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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
With a ragged sigh, I weighed Gabe’s words. Deep down, I knew he was right. All the reasons I tried to tell myself why Allison and I couldn’t be together were really just bullshit and bogus. I was just too much of a f**king pu**y to want to risk getting hurt or having Allison realize that I wasn’t the man she thought I was.
“Oh f**k,” Gabe muttered beside me. I didn’t have to wonder what he was talking about when I glanced back out onto the dance floor. Immediately, red flashed before my eyes, and I gripped the booth until my knuckles turned while. I was precariously close to hulking out.
Not only did Eli have his lips on Allison’s, but his hands were practically on her ass. “Oh, hell f**king no!” I shouted, as I flung myself out of the booth for battle.
“Rhys, don’t!” Gabe shouted behind me, but I ignored him. Instead, I barreled on ahead, straight for Allison and Eli.
With Beyoncé’s Drunk in Love playing sultrily in the background, Eli’s head dipped to nuzzle my neck. “Mmm, Allison, you’re really starting to get to me,” he murmured into my ear, his breath singeing the sensitive flesh of my earlobe. Our lower halves were working in perfect sync to the music.
Craning my neck, I tilted my chin up to look into his eyes. “Am I?”
He nodded. “Although I shouldn’t, I’m really starting to like you.”
I grinned. “Aw, I like you, too, Eli.”
With a snort, he replied, “No, I mean, I really like you.”
An icy feeling rippled through my veins, causing me to shiver. Having a handsome guy say he liked you romantically should cause your heart to beat faster or a stirring below your waist. But that wasn’t the case for me when Eli said the words. I felt nothing.
Dammit, it wasn’t supposed to be like this. He was not supposed to be a means to make Rhys jealous. He was supposed to be an opportunity for me to have fun and forget about Rhys. But no matter how hard I tried, I didn’t feel the same intensity for Eli as I did for Rhys. It wasn’t even a drop in the bucket to what I felt for Rhys.
We’d both just been harmlessly flirting over the last few weeks on tour. Besides yesterday’s serenade, there hadn’t been anything overly romantic on his part. How was it possible that Eli was starting to have real feelings for me? I guess Abby had been right about the depth of what Eli was feeling.
After my lengthy silence, Eli took one of my arms and spun me away from him. When I came whirling back, I faced him this time. He winked at me before giving me a sexy grin. “Don’t get your thong in a twist, Allison. I just said I liked you—not that I wanted to marry you and make babies.”
I giggled in relief. “Okay, I can take that.”
Eli’s arms snaked around my waist, jerking me flush against him. With his lips hovering precariously close to mine, he said, “More than anything, I’d really like to go back to the hotel and screw you so f**king hard that you would scream my name over and over again.”
When I jerked back and widened my eyes in shock, he laughed. “Sadly, it’s the truth. But since I’m working on being more of a gentleman, I’ll refrain from thinking that about you. Instead, why don’t you let me take you out?”
“On a date?”
“Yep, a real date, just the two of us. Dinner and a movie or dinner and a club—whatever you want.”
I stared into his twinkling blue eyes. He really was a decent guy, not to mention the fact he was so handsome. If given the chance, he would really be good for me. Even though I wasn’t feeling as much as I should for him, it was time for me to give someone else a real shot and try to forget about whatever it was that Rhys and I once had. Even if I had to fake it for a little while.
With a groan, Eli mused, “You’re killing me here. I don’t think I’ve ever had to work so hard for a date.”
I grinned. “I’m sorry for bruising your gigantic ego by playing a little hard to get.”
“You’ve more than bruised my ego—I think you dented it.”
“The answer is yes. I would love to go on a date with you.”
Eli’s blue eyes lit up. “I’m glad to hear it.”
“I’m glad you asked me.”
“You’re welcome.” Before I realized what was happening, Eli’s hands dipped down to rest above my ass, pressing me harder against him. And then in the next moment, Eli’s lips were on mine. He seemed to have completely misinterpreted my agreeing to go on a date with him. While I was in total shock that he had kissed me, I also didn’t feel a single zap of electricity like I had with Rhys.
I jerked back. “Eli, I thought we were taking this slow,” I protested.
He gave me a pouty, puppy-dog look. “You mean I don’t even get a kiss? I thought it was pretty tame after telling you I wanted to screw your brains out.”
His expression and comment caused me to laugh in spite of myself. “It’s a little too soon for a kiss.”
“I’m sorry, Allison,” he said, genuinely.
I opened my mouth to tell him it was okay when a commotion behind me interrupted us. With an expression of pure fury, Rhys appeared beside us.
“Get your damn hands off of her!” Rhys growled. All at once, his hand was around my arm, and he was pulling me away from Eli.
“What the f**k, dude?” Eli questioned.
Rhys shook his head. “What the hell do you think you’re doing groping her and kissing her?”