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Sweet Filthy Boy(8)

By:Christina Lauren

I look at him more closely now. I hadn’t given much thought to who he is or what he does, but this is far more interesting than a group of asshole foreign guys blowing money on a Vegas suite. And biking from state to state definitely explains the muscular thighs. “That’s not at all what I expected you to say.”

“There were four of us who became very close. Finn, Oliver, me, and Perry. This year we did a reunion   ride, but only from Austin to here. We’re old men now.”

I look around for the fourth one and then raise my eyebrows at him meaningfully. “Where is he?”

But Ansel only shrugs. “Just us three this time.”

“It sounds amazing.”

Sipping his drink, he nods. “It was amazing. I dread going home on Tuesday.”

“Where exactly is home? France?”

He grins. “Yes.”

“Home to France. What a drag,” I say dryly.

“You should come to Paris with me.”

“Ha. Okay.”

He studies me for a long beat. “I’m serious.”

“Oh, I’m sure you are.”

He sips his drink again, eyebrows raised. “You may be the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I suspect you’re also the most clever.” He leans in a little, whispering, “Can you juggle?”

Laughing, I say, “No.”

“Pity.” He hums, smiling at my mouth. “Well, I need to stay in France for another six months or so. You’ll need to live there with me for a bit before we can buy a house Stateside. I can teach you then.”

“I don’t even know your last name,” I say, laughing harder now. “We can’t be discussing juggling lessons and cohabitation quite yet.”

“My last name is Guillaume. My father is French. My mother is American.”

“Gee what?” I repeat, floundering with the accent. “I wouldn’t even know how to spell that.” I frown, rolling the word around in my head a few times. “In fact, I’m not even sure what letter it begins with.”

“You’ll need to learn to spell it,” he says, dimple flashing. “You’ll have to sign your new name on your bank checks, after all.”

Finally, I have to look away. I need to take a break from his grin and this DEFCON-1 level of flirtation. I need oxygen. But when I blink to my right, I’m met with the renewed wide-eyed stares of my friends standing nearby.

I clear my throat, determined not to be self-conscious about how much fun I’m having and how easy this all feels. “What?” I ask, giving Lola the don’t overreact face.

She turns her attention to Ansel. “You got her talking.”

I can feel her shock, and I don’t want it to consume me. If I think too much about how easy I feel around him, it’ll rebound and I’ll panic.

“This one?” he asks, pointing at me with his thumb. “She doesn’t shut up, does she?”

Harlow and Lola laugh, but it’s a yeah, you’re insane laugh and Lola pulls me slightly to the side, putting a hand on my shoulder. “You.”

“Me what?”

“You’re having an instalove moment,” she hisses. “It’s freaking me out. Are your panties still on under there?” She bends dramatically as if to check.

“We met last night,” I whisper, pulling her back up and trying to get her to lower her voice because even though we stepped away, we didn’t move that far. All three men are listening in on our exchange.

“You met him and didn’t tell us?”

“God, Mother. We were busy this morning and I forgot, okay? Last night they were partying across the hall. You would have heard them, too, if you hadn’t had enough vodka to kill a horse. I walked over and asked them to quiet down.”

“No, that wasn’t the first time we met,” Ansel interjects over my shoulder. “We met earlier.”

“We did not,” I insist, telling him with my expression to shut it. He doesn’t know Lola’s protective side but I do.

“But it was the first time she saw Ansel in his underwear,” Finn adds, helpfully. “He invited her in.”

Her eyebrows disappear beneath her hairline. “Oh my God. Am I drunk? What’s in this thing?” she asks, peering into her obnoxiously flashing cup.

“Oh stop,” I tell her, irritation rising. “I didn’t go into his room. I didn’t take the gorgeous stranger’s candy even though I really wanted to because hello, look at him,” I add, just daring her to freak out even more. “You should see him with his shirt off.”

Ansel rocks on his heels, sipping his drink. “Please continue as if I’m not here. This is fantastic.”