Price of a Kiss(4)

By: Linda Kage

So maybe I didn’t have a detailed, up-close-and-personal view of him. I mean, I couldn’t even make out his facial attributes from here—and a striking face was what usually drew me first. But none of that seemed to matter, because I had this gut feeling deep inside that his smile was an absolute heartbreaker.

It was breaking my heart that very second.

There was just something about his aura that screamed sensual, confident, charming beast. It radiated off him in waves as he relaxed in a comfortable, total guy stance, casually draping an arm across the back of a frozen stallion. The boy was a piece of art, and hella more alluring than the chunk of metal currently supporting his weight.

I could not take my eyes off him. “Just tell me he doesn’t stalk and stab his ex-girlfriends.”

“Nope,” Eva assured me. “He doesn’t even have ex-girlfriends. Because he’s a gigolo.”

Oh, yes she did. Out loud. In the middle of a busy campus. Like it was an everyday fact.

I ripped my stare away from Hotness to gape at my cousin, who, sure, sometimes said some crazy-ass shit. But really, this was up there with the best of her whoppers. “Excuse me?”

Eva smirked. “He sells his body for sex.”

As if I needed the dictionary definition for a gigolo. Hello. “What the heck are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about Mason Lowe, that guy you keep sexually harassing with your eyes.” She tipped her head in the direction of Hotness still leaning against the bucking horse statue. “You can’t stop staring, I know. He’s stunning, I have to agree. He was two classes ahead of me in high school, and we shared a fourth-hour math class my sophomore year, so yeah, I’ve drooled over him a time or two myself. But trust me, sweetie, he’s not available. Because he’s a frigging gigolo.”

When I did nothing but blink at her because, um, what was I supposed to say to that, Eva insistently added, “I’m serious!”

“You mean figuratively, right?”

“I mean exactly what I said, literally.”

I cocked an eyebrow. “And…you would know this because…?”

“I don’t know. I just…know. Everyone knows. Except the cops, of course. Otherwise, he’d be in jail for illegal prostitution or something. It’s a well-known rumor he works at the Country Club as some kind of cover to set up appointments with his clients, who just happen to be some of the richest, horniest women in the county who pay him boocoos of cash to pleasure them…any way they want. I’m certain some of my mom’s cronies have had him.”

My mouth fell open. I scrutinized her an entire minute before snorting out a laugh and shoving at her shoulder. “Oh, my God. You are such a liar. Jeez, E., you totally had me going for a second.”

“What?” Eva managed to look insulted. “I swear to God, I’m not lying. Do you want to go ask him?” She hooked her arm through mine and tried to stand up, dragging me with her.

Um, yeah. Not going to happen. I’d internally combust from hormone overdose if I went anywhere near Hotness right now. Like getting too close to the sun, he’d probably burn me with one of his deadly testosterone rays. And I so wasn’t wearing enough SPF for that kind of action.

I yanked both our asses back down. “What do you think you’re doing? You can’t just go up to someone and ask him if he’s a gigolo?” Gah!

Eva responded in typical Eva fashion. She shrugged and tossed her hair. “Why not? I doubt he’d lie about it. It certainly doesn’t seem to be a secret.”

I threw my head back and shouted out a laugh. But, wow. Sometimes Eva was just too much. The things she could think up were, well…they were outlandish. I kind of loved that about her, and yet it also embarrassed the heck out of me. Sadly, I wasn’t quite as outgoing as my vivid counterpart. I was much more prone to moments of horrified blushing than feats of extroverted greatness. I mean, I wasn’t shy by any stretch of the imagination, but I was by no means an Eva Mercer.

As if he sensed I was blushing over him that very second, Hotness—or as Eva had dubbed him, Mason Lowe—glanced in our direction and made eye contact. With me.

I stopped laughing. Stopped smiling. Pretty much stopped breathing. Gawd, but the boy sure knew how to hold a heated stare.

“Lord have mercy,” Eva murmured next to me.

I didn’t respond—couldn’t if I’d wanted to. I was too busy being electrocuted from the inside out. My fingertips sizzled and toes curled as if an invisible, kinetically charged bolt tethered me to the hunk fifty yards away, who seemed to bind us together with his stare alone.

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