Authors: Leslie Johnson
Tags: #Firefighter Romance
“Okay, stop it right now.” Lisa stood with a fierce, determined look on her face. “Did you once stop to ask what if things
work out? What if Ryan is the one for you?”
Lisa threw her hands in the air in frustration. “I can’t wrap my mind around this. When did you become so negative?” She blew out a breath. “Okay. Let me get this straight.” She held up her hand to stop Jessie from interrupting. “Shithead lied to you for months, cheated on you, came crawling back to you, and then asked you to marry him?”
“You told shithead you had to think about it—which I totally don’t understand, but whatever. So you take off and spend the summer at the beach, where you meet Mr. Sex on Legs Ryan.”
Lisa paused as if considering how to proceed. She licked her lips. “You spend every moment of every day for nearly three months with this man. You fall in love with him. He falls in love with you. And you run away because shithead was waiting for an answer?”
“Well….” Jessie tried to explain her reasoning at the time, but her sister was having none of it.
“Do I need to point out how stupid you were?”
“No.” Jessie sighed. In hindsight, it did seem like a colossal mistake. But at the time, it seemed like the right thing to do. Honestly, how could Jessie commit to Ryan when she had so many loose ends at home, when she’d been such an emotional wreck? It wouldn’t have been fair to Ryan.
“How did Ryan handle it when you told him?”
“Excuse me?” Lisa cupped her hand around her ear and leaned forward. “I didn’t tell him. I left in the middle of the night while he was sleeping.”
“Jessica Marie Taylor!”
Jessie groaned at the sound of her full name. She tried to brace herself for the ass chewing she knew was coming.
“You left a man who loved you, who, by your own words, made you feel things you’d never felt before, so you could return to shithead?”
“I get it, Lisa. I know I made a mistake. Okay?” Jessie plopped down on the couch and folded her arms over her chest.
“What are you going to do about it?” Lisa sat beside her. She lowered her voice. “He’s living right next door again, Jessie. You have a second chance. You can’t let this pass you by. Don’t blow it again.”
Jessie turned and looked at her sister. “That’s exactly what I’m afraid of. I don’t trust anyone, especially not men. You know that.”
“Has Ryan given you any reason not to trust him?”
“Then what’s the problem?”
Jessie sighed and looked away, her gaze settling on a tiny stain on the carpet. Her dad’s image flitted through her mind, but she pushed it aside. She intended to take that secret to the grave. She looked at Lisa and shrugged. “I’m terrified that I’ll run away again. You know I have serious trust issues.”
“Right. Those are your issues. Not his. And think about this… what is the likelihood of you moving right next door to the man you love after all these years? Don’t you think it’s a sign? A sign that is flashing ‘It’s okay. Trust. Live.’?”
Jessie stood. “A sign, huh. What do you think about this as a sign—Ryan is also the fireman who saved me during the fire.”
Lisa’s breath exploded from her lungs in a whoosh. “Damn Sis, do you need a bigger burning bush than that? Pun intended.”
Jessie thought back to the night of the fire, when she felt the blaze was her push from the comfort zone she’d settled into. But, what if she was wrong, and it was just part of a series of unfortunate events? Was she willing to take that chance?”
She stood and exhaled with frustration. “I don’t know. Maybe it would be easier to just be friends with him. I think I need to focus on my career and be alone for a while. I suck at relationships.” She looked in her sister’s direction again. “And the last thing I want to do is hurt Ryan again. He shouldn’t suffer just because I’m still so messed up.”
“I think that’s a mistake. Regardless of what you decide, you have to talk to him, Jessie. I don’t know what was going on between you two when I arrived, but I do know that the way he was looking at you, that man is still in love with you.”
Jessie stared dumbfounded at her sister. Lisa was mistaken. There was no way Ryan was still in love with her. He couldn’t be after the way she’d left him. Oh God! What if Lisa was right? “No, he’s not,” Jessie muttered with little conviction.
“Don’t be so naïve, little sister. It’s time to stop running. If you really want to be just his friend, then you need to tell him that.”
