Authors: Kaye Blue
Tags: #Interracial Romantic Suspense
“What are you doing here?”
Ruby’s voice was sharp, cold as it had been in those early days, but her eyes gave her away, showed that she was curious, and maybe a little happy to see me.
I gave her my most winning smile. “Open the door, Ruby.”
Surprisingly, she relented and allowed me in. And as she closed and locked the door behind me, I examined the small, tidy living room. It didn’t look like her, seemed to be the domain of a much older person. But my examination was interrupted by Ruby’s arm against my biceps as she nudged me.
“You were saying?” she asked, looking up at me.
It occurred to me that this was as close to her as I had ever been, and it also occurred to me that the feeling was remarkably pleasant. Physically, Ruby hadn’t changed, but during those weeks, I had paid attention, I’d come to know her, and knowing what a genuine, kind person she was increased the little physical appeal she had.
So sad, really. Ruby would get hurt, and she didn’t deserve that. But it was unavoidable, and whatever little tug I felt at the thought of what I would do to her, I would get over. This job, this con, was too important to even consider anything else.
Turning my thoughts away from that somber truth, I smiled at her. “You were holding out on me, Ruby.”
“What?” she said, her face a mask of surprise.
“And I thought we’d become friends.”
“I don’t know what gave you that idea,” she said, though she smiled.
“Me either. Especially since you didn’t even tell me today is your birthday,” I said.
“What?” She narrowed her eyes suspiciously, though I could see the humor on her face. “Who told you that?”
“My secrets are mine. But a better question is how do you plan on spending it?”
“Like I was. Right there on my couch,” she said in canting her head toward the floral monstrosity that sat in living room floor.
“Wrong. You have plans.” I looked at her bare shoulders, her skin soft-looking and smooth in the dimness of the living room. I lowered my gaze and watched as her nipples pebbled under my scrutiny. “You should probably change shirts,” I said, voice coming out low.
“I told you. You have plans. Get dressed. I’m waiting,” I said.
She shook her head and glanced up at me, eyes an alluring combination of confused and pleased.
“I didn’t say I was going anywhere with you,” she said.
“You didn’t say it, but you will,” I responded.
“We are going to have to talk about your arrogance. I have half a mind to say no just because of it,” she said.
“But you won’t. Now change shirts. Time’s wasting,” I said.
Ruby laughed, seemingly despite herself, and she retreated back into the house, the sound ringing behind her. While she was gone, I continued my examination of the living room, reaffirming my original assessment that it didn’t seem like her. Ruby was reserved, didn’t say much, at least not at first, or at least not to me, but there was a sadness that lingered over this place, clung to it like a fog.
Before, when I’d thought about Ruby away from Titan, which it had been far too often for my tastes, I’d always imagined her living somewhere bright and happy. This place was somber, staid, depressing almost.
“I must be crazy,” she said as she emerged wearing a dark sweater that clung to her chest. She must have seen me look down, for when I glanced back at her face, she blanched and then quickly averted her gaze. It was shy, sweet.
“You’re not crazy. You’re just curious.”
“And are you going to assuage that curiosity?” she asked.
“Nope. Now put on your jacket. It’s cold out.”
She laughed, and after putting on her shoes and jacket, she locked the house and followed me out to the car.
She didn’t say anything as I drove, but I felt her excitement nonetheless, and as I glanced at her, I noticed that she seemed happy, trusting.
Exactly as I planned.
“You’re joking, right?” she asked as I parked the car and turned to look at her.
“Do I seem like the type for jokes?” I replied.
She looked back at me, eyes wide. “You must be. There can’t be any other explanation,” she said.
“That’s where you’re wrong, my friend. I think this is the perfect birthday adventure.”
She turned away from me to stare out at the full to almost overflowing parking lot, watching the trails of people, kids and their parents, young couples, old couples, all headed toward the gates. Then she looked back at me.
“That’s right. We’re going to ride unsafe roller coasters, eat caramel apples, and if you behave, I might even win you a stuffed animal or two,” I said.
She went somber then, the quizzical expression on her face replaced with one that edged too close to disbelief for my tastes.
“But why?” she asked, her voice barely above a whisper, but still loud in the confines of the car.
“Ruby,” I said, not speaking until she looked at me. And once I held her gaze with mine, I continued. “Because I want to. I think this will be fun.”
“It’s just…” She looked away, took a deep breath. Then she turned her gaze back to me, her eyes still wary but softer now. “Never mind. Let’s go.”
She gave me a tentative smile, and then got out of the car. I smiled inwardly and followed her, and together, we walked toward the gates. The crowd moved around us and a couple of times, I lost sight of her. When I caught up with her, I grabbed her hand and interlocked my fingers with hers.
Her face shifted, and she looked down at our entwined fingers and then back to my face, her surprise apparent. I could see her internal struggle, could tell that she debated pulling her hand away. Before she could make up her mind, I tightened my hand and gazed at her, practically daring her to pull away.
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
“Are they all going to fit?” she asked as we returned to the car hours later.
“They’ll fit,” I said as I pushed another plush animal onto the backseat.
Ruby chuckled, the sound high, happy. “I told you one would be fine,” she said.
“Nonsense,” I responded as I leaned against the car door, using my weight to ensure it closed. “Why one when you can have ten?” I said.
She laughed again. “I think I should be flattered, but I suspect you had more fun beating the game than winning these for me.”
“Maybe it was a little of both,” I said as I got into the car, a stuffed-animal leg hitting the back of my head.
enjoyed winning the toys for Ruby, but I equally enjoyed beating the rigged game.
