Authors: J. Sterling
“So, you forgive me?” In order to move on, I knew I needed to acknowledge that I had been wrong.
“Of course I forgive you. It might not always be easy, but I know it’s going to be worth it.” He sounded so damn confident.
“You’re always so sure of yourself.”
“I believe in us. But promise me something, going forward.”
“That you won’t shut me out. I will chase you every single time you run from me, but one of these days, you have to stop wanting to run. I want you to
to stop running.”
How was it that this man, so new to my life, seemed to know me so well?
“I want to stop running. I do. It’s just easier for me, but it’s not fair to you. I know I have to start thinking about your feelings now, too.”
“Yes, you do. I’m very sensitive in case you haven’t noticed.” He pursed his lips together and made a silly face.
“Oh, yeah,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Promise me that you won’t get tired of dealing with my shit?”
“I probably will,” he said with a yawn.
“Great,” I said, only half-joking.
He reached for me and pulled my head into his lap. “I might get tired of your shit, but you could always make it up to me with a blow job.”
“I heard those cure everything.” I stared up at his handsome face.
“Speaking of”—he wiggled his eyebrows—“tell me about that fantasy.”
I shot up from his lap and jumped to my feet. “How about I show you?” I teased as I started stripping off my clothes. Kicking off my heels, I took three more steps before letting my skirt fall to the floor. I stepped out of it, and took a few more steps as I unbuttoned my blouse, seductively, one button at a time. I dropped it in my bedroom, quickly followed by my bra.
Glancing behind me, I watched as Daniel picked up my discarded items before dropping them in one pile on my floor. I stepped out of my thong and turned on the shower.
“Please tell me this was worth getting in trouble over,” he said with a sly grin.
“I’ll let you know after the shower.” I moved inside and watched as he undressed, adding his clothes to mine on the floor.
Daniel opened the shower door and walked in. His hands encircled my waist, and he turned me to face him just like I had imagined. He leaned forward and kissed my shoulder before moving to my neck. “Did I do this?”
“Something like that,” I said before craning my neck to the side, giving him all of it.
“What about this? Did I do this?” he asked before moving down to my breasts.
Water ran down them and onto his lips.
I moaned in response as he pulled my nipple into his mouth and circled it with his tongue. His hand massaged my other breast, and he licked and sucked at me before switching sides.
Water drenched his face, and I leaned forward, licking it off his lips, before he disappeared again, burying his face in my other breast. As he tugged the nipple between his teeth, I pulled his hair, enjoying the brief shock waves going through my body. He wasted no time in dropping to his knees.
He looked up at me, his hazel eyes shining. “I bet this was part of the fantasy, wasn’t it?”
I sucked my bottom lip into my mouth and pulled it between my teeth as his tongue entered me. My hips bucked against his face in response, and his grip on my waist tightened as he held me firmly in place. Staring down at his wet dark hair, I watched as he devoured me, his mouth eating me like we were at the dinner table. His tongue lapped at my wetness, both from the shower and from my own excitement.
“You taste so fucking good. I love it.” He glanced up at me before diving back in.
I fisted his hair in one hand and pressed his head against me, not wanting him to stop, as each lick elicited more and more pleasure from me. His tongue moved at a fevered pace, licking and sucking, and my body started to quiver.
“Oh God, Daniel. Don’t stop. Please don’t fucking stop,” I begged.
He continued, each strong stroke making my breathing increasingly erratic. Waves of heat and ecstasy ripped through me, causing my body to jerk in response. I pulled his head away, needing the reprieve, as I came down from my high.
“Did we get that far in your version?” he asked, his face smug.
“If we got that far, I’d probably be fired.” I managed a laugh before dropping to my knees. “Your turn,” I warned before grabbing his manhood with my hand.
“Elizabeth, you don’t have to,” he started to say.
I took him into my mouth.
“Nothing. Everything’s great here,” he said.
I had to stop myself from laughing.
I continued to take him farther and farther into my mouth with each stroke until I could not take him any deeper. The moans escaping from his mouth told me he liked what I was doing, and I loved the way it made me feel. Knowing that I was the one bringing him this kind of pleasure made me feel powerful. His hand tangled in my hair as he softly pulled me toward him. It wasn’t a demanding tug like I’d heard about from other women, but it was more like he wanted to be involved somehow and couldn’t resist touching me while I pleased him.
