It’s the last week of my exchange in London, and my flight leaves on Saturday.
Harry wants our relationship to progress, but his family life is falling apart. And shocking news from his parents might send him over the edge.
Noah is becoming more reckless with both his words and his actions. Between longing glances, sweet conversations and heated moments, I don’t know where we stand.
And Mohammad tells me that I have some important decisions to make.
The countdown is on, and only two things are certain.
I’m going to have to leave the three boys I’ve grown to love.
And by the end of the week, I’m not sure if any of them will ever forgive me.
It’s a good thing my time at Kensington is almost up.
Release date: September 17, 2020
Publisher: Swoonworthy Books
Print pages: 425
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Friday, October 4th
Don’t sleep with him tonight.
“I …” I stutter, feeling caught in Noah’s hand.
Caught in his words.
Don’t sleep with him tonight. Promise me?
I can smell Noah all around me. His musk is so thick that I can barely breathe.
“You can’t ask that of me,” I finally say, tears pooling in my eyes. One escapes, rolling down my cheek and searing a line into my skin.
I wish I were crying because I was angry. Because I was mad at him.
But I’m crying because … I feel heartbroken.
At my words.
At the expression that forms on Noah’s face as he nods his head, understanding.
Because he looks like he might cry too.
It looks like with one statement, I’ve shattered him.
And my stomach feels like it might bounce up and out of my throat or fall through me.
Noah doesn’t say anything else. He just holds on to my hand, nodding his head, his eyes staying closed.
He looks perfect.
Lying in bed, drunk and broken, he still looks perfect.
“Get some rest,” I whisper, wanting to soothe him. Wanting his expression to relax. I drop his hand, and my lip starts quivering. My heart feels as if it were being ripped out of my chest.
I rush out the door, wanting to scream at the sensation. Or cry. I’m not sure if I’m hurt or scared or actually injured, but I can’t even distinguish what I’m feeling.
But then anger rises in me. I want to slap Noah for asking that of me. I want to go back in and yell at him and tell him that I can do whatever I want.
And that I will.
He doesn’t have a say in what I do.
In who I’m with.
Tears burst from my eyes, and I rush into the nearest bathroom, falling onto the floor in a heap.
How did everything get so messed up?
Where did I go wrong?
I cry, knowing I did this to myself.
I cry because I have real feelings for both Harry and Noah.
And tonight, I let Noah get into my head. I let him get to me.
I put myself into this situation.
My whole body shakes as Noah’s words echo in my ears.
Don’t sleep with him tonight.
I let out a sob, thinking about his expression. About how helpless he looked. Because even if Noah wants me, he will never have me.
I could never just be his.
No matter how he feels, Harry cares about me too.
And despite my connection with Noah, I care about Harry. Which is what makes this so hard.
If Harry knew what Noah had just said to me and saw how I’d reacted, he would never speak to me again. He wouldn’t be able to look at me.
I didn’t promise Noah. But I didn’t tell him off either.
I just stood there, feeling myself break apart. With Noah, it’s like I’m stuck in limbo, in this space where I can either be nothing or everything. In which Noah wants all of me for a moment. For even a second.
He wants everything I have to offer.
Don’t sleep with Harry.
We have a connection.
But then, as usual, the moment is gone.
And he’s asleep.
And he’s back to being my friend.
Or hating me.
Or wanting me to be with Harry.
And that isn’t fair to me.
That isn’t what I want.
What—or who—I want is Harry.
The boy who is waiting for me.
The boy who is sweet and gentle.
The boy who isn’t willing to give me up.
The boy who cherishes me, who says I’m his angel.
I sit on the bathroom floor and cry, getting it all out.
I let myself mourn what could have been with Noah. Because I know that it—we—will never be anything.
Despite my feelings for him, I don’t want that.
This whole time, we’ve been lying to ourselves. At least, I’ve been lying to myself. I like Noah. I care about him deeply. And there has been more than one moment when I’ve wanted him.
But nothing has ever happened.
I’ve never let it.
And neither has he.
We’ve been dancing around one another like magnets for so long that, at some point, we’re bound to give in and come together—or break apart.
And tonight … tonight, I think we broke.
