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Authors: Sara Daniel

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BOOK: Haley's Man
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The
intensity of his gaze unnerved her. Scared to analyze what it meant, she
wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her mouth to his. Her lips tingled
against his warm, moist flesh. She swiped her tongue out. He accept her advance
but didn’t reciprocate.

A
low moan quavered from his throat. Whatever he had been thinking, he wanted her
too, even though he still didn’t give her the touch she craved.

She
scraped her teeth lightly over his lips, then slid one hand up the back of his
head, bringing her fingers through his adorable ringlets. She’d dreamed so many
times of running her hands through his hair and pressing her body against his.
Finally, she had her chance. Except in her dreams, he’d responded and encouraged
her.

Oh,
on one level his response was tangible. His stiff cock throbbed through his
pants against her pelvis. But just because he wasn’t dead below the belt didn’t
mean he
wanted
her. Reluctantly, she released his luscious mouth and
dropped her hand from his hair.

“I
have to tell you something,” he said.

Oh
hell, she hadn’t checked to see if he was in a relationship. Any minute some
sweet, mild-mannered girl was going to enter the kitchen and go ape shit over
Haley seducing her man. “Did you get married while you were in China? Do you
have a girlfriend?”

“No,
but I—” His gaze skittered away. “Like you, I made plans.”

“Do
your plans have to stop us from making out right now?” Now that the crazy
girlfriend threat had been eliminated, her body ached and her heart thudded,
fearing that once they broke apart, she’d never get another chance to hold him
again.

He
hesitated. “No.”

“Good.
Then I don’t want to know about them.” She dove at his mouth, thrusting her
tongue between his straight, sharp teeth. This time he met her stroke for
stroke. She nearly sagged with relief at the proof she wasn’t throwing herself
at him only to be rejected.

Good
God, the man could kiss. She couldn’t believe she’d known him so long without
experiencing the sensual pleasure of his mouth. Each caress of his tongue made her
dizzy with need.

One
hand slid up her thigh until he was squeezing her bare ass. Her pussy
contracted, and she shifted her hips, desperate for his fingers to sink inside her
slippery heat of molten desire.

“So,
do you always go commando under your sexy little skirt?” Seth asked against her
lips.

Commando.
No underwear. Shit.

Haley
pushed him away until his body no longer touched hers, biting back a whimper as
his hand released her ass. “Listen, I need to do something. I’ll be right
back.”

She’d
run downstairs, tell whoever that she’d changed her mind and didn’t want his
fantasy orgasm anymore. Then she’d let Seth touch her anywhere he wanted. Assuming
he was at least half as eager as she was, she’d take him right here on the
kitchen counter. Then she’d invite him back to her place.

“That’s
right—your plans.” Disappointment filled his eyes, followed by resignation. “We
can meet up later.”

“This
won’t take long. I swear,” she insisted, panicking at the thought of losing him.
She was beyond sexually frustrated, but her feelings for Seth had always been
more than purely sexual. Hence, she needed to get rid of the other guy first. She
didn’t want Seth to reject her for screwing around before she had a chance to
prove he could trust her.

“Take
as long as you need,” he said tonelessly. “Don’t rush on my account. I have
plans too.”

Haley
grabbed his face between her palms and kissed him hard again. “Don’t leave
tonight without coming to see me.”

This
time a spark flared in his eyes. “Believe me, I won’t.”

His
assurance was the best she could hope for at the moment. She grabbed her bag of
martini ingredients and ran from the kitchen, down the stairs to the basement.

“Hey,
my favorite bartender’s here. About time. Game’s already half over.” Charlie
gave her a platonic hug as he walked by, snagging a piece of pizza from the
boxes Gina was opening.

“Who’s
winning?” Haley asked. She skirted around the big screen TV to the bar, keeping
a lookout for anyone who appeared to know intimate details about her sex life. Everyone
lounging on the leather couches was part of the usual crowd who cared more
about the intimate details of the shot clock than the urgency vibrating through
her body.

“We
are, but only by two points. What’s your drink specialty tonight? I hope it’s
not a girlie one again,” Bob said, a beer in the hand he’d draped over Lola’s
shoulder.

“Chocolate
martinis, one hundred percent girlie drink.” She forced a laugh to cover her
frustration. She didn’t want to keep Seth waiting upstairs. Where was
Haley’s
Man
? Every guy in sight fell under the label of friend or boyfriend of a
friend. No one was orgasm material.

She
walked around the bar and set her bag on the counter, squinting through the
sliding glass door to the outside. The bright lights inside reflected the basement
room back at her like a mirror, but she had no reason to believe he’d be
waiting outside. She hadn’t shared that private dream. Seth was the only man
who could fulfill it, making it complete separate from her
When Harry Met
Sally
fantasy.

“Chocolate
martinis?” Lola disentangled herself from Bob and jumped to her feet.

Haley
held up a hand to temper her friend’s eagerness. “It’ll be a minute. I left the
half-and-half upstairs.” More importantly, she’d left Seth there too, still
breathing heavily, waiting for her.

“Hurry.
I’ve been waiting since the pre-game show for you to get here, so I can drink
something besides god-awful beer and Scotch,” Lola complained, flopping back on
the couch.

Had
Haley’s Man
been here since the start of the game too, and he’d given up
and left? That would save her the trouble of explaining she was no longer
interested.

Disappointment
sliced through her. Not interested wasn’t precisely accurate. She’d needed months
to work up the nerve to post her obsession. She didn’t want to give it up, but
being forced to choose between it and Seth, her desire for Seth overrode everything
else.

She’d
deal with the broken fantasy later. The no-show of
Haley’s Man
left her free
to return to Seth. She dashed up the stairs, then slowed her pace. Trying not
to appear as desperate as she felt, she sashayed into the kitchen. “Seth? Seth,
I’m back.”