“That feels amazing. You’re so good,” he groaned.
I worked him in and out of my mouth. His hips started to thrust against me, taking care not to push too hard or too deep, and I knew he was on the brink of coming undone. My hand stroked him as my mouth sucked simultaneously, and his head dropped back, water spilling down all around his body.
“I’m gonna come, babe,” he breathed out before pulling out of my mouth and emptying himself on the shower floor.
“You didn’t have to do that,” I tried to argue while part of me was thankful for the save.
“I wasn’t sure what you preferred. One step at a time, right?” He smiled. “But that step was fucking incredible.” He helped me to my feet. “You do know we’re in a drought.”
“I know. We’d better hurry up and get out of here.” I tugged at my partially wet and tangled hair.
Daniel turned the bottles on my built-in shelving, so he could read them before grabbing the one labeled
. “Turn around. I got this,” he directed.
I did as he’d said. His fingers massaged my head, working the soap into a lather from the roots all the way to the ends.
“That feels amazing.” I wanted to pass out in his arms. Having someone else shampoo my hair was an exhilarating feeling, but having Daniel doing it bordered on erotic.
He led me back toward the falling water, my back pressed against his front, as the water spilled down between us. My head tilted into the spray as he continued to work his fingers through my hair to get all the shampoo out.
“Conditioner is better,” he said, his voice mimicking Adam Sandler in
I laughed. “It makes the hair shiny and smooth.” I played along as he squeezed it into his palms. “Start at the ends, please.”
“Really? The ends?”
“Mmhmm. My ends need it most, and too much conditioner on my scalp will make my hair greasy. Ick. Just start at the ends and work your way up.”
“You’re the expert.” He kissed my neck before following my instructions.
“This is really nice, Daniel. Thank you.” I leaned my weight against him.
“Anytime you want me to handle your naked body, I’m all in.”
He finished rinsing out my hair, and we soaped each other, taking our time in certain places, before shutting off the water.
“I’m probably going to get fined for all that water,” I started to say. “But it will be worth it.” I reached for a towel and wrapped it around my body as I exited the bathroom.
“I’ll pay for it,” Daniel said, following me close.
“I don’t need your money.” I walked to my closet and looked through my clothes.
“Are we going out?” he asked from behind me.
I turned around to face him. “Do you remember when I told you there was somewhere I wanted to take you?”
He nodded. “I do.”
“If you don’t mind.” I paused, knowing full well that he most likely never wanted to leave the bedroom.
He leaned forward, his lips meeting mine in a soft closed-mouth kiss. “I don’t mind.”
“Yay!” I clapped my hands together. “It’s one of my most favorite places in Santa Monica. It’s only been open for private tours until recently.”
“We couldn’t go on a private tour, Miss Lyons?” He grabbed my waist and moved my wet hair to the side, so he could kiss my neck.
I pulled my shoulder up against his face. “We could, but it was only during certain hours, and it wouldn’t have worked. That doesn’t matter. We’re going tonight!”
“Do I need to dress up?” He looked down at his still naked body.
“Well, you need to dress in clothing, yes. But not fancy ones. Jeans are fine. Did you bring jeans in that little bag of yours? Do you even own jeans?” I asked, realizing that I’d never seen him in anything other than suits.
“I didn’t bring any this time, but I will the next.”
“I’ll dress to match you. Show me what you brought.” He pulled out a pair of black slacks and a light gray shirt. “Always with the depressing colors,” I criticized. “Let me go dry my hair really quick. Beers are in the fridge.”
“Are we actually leaving?” He smacked my ass as I led him out the front door. “Nice outfit.” His eyes traveled from the top of my black well-fitted top to the bottom of my dark gray pencil skirt.
“Are you murdering me? We just got back together, and you’re already looking to kill me?” he whispered as we walked down the narrow staircase.
“Just come on. You’ll love it.” I pulled his hand.
Once at the bottom of the staircase, I made a left and pushed through the swinging dark doors. A new world opened up to us, and the energy shifted.
