Authors: Ava Delany
A Soldier’s Woman
by Ava Delany
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or
persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
A Soldier’s Woman
Copyright© 2011 Ava Delany
Cover Artist: Victoria Miller
Editor: Spencer Freeman
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in reviews.
To my fans, old and new. Thanks for reading. You’re the best.
To my editor, Spencer Freeman. Thanks for helping me polish my story
Janelle stood in the corner of the dark room, watching Ron talk and laugh with his friends. He pushed a thick chunk of black hair from his eyes, and punched his friend in the arm. His eyes twinkled, and her heart fluttered.
Though this was her first time in the house he shared with his older brother, she’d watched him this way—from a darkened corner—for most of their high school years. Why would the most popular boy in school have any interest in a chubby girl who spent her days with her head down or her nose in a book, too scared to talk to any of the boys?
“Janelle, are you gonna spend the whole time in the corner?” Debbie took her hand and tugged her toward the dance floor. “This is the last party before everyone goes their separate ways.”
Hesitant, Janelle shuffled along behind her friend.
“Look, we’ve been in college for two years now, and college is about experimenting. Plus, this is the last time all our old high school gang will be able to get together. When the boys go off to the navy, they won’t be back for a while.”
. Janelle’s gaze moved back to where Ron stood.
A small group sat in one corner, a bottle in the center of their circle. Janelle dug her heels into the carpet as Debbie tugged, then pulled, then yanked her toward the others.
“Come on. You’re never going to live unless you let yourself.” Debbie faced her, her bright eyes open wide. “You’ve got to let go or you’ll dry up inside.”
Janelle’s gaze flitted toward the group. Some of the popular kids from her old school sat there. She still couldn’t believe she’d let Debbie talk her into coming to this party.
“They say your cooch dries up if you don’t use it by the time you’re twenty-one.” Debbie lifted her eyebrow and smirked. “We’re all going to be hitting that mark this year, and you don’t want to be the only one with a dry and unusable cooch, do you?”
Debbie’s brown hair bobbed left and right as she leaned forward to put her weight into tugging Janelle with her. Janelle let herself be pulled again toward the circle. Her heart beat faster as her mind inexorably filled with images of what would happen if the bottle landed on her.
The spinning bottle slowed to a stop and pointed at Heather, a tan-skinned girl she’d always admired. A blond boy whose name she didn’t know leaned across the top of the bottle, and the girl met him in the middle. When his lips touched hers, she moaned, letting him grasp her bottom lip between his teeth.
Daniel, a member of the group she hadn’t seen since he’d gone off to an out-of-state college, leaned against the wall just outside the circle. “I think these two might need a room.”
Then group laughed as the blond released Heather and sat back again, shaking his head and letting out a long breath.
“I think you got him, Heather.” Daniel smirked, crossing his arms.
Heather smirked and wiggled an eyebrow, then grasped the bottle. She placed it on the tile floor, and turned to face Debbie as she once again yanked Janelle toward the circle. Without a word, the group parted to let her and Debbie sit.
Heather’s gaze shifted toward the other side of the circle. Janelle glanced up. Ron stood there, staring toward Debbie and her. Had he come here because of her best friend? Did he like Debbie? She bit her lip. Of course he did. All boys liked Debbie. She was tall, almost too thin, and her large eyes made her look like an adorable pixie—flighty and mischievous, both of which were descriptions that fit her well. She’d always thought her friend was pretty special, however that didn’t stop the healthy dose of green that shot through her veins.
The group shifted, and Ron hunkered down, squatting with his elbows on his knees, staring at… Was he staring at her? It seemed like he might be; but then again, Debbie sat right behind her from his vantage point. She averted her eyes, deliberately locking them on the bottle the girl finally let loose. It spun and spun, wobbling as it slowed.
Her sensitive skin tingled at his continued stare and Janelle feared her flaming cheeks would melt right off. When the bottle landed on her, her stomach dropped to the floor.
“Two girls.” The blond boy laughed and pointed at Janelle. “That means you have to go into the closet with the next boy the bottle lands on and spend fifteen minutes alone in the dark.” He drew his words out in a ghostly wail.
A thick lump closed her throat completely, and she swallowed hard to get past it. Her stomach, still on the floor, churned. Her hands quivering, Janelle took the bottle and gave it a spin, hoping it would land on a girl. Perhaps then
would have to be the one shoved into the closet with a boy.
She wrapped her hands around her stomach and wondered how long before she could excuse herself. Maybe she could even do it before the bottle stopped, claim she had to go to the restroom and then run for the door.