I don’t know what this means for our friendship.
Or if we can even have one after this.
Maybe we shouldn’t.
What I need to do is pull myself together.
I need to pick myself up and go back to Harry.
Because despite being dragged through emotional torture, love doesn’t have to feel that way.
Relationships should be beautiful.
They don’t have to be earth shattering to be important.
And tonight can still be special for Harry and me regardless of if we have sex.
Tonight isn’t ruined because Noah is constantly conflicted.
Because he’s always stuck, trapped by his emotions.
But I’m not.
My life can continue on regardless of what we are.
Regardless of how he feels.
And I want it to continue with Harry.
I’m not going to let Noah’s words or his inaction ruin what Harry and I have built.
I let out a groan, wiping at my face. My insides are twisted up so tightly that I’m stuck between feeling furious and relieved.
Because Noah never seemed to care what was going on in my relationship with Harry.
But now, once I’m happy, that’s when he decides to speak up?
When Harry and I have finally found our footing and are starting to get serious, that’s when Noah decides to tell me he wants me?
After he told me that he retracted his offer?
Noah says we have chemistry.
That he wants me.
That he cares.
But he asked me not to sleep with someone else even though he knows that he will never sleep—or be—with me.
And it’s bullshit.
The thought pisses me off even more.
I get up off the floor, pushing my shoulders back.
I’m not going to spend another second crying over Noah or his words. Because Noah’s a wreck.
He’s beautiful and alluring. Timeless. But he will take me down with him, and together we will sink.
I turn on the faucet, bringing a handful of water up to my face. I wash off my makeup, clearing away the streaks of mascara running down my cheeks.
Once my makeup is gone, I press my hands down over my hair, making sure it’s still in place. I look at myself in the mirror, taking in my reflection. My eyes are red, but my skin is clean. I look like a blank canvas. Like I’ve washed away my makeup, my tears, my disappointment.
And I needed to. But now, it’s time to turn things around.
To have fun. To go back to Harry.
To show myself that I’m not weighed down by Noah’s words.
That he can’t get to me.
Special, special, special.
I walk out of the bathroom, feeling like a different person. I don’t feel like someone who just had their chest cracked open. Like someone who was lying on the floor, crying. I feel like someone who has made a decision.
I feel like someone who knows exactly what they want.
I feel powerful. Like nothing can stop me.
I quicken my steps until I’m back in the billiards room, my whole body searching for Harry. I scan the room, easily finding him. He’s relaxing on a sofa, a glass hanging lazily in his hand. I take in his wide grin, watching as he sits, talking to Mohammad and Olivia.
I move toward him, past Naomi and George, who are in the middle of a game of pool. She’s leaning over the table, aiming her shot.
Harry must not notice me because he looks surprised as I sit down on the couch next to him.
“Hey,” he starts.
But before he can continue, I kiss him, pressing my lips against his, forcing his mouth open, slipping my tongue in. I place my palm against his jaw as he kisses me back, feeling like I can finally breathe again.
I break our lips, pulling back to find Harry looking at me happily. I turn my attention to Mohammad and Olivia, who are both gawking. Mohammad’s eyes are the size of saucers, and Olivia’s mouth is about to come unhinged from hanging open so far.
She forces her mouth shut and narrows her eyes at me.
“Noah all right?” Harry asks, breaking the silence.
His blue eyes are on me, and I instantly feel bad for being such a disaster upstairs.
Because I know this is what I want.
“He’s fine.” I nod, the reply falling easily out of my mouth. “But now that he’s been put to bed, I’m ready to have some fun.”
“Anything particular in mind?” Harry asks, cocking his head to the side.
His eyes are sparkling at me, and I bite my lip, taking in his strong jaw and wide smile.
“Shots,” I declare, glancing over to Mohammad and Olivia.
Because I am very ready for a drink.
The entire drama that just unfolded with Noah had a sobering effect, and at the moment, I can’t think of anything better than feeling happily buzzed. I don’t want to think about Noah or what he said. And now that he’s finally upstairs and asleep, it means I can let loose. I know that he won’t be silently judging me from a corner or longingly looking at me like our lives are some Shakespearean tragedy.
