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Authors: Toni Blake

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BOOK: One Reckless Summer
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When Mick Brody released her breast only to curl his fingers into the placket of her blouse and briskly yank it open, she let out a small cry. But she still didn’t protest—even as the warm night air caressed her newly revealed skin, even as he flicked his fingertips at the front opening of her simple white bra, as if he’d known without doubt that was where the clasp would be.

The white cups fell away, baring her breasts to the night. She looked down, as stunned as if she hadn’t willingly let things get this far. As if she’d tried to stop it somehow.
I only wanted to look at the stars. I only wanted to feel something besides disillusionment and failure.
Well, she was feeling something else
now,
all right.

How is this possible? It can’t be happening. Who the hell
am
I?

When Mick finally released her wrist, it provided one more instance when she could have stopped this—yet still she didn’t. She simply stood there soaking up the heat of his body on an already hot summer night. She simply stood there as he closed both rough hands over her breasts from behind. She heard herself whimper as forbidden pleasure arced through her. Oh God, it felt good. To be touched. Wanted. Desired. It was the first time she’d felt…truly womanly, sexual, in
years.

As he molded the two mounds of flesh in his palms, she became still more aware of the column of granite at her rear and the sensation it sent rocketing to every inch of her body. She moaned and sighed. She sank into him as if she knew him.

When he turned her around to press her back against the same big tree as before—and she let him this time, no more fighting—things grew more difficult, strange. Because his eyes were back on her, and this was real. Her breasts were bared between them and it wasn’t quite so dark yet that the white flesh and their beaded pink tips weren’t clearly visible.

And when he used both hands to pin her arms to the bark, their gazes met and she could have sworn his expression was as pained and conflicted as her own surely was. She saw the same worry mingling with lust that coursed through her own veins. But she had no idea why. What did
Mick Brody
have to lose here?

And, oh God, his eyes. The more she looked into them, the more intoxicated she became. They took her back to that day on the dock all those years ago—she’d noticed them then, blue and wicked. Nothing about them had changed.

Next Mick bent to capture one turgid nipple in his mouth. A strangled-sounding breath left her throat as the intense pleasure permeated her being. He wasn’t a gentle man—she’d already gathered that much—and he didn’t do
this
gently, either. He suckled her firmly, in a way that seemed to connect squarely with her crotch, delivering mindless pleasure even as the rough tree bark bit into her back and her knees threatened to give way beneath her.

Releasing one breast, he moved to the other, sucking this peak in just as hard, making her whimper, “Oh God,” as the pull stretched all through her.

What are you doing? What are you thinking? Stop this
,
now
,
somehow.

But she couldn’t. She just couldn’t. To her surprise, it seemed that, when put up against Mick Brody, she’d been stronger at sixteen.

Or…maybe it made her feel stronger now, somewhere inside, to stay, to let this happen. At sixteen, she’d scurried away. He’d tried to make her
do that
tonight, but she hadn’t, wouldn’t. Tonight she was holding her ground—sort of. If holding her ground could be interpreted as letting him seduce her.

When he dropped to his knees and pulled her down with him, it happened in a rush, so that she mostly just fell on him, her skirt up around her thighs, her top and bra open. She’d never felt more brazen, or more like a stranger inside her own body.

He leaned back against the tree on the opposite side of the path, the smaller one where she’d balanced herself when she’d first bumped into him. Grabbing on to her hips, he drew her up into his lap until she straddled his blue-jean-clad thighs. Then he pulled her closer still, pressing her to the hard bulge behind his zipper. Oh God, the mind-numbing pressure. In exactly the right spot. She let her eyes shut, as if that would weaken the sensation. Then Mick’s palms slipped under her skirt, onto her bottom, over her underwear, squeezing, molding—in a way that encouraged her to move on him.

She sucked in her breath as a fresh bolt of desire pierced her body. God, how she
longed
to move against him, to writhe with him in the night.

But up to now, it had been all
him,
him
doing
things: holding her, touching her, suckling her, making her respond. So this was different. This was about
her
doing something.

Yet she quickly realized she didn’t possess the power
not
to move against him, not to rub her softest flesh against his hardest, and she felt her body give in, felt herself begin to grind against him through their clothes.

