Excerpt 2: Hector

Set up: They get a moment alone at a party.

That reminded Hector of something. Getting back to her earlier comment about not being a genius, he felt almost stupid now about being so pissed over what she’d done yesterday. “A chess scholarship? Impressive. Not that I’m surprised. I’d say only a chess genius could come up with what you did to me yesterday.” Her timid smile flat lined immediately. “I’m not mad okay? I mean I’ll did feel a little stupid—”

“I wasn’t trying to make you feel stupid,” she said quickly then added in a lower voice shaking her head softly. “I swear.”

He smiled even bigger hoping to reassure her. “I know that now, Charlotte.” He saw it yesterday when he called her that. A flicker in her eyes he didn’t know what to make of then and still didn’t now. “Do you not like being called Charlotte?”

Those big blue eyes looked up at him as she shook her head. “No I don’t mind. I just… I’m just a little surprised you remember.”

Going against everything he’d been telling himself since he walked into that party tonight, he took a step closer to her. “Yeah, I remember,” he said taking yet another step closer to her. “I also remember you having more freckles. You cover them up?”

She nodded staring at him the same way she had yesterday, the very way she had on the dance floor. Like she wanted to say more but wouldn’t—couldn’t. “Why?” Unable to hold back anymore he touched the soft flesh of her cheek with the back of his hand gently. It felt as soft as he’d imagined and the fact that she didn’t protest or even move away from him made his heart pound like it had when he held her earlier. “You don’t like them?”

Clearing her throat but not looking away she stared right at him. “No, I don’t.”

“I like them.” Feeling intoxicated by the feel of her skin against his hand he continued to caress the few freckles that weren’t concealed around her lips with the tips of his knuckles.

He knew he should stop but he couldn’t now. The tips of his knuckles moved over her lips and she closed her eyes, her lashes fluttering along with the very subtle but undeniable tremble of her body. She breathed in deeply and so did he. He had to. He was beginning to lose it. Staring at her lips for a moment he tried one last time to convince himself he shouldn’t. Nothing in him, not his pounding heart, not his hungry lips, not his aching growing need—none of it was cooperating here.