“What is this place?” Daniel grinned as he looked around.
“Pretty cool, right?” I stepped into the room as the past surrounded me.
“Shit yeah. Was this a speakeasy?”
“It was! Although, prohibition ended the same year they built it, so they didn’t need to utilize most of the secret doors and hatches for long.”
I looked around at the barely lit room. Red puffy booths lined the dark wood-paneled walls. All original fixtures remained, except for the carpet, which had been replaced years prior.
“The backs of the booths are all original. They’ve never been replaced. Ever. Al Capone used to sit right over there.” I pointed to the largest booth in the corner.
“In that one?” Daniel pointed at it, too.
“Yep. He needed to be able to see people coming in from every angle, and that was the only seat in the place that let him do that.” I smiled at the idea of being in this bar during that time period.
“Sounds about right, being back against the wall with no one behind him. What a badass,” he said, seemingly lost in this place.
A hostess appeared virtually out of thin air. “Sorry for the wait. Do you know where you’d like to sit?”
Daniel pointed at Al Capone’s old table, and she grinned as if she knew he’d choose that one.
“Right this way.”
“So, do you like it?” I asked as we walked, loving that he seemed to appreciate this spot as much as I did.
“I love it. I can’t wait to see more of your favorite places,” he commented before sliding into Al’s old booth.
“And I can’t wait to show you,” I said as I slid in beside him.
My favorite destination in LA felt even more happy and my heart was full.
FOUR MONTHS LATER
Wrapping up production for the day, I couldn’t wait to head home to what awaited me. Upon arrival, I noted that Daniel was already inside, seeing his car parked in one of our underground spaces.
Bypassing the elevator, I practically skipped up the stairs as excitement coursed through me. When I walked through the door, I noticed boxes everywhere and shit scattered all over the floor.
“Daniel?” I shouted, wondering where he was.
“In the bedroom!” he shouted back before meeting me in the hallway.
“Hi.” I smiled like a kid in a candy store before leaning up on my tiptoes and planting a kiss on his waiting mouth.
“Hi yourself.” He pulled away before leaning back in and pulling my bottom lip between his teeth. “You ready for this?”
“It’s a little late for that question,” I teased.
He glanced around at all his things covering my floor. “True. I’ve already grown attached to my new place.”
“Your new place?” I swatted his shoulder.
He lifted me up and tossed me across his shoulder. “Our new place.”
“It’s only new to you,” I said, hitting his ass with my hands.
“I brought you something.” He flipped me back over and rested me on my feet, before pulling me into the bedroom where the most elaborate bouquet of multicolored roses sat in an oversized vase.
“Daniel, they’re stunning! So many colors. How come?” I ran over to them and breathed in their scent. “Does this mean you want to see other people? You don’t want to just see me anymore?” I giggled with a fake frown. I loved any chance I got to tease him, but honestly, I was a little confused at his flower choice.
“I’ll always only see you, but you’re so much more than just my white rose. You’re all of them—every fucking color. There are so many sides to you, so many shades, and I love every single one.”
“I love you.” I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him deeply, passionately, and with all the love I had for him in my heart.
It had been four months since we started officially dating. My scare when it came to my feelings had ended as abruptly as it had started. Daniel had coaxed emotions out of me and constantly reassured me that we were on the same page, so I never felt alone. Eventually, I’d stopped worrying about how to balance everything, and it had all seemed to fall into place. Trusting him implicitly, I realized how little there was to worry about. Work would dominate my days while Daniel would dominate my nights.
In the beginning, our evenings had been filled with late-night phone calls and our days with the occasional text or email. Being in a long-distance relationship had worked well for us for a while, considering how busy we both were with our jobs.
But after about three months, we’d simply missed each other too much, and being apart more often than we were together had become something that wasn’t fun anymore. As much as the distance was a convenience in certain aspects, like no one to upset when coming home late for dinner or having to spend a night in the office, it had definitely made other things more difficult, like wanting to come home and hug him after a shitty day at work or simply needing my best friend when I wanted him around. Sending each other picture messages had grown old when what I truly wanted was him by my side, seeing what I was seeing. Life was about the experience, and we’d been experiencing our lives apart. And it had sucked.
