campusdormA warm shiver ran up her back and wrapped around her shoulders at his last words. Tamar reached for the wrap and bit into it. ”Oh definitely better.” She smirked up at him. ”I think I’ll keep you for a while longer.” She took another bite.

“Lucky me,” he echoed and forced himself not to watch her take another bite. He stole her fork and stabbed a piece of enchilada to pop in his mouth. “I’ll have to make sure I feed you more often.”

Tamar tilted her head to look at him curiously. ”Trying to fatten me up?” She then drew her legs out from under her and shifted to rise from the bed, eyes catching a pair of iPod speakers at his desk. ”What music are you into?”

“Trying to convince you to keep me around.” He stretched out on the bed, eyes following her as she walked. “I listen to a little bit of everything but mostly country. Don’t you dare laugh.”

Her eyes widened as she turned to look at Dylan, a smile tugging at her lips. ”Country huh? Would’ve never guessed that.” She placed her hands on her hips, smile morphing to a full grin. ”Well now you got me all interested. Play me something.”

“Do I even want to know what you would’ve guessed? I gave you a front row seat to my concert when we first met and you didn’t appreciate it. You’re not getting anything else out of me.”

Tamar laughed, recalling his one-man show. Could he pull off a smoky Southern drawl? ”I wasn’t prepared for it that time.” She walked back to the bed and grabbed his sleeve. ”Come, you can’t tell me something like that and not give me a taste of it.”

“I can. I know when my musical talents aren’t appreciated.”

Tamar rolled her eyes. ”You want your ego stroked. Is that it?”

He laughed and slid off the bed, using one finger to coax her to look at him. He cleared his throat and softly began to sing. “I got a funny feeling the moment that your lips touched mine. Something shot right through me. My heart skipped a beat in time. There’s a different feel about you tonight. It’s got me thinkin’ lots of crazy things. I even think I saw a flash of light, felt like electricity.” He stopped then and cleared his throat once more. “Good enough, Your Highness?”

Tamar stared up at him as he crooned his own rendition of Toby Keith, a song that made her smile whenever it came on the radio. She lowered her gaze to his lips before slowly lifting them to his eyes again. ”Decent enough…” The corner of her lips lifted in a gentle smile. ”Bravo.”

“Give me my props, woman,” he demanded softly as he searched her eyes, unsure of what he was looking for but looking all the same. Not for the first time, the desire to kiss her struck him but he was a man of his word and she had yet to give permission.

Tamar stepped forward, the melody now ringing in her ears as she kept her eyes on his. Her hands moved from her side to rest on his arms. ”Just one. Y’know, to congratulate you on your singing…” She said in warning, tugging at his sleeves to bring his head closer to hers. Her gaze moved to his well-shaped mouth, remembering how warm and firm it was on hers. ”Just one,” she said and closed the distance, planting her lips on his own. Her eyes closed instantly.

His hands slid up to cup her face and draw her further into the kiss. He couldn’t explain why any tension left his body as if he’d only been waiting for this or why she drew him in like no other woman had. All he knew was that she was giving him one kiss and he wanted it to last. She felt and tasted like sunshine. He wanted to swallow her whole but he held back. He wouldn’t risk spooking her, not now when she was finally coming to him. Slowly, reluctantly he pulled back, lashes still lowered. “One more?” he whispered against her lips.

Tamar blinked at her heavy eyelids, her fingers splayed along the lengths of his toned arms. She could feel her entire face tingling underneath his palms pressed against her cheeks, could feel the warmth from her shoulders all the way down to her toes that had stretched up to meet him halfway. His warm breath tickled her lips and it took everything in her to pull her mouth away. She traced his face leisurely with her eyes. ”One song, one kiss…”

“You’re violating some kind of labor law, I’m sure. That’s not even minimum wage.” He was already searching for another song.

Tamar smirked, lifting her hands to cover his own still cupping her warm cheeks. She pulled his hands down. ”I only can afford one… for now. Save your song for another day, Sinatra. I should get going.” One quick glance out the window at the darkening sky told her it was time to take her exit.

He smiled at her choice of words. It was good to know she was planning to kiss him again in the future. “You’re not walking across campus alone. You should already know that.” He reached behind her into the closet for his football jacket.

Tamar eyed his jacket and for a brief moment, was reminded of the stark difference between them. ”I could always call Bekah,” she answered as she stepped back to the bed to put on her shoes. ”No need to walk with me,” she answered, reaching for the empty food containers.

“I’m not real happy with the idea of the two of you walking alone either.”

Tamar paused at stacking the plates and smirked at him. He was being protective…already. Cute. ”Relax, we’ve done it countless of times.” She shrugged her shoulders, straightening up. ”Besides, darlin’, these shoes ain’t just made for walkin’.” Tamar bit back a laugh as she stuck out a booted foot.

