Authors: Alice Gaines
Tags: #Alice Gaines, #Lovestruck, #Entangled, #Romance, #romantic comedy, #comedy, #funny, #lighthearted, #brother's best friend, #best friend's sister, #football, #Sports, #sports romance, #contemporary romance, #category
“Not a good idea,” he whispered.
“I disagree. It’s the best idea I’ve had all day,” she said. “And believe me, I’ve had ideas about you for hours now.”
Well, shoot. He always worked to be the best lover he could, but he was a man, after all. Who could turn down an offer like that? “Okay, but stop when I tell you to.”
“I mean it,” he whispered.
She gave him an evil chuckle. Sweet, low, and hot. Then, grasping his erection by the base, she guided the tip into her mouth.
Holy crap. Until this moment, he’d never understood how intense a physical sensation could be. The pressure, heat, and moisture combined to produce an overload of pleasure. He wouldn’t be able to take much of this, but man…for now he lay and let her drive him quite literally out of his mind. She took more and more of him, sliding her lips down the shaft. Through a haze of arousal, he watched as she bobbed her head downward and up. The sight only made the experience more erotic, and for the life of him, he’d never forget this moment. How she’d dedicated herself to driving him past his own limits. He had to make her his. No one else could touch him so deeply.
In the end, though, he reached a point where no amount of self-control could hold off the inevitable. He touched the side of her face. “Stop. I need to be inside you.”
She had the good sense to do as he’d requested.
“Condom in my jeans pocket,” he said.
“Right.” She climbed off the bed, fished in his pants, and pulled out the square packet. After removing the condom, she returned to him and unfurled it over his erection. Thank heaven. Now he could have her.
Instead of lying on her back to take him, she swung a leg over him. Female superior. Fine by him. In this position, he’d be able to tease her bud as she rode him.
Grasping him again, she parted the lips of her sex with the other hand and lowered herself onto him. She let out a long “ahhhh” as she sank onto him all the way to the hilt.
“Quiet, remember?” he said.
“So good,” she whispered, her eyes closed in bliss. “Unbelievable.”
He could believe it, all right. He had to. Every cell in his body felt alive, nerves stretched to the breaking point. Sending one message—that he’d climax soon with a power he’d never experienced before. He’d take her with him so he could feel the intensity of her orgasm with his.
She’d already tipped her head back and had covered her breasts with her hands to massage them and tug at the nipples. A modern Venus hungry for him.
He reached to where her sex had enveloped his and found her clit. Already hard, it begged for his touch. When he stroked it, her body did a little shimmy, her muscles clamping down on him. Her cry came out muffled, but anyone outside the door would hear her, anyway. At this point, they could make as much noise as a heavy metal band, for all he cared. Nothing in the world mattered except for her orgasm, which would trigger his. He kept working her as his hips rose to thrust into her. Involuntary movements he couldn’t have stopped if he’d wanted to. He’d gone past caring about anything but the two of them and their needs.
Now, she rocked back and forth, creating even more pressure against him. “Oh, God. Don’t stop. Alex, don’t stop.”
Still thrusting, he rolled her clit, pressing and pressing. Sure enough, she tightened around him for long seconds and then burst into spasms. Finally, he could let loose the beast inside him, and with a few more thrusts, he climaxed. It went on and on. Wave after wave. Claiming his mind, his consciousness, his soul. He gave her everything he had until he’d emptied himself inside her. Amazing. Transcendent. And very, very human.
Eventually, she floated down onto his chest, moaning. For a while, he could only lie there savoring the feel of her against him. Eventually, he found the strength to put his arms around her and bury his nose in her hair.
After a bit, she sighed. A happy, satisfied sound. “Do you suppose they heard us?”
“I have no idea.”
“So much for being quiet, huh?” she said.
“I don’t think I can ever be truly quiet with you.” Not about sex. Not about anything. And that wasn’t post-coital glow talking. She’d always been special to him, even before he’d noticed she had grown up. All those protective feelings intensified now. If only he could make her his, he’d keep her safe and happy for the rest of her life or die trying.
“I guess we’d better get back,” she said, although she didn’t move a muscle.
