Just One Touch: A Black Alcove Novel (The Black Alcove Series Book 3) (10 page)

“I don’t know.”

“Seriously, you
haven’t asked her what her last name is?”

“Well the subject has
never come up.”

“Not even when you
introduced yourselves? It’s a basic question, Conner. Usually it
gets answered on the first date.”

“Kelsey, just get to
the point,” I say, annoyed that she makes a valid argument.
do I not know her last name?
Whatever is going on with my
sister and this mini interrogation she has going on, needs to find an
end, quick. The fact that she is questioning Alex pisses me off. Alex
doesn’t deserve to have people questioning her behind her back when
they don’t even know her.

“Ethan thinks Alex is
Logan’s sister, and I think he might be right.”

I laugh, but when I
catch the blank stare she’s still giving me, I refuse to let her
continue with her silly accusation.

“Wow, you two have
really lost your minds.” My voice is deep and firm. “I’m not
even going to ask what or how you think this, because it is so
freaking crazy. Don’t you think she would have told him or someone
by now?”

“Some people hide
this sort of thing.”

“You know, I’m
happy Alex had plans. I wouldn’t want to put her with a houseful of
people who think she’s hiding something. She’s a normal woman
trying to do something different with her life. It’s possible some
people can start over without keeping secrets.”

I head for the door.

“Conner, I’m not
saying she’s a bad person. I’m just saying maybe you can talk to
her about it. If it’s true, maybe she needs someone to help her.”

“And make it sound
like I’m accusing her of something the way you are? I don’t think

I say goodbye to the
rest of the party and head home, thankful that Jake is having a
sleepover with Clara. His dad wouldn’t be much fun tonight.

On my drive I receive a
text from Logan that reads “If you like this girl, don’t let your
sister’s opinion or anyone else’s get in the way. If you
like her the way you say you do, this feeling only comes once in your
life. Don’t let it go.”

Such a sappy line from
a guy, but he’s right. It’s time I did something about my
feelings for Alex. Now, all I need is for the right moment to make
that happen.

* * *

I can’t remember the
last time I had a Saturday night off. A month ago, maybe. It feels
like a lot longer than that. A year ago I would have quit my job the
first weekend they tried to schedule me. I would be drinking, barely
able to stand by midnight, and the girl I’d be planning to take
home would be a smidgen more sober than I was. I thought those were
the best nights of my life. But tonight, none of that sounds even
close to what I want to do. I can’t imagine a better evening than
one in my quiet apartment. I’ll probably do some junk food binging
and hang out in a pair of boxers not giving a damn with a beer or
two. It’ll be stress-free. The perfect way to calm down after that
talk with my sister. I don’t know what’s going on, but she is
slowly losing her mind. Alex and Logan, brother and sister. Yeah,
there’s no way that could be possible.

I switch on the TV
then, in nothing but a pair of navy gym shorts, flop down onto the
couch and pull out my cell phone to order a pepperoni pizza and one
of those chocolate lava dessert things. They’re the shit. After I
make my order, I lean back into the black leather couch, relaxing at
the coolness that touches my skin.

I bet the mailbox has
her last name on it. I would need a key to open it to physically look
at her mail, so I can’t use that route, but maybe she leaves it
lying around the apartment. I need to be more observant when I’m at
her place next time. Or I could just do what makes the most sense and
straight up ask her. Whatever, I need to decide quick because if
Kelsey pulls that crap again, I want to be ready.

I’m crossing my feet
on the ottoman in front of me when I hear my front door open and

I thought she was working tonight.

The stress-free aspect
of the night partially applied to her. Yeah, I want to kiss her and
do anything else she lets me, but I haven’t fully decided whether
or not that’s the right move right now. No matter how badly I want

Jeez, I don’t even
know her last name. What else don’t I know? I can’t be making
decisions like this when I’m obviously clueless to certain areas of
her life.

Alex steps into view,
pausing and starting toward me from the entryway. Her hair falls
straight around her face, and those big brown eyes widen when they
take in the sight of me on the couch.

