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Authors: Autumn Markus

Tags: #Romance, #General, #Fiction

Cocktails & Dreams (10 page)

BOOK: Cocktails & Dreams
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He looked up from under his lashes and smiled, holding his hand out to her. Of course, Jena took it, abandoning herself to feelings of idiocy as Nicholas pulled her into a darkened room. The door closed with a soft
click
as he pressed their bodies against it.

“Don’t think anymore, Jena,” he said, nuzzling his face in the crook of her neck and running his nose and lips slowly upward to kiss the side of her face. “Feel.” He ran his palm from Jena’s shoulder to her hand, bringing it under his shirt to stroke his stomach. “Do you like the way I feel?”

“God, yes!” Jena whispered, and Nicholas chuckled. “Can I unbutton this shirt, Nicholas?”

He nodded against Jena’s shoulder, and she heard his raggedly indrawn breath when she could push some of the fabric aside and run her fingers lightly over his skin. Not enough. The shirt had to come off.

Jena unbuckled the chest strap of Nicholas’s sling and slid one side of his shirt off the shoulder of his good arm, touching and kissing and nipping each inch of skin as it was exposed. Nicholas groaned, dropping his face into her hair and then leaning down so Jena could pull the shoulder strap over his head and slide the shirt off entirely. When she moved to swing the strap back over his head, Nicholas caught her hand.

“Please, can I keep it off for a while?” His voice was a low rumble. “I want to be able to feel you against me. I promise to be careful. I just need to touch you with both hands.”

Well, when you put it
that
way…
Jena thought.

She dropped the sling on the floor. Nicholas’s hands slid up her sides, pushing her shirt up until he could tug it over her head. She shuddered when he pushed her bra aside and she felt the warm wetness of his tongue.

“Truth in advertising at last,” he said in a low voice. “I’ve wanted to do this since you walked in the door tonight and I saw your damned teasing shirt.”

A quiet knock on the door startled Jena.

Travis sounded apologetic. “Jen? Leisa passed out. No one is safe to drive, so Conor offered us the use of the couch. You need some blankets and a spot to sleep in?”

Jena hesitated. This was going much too fast. Maybe it was time to shut it down and move out in the living room with Travis and Leisa.

Nicholas seemed to read her mind. “Stay,” he whispered, rubbing his stubbly cheek on Jena’s neck as he nibbled at her collarbone.

Trav knocked again. “Jen?”

“Stay. I promise, no further than you want to go, Jena. Please.” Nicholas’s warm breath in her ear as he pulled her close and ran his hands down her back made Jena moan.

“Gettin’ worried out here, Jen.” Travis’s voice held a warning.

“Just…stay with me. I thought I could let you go, but…” Nicholas made a sound deep in his chest and dropped his mouth onto Jena’s with a grunt, drawing her tongue with his and holding her against the door with his weight. Jena could feel every inch of him against her and gave up her internal struggle, wrapping her arms around Nick’s neck and twisting her fingers in his hair as she returned his kiss with passion.

“If you don’t say something right now, I’m coming in.”

Jena broke away from Nick’s kiss, breathing roughly. She knew that tone. Travis was not screwing around.

Pushing Nicholas back, Jena cracked the door open. Travis was back in his shorts and looked dangerously ready to break the door down. When she poked her head out, he relaxed. “I’m fine, Trav. I’ll see you in the morning,” Jena whispered.

“Sure you will.” Travis smirked, taking in Jena’s disheveled appearance and lingering on her naked shoulder.
Are you sure?
he mouthed, raising an eyebrow.

Fuck, yes,
Jena mouthed back, echoing their interchange from New Year’s Eve.

Travis shook his head and laughed, heading back down the hall. “G’night, Nick,” he tossed over his shoulder.

Nicholas’s answering laugh came from deeper in the room. Jena turned to see him sitting at the foot of his bed, lounging back on his uninjured arm. He sat up to beckon her forward with his finger.

Jena’s face twisted into a smile of embarrassment as she moved slowly forward until she was standing between his legs. His hands caressed her waist and hips as he pressed soft kisses on her belly.

