Authors: Kelly Jamieson
“I really don’t think it’s a good idea…”
“I’ll take off first thing in the morning. I don’t want to get in your way. I know you have a boyfriend and I...I’m just here to...whatever. Apologize. Say goodbye. So we can be friends.”
No. We can never be friends.
The words screamed in her head, but she kept her lips firmly closed. She gave a short nod and turned to leave. She knew she could be making a big mistake, but it was so like Griff to be able to convince her to do just about anything.
The wind whipped her long hair into a tangled mess by the time they arrived back at her place. He parked in the driveway again, behind her beat-up car. As they got out, he grabbed a duffel bag from the back of the car.
She was painfully aware of him as they went into the dark, quiet house. “I have a spare room, but there’s no bed in it, so you’ll have to crash on the couch.”
“Not a problem,” he assured her. “I can sleep anywhere. I really appreciate it.”
She grimaced as she found sheets, blankets and a pillow for him. He turned on the lamp on the table beside her sofa and it cast a soft glow in the room.
“I’m going to bed now.”
. Those words sounded way too suggestive. “The bathroom is the second door on the right. Help yourself to anything you need.”
He nodded, watching her with such steadfast focus her skin tingled.
Once again, she hastened into her bedroom, shut the door behind her and leaned back against it. Her lungs refused to expand and her legs went marshmallow. If only there was a lock.
Griff would never try anything like that. They’d had an intensely physical relationship but he had never, ever forced her to do something she hadn’t wanted to. He’d had other, more subtle ways of getting his way.
In a daze, she undressed and found her pajamas, cotton boxer shorts that sat low on her hips and a ribbed tank top. The room was warm, so she opened the window to let in the evening breeze. For long moments, she stared out the window at the lights of the city and the black that was the ocean. The fronds of a palm tree outside her window tossed and rustled in the breeze, and the scent of the jasmine she’d planted outside below her window wafted in. She sucked in a deep breath.
There was no way in hell she would ever sleep tonight. She’d be reliving every moment of the evening in her head, every word they’d said since they met in the middle of the street, every look, every touch. It would play over and over again in her head like a movie being rewound, like she always did with events that affected her so deeply. She’d fret over things she’d said, wish she’d said them differently, sigh over things she hadn’t said.
She turned away from the window and climbed into bed, laying flat on her back. She gazed up at the ceiling in the dark, eyes wide open and not even close to feeling sleepy.
She’d always known that one day, somehow, somewhere they would see each other again. Even though she’d imagined that he might, the fact he had sought her out was truly amazing. She fought against it, but it made her happy he’d wanted to see her.
The worst thing about it was he was just as gorgeous and charming and seductive as he’d always been. He could get her to do anything, forgive anything. Here she was all soft, warm and melting, when she should be pissed off and not letting him even set foot in her house, let alone sleep there.
Her hands slid over her aching breasts, down her stomach. The throbbing emptiness between her legs was driving her crazy with need. She slid a hand lower, into her shorts and into the soft folds. God, she was wet. So wet. Only Griff could make her wet just from looking at him. Her fingers stroked herself, found her swollen clit and rubbed. A pleasant buzz hummed through her body and she closed her eyes.
Her hand stilled, the buzz killed.
What was she going to do? She cared about Matthew, but her reaction to Griff was sudden, intense, overwhelming...confusing.
She pulled her hand out of her shorts and rolled over onto her stomach with a groan. If only she could sleep.
Of course, the harder she tried to sleep the farther away from it she was. After tossing and turning for a few hours, trying unsuccessfully not to replay the evening, she decided maybe some chamomile tea would help.
When she cracked open her bedroom door the light of the television flickered from the living room. She tiptoed down the hall and peeked in, and sure enough, Griff sat there, the fleece blanket wrapped around his lower body, the remote in his hand as he channel surfed.
He looked up and saw her and his eyes widened. “Can’t sleep either?”
“No.” She sighed. “I’m going to make some herbal tea. Want some?”
Even in the dim light from the television, she could see one brow lift. “Herbal tea?” Then he shrugged. “Sure, why not.” He was still looking at her, and she wished she’d put something over her tank and shorts. She turned into the kitchen, not wanting to put the lights on, and filled the kettle.
“Want to watch TV with me?” he invited.
