Jess cut her date short to be here. I’m still wrapping my head around that as I buy her a glass of white wine – the same drop I bought her when we came here after the interview. Janelle, the woman I’d been working on hooking up with until a couple of minutes ago isn’t happy I dismissed her. I did it nicely, but I can imagine I probably seem like a dick to her – flirting with her, then telling her I’m busy the moment a gorgeous woman walks through the door. But the look on Jess’s face when she saw Janelle…It hurt me to see that hurt in my friend’s eyes. And it hurt me more to know I put it there. She’s my friend and my housemate and…
She’s more than that, too. I hadn’t realised just how much she’s come to mean to me until I got this promotion and wanted to share the news with her right away. Not my mates. Not Kristy. I wanted to share the news with Jess. And knowing she walked away from her night out with Jake to celebrate with me, and seeing the way she looked as though her heart had been ripped out when she looked at Janelle…I know it’s more than that for her, too.
Actually, I knew it was more before tonight. She tried to tell me. I ignored it because it was easier to. I didn’t want to mess around with what we have and I don’t want to make things awkward for our friends, but tonight I’m too excited by my promotion and too drunk to ignore it completely. Especially after seeing that hurt in her eyes…I never want her to feel like that again.
The question is, what do I do about these feelings between us?
As soon as I get back to the table, I pass Jess her wine. She smiles up at me, and I feel my heart jump.
“You’re in my seat,” I tell her.
“You want me to move?”
“You can sit on me, how’s that?”
I didn’t intend for my words to come out sounding like the dirty suggestion they do, but it’s too late to take them back, and the way her lips part and her green eyes darken drives me wild. I want nothing more than to be between her legs right now – to watch her sliding down on me.
If she sits on my lap right now, I’m not going to be able to keep my hands off her and she’ll know just how much I want her. But if I don’t sit down stat, everyone at the table is going to know just how much I want her.
The way she’s dressed tonight…I don’t know how Jake let her walk away. I wouldn’t have – couldn’t have walked away from a date with Jess.
Jess is about to stand up when Logan stops her. “No need to do that, Jess.”
Logan is frowning darkly at Jess and I feel myself glaring at him. What the hell is his problem? He and Jess are supposed to be on better terms.
“Kristy can sit on my lap,” he says.
Before I can protest, Kristy is climbing onto Logan’s lap and everyone is moving around the table so I can sit next to Jess.
I slide Jess a look, but she’s not looking at me. She’s looking away from everyone and sipping her wine. Logan won’t stop glaring at her, and I find myself getting crosser with every second that passes.
I move my chair closer to Jess’s and put my arm across the back of the chair, stretching my legs out. Stupidly, that makes Logan stop glaring at Jess and start glaring at me.
“What the fuck is the matter?” I grumble at Logan.
“Nothing at all,” he says.
“Now isn’t the time.”
I turn to Jess. “Is Logan pissed at you?”
She shrugs, but I know something is going on. I don’t know what it is, but as soon as I get Jess or Logan alone, I plan to find out.
“No, it’s my shout,” Jess insists. “You bought last time we were here, and you’ve bought my last couple of glasses. Now it’s my turn. Besides, we’re celebrating your success; I should be buying.”
I was close to being blitzed before Jess walked into the pub. Since then I’ve slowed down on the drinks a little, but Jess seems keen on getting drunk. And I can’t deny, the more Jess drinks, the more relaxed she seems. In the past hour that we’ve been sitting together, she’s had a couple of glasses, and our chairs seem to have moved closer and closer together. My arm is still across the back of her chair, and it probably looks like Jess is sitting right against me. I don’t care. I like her there. I want her next to me. Her hand has landed on my thigh a couple of times, making me hard as anything, but I’m not complaining. Even if Logan glares every time she touches me.
“Fine,” I say.
“Good.” She smiles. “Now, tell me what you want?”
She’s looking at me as though my drink preference will make her day. Her face is a little flushed, and I know she’s a little bit drunk, but the affection she feels for me has never been clearer. I can’t turn away from it. “Make it a beer.”
She stands up, wobbling a bit as she does so, and I put my hand on her arm to steady her.
“Do you want me to come with you?”