“God, you’re beautiful, Jena,” he murmured, tracing the skin above the waistband of her pants with his tongue. “You’re so soft…” His hands ran over Jena’s bottom to squeeze gently before trailing down the backs of her thighs. “And you smell so good…”

His nose tickled the skin around Jena’s belly button as he inhaled. He sighed and rested his forehead on her stomach for a moment before lying back and drawing Jena with him. Jena could feel his erection pushing insistently against her as she straddled him, and instinctively shifted to find a better position. Nicholas held her still for an instant, his breathing shallow, before shifting her to lie down beside him. He settled next to her and Jena felt his hand gliding over her skin, tracing the shapes of her breasts and throat and waist; she sighed and moved closer to him.

“You’re making it very hard—” he stopped as Jena chuckled “—very
difficult
to be good, Jena.” His hands slipped lower, until they were stroking the soft skin of her inner thighs as his tongue teased her nipples again. Jena gasped, grasping at his shoulders, her hips raising instinctively toward the friction his arm offered against the crotch of her shorts.

“Fuck being good,” Nicholas muttered, slightly out of breath. His eyes rose to capture hers. “Jena, can I do something?”

Jena nodded, wide-eyed.

Nicholas shifted again, and Jena felt his fingers at the button of her shorts. He pulled the zipper down slowly, and tugged the fabric down as she lifted her hips slightly. She heard the shorts drop on the floor.

“Skootch up a bit.” Nicholas’s voice came from the foot of the bed.

Jena’s heart was slamming so hard that she thought it might crash through her ribs and run away, but she complied, pushing herself up until her head could rest on the pillow. Nicholas’s hands ran up over her calves and under her knees, pulling them up until her feet rested on the bed. The slight scratching of his stubble as he kissed Jena’s thighs made her gasp.

“Another thing you like. Excellent.” Nicholas laughed quietly, running his cheek up and down Jena’s inner thigh a couple of more times.

Holy fucking crap
, Jena thought, her mind losing coherency rapidly as she felt her stomach twist and her hips buck.
Can you come from stubble scratching?
she wondered, somewhat incoherently.

Turned out she didn’t have to find out, because Nicholas’s tongue took over where his stubble left off.

Then, of course, she returned the favor.

 

As they eventually settled, and her breathing evened out, Jena laughed weakly.

“What?” Nicholas asked, playing idly with her hair and watching her face relax.

“Holy Mother of God,” Jena murmured, opening one eye and looking over at him. “I think that’s the best sex I’ve ever had without actually having sex. If I had any energy left at all, I’d be up for the real thing.”

Nicholas laughed, seeming surprised by her bluntness, before reaching over the edge of the bed and grabbing a shirt for clean-up as Jena yawned hugely. “If you want me, you get all of me, Nick. The good and the bad.”

“Oh, I want all of you. The good and
especially
the bad. She’s a lot of fun.” Nicholas’s teasing look turned serious as his eyes locked with Jena’s.

He eased down and kissed her slowly, appearing to savor it for the first time. “This is how our first kiss should have gone,” he sighed, resting his forehead on Jena’s when he finally pulled away.

“Too much pent up frustration,” Jena teased, smoothing his hair and running her fingers along his neck. “We have a lot of time for sweet now.”
I hope
, she thought.

Jena sighed in contentment as she slipped between the cool sheets and Nicholas pulled her back against his chest. She felt his lips brush against her hair as he inhaled slowly and rumbled deep in his chest, relaxing against her.

Jena was just on the cusp of sleep when Nick’s whisper against her ear pulled her back a little. “You taste familiar, Jena. Is there something you want to tell me?”

“I’m sleeping, Nicholas. Good night.”

She felt him smile against her hair. “Good night, Jena.”

Chapter Eight

T
HE
S
OUND
O
F
A S
OFT
C
HUCKLE
woke Nicholas. After a second of disorientation, the events of the night before came rushing back. The scents of Jena and sex subtly filled his room; he smiled, reaching out to pull Jena’s warmth and softness back into his embrace. “Next time” sounded good right about then.

But she was gone.