Bad idea. Really bad. But somehow she was sitting on the couch, at the far end from him. She glanced at him, then away. His chest was bare and wow, he had filled out spectacularly. He must have started working out. His pecs were well-defined and smooth, shoulders strong, biceps rounded. Her eyes lowered to the flat abs above the edge of the blanket he’d wrapped around him. What did he have on under that blanket?
Heat built in her, yet her nipples were hard. She crossed her arms over her chest and tucked her bare feet under her.
“Are you cold? I can share the blanket.”
“No!” She almost choked. “That’s okay, I’m fine.”
“I was watching a movie, but it just ended. I don’t know if there’s anything else good on.” He flicked rapidly through a few channels, and she couldn’t help but grin. “What?” He glanced sideways at her.
“All three of those shows looked interesting. How can you tell if something’s good or not when you flick through it so fast?” She was teasing him, and he grinned, too.
“Hmm. It’s just a man thing I guess. I just know instantly if it’s something I want to watch.”
“If you see a car chase, a gun or an explosion, then it’s worth watching?”
He laughed. “You got it.”
He slowed down and stopped at an old episode of
“You like this show?”
“Sure. I think I’ve seen it about eight times, but that’s okay.”
The kettle whistled, so she unfolded her legs and padded into the kitchen to fill two mugs with hot water and a bag of tea each. She dropped spoons into them and carried them into the living room, setting them on the old trunk that served as her coffee table.
They watched in silence while the tea steeped, Ainslie not aware of the show at all, only of Griff sitting there half-naked so close to her. She could sense his awareness of her, too. It was like an energy force simmering between them, almost palpable. His gaze stroked over her as he glanced sideways at her.
“It should be ready.” She reached for her mug. He did the same, and they sat there sipping the steaming liquid.
“Hmm,” he said. “Interesting.”
“You’ve never had chamomile tea?”
“No, can’t say I have. If I have trouble sleeping, I usually just drink heavily.”
“That’s not healthy.”
“Pardon me, Dr. Patterson. Hey, that’s cool. I like calling you that.”
“You can’t tell me you’ve never over-indulged. Don’t forget, I knew you in your wild college days.”
“I’m not saying I’ve never done it,” she said with another laugh. “I’m just saying it’s not good sleep hygiene.”
“What? Sleep hygiene. Holy shit. You’ve gotten way too smart for me, baby.”
“Oh, please, Mr. Genius IQ. At least you’ve learned to use your brain for good and not for evil. Although, I really shouldn’t say that, given I’ve never actually seen any of these games you’ve designed. Please tell me that one about car theft is not yours.”
Now he laughed. “Nope. Can’t take the credit for that. Or the money, unfortunately. I will confess to some minor violence in my games, but never killing, stealing or raping.”
She gaped. “Rape? There are games where there’s rape? That’s…disgusting.”
“Oh, yeah, but I have my standards. Jesus, it’s kids playing these things. Well, and some big kids like me.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” she murmured, experiencing a strange sensation, almost as if she were falling. She set her feet on the floor to make sure she was firmly on the ground.
He put his mug on the table and turned to her, one elbow on the back of the couch propping up his head. His gaze was intent, hot and he was too close to her. “So you still don’t like video games?”
“They’re just not my thing. I’d still rather read a book any day.”
“What else do you do? In your spare time.”
“I work pretty long hours. My house has become my new hobby. I like to go antiquing, and there are lots of concerts and art shows here.”
“Who do you go with?”
“With Abby. She still lives here. And her husband. She’s married now. I don’t think you know him…Jeff Nash?” He shook his head. “And Matthew, of course.”
“Matthew is the boyfriend?” His voice roughened.
She nodded and met his eyes. “Yes.”
“How long have you two been together?”
“About two years. I met him at the hospital when I was interning.”
“So he’s a doctor too, hmm?” He looked thoughtful. “Is he a nice guy?”
She smiled. “Of course he’s a nice guy. Would I go out with someone who’s not nice? Oh, wait. Yes, I would.”
He scowled. “Hey. I thought we were over that. And I
a nice guy.”
“No,” she said slowly. “I would not describe you as nice.”
His scowl deepened. “Why not?”
“Griff, you were charming, bouncing-off-the-wall energetic, crazy, you did things on purpose to hurt me, and then, when you wanted to break up, you didn’t even tell me. You just disappeared.” She shook her head, her eyes still on his over the edge of her mug. “That is not what I’d call nice.”