I want to have fun with my friends and flirt with Harry.
I want to be happy.
And dammit, I’m going to be.
“Fuck it, let’s do some shots,” Harry says, standing up from the couch.
I take in Mohammad’s expression, watching the wheels turning behind his eyes.
“What are you thinking?” I ask, trying to figure out what he’s so focused on.
“We can’t just do shots,” Mohammad finally says.
“Don’t tell me you’re already done for the night.” I pout.
Because Mohammad is probably the most fun out of everyone here, and if he’s having a good time, I know everyone else will too.
“Hell no, Miss America,” he says, swatting his hand at me like I just insulted him. “I’m thinking one better. Body shots.”
He wiggles his eyebrows at me, and I grin, not even thinking before I answer, “I’m so down.”
Harry looks at me, stunned, but before he can say anything, I pull Olivia up off the couch.
“We’re doing body shots,” I call out, capturing everyone’s attention.
“That sounds disgusting,” Olivia says at my side as I drag her over to the pool table.
“It sounds fun,” I correct, not taking her attitude.
Because if I’m going to have fun, then she needs to have fun too.
I turn my gaze to George and Naomi, realizing that this is going to interrupt their game.
“Do you mind if we clear off the table?” I ask.
“For body shots?” George laughs, already pushing the balls into the pockets. “Not. At. All.”
I walk over to the liquor cabinet, Mohammad at my side.
“We need limes,” he says, shifting around the bottles until he finds some tequila. “And salt. Lots of salt.”
Before I have a chance to say anything, he’s out of the room. I pour myself a shot of tequila, deciding that I might as well do one now, just to take the edge off.
I down the shot, letting it burn.
“Already started?” Harry says at my side.
I can feel his breath on my cheek, and it warms me more than the tequila.
“Don’t worry. I promise I’ll stay standing long enough to do a shot off of you.” I look up at Harry through my lashes, wishing that it were just the two of us alone in this room. I pour myself another shot, deciding one more won’t hurt.
“Someone’s getting a little heavy-handed,” Harry says, stopping the shot glass at my lips.
“For you then?” I ask, holding it up for him.
He glances between my lips and the glass, leaning in closer. His blue eyes are on me as he takes the glass from my hand and throws the shot back.
I smile at him as Mohammad rushes back into the room.
“All right, we’ve got everything we need,” he says, setting down a plate of lime wedges and a saltshaker next to the tequila.
“How are we supposed to do body shots when we’re all in dresses?” Naomi asks, now at my side.
I look between us, realizing she’s right.
“That’s a fair question,” Olivia adds, crossing her arms.
And I can tell from her tone that she isn’t too happy about me kissing Harry so openly.
“The boys will have to just make do with licking salt off of us,” I reply, shrugging.
Because even though body shots sound fun, I’m not about to hike up my dress to let them suck tequila out of my belly button. If anything, the fact that we’re all wearing dresses sort of saves us from getting sticky.
“That’s not as fun.” Mohammad pouts, pouring tequila into a shot glass.
“Cheer up. We can still take the shots off of your stomachs.” I smile and raise one eyebrow at him.
“I think that’s fair,” Harry cuts in, his eyes on me.
I flush, wishing Mohammad would just let us skip the whole body shot part and move straight to the drinking tequila part.
“All right, who wants to go first?” I ask.
I glance between Olivia and Naomi, but neither of them looks convinced. George has a huge smile on his face while Thomas seems more hesitant. Katherine and Collin look excited but stay quiet.
“Fine, I’ll go.” I push my shoulders back and decide that if I want this to happen, I need to take the initiative. “And I’m calling upon Naomi to be my body.”
I grin at her.
She tilts her head at me, a smile forming on her lips.
“I accept.” She giggles, bouncing up and down like she’s proud to be the first one chosen.
And I think just about everyone in the room watches her boobs bounce, more distracted by her chest than her excitement.
Naomi moves to the edge of the pool table, her hands preparing to brace her weight. But before she can jump up, George’s hands wrap around her. He picks her up and then sets her down in one fell swoop.
“There you go.” He smiles at her, nodding his head in approval.
