Authors: Katie Allen
Tags: #Contemporary Romance
Breaking the Silence
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Breaking the Silence Copyright © 2008 Katie Allen
Edited by Kelli Kwiatkowski.
Photography and cover art by Les Byerley.
Electronic book Publication December 2008
The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.
With the exception of quotes used in reviews, 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.
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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 author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Beanee Weenees: Stokely-Van Camp, Inc.
Boy Scout: The National Boy Scouts of America Foundation
: Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Coke: Coca-Cola Company
Homer Simpson: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Hooters: HI Limited Partnership Hooters Enterprises, LLC
Pez: Patrafico AG Corporation
Popsicle: Unilever Supply Chain, Inc.
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
: Scout Productions, Inc.
Skittles: Mars, Inc.
Sleeping Beauty: Disney Enterprises, Inc.
: CBS Studios, Inc.
The Gap: Gap (Apparel), Inc.
: Sterling/McFadden Partnership
Wonder Woman: DC Comics, Inc.
Yosemite Sam: Time Warner Entertainment Company, LP
William Jackson started out of his programming haze, his neck and shoulders tight from hunching over the computer. He wasn’t sure what had broken his concentration since the house was silent. Automatically, he glanced at the clock at the bottom of his computer screen.
, he thought, anticipation making his stomach jump.
“Idiot,” he muttered, forcing himself to focus on the line of code he had just written. It was useless. After a few minutes, he gave up. “Just pathetic.”
Pushing his chair back, he unfolded his body, reaching his arms toward the ceiling to pop the hours of sitting from his spine. He liked how it felt, to stretch the crisscrossing fibers of muscle, to feel the resistant pull of his thick chest and hard, veined biceps. With a last roll of his neck, Will dropped his arms and moved out of the study and up the stairs, two at a time, to his bedroom.
Standing at the window and glancing down at his snow-blanketed backyard, Will felt a warm twist of possession. He could not believe that he had been living here for eight months. It felt so much longer, as if the house had absorbed him, making him an integral part of its structure. It had formed a spot for him, like the indentation in his couch where he always sat when he watched TV. He fit.
He had never had a place he thought of as an actual home before and sometimes it worried him…how settled he felt. His company was always moving him around the country—from Florida to Ohio to Colorado to, most recently, Minnesota, where he had found this odd little house. He realized that he didn’t want to be relocated again—ever. For the first time in his life, he had somewhere he wanted to stay.
And, Will admitted to himself, it was not just the house. It was also the path that bordered his backyard—and the woman who walked it almost every day. Although he pretended that he just happened to be at his bedroom window each late afternoon at the same time
walked by with her dog, he knew the truth. He liked seeing her, liked the way his heart sped up and nervous excitement made his stomach flutter. As embarrassing as it was to admit, Will knew he had a crush.
It was funny that the path had been the only thing he had disliked about his house when he first saw it, figuring that the walkers and bikers and cross-country skiers would invade his privacy, ruin his solitude. That very path now brought him the high point of his days.
Will leaned against the wall next to his bedroom window, watching the empty path, giving up any pretense of doing anything else except waiting for her.
“Which isn’t creepy at all,” he muttered, rolling his eyes. He’d always been solitary—not that he’d had much choice as a kid. After a while, it just became habit. This whole watching thing though…that was new. It worried him a little, although not enough to make him stop.
It wasn’t as if he was peeping through her windows at night while she undressed, he reasoned. Just the brief thought of watching her as she stripped off her clothes hardened his cock, pressing it urgently against the front of his sweatpants. Will ran an absent hand up its fleece-covered length, moving the soft fabric against his erection, his eyes still fixed to the path.
It was a mild day, warm and melting, and Will was fairly sure that the woman would show up. She hadn’t walked by the day before, however. When the light had disappeared and he had known for sure that she wasn’t coming, Will, feeling surly and hollow, had been left to prowl around his house for most of the night. He had been pissed at himself, disgusted that his mood had become dependant on the sight of a stranger.