“I didn’t do things to hurt you,” he protested. “You misunderstood that.”
“What are you talking about?” Her brows drew together. “You said you went and saw other girls to make me think you were cheating on me. What would you call that?”
He shook his head violently, shifting closer. “No, no. I didn’t do it to hurt you. I did it to make you mad at me, to make you hate me. I was trying to save you from me.”
She was stunned silent momentarily. Then she snorted. “That is such bullshit.”
He shrugged. “It’s the truth.”
“Well, thanks so much for your kind consideration of my feelings. But it kind of didn’t work that way. You couldn’t possibly have been that stupid.”
He paused. “Uh…yeah, I could. Look, I wasn’t the best at all that emotional stuff. I felt a little panicked, sometimes, like I was… Never mind.”
He waited a few heartbeats, then said in a low voice, “Suffocated. I felt suffocated.”
The hurt was sharp and swift. He’d felt suffocated? Thoughts and feelings started swirling around in her mind, leaving her speechless. She drew back from him, staring at him.
Griff couldn’t stand the look in her eyes. He knew he’d hurt her and he felt like crap.
He shifted closer still and removed the mug from her hands, sliding it carelessly onto the table. “I’m sorry, Ains. That wasn’t right either.”
“Oh, yeah, it was. You’re nothing if not honest, Griff.” Her voice was stiff and cool.
“Oh, man, let me explain. I was trying to tell you this earlier. You cared so much it scared me. I was just trying, in my own stupid way, to change how you felt about me.”
“Because you didn’t care about me the same way.”
“No. Oh, no. That’s not it at all.”
Her eyes questioned him. He curved his hands over her shoulders, so smooth and small. Damn, he’d wanted to touch her since she’d walked into the room, her satiny legs all bare, a strip of pale gold skin showing between the shorts and the top, the tank hugging her soft, braless tits, nipples hard and sticking out like little raspberries.
He swallowed hard. “I cared too much.”
“That’s bullshit.” She tried to pull back.
“It’s not.” He tightened his grip on her shoulders. “I told you. It was too much, too soon. The feelings I had for you scared the shit out of me. I kept pushing you away, but I could never stay away. That’s why I was such an asshole. Then, I just had to get away. There was no fucking way I could break up with you. No way.”
He watched her face as he spilled his guts, watched it soften and her eyes start to glisten as if she was going to cry. “No,” he begged. “Don’t cry. See, that’s what I mean. You know what that does to me.”
She blinked rapidly several times. “I’m not crying.”
They stared at each other, the moving light of the television casting them into light and shadow. The air was suddenly charged, heavy. His heart thudded in his chest, his ears rang and his dick hard was hard as granite. He lifted one hand and touched her bottom lip with two fingertips.
Her head tilted, eyes wide and shining, and her lips parted in an invitation, whether conscious or unconscious, that he couldn’t resist any more than he could resist breathing. His fingers stroked over the lush lip, pushing it down a little so her mouth opened more. He leaned closer.
She didn’t move away. She held his gaze, the awareness and heat in her eyes matching his own. He closed his eyes briefly. This wasn’t planned, but he couldn’t say he didn’t want it to happen. He wanted it. So. Fucking. Much.
Guilt stabbed through him. Was he repeating his past mistakes, hurting women he cared about? He’d come here for closure, atonement…not to screw things up worse. He was leaving tomorrow.
Then she was in his arms, and they both gasped at the shock of pleasure as their bodies touched, and guilt lost out to the overwhelming sweetness of her in his arms. She was so small he could pull her right onto his lap, crushing her in his arms. She seemed even tinier than he remembered.
He took her mouth like he’d been longing to since the moment he’d seen her. That full mouth made for kissing…and other things she was very, very good at. God, those kinds of memories just shot his temperature up even higher. He kissed her with hot, urgent, demanding kisses, opening her mouth, seeking her velvety tongue, fire streaking through his veins.
Her tongue met his with eagerness and she tasted sweetly of chamomile tea and Ainslie. Christ, he loved the taste of her. He stroked deeply in her mouth, sucked on her tongue and felt her open more for him. Her hands clutched his upper arms and he shifted her over him, pushing her back into the cushions of the couch. Then her arms wound around his neck and her fingers were in his hair, tugging, driving him insane with lust.