The bottle spun in slow motion. She blinked and gulped as the bottle whirled past the blond, slowed near a redhead, and stopped—pointing directly at Ron.
Her pulse pounding in her throat, she fell back on her palms. She tried to put distance between them, hoping it would translate into some small measure of emotional distance from what her heart really wanted but would never have. Glancing up through the muss of hair that fell over her eyes, Janelle bit her lip.
“Oooh. Into the closet,” the redhead chanted.
“Into the closet.” The others shouted with him, and Debbie nudged her shoulder, joining in.
Janelle glanced at Debbie, then back at Ron, who came towering toward her. His wide shoulders and dark looks made her think of an Arabic sheik. For an instant, she imagined him throwing her over his shoulder, hauling her back to his pillowed bed, and making passionate love to her in its soft confines. But this was reality, not fantasy.
He extended his hand and she took it, pressing to her feet without putting much weight on him. She didn’t want to make her weight any more obvious than it needed to be; though just the touch of his fingers made her feel lighter than air. Lighter than the clouds.
She glided on those clouds to the closet, the taunting chants of the crowd nearly inaudible. In this moment, only the strength of his fingers and the intensity of his gaze existed.
When she crossed the threshold she nearly turned and bolted back out. What if something happened in this room? What if it didn’t?
The shadowy room—brightened only by a small nightlight—terrified and excited her. What would she do? What could she do? He wouldn’t want to touch her… Wouldn’t even want to look at her. Why would he? The door closed behind them and laughter flooded from the crack at the base.
She turned to face him, and her breath hitched. He smelled as good as he looked, and even in the dim light, his bright blue eyes sparkled.
Janelle opened her mouth, but it took a moment before the words would move past her quivering lips. “We can just wait in here for a few minutes, then go out again. We don’t have to do anything.”
He smiled, raising an eyebrow.
She took a shaky breath, lifting her chin a notch to get the air past the hitch in her throat.
“And why wouldn’t we?” He stepped into her.
She stepped back. The clothes hangers pressed into her skin. A few fell to the floor. Her heart thundered, and a storm of nerves made her shake.
“I know you don’t…you didn’t want to… Didn’t you want to come in here with Debbie?”
He shook his head, still smiling. His gaze smoldered and he took another step. He grabbed her waist and jerked her to him. She felt like her insides would explode. Like she might laugh and cry all at once.
She prayed silently that this wouldn’t be a
moment for her. He lowered his head toward hers. If she kissed him, as she desperately wanted to, she would die if he laughed or the door ripped open so everyone could laugh at her. His mouth hovered over hers, not quite touching yet. She couldn’t handle the humiliation.
His lips took possession of hers, soft yet hard, gentle yet commanding. Thoughts lost, she melted into him, surrounding herself with his warmth.
His tongue prodded at her lips, and she opened for him. Her body did the same, wetting from the pressure of his muscular physique. She slid her hands over his arms and up his neck.
His fingers slipped beneath her shirt, onto the skin of her stomach. The sensitive, unexplored flesh shuddered and her mind screamed, taking her out of the sensual moment and thrusting her into panic. He would feel the fat. Would be disgusted by her less-than-perfect body. Then he would leave the room and make jokes about her with his friends.
She jumped back, knocking the rest of the hangers off the rod behind her.
“What is it?” He lowered his head, trying to meet her gaze. “What’s wrong?”
Unable to speak, she kept her head down and shook her head.
“Then come here, sexy.” He grabbed her jean loop, drawing her to him.
His mouth danced over hers again, inspiring heady feelings of giddiness.
Does he really think I’m sexy?
He pressed against her, and the hardness of his erection told her that he really did find her sexually attractive. Her mind numbed for a moment, then everything inside her squealed.
He thinks I’m sexy!
The knowledge gave her power she hadn’t known existed. She rubbed her hips against the rigid shaft in his jeans. He groaned and deepened their kiss. Meeting the thrusts of his tongue with her own, she allowed him to lift her shirt, then broke off from his mouth so he could tug it over her head.
She gripped his hair tight in her hands. He winced then chuckled as she drew his mouth back toward hers.
“Feisty, aren’t you?” He met her passion, kiss for kiss, touch for touch.
He would soon see just how feisty she could be. Still holding his hair, she pulled back from the kiss and brought his head down to her neck so his lips could play over the hollow in her throat. Tonight she would do everything she’d always wanted to do with him, embrace the pleasure he would surely give, and regret none of it. He found her attractive, and that was all that mattered in this unbelievable moment.
His hands circled her waist, drawing her into his hungry mouth, crushing her to him so hard that she bent back from the force of it. Her body tingled, filled with foreign need.