He saw a flash of blue through the winter-stripped trees that guarded the path and he straightened, his hand leaving his cock almost guiltily, as if she could see him, know what he was doing as he watched her. He leaned forward, so close to the window that his breath left a cloudy spot on the glass, his palms pressed into the sill.
It was the woman—his woman. He saw the tall black dog walking in front of her, moving from side to side on the path with its head lowered, investigating scents in the melting snow. The woman had her coat unzipped, Will saw as she drew closer, and her hat and mittens were off. After the months of cold, there was something naked-looking about her bare hands and head.
She was striding along briskly and the breeze created by her movement swung the coat open, flashing the pink sweater underneath. Will could actually see her breasts bounce without having to wonder if it was just his imagination. His face burned as he stared at the movement, heat prickling under his skin, until he finally had to force his eyes off her chest.
Her hair was loose today and, without her hat, light brown strands brushed across her face when she turned her head. A bird took off in a mad flurry of wings and the woman’s eyes followed the movement, bringing her gaze close to the window where Will stood. He jumped back a step, feeling caught. After a moment, he couldn’t help but lean forward to watch her again.
She was greeting a passing runner, a man whose lean body was outlined in spandex, and Will could see her smile and say something that made the runner laugh. Will made a low sound, almost a growl. It was silly but he was jealous of the other man, that the guy could talk to her, could receive her smiling attention.
Will shook his head. It was crazy to feel possessive. She wasn’t his girlfriend or his lover or even his friend—she didn’t know
him. He was just a silent lurker, peeking out his windows like a crazy aunt hidden away in the attic.
Will watched her figure grow smaller until she disappeared around the bend in the path. He was hot and aching and lonely, left with only a throbbing cock and daydreams. He ended up as he almost always did after he watched her—in the shower to jerk his frustrations out.
One arm heated the wall tiles, his clenched fist popping the veins into obscene relief where his face pressed against the hard muscle of his forearm. His other hand pumped roughly up and down his cock, moving the skin with his grip. Will imagined that the woman was in the shower with him and that it wasn’t his rough, hairy hand around his erection but hers—small and delicate with soft skin, the naked hands that he had just seen.
Those hands would brush against his penis, tentative but curious, before closing around him in a gentle grip. She would sway forward, still holding his erection, and touch her lips to the head of his cock, the point of her tongue slipping out to paint him with saliva.
He imagined her mouth—such a fabulous mouth—wrapping around him, her tongue and cheeks closing on his cock with hot, wet suction. Will’s fist moved faster, harder, trying to create that mind-blowing friction of his dreams. She would take his erection in deeper, deeper, until she swallowed him whole, her mouth filled with him, throat muscles working on the very tip of his cock.
He wouldn’t be able to stand it anymore and would have to thrust, hard, pulling out against the dragging suction and shoving back in, filling her, fucking her mouth, and she would look up at him, her mouth stuffed full of his cock, and with her eyes she would tell him she loved this, loved being full of him, loved
Will exploded, his body jerked tight with his orgasm. As the spasms eased, he looked down at his fist wrapped around his cock and released it quickly. The daydream of the woman faded, this woman he was arranging his days around. Jerking off in the shower to thoughts of her, pretending that she loved him…for God’s sake, this woman he didn’t know. Fuck, he didn’t even know her name!
For weeks he’d been fixated on her, using dreams of her to make himself come into his own fist. He slid down the wall, welcoming the cold shock of the porcelain tiles and staring blindly through the clouded glass of the shower door. The water poured onto him, slipping over places that no woman had ever touched, as he closed his eyes and tilted his head back so that the water splattered his face. He bumped his head back against the tile, then again, harder, because that dull pain was better than thinking about his sorry, pathetic ass—his sorry, pathetic,
ass, who was dreaming of a stranger who didn’t even know that he existed.
Enough self-pity, enough jerking off in the shower alone, enough not knowing her name.
Tomorrow, when she walked by, he was going to leave the house and meet her. Or at least follow her.
No! No more creepy, stalker behavior. He was going to say hello and introduce himself like a normal person. At least…as normal as he could pretend to be.
Jenny Fitzgerald was not having a good day at work.