For the first time since this had started, Mick began to emit more than just labored breathing—he let out growls of pleasure, heated groans. The sounds were as potent as hands on her flesh, beginning to drive her movements, until she got lost in the motions, almost forgetting where she was and what she was doing and how insane it was.

Yet, perhaps oddly, it was only when he reached down between them to undo the button on his jeans that she realized—dear Lord—this was actually leading to
sex
! This wasn’t some backseat in high school, where you fooled around and heated each other up and then finally stopped. This was real lust that
went
somewhere, had a tangible
destination.

She went still as he lowered his zipper, pushed down his underwear. At this point, he probably thought she was ready and waiting. And maybe he was right about that and she just couldn’t accept the truth about herself. She could barely breathe, after all. And her whole body pulsated with want.

Yet when she glanced down and caught a glimpse of his erection in the thickening air, when she saw how big he was, how rigid, and understood what she was expected to do now, she froze. She’d only had sex with one man in her life. And she hated that man for making her doubt herself, making her question
who
she was, but she surely hadn’t planned to move on in her sex life like
this.
With a stranger. On the ground. In the woods.

I can’t do it. I just can’t.

Even if I want to.

With Mick Brody, it seemed, arousal and fear mixed and mingled until she could barely tell them apart.

Tell him you’re sorry
,
you’ve made a mistake here. You’re not this woman, not someone who can have—or
handle—
sex in the woods. And maybe he’ll be a decent enough guy to let you leave now.

Not that he seemed like a very decent guy so far. But she knew she couldn’t do this. It wasn’t right. It made no sense.

I can’t.
She practiced saying it again in her mind, and was just about to break the bad news out loud—when Mick Brody lifted her bottom with one hand, yanked her panties aside with the other, and situated her body just atop his erection.

Oh!
She sucked in her breath at the sensation.

It’s now or never. Say it.

But she didn’t.

And then he pushed her down, onto him.

Oh God.

Oh my!

It was the end of life as a good girl.

But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.

Carl
Sagan

Two

T
he pleasure was startling and profound. Almost painful, because he was big and because she hadn’t had sex in a while, so a stunned cry left her—but it was also amazingly
good,
in a way she felt in her gut, her very soul.

He was inside her—deep inside her—and there was no sense in protesting now, no turning back.

She wanted desperately to be angry at him, to feel she’d been forced, compromised, but—Lord—he felt too incredible inside her. And she knew she’d had a thousand chances to say no and had never once uttered the word. And besides, she was on
top
, for heaven’s sake.

And as she began to adjust, to find exactly the right angle where he felt best, as he hissed in his breath sharply, then let out another masculine groan, it occurred to her that she was finally taking that ride he’d invited her on all those years ago. This is what she’d pictured
then
in the forbidden spots of her mind, her on top of him like this, moving. And the very thought propelled her to do just that—to move as she had in those illicit visions, to move and take him still deeper and to moan when their bodies connected in just the right way.

He moved, too, thrusting up into her, powerful plunges that nearly blinded her with pleasure, made her bite her lip, made her curl her fingernails into the thin fabric of his T-shirt.

She felt the urge to kiss him, but resisted, because even though
he’d
kissed
her,
once, earlier, this…didn’t feel romantic. And even as he moved in her, she found herself not wanting him to think she’d suddenly gone soft. This was not about kissing—this was about need, and hunger, and darkness. This was hard sex, in the woods. This was Mick Brody.

She moved on him more vigorously, felt his hands mold to her ass. She closed her eyes and drank in the scent of the pungent forest floor, the damp earth, the very greenness of it all. But then she
opened
her eyes because it still seemed so unreal, and the pleasure inside her began to tighten and gather in the spot just above where their bodies met so wet and smooth. And she met his gaze again, writhed against him more wildly, let
herself
feel that—the utter wildness of it—until he whispered, “Come, pussycat,” and she did.

The orgasm was rough, as jagged as the uneven land they occupied. Strangled cries left her throat as she tried to absorb the startling sensations that rocketed through her. Her arms locked around his neck; she bit her lip to try to stop sobbing her way through the abrupt pleasure.

When the intense waves of climax finally passed, eased, her mind raced—what to do now? She had no idea.

But she didn’t have to ponder it long since Mick was ready to take over again—without a
word,
he plastered both hands on her bottom and rolled her onto a soft bed of moss beside the tree. Before she knew it, she lay on her back looking up at him as he moved in her in long, deep, thorough strokes she felt all the way to her core.

