Melt Into You

By: Roni Loren

PROLOGUE



twelve years ago

Most of the time temptation climbs into your lap and straddles you, demands you deal with it immediately. Give in or deprive yourself. Choose your adventure.

Jace’s general stance: Deprivation was overrated.

But he’d never faced this kind of temptation. The kind that seeped into your skin so slowly you didn’t even notice until you were soaked with it, saturated. To the point that every thought, every breath, seemed to be laced with the desire for that thing you shouldn’t have.

And right now that thing was nibbling flecks of purple polish off her fingernails.

Jace shifted on the rec room couch, pretending to look for the remote control, even though he could feel the damn thing digging into his hip. He had to do something to get her calves off his lap. Otherwise, she was going to feel exactly how much he hadn’t been concentrating on the horror movie. Or she’d assume he’d gotten the monster hard-on watching the teens get butchered on the screen. Although, thinking he got off on blood and guts might be preferable to the real reason he was sporting wood.

She tucked her legs to her chest and set her chin on her knees, staring at him with eyes so pale blue, they looked like silver dimes in the flicker of the television. Thunder rumbled outside and her gaze darted to the window behind him. Wary. “Maybe we should’ve watched that Jim Carrey movie instead.”

He hit Stop on the VCR, cutting off the eerie music to the closing credits, and resisted the urge to scoot closer to her, to curl around her lithe body and slay her fears like the dude in the movie had done for the heroine. Well, up until the guy’s head was lopped off. That he could skip. “See, I warned you it would freak you out. I shouldn’t have even let you watch it. It’s rated R. Too old for you.”

She snorted and shoved his thigh with her foot. “Said the nineteen-year-old who just finished his third beer.”

He glanced at the empty bottles on the side table. Yeah, he was batting a thousand on the responsible adult thing tonight. Good thing his parents had left him in charge. “I’m in college. Beer is part of homework.”

“Whatever. I’ll be rated-R approved in three months anyway.” She grabbed her Coke off the coffee table and sipped, drawing his attention down to her heart-shaped lips and the way they drew the liquid slowly from the bottle. “Hell, I’ll be porn approved.”

Fuck. That’s the last image she needed to paint on his brain. “No, you won’t. Gotta be eighteen for that.”

Lightning reflected off the silver ring in her arched eyebrow. “You would know, I’m sure.”

“I’m a guy.” Which should be enough of an explanation. “And don’t you dare watch any of that shit until you’re like thirty.”

“Oh, please. I’m not that innocent, Jace,” she said, yawning and setting down her drink. She rubbed her eyes with the heels of her hands, smudging her heavy kohl eyeliner until she looked like some gothic angel. “The couple I was placed with last time had a huge stash that their idiot sons always raided. I’ve seen my share of bom-chicka-wah-wah.”

“Oh, terrific. Glad you were supervised so well.”

“It was stupid. The guy actors were ugly and the girls were fake-looking.” She bumped his thigh with her bare foot again. “Kind of like those chicks you always date.”

He almost jolted when she touched him. He felt like that game Operation where any slight nudge sent a loud buzz through his system—only this buzz went straight to his dick. Every time he was around her these days was like this.

He’d almost gotten used to it, had accepted the painful state as part of his daily existence. Then two weeks ago they’d been goofing off in the pool. She’d sprayed him in the face with the hose, and he’d grabbed her by the ankle and pulled her into the water with him. When she’d surfaced, she’d been laughing—something as rare as a unicorn sighting.

He’d pushed her hair off her face, intending to dunk her again, but had gotten caught in the net of her laughing eye-lock. He’d hesitated. And in the space between blinks, she’d glided in closer to him, invaded his space, and kissed him.

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