She beams back at him.
I roll my eyes and move past him.
“All right, lie down,” I instruct.
Naomi scoots her butt further onto the table, splaying herself across the dark green fabric. Her dress tumbles out around her, and she really does look beautiful.
“Here,” Mohammad says, handing me a lime.
“Would you mind holding the shot glass?” I ask.
I contemplate letting George do it, but I think he might be too distracted to stay focused on the simple task. His eyes have glazed over, and he’s looking at Naomi laid out on the table like he’s never seen anything so perfect.
And I can’t blame him.
“No problem,” Mohammad agrees, handing Naomi the salt.
“Where do you want it?” she asks, leaning up with the saltshaker.
“Wrist.” I lick her wrist and pour some salt onto it. I hand her the lime, instructing her to lie back down and put it into her mouth.
“Tequila?” Mohammad asks, holding out the shot glass.
My eyes slip down Naomi as I try to decide where I could set the glass.
“Cleavage, obviously.” I grin at him, poking one of Naomi’s boobs.
“Hey …” she says, but with the lime in her mouth, it comes out muffled, and she starts laughing instead, her chest shaking.
Mohammad tries to place the shot glass down on her, but it won’t stay still.
“No laughing,” I say, willing my voice to be firm.
But I just end up laughing along with her. And I’m not the only one. Everyone else seems to be chuckling, watching Mohammad struggle to set down the glass.
“If you don’t stay still, the tequila’s going to end up on you,” Olivia warns, looking amused.
Naomi nods, finally collecting herself.
“Ready?” Mohammad asks, his fingers still resting on the shot glass.
I nod, grabbing Naomi’s wrist and licking the salt off of it. When I set her wrist back down, Mohammad lets go of the shot glass. My lips wrap around the edge of it, and I throw my head back, downing the shot. The taste is strong in my mouth, and I move to take the lime from Naomi’s lips, sucking the juice out.
Harry lets out a whistle.
“That was exciting,” Naomi says brightly, sitting up.
“Thanks for being my first body.” I grin at her and then bite my lip, looking toward Harry.
I take in his brilliant blue eyes and wide smile.
“You’re next,” I say, cocking my eyebrow at him. I hold his gaze as he takes a step closer to me.
“We’re supposed to rotate,” Mohammad disagrees.
But Harry doesn’t say no.
“I didn’t realize there were rules,” I counter, trying to prove my point.
“Of course there are rules. Besides, it’s my turn,” Mohammad says at my side.
I glance over at him and roll my eyes.
He can wait.
“I’ll be quick,” I promise, gripping Harry’s sweater.
I push him against the pool table, his eyes on me the entire time. It’s like everyone else in the room disappears, just leaving the two of us. I vaguely see Mohammad and Olivia from the corner of my eye, watching as Mohammad pours tequila in a shot glass for Naomi to take off of George. Or for George to take off of Naomi. I’m not really sure because I can’t focus on anything, except Harry.
His gaze is on me as he strips off his sweater and white T-shirt, pulling them both off together, painfully slow.
My heart is pounding when his shirts finally fall onto the table next to him.
I take in his long, lean torso, watching as his abs become even more defined as he leans back until, finally, he’s flat on the pool table. He tilts his head to the side, his blue eyes focused on me the entire time.
And I don’t feel like we’re playing a game anymore.
This isn’t just fun.
This is … sexy.
After how intimate things got on the balcony, I shouldn’t be surprised.
But that’s what is confusing.
I want Harry. I really want him. But I expected him to rip off his shirt, laughing the entire time. I expected it to be fun. Crazy.
I thought he and Mohammad would joke together, fighting over who got to pour tequila on who and drinking straight from the bottle.
But not right now.
Right now, his eyes are glued to mine, and it’s like I’m seeing his bare chest for the first time.
I shake my head, realizing that we aren’t alone and that I need to pull it together.
“Hold it still.”
I hear Naomi laugh next to me.
She’s struggling to get her mouth around the shot glass because Mohammad keeps moving it. She finally throws it back before her mouth comes down onto George’s, retrieving the lime. She makes a sour face after, but her cheeks are flushed, and she can’t stop looking at George or his megawatt grin.