His eyes on her remained glassy, his teeth clenched. She kept biting her lip to hold in her cries, but that didn’t last long—soon sound erupted from her throat with each powerful thrust he delivered.

What had been slow and rough before had turned fast and urgent—and Jenny lay there astounded, soaking in every sensation, every hard drive, surprised to eventually realize her legs were wrapped snug around his back, locked at the ankles.

The darkness was complete now, covering them like a blanket, and a lone cricket began to chirp in the trees. She grunted and groaned as each stroke pressed her farther, deeper, into the moss, and she felt lost to it all somehow—she’d quit worrying, quit thinking; now she did nothing but
feel
,
feel
,
feel
each hot plunge.

“Aw…Aw, shit,” he whispered, and she knew he was coming even before his guttural groans echoed up into the night air. She watched
him,
unduly pleased to see it happen, unduly pleasured to know she’d
made
it happen.

When he pulled back, rolled off her, she felt the hollow space he left behind, the physical awareness of losing that connection, even as she hurried to sit up beside him, anxious to act like a woman who had casual sex all the time.

“You okay?”

For some reason, his concern surprised her. “Yeah, fine.”

“I, uh…didn’t mean for that to happen,” he admitted, surprising her further—but she wasn’t sure how to take it.

“Regrets?”

“Damn—no. I just meant…I don’t usually yell at a woman and then…do
this.
” Up to now, he hadn’t been looking at her, but even in the full darkness that had fallen around them, she felt him turn toward her. “You wanted that, right? I didn’t, uh…?”

She let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding,
then
swallowed nervously. “I must have,” she whispered. “I never said no.” So much for sounding like a hip, modern, casual-sex-having sort of girl. To her own ears, she sounded like exactly what she was—a woman who’d never done such a thing in her life and was probably going to be irreparably scarred by it. Turned out
this
was the time to worry about what to do afterward—and she knew she would suffer later for knowing it meant nothing. She’d never
had
sex that meant nothing, so the emotional aftermath sure to come would be painfully new.

“Okay, good,” he said in response. But she thought he didn’t sound quite as comfortable as the words implied. Then he got to his feet and held down a hand to help her up, too.

Standing left her unsteady, and aware of the sticky flow around her upper thighs. She turned away, using the same tree as before for balance as she reached awkwardly up under her skirt to pull her dampened panties back into place.

“You can’t tell anyone you’ve seen me here,” he said, suddenly gruff again.

She flinched. So much for
postcoital
cuddling. “Why not?”

“Because I said so.”

She flashed an annoyed look in the dark. “How very parental-sounding. Well, guess what. You’re not my dad.”

He turned abruptly toward her, his eyes glimmering in the dark. “Don’t worry, pussycat. After what we just did, I’m not confused about
that.

She sucked in her breath, thankful now for the heavy trees blocking out most of the moonlight and hiding her blush.

“I’m serious,” he went on. “You can’t tell
anyone
you saw me. Got it?”

She was tiring of his attitude, especially
considering
what they’d just done. “Sure,” she said, rolling her eyes.

“You’re not convincing me.”

“Fine,” she snapped. “I
told
you—I won’t tell anyone I saw you. Happy now?”

“And you can’t come back here again, either.”

She let out a quick, short gasp, truly stunned. “What on earth is your problem? All I wanted to do was look through a telescope at the sky, not steal state secrets!”

“I told you before, I don’t care about any of that—I just need you to understand this is private property.”

“So I can be on your property long enough to have sex with you, but not long enough to look at the stars?”

“It’s not like that.” She sensed him shaking his head.

“Then what’s it like?”

“It’s got nothing to do with me, or you. And it’s none of your business. And you’d do well to just forget you ever saw me here or that this night even happened.”

“That sounds like the best suggestion you’ve had yet,” she assured him, her voice thick with sarcasm.

“Good,” he said—and this time he actually sounded like he meant it.

Jenny stood there for an uncertain moment longer, but quickly realized there was nothing left to say. That feeling of emptiness she’d anticipated started setting in sooner than she’d expected. She’d thought it would require getting away from him first, being alone. But being
with
him, she realized—apart from when they were having sex—was a lot
like
being alone.

