My Kind of Beautiful (Finding Love #2) by Nikki Ash



Alec





“It’s your turn to cook, bro, and I’m thinking burgers.” Chase grins wide and throws two packages of ground beef into the shopping cart. “I’m also thinking baked potatoes.” He pushes the cart over to the produce section and grabs several potatoes, tossing them into a produce bag and then the bag into the cart.

“Yeah, yeah. Why is it when it’s your turn to cook, you buy pre-made meals, but when it’s my turn, I actually have to cook?” I pick out a few tomatoes and onions and add them to the cart.

“Maybe because you can actually cook. Trust me, I’m doing everyone at the station a favor.” He chuckles, throwing a head of lettuce into the mix. “Who’ll put out all the fires in Los Angeles if all the guys are sick with food poisoning?”

I throw a couple cans of baked beans into the cart. “Maybe you should give those words of advice to Lexi. The woman is determined to learn how to cook, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to end with her killing all of us.”

“Food poisoning doesn’t kill.” Chase laughs.

“No, but fires do.” I shake my head as I think about the last few times my best friend and roommate has attempted to cook and failed. “I’m telling you right now, if that damn fire alarm goes off one more time while I’m trying to sleep, I’m going to find a way to padlock the oven so she can’t cook.”

“When are you going to admit you have the hots for Lexi Scott?” Chase shoots me a knowing look, which I choose to ignore, instead grabbing a package of buns from the shelf and throwing them at him.

“Oohhh, that hurt.” Chase groans dramatically. “Seriously, though, in the last year, since I was transferred to this station and have gotten to know you, not once have I seen you treat the women you’re talking to the way you treat that woman.”

“That’s because I’m not talking to Lexi.” And if I’m honest, I’m barely talking to other women. But when the guys and I go out, it tends to send up a red flag when they’re all trying to hook up with various women, while I’m wallowing in my drink, trying to fight my feelings for a woman I’ll never make mine. It’d probably be smart to actually hook up with one of those women—fuck my feelings for her straight out of my system. But the few times I tried ended with me walking out the door, leaving the woman hanging—sexually frustrated and pissed—so I decided to take a short hiatus from sex, get my shit together, and then try again. Only that hiatus has lasted way longer than I planned. I’ve been abstinent so long now, my dick has probably disowned me. If it could, it would detach itself from my body and find another guy to get it laid.

“She’s my friend,” I tell him for the millionth damn time, hoping this time he’ll believe me. “Just like Georgia is my friend. And if you want to stay friends with women, you don’t talk to them.”

“I’m not buying it. I’ve seen you with both of your roommates. You don’t give Georgia the same look you give Lexi.”

“And what look might that be?” I regret the question the second the words come out of my mouth. I thought I’ve been good about hiding my feelings, but it’s hard when we share a living space. When she flits around in her tiny little cutoff shorts and bikinis. When she lays her legs across me on the couch, begging me to give her foot massages. Or when she snuggles up next to me to watch a movie, and her tiny, perfect body rubs up against mine. I try so damn hard to ignore the way my heart clenches in my chest, or the way my dick stands at attention at her touch. If Lexi’s noticed, she hasn’t said anything. So, she’s either blind to my feelings, ignoring them, or I’m doing a good job at hiding them—at least from her.

“The look that says you want to lock her up in your room and fuck her until the sun comes up,” Chase says. “Then, when all the condoms run out and she can’t take any more, you cook her breakfast in bed.” He waggles his eyebrows.

“Chase, you’re seeing shit that isn’t there,” I deadpan, lying through my teeth. “And speaking of breakfast in bed, when are you planning to sleep in your own bed?” I give him a pointed look.

Without answering me, Chase pushes the cart into the checkout line and starts loading the items onto the conveyer belt. I could push him to answer, but I don’t. For one, Chase sleeping on my couch when he has his own home and a wife can’t be a good sign, and if it means he’s having marriage troubles, the last thing I want to do is make him feel like he can’t crash at my place. And two, it might cause him to further push the subject of me hooking up with Lexi, and the last thing I need is to visualize my best friend in my bed: under me, on top of me, me fucking her from behind. Pulling her long blond hair while she calls out my name. Damn it! I look around to make sure nobody is watching me, then adjust my pants.