Made for you the best mi.., p.12

Made for You (The Best Mistake), page 12

 

Made for You (The Best Mistake)
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  As if on cue, an irritable-looking woman came out of the back room where the pain happened, and Brynn did her best not to gape. Save for her face, the woman was literally covered in tattoos, most of them resembling animals you’d find on a safari.

  Brynn mentally crossed predatory animals off her list of choices. Too many teeth.

  “Where’s, um, the guy that was here earlier?” Brynn asked, gesturing helplessly in the vicinity of the grungy welcome desk. He’d been clean-cut and sweet-looking. Nothing like this woman.

  Safari Woman snorted. “Christian? He’s on his lunch break. He doesn’t do much other than phones and cleanup anyway.”

  Cleanup? Clean up what?

  “I’m Jody. I’ll be doing the art.”

  Brynn worked up a smile. “Almost ready, just debating a few options.”

  Jody raised a skeptical pierced brow. “Uh-huh. You sure about this? Because don’t take this the wrong way, but you don’t look like my normal clientele.”

  She didn’t? Because she’d tried, she really had. Brynn resisted the urge to glance down at her outfit. She’d wanted to go with the new black leather pants that made her ass look surprisingly fantastic, but it was too hot, so she’d gone for the shortest skirt in her wardrobe. One that seemed to have matriculated from her college closet, paired with a red tank top that was just a little too low to be respectable.

  And red shoes. The shoes were key to this whole thing.

  But apparently she didn’t look tat-ready. Should have gone with the leather.

  “No, I’m doing this,” Brynn said firmly. She turned back to the binder in desperation. “I just need…”

  Warm fingers caught her chin, and she found herself looking up into Will’s familiar gaze. “You don’t have to do this, Brynn. Nothing to prove. Nobody else even knows you’re here, and I won’t tell a soul.”

  “Not even Sophie?”

  She didn’t know why she’d asked. She didn’t care if Sophie found out, but it was important somehow, that she and Will could have a secret.

  Especially if she was going to sleep with him. Again.

  “Not even Sophie.”

  Her heart swelled. Stupid heart. She took a deep breath. “I am sure about this,” she said, giving him a small smile. “I need to branch out, ya know? For me?”

  Will studied her closely, his eyes never leaving hers. “Okay, then. Do you trust me?”

  Brynn sucked in a small breath. Did she trust him? Will Thatcher, her long-term tormentor? The one guy who never failed to make her behave badly?

  The very same guy whom she was now begging to help her behave badly?

  He was unreliable, unpredictable, and incorrigible. But he was here, and that was something. And the way he was looking at her…

  “Yeah, Will. I trust you.”

  * * *

  “What do you mean I have to keep this bandage on for a couple hours? I want to see it.”

  “And you will. In a couple hours.”

  Brynn pursed her lips and let Will lead her toward his car as they left the tattoo parlor. “Okay, fine. But I need to use the restroom before we go. Look, there’s a Starbucks—”

  Will’s finger snaked around the tiny strap of her tank top as she strode toward the coffee shop. Brynn froze, knowing one good tug would send the twins spilling out for all of Aurora Avenue to see.

  “You’ll have to hold it,” he said simply, his hand cupping her elbow and leading her more firmly toward the car.

  “But I need to pee,” she protested.

  “No, you don’t. You want to hide out in the stall and take a look at your new shiny tattoo.”

  She shot him a glare and dropped into the passenger seat. “Something I wouldn’t have to do if you’d let me get it someplace respectable.”

  “Trust me, the hip was your best bet. If you hate it, nobody will have to see it. And it hurt less than other spots because the hip is more fatty.”

  Her mouth dropped open slightly. “How in God’s name do you have as many notches on your belt as you do when you go throwing around words like ‘fatty’ to women?”

  “Oh, I don’t say them to actual women,” Will said, as he carefully pulled out into traffic. “Just to you.”

  She made a face and turned to stare out the window, even as her fingers itched to explore the faint throbbing of her hip. It didn’t hurt as much as she’d expected. Probably because it was so fatty. But she was dying of curiosity.

