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Authors: Leslie Johnson

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Fighting the Flames (4 page)

BOOK: Fighting the Flames
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“Ryan,” she whimpered, desperate to regain the slightest bit of self-control.

“Jess.” His hands left her breasts and went to her shorts, his long, strong fingers deftly undoing them and sliding into her panties. “God, I’ve missed you so damn much.”

“I’ve missed you too,” she blurted out before she knew what she was saying. Damn it! She hadn’t wanted him to know that, at least not yet anyway.

His finger landed squarely on her mound, on
that
spot that drove her mad and time reversed. It was as if they hadn’t spent the past few years apart, but had made love every moment of every day. Ryan knew her, he knew exactly what she liked and how. He hadn’t forgotten. Jessie moaned and put her head back, banging it against the wall, her body arching. Ryan kept his thumb on her as he worked two fingers into her aching sex. Her fingernails clutched at the wall, grasping for something, anything, to cling to as her orgasm gained strength.

“Always so wet, so eager for me.”

She cried his name as her body convulsed and bucked, fighting to achieve the release she so desperately craved. Ryan had a way of bringing her right to the edge and then pulling her back, just a little, until she was begging him for more. Two could play this game. She knew how much he liked it when she begged. “Oh God,” she groaned. “Please, Ryan, I need more. I can’t... oh God.”

“Damn, Jess. Tell me. Is this what you want?” He increased the intensity and speed of his fingers plunging in and out of her, causing her to scream and pant for more.

Jessie reached for his pants and quickly undid them, freeing his erection, stroking his thickness. He was so hard and thick, his cock pulsing in her hand. She stroked his shaft, up and down and back up again, her hand swirling around the head. A small bead of his liquid wet her palm and she licked her lips. She wanted to taste him, to feel him filling her mouth, his salty sweet taste sliding down her throat. God, she wanted him so much.

Ryan lowered his head, his gaze focused on her hand wrapped around him. He sucked in a breath. “That feels so good.” He brought his gaze back to her. “Open your eyes, Jess.” She groaned but did as he asked. It had been three long years of dreaming about this girl in his arms. He wanted her to be right there with him in this moment—to remember what it was like when they came together.

She moaned and panted, working her hips in a circular motion, trying to get his fingers deeper into her. Her grip on his cock tightened as she came hot and hard around his fingers. Her gaze was locked on his eyes, which, despite being hazy, pierced through her. Her lips were parted on a sigh, and he nipped erotically at her bottom lip. Her eyes closed of their own volition when he dipped his tongue into her mouth, kissing her softly and with so much need it made her dizzy. “Ryan,” she said on a breathless whisper.

“I want you, need you, Jess.” He curled his fingers into the waist of her shorts and began to tug them down.

“Yoo hoo! Jessie! Are you here?” The sound of approaching footsteps filled Jessie’s ears. Her eyes widened. No. No. No. This wasn’t happening.

“Who the hell is that?” Ryan ground out.

“My sister.” Jessie pushed Ryan away and quickly pulled her shorts back into place. She searched for her tank top and yanked it over her head, smoothing it down just as her sister walked into the living room.

“Shit,” Ryan muttered and turned his back to them. Jessie bit back a smile as Ryan tried to tuck his rock hard cock into his jeans and zip up.

“Hi, Lisa. What’re you doing here?” Jessie wiped the sweat from the back of her neck and blew out a breath. Her legs were still shaking from her orgasm and she prayed her knees wouldn’t buckle.

“The kids went to their father’s for the night. I figured I’d take a drive out here and see your new place, help you unpack, maybe crash here for the night.” Lisa looked back and forth between Jess and Ryan, who had finally turned around. “But I see you already have… uh, help.” She was biting her lips, her shoulders shaking with barely controlled laughter.

Jessie cleared her throat. “No. Sorry. Lisa this is Ryan, my neighbor. Ryan, this is my sister, Lisa.” She watched Ryan extend his hand and then quickly jerk it back, giving her sister a little wave instead. She found that curious until she realized his fingers were still wet from being inside her. Oh good god.

“I should’ve called. I’m sorry,” Lisa said, glancing down at the massive bulge in Ryan’s pants and biting her lip to stifle another round of laughter.

“No, really, it’s okay.” Jessie smiled. “Of course you can stay here.” Lisa’s divorce was still fresh and she was having trouble adjusting to the custody schedule and not having her kids at home with her all the time. Jessie couldn’t imagine how hard it must be.