“Ready?” Mohammad asks Harry, turning his attention to us.
“Of course.” Harry nods, but his eyes stay glued on mine.
Mohammad chuckles, his body shaking with laughter as he pours a shot straight into Harry’s belly button.
“Hey …” I scold, wanting the shot glass. But some of the tequila drips down across Harry’s flat stomach, and my eyes are easily distracted by the droplet.
“This is more exciting,” Mohammad replies, already looking a little too entertained.
I lick Harry’s stomach, grab the salt and pour it on his skin, trying to stay focused on the task.
“Hurry up,” Mohammad insists, his eyes glued to Harry’s belly button.
I think he’s worried about the tequila spilling out.
I just roll my eyes. There’s always more tequila.
“Lime?” Harry asks, reminding me of the last thing I need.
I nod, placing it into his mouth.
I lean in, taking in his scent. Cigarettes and alcohol. I lick the salt off of his skin, doing my best to go achingly slow. I want to tease him.
George lets out a whistle, and I hear Naomi giggle next to me.
Then, I move my mouth down to his stomach and start sucking. Harry’s stomach bounces as he laughs, and I can’t help but laugh too.
Because it’s not at all as sexy as I was hoping it would be.
I just end up making a terrible slurping noise, struggling to get the tiny amount of tequila out of his belly button.
Finally, I’m up to his lips, grabbing the lime from his mouth.
I suck the juice, my lips pursing at the taste.
“Whoa,” I breathe out, letting the salt and tequila and lime hit me all at once.
“That was the funniest feeling,” Harry admits, his nose wrinkling as he sits up.
“You should have put the salt on his stomach,” Katherine jokes.
“Care to show her how it’s done?” Collin questions.
And before I know it, Collin is stripping his shirt off, and Katherine is taking extra care in licking his stomach. George, Naomi, and Thomas are watching her, chuckling to themselves.
Collin must catch it because he points to Thomas, saying, “You’re next.”
“I think the belly button was a fail,” I say to Mohammad, setting down the lime.
“I disagree. It was hilarious,” he replies, shaking his head.
Mohammad pours another shot of tequila. Katherine decides instead to balance the glass on Collin’s stomach, wrapping her lips around it to down her shot. Suddenly, her mouth is on Collin’s, taking the lime from him. He sits up, grinning.
Harry’s still sitting at the edge of the pool table, watching, but he moves to get up.
“Whoa. You’re not going anywhere,” I say, stopping him. “Lie back down.”
I press my palm against his chest, feeling more relaxed.
Harry grins at me and complies.
“Olivia, you’re up,” I say, my eyes shifting over to her.
She has her arms crossed in front of her chest, looking a little too detached and sober.
“You’re serious?” she asks, her eyes growing wide.
I roll my eyes at both of them. “Mohammad, she’ll have a double. She can handle it.”
Mohammad smirks at me, pouring a double of tequila before handing Olivia the salt. She looks at it in her hand, glancing between the salt, me, and Harry.
“Mallory,” Harry says, leaning up on his elbows.
I push him back down.
“Why not? It’s not like she hasn’t licked you before. Relax. It’s just a shot.”
I look at Harry, wanting him to know that I’m fine with this. I’m not sure if it’s the shots or all of the shirtless boys or the late hour. Maybe it’s the flush on Naomi’s face and the sparkle in Mohammad’s eyes, but I want Olivia to have that too. She looks rigid, and I just want her to let loose.
We all deserve to have a good time.
“Fuck it then,” Harry lightly banters back, not too upset that I just invited his ex to take a shot off of him. “Well, come on, Olivia. Let’s crack on.”
I nod for her to scoot closer, and for a minute, I wonder if I made a huge mistake.
But she breaks a smile, and I know that she’s not reading that much into it.
“Fine,” she says, like she’s not the least bit interested. But she moves to the edge of the pool table and pours a line of salt onto Harry’s stomach. Mohammad places the shot next to the salt. I put a lime in his mouth and smile at him.
I want him to know that this is okay.
To have fun.
His eyes stay on mine, but a second later, Naomi is hooting as Olivia licks the salt, throwing back the double.
