Early Access: The Taste Of A Smile Part 18 ‘Heat’ Excerpt



It’s Wednesday and that means it’s excerpt day! I love excerpts days. ^^

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!


Lex had always been good at not talking about things. Lately, she was turning into a real pro, though. She switched topics without blinking whenever she needed the conversation to take a different direction.

Yesterday, for example, she knew Mary had lied about why she had been shy at the gym. But Lex hadn’t called her out on it. Instead, she had seamlessly switched to asking Mary about other things.

And just this afternoon, after seeing the picture of herself in a bikini, she had casually waved away Mary’s apologies. She hadn’t even replied and had focused on what they could have for dinner instead.

But it had been harder than usual. She had felt her own face flush, her pulse picking up, the butterflies in her stomach stirring. Lex knew she couldn’t keep running away from this forever. She also knew she was doing this to herself.

When she had felt Mary’s eyes roam over her body while standing on the 3D scanner’s platform, she had held her gaze and let the electricity spark between them. She had dared Mary to keep looking.

It had been stronger than herself and it had made her skin tingle. It had made her feel wanted. It had made something burn in the pit of her stomach. Lex had no doubt something would have happened if they had been alone.

She knew she couldn’t let it happen. Mary was off-limits for many reasons. And yet she was playing a game of hot and cold. She kept pulling Mary closer, only to take three steps back at the very last moment.

Staring into her own dark blue eyes, adjusting a rebellious strand of her hair, Lex suddenly saw everything clearly. She understood that she couldn’t go back to Mary and pretend nothing was going on.

She was standing in front of the mirror of some restaurant’s smelly restroom. It was the first place they had passed on their way to the hotel. It was a dump and Lex would never have agreed to eat here while thinking straight.

More proof that this had to stop. She and Mary needed to go back to a professional relationship. They had to stop playing this game before things got out of hand. It didn’t matter that Lex didn’t want to stop flirting. It was the right thing to do.

But she didn’t know how to end something that officially didn’t even exist. With any other person, Lex would just give them the cold shoulder from now on. It was the easiest way to create a professional distance.

She couldn’t do that to Mary, though. Mary had been so kind and patient with her. Lex owed her more than that. She owed her respect and honesty. But what was she supposed to do? Just casually mention during dinner that they should stop flirting?

Lex’s phone chirped. She frowned and padded her pockets. She found it in her right back pocket, pulled it out and saw that Mary had texted her.

“Are you okay?” the message said.

“Crap,” Lex mumbled. She had been in here too long while Mary was sitting alone at their table.

She rubbed her cheek and started typing. “Yes, sorry. BRB.” She hit send.

When she looked back up at her reflection in the mirror, she saw that she was blushing profusely. She couldn’t go back looking like this. What would Mary think?

Her phone beeped again. Lex fumbled with it to unlock it.

“I just found a hair in my food. Can we leave?” Mary asked.

Lex closed her eyes and shook her head. Before she gave it a second thought, she was typing.

“The bathroom is dirty and smelly too.”

She didn’t pause to consider how weird that message was until she had sent it. She glanced around the small space and wondered when it had been cleaned for the last time.

Another beep. “Why are you in there? You sick?”

“Oh God,” Lex muttered to herself.  Embarrassed, she typed quickly. “No, I just needed a moment to think.”

After sending it, Lex started washing her hands for the second time. Just being in here made her feel dirty. It didn’t take long for Mary’s reply to arrive.

She lifted the device and read the latest message. “What about?” 

Lex blew out a long breath. It might not be a bad idea to break the ice this way, she thought. She wouldn’t have to look at Mary’s face. And she couldn’t stay in here forever.

She tapped her screen and said, “About us …”

Her throat was tight as she hit send once more. A rush of panic came over her within seconds and a tiny voice in her mind reminded her Mary might not understand.

What if Lex had imagined all of this? What if Mary was not attracted to Lex at all? What if she wasn’t even attracted to women in general?

“Pretty arrogant, isn’t it?” the nagging voice continued. “Assuming Mary can’t resist you? That she’s dying to get her hands on you?”

For a second, Lex was tempted to throw her phone in the trash can. She had to run away from this situation. She had to find her way to safe ground again.

The notification sound of her phone made her breath catch. Her heart was drumming in her chest. Time to find out how big of a mess she had just gotten herself into by being honest.

She squinted at the screen.

“I’ve been thinking about us too. Please come out of the bathroom?” Mary had written.


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