“Hot. Hot. Hot.” – Five-star Amazon review.
They call us the Firework Girls.
I’m Ashley. I may be calm on the outside, but on the inside I’m losing it. See that guy playing the piano on stage up there? Auditioning for the competition <i>I’m</i> supposed to win? Playing in an auditorium at <i>my</i> school like he belongs here?
Yeah. He’s the reason I’m freaking. The heck. Out.
I knew him back in high school. Scratch that. I was desperately in love with him back in high school. He said he loved me too, but how could he have? That guy broke my heart into tiny little bits.
Hell, I broke everywhere.
Now he’s back, a fellow grad student at Hartman College, turning my world upside down. Because nobody plays the piano like Erik Williams. Not even me. When it comes to my musical career here at Hartman, I’m screwed. But that’s not the worst part. Not at all.
The worst part is Erik trying to work his way back into my heart again. But I won’t let him. I can’t. Not after what he did… all those years ago.
I lightly smack his shoulder and lean my head back against the seat, smiling at him.
He glances at me and gives me a wicked grin. God, he’s so good-looking. I smile more broadly and look down at our intertwined hands. I take my other hand and run my fingertips along his fingers. He squeezes me in response.
When he pulls into Sonic, he chooses a stall farthest from the building. My heart beats thickly, hoping he parked here for the same reason I would have if I were the one driving. We talk about music and order our treats—a sundae for him and a small chocolate shake for me—and continue to chat and laugh until the car hop brings us our order. A few bites in, he drops his spoon in his little plastic bowl, leans over, cups his hand around the back of my neck, and pulls me in for the kind of kiss my dad would flip over if he saw it.
He caught me off guard, but I recover from the surprise quickly, kissing him back. Our tongues are cool and sweet from the ice cream, but warm up quickly. Even though we’re both holding our ice cream, we continue to kiss. Erik tastes like heaven. Kissing him is like playing music: the world disappears and it’s only him and me, the soft sounds of our breathing enveloping us.
Slowly, I set down my cup, still kissing him, and he follows my lead. Ice cream abandoned, he rubs his hand down my back and over my hip, leaving a trail of electricity in his wake. Right there in the far reaches of the Sonic parking lot. I never would have imagined such a thing a month ago. But Erik is changing my life. He’s changing me. And I only want more.