“Dinner. Party planning.” Discussing what they meant to each other? So far, she hadn’t indicated any feelings about him that didn’t involve sex. Maybe he’d graduated from dumb jock to stud. He still couldn’t measure up to her intellectually. And if she got the academic job, he’d have no place in her world at all.
She finally pushed herself up and gazed down at him. “You’ll come to the cottage tonight?”
“Try to keep me away.”
Michelle ended up going into town with Alex to pick up the flowers, which was just fine with him. He couldn’t tell a geranium from a gardenia, and she’d be along to fix things if the florist got the order wrong. Now with everything stashed in the SUV, they could spend a little time in Wheeler’s Mill checking out the shops and enjoying the sunshine.
As they walked along, Alex had to clench his fingers or stuff his hands into his pockets to keep from touching her—from holding hands or putting his arm around her. The primitive male need to stake out his territory. Only he had no real claim to Michelle. At the end of the week, she’d go back to her lab or to her new university job, and he’d return to camp to get ready for the new season. All the time they’d spent together would end up memories.
She stopped in front of an art gallery with a window full of pottery. Pitchers, vases, and bowls in various colors and glazes. Michelle went to a huge urn by the door. Easily three feet deep and almost as wide, it was full of water and had plants growing in it. Lily pads and what looked like bamboo.
“This is gorgeous,” she said.
“What is it?”
“A water garden,” she answered. “Very calming, especially if you add a small fountain.”
“I’ll buy it for you.”
She laughed. “Sure. It’d fit right in in my apartment in Boston.”
“You could put it on a balcony.”
“I don’t have a balcony, and if I did, it’d freeze in winter.”
“You’re smart. You’ll think of something.”
“I’ll pack it in my suitcase.” She touched his arm. “Thanks, but no.”
They stood for a moment, just looking at each other. Her smile warmed his heart. He could make her happy at least for a few days, and that meant a lot. The future could take care of itself.
“Alex,” a voice called.
He turned to find Barbara Isley approaching. A woman who’d gone to high school with them and had married a local boy and settled down. Barbara came up and gave him a hug.
“How’ve you been?” Barbara said. “I haven’t seen you for an age.”
“The job keeps me busy.”
Barbara turned to Michelle. “I know you.”
“Michelle Dennis,” Michelle said.
“Right. The mega-mind. I would have never passed algebra without your help,” Barbara said. “It’s been what…six years?”
“Eight,” Alex corrected.
“You look great,” Barbara said.
Michelle blushed. “Thanks.”
“No, really.” Barbara took a step backward and gave Michelle the visual once-over. “Wow.”
Michelle leaned toward Alex and he managed…just barely…not to put his arm around her. This not-touching stuff was torture.
“So glad to see you,” Barbara said. “Let’s have lunch.”
“I’d love to, but I won’t be here long,” Michelle said.
Barbara gestured wide with her arms. “Today. Right now. There’s a new fusion restaurant I’ve been dying to try.”
“Fusion?” Alex asked.
Barbara inserted herself between Alex and Michelle, took their arms, and led them toward the next block. “A little Asian, some Cajun, California cuisine. Local ingredients in season.”
“It sounds wonderful,” Michelle said.
It sounded awful. Exactly the sort of place Alex avoided at all cost. The menu would be difficult enough to decipher even if the letters made sense. He’d be hopelessly lost. “Will they do a steak or a burger?”
Barbara laughed. “He’s so cute.”
Alex’s heart sank down around his stomach. A brand-new restaurant with waiters who didn’t know him. He’d have to ask the most basic questions, which would make him look like an idiot. Or he’d have to point toward the menu, which would also make him look like an idiot. No matter what he did, he’d look like an idiot. In front of Michelle.
“Why don’t you two girls have lunch, and I’ll come back for Michelle?” he said.
“Don’t be silly.” Barbara squeezed his arm just as they arrived at the restaurant. “I want to hear all about the NFL.”
All right, that wasn’t going to work, and Michelle seemed interested in eating at the place. She was staring at the menu, which was posted on the window of the restaurant.
“Looks good,” she said.
“I told you,” Barbara said.
Alex took a breath and checked it out, staring over Michelle’s shoulder. It was small type and italics, which made the letters swim, and ornate embellishments around the entries only added to the confusion. No way in hell was he going to be able to read that shit, and asking for a burger would make him out to be an ignoramus.
