Home > All the Pretty Lies (Pretty #1)(15)

All the Pretty Lies (Pretty #1)(15)
Author: M. Leighton

I feel his warm breath on my skin and chills spread. Again.

“You’re surely not cold.”

“No, I’m not cold.”

“Then why the chills?” he whispers, his voice near my ear.

“I’m ticklish,” I murmur, the statement not entirely fabricated.

“You are? Where are you most ticklish? Here?” he asks, dancing his fingertips along my side. I flinch, but not because he’s tickling me. “Here?” he asks, nearing my arm pits. “Or is it lower?”

Oh God, oh God, oh God!

I catch my breath and hold it as he drags his hands down my spine and spreads them over my hips, dipping them down toward the sand, his fingertips barely teasing the edges of my stomach. Reflexively, I arch, raising my hips a little.

I hear him breathe an obscenity before his hands are gone. I look behind me and he’s already on his feet, his jaw clenched tight, rubbing excess sunscreen onto his chest.

“Come on, let’s go people watch.”

“Wait! I need to do my front.”

“I’ll meet you down at the water,” he says stiffly and then he turns and walks away.


Here I am. At the beach. Surrounded by scantily-clad women, sparkling water and white-sugar sand, and none of it is holding my attention. I’m simply looking at it all to keep from turning and watching Sloane slather sunblock on her long legs, her tight stomach and between those lush tits.

God, rubbing that lotion on her was sweet torture. The kinds of women I usually spend time with have no delusions about where something like that would lead. And they’d be okay with it. Begging for it, even. But it’s different with Sloane. She’s naïve to a point. And besides that, I don’t think she has a clue how damnably hot and sexy she is. In fact, I think that adds to it. Maybe that’s what I’m finding so irresistible about her. Because that’s what it’s feeling like. The more I’m around her, the more I want her, the more I feel like I have to have her. And now that I know about her brother, that could be bad news for both of us. And no female is worth that risk. Not. One.

“Okay, what now?” Sloane asks from behind me. I turn to find her standing at my left shoulder, looking up at me, her eyes hidden by sunglasses. But I don’t need to see them to know that interest is there. Attraction. Fascination. I don’t know whether she doesn’t try to hide it or if she thinks she is hiding it. Either way, it’s there for me to see. Plain as the cute little nose on her face. And it’s driving me crazy.

“Let’s walk,” I say, turning to head up the beach. I set a lazy pace as we kick through the surf. She keeps up easily. When the wind blows, I get a hint of her perfume mixed with sunscreen—the scent of innocence. It’s mouthwatering.

“What are we looking for?”

“Just look around. Look at all the exposed skin. Look at the way it moves when people walk. Look at the way it stretches tight when they bend over or run. Look at the way it hangs when they’re relaxed. When you’re drawing a picture on skin, when you’re making art that will live and breathe with the person wearing it, you need to consider everything. Wrinkles, fat, bone, muscle, age. It can all affect your work. And they’ll have to live with it. For a long, long time.”

As we walk along, I point out tattoos on different people, explaining why I would or wouldn’t have done it that way. I ask Sloane questions, trying to get a feel for her innate abilities. I ask her things like how she would work around a skin fold or what she’d tell someone who wanted a tattoo in a place that wouldn’t turn out the way they envision.

I suspected her to be fairly intuitive about art. After seeing her sketch, I had no doubt she has talent. But now I’m beginning to think she might really have an aptitude for tattoo work. And that just makes her even more appealing to me. It’s not something that’s common—doing tattoos—therefore it’s not something easily shared with others. I can feel it forming a bond between us, one I didn’t foresee and probably should’ve avoided like the plague.

But right now, it serves my purpose. I don’t like the thought of anyone getting hurt, but I can’t be responsible for everyone else. I have my own shit in life to worry about. And some of it is more important to me than anything else. It has to be. Until I see it through, it has to take precedence. End of story.

After nearly two hours of strolling along the beach, looking at bodies with the eye of a tattoo artist, I finally notice the heat.

“Do you swim?”

Sloane smiles broadly. “Yeah, I love to swim.”

“Then you have two choices. Run or I’ll pick you up and throw you in.”

Her smile dies as she processes my words. It only takes two, maybe three seconds for her to turn away from me and run, squealing toward the water. I give her a very small lead and then I swoop in, scooping her up into my arms and running into the salt water waves. I hit thigh level just as a swell comes in. I wait until it’s ready to break and I throw Sloane right in the highest part. I hear her squeal again, but it’s quickly drowned by the crash of water over her head.

I see her sunglasses fly out and hit the water a couple feet away. I reach for them as I watch her, making sure she finds her feet. Her head pops up in an instant. I smile when I hear her sputtering. She straightens, pushing long, inky strands of hair out of her eyes.

“You…you…” she stammers. I might feel bad if she was really mad, but she’s not. I can see her curved lips, and I know it’s just bluster.

“Me…me…what? Me fast and you slow?”

Sloane comes stomping out of the deeper water toward me. “You’re going down, mister.”

“Ooo, promises promises.” I start backing away, laughing at her bravado. She speeds up, I speed up. She lunges, I evade. “Don’t hurt yourself, little girl,” I mock as she leaps to try and get a hold on my arm.

“I’m not a little girl,” she demands, hurling herself at me. I sidestep her and she splashes into the water.

“Prove it,” I tease playfully.

Sloane stops. Just stops. She stops and watches me. Through her spiky eyelashes, I can see flecks of gold in the chocolate of her eyes. I can see that her suckable lips are parted slightly and I can see that her chest is heaving as a result of our play.

She raises her hands to smooth her hair away from her face. It stretches her bathing suit top tight across her tits, plainly displaying her hard little ni**les. For a second, it feels like I’m watching a Sports Illustrated shoot.

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