So without another word, she began to walk away, back through the woods toward the downhill descent that led to the canoe landing.

“Hey,” he called behind her. “You, uh, want me to walk you down to the lake?”

“Go to hell,” she tossed back over her shoulder.

And it was only when he didn’t answer that she realized that, just like the first time they’d met, she was hurrying away from him. And that, in the end, she still hadn’t gotten what she’d wanted—she hadn’t gotten to see the stars. And that if this was a game of some sort, he’d won—again.

 

Go to hell
.

“I probably will,” Mick muttered to himself as her footsteps grew more distant.

He stood unmoving in the woods, listening, carefully listening, to faint and still fainter sounds of her walking through the brush, of a boat being pushed into the water, and could almost feel her getting farther away each second.

Around him now—stillness. Perfect, blessed stillness. As it should be. As he
needed
it to be.

But—
shit.

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.

What had he done here?
What the holy hell had he done?

At a time in his life when he most needed not to be found, at a time when he most needed to be as non-existent as possible—
he’d screwed the police chief’s daughter.
What the hell had he been thinking?

Well, he
knew
what he’d been thinking. That she was still just as pretty—only grown-up now, which was even better. And that there was still something between them—the same thing he’d felt the first time he’d met her, that invisible something that moved between a guy and a girl and drew them together whether they liked it or not.

The stupid part had been giving in to that.

For God’s sake—he’d really just had sex with her. With Jenny Tolliver.

He’d known her name
then,
and he knew it now, too. He wasn’t sure why, either time, he’d acted like it was such a mystery. He just hadn’t wanted her to know, he guessed, that he’d even realized she existed. That he’d seen her, when they were teenagers, cheering at high school basketball games in that little red-and-white skirt.
Go Bulldogs—ruff
,
ruff
,
ruff!
That he’d seen her back then hanging out at the Whippy Dip, with guys who were much cleaner-cut than him but who were still probably talking her out of her panties on hot summer nights.

He blinked, still shocked to remember that
he’d
just talked her out of her panties. Well, not talked—no, not that at all. But the result was the same, and something he would never forget. The police chief’s daughter, who had provided him with more than a few teenage fantasies, who he’d been certain would never look twice at him, had just done it with him in the woods.

The wonder of that—and the horror of it—made him drop to his knees on the forest floor and close his eyes. He ran his hands back through his hair, frustrated.

She couldn’t possibly understand what was at stake here, why what he’d just done could possibly be the biggest mistake of his life—and he’d already made more than his fair share. And—realistically—she probably couldn’t be trusted not to tell people she’d seen him, not to tell her father. Mick emitted a huge groan of defeat at the
very
thought.

Then again, maybe she
wouldn’t
tell her dad. To tell him the whole story would mean admitting to having sex with Mick without
having hardly
exchanged a word. And why that had happened—why she had let it—he’d never know.

He’d never consciously made the decision to start kissing her, touching her—it had just happened when she’d tried to get past him. It hadn’t resulted from thought—but mere instinct.

He truly hadn’t recognized her at first, but once he’d figured out who she was, something about her had brought out the animal inside him. And there’d been moments when he’d been sure she’d stop him, and other moments when he’d been much more sure she wouldn’t—but he still couldn’t believe the latter had turned out to be true.

Although even if she didn’t tell her dad, she’d surely tell
someone.
She just didn’t have any reason not to.

And then word would get around. And
then
her father would find out. And then everything Mick was trying to do here would fall apart. And he might go to prison, for all he knew—something he should have thought about before he’d agreed to this, but he hadn’t. He might go to prison, and that was only
one
lousy aspect of being found here.

I shouldn’t have let myself be talked into this. I should be at home in Cincinnati
,
having a beer at
Skully’s
on the corner
,
or watching a little TV before bed.

But it was too late for the
shoulda-coulda-woulda
thing.

He supposed he should get back to the house. He’d only intended to take a short walk, get some air, clear his head from the troubles between those walls. And then he’d seen someone on the property and his body had gone on red alert—he’d closed the short distance between them without even thinking about consequences, his only thought that whoever it was couldn’t be here. And the truth was
,
he hadn’t been overreacting. The last thing he needed was a woman trotting around the woods with a telescope that could just as easily be pointed in a window as at the sky.

BOOK: One Reckless Summer
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