I have another excerpt from the lovely book Chasing Ella for you today! If you haven’t gotten your hands on it already, you need to!
Finch must feel it too because he hasn’t spoken a single word. He stares me down like a hunter stalking its prey. I wish he would bite me, lick every inch of my body, and take what he wants. But I am not that girl—even if he is that guy.
“Are you sure we haven’t met before?” Finch breaks the silence between us. “You look familiar.”
I shake my head. “I’ve worked at the tutoring center since sophomore year. That could be why I look so familiar to you.”
He blushes, turning his head to the side for a second. “I guess you get a lot of dumb jocks in here.”
“No one is dumb. Some people just need more help than others.”
“And you can help me?” he asks without hesitation. His tone is hopeful.
“I don’t doubt that you will graduate with our class by the time I finish with you.”
Finch leans forward, digs his elbows into the wood, and cups his face in his hands. The two feet that separate us is not enough when he flashes me a panty-melting smile that goes straight to my core. I cross my legs and suck in a deep breath, reminding myself to keep it together. I cannot let my guard down around Finch. But he does things to me that I wish wouldn’t happen, stripping away my willpower.
“You’re graduating this year, too?”
“With honors,” I confess.
“Smart, beautiful, what else do I need to know about you?” He stops himself, as if deep in thought, and then continues, “There is something about you. I can’t put my finger on it, but I know you from somewhere other than the tutoring center.”
“I’m not in a sorority or on the cheerleading team, so I doubt it.”
“That’s not it,” he says, unfazed by my dig at the company he keeps. “Those girls blend, but a girl like you stands out from the crowd.”
“How so?” This I’m dying to hear.
“You’re not like those girls.”
I snort. “Well, thanks for pointing out the obvious and making this conversation even more awkward.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
I shrug, pretending as though his words didn’t just cut through me. Finch would never see me the way he does a sorority girl or a cheerleader. That much is clear from his comments. I stand out from the crowd all right.
He crosses his arms over his chest, holding my gaze. Those eyes are like daggers that cut deep into my soul. I wish he’d say something to end my suffering. The silence is deafening and driving me crazy.
“What’s your name, tutor girl?” He’s so fucking cute that when he winks at me, I can’t decide if I want to kiss or punch him for calling me tutor girl. But it sounds more like a term of endearment than an insult coming from Finch.
“For starters, my name is not tutor girl.” I sink further into the chair and decide what to say next. Around Finch, I’m nervous yet bold, just like I was at the party.
“I’m still waiting, Princess.”
“Princess is not any better,” I mutter. “Try again.”
After an awkward pause, he stretches his hand across the table. “Hi, I’m Shawn Finch, tight end for the Strickland Senators and failing yet another class. I like to party and do stupid shit that ruins my grade-point average, and now, I need this beautiful, spitfire girl to keep my dumb ass from failing.”
“I already told you that you’re not dumb,” I counter. “You shouldn’t talk about yourself that way.”
“That’s all you took from what I just said.” He shakes his head, still holding out his hand and waiting for me to shake.
I slip my fingers between his and electricity sparks between us. It’s as if we never had any time apart, our bodies still connected as one. There’s something between us that no one can deny. He knows it. We both know it.
“Ella Fitzgerald,” I finally say, letting go of his hand. The sensation between us is too much for me to handle.
“Definitely not tutor girl,” he says, smiling. “Nice to meet you, Ella.”
“Nice to meet you too Finch.”
“I’d rather you call me Shawn.”
“Everyone calls you by your last name,” I point out.
“You’re not everyone.”
His words take me by surprise, causing my breath to hitch. “Either are you, Shawn.”
“I like hearing you say my name,” he says, his voice almost a whisper. “Say it again.”
“Shawn,” I breathe, maintaining eye contact.
The tension between us provokes a deep yearning inside me. I’d love to give into my desires, lunge myself across this table, and admit that I’m the masked girl from the party.
His muscles flex under the black fabric stretched tight across his chest. Like most of the athletes on campus, Finch has on the standard athletics shirt and track pants uniform they all sport to class. Some days it’s jeans or shorts, but today, Shawn is wearing black track pants to match the Strickland Senators football shirt. And he sure knows how to wear it.
I have to stop this before someone notices. Breaking eye contact with Finch, I grab his textbook and slide it between us, and then, flip open to the middle of the book. “Shall we begin?”
“Let’s see what you’ve got, tutor girl.” He says it with a cocky smirk and another sexy wink.
“Okay, Finch,” I challenge.
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