“I had a really great time,” Ruby said.
“Me too.” I glanced at her quickly, reached across the seat to grasp her hand again, and then turned my eyes back to the road.
Her hand lay in mine, stiff, but as she had this morning, little by little she relaxed, and by the time we reached her house she clung to my hand unabashedly.
“Thank you,” she said sincerely when I pulled to a stop.
“Don’t thank me yet. I still have to get these inside,” I replied, gesturing at the backseat.
“No need. I’ll take care of it,” she said, reaching for the door handle.
I stopped her by tightening my hand around hers.
“Let me ask differently. Ruby, may I come in?”
She paused, mouth opening and closing, throat working as she swallowed. And as I watched, I saw the last bits of her resistance fade before my very eyes. She might be unsure, uncertain, but I could see it clear as day.
I had her.
“That’s the last one,” Ruby said, and then she laughed nervously, looking around the dark living room, which was now littered with brightly colored stuffed animals.
She rubbed her hands together and then scrubbed them down her pant legs, still not looking at me. She’d accepted my request, but in the minutes it had taken for us to unload the car, I’d felt her energy change. At some point during the day, she had opened up to me. But now I could feel her retreating into uncertainty.
“Ruby,” I said. As I spoke, I moved closer until I stood behind her, my front to her back.
“Ruby,” I whispered again. Then I moved even closer, close enough that I could feel the heat of her body, though I didn’t yet touch her.
She turned this time, and when she lifted her eyes to mine, I closed the small gap between us and slid my lips over hers.
She froze for a moment, body still and stiff, but then, on a huge sigh, she let loose, her body going slack.
I brushed my lips against hers, softly, gently, and not with the edge of need that bubbled inside me. Strictly speaking, this wasn’t essential. I could have gotten close enough without taking things this far.
But I was a selfish bastard. And I wanted this, wanted her, and she did too, her slight touches, her shy glances clear signs of it. And I had no choice but to act on the desire arcing between us.
Full lips, soft, supple, and sweet beneath mine, parted slightly, and I used the opening to deepen our kiss. I wrapped my arms around her waist and her body pressed against mine, heavy breasts flattened against my chest, the curve of her stomach against my burgeoning erection.
Need, which had been simmering beneath the surface all day, sharpened and jumped to the forefront, pushing everything else aside. I wanted to touch her everywhere, all at once, but instead, I slipped my tongue into her mouth.
She breathed out again, her harsh, warm breath sweet against my face as I kissed her with a passion that surprised me with its intensity.
And as I did, I curved my hands against her backside, filling my palms with the heavy flesh. I wanted her to have no doubt where this was headed.
She pulled back and met my eyes, tentatively at first but then with increasing confidence.
Fingers curled around my arms, she held me as I moved forward and kissed her. And then she kissed me back.
I slid my hands up her back, underneath her jacket, and over the outline of her bra. It hit me then that she was wearing far too many clothes. So I broke the kiss and looked down at her, her eyes pleading, her chest heaving with harshly exhaled breaths.
I shrugged off my own jacket and then pulled my shirt over my head, and then tossed both. Instinct told me that she needed this, and I could sense her vulnerability as well. Though her eyes were soft with desire, I could practically see the thoughts as they swirled inside her brain. And I needed to stop that, wanted her to be as focused on me, and me alone, as I was on her.
I grasped her hand, lifted it, and pressed it against my chest. Her lips, which had been pursed, shaped into a perfect
as she touched my bare skin. Her gaze darted to mine, but she looked away quickly, centering her vision on her hand where it lay against the hard slab of my pecs.
transitioned into a soft little smile as she slid her hand over my chest and down my stomach. Her breaths came a little faster, and her gaze sharpened, the worry that I had perceived before fading.
Seemingly mindlessly, she lifted her other hand, used both to trace my abs, then my chest, and then back up over my collarbone and down my shoulders.
My own breath caught. There was nothing skilled or even particularly seductive in her touch, but the honest, almost reverent way she caressed me was more arousing than the most trained seduction would have been.
Her hands and their unskilled caress left me shaking, and I backed away, needing to break the contact if I was to go through this slowly and with the skill that she deserved.
She glanced up, again looking surprised, but that expression faded when I pushed her jacket off her arms and grabbed the hem of her shirt.
Her gaze sharpened, and I moved in closer, pressing a hard, quick kiss against her lips as I lifted the hem of her shirt. My fingers trailed across her smooth, soft skin, so warm, so alive against my fingers. I choked back a moan when I reached her satin-covered breasts, her nipples puckered tight beneath the thin fabric. I looked down at them, taking in the generous swells of brown flesh and then seeing her nipples as they hardened even further at my touch.
I finished removing her shirt and tossed it aside, and then, before she could think or get even more nervous, I pulled her to me and kissed her again, her soft skin warm against mine and making all thought flee.
As I kissed her, I worked at the clasps of her bra, the straps falling down her shoulders as I opened loosened them.
And then, finally, I pulled the fabric away, revealing her breasts to me.
Unrestrained, her breasts hung lower, but I’d never seen anything more beautiful, especially her nipples, the dark brown buds hard, the skin around them wrinkled with gooseflesh. Unable to resist I went forward, trailing soft kisses across her collarbone and then lower until I finally captured a tight nub between my lips.
Ruby arched at the first swipe of my tongue across her flesh. I held her waist in an iron grip and I continued to tease her, stroking my tongue across her until Ruby held my arms so tight it almost hurt and cried out.