Nick’s eyes flew open, and he lifted his head to search the room, relaxing when he spotted Jena. She had somehow pulled his chair closer to the window without waking him, and was using the scant light that crept in around the blinds to read. Nicholas rolled quietly to his side and pillowed his head on his arm, content in this moment just to look at her.

Jena had pulled on Nick’s hastily discarded shirt and was sitting sideways in the chair with one leg hanging over the arm while the other foot rested on the floor. Nick’s eyes moved slowly up her legs, remembering how the smooth muscles of her calves and thighs had felt under his hands the night before. How soft her skin was. Another chuckle drew his attention to her face. Jena held a book in one hand and was idly twisting a strand of hair between the fingers of the other, occasionally pulling it over to brush her cheek or her lips. She shifted a little, and it became obvious that she had only buttoned the bottom of the shirt. A glimpse of the curve of her breast in the open front of his shirt sent a rush of blood to his groin. Christ, she was so sexy, and she had no idea.

“Jena,” he whispered.

Her head jerked up, startled. “Hey, you. Sleep well?” Jena swung her leg off the arm of the chair, the movement pushing the shirt up for a brief instant as she turned, and Nick closed his eyes and shook his head.

“What?”

“Just enjoying the view.”

She quickly moved to button the shirt.

“Don’t, Jena. Please? I promise not to tease anymore if you stay just like that, okay?” She nodded hesitantly, and Nicholas patted the pillow next to him. “Please?”

He saw a war going on behind her eyes and smiled, pretty sure which side was going to win when her eyes trailed from his face to his waist where the sheet was loosely pooled. Jena made a sound between a sigh and a whimper and drifted over to the bed, climbing in and resting her cheek on her hand as she curled up next to him.

“So, you never answered my question. How did you sleep?” Her eyes searched Nick’s, and he smiled again, reaching out to trace her lips with his finger.

“Better than I have in months.” Nick watched his finger as he ran it lightly down Jena’s neck and over the curve of her shoulder, pushing the collar of the shirt aside so he could nip softly at her throat. “No dreams,” he murmured, rubbing his face lightly from side to side on the silky skin of her chest.

Jena sighed, and Nick felt her bury her face in his hair. “Do you have bad dreams, Nicholas?” she asked, straining to keep a conversational tone.

He chuckled. “Far from it. They’re good dreams. Very vivid. Starring a certain woman I spent altogether too little time with on New Year’s Eve.”

The muscles of her stomach trembled as Nicholas unfastened the last button of her shirt and ran his hand up from her navel to the hollow of her throat, letting his lips follow his hand. Nudging her over onto her back, he tongued the slight curve of breast that showed in the opening of the shirt, and she shuddered.

“Oh. Well,” Jena murmured.

Nick raised his eyes to look at her face as he dropped slow kisses all over her upper body. She moaned, covering her eyes with one hand. “Don’t look at me like that. You make me crazy when you look at me from under your lashes. It’s too fucking sexy. I feel my brains leaking out, I swear.”

“‘Fucking sexy’?” Nicholas’s breathy chuckle across her skin made her shiver. He smoothed his hand slowly up her thigh and nibbled at the satiny skin of her breast. “I think I like that, Jena.”

“Mmmm…Nicholas…oh, fuck
me…”
Jena sighed, running her hand through his hair and down to clutch at his shoulder.

“Gladly,” he said, wrapping one arm around her waist and cradling her head with his weak arm. When her lips parted to allow him access, Nick’s mind quit working altogether. Instinct led him to ease his body over hers and to settle between her legs. Jena tightened her hand in Nicholas’s hair and wrapped one leg around his hip, pulling him close. Her other arm slid around his back, and he felt something poking him between the shoulder blades.

Damn, that was distracting.

“Jena? Sweetheart?”

“Mmm-hmm?” she hummed, sliding tiny kisses along his jaw and down his neck.

“What are you stabbing me with?”

Jena stopped moving, and dropped her head to the pillow. “What?” She moved her arm to show him the book she was still holding. “I guess I got a little carried away and forgot.”

Chuckling, Nick drew his head back to look at it.
Pratchett. Nice choice.
He shook his head at himself; he had Jena mostly undressed in his bed and he was critiquing her choice of reading material.

