I melted on the spot. Who could withstand him? More importantly, who would want to?

“You’re Tessa McCaide, right? Staying at the yellow house?”


I stared down at my feet, unable to keep eye contact for one more second. And crap. Why did my beat-up-to-hell Nine Inch Nails t-shirt have to be the one on top? The one with the silver dollar sized hole just to the left of my belly button.

Perfect. On the day I looked like a homeless weirdo the hottest guy ever wanted to talk to me. The one guy who made me feel things I couldn’t even begin to describe. It was more than attraction, though that was there in spades. I was drawn to him.

“I’m Dastien Laurent.” An accent peeked through as he spoke and held out a hand.

I couldn’t turn it down.

“Do you always wear gloves?”

“Usually.” My face burned. “I’m not supposed to be talking to St. Ailbe’s kids.”

He laughed, golden eyes glittering. “I’m not exactly a St. Ailbe’s kid anymore. I graduated already.” He leaned in closer to me, and his warm breath tickled my cheek. “I’m okay. Promise,” he said with a low voice. He hadn’t let go of my hand, and I didn’t want him to.

“Nine Inch Nails, huh?”

“Yeah. Why?”

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“You look too sweet to like Trent.”

I dropped mouth open. No one had ever accused me of being sweet.

He narrowed his eyes. “What’s your favorite song?”

Now that was a serious question. Did I go old school or new? I loved most everything. Song titles quickly ran through my mind. ‘Survivalism.’ No. ‘God Given.’ No. Maybe I should say ‘Ringfinger.’ Yes. That was it. “I’m going with ‘Closer.’”

My face was intently hot as he laughed. Holy Freudian slip, Batman. Leave it to me to tell the hottest guy ever that one of my favorite song’s chorus was a guy yelling about how he wants to fu—“do” them like an animal.

I covered my face with my hands. “I meant ‘Terrible Lie.’ I swear. Seriously. Forget the other song I mentioned.”

He was still laughing. “Don’t think that’s going to happen, but I won’t mention it. Both choices were solid. Pretty Hate Machine is a classic album, so your second choice was pretty good.” He leaned in again. “But I liked your first choice better.”

Oh. My. God. Was he flirting with me over my favorite band ever?

This was it. We had the same musical taste. He was clearly meant for me. I wouldn’t fight destiny when it brought something like this to me.

He stepped into my personal space, and I didn’t step away. “You know—”

Another guy appeared in the aisle saying something in a language I couldn’t understand. His chartreuse eyes stood out against his fair skin.

I took a step away from Dastien, but he shook his head at me. Why, I had no idea. I couldn’t begin to imagine what was going through his head when I couldn’t form a coherent thought.

Dastien and his friend spoke rapidly in what might have been French. They were wearing identical outfits—black jeans and black t-shirts. It was weird, but neutral enough that it could’ve been a coincidence.

Dastien’s friend nodded at me and then walked away.

I didn’t have time to wonder what their exchange was all about. Dastien kissed the back of my hand, and my brain turned to mush.

Wait. He was going to leave?

My pulse echoed in my ears.

“I’ll see you soon,” he said as he let my hand go.

“Sure,” I said but his back was already to me as he walked away. He looked over his shoulder at me and winked.

That should be illegal. Seriously.

I leaned back hard against the bookshelf. It rattled, but thankfully didn’t tip over. I fanned myself for a second. That guy made me sweat.

“I’ll see you soon?” I whispered his words to myself. I glanced around the bookshelf to see if he was gone. What did that mean? When would he see me?

The bookstore suddenly lost its appeal. There was only one thing for a girl to do when she had a close encounter with a guy that hot.

Ice cream. I needed lots and lots of ice cream. Even if it was my breakfast. It had milk and maybe eggs. That totally counted.

I peeked at my watch. I still had twenty minutes before I was supposed to meet up with Axel. I meandered through the mall until I found the food court, grabbed a sugar cone with a scoop of chocolate chip, my favorite, and went outside to wait.

A lone cement bench sat outside the front of the entrance closest to where I’d parked. I settled down to eat my cone as I watched three guys try to hit on a girl. They were laughing and punching each other as they vied for her attention. The boys were hot and so ripped their T-shirts could be mere seconds away from tearing at the seams. There had to be something in the water here. I didn’t recognize the guys from school, but I knew the girl was in my Pre-calc class. I searched my memory for her name and drew a blank.

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