I was born the youngest princess of a tiny country in the Alps, but I've never been any good at being a princess. I'm shy and bookish, and I don't know how to flirt. The only man I'm comfortable around is my best friend, Alex. I used to have a crush on him, but I don't anymore.
I absolutely don't.
Right now, I'm interested in a handsome French millionaire, but I need Alex to help me learn how to be attractive to men. He agrees because he's my friend, but he doesn't seem happy about it.
And I need to remember that Alex is just giving me lessons. He isn't the man I'm trying to win.
“So, since you’re my friend, what do you suggest I do to move things along with Stefan.”
He stared at me blankly. “Move things along?”
“I don’t mean I want to jump into bed with him, but I’d like to know if he’s a possibility. What if he still doesn’t want to kiss me?”
“What if he doesn’t?”
“I just said he will.”
“But you said he did last time, and he didn’t even try.”
“Did you give him any encouragement?”
“What kind of encouragement?”
I gave an outraged huff. “I do not know! What do you think I’ve been telling you all this time? I’m completely clueless. I’ve never done this before. What kind of encouragement am I supposed to give a man to get him to kiss me?”
Alex straightened up, shifting slightly in his seat. “Just… just… I don’t know… gaze up at him soulfully.”
I snorted. “How am I supposed to do that? What does that even mean?”
He groaned, but then evidently decided to take on this particular task. He turned to face me more fully and reached out to take my shoulders, turning my body toward his. “Okay,” he said in a different tone. “Look at me. In the eyes.”
I gazed up at him without hesitation. I looked at him all the time. There was no one I’d rather look at than Alex.
Our eyes met, and he murmured, “Now stop looking like you want to dig into my brain for answers to your questions.”
I gasped at this comment, but he didn’t give me time to respond.
He continued, “I’m serious. Relax. Stop thinking. Just look at me.”
I tried to do what he said and was startled by the look in his eyes. He was gazing at me too, and for a moment I was trapped by the softness, the depth, the warmth of his expression.
My mind blurred over and my heart started to beat wildly. I could feel my pulse in my wrists, my head, my throat.
“That’s good,” Alex murmured huskily. “Really good. Just like that.”
My breathing was growing more shallow, and other parts of my body started to throb. He wasn’t even touching me, but it felt so much like he was.
Trying to make my mind work the way it was supposed to and engage in this conversation, I asked, “So what if he… if he still doesn’t kiss me.”
“Try touching him.”
“I don’t want to humiliate myself.”
“So make it a little casual touch. Nothing definite. Just touch his arm or his chest or something.”
Instinctively, I lifted my hand and pressed it lightly against Alex’s chest. He was wearing a dark blue crew neck shirt, and I could feel his hard, warm chest beneath the fabric.
I heard his breath hitch slightly. “Good.”
Willing myself to act normal, I managed to say, “What if he still doesn’t kiss me?”
“What if he doesn’t?”
He smothered a soft groan. “Then move your hand. Maybe touch his face. But just lightly.”
I raised my hand and used my fingertips to gently stroke along the line of his jaw. “Like this?” I whispered.
Alex seemed frozen, unmoving, as he sat stiffly and stared at me.
I loved the feel of his face so much that I stroked my finger back up to his cheekbone.
He let out a low groan and grabbed my face in both of his hands, pulling me toward him until he was kissing me hard.
About Noelle Adams
Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she reads any book she can get her hands on and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel.
She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances.
If you'd like to contact Noelle, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.