“I know,” she groaned. “You’re right.” Jessie was emotionally drained. Her brain felt fuzzy and she was tipsy from the wine, but one thing was crystal clear: she had to clear the air with Ryan. She had to apologize for hurting him, and she had to tell him that they could be nothing more than friends. And she had to do it—now—before she lost her nerve. “I’m going to go talk to Ryan.”
“I have to.” Jessie headed toward the door. “Thanks for everything, Lisa.” She smiled and waved before walking outside. Jessie felt good about this. It was just another step toward rebuilding her life and finding her independence.
yan stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist. When he kissed Jess earlier, he hadn’t planned on it ending with him in the shower jerking off. He hoped it would’ve ended with them in bed together, with them spending the night in each other’s arms, making love through the night like they used to. Christ, he was getting hard again just thinking about it, thinking about her and how incredible she’d felt, how wet and warm she’d been for him, how sweet her lips tasted. “Mmm.” He licked his lips at the memory.
He was still having trouble believing that Jessie Taylor was back in his life. Living next door to him, for god’s sake. All those nights he’d gone to bed alone, hoping and praying he’d get another chance with her, and now he finally had it. The only question, what was he going to do with it? It was obvious they still had the same level of sexual attraction they’d had from the moment they met. But Jessie had proven once before it wasn’t enough. Ryan loved her. He always had, but he needed answers. He needed to know why she ran out on him that night. She’d left without a goodbye, without a real explanation. Just a note claiming she was sorry.
She’d really done a number on him and his heart. God. Maybe he was crazy for even considering getting involved with her again. How could he be sure she wouldn’t break his heart a second time? Was it worth the risk? His entire body screamed yes while his mind said no. He already knew which side was going to win that argument.
He heard a sound and he paused, trying to identify it. It came again, louder this time. Someone was knocking at his front door.
Ryan hesitated for a brief second, deciding if he should put on some pants first. Nah, he was covered. He went to the door and swung it open, expecting to see Jim. The last person he expected to see was her. “Jess?”
Her hands were tucked in her back pockets, and she rocked on her heels. “I’m sorry to come over so late, but...”
“Don’t apologize.” He smiled and stepped aside. “Come in. Can I get you something to drink?” Ryan closed the door behind her and walked into the kitchen.
“No, thank you. I’m fine. Lisa and I polished off a couple bottles of wine with dinner.” She laughed.
Ryan leaned up against the counter, crossed his arms over his chest and smiled. “So you’re drunk?” That explained why she showed up at his door.
“I’m not drunk, just a little fuzzy around the edges.” She laughed again.
He remembered how much fun she was when she drank. Her inhibitions were gone, she was more of a wildcat in bed, and she liked to talk. Now would be the perfect time to get the answers he wanted. Jess sauntered toward him, a sultry smile on her face. He reached for her, and she stepped into his arms. “Why are you here, Jess?”
“Do you want me to leave?” She put her palms on his chest and he tightened his hold on her.
“No. I’m just curious why you’re here.”
“If you think it’s because I’m drunk, you’re wrong.”
“Am I?” he asked with a raised brow.
“Mmm hmm.” She lowered her head and puckered her lips against his bare chest. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the feel of her in his arms, of her hot mouth on his cool, still damp skin. “I want you, Ryan.”
Not once had he ever told her no, and he wasn’t about to start now, despite the nagging voice in the back of his mind that told him to stop and talk to her. He held her at arm’s length, ready to say those exact words. But when he looked into her face, he could only murmur, “Fuck it.”
He took her face in his hands and brought her mouth close to his, but he stopped before he kissed her. “I’m all yours, baby.” Then he pressed his lips against hers, his tongue dipped into her mouth for a long drink of her sweetness. He closed his eyes, feeling her against him. And damn if she didn’t feel like heaven.
Ryan slid his hands under the hem of her shirt and lifted it. She raised her arms in the air, and he guided her shirt over her head. Sweet Jesus, she was still braless. That was so hot. Her nipples were already hard, and his erection twitched at the sight of them. He squeezed them between his thumb and forefinger, eliciting a moan from her. His brain felt like it was short circuiting, his synapses frying and catching on fire. He was kissing Jess—his Jess. She was the woman he remembered—hot, willing, unafraid, and just as crazy about him as he was about her. Yet she felt different than she had earlier. She was more connected now than she had been before. Was it because of the alcohol? Did it really matter? She was here, in his arms, and that’s all he cared about.
