He shook his head. “You’re messing with my head. I swear.”

“Are you attracted to me?” I asked him boldly. I could thank those double shots of whiskey for that.

“That’s not the point here. I don’t know if I can . . . can just have a fling with you, Lila. There are feelings there. I don’t like fucking feelings. Not with women. I can’t hurt you, and that’s what I’ll do.”

I took a step toward him, placed a hand on his chest. This was a gamble, but I was brave right now. I wouldn’t be in the morning. I’d gone this far I needed to push further. “You can’t hurt me if I know the rules. We enjoy this. Have a fling. Then move on like we’ve always been.”

He dropped his gaze to my hand. “What if you ruin me?”

“Fuck,” he muttered in reply. Then his hand wrapped around my wrist, and he jerked me up against his body. I barely had time to catch my breath before his mouth was on mine. The taste of our drinks mixed with the headiness that I had won. For now, I had this. It was my decision, and I hoped that this got him out of my system so that I could eventually move on.

“No more bars,” he said against my mouth. “Back to the hotel. And we’re not staying in two fucking rooms.”

I didn’t argue. I just gave a nod of my head in agreement. This was it. It better not be a dream.

THERE WERE SMART decisions and stupid decisions. And then there were mistakes. I wasn’t sure where this one landed, but with Lila in my arms smelling like heaven, and the image of her dancing on that table was all that I cared about, at the moment.

I broke the kiss, grabbed her elbow and headed for the hotel. We were staying at a hotel just a few blocks ahead on the corner of Canal and Bourbon. I realized, as I all but ran without speaking, that deep down I was worried she’d sober up and change her mind. If I were half the fucking man I should be, I wouldn’t let her do this tonight while she was drunk . . . while I was drunk.

But I’d tried to tell her what a screw up I was. She seemed to see more in me than was there. I wanted there to be more. I wanted to meet her expectations. When I was a kid, I had seen the look in her eyes, and I knew she saw me differently than she saw Nate. I loved that. I was different. It made me feel important. Then I’d kissed her, and it had scared me.

I knew then Lila Kate wasn’t for me. I wasn’t the kind of guy she’d want for long. She’d see too much eventually. It would change her mind. And she’d never gaze at me with that dreamy look in her eyes again. The idea I could lose that caused me to put a wall there. One built by hurting her. It had worked. Until now. Until I’d heard she’d left town and I chased after her, because I couldn’t stand the idea of her finding a life without me in it.

As we entered the hotel, I paused and glanced down at her. The girl from my childhood. The girl I’d always watched but never allowed myself to get close to. The one I pretended like I didn’t know why she avoided me.

I waited. I needed her to think. Let it all sink in. “We could sleep tonight. Wait until the morning.”

She smiled. A soft one that made her eyes glow and made me feel like more of a man than I should. “Tonight,” she finally said.

Fuck if I could ignore that. We would have tonight. If she regretted it in the morning, it might break me. But I was willing to chance it.

The trip up to her room was short but so many thoughts ran through my mind it felt much longer than it was. She touched her card key to the lock and it flashed green. This was it.

The door opened. We walked inside. My room was identical to this one. Just next door. I’d made a joke about it when we checked in. I wasn’t joking now. I should be in that room. Alone. It was the right thing to do.

“Lila,” I said thinking I should stop this.

She dropped her small shoulder purse on the floor then took the bottom of her shirt and pulled it up over her head. The white lace bra was small and the swell of her breasts looked as if they were about to spill out over the top exposing her nipples. Her shirt dropped to the floor beside her then she reached around and unsnapped her bra. I watched with fascination as the straps slid down her thin tan arms until her bra joined her shirt on the floor. Her round dark nipples pebbled from the chill of the room or from her excitement drawing my attention.

I moved, closing the space between us. Unable to keep my hands to myself I covered both her breasts with my hands. Although my hands were large they weren’t large enough to take each breast completely. The excess excited me and I squeezed letting the softness tease my hands.

“Fuck me,” her voice caught as she said the words. Those weren’t words I ever imagined coming from her lips. They didn’t fit Lila Kate. But the way her voice shook as she said them. The way she leaned into me and a soft moan escaped her simply from my touch made this all seem right. Like it was supposed to be. Like we were supposed to be.

The restraint I had held onto snapped. The naughty side of Lila was too much for a man to take. I grabbed her skirt and jerked it down until she stood there in nothing but a pair of black lace panties. They did little to cover her. Almost pointless unless trying to seduce a man. And I was seduced. I jerked my own shirt off and tossed it away.

My hands wrapped around her waist and I picked her up and carried her over to the office desk because it was closer than the bed. I sat her down, then pulled her panties off memorizing the way they looked as they slid off her body.

She shivered and my dick throbbed. This was Lila Kate . . . sweet, innocent, precious Lila Kate. Naughty, wild, needy Lila Kate had taken her place tonight, and I was trembling with anticipation. “What do you want?” I asked her as I unsnapped my jeans. “Tell me exactly what you want me to do.”

Her eyes went from my bare chest and then locked on my pants as I began to loosen them, then I shoved them down my hips and stepped out of them. “Tell me, Lila,” I demanded. I wasn’t sure why I needed her to say, it but I did. I wanted her to talk dirty. Hear that pretty mouth say bad things. I was very likely to explode at the sound, but I wanted it.

“You’ll have to do better than that. Tell me.”

She swallowed hard and lifted her gaze from my erection pressing through my boxer briefs to my eyes. “I told you. I want you to fuck me, Cruz.”

That should be enough. I should be happy. But she’d turned me into a sex crazed monster. “You want it gentle?” I asked shoving my briefs down letting my thickened cock free.

She shook her head slowly. Her eyes wide as she stared at me. “No,” her voice was so soft I almost didn’t hear her.

“Tell me,” I said as I pushed her thighs apart with my hands and stepped between them. “How do you want to be fucked?” At that last word, her eyes blazed with the same desire I felt.

My hands reached under her and grabbed her ass as I slammed into her. That one thrust was like sinking into warm tight satin. “Fuck!” I yelled as her body reacted to the sudden entry by squeezing my dick. It was better than my imagination.

Her small hands grabbed my arms, nails digging into my flesh. The sting felt amazing. “AH!” she cried out.

“Is that how hard you want it?” I growled near her ear wanting to pound into her over and over again but doing all I could to control myself.