  “You’re really not going to tell me what it is?” she asked, turning to study his profile.

  “That was the deal. You want me to stick with you, hold your hand, and not tell your mom, you had to let me pick, and you have to see it for yourself.”

  “This is quite possibly the most nuts thing I’ve ever done. I let a guy who’s dedicated his life to torturing me mark me for life.” She whipped her head around again to study him more closely. “Oh God, it’s not like a picture of your face, is it? Or your name?”

  His mouth turned up in the tiniest of smiles. “Now, would that be so bad?”

  “Yes! Yes it would be so bad! To spend the rest of my days forever reminded of my biggest mistakes?”

  Will glanced at her briefly before returning his eyes to the road, and she felt a little jolt of surprise at the unreadable expression on his face. She’d expected a retort. Maybe a put-down. But instead he’d looked…wounded?

  Naaaahhhh.

  He knew full well what they had. Ridiculous sexual chemistry and the long-term compatibility of a Bengal tiger and a canary.

  “It’s not a canary, is it?” Brynn blurted out. “The tattoo?”

  Will rolled his eyes. “You are so weird.”

  “At least give me a hint—”

  Will held up a hand as he stopped at a red light before the freeway on ramp. “No more tattoo talk for the next two hours.”

  “But—”

  “No. Just because you’re in this weird wild-child mode is no reason you need to have the patience of a four-year-old at church. Trust me, that tattoo will be there in two hours.”

  “It’ll be there a hell of a lot longer than that,” Brynn muttered darkly.

  “Regrets already?”

  “Hard to say since I don’t know what it is. I mean if you’ve slapped a pair of hairy testicles on my hip bone, I’m sure as hell going to have some regrets. But the experience itself? The decision? It feels…liberating, ya know?”

  “Sure, I know. But I’m surprised you do. You went from country-club prude to inked-up hooker so fast I’m getting whiplash.”

  “Yeah, well, getting dumped will do that to you. Hey, you’re going the wrong way. You’re headed into the city.”

  “Am I?” he asked, looking totally unperturbed.

  She narrowed her eyes at his too-casual tone. “Where are we going?”

  “Just thought it might be nice to get your mind off your tattoo for the next couple hours.”

  Or until I can get to a bathroom and see what we’re dealing with, she mentally amended.

  “Fine. So what’s your plan? I don’t want something I’ve done before, I want something—”

  “I know. You want to rob a bank or learn how to throw knives, but how about we start small? You already let me brand you, how about you take the rest of the day in baby steps and just relish playing hooky on a weekday?”

  Brynn frowned. “But I’ve already been playing hooky for a week.”

  Will snorted. “Yeah, I’ve seen the way you play hooky. You apply all that black stuff on your eyelids like you’re going daytime clubbing, and then go garden. You wiggle into leather pants to get the mail. You get a tattoo and then want to get a freaking butterfly. Oh, and let’s not forget…you ask a guy to be a fling, and then don’t so much as move to kiss him.”

  Whaaaaaaa…Talk about crossed wires.

  Brynn’s mouth dropped open. “I kissed you first that night! And for the record, it was you who threw me out.”

  “Sure, so you could have a chance to thi
nk about your harebrained idea. I wanted you to sleep on it.”

  “So that’s what you’ve been doing? Waiting for me to make move number two? I mean I asked you to go get a tattoo with me, for God’s sake.”

  “Holding a woman’s hand in a tattoo parlor isn’t exactly a fling, Brynn.”

  She swallowed, remembering his moment of kindness in the tattoo parlor. “Well…thanks for doing it anyway.”

  The second she’d lain back and Jody had told her to take a deep breath, she found herself reaching for Will’s hand. He’d taken it without question and held it the entire time, firm and sure. For some reason she had a feeling she’d be remembering that moment long after they were done with each other.

  Still, she was more than a little annoyed at him. He was making her work for what she’d already asked for. It had been hard enough to put herself out there the first time, and now he wanted her to do it again?

  Brynn folded her arms across her chest. “I told you I wanted a fling. I don’t know what more you want.”