Suddenly, the world filled with light. Blinding rays split the dark of the small closet, and she jumped out of Ron’s arms.
“Damn!” someone hollered from the room beyond.
“These two were ready to get it on in there,” someone else said. “Her shirt’s off.”
Janelle’s eyes stung, and she groped for her shirt. When her hands found the cotton material, she grabbed it, pushed past Ron, and ran, hoping to avoid the eyes of the laughing onlookers.
“Janelle.” Debbie called after her, but she didn’t stop. Couldn’t stop. “Janelle!” She turned the corner to the hallway and leaned against the wall. Her breath coming hard, she held her shirt to her chest. Why hadn’t she just said ‘no thanks’ when Debbie insisted she join the game? Or when she pressured her come to the party in the first place? She’d known it was a bad idea. Why had she been so stupid?
Janelle still heard the laughter emanating from the next room. They were teasing Ron for going in there with her. They had to be.
But he was hard… How could he not find you hot if he was hard?
The voice in her head put in its two cents.
She pressed her hands into her face. The shirt material still smelled like him. She moaned and knocked her head back against the wall.
Debbie turned the corner, rushing a step past her, then stopped. Loud voices rose in the next room, but Janelle couldn’t make one out from the next. Debbie grabbed her arms and pulled her toward an open door at the end of the hall. The room held a clean, well-made bed with a fuzzy comforter thrown across the bottom of it. Basketball and football trophies stood on a shelf on the far wall.
“I’m sorry, Janelle. I never would have let them open the door if I’d realized you two were… I thought you would need rescuing, so I told them we should peek.” Debbie pushed her through the doorway, and numbly, she went.
“I got this,” a deep, masculine voice spoke from behind Debbie.
Janelle glanced over her shoulder toward the hallway, but her tall friend blocked her view of its owner.
“Okay.” Debbie turned back toward Janelle, her wide eyes and gape-mouthed grin was enough to tell her it was. It couldn’t be…
Her friend stepped back into the hallway, sidling past…
Janelle’s jaw dropped. Not as her friend’s had, into an attractive grin. Janelle imagined she looked something akin to a fish gasping for air. She eventually forced her mouth closed, but it took a moment.
He leaned against the doorjamb. His muscular chest flexed and released beneath his t-shirt. The small twitch was all that shone through the casualness of his posture to show his…what? Anger? Could he be angry? He reached out and tucked her hair behind her ear, and her entire body tensed at the contact.
“Sorry about those guys. They thought they were being funny.” His fingers pushed into her hair, his palm holding her head firmly, and he drew her to him. “Don’t worry though, I sent them away.”
She smiled, wanting to laugh from the raw nerves that buzzed through her. He’d defended her? Her chest, on the verge of both exploding and caving-in at the same time, seized up on her. Perhaps he did like her after all.
Her mouth, now inches from his, worked silently. She couldn’t seem to form words or coherent thoughts. All she could do was feel him—the closeness of his body, the grip of his fingers, the pressure of his lips.
The desperate need to feel her body against his made her quiver. She locked her arms around him. He came in hard, crushing her mouth beneath his. She yanked at his shoulders, tugging him toward the bed.
Entwined in the kiss, they walked backward together toward the bed. Her skin warmed with every touch. She locked her hands in his hair, trying to bring him into her with the sheer force of will. She wanted to make the moment last forever.
She turned with him in her arms until his back was to the mattress, then she shoved. They crumbled together in a heap on the bed.
His mouth broke from hers. “You are so hot.” He kissed her neck as he cupped her breasts through the lacy fabric of her bra. Her nipples hardened, and electric shocks of pleasure shot through her.
“You’re sexy as hell, and you take what you want,” he growled. “I like that.”
He grabbed her thighs and rolled her over so quickly, she squeaked. He settled himself between her legs, his length against hers. Empowered by his words, his touch, and the need growing deep inside her, she leaned up, and bit at his thick lower lip.
She wanted to tell him how much she wanted him. Tell him to fuck her—to make her feel like a woman for the first time in her life. Instead, she wrapped her thighs around him, unable to bring herself to speak, afraid to break the spell.
Her fingers fumbled with his shirt, popping a button as he jerked her bra straps over her shoulders and exposed her breasts. Her nipples hardened in the cold air, and she took a hissing breath through clenched teeth. His mouth captured the hard nub, and nipped at the tip. Her body trembling, panties drenched, and insides churning at the speed of light, she met his grinding motions with her own.
They battled. He bit her shoulder. She clawed his back. She fumbled with the zipper on his jeans.