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But we owe Reese a picture. And we said messing around was a one-time thing. And we’re friends. I squeeze my eyes shut for a few seconds, trying to kick away the images. When I open them, I blow out a breath to reorient myself.

I’m here at Thirsty. With a friend. To take a pic for publicity. That is all.

“Was it good to see your family?” I ask, taking the wheel and jerking it in a new direction.

There. Talking about his family is a surefire way to reduce the number of erections I’ll suffer from tonight.

Tanner goes with the flow, handling the shift with ease as he says, “Definitely. It’s always good to see them. But Dad’s hitting tips are not as good as Elsie’s.”

Yes! Elsie! Another proven boner destroyer. “Don’t tell Dad,” I whisper. “He’d be devastated to learn she’s your new hitting coach.”

“That woman has eagle eyes.”

“She’s like a secret weapon,” I say, and I could kiss Elsie for helping me survive my libido. “We’ll have to make sure no one knows she’s the secret to your success.”

He brings his finger to his lips, shushing me softly. Fuck, that is hot. Why is that so hot?

Maybe because his finger’s placed on his lips, which makes me think of his fingers in my mouth. Pushing them deep, making me suck on them. Then his fingers exploring me. Everywhere.

And that vacuums up all the thoughts from my brain. I’ve got nothing now. Nothing but desire as I stare at Tanner’s lush mouth, and his big hands, and his strong body that I want to lick all over.

This is going to be the longest beer of my life.

When the server returns with our IPAs, I try once more. I lift the glass, offering a toast. “To friendship,” I say. It’s the first thing that comes to mind. Maybe because I desperately need a reminder.

The corner of his lips twitches, like he’s irritated or maybe disappointed? But then he smiles. A warm, familiar grin. “To friendship.”

That’s the only thing I should drink to with Tanner. “And your brother was there too at the game?”

“Zach was. But he didn’t give me any great stock tips, dammit.”

“Aw, man. What’s the point of having a Wall Street brother otherwise?”

“I don’t even know,” he says, seeming amused. “But I did tell him about some new bands. I’m working on him. Someday, I swear he’ll have good taste in music.”

I smile. This is nice. Familiar. I know his family. He knows my mom and sister. We can chat about anything. Doesn’t have to be sex. “I don’t know, Sloan. The music at his engagement barbecue was brutal.”

Tanner shudders. “Don’t remind me. My ears haven’t recovered from all that Bieber.”

“Seriously,” I say, cringing, too, from the memory of the painful pop playing at Tanner’s family’s backyard celebration in the spring. “Maybe we need to stage an intervention? Teach him how to use Spotify to find some decent music.”

Tanner’s blue eyes brighten. “Let’s do it, Remington.”

Remington. Sloan.

Yup. I’ve done it. I’ve avoided the iceberg of lust. It’s smooth friendship sailing now. If I can just stay the course, my libido won’t win.

“It’s a plan,” I say. “And I think I saw he brought Cassie. They looked good together.”

My buddy smiles. “Yeah, even though she’s a Minotaurs fan, I can forgive her since she makes him happy.”

“Their wedding is next month?”

“They’re squeezing it in on a Sunday I have off.”

“Aww, he still likes you,” I say.

“Or he couldn’t find another best man.”

“That must be it,” I say, but I sound a little distant even to my own ears since I’m picturing Tanner in a tux. I’ve seen him in one at an awards gala and he looked fine.

I linger on that image longer than I should as he takes another drink. I watch his lips, remembering how they felt on me yesterday, and picturing him in black tie as he tears off my clothes, so he can suck my cock again.

I’m a five-alarm fire now.

I need a bucket of ice water. I guzzle some beer to quench these flames.

As I’m drinking, Tanner adds, “And Amelia wants to set me up with some guy from work.”

What the fuck?

I choke on my beer. I nearly spit it out, but instead I try to swallow it, and then I’m wheezing on hops.

I can’t get air.

Tanner’s brow knits. “You okay, buddy?”

Not in the least. I’m coughing like crazy, and I’m feeling myself turn red in the face, and I’m picturing you with this other guy.

I sputter some more.

I spin out more on images, seeing him at the wedding, laughing, flirting, fucking some other guy that night.

I hate that image, but I also love that image.

I cough even harder.

“Shit, Luke,” he says, leaning closer across the wooden table, concern in his gaze.

Yeah, I’m worried too. Worried I’m going to die from beer in my windpipe and unexpected jealousy. And I am going to die before we fuck.

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