I’m actually standing up, ready to follow her anyway when Logan kicks my chair. “What the fuck are you doing?”
I glare at him. “I was going to go watch her back. But if you’re willing to tell me what bug crawled up your arse, I’ll wait a second.”
“You honestly can’t figure it out?” Logan asks.
“No, I can’t figure it out.” The whole table is staring at us, but Logan seems unperturbed by the fact.
“Then you’re an idiot.”
“Logan,” Kristy chastises. “What’s wrong?”
“See, even your girl has no idea what you’re on about.”
“No, but she does,” Logan motions to Jess standing at the bar, causing confusion to swirl through me. I already figured Jess knows what has Logan wound so tight, but hearing Logan confirm it has me moving towards her. “Ask her what I said to her,” Logan shouts after me.
“I will.” I yell over my shoulder. “Maybe she’ll be less cryptic.”
As I walk to the bar, however, Logan’s words slip from my mind. Some guy is standing next to Jess, and I can see he’s trying to flirt with her while she waits for the barmaid’s attention. When he touches her shoulder, she moves away and says something to him, causing his face to turn an angry red colour.
“Fucking whore,” he yells loudly. “You think you’re better than me? You’re just some washed up slut who couldn’t keep it in her pants.”
I’m in front of him in two steps, yanking his shirt collar so hard, he nearly falls over. “You don’t talk to women like that.”
He tries to push me away as Jess puts her hand on my arm. “It’s not worth it, please Adam. He’s not worth the trouble.”
“Fuck you, bitch,” he spits at her, and I’m in the process of drawing my fist back to meet his face with full face, when Jess screams for me to stop.
“Don’t, Adam. Think about your promotion. He’s nothing. Just a sad little man who can’t take rejection. I don’t care what he thinks and neither should you.”
I search her gaze for any sign she’s lying. When I note she seems to mean it, I let the man go, pushing him backwards and making him stumble. “Touch her or talk to her like that again and she won’t be able to stop me.”
The guy mumbles some tough-arse remark, but scurries away, leaving me with no doubt he understood me.
“Are you okay?” I ask Jess.
She nods. “I’m fine.”
She’s a little pale and her smile is shaky. That dickhead is lucky I can’t see him right now, or I’d be tempted to make him pay for upsetting her, promotion be damned.
I’ve just put the palm of my hand on her lower back when some girl who looks barely old enough to be in a pub on a Friday night appears in front of us. “Aren’t you Adam Granger from Mercury FM?”
Jess goes to move away from me, but I wrap my arm around her waist, anchoring her against my side so she can’t escape. She’s not going anywhere until I know she’s okay.
“Yeah, I’m Adam Granger.” Normally I’d be happy to be recognised, but tonight I have other things on my mind.
“And you’re Jessica Skyler,” the girl says, looking at Jess. “Hey, can I take a photo of the two of you?”
Neither of us have time to say anything before the girl whips her phone out from behind her back and takes the photo before walking away.
“Did that actually just happen?” I ask, turning to Jess.
She pulls away from me, looking concerned. “I believe it did.”
“We may have to go soon,” I say.
She looks over at where the girl is talking to some of her friends and pointing to us. “I’ll go. You stay. I don’t want you to cut your evening short because of what happened. I’m sorry.”
“Why are you apologising? You didn’t do anything wrong. And you’re not going anywhere. I’m just worried about her trying to take photos of us.”
“You should definitely be worried about being seen with me.”
The way she says it…the bitterness in her voice, it hooks through my chest, and things start sliding into place as she looks back to where Logan is sitting and then back at me.
“Jess, what did Logan say to you?” I ask. “He told me you know why he’s acting like a dick tonight.”
“He…warned me off you. Because, you know, I’m a ‘maneater’ and Australia’s washed up slutty model, and you’re a good person.”
The hurt is there in her eyes again when she looks at me, but this time it isn’t me who put it there – it’s Logan. It’s just as well I’m here standing with her, because if I was sitting at the table with him, I’d be tempted to get in his face about the things he’s saying to Jess. He might be my mate, but I can look after myself. I don’t need him to interfere on my behalf with Jess.
“When did Logan say that?”
