Not Until You: Part III

BOOK: Not Until You: Part III
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Titles by Roni Loren

Crash Into You

Melt Into You

Fall Into You

Caught Up in You

Not Until You

Part I: Not Until You Dare

Part II: Not Until You Risk

Part III: Not Until You Crave

Part IV: Not Until You Trust

Part V: Not Until You Beg

Part VI: Not Until You Surrender

Part VII: Not Until You Believe

Part VIII: Not Until You Love

Specials

Still Into You

Not Until You

Part III

Not Until You Crave

Roni Loren

I
NTER
M
IX
B
OOKS
, N
EW
Y
ORK

INTERMIX BOOKS

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

For more information about the Penguin Group visit penguin.com.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have control over and does not have any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

NOT UNTIL YOU CRAVE

An InterMix Book / published by arrangement with the author

PUBLISHING HISTORY

InterMix eBook edition / June 2013

Copyright © 2013 by Roni Loren.

Excerpt from
Still Into You
copyright © 2012 by Roni Loren.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-62481-4

INTERMIX

InterMix Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group

and New American Library, divisions of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

INTERMIX and the “IM” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Contents

Also by Roni Loren

Title Page

Copyright

 

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

 

Special Excerpt from Still Into You

About the Author

Chapter 11

The trip home from the hotel was painfully quiet. I sat in between Foster and Pike in the back of the cab. Pike was leaning against the window, eyes closed, half dozing, and Foster was like an automaton version of himself—only speaking when absolutely necessary.

I had no idea what had changed in the span of the last few hours, but my wild night out had morphed into something decidedly more somber. I tugged on the short tennis skirt Foster had bought from the hotel shop to save me the walk of shame in my wrinkled dress. The gesture had been thoughtful, sweet even. But he’d shirked off my thank-you like he hadn’t even heard me.

Anxiety bubbled in my stomach at the thought of the good-bye this morning. Why in God’s name had I chosen my neighbors? Last night, the crush-driven idea had seemed ingenious. Now I realized how stupid I’d been. Morning-after awkwardness was bad enough, but there was no way I was going to be able to avoid facing them regularly during these last few weeks I was living here.

The cab rolled to a stop at the curb in front of our building, and Foster paid the driver. He slid out of the car and held his hand out to me, the consummate gentleman, even in his cool state. Once I was on my feet and had grabbed my plastic bag of discarded clothes, I moved to let go of Foster’s hand. But instead of allowing me to escape, he gathered me to his side, planting a hand at the small of my back.

I sent him a curious look but let him guide me toward the door. Pike jogged in front of us and grabbed the door to hold it open for the two of us.

“You’re a hard man to read,” I said, half under my breath.

“Am I?” Foster asked, continuing to look forward as we climbed the stairs. “I would think I’m painfully transparent at the moment.”

“You’re angry,” I said, speaking what I already knew.

He sighed, his fingers pressing into my back. “Not at you, angel. Not at you.”

“We need to—” I began, but my words lodged like popcorn in my throat when I reached the top of the stairs and saw the imposing figure leaning against my doorway. “Oh, shit.”

Foster tensed like a Rottweiler spotting a pit bull in his path. “What the hell?”

Andre turned around and spotted me, my brother’s dark eyes filling with relief. “Marcela. Jesus, you’re all right, thank God,” he said, coming toward me.

But when his gaze jumped to the man beside me, Andre reared up, stiffened, and took on that badass cop pose I knew so well.

I instantly moved away from Foster’s touch. “Andre, what are you doing here?”

He stared down at me, his eyes jumping to the Hotel St. Mark insignia on my polo shirt, then back to my face. I could almost hear his teeth gnash together. “I stopped by to take my baby sister out for brunch to celebrate her graduation.”

“You could’ve called.”

He raised his hand, cell phone facing out. “I did. Four times.
And
your house phone. You know how scary it is to have your sister tell you she’s in for the night and then she’s nowhere to be found the next morning? I was picturing you dead on the road somewhere, Cela.”

I winced. “Sorry. I decided to go out.”

“And not come home until the next morning, wearing hotel clothes?”

“I really don’t think that’s any of your business,” Foster said, his tone almost bored.

Of course, Pike, who’d stayed behind to grab the mail, chose that moment to step up behind us. “Hey, doc, you forgot your purse in the cab.”

I closed my eyes, wishing my brother would just poof into thin air and that this was some waking nightmare.

But when I opened my eyes again, Andre’s face had gone red—a feat, considering his skin tone. “Tell me you didn’t.”

“Andre,” Foster said, obviously nonplussed by the imposing force that was my brother. “I suggest you take a breath and stop talking to your sister like she’s a child, especially considering the glass house you’re about the throw a rock through.”

