The tension between them was undeniable as Chelsea took in the man before her. It didn’t seem like it had been so long since she’d seen him that he wouldn’t even recognize her. Clearly, he hadn’t though. It might’ve been comical, if he didn’t look so unbelievably hot standing there in the doorway with his jeans riding low beneath his taut stomach muscles. She ran the tip of her tongue over her bottom lip, wondering if she really was drunk to be allowing her mind to wander to such a forbidden place—or maybe she wasn’t drunk enough.
“Can I… get you a drink?” Heath asked, as if reading her mind.
Chelsea let a wild giggle escape her lips. “I think I can get my own beer at my brother’s house,” she said, grinning at him. She moved toward the kitchen, wishing her heels weren’t so high or she could just take them off, but she was already moving so she did her best to stay steady. He was still standing there in the doorway, staring at her. Chelsea couldn’t help but place a hand on his shoulder as she neared him, gently pushing her way through. The motion was enough to get him to step aside, but the contact sent an electric sizzle all the way up her arm. His skin was warm, his muscles hard. Her hand didn’t want to leave the casual contact behind, but she could hardly pause in the doorway of the kitchen to stare at him either. She let her hand drop and moved to the refrigerator, thankful that Mike always had a well-stocked fridge, at least when it came to alcoholic beverages.
She pulled out a Bud Light. “Do you want a drink?” she asked, bending down in such a way that he would have a full view of just how grown up she’d gotten, should he care to look. The weight of his eyes on her let Chelsea know he did care.
“Uh, sure….” Heath sounded as if he were signing his soul over to the devil. Maybe he was in a way. If the two of them had enough to drink, who knew what might happen?
Chelsea knew he preferred Budweiser to Bud Light, so she pulled out a bottle of each and headed back toward him. He was standing a few feet in the kitchen now, still looking killer in only those jeans. She handed him his drink, popped the top on hers with her bare hand, and took a swig. “Where’s Mike?” she asked, wiping her mouth on the back of her hand.
Heath swallowed back more than a sip of his beer before he replied, “Got a call from some chick.”
“Hoes before bros?” Chelsea snickered, walking past him. She needed to get out of these shoes.
“Something like that.” Heath followed her. When she pulled a chair out at the dining room table, the light from the kitchen the only soft illumination, he followed, grabbing the chair at the end of the table and scooting it back a few feet before he sat down, his beer still in his hand.
Chelsea pretended not to notice him watching her as she leaned down and unhooked her shoes, sliding her aching feet out of them, but she knew he was looking at her curves, the soft mounds of flesh that jutted out of the top of her shirt. She glanced up at him as her second shoe came off, and Heath looked away, his face slightly red. She’d never known him to be shy, so the feeling that she’d gotten such a reaction out of him was satisfying.
“How long will you be staying with Mike?” she asked, swirling her beer bottle around on the table for a second before she took another drink.
“Just through the end of the weekend. Are you planning on sleeping over?”
The question was innocent enough. He obviously wanted to know if she would want the guest bedroom. But the other implications were there, so Chelsea raised an eyebrow at him.
“I mean—Mike didn’t mention….”
“He didn’t know I was coming.” The events that had led her there came back to her, and Chelsea couldn’t help but sigh in frustration. She spun her bottle again. “My date was—awful.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.” Heath sounded concerned—and a bit relieved that his awkwardly worded question had been evaded.
“Yeah. I just came over to talk to Mike. To get my head right.” She shrugged. “It’s too bad he’s not here, but he didn’t know I was coming.”
“Are you staying at your parents’ place this summer?” Heath asked, possibly trying to change the subject from her terrible date.
Chelsea nodded. “Mostly. Sometimes I come over here, though. My mom had a tendency to forget I’m not a little girl anymore.”
“I don’t know how she could be confused.” Heath’s eyes dropped down the length of her, and then that tinge of red was back as he tried to stop himself.
Chelsea held back a smile. He really was interested in her. Imagine that—after all of these years. He’d always treated her like she was just Mike’s annoying little sister. Now, his eyes wouldn’t stay off of her breasts or her muscular thighs.
She took another drink, sizing up the situation. If she made a move, Heath would crumble in her hands. He might try to pretend that he didn’t want her, but he wouldn’t hold out for long. She wasn’t drunk enough not to know what she was doing, and he wasn’t drunk at all. But if Mike found out—he’d kill both of them. Chelsea took a deep breath, her eyes locked on Heath’s handsome face, the bristles on his chin providing a shadow that gave him a mysterious, almost dangerous, allure. He was dangerous in a way. Which made her want him even more.
Chelsea sank her teeth into her bottom lip and watched the soldier in front of her melt in his seat. She could definitely have him if she wanted him. She just had to decide whether or not it was worth potentially angering her brother. But then, Mike didn’t need to know—did he?