He slid one hand down her back to her bottom, filling his palm with her firm flesh, pulling her closer. The other hand went to her breast, and he squeezed her softness, almost clutching her a little desperately. He felt her indrawn breath against his mouth and gentled his touch.
“Sorry, sorry,” he muttered. “You feel so good.” He rubbed his palm over her tight nipple, almost out of his mind with desire.
Need stabbed into him, into his already tight testicles, flames licking over him. He moved to kiss her again, but she drew back, staring at him.
No, don’t do it. Please don’t start thinking, he begged her in his mind, his brain fogged with an urgent craving for her. His cock pulsed and throbbed under the blanket now tangled around his hips and legs.
“Griff,” she whispered, eyes full of hunger and confusion. “We shouldn’t be doing this.”
“I know.” He drew a shaky breath and his body clenched with tight restraint. “I know we shouldn’t. But I can’t seem to stop. I can’t resist you.”
Her eyes drifted shut and she swallowed. He bent his head and touched his mouth to her throat, to the pulse beating there like butterfly wings. He sucked softly at her skin, trying to slow down, to control himself so he could entice her, seduce her. He’d never forced any woman, but especially not Ainslie who was so gentle and special, and he wasn’t about to start now, despite the lust raging in him.
He trailed his mouth over the silky skin of her throat, her neck, recalling that place just beneath her ear that would make her shiver.
Trembling in his arms, her head fell back, and he nibbled and tasted her there. He inhaled deeply, drawing in the sweet, warm scent of her. Then he pushed the strap of her tank down so he could nip and lick at her smooth shoulder, then lower to the top swell of her breast.
She moaned, her hands moving over his shoulders, and he went back for her mouth, growling as he kissed her with long, deep, eating kisses. Shifting his weight, he pressed his erection against her softness, rubbing himself against her, leaving her no doubt about what he wanted.
He let go of her to wrench the blanket out from around him and between them. His boxers strained to contain his hugely swollen cock and he glanced down at himself.
He took Ainslie’s hand and pressed it there, needing her touch, wanting her to know. “See what you do to me.”
Her eyes opened, met his, then lowered to where she touched him. Her fingers curled around him and stroked, and they both watched as he twitched in her hand. Electricity surged in his body, sizzled over every nerve ending. Her touch exploded his need and had him throbbing everywhere. “Christ,” he ground out. “Christ, Ainslie.”
Her mouth curved into a little smile, and a wave of relief washed over him that she wasn’t freaking out. She was a willing participant in this and his cock jumped again.
“I’d forgotten how big you are.” She stroked him, sending him into oblivion from sensation overload.
He closed his eyes and rested his forehead against hers, panting for air, his body a tightened mass of anticipation. “I’m sorry.”
“Being so unmemorable.”
She laughed softly, shakily. “Oh, please. Don’t go fishing for compliments. You know how memorable you are.”
He moved away from her, from her inflaming touch, pushed the blanket to the floor and knelt on it beside the couch. He slid his hands behind her knees and tugged so she was fully lying down, taking a moment to run his hands over her thighs and admire her sleek muscles and skin. He leaned down and pressed his mouth on one inner thigh, and she quivered in response.
When he lifted his head, his gaze met hers and she watched him with quiet curiosity and wonder. Then, with an ease of movement that told him she had strong abs, she sat up and drew her tank top up and over her head.
Thank you, Jesus.
Her breasts were amazing, full and round and perfect, tipped with brown little nipples. Saliva pooled in his mouth.
She was brave, exposing herself to him. He liked that. He moved up her body and closed his mouth over a nipple, and it was as sweet and tight as he’d imagined. Or as he remembered. Reality and fantasy had mingled and merged in his mind over the years. He sucked hard and her hips lifted toward him. One hand held the breast he sucked; the other skimmed up her thigh to her hip and pushed her down into the cushions. Then taking his time, he slid his hand across to her pussy and pressed there. He heard her small gasp. He just held her like that, cupping his hand over the thin cotton fabric of her shorts, feeling her throb against his fingers, hot and damp, while he pulled at her nipple with his mouth and his teeth.
“Oh, God!” She writhed beneath him, lifting herself into his hand in a silent plea.
