I was so caught up in watching her that I kept pausing mid-bite and letting melted gelato dribble on my chin. We were sitting on a bench just outside the gelato shop, and we were close. Lua’s thigh rested against mine. It was closer than I would have liked, considering my waning sense of control.
Lua made fun of me. “You are the worst ice cream eater I have ever met.”
I nodded and then dropped my head, feigning embarrassment. She giggled. I loved how much she laughed, how easy it was for me to make her laugh.
“You have chocolate…” She pointed to my chin. “… right there.”
I wiped my napkin where I thought she pointed.
“Nope. Closer to your mouth.”
I tried again.
Before I could stop her, she was holding my face in her hand and swiping her thumb softly across my bottom lip. It took everything I had to stay still. In my mind, I wandered to the places I would go from this moment if Lua was mine for the taking. I thought about drawing her thumb into my mouth, sucking on it and hearing her breath catch. I thought about moving so that my hand supported her neck, gently tucking her thick hair behind her ear and whispering all the things I wanted to do to her, telling her how I wanted to slide my hand between her thighs, feel her warm and wet, shuddering and bucking against my fingers, right there on that bench.
When she moved her hand away, I stood up—quick. I had to. I couldn't be touching her any longer. She followed my lead.
“Are we done?” she asked oddly, like I was the leader of our journey, and it only then occurred to me that everything we had done had been decided by me. I didn’t want that. I wanted the night to be about us.
“I don’t know, are we?”
“Um…” She was standing right in front of me, so she had to tilt up her chin to look me in the eye. “I’m gonna say no.”
“No, huh? Well then, fearless leader, where to?”
She bit the left side of her lip and her eyes drifted up and to the left. I’d once read somewhere that we look up at the different sides of our brain when we are creating or processing stuff, and that FBI guys and other law enforcement specialists were trained to tell if someone was lying by watching how they look up while they’re talking, but in this case, I knew Lua was just searching the recesses of her mind for a plan.
“Have you ever gone to the Empire State Building?”
“Really?” I was not expecting that.
“Well, have you? I mean, I know you’ve ridden the subway, but not everyone does all that New York touristy stuff.”
I would never admit that my first time on the subway was with her. Never. But I would give her this one. “No, I’ve never gone, but is it even open now? It’s almost eleven o’clock.”
She rolled her eyes at me. “Of course, it’s open now. Do you honestly think that they’d miss the opportunity to make money off the New York City skyline at night?”
She turned, looped her elbow around mine like I’d done earlier in the evening at the hotel, and said, “Don’t give me a hard time, Drew. Just come with me to see the pretty lights, okay?”
I conceded. Not a problem.
“This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Truly amazing from start to finish. I LOVED the message and the push-pull, and there were so many good points and insights. This was an intelligent romance with one epic love story. 10 stars!” - Mama Bee, Goodreads
“Everything about this book is a solid gold star. If you have never read a Lola West book, this is a beautiful place to begin. This is no fairytale. There are no damsels to be found here. There won’t be macho men riding in on white horses. This is not your mother- or grandmother's- story. This is so much bigger than that. Sit down, buckle up, and prepare to fall head over heels for the opposition.” - KKEC READS, Goodreads
“Holy moly cannoli!” Definitely couldn’t have said it better myself! This book was everything Lola said it was going to be and more. It was a beyond empowering love story that brings two people together against all odds. Lola’s writing in this book is so empowering and eye opening. 100% recommend! Love, love, LOVE!” - Denise Reynolds, Goodreads