Home > The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3)(13)

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3)(13)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

“Care to share the stuff?” He has a string of cheese on his chin from the mozzarella stick.

Biting my lip to restrain from smiling, I extend my arm across the table and pick it off, letting my fingertips graze the stubble on his chin, pretending it’s by accident, when really I just like touching him.

His brown eyes widen and his lips part as I lean back. “What are you doing?” he asks.

“You had cheese on your chin,” I explain, flicking it to the ground. He quickly wipes his chin with his hand and I laugh. “I just got it off. Duh.”

He rolls his eyes. “I was just making sure you got all of it.”

I dip a stick into a cup of ranch. “I got it all, so relax. I would never let you walk around with cheese hanging off your face,” I tease. “Although, it would be kind of fun to watch you go hit on the slut over at the bar with cheese on your face.”

The corners of his lips quirk as he watches me chew and he leans back in his chair. “I’m sure I could still get her to let me f**k her.”

I throw a mozzarella stick at him, but he ducks so it misses his head. “You are such an ass.”

“Why? Because I say the truth.”

“In the foulest ways.”

“What? Saying f**k is foul?” he asks. “Would you rather me say let me screw her? Bang her? Let her ride me? Give her the hottest, sweatiest, lip bitingest, best orgasm she’ll probably have?” His voice is getting louder and people are watching us, which seems only to amuse him while it embarrasses me.

“Ethan, please keep it down,” I hiss, glancing at the tables around us, embarrassed, but a giggle escapes my lips. “People are watching us.”

“Do the dirty nasty with me?” he continues, unbothered, his brown eyes darkening as he leans back in his chair, watching me with an arrogant grin on his face. “Fuck her brains out? Or should I just make the noises for you so you really get the picture?” He tips his head back, his black hair falling back out of his eyes, and he starts making little moans. Even though it’s embarrassing, it’s also turning me on. Especially how his lips hypnotically move and the way the light reflects in his eyes and makes them look lustrous.

Stop thinking about him like that. He made his rules for a reason. Shaking my head and the near-orgasmic feeling out of my body, I lean over the table and cover his moaning lips with my hand. “Okay, I get the picture. Will you stop now?”

His grin broadens against my hand and I withdraw, sitting back down in the chair. “I win,” he says and winks at me.

I shake my head, but smile brightly. “For the record, f**king her and f**king her brains out are pretty much one and the same.”

He covers his mouth with his hand, containing his laughter, because he always seems to think it’s funny when I say the F word. In fact, he blames it on his bad influence on me. “Oh, I completely disagree. A lot more effort goes into f**king someone’s brains out.”

I want to argue with him, but I stop myself, because even though I’ve had a lot of sex, I’ve had a lot of meaningless sex, which doesn’t make me an expert. I’ve often wondered what sex would feel like if I wasn’t high on alcohol and/or pills. Would it feel different? Would I feel different, less worthless, or would I feel more? Would it finally feel good for once? Hot, sweaty, and lip biting? I wonder what it would feel like with Ethan…

I dive into the wings, eating one after another, trying to contain my sex-driven thoughts. Ethan devours the jalapeno poppers and continues to check out the slut at the bar, who’s now noticed him, probably because of his moaning and groaning. She looks interested and he’ll probably go home with her, which is fine. I’ve seen him do it a ton of times.

Ethan finally tears his attention off her and it looks like he wants to say something but is wary about it. I figure he’s probably about to ask if he can go do his thing with her and I prepare myself for the stomach punch I always feel when he does this sort of thing.

He blows out a breath and wisps of his hair flutter to the side of his face. “Did you ever get your rent thing taken care of?” he asks, completely blindsiding me.

“Um… what… oh, yeah I did,” I lie, licking some barbecue sauce off my lip.

He cocks an eyebrow at me with skepticism on his face. “Lila.”

“Don’t Lila me.” I sound whiney and I clear my throat, reaching for a napkin. “Okay, so I haven’t yet, but I’m working on it. I just need to get a job, but they’re really hard to find.”

He hitches a finger over his shoulder, pointing at the bar, where a guy is wiping down glasses with a towel. “They’re hiring here.”

I eye the bar as I wipe the barbecue sauce off my fingers. “Yeah, for a waitress.”


“So, I can’t be a waitress.”

“Why? You could end up being good at it.” He inclines forward, resting his arms on the table, and amusement dances in his eyes. “And think of all the tips you’d get if you wore a short, low-cut dress that showed off all your goods.”

I roll my eyes. “You know I don’t dress like that.”

“Well, you could always wear that towel of yours,” he says in a husky voice. “You looked good in that.”

It feels like I’m falling, air gets trapped in my lungs and my heart flutters at the hooded look he’s giving me. I’m about to ask him if he liked the towel, because I would seriously put it on for him right here, right now, when he sputters a laugh.

