Hot Holiday Nights Page 31

His woman. Huh. He’d never once thought of a woman as his. But he couldn’t deny Tori had gotten into his blood. He thought about her all the time. Other than when he was competing, when his focus was entirely on the waves, on his board and the skill it took to do his maneuvers, his thoughts had been on Tori.

Just a holiday fling, right? Nothing more than that. It was just hot sex. Amazing hot sex.

But as he watched her laughing and talking with his friends, their gazes met.

Heat and sexual chemistry, definitely. But something else, for sure.

He had to admit right from the start there had been something special about Tori, an instantaneous connection he’d never had with any other woman.

His gaze drifted to Ben. Ben watched her the same way, took every opportunity he could to run his hand up and down her back. Ben liked touching her, liked being with her. Ben was more animated with Tori than any other woman he’d been with before. He’d never known Ben to take such an active interest in a woman.

Interesting.

Alex’s entire career had been spent analyzing everything. The height and velocity of the waves, the water temperature, the wind, the way his body moved on the board. His success or failure depended on his ability to step back from emotion and let his analytical ability come into play.

But with Tori, he felt a fierce rush of emotion whenever he was with her, and that was something new. The thought of walking away from her when this was all over seemed . . . unsettling. And that had never happened before. He’d enjoyed women his entire life. He’d treated them right, had always been up-front and honest with them, and had never led them on. But when it was over, he walked away without a backward glance.

He’d also shared women with Ben before, and that had never been an issue.

As he watched Ben slide his fingers into Tori’s hair, he waited for any jealousy to creep in.

No. Not there. He liked Ben. Though there was the age difference, they were and had been best friends for years. Ben touching Tori made him feel closer to both of them, so that wasn’t an issue.

The only issue right now was with how he felt about Tori. That was something he might have to analyze further. Only this time, he’d leave the emotion in the mix and see what came of it.

*   *   *

It had been a fun night. The food had been amazing, the company even more so. Victoria liked all these people. Some were a lot younger than her, but they were smart and savvy and their entire lives weren’t focused only on surfing.

She and Whitney had sat next to each other and caught up. Whitney was having a hot fling with Cade, but Whitney was also smart. She knew it wasn’t going anywhere beyond the time Cade was going to spend on the island.

“I know not to get emotionally invested in him,” Whitney said as the guys had temporarily left to help build the bonfire. “I’m smarter than that. He’s leaving, and I’m staying put. We have no future together. But right now? We sure are having fun.”

Victoria laughed. “You’re young. Plenty of time to find your forever love. This is the time in your life to explore and have new adventures.”

Whitney’s gaze tracked over to the bonfire, where Cade stood next to Alex. “He certainly is sexually adventurous.”

“As long as you want the same things he wants, then it’s all good.”

Whitney pulled her gaze away from Cade and smiled at her. “I’m very open to what he wants. And the best part is he’s definitely open to what I want. The sex is fantastic.”

Victoria laughed. “Then it’s definitely all good.”

“How about you? Where do you see yourself with Alex and Ben?”

She looked over at the two men standing side by side, both so utterly different. “I . . . don’t know. I imagine it’ll run its course and then I’ll head back East.”

“You don’t sound so certain about that.”

Was she? When on vacation, she was always firmly planted in the right now, enjoying every second. And when it was over, it was over. She flew back home with great memories and not a second thought.

But as she looked over at Ben laughing with Alex, her heart clenched.

What was that all about?

She did not get emotionally attached to men. She never had.

Before now. And now? She had . . . feelings. Not just sexual feelings, but emotional ones.

What the hell was she going to do about these feelings?

Nothing. She was going to do nothing about them, that’s what she was going to do. Because they were ridiculous and she had a life and a perfect career in New York, and Ben and Alex traveled all over the world for surf competitions. Their lives would never mesh.

She chewed her bottom lip and stared at them some more.

Yes. Ridiculous.

And yet when they turned and they both smiled at her at once, her heart clenched again.

Goddammit.

“Hey, they’re waving us over. Let’s join the guys,” Whitney said.

What she really wanted to do was run like hell. Away from these strange emotions that stirred in her heart.

Instead, she gave Whitney a smile. “Sure. Let’s do that.”

Whitney moved over to Cade and gave her a wave.

When Victoria stepped in between Alex and Ben, Ben put his arm around her.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

She tilted her head back to meet his gaze. “Of course I am. Why would you ask that?”

“You looked . . . uncomfortable when you were sitting over there with Whitney.”

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