“You must eat in fancy restaurants all the time, living in New York,” Barbara said.
“We play in New Jersey.”
Barbara waved a hand. “Same thing.”
It certainly wasn’t, but trying to point that out to her wouldn’t get him anywhere. He tried to steady his breathing. Relax, relax. Things might get awkward, but it wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t, damn it.
But Michelle was here. She’d witness his embarrassment, and he didn’t have anyone to fall back on. He might even embarrass her with his stupidity.
“Come on, let’s go in.” Barbara grabbed his hand, and the three of them went inside. For some damned reason, there were empty tables, so he couldn’t use the excuse that the wait would take too long. In a minute, they were seated, and he held a menu in his hand.
“What do you think, Alex?” Barbara said.
She didn’t really want to know what he thought. Or how he felt—as if the walls might close in. The familiar panic when things got out of his control. He swallowed. “It all looks…um…interesting.”
“What about you, Michelle?” Barbara said.
“Yeah, really interesting,” Michelle said.
What had he memorized about menus? Appetizers in the upper left, desserts on the bottom. The main dishes would be in the middle. His heart pounded, and his palms felt clammy. He picked up his water glass, but his hand shook, so he set it down again.
Michelle glanced at him, and her eyebrows furrowed. She’d noticed something was wrong. Shit!
“The tandoori-cooked pulled pork sandwich looks good,” Barbara said.
“Sounds good,” Alex said. He did his best to commit that to memory. It would help if he knew what a tandoori was.
The waiter appeared. “Are you guys ready to order?”
“I’d like to look a while longer,” Barbara said.
Sure, and prolong the agony. Alex had to remind himself to breathe. “What’s the special today?”
Usually that would get you a litany of pretentious blather, but he could glom on to one thing and announce he’d have that. No such luck this time. The waiter handed him a half sheet of paper with more unintelligible italics. Alex took it from him and sat staring at it, his heart still hammering.
Again, Michelle looked at him. He tried to relax, but his jaw had clenched hard enough to hurt his teeth. He’d completely lost control of this situation, and the more he tried to understand the writing in front of him, the more the fear took hold.
He was going to humiliate himself in front of her and Barbara, out in public. If he had to explain he couldn’t read the damned thing, they’d all pity him. Reassure him everything was okay when it wasn’t. Everything sucked.
“I can’t make up my mind.” Michelle put her hand on his arm. “Alex, would you do me a favor?”
He swallowed again. He’d do anything for her as long as it didn’t mean reading this menu. “Of course.”
“Let me order two of these dishes, and we’ll share,” she said. “That way I can try them both.”
He stared at her, and she looked back evenly. She gave no sign she’d seen the thunderstorm going on inside him, thank heaven. But he still felt shame at needing her to order for him. At being unable to read a damn menu.
At least lunch was saved. No matter what they put in front of him, he’d eat it. He could pay the bill well enough, and that would be that. Finally, he could take a normal breath.
He did so, leaning back in his chair. Barbara and Michelle ordered, their conversation no more than a buzz around him. He’d dodged a bullet this time, but as long as he had Michelle with him, the greater the chance she’d discover the truth and realize he wasn’t good enough for her.
When Michelle had packed this dress, she’d planned to knock Alex’s eyes out of his head with it. Same thing with the insanely high-heeled shoes. She’d had them dyed to match the gold sequins covering the sheath that would conform to her body. With any luck it wouldn’t appear obvious about the effect she wanted to create. Sophisticated and sexy. Suggestive but understated.
She stood in front of the mirror in the cottage bathroom, brushing and brushing her hair until it shone. She’d banished Alex so she could get ready to surprise him. Originally, she’d expected to make him appreciate her femininity. Mission accomplished there, more than she could have imagined.
Only now she had to face the fact that she’d failed miserably at the other part of her objective…keeping things casual. How could she have thought she could keep her feelings reined in where Alex was concerned? She worshipped him as a kid. He’d grown into the most desirable man on earth. How could she not fall head-over-heels for him?
Their time together had been heaven—having his kisses and his smiles. Sleeping in the warmth of his body. Everything about being in love except the promises to stay together. Neither of them had brought up what would happen after the party ended and they went back to their normal lives.