On the way to my car, he stops me. “Ava, I need to say something.”
He pauses on the walkway, looks down and kicks a pebble toward
“I know that as much I’d like to…I can’t ask you not to see
What? I glance up at him with my head tipped to the side.
He’s twisting his hands together as I wait for him to continue. He
finally looks me square in the eyes.
“…But, will you do me a favor? Don’t fall in love with him.”
I arch my brow. “Did you really just ask me that?” Should I tell him
there’s little to no chance of my falling in love with Jonathan now?
He gets a devilish look in his eyes as he holds up his hands in surrender.
“I know, I know…I just don’t want you to get involved with
him on the rebound.”
I put my hands on my hips and arch my brow. “Max, to be on the
rebound you have to have been in a relationship to rebound from.”
He seems to ignore my logic. “Besides, Ava, you could still be really
attracted to me and not know it.”
“Really? I don’t think my attraction to you is in question.”
“Yeah, what if you’re secretly falling in love with me?”
I playfully push him on the shoulder. “You wish!” I tease.
“There’s only one way to know for sure. Don’t you think you should
know before you go out with Jonathan again?”
“One way to know for sure?”
“Yes. Kiss me. I promise I won’t touch you—look, hands free!” He
tucks his hands into his back pockets.
My mouth falls open as I press my thighs together. Just the idea of
being kissed again by Max makes me instantly hot and bothered.
“Just one little kiss,” he says in a low voice.
I can’t believe he’s playing this game with me. But the fire in his eyes
and the sweet smile on his face are more than I can bear. I take a step
toward him. Two can play this game.
“So, if I feel nothing, we’ll agree to be friends—that’s it—no complications.
And I can friggin’ marry Jonathan if I so choose.”
He makes a sour face, but nods anyway.
I bite my lip as I look into his eyes. One kiss, one kiss…I close my
eyes as I edge closer until I can feel the heat shimmering from his skin.
“Oh, Ava,” he whispers, a deep longing in his voice.
His breath on my cheek undoes me, and when our lips meet, they
meld together as if they’d just kissed a moment earlier. We kiss languidly,
sensuously, our tongues meeting in an erotic dance. He gently
bites my bottom lip before I press my lips even harder against his. An
overwhelming current suddenly surges through me, practically knocking
Oh my God! I’m on fire. I run one of my hands along his shoulder
and behind his neck, pulling him closer, while winding my other hand
into his hair and tugging it passionately. Our bodies are pressed together
so tightly I feel as if I’m one with him.
He moans my name over and over as the kiss intensifies. I’m lost in
his sweet mouth, his lips turning me into a traitor to logic and reason.
When I finally pull away to gasp for air, he grins widely, and the
bright-eyed expression on his face is victorious. He gambled big and
Like there was ever a question—he owns me. He probably has all
along; it’s just taken me all this time to figure it out.
He studies me with a spark in his eyes, and he takes a sharp breath.
He takes his hands out of his pockets as if to grab me and never let me go.
My heart’s so full I can’t help but shine with a smile.
I remember we’re taking things slow, so without a word, I hurry to
my car before he can say something to draw me back into his arms. But
even as I flee the charged atmosphere and speed down PCH, I can feel
his joy follow me all the way home.
Purchase Work of Art Book 2, The Unveiling now.
Ruth Clampett, daughter of legendary animation director, Bob Clampett, has spent a lifetime surrounded by art and animation. A graduate of Art Center College of Design, her careers have included graphic design, photography, VP of Design for WB Stores and teaching photography at UCLA. She now runs her own studio as the fine art publisher for Warner Bros. where she’s had the opportunity to know and work with many of the greatest artists in the world of animation and comics.
The Work of Art Trilogy is Ruth’s third publishing endeavor, following Animate Me and Mr. 365. She lives in Los Angeles and is heavily supervised by her teenage daughter, lovingly referred to as Snarky, who loves art and visiting museums as much as her mom.