“Relax, I’m just messing with you.” He scoops up a wing and takes a large bite. “I’d rather you not dress like that out in public.”

I swallow hard, feeling like an idiot. Of course he’s just teasing. He always is. And that’s how it’s supposed to be between us. Just friends. But then what the hell was that hyperventilating, falling-off-the-cliff feeling then? “I knew you were,” I lie, sounding pathetically disappointed and feeling strangely conflicted inside.

His expression falls a little and he forces the bite of chicken down his throat. “Are you okay?”

“I’m perfectly okay.” I tuck a strand of my hair behind my ear as I lean forward in the chair and dunk a wing into the ranch, biting my tongue hard as I struggle to keep the tears back. Stop it. You don’t ever get upset over a guy like this. Get it together. “I’m just thinking that you’re right and I do need a job, but not here.” My heart is aching inside my chest and I don’t know why, but I feel furious. “And just because I like sex doesn’t mean I’m going to use my body for money.”

“I told you I was just joking about the towel.” His eyebrows lower as he studies me. “I’ve already told you I don’t think of you that way.”

“What way?” I snap, dropping the wing back into the basket. “A slut. An easy lay. A whore.” I hate the word whore. Hate it! But it sums up what I am really well.

He throws up his hands exasperatedly. “Look, I don’t want to fight with you. I’m just trying to help, but clearly I’m not doing that so I’ll back off.”

“Well, I don’t want your help because I don’t need help.” I shove away from the table, my heart racing. Is it time for another pill yet? I feel like I’m crashing. I wind around the table, picking my purse off the back of my chair, then storm for the exit and shove out the front doors, stepping out onto the street. I start to walk down the busy sidewalk, searching the streets for a cab since I didn’t drive here. I start twisting the platinum ring on my finger as my emotions take over and the need to medicate burns inside me. I know I’m acting ridiculous and probably look nuts because of my abrupt switch in moods. I could try to blame it solely on the fact that I need a pill, but it’s much deeper—like the fact I have so many bills and no money left, that I’m proving my parents right and I can’t take care of myself, that I’m going nowhere with my life and have no idea how to change it. And then there’s Ethan. God damn him for being so sexy. Seriously. I’ve liked him since the first day I met him and it gets harder to be around him when it’s clear he doesn’t want me, at least not how I want him. He just teases me. Plain and simple.

I reach the corner of the sidewalk and look left and right before I step off the curb. The evening sky is cloudy and there’s the faintest scent of rain in the air. I hope it doesn’t start raining because I don’t have a jacket on and I’m wearing opened-toed satin high heels and water will ruin them.

“Lila!” I hear Ethan shout as I reach the other side of the street.

Having no desire to talk to him right now, I pick up the pace. I hear the sound of his footsteps rushing after me, but I only walk quicker, balling my hands into fists, and the platinum ring digs into my skin. I clench them even tighter, hyperaware of the pain as the metal indents into my skin and of each scar on my body, all linked to the damn ring.

“God damn it, Lila.” He’s getting irritated. “Slow the f**k down.”

“Ethan, just leave me alone,” I call out over my shoulder, wrapping my arms around myself. “I’m not in the mood to talk right now.”

The sound of his footsteps get closer as I zigzag around a group of people standing in front of one of the older casinos. “I know you’re not, but that doesn’t mean I should leave you alone walking down the f**king strip by yourself.”

I pause near the street post beside a mob of people waiting to cross and I deliberate if I should turn around. I don’t move as his footsteps arrive beside me, but I don’t turn my head and look at him either.

“Look,” he says, panting. “I have no idea what the hell happened back there, but whatever I did or said to make you mad, I’m sorry.” In the year that I’ve known Ethan, I’ve never heard him give a genuine apology.

With my arms crossed over my chest, I peek over at him, feeling the slightest bit embarrassed over my outburst. Ethan looks sincere, his eyes dark and slightly wide underneath the flashing florescent lights, and his chest is moving rapidly as he works to regain his breath.

“You don’t need to be sorry.” I sigh as uncross my arms. “I’m not mad at you.”

He rakes his fingers through his hair. “Then why the heck did you take off?”

I shrug, shuffling my shoes on the sidewalk. “I don’t know… I guess I’m just feeling a little down lately and I was taking it out on you.” I put my fake, pill-induced game face on and smile at him. “It’s really not a big deal.”

He takes a deep intake and releases it. “Stressed out over bills?”

“That among many things.” I push my finger against the crosswalk button on the pole.

“Is it your mom again?” He folds his arms over his chest, and I can’t help but notice how his muscles flex beneath the vibrant artwork on his skin. “Has she been hounding you to move home? Or is it your dad? He’s not being a douche to you again, is he? I swear to God, Lila, you need to just tell them to f**k off if they are. They don’t deserve to even know you with the way that they treat you.”

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