And I have to admit, I’m impressed.
She grabs the lime from Harry’s lips without issue, and a second later, he’s sitting back up.
“That was hot,” Mohammad says next to me.
“What was?” I ask, smiling at him.
“The way she threw back that double. A true woman.” He nods, looking convinced.
I pat him on the shoulder.
“Mohammad, I think you’re next.” Olivia laughs after apparently overhearing him.
“Hey, whoever wants to put their mouth on me is welcome to,” he says, shooting Olivia a wink.
Olivia rolls her eyes, but she doesn’t look disinterested.
Harry gets off the table, goes over to Mohammad’s phone, and turns the music back up.
“I want another,” I say, walking up to him. I bite my lip, taking in his shirtless chest.
“Is that right?” Harry looks down at me, tapping me on the nose with his finger.
I don’t answer him. I kiss him instead. His breath is warm, and I let my tongue slip against his lips.
“Mmhmm,” Harry says, sounding caught off guard. But I can tell he likes it.
I bring my hands to his chest, pressing my fingers into his skin.
“Mallory,” Harry says, breaking our lips apart, his hand coming down onto my waist.
But I want him. I really want him.
I lace my hand through his, pulling him out of the billiards room. I lead him down the hallway, trying to find somewhere private, where we can be alone. I skip the sitting room that I took Noah to, going into an empty bathroom.
“Where are you taking me?” Harry laughs, amused as I shut us in the bathroom.
“I want privacy.” I grin at him and push him up against the door.
“Yeah?” he asks, tilting his head at me.
His expression is light, but I can see the want in his eyes.
“Yeah,” I repeat before kissing him again. I press my body flat against his, wanting to be as close to him as possible.
I fumble with my dress, trying to figure out how to get out of it.
I need to be free of it.
I can feel Harry smile against my lips, and I start to wonder if he thinks this is funny. But a second later, his hand is cupping my cheek, and he’s kissing down my neck.
I bring him back to my lips, letting my tongue slip into his mouth. Harry’s kisses are warm and reassuring.
Which is all I need.
I move my fingers across his chest and down to his belt. I quickly get it undone, sliding it from around his waist and tossing it onto the floor.
“Someone’s serious tonight,” Harry says, looking down at me.
I nod at him, not responding. A second later, I have his pants unbuttoned and am trying to pull them down his legs while still kissing him.
“Mallory,” Harry whispers again, biting his lip when I finally get them off.
“No more talking,” I argue, dropping onto my knees.
I kiss down his stomach, liking the way he tastes like salt and tequila. I sit back on my heels, wanting more of him. I want to show him how much I want him. I let my fingers dance across the edge of his boxers and then glance up at him, connecting our gaze. All I can see is his flat stomach, hard jaw, and glowing eyes looking down at me.
“Fuck,” he breathes out.
I get my hands wrapped around his boxers, ready to pull them down when Harry lifts me up from the floor.
“Harry,” I whine, “I want you.” I look at him, pouting, not sure why he stopped me.
“Not here,” he says, shaking his head.
His face softens, but his blue eyes are still glowing, and I can tell I’ve got him worked up.
“Here,” I disagree, turning him.
I push him down, so he’s sitting on the toilet, and I straddle him. My dress slips up my legs, and Harry’s palms instantly move to my exposed skin.
“I know you want me. I want you too. Now the only thing separating us is this measly fabric.”
I look down to his boxers, getting a glimpse of my own underwear.
Just two little pieces of fabric that need to disappear.
“What’s going on?” Harry asks, pinching my chin.
I swat his hand away, not wanting him to treat me like a child.
“Nothing,” I push out. I stare at him, wondering if he’s going to change his mind. If he’s going to let his hand slip further up my thigh and back into my underwear.
But he doesn’t.
I get up, fixing my dress. Because if he doesn’t want to do anything, then we won’t.
But I’m not going to be happy about it.
“Come here,” Harry says, taking my hand.
He pulls me back down onto his lap, kissing me gently. I give in to his lips for a minute but then lean away.
“I want you,” I insist, sticking out my bottom lip.
“I want you too,” he agrees. “But not like this. It should be special for you.”
