But I also needed to relax. He had me wound so tight, that my normal cool, sexy demeanor was nonexistent.

I took a long, slow breath.

“One drink,” I told Jenny.

Then I was going to get things back under control. Life was giving me a mulligan, and I was going to take advantage of that faster than a quarterback on prom night. That is, me taking advantage of the quarterback, not the other way around.

I slipped sideways until Lukas’s hand fell away from my back, and I stood close enough to Hunt that I could feel his warmth even over the heat of the water. I said, “Come with me?”

“I would have thought you had enough to drink the other night.”

I frowned. “It’s just one drink. My first of the night. Come, have a little fun.”

He hesitated.

“Or I can just catch up with you later.” I moved toward Lukas, whose hand was already reaching for me.

I didn’t make it more than a few inches before Hunt’s hand was at my waist, pulling me back toward him.

“Okay, let’s go.”


Lukas frowned, but I wasn’t about to feel bad. Not when I was getting what I wanted. Just the touch of Hunt’s fingers on my waist had my heart sprinting, so I could only imagine what more contact would do. Lukas went to join Jenny instead.

She smiled. “Well, then, to the bar.”

I almost laughed. John was up ahead, no doubt trying to ignore the fact that his sister was now juggling the interests of three men, Tau included.

We followed behind them, and I took a steadying breath. I had no idea what Hunt wanted from me, but I knew what I wanted from him.

One night. Enough to erase the crazy in my brain, and get me back on track.

“Your new friend seems a little reluctant to leave you.”

My brows furrowed, and I followed his gaze not to Jenny but to Lukas, who kept looking back and forth between Jenny and me.

“He’ll get over it. We literally met like two minutes ago.”

“I know. I saw you when you came in.”

My head whipped toward him so fast, I was in danger of pulling a muscle.

He what?

“I really enjoyed that little spin move you did while you were trying to hide.”

I couldn’t catch a fucking break.

“I wasn’t hiding. I just . . .”

The words evaporated from my tongue. God, that sexy smirk was going to be the death of me.

“Okay.” I rolled my eyes. “So I was hiding. It’s not every day I make a fool of myself. I wasn’t exactly excited about rehashing that.”

“It wasn’t that bad.”

Those are always the words you want to hear from a guy you’re trying to sleep with . . . not that bad.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

His eyebrows lifted, and it drew my attention to his eyes, the color of a thunderstorm.

“It’s a room full of women in bikinis. What do you think I’m doing here?”

I tried not to let the sour taste of those words show on my face.

“I meant what are you doing here? With me.”

We climbed the few steps that led out of the pool, and as gravity pulled the water back down to the earth, my swimsuit clung tight to my skin. I turned to see him standing still on the top step, his eyes cascading down my skin along with the water. He shook his head, and this time he didn’t force himself to look away from my body like he had the night we first met. His eyes traveled down my frame, and then up again. The tips of my breasts pebbled, either from the cool air or from his gaze, but his eyes stuck there for a few moments before skipping up to my face. His voice rough and raw, he answered, “What was the question?”

I wanted to smile, but I was so turned on just from the way that he looked at me, that I couldn’t seem to remember how to command all my muscles to work.

“I asked what you were doing here with me.”

He stepped up out of the bath to tower over me, and he didn’t seem to have any issues controlling his facial muscles because his sexy smirk was back. “Oh, you mean you asked a stupid question?”

God, he thought he was so adorable.

And he was. Ugh.

“You still haven’t answered it.”

“Yes, well.” He reached out one finger, and collected a drop of water off my collarbone. “You make it hard to think straight.”

And that was an answer I would take any day.

Feeling a bit more in control, I turned to follow Jenny, looking back at him over my shoulder as his eyes trailed down my body again. I held back a smile and said, “Come on, soldier. You can finish staring at me at the bar. I promise I’m not going to disappear.”

His eyes flicked up to the ceiling, and he mumbled something I couldn’t catch under his breath. Whatever it was, I had him on the ropes. Point, to Kelsey.

There were three bars set up around the bath, which was good considering how many people were here. The group had managed to snag a few barstools at the nearest one and were ordering when Hunt and I caught up. I leaned over the bar, simultaneously allowing the bartender a good look at my cleavage while also giving Hunt a clear view of the ass that I had promised him as he sat on his barstool.

“Gin bitter lemon,” I ordered for myself, then looked at Hunt. “What do you want?”

“Nothing. I’m good.”

I rolled my eyes and said, “Make that two gin bitter lemons.”

In comparison to last night, I felt completely in control. Or I did, until I felt two fingers dip under one of the strips of my swimsuit that wrapped around my waist. Then I was tugged backward away from the bar into the space between Hunt’s knees. His hands rested on my hips, and my eyes fluttered closed.

This put every other night of my so-far glorious vacation to shame.

The stubble on his chin grazed my shoulder and he said, “Whatever happens tonight . . .”

Whatever. Whatever? Please let us be thinking of the same whatever.

“Yes?” I breathed.

“Don’t throw up in the pool.”

Damn it.