She
turned in a slow circle, taking in the white cabinets and stainless steel
appliances. The refrigerator was closed, and her footsteps echoed in the empty
room. She’d let Seth out of her sight, and now she was alone. What if she
didn’t run into him again for a year or more?

Don’t
panic.
Just because he’d left the room didn’t mean he’d abandoned her.
He probably was more prudent than to engage in sex in other people’s kitchens
when anyone could walk in on them. Such activity wasn’t exactly the norm for
her either.

Maybe
he was waiting in a more private location. Gina and Charlie’s guest bedroom
would be ideal. She sauntered along the hardwood hallway, allowing the click of
her high-heeled shoes to serve the notice she was joining him. But the bedroom was
empty, along with every other room on this floor.

Her
throat swelled as she returned to the kitchen.

Footsteps
greeted her, easing the pressure. Thank goodness. He hadn’t abandoned her after
all. She hadn’t thrown away her one chance with Seth.

“Are
you still looking for the half-and-half? I was sure I had a full carton.” The female
voice dashed her hopes, returning the lump to her throat. Gina had joined her,
not Seth.

“Do
you know where Seth went? He was here when I first came in, and now I can’t
find him.” Haley willed herself not to cry. Gina knew about her crush, of
course, but wouldn’t understand why his absence left her on the verge of tears.
Haley didn’t want to explain.

“I
thought I heard the front door open,” Gina said. “Maybe he went out for a smoke,
or he left.”

Haley
tried to swallow but couldn’t. Seth hadn’t smoked before. She’d given his mouth
a thorough exam minutes ago and knew without a doubt he hadn’t picked up the
habit. He’d also never been as sports crazy as the rest of the guys watching the
basketball game.

He’d
told her he had other plans. They were obviously more important than waiting
for her. Why shouldn’t he put them first? She’d given him every indication that
hers came before him. She groaned in frustration.

Gina
opened the fridge and took out the half-and-half. “Bummer. I thought tonight would
finally be your shot to get together. Come on. You need some chocolate martinis
to forget him.”

Haley
had yet to find a drink capable of accomplishing that goal, but she allowed
Gina to lead her downstairs.

 

Chapter 3

 

Haley
left Gina on a barstool while she continued around the counter, tears blurring her
vision. She could easily get Seth’s cell number or send him a message through
social media. Just because he’d left didn’t mean he’d walked out of her life
forever.

But
for tonight he was gone. He’d chosen his “plans” over her because she’d turned
him off, first by throwing herself at him and then by running away to chase
after someone else. She dug her nails into the half-and-half carton.

“Don’t
even think about putting that in the mini-fridge,” Lola ordered, nodding at the
half-and-half, as she hopped on the barstool next to Gina. “I’m dying to have
something that’ll get the taste of Scotch out of my mouth.”

Haley
busied herself with taking the martini glasses from the cabinet behind her.
Then she returned to the counter and began pulling the rest of the ingredients
out of her bag.

As
she lined the chocolate liqueur and crème de cacao on the counter, a feather-light
touch skimmed the ankle strap of her black high-heeled open-toed sandal. She jerked,
barely stifling a scream as she glanced down. A light-skinned male hand covered
her foot and then circled her ankle. She lifted her gaze quickly before she saw
more of him.

The
man she’d connected with online had arrived. She had no idea if he’d been waiting
under the bar when she came down earlier. She hadn’t attempted to play hide-and-seek.
The bar was only open under the counter on her side, wood paneling blocking the
view from the outside.

She
could look him straight in the eye and tell him the fantasy was off. That’s
what she’d planned to say when she’d thought Seth would wait for her.

But
if Seth had left because of her games or because he remembered what an
obnoxious loud-mouth she could be, it hardly mattered if she tried to contact
him later. He wouldn’t want to involve himself with her. She’d known for years he
didn’t go for her type of woman.

The
situation now was essentially no different than when she’d opened the online
chat. This second-best fantasy was once again the only one she had a chance of
turning into a reality.

The
faceless man’s fingers shifted above her ankle strap. He planned to give her the
no-strings-attached orgasm in front of her friends that she craved. How could the
prospect of extreme sexual satisfaction fill her with disappointment?

Because
she wanted Seth more. She hissed her frustration, remembering how he’d
plundered her mouth, his fingertips digging into her ass cheek. He wouldn’t
have needed to expend much effort to make her come. She’d been over halfway there
when they stopped.

“Are
you okay?” Gina asked in concern.

“Oh,
yeah, just anticipating how great this is going to be.” She forced a smile,
hoping her friends wouldn’t notice its false brightness. She’d spent a lot of
time imagining how sexy and thrilling the encounter would be. The core of her
fantasy was that she wouldn’t be faking it. So far, the only part she didn’t
have to fake was tears.

“Did
you hear Seth is back?” Lola asked.

Her
body tensed, and the caressing fingers stuttered against her calf. Apparently,
Haley’s
Man
could feel her reaction.

“I
saw him briefly, but Gina said he left. He didn’t come down here, did he?”
Haley tried to make her voice casual. If he was still around, she’d put an end
to her mystery lover’s advances.

Lola
shook her head. “Not since Charlie sent him upstairs for more Scotch. I don’t
know why they didn’t stick to the beer in the mini-fridge.”

The
long, smooth hands resumed caressing. As he grazed her knees, Haley resigned
herself that
Haley’s Man
was her only option for tonight—an option she
not only wanted but had sought out. Thankfully, he was allowing her to acclimate
to his touch instead of diving straight under her skirt.

She
twisted the lid on the Godiva liqueur and then reached behind her for the vodka
bottle. Her skirt caught a breeze as the air circulation kicked on. She quickly
smoothed the fabric over her bare ass.

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