Usually she liked her job at the engineering firm—it was structured enough to appeal to her OCD side but different enough each day not to drive her insane with boredom. She liked the other engineers and drafters she worked with—except for Evan, who could be extraordinarily annoying at times. Jenny even liked her cubicle, as odd as that was. She liked the façade of privacy, her cozy cube walls covered with schedules of project deadlines, equipment specs, print-outs of funny e-mails and pictures of her niece, Faith, and her dog, Rosie—more of her dog, although she would never admit that to her sister.
In her cube, she could wallow in the illusion of aloneness but, when she needed the company of other people, she just had to stand up and peek over the top of the flimsy partition to find it. Christian was always delighted to go on and on and
about how his latest ex-boyfriend was
calling him twenty times a day, even though it was
Over the cubical wall on the other side of Jenny’s desk, Carrie could also be counted on for a chat, although ever since her first baby arrived six months ago it would almost definitely be a baby-related topic. Jenny tried, but conversations about little Riley made her eyes glaze over after five minutes. Riley was cute and sweet and all that other baby stuff, but motherhood had pushed Carrie into over-share land. Jenny had heard more about mucus plugs and baby acne and post-delivery sex in the past six months than she’d ever really wanted to know.
Today, though, everything was just a mess. She had her period, which always made her an emotional wreck, to the annoyance of her inner feminist. Jenny had burst into tears in her car on the way to work just because she heard a PSA on the radio about the local food bank.
A radio PSA, for God’s sake
, she thought in self-disgust. It wasn’t even a TV commercial with baby animals or anything. Nope, just a radio ad, but Jenny had enough hormones wreaking chaos in the emotional center of her brain that the mournful ad, accompanied by the sad
music, was enough to throw her over the edge into a flood of melodramatic tears.
She had arrived at the office cranky, blotchy and bloated, and it hadn’t even been 8:00 a.m. yet. The morning had continued on its downhill path with a vicious paper cut across the knuckle of her index finger. Jenny had gotten
while rolling up a newly finished project, which had been plotted out neatly on three-foot by four-foot plans—all eighty-six pages of it. Jenny had been tempted to just finish rolling the project, gore and all, but decided that having her blood smeared across the stacked edges of the plans was probably a violation of some health code or other and also,
, so the whole project had to be reprinted.
Her mouse-button finger wrapped awkwardly in a blood-dotted tissue, Jenny grimly forged back into her latest project, a plumbing system that she was designing for an apartment complex. It was due in two days and she was close to having it finished but the way things were going today, Jenny wouldn’t be surprised if her hard drive imploded.
“If you do, just take me with you,” she muttered.
A new e-mail popped into her inbox and she clicked on it reluctantly. E-mails almost always meant more work and this one had a monster-size attachment, which was definitely not a good sign.
She groaned as she read the e-mail—the architect in charge of the apartment complex project had just sent updated plans for the building Jenny was working on. She opened the attachment and glanced over the new layouts, clenching her jaw to hold back an irritated noise. Obviously she didn’t stifle it very well, since Christian’s shaggy blond head appeared over the cubicle wall.
“Did you just
?” he asked.
Jenny looked up at Christian and found it impossible to hold her frown. With his surfer-boy hair and brown eyes, he looked just like a Golden Retriever and had the personality to match. Okay, maybe the personality of a slightly bitchy Golden Retriever. He had a permanent, easygoing grin and a slight drawl from growing up in southern “Missour-ah”, as he called it, and was just all-around adorable.
“Oh the architects just switched all the bathrooms around. ‘Slight changes’ my ass.” Jenny was growling again. “I’m going to have to redo the entire system in two days.”
“So maybe this isn’t a good time…” Christian started to slink down behind the partition.
“What?” Jenny asked suspiciously. “Christian Miller—did you screw up your e-mail
Christian’s eyes reappeared above the wall, looking more puppy-like than ever through his floppy bangs. “I don’t know what I do to it, Jenny, I swear! It just happens.”
“You swore you were watching how I fixed it last time. And the time before that. And the time before
. I should make you call the I.T. guy.”
“Not that! Anything but that!” Christian clutched handfuls of his hair.