  “It’s easy after two glasses of wine, the thrill from a new look, and a fucking hot kiss.”

  “It’s not easy when it’s you! We’re like Harry Potter and Voldemort. We’re nemeses.”

  Will shook his head as he got off the freeway. “I’m talking sex and she’s talking Harry Potter.”

  “I thought you’d appreciate it. You like black-magic movies and stuff.”

  “I like horror movies, Brynn. Harry Potter does not qualify.”

  Several moments lapsed as Brynn tried to figure out her next move while simultaneously trying to ascertain where they were going.

  “So what do you want from me?” she asked quietly, as Will pulled into a parking spot in the middle of tourist central.

  He turned off the ignition and faced her, one arm draped over the wheel in a way that was so intensely male that she wanted to take the tiniest nibble out of his bicep.

  “I want you to ask me again.”

  She didn’t pretend to play dumb. “But you already said yes the other night.”

  “Only because I was hard and could see your nipples through that slutty top you were wearing. Ask me again. And I’ll say yes again. But you have to ask while sober. Maybe even begging a little.”

  She held his gaze. “You’re playing games with me.”

  Will gave her a faint smile. “Sweetie, isn’t that the entire point? To make a big game out of your ‘vacation’ before you go back to real life?”

  There it was again. That raw, honest look on his face that was completely unlike the Will Thatcher she’d come to know and hate over the years. He was intentionally messing with her head. He had to be.

  And yet…

  “William Gregory Thatcher. Will you have a fling with me?”

  His tiny smile turned into a full grin and her entire stomach flipped over. Oh dear.

  And then he was out of the car before she had a chance to register why something so simple as a smile made her swoon.

  “Hey!” she called, scrambling to unbuckle her seat belt. “You said you’d say yes!”

  “And I probably will,” he said, putting on his sunglasses and taking in the crowded scene as though he didn’t have a care in the world. “But first you must be tested.”

  Brynn resisted the urge to slam her forehead on the hood of the car. “Tested how? We’re in the middle of Seattle Center. What do you want me to do, run through the fountain naked?”

  Will gave a mock shudder. “Ain’t nobody wanna see that. And besides, your tattoo can’t get wet yet. No, I’m thinking more…science center.”

  It took several seconds to register. “You want to take me to the science center? As in the Pacific Science Center? As in school field trip, nerdy grade school nirvana?”

  “Yup.” He was already heading that way.

  “But Will,” she said, scampering after him in her high heels. “I’m supposed to be living on the edge. This is even more mundane than my regular life.”

  He stopped so suddenly she would have skidded past him had he not grabbed her hand. Brynn assumed he was steadying her, but he kept pulling her closer. Then closer still. Until they were standing chest to chest, hip to hip in the middle of a crowded courtyard.

  “Does this feel mundane?” he asked, tilting his hips forward slightly.

  “Will!” she hissed at the contact with his erection. “You’re…”

  He shifted his hips again to confirm it. “Yup.”

  “There are children around.”

  “Somehow I don’t think two adults dry-humping is going to outrank cotton candy with the six-year-old set.”

  “We are not dry-humping,” Brynn said, her hands going to his chest to push him away. Except she didn’t. Okay, maybe they were kind of dry humping.

  He carefully scanned the crowd for gawkers before slowly lowering his head as though to kiss her cheek and then missing, and landing behind her ear, where there were about a thousand nerve endings.

  “Is that a yes to the fling?” she asked, hoping he didn’t notice her slightly breathless voice as his tongue flicked across her earlobe.

  Will pulled back almost as quickly as he’d moved in. “Mmmm, too soon to tell. I’ll have to see how you perform in the bubble race.”

  Brynn stared in exasperation at his back as he strolled toward the admissions gate of the center as though they hadn’t just necked in public.

  She chewed her lip.

  She hadn’t been lying about it being field trip heaven in there. Every school in the area made an annual trek there. Including hers. And every damn year, her class had been instructed to pick a partner to stick with for the day. But there was always an odd number. And Brynn had always ended up with one of the chaperones.