He laughed, just barely resisting the urge to pull her into his arms for a hug. “They’re certainly made for something, sweetheart. Stop trying to distract me. I wasn’t there to protest before. At least wait until she gets here if you’re going to be stubborn.”

Tamar smiled, lingering again over the crooked smile on his lips. ”I can do that. Let me throw these out and then I’ll call her.” She started for his door.

He reached around her and grabbed the styrofoam boxes from her hand. “I got that. You call Bekah.”

She released her hold and tugged her phone from her cardigan pocket. Dialing the number, Tamar walked back to Dylan’s bed and perched there just as Bekah picked up the call. ”Come walk home with me. Sinatra won’t let me leave except if you come.” After giving her amused cousin directions to Dylan’s dorm, she disconnected the call and shook her head, though a smile played at her lips. Bekah would never let her live this down.

“Way to make me sound like an awful guy.” He tossed his jacket on the bed beside her. “Wear that when you go out.”

Tamar eyed the football jacket before looking up at him, brow cocked questioningly. ”I have a sweater on. It’s not that cold, Sinatra.”

“You and Crystal both.” He groaned. “That flimsy thing is not a sweater. It’s too thin.”

”I’m the one wearing it and it’s not thin,” Tamar insisted softly. ”Wearing your jacket on top of it’ll only make me burn up.”

“If you get sick I’m not going to be happy,” he warned frowning at her.

“Hey, Crys is he–” Tonio broke off mid-sentence as he entered the room. He spotted Tamar seated on the bed and smiled. He shut the door behind him, discreetly shooting Dylan a look. “Hey Tamar, it’s nice to finally meet you. I’m Tonio.”

Tamar quickly glanced at Dylan before looking back at Tonio. ”Hello Tonio…” she said hesitantly, not sure what this man had heard about her; from the rumors or from Dylan. Either way, she tensed slightly as he approached her. ”Whatever you’ve heard about me, more than half probably isn’t true,” she said with a soft smile.

Tonio laughed and looked at Dylan again. “I don’t know. Ramsey’s a pretty trustworthy guy.”

Dylan rolled his eyes. “Thanks a lot, Tonio.”

Tamar smiled despite the surprising bout of nerves that hit her. ”Well, I guess I’ll have to trust him too then.” She peeked up at Dylan, wondering just how much she could let her guard down with this man.

“So I take it you two got everything all patched up?” Tonio asked looking at the two of them.

Dylan made a show of turning his back to his roommate and looking at Tamar. Seeing those beautiful blue eyes focused on him was still like a shock to his system but he tried to keep it together. “Please excuse my nosey so-called best friend. He forgets his sense when he gets around women.”

Tonio just chuckled. “Just remember who helped you out this morning. I know where you sleep, bro.”

Before Tamar could ask about the favor Tonio had done for Dylan, a soft knock sounded on the door. ”That’s probably Bekah…” She rose to her feet and shuffled to the door, pulling it open. She rolled eyes at her cousin’s Cheshire grin. ”Behave,” she warned quietly, pulling it open for her to enter.

”Oh so you’re answering his door now too,” Bekah teased softly as she entered, lifting a hand to wave. ”Hey Dylan…and friend.”

“Hey Bekah,” Dylan greeted, pushing Tonio playfully after hearing his whispered comment about Tamar’s comfortability in their room. “That’s Tonio, friend and overall pain in the butt.”

Tonio nudged him before grinning at Bekah. “Nice to meet you, Bekah.”

Bekah grinned back. ”Looks like you’re in good company, Tonio. My cousin thinks I’m also a pain in her caboose. We should leave them alone one day and hang out, y’know, plot our revenge against this ungrateful bunch.”

Tamar rolled her eyes again and grabbed Bekah’s arm, pulling her toward the door. ”Time to go.”

“Hey, hold on Tamar! I’m liking the sound of this, Bekah. I know an ungrateful person myself,” he said purposely looking at Dylan. “Revenge is always good.”

Tamar laughed, tugging Bekah with her out to the hallway. ”Don’t let her influence your good judgment. Goodnight Tonio.” She nudged Bekah’s leg with her knee. “Dylan, later.”

”Tonio, we’ll talk soon,” Bekah called over her shoulder as Tamar practically dragged her out of the room. ”What no goodbye kiss for Sinatra?” She asked in teasing as they approached the stairwell.

Tamar’s cheeks warmed, pushing the door open. ”Shush… Besides, I wouldn’t dare in front of you, or I won’t live it down for days.”

“Weeks,” Bekah countered as she hooked one arm under Tamar’s, grinning from ear to ear as they strolled down the stairs.

<<Chapter 11 || Chapter 13>>