I roll my eyes. “Special, special, special. I’m in a new dress. I have on lingerie.”
“You’re not playing fair,” Harry groans, his eyes slipping back down my legs.
“You weren’t playing fair when you stripped naked in front of me earlier tonight. This is your punishment.” I grin at him.
I stand up from his lap again, taking in his darkened eyes.
“You can even have a peek.” I lift up my dress and turn around in a circle in front of him.
He bites his lip, shaking his head.
“Very, very unfair.” Harry runs his hand up my thigh, grabbing my ass.
“Is it working?”
“It’s definitely working,” he says, his eyes on my legs. “But we still aren’t shagging in the loo.”
“Fine,” I huff.
Harry pulls his pants back up and rebuttons them. A second later, my cheek is back in his palm, and he’s kissing me.
“I’m trying to be a gentleman,” he finally says.
“I appreciate that,” I admit, still trying to figure out how to coerce him into going straight up to his room.
But a second later, Harry is pulling me out of the bathroom and back into the billiards room. I barely have time to make sure my dress is in place before Mohammad is at my side.
“Holy shit,” he starts, speaking a mile a minute, “I got to grab a lime wedge out of Olivia’s mouth, and I swear, she looked at me the entire time I was leaning over her!”
Harry rolls his eyes.
“I’ll make us a drink,” he comments to me before walking toward the liquor cabinet.
“Really?” I ask Mohammad once it’s just the two of us.
“Oh yeah,” he agrees, his brows dipping in. “She’s playing hard to get for sure. But I know she’s interested.”
“Well, that’s good.” And I wonder if maybe that’s what I should do instead with Harry. Play hard to get.
I glance over at him, and he smiles warmly at me. And I instantly know that the answer to that is no.
Because Harry and I don’t play games.
I take in his shirtless body. How his muscles snake around him, making him look lean and extended. Everything about him is tight and beautiful. And it’s funny because I’m not sure how someone with such a long, trim body can have such a hard, square jaw.
But Harry does.
“Obviously,” Mohammad replies, interrupting my thoughts.
I fan myself, disconnecting my gaze from Harry’s body. “I might need that condom after all,” I whisper.
Because I can more than imagine slipping it onto Harry, finally being able to feel every piece of his skin against mine.
“Miss America,” Mohammad says, turning to me with a grin. He tilts his head, searching my face.
“I know,” I admit, my eyes going wide. “But I can’t help it. He’s standing over there, shirtless. It’s torture.”
“Where did you two sneak off to anyway?” Mohammad asks, leaning closer.
“Well, after the tequila and striptease, I had to get him alone,” I spill out, wanting to talk to Mohammad. My forehead creases as I think about Harry not giving in to me in the bathroom. “But he didn’t want to do anything but kiss.”
Mohammad throws his arm over my shoulders. “Don’t read into it. I’m sure he just wants to chill before having that kind of fun.”
But I’m not convinced.
“You’re telling me that if Olivia pulled you into the bathroom and tried to take off your pants, you’d stop her?”
“Fuck no, I wouldn’t stop her,” he says, shaking his head. “I think you need another shot.”
“Can I do one off you?” I ask excitedly, deciding to ignore his comment.
“Hell yes, you can.” He leads me over to the pool table and removes his shirt, dramatically tossing it onto the ground.
I half-expect him to start dancing for us.
“Oh Lord,” I comment, rolling my eyes.
Mohammad’s pearly whites are out, and I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen him shirtless.
And I’m not surprised to find that he has rounded shoulders and a thin, tight waist.
“Uh-oh,” Naomi says, bounding up to me. “Decided to go for another round?”
I take in her pink lips and rosy cheeks. George comes up behind her, wrapping his arms around her. I search his face, finding his lips to be tinted the same color as Naomi’s.
“Well, someone demanded I have another shot,” I say, glancing down at Mohammad.
Olivia walks over to us, looking like she’s lost in a world of her own. She has an easy smile on her face, her eyes drifting across Mohammad’s shirtless torso.
“Where’d your friends go?” I ask George, not seeing Thomas, Katherine, or Collin anywhere.
