An all-new single dad, brother’s best friend romance is out next week from author Melanie Harlow, and I have a sneak peek for you.
I got ready for bed and slipped beneath the sheets, feeling like my feet still hadn’t touched the ground.
After all this time, he’d finally invited me to dinner, and I’d ridden alone with him in the front seat of his car, and I’d sat across from him at the most romantic restaurant in town, and I’d held his arm as he walked me home in the snow, just like in a movie. Had we kissed passionately on my front porch at the end of the night? No, but I could leave that for my dreams.
Still a little tipsy, or maybe just giddy with excitement, I decided to send him a quick text.
Me: Thank you again for a perfect evening. It was exactly what I needed.
Cole: You’re welcome.
Me: Well, I’m already in bed, so goodnight!
I set my alarm and put my phone on the charger, giving my pillow a fluff before lying back and pulling the covers to my chin. Closing my eyes for a moment, I pictured Cole’s blue eyes and broad shoulders, imagining what it would be like if he were next to me right now. In my head, I heard his deep, sexy voice repeating his words from last night: Your body is fucking perfect, Cheyenne.
God, what I wouldn’t give to hear it again. This time, I’d say it right back to him.
Without thinking, I picked up my phone again and started to type a fantasy text like I had last night. Even if I never sent it—and I wouldn’t, of course I wouldn’t, I wasn’t that tipsy—it would feel good to pretend I was the girl who would. To see the words on the screen. To imagine what he’d say if he ever read them. It would take the fantasy one step further.
My fingers moved frantically over the letters.
I can’t sleep, because I can’t stop thinking about you. This might come as a surprise, but it happens a lot. And it’s been going on for years.
When I was a teenager, I used to dream about kissing you. Touching you. Feeling your body on mine in the dark. I used to lie awake and picture you in your bed next door, and I’d fantasize about sneaking into your house and up to your room. I’d have let you do anything you wanted to me.
I still would.
I could never, ever say these things out loud to you, so I’m hiding behind this text I will never send, but it’s the truth.
I lie in bed at night and crave you. Your body. Your mouth. Your hands. I fantasize about them on me.
I fantasize about a lot of things.
You arrest me. Put me in handcuffs. Force me into the back of your car. Take me somewhere no one could find us.
You’re angry with me for being bad. You say I need to be punished. You take that baton off your belt and rub it between my legs until I beg you to fuck me.
You’d take off your—
And it happened.
I don’t know how it happened, but it happened.
I hit send.
I saw the giant blue block full of white text show up on the screen and gasped. My heart screeched to a halt and then raced ahead. I dropped the phone, covered it with the quilt, and put my hands over my face, screaming internally.
Could I get it back?
Even though I knew it wasn’t possible, I frantically dug my phone from the blankets and stared at it, desperately wishing a RETRACT option would appear. Why didn’t they make one of those? Imagine how much better the world would be if we had a chance to take back words we never should have said and never meant to send!
Oh God, oh God. This couldn’t be happening. A sweat broke out across my neck and back and chest. I kicked my feet under the blankets in a tantrum fueled by regret and humiliation.
What was I supposed to do now?
I should apologize, right? Apologize and then beg him to forget he’d ever read those words and make him promise he’d never speak of them again.
Then I’d move to Montana.
No, no, that wasn’t far enough.
Mumbai. That should do it.
Choking back tears of shame, I typed OMG I AM SO SORRY! PLEASE FORGET YOU EVER—
But before I finished what I wanted to say, my phone buzzed in my hand.
Cole: My belt.
Huh? For a second, I just stared at his text in confusion.
Then he wrote again.
Cole: My gun belt. That’s what I’d take off next.
Cole: If I’m in uniform and I had the baton, I must be wearing it.
My pulse roared like a freight train. My fingers trembled.
Cole: Keep going.
I took a deep breath and began to type.
Me: OMG. You were not supposed to see that.
Cole: Too late now. Are you going to tell me the rest?
Me: Do you really want to hear it?
Biting my lip, I jumped out of bed, rushed over to my closed bedroom door, and locked it. Climbing back under the covers, I paused, my heart galloping out of control.
Could I really do this? Did he really want me to? He must, I decided. Because Cole did not play games. He didn’t really flirt or even make dirty jokes. When he said something, he meant it.
And I might never get this chance again.