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The guy nods and comes over to us, asking for our drinks.

Luke turns to me. “What are you in the mood for?”

You. Just you. “Glenlivet on the rocks,” I say.

“Same for me,” he says.

When the guy heads down the bar, Luke leans closer to me, then says in a low and smoky voice, “Want to taste the scotch on your lips later.”

I shudder. “Do it.”

Keeping the volume down, he whispers, “Know what else I want to do? Pour some on you. Lick it off your chest, your abs…your back.”

I shudder harder from the scene he’s painting, the way he likes to give and take. “My back? That’s all, Luke?”

“That’s definitely not all,” he says, fire in his eyes.

Hell, the fire is raging in me now too.

For a few dangerous seconds, we stare at each other like tigers, ready to pounce.

For a few more seconds, I just don’t care who knows or who sees. I’m so damn tempted to grab his face and haul him against me for a bruising kiss. To claim him in front of everyone. To say, this guy is going home with me.

But Luke breaks the hold first, gritting out, “Must not forget the pic.”

“We need that, stat.”

“So stat,” he says.

When the bartender returns with the drinks, I lift the tumbler and take a thirsty gulp.

It quenches nothing.

I grab my phone, ready to get this show on the road when a guy in a well-worn T-shirt, with shoulder-length hair, steps up to the bar right next to Luke.

“Hey there. Can I have a mojito?” he asks in a smooth baritone voice that sounds uncannily familiar.

“On the house, my man,” the bartender says.

Luke’s eyes pop, and he nudges me. “That’s the singer,” he mouths. I’ve never seen Luke fanboy over someone, and it’s adorable.

“Hey, man,” Luke says to the guy, catching his attention. “Great show.”

The singer flashes an appreciative grin. “Glad you could come,” he says, then his brow knits, and he’s puzzling together who Luke is, and in a second, recognition dawns.

“You’re Luke Remington! Great season last year. Can you do it again?” he asks, powered by pure excitement. “I am a huge Leopards fan. Went to all the games growing up. Suffered through that two and fifteen season a decade ago.”

Luke winces. “My condolences. Sounds like you still have the scars.”

“And they still hurt,” he says, then he extends a hand. “Ethan Adair. Outrageous Record.”

“Yeah, we know who you are,” Luke says and they shake.

When they let go, Ethan extends a hand to me. “And you’re the shortstop, right?”

I smile, so fucking glad he recognized Luke first.

Luke cracks up, curling his hand around my shoulder. “Yeah, he’s the shortstop,” he deadpans.

We chat some more until the bartender swings by, slides the singer his drink, then looks from Ethan to Luke and me and back, saying, “Seriously, E? You break my heart, and now you’re picking up other guys in my bar?”

Ethan laughs. “I’m not that gauche, and I didn’t break your heart, dickhead.”

With a shake of his head, the bartender looks at us, like he needs a sympathetic audience. “It’s one thing to be friends with your ex,” he says, pointing at Ethan. “It’s entirely another to see him seduce the whole crowd.”

That’s a stark reminder. I can’t entertain more fantasies about a future with Luke. Because someday—someday soon—he’ll effectively be my ex.

Better that he’s an ex-hookup than an ex-heartbreak.

We really need that damn photo. I waggle my phone at Luke. “Should we do that pic? Maybe even of the three of us.”

Ethan says yes, so I snap a selfie.

“Want one of just the two of you?” Ethan asks.

“We do,” Luke says.

I move in next to Luke like I’ve done countless times before for other shots. But this isn’t another shot.

It’s the record of a lie.

Me smiling like I’m having a great time when I’m smiling to cover up this longing that has nowhere to go.

We thank Ethan, pay the tab, and leave. Out on the street, Luke says, “I wanted you to see that band. I knew you liked them. I got the tickets over the weekend.”

Something else clicks.

He might have acted all casual and offhand last night when he asked me out for tonight.

But this date was wholly deliberate. He planned it for me. Before we started forgetting to take pics.

My longing grows two sizes bigger.

Maybe one more night of great sex will get all this longing out of my system.

Once we’re back in the building, we pick up where we left off in his doorway earlier tonight. Alone, we lunge at each other in the elevator. All teeth and hunger. Unslaked thirst. We’re tugging at clothes. Grabbing at faces. Rubbing against hard-ons.

It’s ruthless and pent-up, like we both know this night is it.

When the elevator deposits us at the penthouse floor, it’s a miracle we make it down the hall without stripping. At my door, I fumble the code because he’s kissing the back of my neck.

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