We’ve been living
next door to each other for a few weeks, but knowing she’s just
across the hall from me has forced me to learn a stronger sense of
self-control that’s bound to break at any moment. Even after it’s
been brought to my attention I need to know more about her, I still
think she looks sexy in everything she does—imagine the amount of
seductiveness she holds when she’s half naked and on her back.

“Oh, I didn’t
realize you were here,” she says and a shy expression crosses her
face. She adjusts the strap of her bag over her shoulder. “I was
just going to take a quick shower. I won’t bother you.” She turns
quickly, heading down the hall. And now she’s going to be naked
again in my apartment. Awesome. It’s been easy to resist her when
I’ve been at work while she’s showering or Jake is around, but
right now the temptation is much higher.

“I just ordered
pizza,” I say. I keep thinking I’m going to say something smart
or funny to catch her attention, but lately, every time I talk to
her, it’s normal and boring. And I never say enough to keep her
talking. I put my feet down and sit up straight, muting the TV.
“There’s enough for two, if you want some.”

“I don’t want to
ruin your evening, Conner. I’ve been here almost every night this
week. I’m sure you want some time to yourself.”

“You won’t ruin
anything,” I say, too quickly.

A shy smile touches her
lips, but she nods. “Okay, I’ll be quick.” She continues down
the hall and when I hear the door lock, I release a long breath.

if you’re there, now is the time to come out

A whole night in, just
the two of us. This isn’t the first time. I shouldn’t be nervous,
but Logan’s text is flashing in my mind and tonight is going to be
different. I know I want her. I know I want her more than anyone else
I’ve ever met. I don’t want to screw this up. Shit, we haven’t
even started anything and I’m worried about messing it up.

I groan, rubbing my
hands down my face. The knowledge that she’s taking her clothes off
right now is killing me. I can’t imagine what an entire night alone
is going to do to me. I’ve never acted like this. Naked women
aren’t rare. I could go to any bar, find one, and bring her home.
The only downfall is my body doesn’t want that. It wants the sexy
blonde with legs, the one who’s always around but completely
untouchable. Until now.
Why does
this girl have me so thrown off?

Fifteen minutes later
the bathroom door opens, hinting that she’s coming out, and I
readjust myself on the couch. I’ve been sitting in the middle and
decide my best option right now is to choose a side. I’m half
sitting when I glance up to see legs. Long, tan legs in a pair of
light purple shorts that stop just under her butt cheek. She’s
wearing a gray tank top with a silver heart over the chest and
help me
, she’s not wearing a bra. All the other nights
she was
I bra.

Her perky breasts are
hidden behind the design, but I’ve seen enough in my day to know
the way a set of free tits sit. And Alex’s are the best ones I’ve
ever set my eyes on.

As if she could feel me
watching, Alex crosses her arms and a light pink flushes across her
face. I finish taking my seat, clear my throat, and wish myself luck.

“Jammie night, huh?”
I say, cringing immediately.

What the fuck, Conner?

A giggle erupts from
her throat, and I’m immediately turned on. I need to get control of
myself now, or this entire night is going to be a disaster. Little
noises like that shouldn’t excite me.

“Yeah, it looks that
way,” she says, taking a seat next to me. “Where’s Jake? Wasn’t
he here earlier?’

“Yeah, he’s
spending the night with my sister.”

“That’s cute.”

I nod.

“So what are you
watching tonight?” she asks.

I turn the volume back
on and smile. “
Jurassic Park

“Which one?”

“The first one.”

“The first is the
best one,” she says, tucking her legs underneath her. Her knees
fall to the side and miss brushing against my arm by less than an
inch. One advantage of owning two loveseats is the closeness we have
right now. The disadvantage? I could touch her with just a twitch of
my pinky finger, and I really,
want to touch her.

I lick my lips and
return my focus to the TV. The man on the shitter is getting eaten by
the T-rex. Yes, this is good. Totally not sex related. Now the kids
are screaming. Perfect, this is a great distraction.

Alex gasps when the car
is knocked over the ledge. All that hard-earned focus is gone.

