Secrets That We Keep by Linda Kage



“What do you think you’re doing?” I called after him, totally aghast. “You can’t stay. You weren’t invited.”

To which he called back from the kitchen, “Was too.”

“Ugh.” Throwing my head back, I glared up at the ceiling a moment, then slumped my shoulders and trailed my uninvited, pain-in-the-neck guest back to my kitchen.

Self-consciously wrapping the robe I was wearing tighter around my stained T-shirt and sweatpants, because I totally wasn’t dressed to receive visitors who were not Gracen, I plopped heavily into a chair and crossed my legs so I could madly swing one bare foot back and forth to display my annoyance.

Completely ignoring me, the turd just kept snooping through my fridge. So I sighed—loudly—and irritably watched the cloth of his jeans pull snug across his butt as he bent over, searching for God knows what.

I was about to complain about him just making himself at home in my kitchen, but I got a little distracted by the pleasant scenery, so I ended up simply blinking and wondering when he’d gotten such a nice ass.

Then, because I was drunk, I blurted, “When did you get such a nice ass?”

He straightened in surprise and spun around, shooting me a startled glance. But a second later, he sniffed indignantly. “What’re you talking about? I’ve always had a nice ass.”

“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes.

His butt definitely hadn’t been that appealing when he was little. That I could attest to. When we’d been kids, he and Gracen, along with a couple of the other boys, would run around bare-ass naked in our backyard and have water fights. We girls—voyeurs that we were—would totally spy on them through the windows and giggle behind our hands. It had been agreed upon by all, save for his sister, that Beau had the cutest butt in those days.

Turning back to my fridge, my guest ignored me and shut the door, obviously finding nothing of interest there. He opened the freezer next.

I nearly whined with disappointment because his butt looked way better when he was bending over. Not that it was awful when he was standing upright, but his jeans had become too loose to properly see the awesome curvature he’d had before.

“You know, those frozen push-pop things you buy are seriously the best,” he was saying from the depths of chilly air. “My favorite flavor’s peach.”

“Is it? Hmm. Well, I’m out,” I was evilly pleased to report. Served him right for barging in without an invitation and not bending over in front of me anymore.

“But are you? Really?” Grinning broadly, he backed from the freezer so he could turn and triumphantly hold up a peach push pop.

My mouth fell open. “Where the hell did you find that?”

“Under a bag of frozen peas.” He winked. “Right where I stashed it the last time I was here.”

“Last time…” Scowling, I shook my head. “But it’s probably been a year since you were last here.”

“I know.” Unwrapping his treat, he wiggled his eyebrows mischievously. “Shows how much I know you don’t eat your vegetables.”

I mean-mugged him and mumbled, “It’s probably freezer burned by now.” At least, I hoped it was. That was what he should get for hiding one of my favorite treats from me so he could hog it to himself.

But as soon as he stuck one end in his mouth, he closed his eyes and moaned in delight. “Mmm. Nope, no freezer burn. It’s absolutely perfect. Mm-hmm.”

“You’re such a turd,” I groused.

“Really? Am I? Then I guess that means I should do this next.” He proceeded to slowly slide his tongue up the popsicle and back down again to rub his victory in my face. I would’ve called him another nasty name, except I got distracted, focusing a little too intently on the path of his tongue.

When my drunk brain went there, wondering what else he could do with a tongue like that, a flutter of awareness tickled me in the most startling places.

I jumped, not expecting that kind of reaction, especially since it’d been caused by him of all people.

Oblivious to my embarrassing response, he smirked and continued to suck on my push pop as he grabbed a chair across the table from me with his free hand, spun it around, and sat on it backwards so he could rest his forearms on the backrest as he ate.

Settling deep brown eyes on me, he sighed. “Alright now, spill it. What was your distress call about?”

I lifted my chin loftily. “I have no idea what you’re referring to.”