Unexpectedly Yours (Page 27)
Right in front of me, real flesh and blood. I’ve been feeling like I imagined our time together, like it was a dream I’ll never get back. But seeing him again, the feelings crash over me, more intense than ever.
Until I remember what sent me running the first place. My joy fades. “What about your girlfriend?” I ask, my voice breaking. “Is she here too?”
Austin strides out onto the balcony, closing the distance between us. “She’s not my girlfriend,” he swears, reaching to take my hand. He cradles it to his chest, looking down at me with an agonized look in his eyes. “I’m so sorry, I never thought she’d show up like that.”
I struggle to keep the hope in my chest from taking flight. I know that he’s charming, he could smooth-talk anyone into believing him, but I’m too hurt to just accept his word. “But, she was in your room,” I point out, pulling away. “In her underwear! She said you do this all the time. That I was nothing special,” I add, unable to keep the hurt and rejection from my voice.
Austin shakes his head. He looks desperate. “She was lying. We had a casual thing, on and off, but I promise, it was never anything real. Not like it was with you.”
My heart stops.
I blink, not ready to believe what I just heard. “It’s not…” I murmur, turning away. My head is warring with my heart right now, fighting the instinct just to fall in his arms again. But I have to think straight. “We spent a day together, that’s all,” I point out.
“So?” Austin’s face creases in that gorgeous, sexy smile. “It was the best day of my whole life. And I want a hundred other days like that with you. A million.”
My head spins. I want to believe him so badly, but I remember what happened with Matt: how he just turned around and quit on us without a single warning. I can’t go through that again, and be someone’s impulse decision they take back on second thoughts. Not with him.
“Austin…” I gulp for air. “We barely know each other. You can’t just say…” I stop, looking back at him. “What are you saying?” I ask nervously. “What do you want?”
“I want you.”
His words wash over me, and the tight knot in my chest unravels, just like that. Austin lifts his hands and cradles my face. His touch is warm against my cool skin, and I close my eyes to savor the feel of him.
My heartbeat pounds faster in my chest. The nearness of him is overwhelming, the physical connection that can’t be denied.
“Austin…” I whisper again, opening my eyes. I can’t believe he’s really here.
He’s staring down at me, a raw hunger in his eyes that sends my pulse racing. “It’s you, Sophie,” he murmurs, gently stroking my cheek. “I can’t explain it, but it’s you. And maybe this is fast, and reckless, and crazy, but it doesn’t have to be. We can take this as slow as you like, one day at a time. I just know, the minute I thought I’d lost you… It made me realize you’re the only one I want.”
Joy crashes through me. “No,” I say, smiling.
Austin’s smile falters. Hurt blazes in his eyes.
“No!” I say quickly. “I mean, I don’t need to take it slowly. I know. I feel the same way too. It’s you.”
Austin lets out a breath of relief, and then his arms are around me, and his lips are claiming mine. Hot and hard and slow, he kisses me all the way to my soul as the noise from the party drifts around us and happiness swells bright in my chest.
I cling to him, tasting him, holding his body down against mine, giddy with the feel of him solid in my arms.
I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Right here, with him. Nothing matters except for that, because I know, deep down, this is the beginning.
Finally, we come up for air. Voices come, chanting from downstairs. “Five…four…three…” The final count is drowned out by cheers and celebration. Across the bay, fireworks explode in a sudden riot of color, flooding the sky with a thousand stars.
I gasp in delight. “Look!”
Austin draws me back against his body, holding me tight. His lips graze my ear, setting every nerve alight with sensation.
“Happy New Year, sweetheart.”
And I know, it will be.
10 minutes earlier…
It’s fifteen minutes to midnight on New Year’s Eve, and my agent is freaking out.
“Don’t you get it?” he demands, on the phone from LA. “This is the excuse we’ve been waiting for. Their filming permits fell through, so you can pull out!”
“I don’t want to quit,” I explain for a tenth time. The party is in full swing around me, people greeting me as they pass. I flash a smile back, raising my glass of bourbon in a toast. “Look, can’t we talk about this in the morning?” I tell Josh, my eyes drifting to a gorgeous brunette in the corner giving me a flirty wave. I wink at the woman, and she smiles back. Perfect. “I’m kind of busy right now.”
“Too busy for your career?” Josh shoots back. I sigh.
“Hold on, I can’t hear you…” I look around for a quiet spot to get away. There’s a door to the back deck, so I hustle through the crowd getting ready for the big countdown.
I slide the door open. Outside, it’s quiet enough to hear myself think. The air is cool and salty, the beach shadowed in the dark. “Look, Josh, I want to do this movie.”