Excerpted from “What a Girl Wants” by Brenda Novak
What’s the matter?” Gunner grinned. “Nervous?”
April tried to make out his expression, hoping for some clue as to why he’d bother bringing her out here, where they were all alone, but came up empty. “Of course not. I’m perfectly relaxed. I just don’t see the point of continuing to act our parts when no one can see us anymore.”
“I think you can use the practice,” he stated flatly.
April stopped long enough to take off her sandals. It was getting downright cold, but she liked the soft, grainy feel of the sand between her toes, enjoyed the smell of the salt air. She didn’t travel enough, she realized. This was truly beautiful. “What do you mean?”
“No one’s going to believe you even like me if you jump every time I brush your arm,” he said. “Or slide over to the opposite side of your seat when I sit down next to you. A couple who is falling in love moves toward each other. They touch at every available opportunity because they crave the physical contact like their bodies crave air. They have trouble even looking at anyone else in the room.”
April swallowed a dreamy sigh. That was the kind of love she longed for, the kind of love she was beginning to believe, for her, would never exist. “I admit you’re doing a much better job of pretending than I am,” she said. “But intimacy isn’t my strong suit. I don’t lie well. And we already know that you have a lot more experience with physical relationships than I do.”
He pulled her to a stop and faced her, standing only a few inches away. “You’re a scientist, April.”
April was halfway convinced he was joking. But he didn’t smile.
“You need to get comfortable with me,” he said, and he had a point. Surely if she could relax, the next few days would pass much quicker and easier.
Taking a deep breath, she tilted her head back expectantly. “So we’re coming to the lesson you wanted to teach me? Okay, I’ll go along with that. Go ahead and kiss me.” She squeezed her eyes closed and puckered up.
She waited, but nothing happened. When she opened her eyes, she found him watching her with a quizzical expression. “Aren’t you going to kiss me?”
“Because you’re going to kiss me.”