Authors: Rhyannon Byrd
Tags: #Romance, #Erotic
An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication
A Little Less Conversation
ISBN # 1-4199-0507-4
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
A Little Less Conversation Copyright© 2006 Rhyannon Byrd
Edited by Pamela Campbell.
Cover art by Syneca.
Electronic book Publication: January 2006
This book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the authors’ imagination and used fictitiously.
The following material contains graphic sexual content meant for mature readers.
has been rated E–roti
c by a minimum of three independent reviewers.
Ellora’s Cave Publishing offers three levels of Romantica™ reading entertainment: S (S-ensuous), E (E-rotic), and X (X-treme).
love scenes are explicit and leave nothing to the imagination.
love scenes are explicit, leave nothing to the imagination, and are high in volume per the overall word count. In addition, some E-rated titles might contain fantasy material that some readers find objectionable, such as bondage, submission, same sex encounters, forced seductions, and so forth. E-rated
titles are the most graphic titles we carry; it is common, for instance, for an author to use words such as “fucking”, “cock”, “pussy”, and such within their work of literature.
titles differ from E-rated titles only in plot premise and storyline
execution. Unlike E-rated titles, stories designated with the letter X tend to contain controversial subject matter not for the faint of heart.
A Little Less Conversation
This book is dedicated to Deborah Hopkins Smart: travel agent extraordinaire, Capricorn sister, first-class proofer, book signing buddy, and last but not least, one of the most amazing friends a girl could ever have!
One fateful trip to Nashville…and now you’re stuck with me forever. LOL. Many thanks for always being there for me, for never tiring of our chats and my sometimes bizarre questions, and for always making the perfect suggestions. I don’t know what I’d do without ya, Debs! I wish you bagel days in the office and a life overflowing with love and happiness, sweetie, because no one deserves it more than you!!!
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Porsche Boxster: Dy. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche Aktiengesellschaft
Porsche: Dr. Ing. h. c. f. Porsche Aktiengesellschaft Corporation
Marlboros: Philip Morris Inc.
Jose Cuervo: Tequila Cuervo La Rojena, S.A. De C. V. Corporation
Cirque du Soleil: The Dream Merchant Company Kft.
Corona: Cerveceria Modelo, S.A. de C.V. Corporation
Foster’s: Carlton and United Beverages Limited Australian Public Company
Heineken: Heineken Brouwerijen B.V. Private Limited Company
Diet Pepsi: Pepsico, Inc.
It irritated the hell out of Mark Logan that at the age of thirty-six, he’d been reduced to mooning over a pretty face from across a blasted street. But damn if it wasn’t true. Each day, for the past six months, the interest had grown like a verdant vine within the otherwise barren, disillusioned landscape of his heart. It’d been planted, and like a fledgling seed showered with the giving life of rain and sunshine, it had thrived.
It was sappy as shit, but there was no denying that he enjoyed the tight, hungry, kinda needy feeling the sight of her face put in the pit of his stomach. The kind of feeling he’d never thought to have there, twisting him into knots, and he was damned if he knew what to do about it. Normally, if there was a woman he wanted, he went after her with his intentions up front and with a brutal honesty. They’d share some mutually satisfying, physically intense, sweaty time between the sheets, and when the need was relieved, she’d be more than welcome to come in and share a beer at his bar, but nothing more. No commitment, no messy emotions…and no pretending that their mutual physical appetites were going to lead them into deeper, unknown territory that he’d never felt the urge to explore.
At first, it had just plain pissed him off that the sight of Melanie Green’s smiling face, deep dimples, and sparkling cinnamon-brown eyes had changed all that. He’d struggled against it, like a fish snared by the cold steel of the hook, until he’d finally given in. Now he just hungered…and ached…and god only knew it was pathetic, but he yearned. That empty hollow in his gut twisted with boyish eagerness for each glimpse and casual meeting in the small seaside town of Foggy Bottom Beach, and it wasn’t enough.
It scared the shit out of him, but Mark strongly suspected he needed a hell of a lot more—as in all of it, all of her, because this woman was different. Different from the women he’d known, and different in the way that she made him feel. When they met up again after a raging night of raw, hot, grinding sex—after wrecking the bed with wild, primitive fucking—Mark wanted to be sharing coffee with her over his breakfast table, not a beer and pretzels over the gleaming oak of his bar.
“Are you mooning over that little Mel again?” his older brother Cain snickered at his back, looking over Mark’s broad shoulder to catch a view of the glass fronted travel agency located directly across the street from
Mark’s on Main.
“I’m not mooning over her, you nosy shit.”
Cain arched a dark brow at the muttered words, and Mark watched from the corner of his eye as a hard grin spread across the even harder line of Cain’s mouth, teasing and intent. “Hey, whatever, bro. But I never pegged you as the miss-goody-two-shoes type.”
