It really sucks to be in love with someone who sees you as nothing more than a friend.
It really sucks to be in love with someone who sees you as nothing more than a friend. Darcy Owens knows this from personal experience. From the moment she met Sean McKenna as a wary ten-year-old, he’s owned her heart. So when he asks for her help with an important construction project, she can’t say no.
Building a boutique hotel on Boston’s waterfront is a career-making opportunity, and Sean needs Darcy’s interior design expertise. She’s incredibly talented, and there is no one he trusts more. He knows he can always count on his childhood friend, but doesn’t know why he’s thinking about her tight skirts and blue eyes instead of tight deadlines and blueprints.
When Sean and Darcy’s excitement about their work turns into an entirely different kind of excitement, it’s a sexy surprise. But they soon realize that building a new relationship is more challenging than building a new hotel, especially when life-long habits and old insecurities create cracks in the foundation.
Mallory dug her hand into the mug and pulled out the next question. Her eyes scanned the paper and she laughed.
“What is your preferred shape when shaving your pubic hair?”
Quinn spit her beer back into her glass, almost choking on it. “Darcy!”
“You first, Quinn,” Darcy smiled.
Quinn’s eyes were as big as saucers, the whites totally surrounding her light gray irises.
“Figures,” Darcy teased. “Okay, I’ll go first again. I try to keep it mostly in a little triangle shape. But I trim it pretty short so it doesn’t get too out of control down there.”
Quinn was turning three shades of purple. Mallory and Jessi both laughed hysterically, covering their faces with their hands.
“You are shameless!” Quinn yelled, looking like she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
All heads turned to see Ewan and Sean McKenna walk through the front door. Darcy’s smile froze on her face as she stared at the two cousins who looked absolutely nothing alike. One was dark and one was fair. Both were tall, fit, and drop-dead gorgeous. Ewan was a usual suspect on the weekends. Sean, however, was not.
Damn, I’m not drunk enough to handle this.
“Darcy’s shameless,” Quinn said, now with a little grin on her face.
“Of course she is,” Sean said, smiling his million-dollar smile. “She’s Darcy,”
Nope. Definitely not drunk enough to deal with Sean McKenna.
That smile was one of Sean’s many highly effective and deadly weapons in his arsenal against the opposite sex. It had been eighteen years, and Darcy’s breath still caught every time she laid eyes on him. Strong, sculpted shoulders and a chest that narrowed into a lean and muscled abdomen.
No matter what he had on, his body looked amazing. Long, toned legs, shapely ass. His list of sexy and virile attributes could go on and on.
Combine that list with his sunny blond hair and his nonstop sense of humor, and he was a one-man woman-eater. And she didn’t mean that as an innuendo, although she could guess it was fairly accurate if the rumors served him right.
He had the confidence and charisma to charm Mother Teresa’s panties off. He was just that good.
Not that Darcy knew what it was like for Sean to charm her panties off, even though she’d been dreaming about it ever since she’d met him on her first day of school in Ballagh, a sleepy village south of Boston. She’d seen all his tricks and moves. But only because she’d helplessly watched him work them on other girls.
Sean had been the reason several lucky girls had given up their hymens. Ironically, he was and remained to be the reason she still had hers.
Call it sad. Call it impossible. Call it an abomination. Darcy was a twenty-eight-year-old virgin. It was hard to have a physical relationship when all she did was compare other men to Sean. She didn’t mean to do it. She just did.
And if that didn’t fucking split her heart in two, the fact that he considered her one of his best friends did the trick. No guy ever fucked his best gal pal. It was in the guy code of conduct or something.
Ewan pushed by his cousin, bent down, and gave Quinn a hard kiss on the lips before whispering something in her ear that made her giggle. His smile for his girlfriend was warm and made promises that told Darcy she’d likely need to sleep with the TV on. Not that they were ever loud when the darkly handsome and brooding Ewan was getting it on with her roommate. But Darcy didn’t want to risk hearing anything.
Quinn smiled up at him. “We’re almost done.”
“Done with what?” Sean asked, pulling up a chair to the table.
“We’re playing Dirty Dozen.” Mallory’s words were slightly slurred.
Sean looked over at her and raised his brows. “Dirty Dozen? Sounds scandalous. Do tell.”
Darcy noticed the way Sean’s eyes lit up. He would be the only guy she knew who would use a word like scandalous.
“We have to answer twelve questions,” Jessi answered him. “The naughtier the better.”
“Jesus,” Ewan muttered, shaking his head as he started toward the living room to watch TV.
“Naughty questions, huh?” Sean replied. “And why haven’t I been invited to join in on the fun before?”
“Because you don’t have a vagina,” Darcy deadpanned.
Sean twisted his lips at her and raised a brow.
“I have intimate knowledge of vaginas. That should count for something.”
Darcy rolled her eyes. Before she could tell Sean that no dicks were allowed at their Girls’ Night In, Jessi chimed in. “Of course you can play with us. It‘ll be fun to get a guy’s perspective.”
With the exception of Quinn, Darcy’s friends didn’t know about her feelings for Sean. Jessi and Mallory, no doubt, thought he was the hottest thing since Tabasco.
Pretty much everyone did.
Her friends had met him a few times over the years through parties someone or other had thrown. Sean very rarely ever came down to Providence, where Darcy had just finished her graduate degree and Quinn was still trudging through hers. He lived in Boston, where he had earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees, and was now partner in a general contracting firm.
“Okay, hit me,” Sean invited. “What’s this shameless question of Darcy’s?”
“What shape do you shave your pubic hair?” Darcy challenged. She should have known that he wouldn’t even bat an eye.
“Great question,” he immediately answered. “Personally, I just trim my pubes. However, if you want to know my preference for how a woman should shave hers—”
“We don’t,” Darcy quickly said.
“Yes, we do!” both Mallory and Jessi yelled at the same time.
Sean smiled at them both before continuing. “It’s gotta be tidy down there. Shaved is okay, but waxed is better. And it needs to have some shape. I think it’s unnatural for a woman to be completely bare. I personally prefer something I like to call the Martini Glass, right above the—” He stopped suddenly and frowned. “I should illustrate. Can I get a pen and paper?”
“No!” Darcy cut in.
Sean shrugged, clearly loving how uncomfortable she was.
“My turn to ask a question.” He reached in to pull out a piece of paper. Sean smiled as he read it to himself before turning that blinding grin on the rest of the table.
“God, this is a great game,” he laughed. “Okay, the question is: When, where, how, and to whom did you lose your virginity?”
All the blood seemed to drain from Darcy’s head.
She’d been surprised that this question hadn’t come up the first few times they’d played the Dirty Dozen. It wasn’t that she was trying to keep her virginity a secret. She just never talked about it. Why the hell did it have to come up now, when Sean was here, for Christ’s sake?
Fuck, she was nowhere near drunk enough for this.