Ryan lifted her around the waist and set her on the counter. He stood between her legs, which she wrapped around him, her ankles crossed at his back. One of his hands cupped her breast, and he brought his mouth to the other. Jess arched her back, thrusting her nipple deep into his eager mouth.
“Yes,” she hissed as she grabbed handfuls of his hair. He loved it when she did that. “Oh God that feels so good.” He really liked it when she did that too—tell him what felt good, what she liked. Not that he needed the guidance. He knew her body and what she liked almost as well as he knew himself. But still, it was nice to have the encouragement.
“I’m gonna taste every inch of you tonight,” he said with a determined snarl. And he was going to take his time doing so.
“Do you have any idea how many nights I touched myself thinking about you?”
Ryan’s head jerked up, and his eyes bore into her. Conflicting thoughts and emotions rushed through him. First, the thought of her touching herself was so damn hot, he wanted to bend her over right there in the kitchen and screw her senseless; to hell with taking his time. The second was her confession meant she’d thought about him and missed him. And finally, if she had cared, why the hell had she taken off? His arousal teetered on the brink of anger. “Are you serious or are you just talking dirty?” It was hard to tell with her at times.
She chuckled. “I’m very serious.” She took his face and kissed him with frantic need.
Okay, that solved it: sex first, talk second. “Come with me.” He helped her off the counter and led her to his bedroom. He dropped his towel to the floor and stood before her in all his naked glory. Jess caught her bottom lip between her teeth, and gave him an appreciative once over. “Like what you see?”
He closed the gap between them in a single stride. “My turn.” Ryan removed her shorts. She stepped out of them and kicked them out of the way. He took a moment to admire the view: firm perky breasts that rose and fell with her rapid breaths, hard nipples that still showed evidence of where his mouth had been, flat stomach, pierced belly button, and… she had shaved down there? He had to take a second look to make sure he’d seen correctly. He decided that was one of the sexiest things he’d ever seen. How the hell had he missed that little detail earlier? He thought back. No, there had definitely been hair down there before. Hadn’t there? He couldn’t remember. He’d been so damn excited, he hadn’t paid attention.
“Like what you see?” she echoed, putting her hands on her hips.
“Always have,” he said with a predatory smile. “God, you’re so beautiful.” Ryan guided her to the bed. She lay flat on her back; her supple body his for the taking. He started with her mouth, giving her a long, languid kiss before working down her neck and throat. She ran her fingers through his hair, and he groaned his approval. He continued his onslaught of kisses down the length of her body, pausing to swirl his tongue around her belly button.
Jess giggled. “That tickles.”
He grinned at her. “Well, allow me to do something that doesn’t tickle.” Ryan spread her shaved lips with his fingers and licked up one side of her folds and down the other. She gasped and bent her legs, planting her feet firmly on the mattress. That was fine with him. It gave him better access. He suckled on her and her hips jerked up off the bed. “Easy baby,” he crooned, draping one arm across her stomach to hold her in place.
“I can’t. It’s too good. Ah, Ryan. Yes, yes, yes...”
Ryan continued to lick her clit. It didn’t take long, and Jess was pushing herself into his face. “Mmm hmm.” He slid two fingers inside of her and flicked his tongue over her clit before sucking it into his mouth. Her thighs clamped around his head so tight, he thought he was going to suffocate, but he didn’t relent. Within moments, Jess was bucking and writhing and screaming his name. It was music to his ears to hear her cries of passion, to hear his name fall from her lips. Feeling her come, tasting her sweetness, was a jolt to his system.
Jessie’s thighs slowly parted, and Ryan brought his body over hers, his aching cock prodding at her entrance, eager for his turn to play. Her juices slickened his head, teasing him, and he wasn’t even inside her yet. But he knew once he was, it wouldn’t take him long. Ryan put his hands on either side of her head and looked down at her. “You taste so good, Jess,” he said, crushing his mouth over hers, letting her taste herself on his lips.
“Ryan,” she whispered against his mouth. “I need to feel you. Please. Now.”