She sighs. “The day he read the article that spilled my feelings for him. I told him I was moving in with you and he was worried about you.”
Right around the time she stopped eating. I knew Logan’s response had her messed up, but I didn’t realise just how much he’d hurt her until now.
“Jess, he’s just…”
“Trying to protect you?” She laughs, but it’s a bitter sound. “He doesn’t want me leading you on. It’s understandable really. Why shouldn’t he want to protect you from me? I mean, look at what everyone’s saying.” If she motions to the douchebag that hit on her before he insulted her I’m going to be even more pissed off than I am already.
“Come off it, Jess. I know that’s bullshit, and so do you. If you didn’t, you would never have…”
“What? Put myself on the line with you, only to have you tell me you’re not interested.”
“I never said I’m not interested,” I remind her. “You’re misinterpreting what I said, or have you forgotten that I’m the one who kissed you? I said I think it’s safer for us to stay friends – that we probably wouldn’t work out.”
But what if I was wrong about that? The feelings between us – the friendship and the desire – they’re very real. Even though Logan warned her off, Jess still put herself on the line and said she wanted something to happen between us. That took guts, yet I shut her down. I shut her down because I was afraid of everything going wrong. I told myself I was trying to do the right thing by her and by us, and the right thing by our friends, but doing the right thing seems less important to me than it ever has.
Now, the thing that matters most to me is this stupid idea Logan has put in her head. I hate the idea of her walking out of here tonight without knowing just how much I really do care about her.
“Right,” she says, starting for the bar. “We should get those drinks.”
I take her arm and pull her back to me gently, so we’re facing each other. “Whatever Logan said, I’m not listening to it, Jess. I know you wouldn’t lead me on.”
“I wouldn’t even know how to lead you on, Adam. You see me better than I see myself. You see through me. You know when I’m being genuine and when I’m not, and it’s always been like that.” She shakes her head. “No one gets me like you do. No one gets to me like you do. I know I’m not supposed to want more. I know wanting you complicates things, but I still…” She holds my gaze. “I still want it. I want you.”
Despite the fact her voice is so soft at the end of her sentence, I hear every word perfectly. And even if I hadn’t heard it, what she wants is clear in her eyes. My heart is racing uncontrollably right now and I know I want it as much, if not more, than she does right now. The thought of being with her has lust coiling tightly in my belly, and I’m ready to act out every fantasy I’ve ever had about her since she moved in with me.
“We’ll talk more about this when we get home,” I tell her, the huskiness in my tone unmistakable.
Her green eyes are full of desire and hope, and I hope she knows what I’m saying. I want to pull her into my arms and kiss her – to seal our fate tonight, no matter how wrong it might be. As though she knows what I’m thinking, her lips part. Her eyes dilate. The temptation to lean in and kiss her is almost too much, but here isn’t the place, especially when the people here know who we are. I don’t want anyone taking photos of us kissing. I can’t, however, resist putting my arm around her waist.
“Later,” I tell her, hoping she knows what I mean. “Let’s have one last drink, say goodbye to everyone and head home.”
I ignore Logan’s look as we sit back down with my beer and Jess’s wine a few minutes later. He warned her off, but it’s clear to me he knows fuck all about her. I pull her chair as close as I can to mine and put my hand on her knee, revelling in the satiny feel of her skin and her soft gasp as I caress the inside of her knee lightly with my thumb. When I move my hand a little further up her thigh, she trembles and moans softly enough for just me to hear it, causing all the blood in my body to rush south.
Tonight is far from over. Having sex with Jess could be a giant mistake, and I might regret it later, but the thought we might regret sleeping together isn’t going to stop me anymore. I push away my beer away after only a few mouthfuls. I’m too wired to enjoy any more of it, and if I’m going to fuck everything up and take this dangerous step with Jess, I want to be sober enough to enjoy every second of it.
“Come on, Jess. Wake up.”
After gently shaking her, Jess takes her head off my shoulder and looks at me. Her eyes are sleepy and confused, but even so, she’s more beautiful than any woman I’ve laid eyes on. “Are we home?” she asks.
The longing and hope in her voice nearly undoes me, and I have to remind myself we’re in the back of the taxi with the meter running.
“Yeah, baby. We’re home.”