“I guess that’s my cue.” Ryan laughed. “It was nice meeting you, Lisa.”

“I’ll walk you out,” Jessie said, following Ryan to the front porch. He turned around, grabbed her around the waist, and planted a kiss on her mouth that was so hot she swore her lips were burned.

“This isn’t over Jess.” He smiled and ran his thumb over her lips. “In fact, we’re just getting started.”

Jessie watched him walk the short distance to his house and exhaled loudly. Just getting started... that’s exactly what she was afraid of. Her heart couldn’t handle another bout with Ryan James.

Chapter 4

J
essie went back inside to find her sister sitting on the couch with a Cheshire cat-like grin on her face. Uh-oh. Jess knew that look. She was about to be interrogated and probably teased. “What?”

“Your neighbor, huh?” Lisa propped her feet up on a box and leaned back on the couch.

There it was. Lisa wasn’t wasting any time. “Yes, he’s my neighbor and he helped move my things. That’s it.” Jessie pushed Lisa’s feet off the box, and they landed on the floor with a thud. “I offered him lunch.” Jess sat beside her sister.

“Right. So that bulge in his pants was because of your culinary skills?” Lisa raised a brow and smirked.

Jessie hoped Lisa hadn’t noticed that, but no such luck. Her sister had always been overly observant. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Jessie hid a smile.

Lisa laughed. “Yeah right. I’m your older sister, Jessie, you know I’m not going to let this go until I have details.”

“Did you come here to help me unpack? Or to pry into my personal life?”

“Oh, so now it’s your personal life? I knew it. Spill it, Sis. Who’s that guy and why are you all flustered?”

Jessie stood. “I am not flustered,” she lied. She was totally flustered. No, more like sexually frustrated, she thought as she opened a box and rummaged through it. “Are you going to help me or not?”

“Yes, of course I’ll help you.” Lisa stood and opened another box that was full of kitchen utensils and hand towels. She carried it into the kitchen. “And while I do, you can start talking.”

Jessie rolled her eyes and smiled. She knew there was no way out of it. Lisa was like a damn dog with a bone. “His name is Ryan, and I find him very attractive.”

“From the looks of him when he left, he feels the same way.”

“Lisa!” Jessie said with a disbelieving laugh.

Lisa went back into the living room. “What?” She shrugged. “You can’t deny it.” She opened another box and then stopped. “You know, I haven’t seen that look in your eyes in a long time. Not since before shithead.”

Shithead was Lisa’s name for Jessie’s ex-fiancée, Derrick. “What look?”

“A happy look, a look that says you’re ready to move on and join the living again. Is it because of Ryan?”

That was another Lisa characteristic; she was a tad dramatic at times, not to mention highly intuitive. Jessie tossed a throw pillow at her sister and laughed. “You read too many romance novels.”

“I’m serious, Jessie. Shithead did a real number on you, and you’ve never been the same. Even the guys you dated after shithead never seemed to make you happy.”

Lisa’s probing gaze was uncomfortable. Jessie avoided it by unpacking more boxes. “Can we please drop this?” Jessie carried a pile of towels into the bathroom and stacked them in the closet. She returned and said, “How are things going with you and Mark?”

Lisa’s face grew sad. “Our divorce is final. We barely speak to each other unless it’s about the kids.” Lisa sighed. “I don’t get it. We were happy. At least I thought we were. Mom thinks he’s having a mid-life crisis and will wake up in a month or two and come crawling back.”

Jessie gave a sympathetic nod. She really didn’t know what to say or how to comfort her sister. Lisa and Mark were high school sweethearts who’d gone to college together and then gotten married right after. Less than a year later, they’d bought a house and had a baby. Jessie viewed their happiness as a sign that relationships could stand the test of time. When it fizzled, it reminded her once again of her need to embrace her independence and never become dependent on another man.

Jessie put down the stack of plates she’d been holding and hugged her sister. “Men suck.”

Lisa laughed. “Yeah, but I’ll admit part of me wants to wait and see if Mom’s right. But what if he starts dating? What if he has sex with another woman? I’m not sure I could get past that.”

“It’s not easy, trust me.” Jessie knew firsthand how hard it is to forgive and forget an affair.

“Yeah, I know.” Lisa wiped her eyes. “Hey, I’m starved. What do you say we take a break and go get some food?”

Jessie scrunched up her face. “I don’t feel like going out. Can we order takeout? Mom gave me a couple bottles of wine as a housewarming gift. We can pop ‘em open and bitch about how rotten men are.”

