It’s been twelve months, three days, and eleven hours since accounting student Scarlett Logan made it past a second date. A pitcher of mojitos in hand, she employs her supreme graphing skills to narrow things down to one horrifying explanation. Kissing. Clearly someone needs to teach her how to kiss properly. Like, say, her best friend and roomie, Finn Mackenzie. He’s safe, he’s convenient, and yeah, maybe just a little gorgeous.
Finn knows exactly why Scarlett’s boyfriends are disappearing quickly. Him. Not a single guy she’s brought home is nearly good enough. And he’ll be damned if he lets some loser give her “kissing lessons.” No. He’ll do the honors, thank you very much. The moment their lips touch, though, everything turns upside down. But Scarlett deserves the one thing Finn can’t give her. And if he doesn’t put an end to the sexy little shenanigans, he’ll teach Scarlett the hardest lesson of all…heartbreak.
“I haven’t forgotten we kissed, obviously, but I can’t remember details, like what the most effective elements were.”
I shifted in my seat. Every second of that kiss was burned into my memory bank. It seemed that hadn’t been as mutual as I’d suspected. I blew out a breath and focused on being a teacher in the situation, not a man who’d been carried away with his own lesson.
“I think you’re over-analyzing this. The elements don’t matter on their own. It’s more about the big picture.”
“Would you say that to your undergrads? Don’t worry about the specifics of the aqueducts, or which emperor came to power in what year. It’s more about the big picture of knowing there was a Roman Empire?”
“Well, no, but it’s completely different,” I said, looking down the hall and wondering if I could escape the conversation by simply leaving.
“How?” she persisted. “In both cases, you’re teaching something. So the student needs the topic broken down into bite-size pieces.”
At the word “bite” all the air left the room. Scarlett must have interpreted my silence to be disbelief because she grabbed a pen and a sheet of paper.
“Here.” She smoothed it out on the coffee table in front of us. “I’ll graph it for you.”
That snapped me back. “You’re going to graph our kiss?”
She drew an X and Y axis, then a line that went up across the page, but not smoothly—there were spikes and bumps along its progress.
“So, here, for example”—she pointed to a sharp rise in the line—“you did something and the kiss took off. What was it?”
“Seriously?” She wanted to talk as if it had been a clinical experience?
“If this had been a kiss for kissing’s sake, then, sure, we could leave it alone. But it was a lesson. How am I supposed to learn if I don’t remember the stimulus that caused the response?”
“You don’t need to. You were great. There’s nothing more to learn.” Better than great. Her kissing had been phenomenal.
“Again, if an undergrad wanted to learn more about the Roman Empire than they needed to for the first-year exam, would you tell them they were fine, or would you point them to more resource material?”
I blinked. “I’m resource material?”
She threw her hands up in the air, as if she was the one who was exasperated. “You’re the one who offered the lesson in the first place, so yes. You are my resource material on kissing.”
I looked over at the array of empty beer bottles on the coffee table. “We really need to make it a rule that we don’t talk about kissing after we’ve been drinking.”
“You’d rather have this conversation stone-cold sober?”
“I’d rather not have this conversation at all.”
“Oh.” Her face fell.
“What?” I asked warily.
“It’s just occurred to me that although I thought the kiss was good, you might not have enjoyed it at all. That’s why you’re fighting so hard against a follow up lesson.” She scrunched up her nose. “It was awful for you.”
I rubbed my temples—I was getting a headache trying to keep up with her thought processes and keep us out of dangerous territory.
“It wasn’t awful.” Amazing would be closer.
“Then why are you so against a follow-up lesson so I can focus on the bits I’ve forgotten?”
Something in the way she said “forgotten” made everything inside me rear up and protest. Maybe it was vanity, maybe it was neediness, but whatever it was, I didn’t want to be considered a forgettable kisser. Especially by Scarlett.
My gaze zeroed in on her mouth as I wrapped an arm around her and tugged her closer, but not quite touching. Her eyes widened and her pink tongue darted out to moisten her lips. I groaned.
“See if you can forget this,” I said, and lowered my head.
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