Title: Again (Fate, #4)
Author: Elizabeth Reyes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 3, 2015
Organized by: As the Pages Turn
No regrets. Just lessons learned.
Having lived through the torment of losing his first love to someone else—all because he never spoke up—Sydney Maricopa vowed never to repeat that mistake again.
So when he finally admits he’s fallen for his new best friend, he refuses to lose her too, especially once he realizes his feelings for her might be requited. There’s only one problem.
Her perfect boyfriend.
Still, Sydney’s determined to fight for the girl he loves this time. He has what it takes to go up against Mr. Perfect. Most importantly, he and his new best friend have something even her boyfriend can’t compete with—their profound connection. One he intends to use to win her over.
Until he finds out what she’d be giving up if she chooses Sydney.
Something no one should ever give up. Would he dream of selfishly asking her to? Or should he do the honorable thing and sacrifice his own happiness for hers? Allow the girl he loves to sail off into the sunset with another man as he stands back and watches in agony . . .again?
Again (Fate 4)
Copyright © 2015 Elizabeth Reyes
It took all of thirty seconds to figure out whose bed Sydney was in and whose gorgeous ass cheek was peeking out from just under satin sleep shorts. In the following seconds, the memory of what they’d done last night, while choppy, began coming to him. Against his better judgment, he’d agreed to come back to her apartment to finish celebrating their birthdays—safely.
The faint ache of the headache he knew he’d have for the rest of the day, or at least all morning, made him squeeze his eyes shut. They flew open the instant he felt movement in the bed.
She’d be up soon, and things would no doubt get awkward. His only saving grace was they were both dressed. Well, sort of. His shirt was unbuttoned, and visions of her playfully undoing the buttons while giggling, her mouth so close to his he could almost taste it, had him squeezing his legs together. It was bad enough he’d woken with his usual morning wood. This was not helping.
The thin silk camisole and satin sleep shorts she’d slipped into last night after stripping out of what she’d called her frumpy work clothes left little to the imagination. Once again Sydney was assaulted with the visual of her perky tits with nipples so erect they practically tore through the fabric of the tight and almost see-through white camisole. The tiny shorts barely covered the swell of her plump ass.
Squeezing his eyes shut, he muttered under his breath then threw the blanket she’d kicked off back over her. He had to before he had a full-blown throbbing erection like the one that had tortured him most of the previous evening.
This wasn’t the first time he’d woken in the bed of someone who he hadn’t anticipated ending up with. But it was the first time he had with someone he considered a dear friend. He’d thought about what it would be like to have her under him far too many times; he’d just never anticipated it would ever happen, especially not like this.
Sydney may’ve had a bit too much to drink last night, but he was nowhere as drunk as she’d been. He’d made sure he stayed in control. Things had gotten pretty intense—pretty damn heavy even—but luckily, drinking alcohol in excess as they had last night was a foreign concept to her. It was why he’d agreed to come back to her place initially. She’d already been pretty lit when they left the bar, and he was certain he was just bringing her home to make sure she passed out safely in her bed. He just hadn’t anticipated her being so persuasive and getting him to agree to hang out a little longer, getting playful, things getting heavy, and then his passing out with her.
Just because he remembered the details didn’t mean she would. In fact, he was pretty certain she wouldn’t, and maybe that was a good thing. Now he wondered if he should even mention everything she’d done, said, and admitted last night when the liquor kicked in. He couldn’t be sure how she’d react, but he knew her well enough to know she’d be a little embarrassed, maybe even mortified.
With that in mind, he considered the possibility of sneaking out. It seemed like an ideal plan. He could grab his things, slip out her bedroom sliding glass door, and then later he could call and ask how she was feeling. He’d say he made sure she got home safely then left and that was that. If she remembered anything, it would be even choppier than how he recalled it. She’d been close to passing out when she made one of her more profound admissions. She might even think she dreamed some of it.
It was perfect and he slid out of the bed carefully—quietly. He began tiptoeing around the room, gathering his things: the shoes she insisted he take off and the tie she’d done a little dance with that lay on the floor now next to her three-inch heels. He’d forever have the visual of her prancing in those sexy-as-shit heels.
Feeling his cock come alive again, he grabbed the tie, muttering to himself. “Just grab your shit and get out.”
The sound of a knock in the front room made him freeze in place. His mind raced. Was that what he thought it was? A knock at her door? The doorbell rang this time, and she sat up, her eyes wide with confusion. She glanced around the room. Sydney watched her facial expression, catching the moment it all came to her, and she gasped, bringing her hand to her mouth.
