Home > Wright with Benefits (Wright Series #8)(6)

Wright with Benefits (Wright Series #8)(6)
Author: K.A. Linde

“Hey, Cézanne,” he said amicably. “You’re our savior tonight.”

She shot me a look. She certainly hadn’t missed the use of the word our. I hadn’t missed it either. Not just my savior…but his, too?

“Sure am.” She passed him the cables. “I like saving Wrights. Always good to have a favor owed.”

He shook his head. “I help Annie out and somehow end up owing everyone else favors.”

“Well, you owe Annie enough to never be out of her debt.”

My cheeks colored at the comment. Even in the dim light, the blush against my freckled cheeks was obvious. “Thanks, Cézanne. You’re a lifesaver. Now, go kick ass at this party.”

She squeezed my hand, recognizing the dismissal. I loved her to death. But anything that didn’t come out of her mouth was surely written all over her face. If she liked you, you knew it. If she didn’t, you sure as hell knew that too. If she thought you were an idiot, like poor Bryan, good luck ever feeling like anything else in her presence. And for Jordan Wright, well, if he hadn’t known that he owed me before, he did now.

He held up the cables, his eyes lighting as they caught mine and held. “Shall we?”

I swallowed. It was probably safer to wait until after the party and take the cables with Cézanne. To keep Jordan Wright owing me favors forever. To never let him have the chance to clear what was between us. But that car ride had released a valve. What could it hurt, driving back with him?

Three years ago, I’d said that he was my type, if I’d ever had one. And that hadn’t changed a bit. Because that damn smile still did me in.

“Let’s do it.”

 

 

5

 

 

Jordan

 

 

“Okay, try it now,” I called to Annie.

She sat in her car and turned the key, kicking the ignition into place. The car revved to life. A slow rumble and then a roar. I sighed with relief. With the day she’d been having, she needed this small victory. The last thing I’d wanted was for the battery to be dead. I didn’t think my luck would have lasted against her rage.

Annie’s whoop of delight was loud enough to be heard a few blocks over. She jumped out of the car, leaving the cables and conflict forgotten.

“It works!” she cried, doing a little dance. “Thank fuck!”

I laughed at her enthusiasm. At the chance to see this Annie up close and personal. It’d been so long.

“Come dance with me, Jordan,” she said, still twirling in place.

I shook my head at her.

“I know you know how to move.”

With a laugh, I ducked under the cables and stepped closer to her. I grabbed her hand mid-spin and twirled her in a circle and back to me. She giggled and took my other hand, pushing and pulling us closer together and then apart. She tipped her head back as I twirled her around again in a circle.

It didn’t matter that we were in the pitch-black in an empty parking lot with no music. Annie was just too happy that something had finally gone right to even consider stopping. And I didn’t want this to end either.

I spun her out to arm’s length and then rolled her back in, cocooning her in my embrace before dipping her. She looked up at me. All bright green eyes and teasing smile. For a moment, I thought about bridging that distance between us. All I wanted to do was capture those perfect pink lips. And for a split second, something in her eyes flashed a challenge, daring me to do it.

A beat passed, and neither of us moved. Then she let her head drop down, her hair trailing against the pavement. The moment broken. My chance gone.

I lifted her back to her feet and released her. Her smile was only slightly reduced.

“Thanks,” she muttered, brushing back her red hair. “I needed that after the fucking day I’ve had.”

“No problem. It was fun.”

“It was, wasn’t it?”

“Well, you probably have to get back to your party.”

Annie sighed heavily and leaned her body back against her car. She tilted her head up to the sky, lifting her arms, as if she could reach out and touch it. Head off into the heavens and find real adventure.

“I never really wanted to go to the party.”

“Then don’t go,” I said with a shrug.

She snorted. “It’s not that easy. The professor who is retiring is a big deal. All the other professors will be there. It’s my last semester, and those relationships mean something.”

“It’s one party. It can’t mean the end of your career as a doctor.”

“No. Just whether or not this semester is abysmal.”

“One party shouldn’t decide that.”

Her eyes finally found mine again. “No, it shouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean anything is as fair as it should be.”

The words hung between us. She wasn’t talking entirely about medical school or even business. She was talking about us. Nothing had ever been fair when it came to Annie. Not when she’d captured me wholly that one night or the three years of fuckery afterward.

“No, I suppose it isn’t.”

“Cézanne is probably waiting for me.”

“Yeah,” I said, barely holding back my sigh.

She pushed off from the car and went to turn it off. I removed the cables and passed them to her. She tucked them into her trunk, slamming it shut behind her with such force that I knew she was irritated again.

“Well…thanks,” she said.

And she actually stuck her hand out in front of her as if I were some stranger who would shake hands with her.

“Anytime,” I told her, taking her hand anyway. Because maybe I wasn’t a stranger, but we were strained enough for it not to matter.

Her fingers were freezing as we shook, and she barely met my gaze.

I should let her go. Watch her drive off into the night and never look back. But I didn’t let her go, and I didn’t release her hand.

“I guess I owe you.” She didn’t pull back either.

“Nah, didn’t you hear Cézanne? I might never be out of your debt.”

She grinned, a flush coming to her cheeks. “You don’t have to listen to her. She’s ridiculous.”

“But right.”

Annie finally must have seen sense because she withdrew her hand and rubbed it down her jacket. Then crossed her arms. I didn’t know what she was thinking. How could I? If I had a way to tap into that beautiful brain, maybe I wouldn’t have wrecked us already. But I did know that she was shutting herself off from me because I was getting too close. Maybe that should have made me want to walk away, to give her all the space she wanted. I just didn’t want that. I didn’t want space. Not when this was as close as we’d been in years.

“What if I have a better offer?” I blurted out.

She arched an eyebrow. “A better offer than what?”

“Than the party.”

She shot me a skeptical look. “What’s the offer?”

I tipped my head toward my truck and pulled down the tailgate.

She peered inside and then immediately started laughing. “Did you steal a case of wine?”

“Steal? No, of course not,” I said, affronted. “Sophia gave it to me when I was loading them up. She told me to try a few bottles before our next meeting.”

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