“You will be after we go shopping. What time can you meet?”
I didn’t get off until four. “Is four too late?”
“That should work.”
“I’m at work now over at Broadway at the Beach. Can you meet me here later? By the aquarium?”
“Perfect. The place I want to go is right near there.”
“It isn’t Victoria Secret, is it?” I asked, dread forming in my stomach. There was a VS shop right near the aquarium. “I can’t really afford that place right now.”
“No one can afford that place,” she muttered. “It’s not. I know a local place. The woman pretty much sells for all the girls who work around here at all the strip clubs.”
Her business must’ve been booming because it seemed there was a strip club on every corner here. After we agreed to meet, I disconnected the line and set my phone by the register. I glanced at my long-empty cup of coffee and sighed.
“Thirsty?” someone said in my ear from behind.
I screeched and shot a foot into the air. My hip caught the edge of the cart, and I groaned and grabbed the area where it hurt.
“There you go again,” he drawled from behind.
I turned. It was Cam.
“Cam? What are you doing here?” I said, still rubbing at the spot on my hip.
“Want me to kiss it and make it better?” he asked, his eyes hidden behind a pair of mirrored aviator glasses. Even still, I felt the heat of his gaze linger on my legs.
Memories of last night crowded my mind and my skin tingled in memory of where he kissed me.
“No,” I said firmly, even though the thought of his lips anywhere near that part of my body literally made my mouth run dry but caused other places on my body to become very moist.
He grinned and damn, he looked so good with a backward baseball cap on his head, the sunglasses, and a sleeveless dark-colored T-shirt and board shorts.
He even looked good in his flip-flops.
No man looked good in flip-flops.
“Was on my way home from surfing and damn if I didn’t get a craving for a snow cone.”
I ignored the way my fingers slightly shook as I pulled open the ice bin and packed some fluffy shaved ice into a striped paper cup.
I told myself I leaned a little farther into the ice bin because the cold felt blissful against my heat-tortured skin. It had nothing to do with the fact I was trying to compose myself before facing him again.
When I couldn’t delay any longer, I pulled up and closed the lid, reaching for the cherry-flavored syrup. “How were the waves this morning?”
I laughed. “That is such a surfer dude thing to say.”
“How do you stand this heat all day?” he asked, taking the red-drenched icy treat from me.
“Some day’s are harder than others.”
“Today?” He tilted his head and took a bite of the red ice, ignoring the spoon.
“Today’s no picnic.” I admitted. “But I only have a couple more hours.”
“What time you get off?”
“Four. Then I’m meeting Roxie. She’s going to take me shopping for tonight.”
He paused in his inhaling of the snow cone. “I love my job.”
I laughed. Another customer approached with two children, and I quickly made three rainbow-colored cones and made change for them. When they walked away, I turned back to Cam, but he was gone.
Disappointment made me sigh as I flung myself back into my chair. From across the way, the dragon poked its head out of its lair and let out a roar. I rolled my eyes. This heat was making me grouchy.
A few minutes later, a giant plastic cup appeared in front of my face. It was filled with light-yellow lemonade and several round lemon slices. The cup was packed with ice and liquid and looked so refreshing that I actually whimpered.
I stared at the cup, transfixed, telling myself my mind was conjuring up mirages because I was so heat exhausted. As I watched, the cup came closer until it pressed against my cheek and then my forehead. I sighed. That felt so incredibly good.
Then the cup slid down until the straw poked at my lips and I pulled it between them, taking a long pull of the sweet yet tart liquid. I felt its icy temperature plunge all the way down my throat and then spread through my stomach, coating it in a chilled wave.
I groaned because it was probably the best drink I ever had. The lemon was perfectly refreshing and the ice was crispy cold.
“You keep making those sounds and I’m going to bring you one of these every single day.”
My eyes shot open and I turned. Cam smiled and pulled the cup back so I didn’t knock it out of his hands.
Well, wasn’t I embarrassed? I was also an idiot, thinking that my lemonade cup was a mirage.
“You brought that for me?”
“Thank you. I really needed that. I forgot to put my extra water in the cart before I came out here.”
“You owe me again,” he said, reaching around to set the lemonade beside the register.
I crossed my arms over my chest. “I’m already going surfing with you. What else do you want?” I said it like I was annoyed, but I wasn’t. The thought of owing Cam anything made me giddy, and I secretly couldn’t wait to hear with what he came up with next.
I arched an eyebrow.
He stepped forward and pressed a kiss to my hairline. “Drink your lemonade while it’s still cold.”
I didn’t reply because he was touching me, and all I could think about was how he smelled like the ocean and coconut oil and how his lips felt cool against my skin.
“I’ll see you tonight,” he said and then turned and walked away.
He didn’t even look back.
Which was probably a good thing because I couldn’t tear my eyes away until he was out of sight. I turned back to the lemonade, staring at it while I climbed back into my chair. The outside of the cup was already sweating and I watched as a drop of water made its way down the side. Then something around the side of it caught my eye.
I leaned forward, picked up the cup, and spun it around to look.
There in the frosty perspiration Cam had drawn a heart.
* * *
HushHush was located just a few miles from Broadway at the Beach, but it could have been a hundred miles away because here it was a lot less touristy and more of an area where the locals would hang when they didn’t want to deal with crowds and out-of-towners.
It was a little shop nestled between a bakery and a tobacco store. It was tasteful out front, with purple drapes lining the windows and just a small sign on the door with the name of the shop.