“Nothing happened,” he said in a loud whisper just as another knock followed at her door and he pointed. “Someone’s at your door. You expecting someone?”
The moment he asked, it came to him: the charity walk she’d be doing this morning—with her boyfriend and the rest of her family and friends.
She jumped out of bed, covering herself as if she were naked, but she was still in the attire she’d so audaciously pranced around in for him last night.
“Sissy!” her sister called out, knocking a little harder. “You in the shower or something?”
“We got you coffee.” Hearing her brother’s voice made his stomach drop even further.
But what really gave his gut a kick was her boyfriend’s voice. “I got your favorite, babe, fresh poppy-seed muffins.”
“Oh my God!” she gasped again, throwing on an oversized sweatshirt.
Already one step ahead of her, Sydney finished picking up his other shoe and coat from the chair on the side of the bed. His wallet on her nightstand was a reminder of what he’d begun to consider last night. He would never take advantage of a girl, especially not a good friend. But with the way she was acting last night—the things she’d admitted in her inebriated state—he’d begun to think he might not be able to talk her out of doing what she’d been so hell-bent on doing. It’d been a moment of utter weakness on his part. For a fleeting instant, he’d considered that, if he couldn’t change her mind, he certainly wouldn’t reject her. The least he could do was make sure they used protection. Thankfully, it hadn’t come to that, but now here they were.
“I’ll go out the sliding door,” he said just after she called out for her boyfriend and siblings to give her a minute.
She nodded in frantic agreement. “I’m sorry,” she said in a hushed voice.
“For what?” He stopped to look at her.
“I don’t remember much, but I do remember I was the one who insisted we come back here. This is my fault.”
Sydney shook his head, narrowing his eyes as he took one last look into those beautiful, anxious eyes. “Don’t worry about it.” He smiled. “If I hadn’t wanted to, I wouldn’t have. And for the record, you may not remember, but we had a good time. At least I know I did, but I’m pretty sure you did too.”
Her face flushed and she smiled timidly, so different from her behavior last night. He almost laughed, but he didn’t. She looked embarrassed enough.
She walked him to the sliding door where she thanked him again for understanding, squeezed his arm, and said she’d call him as soon as she got the chance. Sydney walked through the pool area and into the other side of their apartment complex. The entire way up the elevator and down the hallway to his apartment he was lost in thought.
She’d shared with him last night some of the truths about her relationship with her man. Even if she hadn’t said it outright, her actions screamed far louder than any words she could’ve ever said.
She wanted Sydney just as much as he wanted her.
Had she meant everything she’d said? Or had it been just sexual desire brought out by the alcohol? No fucking way. He clenched his jaw.
One thing he knew about his relationship with his best friend was that would never work. He’d never been one of those men, the kind that felt the need to stake their claim on the girl they loved—own her. He’d always thought the idea of such thinking was ridiculous, insulting to the girl. Even when he’d been married, he’d never felt he owned his wife.
But last night changed everything. Seeing her the way he had and witnessing the fire in her eyes when she’d gotten a glimpse of the undeniable erection her dancing had given him—one so obvious even his slacks couldn’t hide it—he knew one thing. If he ever got his hands on that hot little ass—fucked her the way he thought he could only dream of doing—she’d be his.
No if, ands, or buts about it. He finally understood that carnal need to claim the girl you loved and make sure everybody knew it. There’d be no looking back if they ever went there, so if she was thinking that’s all it could be, she was dead wrong, and he’d told her so. Unfortunately, he was sure she wouldn’t remember. That was when her last words came to him. She’d said them as he’d indulged her by pretending he was getting into bed with her, and he’d be holding her to them even if she didn’t remember because he’d seen the look in her eyes when she’d said them. Just as he had when he said them too, she meant them.
Then she’d passed out.
Sydney smiled. She was so beautiful even passed out. He hadn’t been able to tear himself away from lying by her side, staring at her—listening to her breathe—until he passed out too.
He made it to the door of his apartment and reached in his pocket for his keys. Instantly, he felt the panic. He reached in his other pocket and searched his coat but felt nothing. Then it came to him. They were right where he’d put them down next to his phone on the table in her kitchen.
His head fell back, knowing his sneaking out the back door had been all for nothing. As much as he wanted nothing more than to be with her now—make her his—she was still his dear friend, and he cared about her deeply. He’d never do anything to purposely cause problems or put her in an awkward position in front of her family, even if he knew the truth now about how she felt. Sydney’s keys and phone would be the first things her boyfriend would see sitting on her kitchen table. She’d already mentioned the guy wasn’t thrilled about her friendship with Sydney.