Mia Reyes is in fangirl heaven. Tutoring her favorite member of her favorite band? It’s a dream come true…until it turns into a complete nightmare. Ryder is nothing like she thought. He’s crude, arrogant, and pretty much a total jerk. And the worst part? She’s roped into pretending to be his girlfriend so that no one finds out he’s being tutored. Fake kisses, plenty of PDA, and even sharing his hotel room…
But sometimes even the baddest of bad boys needs a little redemption.
“Great show,” she said, needing to say something. She clasped her hands in her lap.
“The fans seemed to like it,” Ryder said, standing just beyond the doorway. “You didn’t have to wait up for me.”
“I kind of did,” Mia said, indicating the couch. If she set up the bed, that meant she was okay with this arrangement, and while her body definitely was, it was hard to get her mind to catch up.
Never mind catching up. Before Mia could even take another breath, Ryder was peeling off his shirt like Mia wasn’t even there, or maybe he’d done that because she was.
“Sorry, I can’t wait to get out of my clothes as soon as the show is over.”
They both looked at his belt buckle.
Ryder laughed. “I’ll change in the bathroom per your rule,” he said.
She understood with more and more certainty that she was going to share a bed with Ryder Brooks.
Would he try to kiss her? Would he try more? Would she be able to deal with it if he did? What if he didn’t? The questions swirled around Mia’s brain like fireflies.
“We don’t have to go to sleep right away,” Ryder said, maybe sensing her fear.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be able to sleep at all,” she admitted.
“You don’t have to be scared,” Ryder said, the muscles in his arms bulging as he pushed his hair back. She stared at the tribal tattoo wrapped around one bicep, black as the darkest reaches of outer space.
Mia’s mouth started to water and she realized she wasn’t only scared, she was hungry. She wanted to touch Ryder’s tattoo, taste the water and sweat on his skin. Regrettably, the hunger scared her, too. Mia spit-laughed to cover it up. “You think I’m scared of you? No way.”
“Then I guess I’ll change my pants right here,” Ryder replied, clearly calling her bluff. He moved his fingers to his belt buckle, and her heart seemed to fly up and beat from behind her eyes. He was taking her right to the edge.
Mia looked down. She needed to tell him the truth. “Considering what I admitted last night, it shouldn’t surprise you that I’ve never shared a bed with a boy before. I know this is an every-night thing for you, but it’s not for me.”
Ryder’s mouth widened into a grin that made Mia crave this being an every-night thing for her.
“Haven’t you ever done something your mother wouldn’t approve of?” he asked, stepping closer to her.
“Sure,” she said, not understanding how talking about her mother was supposed to make her feel any calmer about sharing a bed with Ryder.
“So tell me, then.” He stood over her, his stomach at eye level.
She was staring at Ryder Brooks’s belly button, his chiseled abs. How had she not died yet?
Mia searched her brain. Was it really that her mom would freak out if she knew she was sharing a bed with Ryder, or if she knew Mia’s feelings for him would probably only increase once she did?
“Maybe I should guess,” Ryder said, the muscles of his stomach moving up and down as he spoke. “You rode a mechanical bull once, or tied a cherry stem with your tongue.”
Mia knew he was being a smart-ass, but she could be a smart-ass, too.
She looked up at him, shirtless, beautiful, wet Ryder Brooks, and said something that no girl in her right mind would ever say. “And then what? Will you reciprocate by telling me about this one time at band camp?”
Ryder burst out laughing. “I got kicked out of band camp.” He headed toward the bathroom. “Don’t worry,” he said, peeking out from behind the door before he closed it. “I’ll put a shirt on.”
A thought her mother definitely wouldn’t approve of clouded her vision, but she couldn’t bring herself to say the words out loud. I don’t want you to.
She wrote her first story when she was in second grade. It was a Thanksgiving tale from the point of view of the turkey from freezer to oven to plate. It was scandalous.