She starts gathering up her things, but when she takes her purse out of her bag and opens it, I put a hand out to stop her. “I’ve got it.”
I take my wallet out of my back pocket and put the bills in the driver’s hand. “Keep the change.”
“Thanks, mate. Have a good night.”
“Thank you,” Jess replies. “You, too.”
I chuckle at how polite she still is half asleep as I get out of the car. Having a good night was my intention, but Jess is wrecked. She only had three glasses of wine, but she’s clearly tired. I was planning to talk to her tonight. I wanted to make sure that the uncertainty she felt last time we had this conversation is gone. However, that conversation might have to wait until tomorrow. The erection I’ve had on and off since she walked into the pub throbs painfully in protest at the thought.
I might need a cold shower, or two, tonight.
Walking around to the other side of the car, I open the taxi door and take Jess’s hand, helping her out of the taxi. She stumbles a little and I put my hands on her hips, steadying her, reminding me of the moment in the kitchen when I kissed her. Maybe she’s thinking the same thing because she looks up at me and smiles.
“I’m sleepy,” she murmurs.
I smile. “Yeah.”
“I didn’t plan on that.”
“Come on, let’s get you to bed.”
“Bed sounds good, as long as you’re in it with me.”
I try and hold back my lustful groan, but I don’t stifle it well enough and her eyes turn a darker shade of green under the streetlight.
I’m only vaguely aware of the taxi taking off down the street.
“Are you going to take me to bed, Adam?”
“Is that what you want?” I manage to scrape out.
“I want you. I want you more than I’ve wanted any man before you.”
Those words hit me hard and my knees actually feel a little weak. I’m still holding onto her as she wraps her arms around my neck, stands on her toes and presses her lips against mine. It’s absolutely freezing outside and she has to be cold. We should go indoors, but the moment her lips touch mine, I can’t focus on anything other than the way she tastes – like wine, slightly sweet and drugging.
Her lips are soft on mine and full of promise. I stand there, taking everything she’s giving me and allowing her to take the lead. The moment she presses herself against me, however, I take over. One arm goes around her waist, while the other reaches down behind her knee, pulling it up and over my hip, so she’s open to me. I nearly lose it when I feel her damp heat through the front of my pants.
She moans and clings to me as I sweep my tongue across hers. She’s all I want right now. I can’t get enough of her – her taste, her scent, the soft mewling noise she makes as she pulls back and I kiss her jaw and her neck. Her hips gyrate against mine, working me up.
“Adam,” she whimpers as I slide my hand between her legs.
I can feel how wet she is and my cock won’t stop pulsating as I slip two fingers into her underwear and touch her there. She’s bare, I realise, completely smooth and waxed. She jerks as I circle her clit with my forefinger and middle finger. I wish I had my face between her legs so I could taste her.
“Yes, Adam, please.”
Her whole body is bowed tight as I continue to touch her. Her hands grab at my shoulders and her eyes are closed as I stroke her. I’ve never been so turned on in my life, and she hasn’t even touched me. She trembles in my arms, and I can’t tear my gaze away from her as she opens her eyes and cries out, reaching her peak. Her orgasm makes her so much hotter and wetter, and the ache I feel – the need to be with her right now – is like nothing I’ve experienced before. I don’t want to stop touching her.
“Jess, fuck.” She’s so tight and so wet when I slide two fingers inside her.
I move them around in a circle and in and out, until her body trembles and tightens again. “Adam, I think I’m going to come again.”
I know she is; I can feel it. She’s been contracting around my fingers on and off, and when I curl my fingers inside her and stroke her, I’m rewarded with her second orgasm. She tightens around my fingers, whispering my name in a way that has me dangerously close to coming.
We need to slow down, or I’m not even going to last until I’m inside her. I take my two fingers out of her underwear and suck on them.
Heaven. And even better than I imagined.
Jess looks at me with a mixture of shock, desire and pleasure in her eyes. She’s still panting and clinging to me as though I’m the only thing stopping her from falling to the ground.
I’m about to lean in and kiss her once more when a car speeds down the road, tooting its horn at us and reminding me of exactly where we’re standing – outside of our house, on the nature strip where anyone can see us. And it’s freezing. I run my hands up and down her bare arms a few times, feeling goosebumps spring up all over them before she shivers.
