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Would you kiss your best friend?

Tonight was our first official test as girlfriend and boyfriend.

Would anyone buy it? Or would they see right through us?

I smoothed the short skirt of the silky blue dress, swinging it to make sure it lay just so. I’d put on makeup to highlight my eyes and cheeks. Slipping into black stilettos, I opened the door.

The air rushed out of my lungs to see Max standing there in a black suit. His hair was gelled back, the familiar scruff still lined his jaw, and he smelled delicious. When he stepped inside, I felt dizzy from the intoxicating combination of soap and the subtle smell of liquor that seemed to emanate from him.

I closed the door behind him and turned to find him standing close—too close. I could barely draw in a deep breath.

Stepping even closer, his hands glided over my bare arms. “You look gorgeous.”

Tingles erupted over my skin. “You look handsome, too.”

He lowered his head slightly, his eyes darkening with heat. “I was thinking, on the way over here, that we need to convince everyone tonight we’re the real deal.”

Suddenly warm, I asked shakily, “What were you thinking?”

My breathing picked up as one of his hands moved to my hip, gripping it and pulling me against him. The feel of his hard body pressed against mine sent heat racing through my blood.

His other hand cupped my head, and everything faded away: the room, the engagement party, the fact that this wasn’t real.

He angled my head; the initial touch of his lips was tentative, as if he were asking my permission to go further.

My lips parted as if it were the most natural thing in the world, and he deepened the kiss. My nipples chafed against his suit, aching to feel his bare chest against mine. His hand moved from my hip, ghosting over my ass, causing me to gasp in surprise.

I’d never had a kiss quite like this. Was it that we knew each other so well?

The kiss quickly went from exploring to devouring—a claiming. He was staking a claim to my lips, mouth, and body.

My core clenched with need, and my fingers curled into the lapel of his jacket, holding him tight to prevent him from backing away.

He wasn’t my friend anymore. He was this hot specimen of a man I wanted to push down on the couch so I could straddle him, feel his erection between my legs. I wanted to forget the past and focus on the present.

His lips trailed over my jawline, down my neck to the sensitive spot behind my ear, and to my bare shoulder. He paused, placing one last kiss on my shoulder before pulling back.

His eyelids were heavy with lust. “Was that convincing enough?”

His words were like a bucket of cold ice dropped down the back of my dress. I jumped back from him, smoothing my dress as if reassuring myself it hadn’t melted into a puddle on the floor.

He had obliterated me with a few seconds of his lips and hands on me, but it had been pretend, practice for the real show at the engagement party. A way to prove to our friends and family that we were dating.

I moved away from him, desperate for space, cool air, and water. I grabbed a glass from the cabinet, filling it with shaky hands from a pitcher on the counter. I chugged it, hoping to cool the heat he’d ignited in my body.

He moved to stand across from me, the counter between us. He cocked his head. “Or do you think we need more practice?”

Coughing, I lowered the glass to the counter, wishing I had an ice cube to place on the back of my neck. From the heat coursing through my body, I knew without a doubt we had chemistry, and more practice would be dangerous.

The sweetness of our kiss had given way to pure, unadulterated desire.

“Nope. I think we’re good.” My voice betrayed me, pitching higher.

“If you’re sure?” His tone was laced with amusement.

I’d melted from that kiss, and he was teasing me. “Are you ready to go?”

“You have a jacket?”

I pointed at the sweater draped over the back of the couch. He moved to lift it, the material looking delicate in his hands.

It made me wonder how it would feel to have his hands on my body with nothing between us, just his fingers, his lips, his tongue. Could I have one night with him, then go back to being just friends? Or would it blow everything out of the water?

I moved toward him as if there were an invisible line between us, pulling us closer. Turning when I reached him, I moved my hair to the side as he helped me into the sweater. With a palm flat against my abdomen, he pulled me against him. I felt every hard inch.

He kissed my neck. “Are you ready to do this?”

I moved forward, his hand falling away. It would be smart to stay far away from him this evening. Limit contact. When he turned on the charm, he was lethal.

He caught up with me by the door as I paused to grab my clutch off the entryway table. His hand rested on the small of my back. “You look beautiful in that dress. The color brings out your eyes.”

“Thank you,” I murmured, closing my eyes briefly as he pulled open the door. I wouldn’t survive the evening. Not when I was so affected by his voice, and he was seemingly immune.

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