“I wish.” Micah was polite, charming even. “But it’s about a bunch of outlaws hiding in the mountains. Small cast. Hey, I’d love to stay and chat, but my friends are waiting.” He returned Maddie’s pen.
“That wasn’t so bad,” she said as they joined the rest of their group at the theater doors.
“No, but they took our picture. That gets online and the rumors will begin about you and me.”
You and me. Her heart sang. How nice that sounded.
“That’s our one pic, Maddie,” he teased. “We’ll have to be more careful in the future.”
She shivered at the thoughts those words elicited of sneaking around, avoiding paparazzi and fans. It was an unexpected turn-on. Maybe a secret affair with Micah wouldn’t be so bad. But then there’d be the inevitable breakup and that would just suck.
At the door, they surrendered their tickets to the usher and entered the theater. Sam had predicted correctly—the room was packed and available seating was sparse. Finding six seats together would be impossible.
“There’s four,” Fudge said pointing to an area near the front.
“You guys take them,” Micah said. “Maddie and I will sit back here. She doesn’t realize I’ve already won our film debate, and I’m sure she has a few more impressive yet irrelevant bits of trivia to throw at me.” He winked at her.
Before anyone could argue, Micah ushered her into the two seats on the aisle of the very back row. It was an older theater, one without stadium seating, and the exit lay just behind them.
“You’re terrible,” Maddie said as she sat down, though she was secretly thrilled to be alone with him.
“What, why? I said it was impressive trivia.”
She glared. “Not that.”
“Oh, separating you and Sam? You said it wasn’t a date.”
“It isn’t. But do you really think it’s fair to stick him with your bodyguard?”
“Hmm.” He considered a moment. “Nah, they’re fine.” He pressed his knee against hers. Was it on purpose? Maybe he had equally been turned on by thoughts of a secret relationship. Or maybe he had been waiting to get her alone. “They can get to know each other.”
She willed herself to stay strong, but leaned into his leg anyway. “Like we’re getting to know each other?”
He relaxed at her response. “I hope not—I mean, do you think Sam is… I’m positive Fudge’s on our team, but Sam…”
She laughed. God, he was charming. “Shut up. Sam is not g*y.”
“You sound like you know from experience.”
“You sound jealous.”
“I don’t get jealous.” He took her hand. “I get what I want.”
Her hand in his felt warm and tingly, quite unlike when Sam had played the same move. He began stroking her slowly with his thumb and her skin burned under his touch. Nearby giggling drew her attention to the fans from the lobby seated across the aisle. She reluctantly pulled her hand away. “Stop it. I don’t need people thinking I’m hooking up with you.”
“Why? Am I that repulsive?”
“No. You’re perfect.” Too perfect. “Besides, we’re just buds, remember?”
Micah stretched his arm around the back of her seat, leaned in and whispered in her ear. “Haven’t you heard of friends with benefits?” His mouth at her ear stirred her blood, arousing her instantly so that the lazy circles his fingers drew on her bare shoulder were almost too intense to bear.
She shifted in her chair, crossing her legs. “I’m beginning to think that’s the only kind of friends you have.”
“That is simply not true. I have lots of friends I don’t sleep with.”
“Still not true. Well, mostly not.”
“You’re impossible.” Visions of women upon women lined up at his bedroom door filled her mind. Her stomach sank at the thought. How many women had he had? Hundreds? Thousands?
“No, I’m perfect. You said it yourself.” While one hand continued stroking her shoulder, Micah’s other hand moved to play with the edge of her skirt hem.
All her senses heightened. She trembled. He was a lion and she was his prey, helpless under his gaze, his touch, even his artsy intellect reduced her to a puddle.
In utter defiance of her body’s arousal she said, “I’m not going to sleep with you.” At least her brain still worked.
He smirked. “Who said I wanted to?”
“You’ve been trying to get in my panties since yesterday.”
“No way. You’re totally reading me wrong. I’m just being nice.”
“If that were true, you’d think you could keep your hands off me.”
“Yeah, you’d think that. You just have such soft skin.” He moved his hand from her skirt to trace the line of her leg down to her knee with his thumb, leaving a trail of goose flesh in its wake. “I appreciate the feel of soft, silky skin.”
She tugged at her skirt, pulling it farther over her bare thighs. “As long as that’s all it is, feel away.”
“Did I mention I also appreciate the feel of perky br**sts?” The arm around her lowered and he brushed the side of her bosom with his fingers.
She shrugged his hand away. “Ha-ha. How about you appreciate them from a distance?”
“Fine, be that way.” He abruptly removed his hands from her body, leaving her chilled. He leaned back. “Hey, can we talk about something besides your beautiful br**sts?”
“Sure. You’re the one who brought them up.”
“I did do that. But I sort of feel like you wanted me to. You know, you’re keeping them right out in front.” She felt his gaze searing on her cle**age. “I’m thinking they like the attention.” He pointed to her ni**les, which pebbled under his stare.
Maddie blushed. “Hey, the air conditioning is chilly in here.” Damn her light-weight cotton bra—it hid nothing. She crossed her arms over her chest, attempting to suppress the ache of her br**sts, sensitive with the want of his lips on them, kissing and pulling, fulfilling their need to be touched.
“Whew, that’s better. I can concentrate.”
“Awesome.” She couldn’t, still imagining, dreaming—hoping—for his mouth on her tender skin. For the love of all that was holy, why did he do this to her? And why wasn’t the movie starting? “What did you want to talk about?”