“Linc was moving fast. His hands were all over you.”
I flushed, remembering the uncomfortable feeling of Linc pressing close. I’d ordered myself to relax, to try to enjoy the attention.
“Isn’t finding a guy who actually wants to be close to me the point?” I said before I could properly filter my thoughts. The words came out strangely accusatory.
Dawson didn’t flinch from my words though. He grew even more intense. “No. The idea was for you to flirt a little and get comfortable with seeing yourself as someone worthy of attention.”
“You are, Ev. You deserve someone who will appreciate everything about you, from your intelligence to your sweet blushes. Not just your…”
His voice came out in a whisper. “Your amazing ass.”
My face heated as I laughed. “What?”
Dawson took a second to gather his thoughts. “I kind of pushed you into this, when you think about it. I didn’t mean to, but… All that teasing about learning to flirt, and me playing wingman. Maybe…”
He spoke slowly, the words seemingly pulled from somewhere deep inside. “Maybe I was too invested in your sex life.”
My heart skipped. Was he saying what I thought he was saying?
“Why would you be?”
“I don’t know.” He hesitated, then added, “Say the word and we can leave this idea behind. You don’t need to lose your virginity. Who cares as long as you’re happy? If or when you want sex, it’ll happen.”
“But I do want sex!”
I clapped my hand over my mouth, realizing my voice had risen.
Dawson raised an eyebrow. “With Linc?”
I dropped my hand, sighing. “Not really.”
He nodded. “What about with me?”
My breath caught. I stared at him, unable to speak, my brain stuck on his words, sure I’d misheard him. “Sorry?”
“Do you want to have sex with me?”
I licked my lips, suddenly nervous. “Why would you ask me that? You’re not…into men.”
“Not normally,” he said. “But the thing is, I can’t stop thinking about what happened the other night.”
“Your body reacted to stimulus, that’s all. It was embarrassing and awkward, but—”
“It wasn’t just that. I mean, thanks for giving me an easy out, but no. I keep thinking about you, specifically. You and me, and…all the things I could show you.”
Heat washed through me. For once, it wasn’t embarrassment, but something headier. Did Dawson want me?
“I must be dreaming,” I murmured.
“I don’t want there to be any confusion,” he said. “I’ve never been into guys before, and I don’t know why this is different. My last relationship ended horribly, and I’m not sure I can ever date again, can ever have someone trust and rely on me that way. But, uh, we could…explore things. Together.”
“Sex things?” I said, needing to clarify.
Despite the tense tone of the conversation up to this point, Dawson suddenly smiled at me. There was a predatory gleam in his eye. “Yeah, Ev. Sex things.”
I expelled a big breath, my head spinning. It was a lot to process. I’d been so certain Dawson was entirely out of reach—especially after Bonergate. But instead of freaking over his reaction and trying to stay away from me, he wanted to pull me closer. To explore his sexuality with me.
It was probably a terrible idea, right? What if he ended up hating it? What if I fell in love with him while it was just sexual release to him?
But as Dawson Woods, the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen in real life, offered himself to me, I knew I’d never say no. Dawson checked all my boxes. Even if it was only physical, it would be incredible to experience it with him. And unlike Linc, or any of those guys on apps, I knew him. I trusted him.
“Okay,” I said, knowing I might never get a chance like this again. “Yeah.”
If there was emotional fallout, I’d deal with it later.
Some sense of preservation made me say, “But you’ve got to kiss me first. I’ve never been properly kissed, and—”
I want to be sure you’re not turned off by it.
Dawson’s mouth came down on mine before I could finish my sentence.