EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

I knock on her front door before using my spare key. That’s how close we are—we have spare keys to each other’s places. She waters my plants when I’m out of town and she felt weird about having my spare key if I didn’t have one of hers. That’s how much she trusts me. And how do I repay her? By obsessing about her delicate petal pink nipples.

I scan the living room and spot her in the kitchen.

Shit, she took her cardigan off.

Now she’s only wearing a strappy top thing.

Now there’s one less layer of clothing between me and her boobs.

She took it off because she wants me to make a move.

But she also took out her contacts and put her glasses on.

Mixed messages.

But also hot.

“How you doin’?”

Shit. I Joey’d her. From twenty feet away. Knee-jerk reaction. I am definitely flirting with my face too.

She rolls her eyes at me, but she’s grinning. And blushing. And pouring herself another glass of wine.

Which is interesting.

“I am well. Thought I’d lost you. You want to help me finish off this wine? There’s only a little left in this bottle.”

“I really shouldn’t.” I lift my sweater up and pat my rock-hard belly. Which counts as ab-flirting. Shit. “Got a couple of shirtless scenes coming up. I shouldn’t have had the Guinness.”

“Awww, come on,” she chides, pouring out about two mouthfuls of red wine into a coffee mug. “Your abs called while you were out. They want a pizza. And wine.”

“Oh yeah?” I join her in the kitchen and pick up that mug. “Your brain called while I was out. It wants an orgasm. Or twenty.”

She nearly chokes on her wine and I swear to God I didn’t even think that comment through before I said it.

That was my bad.

“You okay?” I reach over to rub her back, but she steps away from me.

Her eyes are watering, but when she finally regains her composure, she is frowning at me. “I happen to be all good on the orgasm front, thanks.”

And now I’m just thinking about all the things I’d do to the front of her to give her an orgasm. Or twenty.

“Happy to hear it.” I raise my mug. I think it’s about time my friend meets the O’Sullivan side of Eddie Cannavale… “May your giving hand never fail you, Birdie Beckett,” I offer as a toast in my finest Irish brogue.

She blinks once and then I am met with a blank stare.

That may have been too brief of a toast, so I try again. “May your troubles be less and your blessings be more. And nothing but happiness come through your front door.” I polish off my wine.

Crickets.

More blank stare.

Total broguemance fail.

Serves me right. I will have to try harder, re the friend thing. Or possibly try harder at seducing her. But I can’t do both at the same time… Can I?

She takes a deep breath before asking, “Question. Did you, by any chance, see my nipples earlier?”

If I hadn’t already swallowed the wine, I would have done an awesome spit-take. “Yes. Yes, I did.”

“Okay.” She puts her mug of wine down on the counter, combs her fingers through her long, wavy, dark blonde hair and then twists it up into some kind of knot on top of her head. Which is really annoying because now her long, slender neck is exposed, and so are her collarbones and the top of her cleavage and I really like her bare arms too. She sighs and then crosses her arms in front of her chest. “I just want you to know that it was an accident. Revealing them. I forgot that I wasn’t wearing a bra.”

“Understood.”

“But I mean…” She shrugs and then takes a sip of wine before continuing. “It happened. I think we should just acknowledge that we had a brief, nipple-y, mildly boner-y moment and move past it. So we can get back to being friends. Right?”

“Agreed. I hereby acknowledge the aforementioned mild boner and nipple slip and I would also like to acknowledge that both of your nipples looked great.”

She snort-laughs and covers her mouth with one hand and it’s so fucking cute. “Shut up.”

“No, I’m really proud of you. As a friend. They’re top-notch.”

 



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