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Excerpt A Late Thaw
Copyright © Ana Blaze 2013
NO WORDS HAD EVER been more shocking. Kiley stared at Cole, frozen as her brain tried to translate what he’d said into something that made sense. It was no use. The rapid-fire beating of her heart sent her blood rushing in a loud, chaotic swirl.
“Be with me.” He lifted her chin so she had to meet his warm, brandy-colored gaze. “Tonight.”
“I don’t understand.” She really didn’t. How could he say it so casually?
“I want you.” He shrugged and grinned as though he wasn’t flipping her entire understanding of the world on its head. “I’m thinking you want me, too, though I suppose you wish you didn’t.” He brushed his knuckles over her forearm.
She couldn’t hide her shiver. A thousand questions sped through her mind. She tried to settle on one, but Cole didn’t give her a chance. He stood up and held out his hand.
She took it.
How could she do anything else? Even a moment in his arms was more than she’d ever expected to get. Her body still buzzed from the startling kiss he’d given her in the kitchen.
Cole squeezed her fingers and tugged gently. She rose, swaying unsteadily until he caught her elbows.
“I didn’t peg you as the shy type, Ki-Face.”
Her heart skipped a beat at his casual use of the lame name he’d called her during their first argument. Even as a seven year old, he’d been too good to actually say something hurtful. “I’m just a little tired.”
“Then it’s a shame you won’t be getting much sleep.” Chuckling deeply, he held her hand and guided her up the stairs and into his room. As he flicked on the light, she tried to remember the last time she’d been there. His mother had set a strict no girls upstairs rule a week or two before his eleventh birthday. They managed it a few more times, hiding out to sneak candy before dinner, but not during the last decade.
Not much had changed in the years since. The quilt looked newer, but had the same blues and greens as the old one. A model rocket was still proudly displayed on the dresser Cole’s grandfather built. The sight brought warmth to her chest. She couldn’t really remember a time she hadn’t been in love with him.