The Dating Dare - Jayci Lee Page 0,1

Gawking is more like staring at something in a trance because they can’t help it.” He paused to give her a lazy half smile, which probably gave countless women pudding knees. “If I was gawking, it’s because I find you captivating.”

What. The. Dickens? The way his voice dipped low and turned rumbly on “captivating” was … yowza. Tara willed her pulse to slow the hell down. He was a player, all right. Quite an accomplished one. Regency-rake level accomplished. She needed a damn fan to flutter on her face.

“Will it help if I hide my captivating self behind some shrubs over there?” She narrowed her eyes to hide his effect on her.

“That’ll be tragic.” He chuckled, his face transforming with boyish charm, and it was her turn to gawk at him. Come on. Be honest. You’re ogling him. “You’re the only thing helping me get through this wedding.”

“This is your brother’s wedding. You’re his best man.” She stopped ogling and switched to glaring. “Do you seriously need to drool over my body for hours on end to ‘get through’ it?”

“Yes,” he said, using his smoldering voice again.

Shit. She was disconcerted and majorly turned on at the same time, her cheeks pulsing with heat.

“Look at them.” She threw an arm out toward the newlyweds, and missed a server by a nose. Tara nodded her apology then pinched a bacon-wrapped date off the platter. “They’re deliriously in love. Aren’t you even a little happy for them?”

“Who said I wasn’t happy for them?” He drew his head back in surprise. “Landon’s a lucky bastard for landing someone like Aubrey.”

“Then why are you moping around like a wet blanket, soaking up the open bar?” Her mouth was full of the delicious hors d’oeuvre—the date was stuffed with blue cheese—but she managed to put some disdain into her question.

“I don’t like weddings,” he said, a dark shadow flitting across his face. There was a finality to his words that glued her lips together.

Tara peeked at him from under her lashes, wondering what his story was. A broken heart? Warning bells rang in her head, telling her to run like the wind in the opposite direction of the man. She was in no position to fix him … she had enough baggage of her own. One nightmarish relationship had been enough for her to swear off any emotional entanglements. Still, she was helplessly drawn to him.

Seth Kim was devastatingly handsome, and any woman who didn’t tingle in their undies when near him was a dead one. He wasn’t built like a tank but had a sinewy, well-proportioned body, radiating with restless energy. With light-brown skin, dark hair, and eyes the color of black coffee, he screamed beast-in-the-sheets. But it wasn’t only his looks that caught her attention. The flash of vulnerability he revealed tugged at her heart and wobbled her iron self-control.

If she didn’t rein in her hormones and empathy and all that, she was going to end up naked tonight. She refused to jump into bed with a virtual stranger—no matter how attractive he was—with her feelings in a jumble over her best friend’s wedding.

Watching Aubrey marry Landon, her true love, reminded Tara that she’d chosen to keep her heart safe rather than to seek her own happily ever after. She’d never regretted her decision before, nor was she questioning it now, but a deep hollowness settled inside her.

“Fine. Stare, if you must. You won’t be difficult to ignore,” she said haughtily even though it was a blatant lie. “But understand one thing. There will be no hookup between the best man and the maid of honor at this wedding. Do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal,” he said without a hint of mockery.

Tara spun on her heels, whipping her long hair over her shoulder. Shit. The hair whip? It must’ve been an accident. She wouldn’t flirt with a man she was trying not to sleep with. And she definitely was not sashaying her hips for his benefit. Walking like a lingerie model was second nature to her. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

It took all her willpower not to glance over her shoulder to see if Seth was watching her. She couldn’t decide whether she was hoping to find his eyes on her or off her. She swore under her breath. Hadn’t she just confronted the man so he would stop staring at her?

Resisting her attraction to Seth Kim must’ve thoroughly sapped her strength. She suddenly felt light-headed and out of breath. She needed