Moving down to Santa Monica had been Daniel’s idea. I would never have suggested it because the subject was honestly far too touchy for me. I’d never even considered moving up to San Francisco even though I loved his place and the energy of the city during the handful of times I’d visited him. But in my defense, the entertainment industry only existed in Southern California, so moving didn’t make sense for me professionally, and I refused to give up my career for anyone, even Daniel. So, when I wasn’t willing to make the same sacrifice, I couldn’t in good conscience ask him to move down here, no matter how badly I wished he would.
Daniel had decided that his work could be done from anywhere, so he’d called me one day and announced his plans to relocate. I’d almost flown up there that afternoon to start packing his things. His best friend, James, had started running the actual office, but I’d often wondered how long it would take for him to join us down here. I’d gotten the impression that James couldn’t be left unsupervised for too long. To be honest, I thought he missed Daniel, which was a feeling I could completely relate to.
I wasn’t sure what that meant for Daniel’s current business, but I could tell he wasn’t worried about it. When I’d asked him once what would happen to everyone he employed, he’d assured me that they would all get at least a year’s worth salary if he closed the doors and that he would try to find them jobs elsewhere, if not with him in his new venture. It pleased me to no end to hear how well he treated his employees. Good character was important to me, and Daniel Alexander was filled with it.
He tugged at my side. “I need a break. Can we go for a walk?”
“Want to have a drink and watch the sun set?” I offered, knowing the perfect spot.
We walked hand in hand along the sandy concrete path splitting the buildings on the street from the actual beach. I watched as Daniel looked around at the brightly lit pier rides and back at the people doing tricks on the metal rings and bars that were bolted into the sand.
“Is it always like this? Guys flipping around on rings and climbing ropes for no reason.”
I laughed. “No reason? How else can they show off those muscles if they don’t randomly start climbing that rope or balance themselves between a set of metal rings?”
“They could go to a gym.”
“Oh, they do. It’s down the street—outside in Venice.”
His eyes widened as he took in my words. “Muscle Beach, right?”
“Exactly. You’re a regular already.” I leaned my body against him as he continued to walk.
“Almost there. It’s up ahead,” I said.
“Is it a bar?” He craned his neck to see where I was looking.
“It’s actually a hotel, but the bar is amazing. They have a large terrace overlooking the beach, and gorgeous fire features. You’ll love it.”
When the enormous gray-and-white building came into view, Daniel’s whole face lit up with his smile. “Is this where we’re going?”
I nodded, squeezing his hand a little tighter. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
“It’s like the perfect beach house. I mean, if you wanted to house, like, three hundred of your closest friends. Yeah, it’s gorgeous.”
I pointed to the level above the ground. “We’re going up there to drink our cares away.”
“Everything I care about is right here in my arms,” he said before tenderly kissing my lips.
Once we were seated outdoors, we each had an ice-cold beer in one hand and a menu in the other.
Putting our menus down, he brought my hand to his lips. “I can’t believe we live together.” He winked.
“I can’t believe I get to have my way with you anytime I want.” I leaned my head against his shoulder.
“Check, please!” he yelled.
“We haven’t even eaten yet!” I laughed.
“You’re the one who brought up sex, not me! I can’t be expected to think about food after that. I’m only so strong, Elizabeth.”
“You need your energy, so eat some dinner, Mr. Alexander. We can work it all off later.”
“You’ll be the death of me, woman.”
“And you’ll like it.” I smiled.
“I’ll love it. I love you.” He pressed a kiss to my temple.
“I love you, too.”
I stared at him, feeling the fullness in my heart.
We looked out at the sun and watched it cast a magical orange-and-yellow glow across the dark blue water. Turning my head to look at Daniel as he stared out at the wonder before us, I felt so blessed and lucky that he hadn’t backed down all the times I’d tried to push him away.
Before him, I hadn’t realized that what I needed was a strong man who wouldn’t listen to me when I said I wanted him to leave me alone. I’d needed a fighter, and Daniel Alexander was exactly that. He was my champion, and I belonged right here, by his side, forever.