Mark rolled his head across the tight tension in his shoulders, but didn’t take his eyes off the laughing vision Melanie made as she chatted on the phone, slim fingers clicking away at her keyboard with lightning speed. “I’m not any type, you moron.”
“Hey, don’t let me go ruffling your feathers. Maybe I’m just trying to save you from some humiliating heartbreak. I mean—she’s lived here for half a year now, and in all that time, have you ever seen her out in the town with a man?”
“What the hell does that have to do with anything?” he practically growled, thankful that Melanie didn’t seem the casual dating type, since he’d have been sorely tempted to break any guy’s kneecaps if he so much as laid a finger on her. The only hands he wanted on her were his own, the only body drilling her through her mattress—
. Shit, it was like a virus that he couldn’t shake, this craving to get as deep into her as he could possibly get. Balls-deep and saturated in heaven, surrounded by Melanie Green, those luminous eyes shocked wide with physical awareness of him, lips swollen and bruised from his kisses, cheeks flushed and soft breasts quivering as he moved within her, cramming in every inch, riding her with all the pent-up hunger he’d carried since setting eyes on her.
One smile, and the need had slammed into him like a freight train.
And he hadn’t been thinking straight since. If he had, he’d have figured out a way to get around her shy, quiet nervousness with him and have her in his bed, under his hard, hungry body, keeping her there for…
, if she’d let him—and that was the problem. If she didn’t, he didn’t think he’d be able to take it.
“So she doesn’t do the whole casual sex thing,” he muttered, wiping the gleaming bar down with a towel before setting an ice-cold Heineken out for his brother. “So what? Maybe that’s one of the things I like about her.”
Cain snickered again as he moved around the far end of the hand-carved bar, then reached for his beer. “Huh. I think she’s just one of those women who doesn’t like men.”
“Maybe she just doesn’t like
,” Mark replied with a silky rasp, knowing Cain was trying to push his buttons.
“Yeah, and maybe she just likes pussy,” his brother laughed, settling his tall, powerfully muscled frame atop a swiveling bar stool. “I mean, hell, what’s not to like?”
He stopped restocking the wineglasses long enough to cut a piercing look at the man who had practically raised him, though only five years separated their ages. “And did you ever think it might be fun to have something to say to a woman after you’re through banging her?”
“Not unless I’m talking in my sleep,” Cain drawled, another sly smile curving his wide mouth, which crinkled the cynical corners of his sky blue eyes.
Mark shook his head with brotherly disgust. “You’re a pig.”
“So my last girlfriend said. You been talking to her?”
“Naw, Becky had the IQ of a cucumber,” Mark snorted, fighting a smile of his own before his gaze caught again on the delectable sight of Melanie Green. She was talking to a new client now, and the image had the muscles across the top of his back and neck going tight with more of that telltale tension he’d been trying to shake off. He didn’t like the fact that the client was a guy, from the looks of things probably in his late twenties, and had left a sleek little Boxster parked in front of the travel agency where she worked.
Cain waggled his brows, oblivious to the scene that had snagged Mark’s attention from across the street. “Yeah, well, you shoulda seen what Becky could do with a cucumber. Who needs conversation when a chick can suck-start a—”
Mark ripped his frustrated gaze away from Melanie and “Mr. Porsche” long enough to glare at his brother. “Why the hell do I even try talking to you?”
“Damned if I know. You’d think after all these years you’d have learned that I can’t be reformed.” Cain took a long swallow of his beer, then added, “And if you had any balls, you’d be over there trying to talk to her, before someone else snags her. A woman like that isn’t going to stay unattached forever, you know.”
Mark cut him a suspicious look. “I thought you didn’t even like her.”
“Naw, it’s that spitfire she works with who rubs me the wrong way, but Mel’s an angel,” Cain explained, pulling out his Marlboros and jerking the pack, before lifting it to his mouth to snag one of the dislodged cigarettes. He lit it and took a long drag, then grinned and said, “She just seems a little innocent for my tastes. Come to think of it, she seems a little too innocent for yours too, Marky boy.”
“That’s the problem,” Mark muttered, “and how many times do I have to remind you that you can’t smoke in here?”
Cain looked at the glowing cigarette pinched between his thumb and forefinger with quiet regret, then took another long, satisfying drag before dropping it into the empty beer bottle Mark held out to him. “You know, I figured it was that air of innocence surrounding her that has you grumping around here with your tail between your legs,” he laughed, downing another long swallow of his beer. “There’s only one thing to do, man.”
“Oh Christ,” Mark sighed, shaking his dark head while his lips twisted with wry humor at the thought of Cain Logan giving advice on women. The man was a walking, talking relationship disaster zone. “I don’t think I want to hear this.”
“Yeah you do,” Cain drawled with a smile. “Hell, someone has to look out for your ass, and there’s only one answer to your problem.”