He knew what she wanted.
He let her nipple pop out of his mouth, leaned across to taste the other one, then moved back and used both hands to draw the tiny shorts down over her hips, skimming them over satiny legs and tossing them aside. Then a hand on each thigh nudged them apart. He lifted himself up onto the couch between her legs, hands on her knees, pushing them wider, opening her to him.
Jesus, she was beautiful there, too. Shades of light and darker pink, gleaming wetly, surprisingly bare other than a small dark gold triangle of fluff just above her vulva. He studied her for a long moment, unable to look away, and then she squirmed a bit.
“Griff,” she whispered her voice raw, “what are you… Don’t.”
“Don’t what?” he murmured, still looking at her. “I can’t help it, Ains. You’re so beautiful. I love how you look here. I can’t believe I never did this before.”
They’d been hot and hormonal at twenty and twenty-two years old when they’d started having sex. Ainslie had been a virgin, and while he had not, his experiences had been limited. They’d learned together and although Ainslie had been more than willing to try anything he suggested, he’d been more goal-oriented, to put it euphemistically, than interested in taking time to ensure her pleasure.
It made him feel sad and regretful at that moment.
“Remind me later to apologize again,” he said hoarsely. Right then, he needed to taste her. And he did. He scooted back on the couch and leaned in for a taste, a long, slow lick.
“God!” Her head tossed on the cushions and her hands came to his head to fist in his hair. He kept going, licking up, down, into the crease where thigh joined hip, pressing kisses there, inhaling deeply her scent.
He knew that scent. It was insane how a particular sense could send memories flooding back into his head. Hot, sweaty memories.
He ran his hands down her inner thighs, feeling them quiver beneath his touch, so he could use his fingers to open her more, so his tongue could thrust inside her. She was dripping with warm honey there, and he lapped at her hungrily.
Sweet. So sweet.
She vibrated beneath him so much he knew she was close, but he didn’t want it to end too soon. He wanted to give her as much as he could. He pushed a finger inside her and when she clenched around him, he almost came himself. She was so hot and wet, her tight passage clutching around him like a fist. God, he couldn’t wait to be inside her.
He moved his mouth to her swollen clit, flicking his tongue over it, judging how sensitive she was. She bucked against him and he smiled, flicking his tongue again and again there, and then she tightened and with long, low moans, she shuddered through an intense climax he could feel on the fingers still inside her.
She squeezed him, riding his fingers, his mouth, shuddering, hands pulling his hair so hard he feared she might rip it right out of his scalp, but he didn’t care. He just sucked on her clit, kept her going and going until she slackened. Little aftershocks twitched through her as he withdrew his fingers and, sitting up, put them in his mouth to suck her juices. “You taste so sweet.”
With glazed eyes, she watched him, eyes widening as he licked her taste off himself. He watched her watching him and it was so hot. Desperate to have her now, his heart raced, arousal clawing at him. Also, pleasure and pride that he’d made her come so hard expanded inside him. She let her trembling arms fall to her sides and her eyes closed as she breathed in and out, breasts rising and falling.
He stroked his hands over her waist, her hips, her flat stomach, while he watched and waited for her to come down. She was incredible, glowing golden everywhere, her skin damp and gleaming. He watched her tongue come out and lick her lips, which then curved into a smile as her eyes flickered open. “Wow.”
* * *
She was as soft and limp as the blanket that now lay pooled on the floor, dazed and breathless. She looked at Griff, hovering over her, watching her with just a hint of uncertainty on his face.
“We should go to the bedroom,” she whispered, although she was unsure if she could actually move. Relief flickered over his features and, with a swift move, he stood beside the couch and lifted her into his arms.
“Griff!” she croaked in surprise as he swung her up in the air.
“You’re such a tiny thing.” The corners of his mouth kicked up.
She hung onto his neck as he carried her down the hall and into her dark bedroom. The breeze from the open window billowed the curtains, but the coolness felt good against her hot skin. He laid her gently on the bed, the linens all tossed and tangled from her earlier restless attempts at sleep. He tugged them aside and lay down beside her.
The sweet scent of the jasmine outside her window seemed ten times stronger than it had before and the sheet beneath her skin seemed so soft. She could hear Griff’s labored breathing in the quiet room, the light from down the hall just enough to see his face in shadows.