As soon as Lana closed the door to Ashton’s house, I pulled my phone out of my pocket and dialed Beau.
“Yeah,” he answered on the third ring.
“I need a ticket to that concert tonight. I’m coming with you.”
Beau didn’t respond right away then he let out a sigh, “Little Miss Lana is gettin’ to ya, huh?”
The memory of how she felt wrapped around my waist flooded me and I swallowed hard, “Yeah, she is.”
“Ash hooked her up with E tonight. You know this, right?”
My blood boiled. Yes, I knew it but I was going to stop it. Ethan only wanted Lana for the summer. He was headed to UT in the fall and Lana was headed… well I didn’t know where Lana was headed but she was going off to college too. Yes, I wanted to make Ash jealous but the idea of spending time with Lana was growing more and more appealing for no other reason than she made me forget. When I was with her, I wasn’t thinking about Ashton.
“She was with me today. You owe me Beau. A helluva lot. I need to be there tonight.”
“Ash is gonna be pissed. She doesn’t trust your motives and I’m not real sure I do either.”
“You’ve seen Lana. What’s there not to like? Why would I want her for any other reason than she’s hot-as-hell and available this summer? I need the distraction. I think it’ll be good for all of us.”
Beau was silent for a moment, “The concert is sold out but Ash got Leann two tickets and she’s driving over from the beach to go with us. Her date just bailed on her and she’s looking for someone to take with her. She might not want to give you the ticket as her date but I’m pretty sure she’d sell it to you.”
“I still got her number. I’ll call her. Thanks,” I didn’t wait for him to reply before I hung up and scrolled through my contacts for Leann’s name.
Ashton had initially had us all driving separate vehicles since Beau and I drove trucks and Ethan drove a Jeep. I didn’t like that plan because it put me alone with Leann and Lana alone with Ethan. Not the combination I was going for. So, I borrowed Mom’s Mercedes Crossover. No one could argue that this wasn’t a better idea. Except maybe Ethan who hadn’t been in on the details. I’d handled it with Beau who in return got Ashton to agree.
I’d started to ask Beau to take the backseat so Lana and Ethan would be closer to me but the idea of Beau tucked in the back away from everyone with Ashton made my chest ache. I didn’t think I could handle it. So, I remained quiet as Ethan quickly took the back row holding Lana’s hand as she stepped into the car. The ache from thinking about Ash and Beau was instantly extinguished by red-hot jealousy. Ethan’s eyes were taking in Lana’s cute little bottom, she’d barely covered up in that sundress.
“I think you just growled,” Leann whispered as she stepped past me and opened the passenger door. Jerking my gaze off Ethan as he moved in beside Lana, I went to get in. This was going to be one long ass thirty-minute drive.
“Still scowling,” Leann teased from beside me. I shot her a glare that only caused her to giggle.
“I really thought you’d never get over Ash. I’m surprised,” she said under her breath then pulled down the mirror in front of her to peek back at Lana and Ethan.
“If it helps, I don’t think she’s that into him,” she said, and then flipped the visor back up.
“Find whatever you want to listen to,” was my only response to her nosy comments.
Leann clicked her tongue grinning before leaning forward and scanning the channels.
“You know, Ethan is a good guy. He doesn’t have any ulterior motives.”
Grinding my teeth, I shook my head and shot her a warning glance.
“You used to be such a polite, nice guy Sawyer Vincent. You’ve changed—a lot.”
I adjusted the rearview mirror so that Lana was directly in my sight. She was watching me. The angry frustration melted away when she gave me a shy smile. Winking, I glanced back at the road and decided the car would be the only place Ethan got her away from me. He sure as hell better enjoy himself.
“Is that Ash or Lana you’re checking up on?” Leann asked from beside me.
I realized I’d forgot about Ashton. My stomach knotted up. What was happening? Ash was right behind me sitting beside Beau. I reached up and adjusted the mirror just in time to see Ash laugh and lay her head over on Beau’s shoulder. The familiar ache returned. Her eyes lifted and met mine. The laughter that had been sparkling in them vanished and a concerned sadness came over her face. I missed those eyes laughing up at me. Gripping the steering wheel harder I focused my attention on the road instead of the girl I’d always love behind me or her cousin who sent me into a lust fog every time she got close.
“You might wanna adjust that mirror,” Beau’s low warning came from behind me. If I could only hate him. Because, I wanted to. So badly.
Reaching up, I fixed the mirror so that I couldn’t see either girl and turned up the song Leann had chosen, Break Your Little Heart by All Time Low. It was fitting.
“I’m glad you came with me tonight,” Ethan said, leaning into me a little.
I tore my eyes off the back of Sawyer’s head. “Thank you for asking me,” I replied, hoping the disappointment in my voice wasn’t obvious. When Ashton told me that Sawyer had bought Leann’s extra ticket and arranged for us all to ride together, I’d hoped it had been because of me, not her. Then he’d gotten in the car and fixed his rearview mirror so he could see me and my heart had done a silly little flip. But within seconds he’d adjusted it so he could see Ashton instead. He hadn’t been looking at me when he winked… he’d been looking at Ashton. Beau had noticed too.
Ethan glanced back up at Sawyer and sighed, “Not sure why he’s doing this. Sorry but it looks like we’re going to have to witness more of the Vincent boys’ drama tonight. Sawyer isn’t ever going to be able to let Ashton go, even though she’s obviously let him go.”
The nausea that followed his words wasn’t surprising. I’d been thinking the same thing but hearing it from someone else was hard. I was so sure Sawyer had seen me today. I could feel his attraction to me. But then what did I know about guys and sex? I knew nothing. If any guy had his crotch pressed between a girl’s legs he’d probably get hard. From what I’d heard about guys, they couldn’t help it.