Lisa nodded her head and laughed. “Now that sounds like a fun evening.”

There was a phone book and a stack of menus from local restaurants on the kitchen table, thanks to Jim. Jessie flipped through them in search of a restaurant with delivery. She called and placed an order for way more fried food than the two of them could possibly eat, and then cranked up the radio. She and Lisa continued to unpack as they waited for their food. Jessie was glad her sister had shown up. It was nice having her around. It had been a long time since the two of them had just hung out and talked. Forty minutes and one full bottle of wine later, their food arrived.

Lisa plucked a mozzarella stick from the Styrofoam container and took a bite, a trail of cheese oozing from her mouth to the stick. “Omigod, this is so good,” she said around a mouthful of food.

Jessie laughed and opened the container with the chili cheese fries. They looked sinful but smelled heavenly. She chewed and swallowed a few fries before asking, “Want me to open another bottle of wine?”

“Might as well. It’s not like either of us is going anywhere tonight.”

Nodding, Jessie went to the kitchen and grabbed the bottle. She brought it into the living room and refilled their glasses. “It’s a good thing I don’t have to get up and go to work tomorrow.”

“Yeah, no kidding. I’ll probably be hung over for a week.” Lisa laughed.

“Me too.” Jessie wasn’t much of a drinker anymore. She’d learned the hard way that she made poor decisions when she was drunk, so she’d been conscious of how much she drank and with whom.

“Oh!” Lisa said, her eyes widening and a smile pulling at her mouth. “I got it!”

“Got what?”

“I don’t know why I didn’t see it before.”

“See what? You’re not making any sense, Lisa. Do I need to cut you off?”

“Touch my wine and I’ll break your fingers,” Lisa teased. “No, seriously, I figured it out. You changed after shithead cheated on you.”

“Well duh.” Jessie gave her sister a dirty look.

“No, no, no. After he cheated on you, you took off and spent the summer at the beach house, remember?” Jessie nodded. She’d never forget that summer. “When you came back, you were different. You were so depressed, drinking a lot, you stopped taking pictures. I assumed it was because of shithead, but it wasn’t, was it?”

Jessie shook her head. She felt her face getting warm, the tips of her ears burning hot. As usual, Lisa had hit the nail on head, and there was no way out. Jessie was going to have to finally talk about that summer.

“So? What happened?”

“Ryan James happened.”

Understanding flashed on Lisa’s face. “Ryan? As in your neighbor, Ryan?”

“Yes. Can you believe it?” Jessie pushed the food away from her. She was no longer hungry. “He was renting the house next to ours. I met him the day I arrived.” She closed her eyes as a tidal wave of memories crashed over her. God, she missed him so much. Sighing, she opened her eyes and continued. “We hit it off right away. He took me to dinner that night, and it went on from there. I spent every day with him, going to the beach, shopping, sailing, just getting to know each other. And we spent almost every night together, too.” Jessie smiled.

Lisa grinned. “I can’t believe my baby sister had a hot, torrid summer love affair and never told me about it.”

Jessie’s voice dropped. “It wasn’t like that at all, Lisa. Yes, it was hot,
very
hot, but it was so much more than that.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know, really. It’s hard to explain.” Jessie finished her wine and refilled her glass. “Ryan just seemed to get me. He made me feel things I’d never felt before. I felt safe with him. And comfortable. God, I’ve never felt that comfortable with anyone before or since.”

“You fell in love with him, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” Jessie whispered, tears stinging her eyes. She didn’t want to relive this, didn’t want to remember what she’d done and how things had ended. “He told me he loved me, too.”

“Aw, Jessie, that’s so romantic,” Lisa cooed. “So, what happened? If you two loved each other and were so hot and heavy, why didn’t you keep in touch?”

This was it. Jessie took a deep breath. “The night before I was to leave, he asked me to go home with him, to move in with him. I said yes. Then I panicked.”

“Jessie... what did you do?”

Jessie cringed. “I left.”

“What? Why would you do that?” Lisa’s voice escalated until she was almost shouting.

“Like I said, I panicked.” Jessie stood and paced the room. “I knew Derrick was home waiting for me, waiting for an answer to his marriage proposal, and all I could think was what if I went with Ryan and it didn’t work out? What if I moved in with him, and he decided he didn’t really love me after reality set in? What if Ryan turned out to be just like Derrick? What if—”

BOOK: Fighting the Flames
4.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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