That caught Andre’s attention—and mine. I looked between the two of them. Andre’s eyes narrowed as he studied Foster. “I know you from somewhere.”

Foster smirked. “Yeah, you do.” He leaned over and kissed my cheek. “Let’s talk later.”

I nodded numbly, not sure exactly how these two could possibly know each other or what Foster’s comment to Andre had meant. “Sure.”

Pike sent me an apologetic smile, handed my purse to me, and then both men disappeared into their apartment, leaving me there with Andre.

The minute the door shut, my fists curled around the plastic bag I was holding. “I cannot believe you just embarrassed me like that. What the hell is wrong with you?”

I shoved past him and stabbed my key into the lock. Andre was right behind me, following me into the apartment like a dark cloud flooding the room. “You had me fucking worried, Marcela. I’ve been in a near panic trying to find you. And then you walk in, dressed in clothes that aren’t yours with not just one but two strange dudes.”

“Foster and Pike aren’t strangers.”

“Foster and . . .” He paused, a light switch seeming to flip on in his brain, and grimaced. “Ah, fuck me.”

“What?”

“Nothing. What are you thinking hanging out with guys like that?”

I tossed my keys, purse, and bag onto the kitchen counter. “This is not your business.”

“They’re grown men, and you’re, you’re . . .”

“A grown woman, Dre,” I said, exasperated. “Despite what you and Papá seem to think. They even let me vote and pay taxes. Can you imagine?”

“Don’t be a smartass. You had me ready to call hospitals.”

I sighed, the lack of sleep settling on me, and lowered myself onto one of my barstools. My body was still tender, and I tried to cover the inevitable flinch.

Andre’s lips went white from pressing them together so hard. “Did those jerks hurt you? Because if they did, I swear—”

“Oh my God,” I said, pressing the heel of my hand to my brow bone. “Stop. Of course they didn’t. And I am so not discussing this with you.”

The last thing I wanted to do was talk about my sex life with my big brother. It was awkward enough growing up, watching girls completely throw themselves at him. And I’d walked in on him in compromising positions more than once not realizing he had a girl over. My parents had willingly let Andre have dates over, and he could use the rec room with the door closed. But when I wanted to even have a guy friend over, it was living room only, parents on guard.

“Look, I’m sorry that you were worried. My phone died, and I didn’t have my charger. I didn’t think it was a big deal because I wasn’t expecting anyone to call this early. But what I do with my personal time is no one’s business but mine. How would you feel if I barged into your place demanding details about your love life? Why don’t you tell me who slept in
your
bed last night?”

Andre looked away, some strange flicker crossing his features—guilt? But finally he ran a hand over the back of his hair, a tell tale sign his anger was deflating. “Fine. You’re right. That wasn’t fair.”

I tipped up my chin. “Thank you. Now can we start over and pretend the last five minutes didn’t happen?”

“I’ll try.” He pulled his phone from the pocket of his jeans and checked the time. “But I think we’ve missed brunch. I told Evan and Jace to go on without me when I couldn’t find you.”

“Bummer. I haven’t seen those two in a while. Are they engaged yet?”

Andre frowned, a dark curtain falling over his face. “Not officially.”

Andre lived with his best friend, Jace. And Evan, Jace’s girlfriend, had moved in a few months ago. “You know when they make it official, you’re going to have to find a new place. I know you like living with your BFF and all, but you’ve got to feel like a third wheel now.”

He shoved his phone in his pocket, shifting like his clothes had suddenly gotten too tight for his body. “It’s complicated.”

“Ah, don’t do that to yourself, Dre.” I slid off the stool and patted his shoulder on my way to the fridge.

“Do what?”

I grabbed two bottles of water and tossed one to him. “I know you’ve got a crush on Evan. I’ve seen how you look at her when you don’t think anyone’s watching.”

He unscrewed the cap, his gaze shuttered, and sipped the water. “It’s not like that.”

I sighed. “I know we just agreed to not meddle in each other’s personal lives. But you got one free shot at me, so now I’m taking mine. Don’t mess things up with Jace for a girl, all right? Your friendship is more important that that.”

“Duly noted.” He swigged another sip of the water, then set it on the counter. “Tell you what. How about I let you catch up on sleep and we plan to hang out another time? Things are a little crazy at work right now, so I’m tied up for a while. But we’re throwing a little birthday party for Jace’s brother, Wyatt, the Friday before you leave. Evan’s cooking and everything. You in?”

I bumped the refrigerator door closed with my hip and thanked the heavens that I was going to be able to go crawl in bed instead of socializing on three hours’ sleep. “Sounds like a plan.”

