buddy will help distract for us. Say the word and we’ll sneak you out the back way.”
“There’s a back way?”
He nodded. “Yeah. Just past our door. You can go out that way, and I’ll get whatever you were buying and meet you out front in a minute.”
“Really?” That was sweet of him. I frowned. Sweet was not a word used to describe Blaise DeVroe.
He shrugged. “Tell me what you were buying.”
I told him, and his eyebrows went up, but he didn’t say anything.
I don’t know if I was disappointed at the lack of reaction, but I was thankful after he stepped out into the hallway. A second later, I slipped out, and he indicated the back door.
I went through, remembering that I was still wearing his shirt when I stepped outside.
A staff person was on her smoke break, but she only looked at me before taking another drag.
I ducked my head, hotfooting it around her, then around the gas station and out to my car. A minute later, Blaise came out with his arms full. His friend was right behind him, and holy crap. I was embarrassed all over again because that friend was Jamie Conway, another one of the most popular guys. His reputation had skyrocketed this week after everyone heard how he and Oliver Ashlome had stepped up behind Blaise, defying Zeke Allen.
It was big news for FCA. Really big news.
I also noticed Blaise was wearing a gas station shirt. He’d turned it inside out. He smiled when he saw me grinning at it. He glanced down and shrugged. “I’ve always wanted Quick-Fill swag. I’ll frame it one day and hang it over my bed.” He winked before nodding toward the things he carried. “Did I get it all?”
Pizza. Two deli sandwiches. A hot dog complete with ketchup and mustard. My coffee. And my smoothie.
“You got it all.”
He handed it over, our hands brushing, and I tried to ignore the sizzle that ran up my arm. A knowing smirk came over his face, but he was looking at Maisie—the backseat, to be more specific.