“You’re cold,” I grunt.
“I honestly hadn’t noticed until now.”
The impressed look she’s wearing makes me smile, and I’m glad she doesn’t seem too upset that we’re standing out on the street with her chilled to the bone. Still, I still feel like an absolute dick for not making sure we were inside first.
“Come on, let’s go in.”
I pick her handbag up off the ground, where it must have fallen at some stage, and, keeping my arm around her waist, I head for our front door. I fumble around, trying to pull my keys out of the pocket of my jeans – no easy feat with my erection making my pants too tight and cutting off the blood supply to my brain.
“Allow me,” she says, putting her back against the front door so she can face me and reach into my pocket to dig around for my keys.
I’m about to remind her that she’d have a much easier job of reaching into handbag her handbag to let us in with her keys when she runs her other hand over me through the front of my pants. My cock leaps against her hand. She’s going to kill me with lust before I’m even inside her, I swear.
“Jess,” I warn, seeing mischief dancing in her eyes and the small smirk on her face. “We have to get inside.”
“I’m helping,” she assures me as she undoes my belt with both hands easily, before unbuttoning the top of my jeans and carefully unzipping me.
The breath slams out of my chest and I moan long, hard and deep as she reaches into my boxers and wraps her hand around me.
“How is that going to help?” I groan.
I’m shocked when she holds up her other hand, my keys dangling from her fingers. Her grin is enormous. “Just had to loosen your pants a little bit.”
There is nothing I can say in response. Nothing at all. “Nice,” I grumble.
I expect her to turn around and let us in, but the hand she still has in my boxers is moving up and down the length of me, bringing me dangerously close to the edge again.
“Jess,” I say, spreading my legs and trying to block the orgasm I can feel building at the base of my spine.
I place my palms flat on the front door, caging her in. “You’re trying to kill me.”
Her hand slides up and down the length of me again before she slides her thumb over the tip. Then she brings that same thumb to her mouth and sucks on it as though she wishes she was sucking on something else.
“You taste so good,” she purrs. “I want more.”
My heart nearly breaks free of my ribcage. If I wasn’t standing with my hands braced against the door, I’d probably be on the floor right now, my legs feel so weak. I rip one of my hands off the door and grab the base of my dick, squeezing it, desperately trying to stop the impending orgasm from breaking forth and ruining this.
Her soft laugh is just the distraction I need. Her smile is absolutely wicked, and I realise I’ve never seen this side of her before. I’m used to seeing her polite, reserved, cool, vulnerable and sensitive. But the woman in front of me isn’t any of those things. She’s completely in control and confident in her ability to bring me to my knees. And why wouldn’t she be? This is her thing, she’s in her element. She’s one of the most beautiful women in the country and she’s used to making grown men weep. In more ways than one.
I’ve had close to a hundred women in my bed over the years and none of them left dissatisfied, but this woman is capable of giving me performance anxiety and turning me into a premature ejaculator. I’ve never wanted to please anyone more than I want to please her. I want to mean something to her.
As she looks up at me, the smile slipping off her face and vulnerability creeping into her expression, however, I realise I already do mean something. I get to her – she told me that earlier. Just like she told me she wants me more than any man before me. She’s mine for tonight and I’m not going to let her forget me or put me in the same boat as any of the men who have been with her before me.
My eyes never leave hers as I zip myself back up. “You want to play, Jess? We’ll play.”
I take both her hands in one of mine and lift them above her head, pinning them there against the door while I wrap my other arm around her waist and lift her.
“What are we playing?” she whispers as she brings her legs up and wraps them around my waist, pressing against me.
“First one to come loses.”
The side of her mouth turns up at the corner. “I don’t think you can’t win this one, Adam.”
“Want to bet?”
Before she can answer, I slam my mouth on top of hers, kissing her until she’s breathless and panting. I thrust my erection against her, fucking her through our clothes, against the door. When she moans into my mouth, I know I’ve got this. Giving her a night she’ll never forget is enough incentive to push everything else from my head. I know how to please a woman, and tonight Jess is going to discover she’s not the only one capable of bringing a lover to their knees.