Exclusive Excerpt from This Time Around
by Aimee Nicole Walker
My second time up to the apartments was a little slower and a whole lot more hesitant without anger and annoyance propelling me up the steps. I rehearsed what I wanted to say, but totally lost my train of thought when I came face-to-face with Andy. More like face to chest. Oh. Dear. God. His bare chest was sexier than I even imagined. I just stood there staring at his masculine perfection, not bothering to ask why he was sweatier than normal. I was just grateful for my blessings.
“I think something is wrong with the thermostat,” Andy said. “It just keeps getting hotter and hotter in here.” You could say that again. “I’ve called Paul to come check it out. It could be something simple, so don’t worry that you’ll have to replace the heating system.”
“I’m not worried,” I said when I could finally speak.
“My eyes are up here,” Andy said wryly.
I snapped my eyes up to meet his. He smiled broadly, and I think I breathed easy for the first time that day. It was the carefree grin I had known and loved so much when we were teenagers. “About Tucker—” I stopped when the smile slid from his face.
“I don’t want to know.”
“Andy,” I said patiently. “Let me finish. There is nothing going on between Tucker and me. He wants there to be, but he knows it won’t happen.”
Andy snorted. “You sure looked chummy this morning, or do all your early-morning clients kiss you?”
“He kissed me on the forehead and cheek,” I explained. “It was a gesture to show he accepted that friendship was all I could offer him.”
“Forehead kisses are your favorite, or has that changed?”
I was still a sucker for them. If I thought about it hard enough, I could recall how right Andy’s lips felt pressed to my forehead. Of course, his kisses lingered and led to more kisses. That’s probably what he thought happened between Tucker and me that morning. Later, I could speak my mind about him jumping to conclusions, but right then I only wanted to assure him of one thing.
I closed the distance between us until I was close enough to smell his intoxicating, masculine scent. “Ask me why Tucker has accepted that he has no future with me, Andy.”
“Why? So you can toy with me some more.”
“Take a chance. Say the words, Andy.”