Battling the Best Man

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          The same blast of incredulity that led Kory to call him a dick and walk away earlier prompted a sarcastic laugh. “Are you serious? We aren’t friends, Will! We haven’t been friends since high school calculus when your real friends harassed me to the point I got pulled from the class.” Each word had carried her a step closer to him until she was raging in his face.

          He balked. “Come on, Kory.” But then recognition flashed across his annoyingly handsome features. “You got pulled from that class?”

          “Yes, I got pulled from that class. What did you think happened to me? I disappeared.”

          He snapped his fingers and nodded. “Yeah! Come to think of it I tried to ask you once what happened, but you walked away from me. You do that a lot, you know?” he added with a weak smile. “But apparently, you have reason to.” He shook his head. “I honestly had no idea.”

          He didn’t remember what happened. Figured. All these years—all the energy—she’d essentially wasted. It wasn’t at all satisfying to swear revenge on someone who didn’t know how badly he’d hurt her.

          “Forget it,” she said, dropping to the flats of her bare feet, suddenly surprised by their close proximity.

          “No. This time, I won’t forget it. I’m very, very sorry for whatever part I played in you being pulled from that class.”

          The seemingly heartfelt apology stunned her, stopping her before she could step back and put reasonable space between them. She stood there stuck in some strange mix of abhorrence and attraction. “It’s okay, Will,” she finally said. But the words weren’t accurate. If anything were really okay her heart wouldn’t be racing.

          “It’s not okay. Whoever I was in that class, I can assure you it’s not the real me. If we had more time together, I could prove it.”

          His head tilted to one side. His tuxedo shirt opened at the throat. And he studied her with dark sparkling eyes, causing a hot spot low in her belly.

          This attraction didn’t make any sense, and Kory thrived on rationality. She hadn’t trusted Will Mitchell for years. What purpose did it serve to let her guard down now?

          She’d be back in Chicago before her brain had time to process their interaction.

          Then again, maybe that was the best part about it. Maybe that was why she allowed herself to maintain eye contact with him past the point of innocent interaction.

          Will leaned closer, his voice just above a whisper. “So, would it ruin all our progress if

I kissed you?”

          “Only if it’s a really bad kiss,” Kory said, lifting her chin to within a fraction of an inch of his, smelling the whiskey on his breath.

          Will’s hands landed on her hips the minute his lips landed on her mouth.