She licked her lips. “They have.”
“Liar.” He murmured, leaning closer and watching her gaze drop down briefly to his lips. “You told me that you loved me.”
“As a brother.” She corrected weakly.
“Prove it then.” He challenged fiercely. “Kiss me again, and then look me in the eye and tell me that you love me ‘like a brother’.”
Her eyes widened, but she didn’t move. Lucas held his breath, waiting to see what she would to do. She worried at her bottom lip with her teeth for a moment, before she took a deep breath—and closed the distance between them, covering his lips with hers.
He had always known that Riley was an incredibly quick learner but he had never been more grateful for it than at that moment, when she tentatively moved her lips against his, as he had done earlier. He was careful to follow her lead, but she took it one step further, applying a bit more pressure, asking for more but not quite sure how to get it.
He showed her, one large hand going up to the nape of her neck, and the other dropping down to the small of her back as he urged her closer, flicking his tongue out to lightly lick at her closed mouth and tasting a hint of her raspberry lip gloss.
Lucas was surprised at the possessiveness that roared through him as he fought his own instincts to deepen the kiss even further. He won, but only by the barest margin, made harder by the fact that she chased his mouth as he tried to draw away, prompting him to indulge in another brief taste of her before he finally put some distance between them.
He watched the emotions chase each other across her expressive face as her eyes remained closed for a long moment.
“So,” She murmured. “Was that your moment?”
Lucas stifled a reluctant smile, even as he wanted to kiss the sassiness right out of her. That was his princess – a beautiful mixture of sweet and stubborn, with a bit of defiance even in the face of trouble. Most people just saw the sweet, occasionally naïve, bubbly Riley, but he knew better than nearly anyone how stubborn she could be.
“No.” He answered. “Not even close. I got my answer though, so consider this…a statement of intent.”
Her phone dinged, and her entire demeanor changed. She quickly backpedaled, heading for the door. “It doesn’t change anything.”
“It changes everything.” He countered hotly. “This isn’t over, Riley. Not by a long shot.”
She paused at the door but didn’t turn to look at him as he continued. “Go ahead and run, little rabbit. We’ll go back to being friends, and you can continue to go out with Gardner and not talk or hold hands. We both have a lot of growing up to do, and the best way to do so is by remaining friends. For now.” He had been moving quietly as he talked, so that when she looked up he was right there again, just barely edging into her personal space. He searched her gaze for a long moment, his eyes hard with resolve and fire. “But I meant what I said to Gardner earlier. I was here before he was, and I’ll be here long after he leaves. I can promise you that much.”