Sighing, I slunk back in my seat and crossed my legs. My hopes that tonight was about me were now gone. Ethan deserved more than me being hung up on getting Sawyer’s attention. After all, Ethan, not Sawyer, was the one paying for my meal and my ticket.
“I’ve never been to a concert before,” I told him wanting to change the subject.
Ethan’s eyes lit up, “Really? So, I’m your first,” he said wagging his eyebrows teasingly. I couldn’t help but laugh.
“I guess you are,” I replied in a flirty tone I’d practiced at home alone in my room but never on an actual guy.
His eyes widened for a second then he closed the small distance between us and slid his hand over my thigh to take my hand in his. And I let him. Because really, why shouldn’t I?
Once we arrived at the beachside restaurant, I’d had time to get over my disappointment enough to enjoy myself, somewhat. If I had to watch Sawyer moon over Ashton all night I might end up in the bathroom with the need to hurl again. Right now, however, I was good.
“You’ll love this place. They have the best fried oyster po’boys,” Ethan informed me as we made our way toward the steps that led up to the restaurant.
“Or you could eat them raw,” Sawyer’s voice was so close to my ear it startled me. Jerking my attention off our destination, I turned to look at Sawyer who had fallen into step beside me. He shot me a sexy little grin, “I’ll share my dozen with you.”
“Dozen?” I asked, still dazzled by the tantalizing smell of his cologne and brush of his fingers as he lightly grazed mine.
“Raw oysters,” he replied in a lazy drawl.
“Oh, I’ve never eaten one before. Not sure I want to,” my voice sounded all breathless and affected by him. I was just weak where Sawyer was concerned.
“I’ll teach you exactly how to do it so it goes down nice and smooth,” his voice had dropped and gone husky. I wanted to fan myself because suddenly it was very, very hot out here. The sea breeze did nothing to cool me off.
“Oh,” was all I could manage as a reply.
“If she wants oysters, I’ll get them for her,” Ethan replied in an annoyed tone, reminding me that he was on the other side of me.
“I was just offering to share, E. No need to get testy,” Sawyer replied, not taking his eyes off me. His fingers softly tangled with mine then traced a caress up the inside of my arm. I had to clench my teeth to keep from making an embarrassing sound caused by the delicious feel of his touch.
Ethan opened the door and pulled me over closer to him then placed his hand on my lower back to direct me inside the restaurant before him. He was putting himself between me and Sawyer. Which only made me feel guilty. I’d all but melted into a puddle at Sawyer’s feet while on a date with Ethan.
“I’ve got to go to the little girl’s room. Come with me Lana,” Leann said as she grabbed my arm and led me back to the restroom and away from the rest of the group.
The moment the door closed behind me, Leann spun around, “Whoa, girl. Do you need me to splash some cold water on your face? After witnessing that I think I may need to cool off.”
Letting out a moan, I covered my face with my hands. Great, everyone had noticed. Why did Sawyer do this to me? I was at his beck and call. It was ridiculous. He wanted to make Ashton jealous with me and I was falling right into his arms. UGH!
“I’m sorry,” I finally said through my hands.
Leann chuckled, “Sorry for what? You haven’t done anything. Sawyer Vincent is hot, Lana. He has never, and I mean never, unleashed what I just witnessed on anyone ever. Not even Ashton. I can’t believe I just saw him like that. I mean the boy was always so polite and respectful. He was never sexy. I mean like sex—y. I didn’t know he had it in him. But damn, I swear I need to throw some ice down my shirt. I’ve always thought he was beautiful but he couldn’t compete with Beau in sex appeal because he was so… good. But wow-oh-wow, was he dripping with it just now. I’d have jumped in his arms if he’d done that to me and I have a boyfriend.”
I dropped my hands and let Leann’s words sink in.
“Think about it. Did you ever see him touch or look at Ashton in a way that insinuated he wanted to get her alone? Nope, you didn’t. Because it never happened. He acted like she was a nun and he was the priest. But with you just now,” Leann waved her hand toward me and grinned wickedly, “he was HOT.”
“Really?” I asked incredulously.
“Yes, really! Question is… what’re you doing with Ethan? Because he’s a good guy. I don’t want to see him hurt and he seems to really like you.”
Shaking my head, I walked over to the sink. “I don’t know, I mean I don’t like him that way or anything. He’s just a nice guy and he seems interested in me and I thought—” I trailed off. Ethan was her friend and I wasn’t sure being honest about why I’d said okay to a date with Ethan was a good idea.
“You thought Sawyer would get jealous. I already figured that out. We’re females, Lana. It happens when a god, like Sawyer Vincent, unleashes his power on us. Just let Ethan down easy. Don’t hurt him, okay?”
I nodded and lifted my gaze to stare at my reflection in the mirror. Who was that girl looking back at me? Did I even know her anymore? Not only did she look different, she was acting completely different.
“I won’t hurt him. I’ll make sure he understands and I won’t ignore him for Sawyer tonight either.”
Leann nodded, “Good.”
The door opened behind me and Ashton walked in, worrying her bottom lip between her teeth as she looked between Leann and me.
“I had to run some interference but I think everything is smoothed out now,” Leann informed her as she walked tentatively into the restroom.
“Oh, okay,” she studied me a moment, “are you alright?”
“Yes. I’m good.”
“Sawyer is different with her Ash,” Leann said bluntly.
“I know. I’ve noticed.”
“I think it’s more than he even realizes.”
Ashton looked at Leann and a small smile touched her lips, “You think?”
Leann nodded, “Yep.”
Ashton reached for my hand and squeezed it. “Come on, let’s get back out there before one of them says the wrong thing and all hell breaks loose.”