  Which had been fine, really. Because at least the chaperones hadn’t called her names and hidden her lunch box.

  “Come on, Princess!”

  She took a deep breath. You can do this. You’re an adult.

  You’re not that little girl anymore.

  “God, I hate you,” she muttered as she set off to follow Will.

  It was a sentiment she’d been thinking and saying for years. But for the first time, she wasn’t even remotely sure it was true.

  CHAPTER FOURTEEN

  No sex without love. We’re not savages.

  —Brynn Dalton’s Rules for an

  Exemplary Life, #24

  Admit it, you had fun,” Will said they crossed from his driveway to hers. Over the grass this time. Because rebels did that sort of thing. Still, Brynn might have been just a little careful not to let her heels pierce the lawn.

  “The Science Center was fun,” she conceded as she dug her keys out of her purse. “But the Ride the Ducks adventure was a monstrosity.”

  “Come on, that’s tourist gold!”

  “Perhaps. But it’s local trash.”

  Will followed her into her dark foyer without asking permission to come in, and Brynn was surprised that she didn’t have the slightest inclination to ask him to leave, even after an entire day spent in his company. When had spending time with Will gone from miserable to…fun?

  It’s just this weird phase you’re in. In a couple weeks you’ll wake up and realize that he’s a schmuck and that you have a tattoo.

  Brynn’s eyes went wide at the thought. “My tattoo! I entirely forgot!”

  Will gave her a slow, smug smile. “Which was exactly the plan.”

  She threw her purse onto the entry table and immediately reached for the waistband of her skirt to finally inspect the new marking on her hip.

  But Will moved faster than she did, capturing both her hands in his and bringing them purposefully against his chest. “I’ll do that,” he said in a strained, gruff voice.

  She froze. Any girl past puberty knew that tone. It was the one that said, I want you naked. I want you to scream.

  Brynn swallowed and forced her eyes up to his. They were dark and smoky, exactly as she’d known they would be.
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  “Will, I…”

  He lifted one hand to her face, unfolding her fingers and planting a hot kiss on her palm, the tip of his tongue just barely making contact with her skin.

  And just that one touch was enough to have her moan. This was why she’d picked Will for her fling. The guy knew his way around sex.

  Or maybe he just knows his way around you. She pushed the thought out of her mind. No way would she get through this night by thinking.

  “I still want to see my tattoo,” she whispered.

  Will backed her up slowly until she was against the wall. “Later.”

  And then his lips found hers, and he kissed her long and slow and hard.

  Brynn forgot all about her tattoo as she let her arms wind around his neck, pulling him closer, not caring that she seemed needy, not caring that they were using each other for sex, or maybe companionship or some other weird, possibly unhealthy connection she didn’t know how to name.

  The kiss wasn’t gentle, but it was different from the other kisses they’d stolen from each other. It was purposeful, each giving as much as they took.

  Will’s hands were roaming over her back as he deepened the kiss, and Brynn raked her nails lightly over the back of his neck, relishing his guttural low moan.

  Brynn had never understood the big deal with kissing. It had only ever been the obligatory first step toward the main event, but kissing Will was an event all its own.

  He pressed hotter, deeper, his arms locked so tightly around her that she couldn’t breathe. Didn’t want to breathe. Dimly she became aware that there was a certain desperation to his kiss. As though there was something darker at play than standard male horniness.

  When he finally released her mouth, they were both gasping for air as their gazes locked and held for several seconds. Without warning Will dipped his head and ran his tongue along her exposed collarbone before moving his mouth to her neck and sucking.

  “You’re going to give me a hickey,” she said, her voice crackly.

  He pulled back slightly letting just the tip of his tongue soothe the spot he’d just ravished. “You want me to stop?”

  No.

  “Upstairs,” she said, digging her fingers into his shirt collar and pulling him downward so her lips could reach his neck. Will let her nibble and suck for several seconds, but when her hands started to travel toward the button of his shorts, he pinned both her wrists together in one hand and, before she could register surprise, slung her over his shoulder.

 
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