“I was under the
impression you’ve seen this movie,” I say, observing the look on
her face. She doesn’t look startled or worried. She looks …

“I have.” Her eyes
focus on mine. I have to look away from the heat that comes from
them. “But seriously, being attacked by a meat-eating dinosaur will
never get easier.”

My gaze is back on the
TV before I say, “We can watch something else if you want.”

“No, I want to watch
this.” She sits up, letting her legs fall to the other side. She
leans back, and on instinct, I reach my arm around as she rests
against my side, nestled next to my side. Her body freezes and so
does mine. All the other nights that happened somehow after we’d
fallen asleep. We are definitely awake and aware this time around.

A lustful look fills
her eyes as she leans her head back, looking up at me. I start
counting. One, I shouldn’t kiss her. She could be a convicted and
wanted felon for all I know and I’ve been reading about her in the
paper but would never know because I don’t even know her whole
name. Two, this is a bad idea. I should keep her as my neighbor and
my friend. Jake likes her—I can’t ruin that. Three, but she
smells like peaches. Four, if I can’t even tell her what’s going
with Jake’s mom, crossing the friendship line is the last thing we
should do. Five,
fuck it.
I lean down and her eyes close. I feel her breath against my lips.

Knock, knock.

Alex jumps and I back
away as though we’ve been caught. The knocking on the door starts
again, and I’m not happy about it the way normal people would be.

For once, the pizza has
arrived on time and ruined everything.


Deep breaths. It’s
fine. I’m fine. He’s fine.
boy, is he fine.

Conner being home
totally threw me off when I came here to shower. He said he was going
to a barbeque at Logan’s house. What’s he doing home so early?
And please don’t ask why I’m not at work.

“Do you want any kind
of dipping sauce? Like ranch or something?” Conner pokes his head
around the wall that separates his kitchen and living room.

“Do you have Dorothy
Lynch?” I ask. I know it’s totally gross, but it tastes so good.
It’s like cinnamon rolls and chili. Sounds terrible but absolutely
freaking delicious. His eyes narrow as he stares at me. He nods
slowly but doesn’t say anything before bringing out two plates,
Dorothy Lynch dipping sauce included.

“Did your plans for
tonight get canceled?” he asks.


“Um, no. I actually
was just planning to get a little reading or writing in tonight.”

“I was turned down
because a woman wants to read or write more than she wants to hang
out with me, huh?” He takes a bite of his pizza and gives me a
closed-mouth smile.

“Well, when you say
it like that, it sounds bad.”

Alex, you couldn’t come up with a better answer?

“It’s actually kind
of hot. I like a woman who is into more than texting or watching TV
or drama. What I know about you now tells me you aren’t like those
kind of girls.”

“Yeah, I guess we
don’t really know that much about each other.” I laugh because it
is weird I like to hang out with him but really only know he has a
kid, works at a bar, is friends with my brother, enjoys running
shirtless, plays basketball at the gym, may or may not be a college
student, and … wait, I know a lot more than I thought I did.

“We could play twenty
questions,” he says with an eagerness that raises a red flag. There
might be something particular he wants to ask me. Does he know who I

“Maybe another
night,” I say in my flirtiest tone and then I shove a piece of
pizza into my mouth as I focus on the TV. I hear his deep chuckle,
but he doesn’t say anything.

We continue watching
the movie and eating in silence. Conner gets up for a second round
and I watch his body move in its shirtless and hairless glory. I have
no idea how I lucked out on moving in next door to such a sexy man. I
mean, up until tonight, I wasn’t completely sure he was attracted
to me. Yeah, he’s flirted and we’ve hung out, but after the fifth
or sixth time, I was sure the flirting would upgrade to a kiss by
now. It never happened.

And then tonight …
well, I hope he won’t think I’m too desperate if I try to get us
back there. I mean, just looking at him makes me want to climb on top
of him and kiss him till he blacks out. I want to touch the rippled
muscles I’ve see him create in the gym. Is that too much to ask?
It’s when I remember how much of a chicken I am—my making the
first move is highly unlikely—that I relax a little. Then again, if
we are kissing, we can’t be talking and that’s a good plan for

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