Taking the book from her hand, Nicholas tossed it toward the chair. “I’d never take you for a
Discworld
fan,” he joked, leaning in to her again. The suddenly serious look on her face stopped him cold as Jena withdrew her leg and placed her hands on his chest, frowning.

“That’s the problem, isn’t it? You barely know me. And I barely know you.” She was suddenly chewing on her lower lip and looking anywhere but at him. He eased himself to his side and rested his head on his hand, knowing that he couldn’t argue with her, as much as he would have liked to.

Jena shifted herself until she was half sitting against the headboard. She started buttoning the shirt she wore with shaky fingers. “I have to say something, Nicholas, so just…listen. This—” she gestured between herself and Nick. “I don’t
do
this, and especially not with someone I don’t know.” Her flush was deepening to red, and her lips were starting to quiver.

Nicholas took her hand. “I know that, Jena. I don’t do this either.” He kissed the palm of her hand and curled it within his own. “And you know me.”

Jena laced her fingers with his. “Yes, I do,” she whispered, glancing up with a fleeting smile and then training her eyes on their entwined fingers. “Nicholas, I had a bit to drink last night, but I don’t play the ‘I was so drunk I didn’t know what I was doing’ card. Well, unless it’s true.” She smiled again, eyes still trained on their hands. “I wanted to be with you. I was aware of what I was doing. Hell, I still want you.” Nick’s heart did a funny bump. Jena seemed to force herself to look at his face. “I just want to know you better, okay? So I can wake up and feel good about myself.”

Like he could resist her, looking all sweet and sad and embarrassed.

“Understood.” He sat up and leaned against the headboard, putting his arm around her shoulders and relaxing as she snuggled against him.

A quiet knock broke the silence and then Travis’s voice came through the door.

“Jen? I hate to do this, but we have to be at work in a few minutes.”

Jena’s eyes darted the clock on the nightstand. “Holy shit!” Tender moment decidedly over, she jumped out of bed and started looking for her clothes. Nicholas enjoyed the helpless look on her face as she realized only her bra and shoes were wearable. He worked to stifle a chuckle as Jena surveyed the wreck of her shorts with a disgusted look on her face.

Of course, she caught him and flared out. “Oh, you think this is funny? You try wearing crotch-crispy shorts with no underwear and a come-stained shirt sometime!” Nick burst out laughing as Jena studied her shirt. “I’ll never be able to wear this again,” she mourned, shaking her head. “You people carry bleach around in your nuts, I swear.”

Her eyes widened as her mind caught up with her mouth, and she clapped her hand over her lips before flopping in the chair, a despondent look on her face.

Still snickering, Nick pulled on his shorts from the day before and dug around in his dresser until he found a pair of athletic shorts with a drawstring and an old, too-small rowing T-shirt from UO. He dropped them in her lap, trying not to see what the half-buttoned shirt exposed. “There. That should get you home. And would it sound sick if I said that was a pretty hot thing to say?”

“What? ‘Bleach in your nuts’?”

Nick laughed. “No, ‘crispy-crotch shorts and a come-stained shirt.’”

Jena dropped her head in her hands. Gently pulling her to her feet, Nicholas pried her hands down from her face. “It’s hot because that came from you and me, Jena. Maybe we did rush things a little, but I’m not sorry. I’ve wanted you from the first day that I saw you at four thirty in the morning, wearing old sweats and waiting for a bus.”

She stared at him for a minute, mouth working as she apparently tried and discarded various responses. “I’m not sorry, either,” she finally said.

Nicholas pulled her into his arms. “I can wait, Jena. I want to get to know you, too.” He couldn’t resist running his hands down her back to cup her behind. “Your mind, anyway. I don’t know if it’s possible to get to know your body any better than I already did in San Francisco.”

Jena pulled back and smiled with wide-eyed innocence. “What happened in San Fran?”

Just then, Travis poked his head in the door and groaned. “You’re killing me, Jena! We have to go now or we’ll never be on time. Hi, Nick.”

Nick waved and quickly stepped in front of Jena as she pulled his shorts up over her hips and started to yank the shirt he’d handed her over her head.

Travis snickered. “Please. If you’d spent as many Shitty Day Ritual nights with Jena as I have…Really, I’ve seen it all and sent home the postcard.”