He smiled and stepped forward, cupping the back of my head and planting a kiss on the crown. “And I guess if you want to bring . . . a friend, you can.”

I could tell the offer cost him something. I managed a smirk and ignored the longing ache the suggestion stirred. After this morning, I didn’t know if I’d even speak to Foster again. “Thanks. But uh, it’s not like that.”

Andre closed his eyes briefly and shook his head. “Oh, I wish there was a machine to help you go back in time and un-know things.”

I shoved his shoulder. “Grow up, bro. I have.”

With a God-give-me-strength sigh, he turned and headed for the door. “Try to stay out of trouble, Marcela.”

I gave him my best choir girl smile. “Always.”

***

Foster stretched out on the couch, his head booming and frustration wrapping around him like itchy rope. It was probably a good thing that Pike had gone to sleep in his room, because Foster was spoiling for a fight—an unjustified one—but at this point he didn’t really care about details like that. When Pike had put his arms around Cela this morning, Foster had wanted to slug him. He’d also wanted Cela to push Pike away, to come to him.

But instead of any of that happening, Foster had just stood there like an asshole and let it all happen. Cela had gone off to the shower to do devil knows what with his best friend, and he’d stayed there frozen to the spot. For a breath of a moment, Foster had found himself imagining more with Cela. The way she’d described her experience submitting to him had lit something inside him, had awakened the desire to have her under his hand for longer than a night, to show her what that kind of power exchange could really be like, to bring her submission fully to the surface.

But if he’d had any illusions about her even considering something like that, they’d been annihilated the minute she’d left the room with Pike. Last night had been exactly what she’d said—a good time, a way to lose her virginity, a one-off wild night. The whole reason she’d chosen them was because they were low risk. No feelings. No attachment. She was leaving in a few weeks, and he and Pike had made an offer that fit those requirements perfectly.

And now he was going to have to leave it at that. No way was he messing with that rattlesnake of a situation again. He’d tried once before to woo a girl who wanted a vanilla life. Darcy had been submissive, he’d seen it plain as day when they’d played. But she’d only wanted to explore kink for fun—for kicks. She’d had a preacher’s daughter upbringing and had wanted to rebel.

Of course, Foster hadn’t realized that while he was tumbling into the love abyss like an idiot. Pike had warned him, but he hadn’t wanted to hear it. He and Darcy had dated for a year, and he’d been sure she was the one for him, meant to be his. Finally, someone who would stay in his life. He’d thought the only hurdle would be convincing her that she could have everything she wanted even if she fully embraced the submissive role with him. But it’d all been an illusion created by that lonely, hopeful kid that lurked inside him.

On their one-year anniversary he’d offered Darcy a ring and a collar. She’d offered him a good-bye.

Lesson learned.

Foster pressed his thumbs to his forehead, trying to exorcise both the headache and the bad memories, but a loud banging interrupted the effort. “Fuck. Not right now.”

But the sharp knocking came again, and Foster pushed himself up and off the couch. He rubbed his hands over his face as he made his way to the door, too mentally drained to face what he knew was going to be on the other side.

He swung the door open and stepped aside, letting the imposing force of Andre Medina stride inside. Foster didn’t know Andre personally, had never spoken with him. But he knew
of
him, knew he was in the tight inner circle of Grant Waters—owner of The Ranch, the BDSM resort Foster belonged to. And Foster had watched Andre scene.

“Sure, come on in,” Foster said dryly.

Andre spun around, arms crossed, pissed-off cop face in place. “Believe me, this won’t take long.”

Foster scrubbed a hand over his stubble. “Guess you figured out where we know each other from.”

The muscle in Andre’s jaw twitched. “The different name threw me, but yes. Ian.”

“Outside of those walls, everyone calls me by my last name.”

Andre didn’t even seem to hear him. “So what’s your game?”

Foster walked around the breakfast bar, heading toward the coffee pot. He didn’t have the energy for this conversation without more caffeine. “I don’t know what you’re asking.”

“Your kink, Foster. Is it going after vanilla girls? Because that’s about the only reason I could see why you’re messing with my baby sister,” he said, anger rippling like a deadly undertow below his calm tone.

Foster scooped coffee into the filter and poured the water in, refusing to snap at the bait Andre was waving. Sparring with Cela’s overprotective brother wasn’t going to get anyone anywhere. And with the foul mood Foster was already in, a fistfight was a distinct possibility if Andre got in his face. Last thing he needed to do was take a swing at a cop. Foster hit the on button to start the coffee then turned around to face his uninvited house guest.

BOOK: Not Until You: Part III
2.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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