“They headed out,” he replies. But he’s quickly distracted by Naomi’s neck, kissing up to her cheek.
She lets out a giggle, and Olivia looks like she might burst out laughing, watching them. I’m not sure if she’s repulsed or happy for Naomi, but her expression makes me laugh.
I turn to Harry, raising an eyebrow at him. “Care to do the honors?”
“Going again, are we?” Harry asks, pushing off the liquor cabinet.
He fills up a shot glass while I grab a lime, handing it to Mohammad.
“We are,” I reply.
“She’s been putting them back tonight,” Mohammad says enthusiastically, taking the salt. “Where do you want it?”
“How about your hand?” I comment, keeping my eyes on Harry.
He brings the shot glass to the table, turning his attention to Mohammad.
“How about not?” Mohammad replies, wetting down a piece of his stomach, adding salt.
I narrow my eyes at him, but he just chuckles.
“Let’s keep it in the shot glass this time. I don’t really feel like sucking tequila out of Mohammad’s belly button. No offense.”
Besides the fact that it’s slightly gross, I have no idea who else’s mouth has been on him. And I would rather not think about it.
“None taken,” he replies. “But so you know, every shower I have, I clean my belly button as well. No bits left unscrubbed.”
I laugh, thinking about Mohammad in the bathroom. I can imagine him fussing over everything—from making sure he gets every part squeaky clean to leaving the conditioner in long enough for it to have its softening effect.
“Always good to know,” I reply, popping the lime into Mohammad’s mouth. I lick the salt off the side of his stomach and then wrap my mouth around the shot glass, throwing it back.
The taste is stronger than I remember, and I blink a few times, moving to Mohammad’s mouth to get the lime and kill the taste.
But all of a sudden, Mohammad starts talking, causing the lime to fall, and I end up with my lips directly on his.
I stay on his mouth for only a second, momentarily shocked, before ripping my face away.
My eyes grow into saucers, my mouth falling open.
“Mohammad!” I start, but he looks equally as stunned.
His expression is a mixture of shocked and distraught, like he just saw his sister naked on accident or something.
“You kissed me,” he says, sitting up.
“I didn’t mean to kiss you,” I argue back. “You dropped the lime!”
Harry buckles over in laughter.
Olivia and Naomi are both laughing now, too, mostly from watching Harry, who is practically crying.
“You put it in backward,” Mohammad states, raising his hands in front of him.
I roll my eyes at him.
He glances over to Harry, a grin pulling at his lips, and I know he’s already come up with a way to twist what just happened.
“If you wanted to kiss me, you could have just asked, you know,” Mohammad says, practically beaming now.
I shake my head, not letting this feed his ego.
“You should have seen Mohammad’s face,” Harry says, finally catching his breath. His cheeks are tinted red, his chest still heaving. “His eyes were open the entire time. He looked like he was snogging his gran.”
“Always appreciate the compliment,” I say under my breath.
Harry wraps his arm around me, pulling me against his side.
We move toward the couches. Apparently, me kissing Mohammad took it out of everyone, and we all sit down with a collective sigh.
I drop onto the couch effortlessly, curling up next to Harry. Mohammad and Olivia sit down on another sofa together, and he drapes his arm around her. She looks tired, and she leans into him. Naomi and George are already kissing.
“This is nice.” I smile, feeling my eyes form into little slits. I lean my head back, falling against Harry’s strong arm.
I’m not tired, but Harry is warm and it’s dark and I just want to absorb everything.
To sit here happily with him.
The alcohol settles into me, and it makes me feel really relaxed.
I lazily run my hand over Harry’s arm, my eyes slipping up his skin. And suddenly, I can’t stay seated next to him.
I press my mouth onto his, sliding onto his lap.
I can’t help it.
Harry kisses me back, his hand coming up into my hair, running down my back.
But then he pulls away.
“I think we need to get you up to bed,” Harry comments, those blue eyes giving nothing away.
Yes, let’s go to bed!
I wiggle my eyebrows at him, and I’m trying so hard not to burst out into a full grin. “Finally.”
Harry chuckles at me. “Someone looks like they plan on misbehaving,” he whispers, his arm wrapping around my waist.
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