Feeling a twinge of jealousy, Nicholas mentally smacked himself on the head. His mind reasoned that although they’d had a good time and he was incredibly attracted to this girl, he had no claim on her and no right to feel any way in particular about who saw her body. His gut wasn’t buying that, though, and tightened as he thought about everything Travis might have seen.

Jena brushed by Nick with a smile, running her hand up his back as she headed out the door and toward the bathroom, carrying her bra.

“Hey, Nick, would it be too much of an imposition if I asked you to drive Leisa home?” Travis asked, staring at his watch impatiently; he glanced up at Nicholas quickly and frowned. “Scratch that. I’ll ask Conor. I totally forgot about your arm.” He looked disapprovingly at Nick’s sling-free appendage. “Looks like you did, too.” Travis glanced around the room until he spotted the sling on the floor. “Let’s get this back on you. How does the arm feel?” Travis moved swiftly, adjusting the straps with the economical motions of someone who has done an action a thousand times.

“Fine, actually. I forgot all about it.”

“And the sling was off because…?” Travis was still making minute adjustments, but he looked up to scowl at Nick.

Nicholas just raised an eyebrow.

Travis chuckled and shook his head. “Forget I asked. Definitely not my business. Just be careful.” He looked serious, and Nick had a feeling he wasn’t talking about the arm anymore.

Nick nodded, grabbing a shirt from the closet and tossing it on. Jena called Travis from the living room, and the guys walked out to find her fully dressed and giggling at Leisa. She was sprawled on the couch, moaning, with a wet washcloth over her eyes.

“This isn’t funny, bitch,” Leisa whispered. “My head is exploding, I swear. Don’t ever let me drink Jäger again. Ever, ever, ever…” Her voice trailed off in to a moan.

“Nice hair, Leisa.” Conor strolled into the room wearing only jeans, scratching his chest. “I’m lovin’ the angry porcupine look.”

Leisa uncovered one eye and gave him the finger. “Shut up, you damned dirty ape. And put a shirt on, for God’s sake. No one wants to see your teeny chest pubes.”

“Speak for yourself,” Conor said, strutting toward the kitchen and returning with a cup in his hand. “Did you tell the horndogs your news?”

Jena choked on the coffee she was sipping. The flash of vulnerability in her eyes made Nicholas want to protect her from Conor’s teasing. “What’s the big news, Jäger Queen?” He took Jena’s cup from her hand, sipping the coffee as he rubbed her back reassuringly.

Leisa struggled to sit up, a little vibrancy returning to her face at having something good to tell. “Lease is signed, furniture purchased, and in two weeks there will be a huge housewarming party at Chez Parker.” She moaned and flopped back down on the couch. “It sounded like a bigger deal last night after a few shots.”

Travis glared at his watch again and pulled Jena toward the door after dropping a quick kiss on Leisa’s head. “It’s great to have all this bonding time and everything, but Jena and I are officially now late as fuck. Leisa, call me when you’re fully revived, sugar.”

Jena smiled and waved at Nick as the door crashed closed.

Leisa patted the cushion next to her as she struggled to sit up again and commanded, “Sit, Cooper.”

Nicholas complied as Conor rolled his eyes and headed for the hallway, where Samantha was presumably waiting.

“So. What’s going on? Spill it, mister.” Leisa had brightened slightly as Nick sat down.

“Well, Leisa, since we know each other
so well
, I’ll have to tell you it’s none of your damned business.” He grinned at her.

“I feel compelled to tell you that this is not something common for Jena.” Leisa’s eyes were very serious, despite her bright smile.

Nicholas nodded, his own smile fading. “So I’ve heard.”

“Great. So I won’t get into that except to say that I can and will make your life a living hell if you cock this up. Even if you are going to be a friend, Jena was there first. Consider yourself duly warned.” Leisa patted Nicholas on the head and straggled down the hall toward the bathroom, muttering about a shower. Nick heard a shriek as a door slammed closed. “Jesus God, the
bathroom?
That is
so
nasty, you guys.” Another door closed with a bang.

 

BOOK: Cocktails & Dreams
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