“Yep. You’re just going to have to corrupt her, bro,” Cain announced with a wicked grin worthy of any arrogant, over-sexed lothario, his blue eyes shining with devilish humor within the tan, rugged landscape of his face. “Now stop being a puss and get your ass over there before some other stud steals her out from under you, and I’m stuck listening to your moaning for the rest of my life. If I can handle that group of she-men they’ve got me training down at the station, I think I can handle things around here for you tonight.”
Mark turned his head to look once more out the tinted front window of his bar, his narrowed eyes immediately finding Mel, still chatting away with the same suit-slick client. A sick feeling somersaulted in his stomach at the thought that she might even be making plans at that moment, agreeing to go out with the guy, gifting the smug bastard with her sweet smile. Mark wanted to kill him. But more than that, he finally accepted the fact that Cain was right.
“Well, at least half right,” he muttered to himself. If he didn’t make his move now, some other asshole was going to steal her away, and he’d have no one to blame but himself. God only knew he’d skirted the damn issue long enough, so fucking afraid of putting one foot wrong and screwing himself before he’d even started. But he couldn’t just set out to corrupt her, no matter how badly he wanted to. Christ, he wasn’t that much of an ass.
No, it wouldn’t be easy—hell, it’d probably kill him—but he was just going to have to bite the big one and choke on his lust until she was ready to deal with what one lover had referred to as his “often raw, rough-n-tumble needs in the sack”. And with the way he felt about Mel, he could only imagine how difficult it was going to be reining in those needs. To be honest, he wasn’t even sure he could do it. Melanie Green released something in him, something primal and dark, and when it was finally set free, he feared it’d be like that first escape of pressure on something bottled up too tight.
Raging. Powerful. Explosive.
If he hoped to make this work between them, he needed to keep his cock under control until he’d figured out a way to convince Melanie that he was for real, that despite his reputation, he was ready for something so much more fulfilling than a raunchy tumble. If he didn’t—if he went raging in like a bull and managed to seduce her right off—he knew there wasn’t a chance in hell he’d be able to control himself. He’d find himself riding her so hard it would blow both their minds, and end up scaring her off before he’d even had the chance to convince her he was looking for something more.
Damn, he couldn’t let himself screw it up like that.
need to make his move.
A terrible sexual tension tightened the long length of his body, muscles taut and poised for action, while his jaw hardened and his heart pounded like a son of a bitch. Mark took a slow, deep breath of wood polish and sea-scented air into his lungs, held it, and as he let it out, he said, “Thanks, man,” and tossed his register card at a smirking Cain, then headed for the door.
* * * * *
Melanie Green sighed a deep breath of relief when the shifty-eyed, cologne-drenched, overgrown prep boy of a client walked out the front door, and without any conscious thought, her gaze automatically tracked to
Mark’s on Main
directly across the street from her office. Instantly, her mouth went dry and her face went hot, a prickly sensation of breathless suspense zinging beneath her skin.
…Kyra,” Melanie hissed, trying to catch her best friend’s attention as the curvaceous coworker gossiped with her sister on the phone. “Hey, he’s looking over here again.”
The petite redhead sent her a wide-eyed look, and shot her a grin along with the thumbs-up sign, all without breaking her stride in the nonstop stream of fast-paced conversation as she filled her sister in on the latest jerk she’d dumped.
“That’s right,” Kyra sighed, glossed lips puckering into a scowl, “he was a total tool. He actually thought I wouldn’t mind that he’d been having phone sex with his ex-girlfriend in Michigan. I swear it’s guys like that who make me wish I was bi. I mean—every guy I’ve ever dated has turned out to be a creep. I must have been some kind of sadistic bitch in a past life to deserve this kind of karma crapfest year after year.”
In the next moment, Melanie found herself blinking hard, determined she was imagining Mark Logan walking out the front doors of his bar, and heading straight toward her across the cobblestone Main Street that ran down the center of the small town of Foggy Bottom Beach.
“Holy crap, I think he’s coming over here! Kyra Marie Morgan,” she growled, wheeling her chair back to Kyra’s desk as her thundering heart threatened to erupt from the confines of her chest. “Did you hear me?” she repeated, the panic in her voice coming through loud and clear even to her own ears. “I think he’s coming over here!”
Kyra sent her a startled “did aliens just land on our roof” look, her smoky green gaze cutting to the front window as she whistled softly under her breath. “Holy mother of Moses. Ang, I gotta go, hon. I’ll call you about Mom’s birthday tomorrow, ‘kay? Later.”
“What am I going to do?” Melanie groaned as Kyra hung up the phone. She rapidly fanned her face with one hand, wondering if her nachos from lunch were going to make another appearance as her tummy did this odd little flip and twist, reminding her of something she’d seen at Cirque du Soleil.