Point, to Hunt.


I pulled out of Hunt’s grasp as a laugh rumbled deep in his chest.

“Just for that, funny guy . . . you’re buying.”

Our drinks arrived, and I raised an eyebrow at him in a challenge. While he stood to pay, I stole his barstool. It was both bizarre and empowering to be in a completely normal setting like a bar, but in a completely abnormal outfit that wasn’t much of an outfit at all. But I wasn’t complaining. It gave me the chance to get a good look at Hunt and his beautiful back—sculpted in muscles and cloaked in tan skin.

My military suspicions were confirmed by the USMC tattoo above his right shoulder blade. It was a lesson in self-control, tracing the letters with my eyes but not my hands.

He turned to face me, drinks in hand, and I didn’t even bother pretending like I wasn’t ogling him.

He was ogle-able. And he knew it.

A laughing Jen leaned over and clinked her glass with mine, but I couldn’t tear my gaze away from Hunt.

Jen whispered in my ear, “Not that you would know it, Miss Distracted, but Operation Tau is going very well.”

“Sounds good.”

“And I’m guessing you won’t be coming home with us tonight?”

“Sounds great.”

I bit my lip to hide a smile, and Hunt’s eyes devoured me even as I sipped the sweet drink, savoring the smooth taste. His gaze flicked to his glass for a second, then back to me.

“So, Hunt,” I asked. “Where are you from?”

“Where am I not from would be the easier question.”

“Military brat?”

He smiled, and it took me right back to that first sighting. It was almost offensive how gorgeous he was. He was like that smart kid in class that ruined the curve for everyone else. Only instead of being good at equations, he was just good at existing. I crossed my legs, and his eyes followed. He said, “Are you calling me a brat?”

“If I were going to call you names, brat would not be my first choice.”

His fingers brushed my ankle, and that small touch set my skin on fire.

“What would you call me, then?”

“Well, I’ve already called you soft.” His lovely eyes narrowed. “But I’m not above admitting when I’m wrong.”

His fingers traveled from my ankle up the back of my calf. My muscles flexed on instinct, and I really, really just wanted to skip the witty banter and get to the part where his mouth was on mine. Or on any part of me, really.

“What brings you to Budapest?” he asked.

I shrugged and hooked my foot around the back of his knee.

“Nothing in particular. It just seemed like an interesting place.” I pushed lightly, and he stepped away from the bar, closer to me. “What about you?”

His fingertips were close to the sensitive skin at the back of my knee, and he stood close enough now that if I wanted to wrap my legs around him to tug him forward, I could. He answered, “Following a whim.”

I wet my lips, and his eyes dropped down to my mouth. I was so close to getting him to follow another whim.

I said, “Do you ever get any less cryptic?”

“I thought women liked a mystery.”

His voice pitched low, and it must have hit some special frequency because it sent vibrations all the way through me. Yellow and green neon lights flashed, casting a glow across his face.

“Women love a mystery. But only if we think we can figure it out.” His gaze met mine, the intensity there was at once unnerving and intoxicating. “Are you going to let me figure you out, Hunt?”

He braced a hand on the edge of my stool, and his head dipped down toward my ear. The heat of his breath struck shivers across my skin like lightning. “That’s a two-way street, princess.”

I was about to tell him that he was dodging the question when Jenny popped up over his shoulder, Tau close by her side.

“We’re going back in the bath, you two coming?”

Hunt pulled away, and I fought the urge to wrap my limbs around him to keep him from going too far.

I held up a glass that was still almost full and said, “We’re still working on these. You guys go. Have fun.”

Jenny gave me a quick salute in lieu of a goodbye, and I had a feeling we wouldn’t be seeing each other again tonight.

When she was gone, I took another sip of my drink and met Hunt’s gaze. He wasn’t holding his glass, and when I looked behind him, it was sitting on the bar completely full.

“You’ve not touched your drink. I know it looks a little girly, but I swear you’ll like it.”

He smiled and took a seat on one of the stools that the others had vacated. “I’m okay. Really.”

“Oh, come on.” I slid off my stool to stand in front of him. Leaning against his knee, I said, “Try mine.”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re so serious. Loosen up a little. Have some fun.” I took another sip, then ran my tongue against my bottom lip to catch a stray drop. “Just try it. For me?”

I settled between his knees, and his hands went to my waist.

I imagined what his mouth would taste like, how hot our bodies would burn pressed together. Were his lips as soft as they looked? I could almost feel them, smooth and sure, at odds with the rasp of stubble on his chin. Just imagining it had my body coiling tight. I let out an unsteady breath, and he said, “If you’ll answer a question for me.”

I tilted my head just an inch, and one of his hands cupped the curve of my neck.


I took another sip of my drink, and then handed it to him. Water dripped off the outside of the glass, and he stared at me for a few seconds. I didn’t get his reluctance, and I wondered if it went back to that chivalry he claimed not to have. He acted like he didn’t trust himself where alcohol was concerned. And I, for one, was one hundred percent in favor of him getting a little crazy. With me, specifically.

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