Kelly's Quest (NYC LOVE Book 2) (7 page)

BOOK: Kelly's Quest (NYC LOVE Book 2)
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Hardly a full minute passes when he hoists me up by my waist and hauls me into his bedroom, slamming me into the mattress with the weight of his body. His full lips possess me with a force so strong I’m sure my own lips will be swollen for hours.

Erik grinds up against me as we kiss, his massively hard package rubbing against my bare leg through the coarse material of his shorts. When I realize just how
large
he must be, I moan softly against his mouth. One of Erik’s hands darts up my shirt, his long fingers teasing the exposed tops of my breasts.

My desire kicks into over drive when I imagine him naked and inside of me, filling me to my core. I reach for his shirt and begin to unbutton it, shivering in delight with the feel of his sculpted muscles beneath my fingertips. A deep hum vibrates from his throat just before he intensifies the kiss. He reaches back to slip his hand beneath my shorts and underwear, cradling my bare ass cheek.

He stops kissing me to press his lips against my ear, his breath hot against my skin. “Here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to climb off you now, and you’re going to strip naked for me.”

Stunned by the unexpected dominance, I suck in a deep breath. Trailing kisses down my neck, he backs away, watching me with a dangerous fire behind his eyes. He towers over me like some kind of freaking mythical god with his gorgeous chest exposed, all tanned and muscular. I don’t break the connection our stare as I reach down to unbutton my shorts. My body tingles excitedly with what’s to come.

Then for some ungodly reason that I’ll forever live to curse upon, I picture the disappointment in my best friend’s eyes when she hears I’ve slept with the only person she’s ever warned me to steer clear of. I may as well be dunked in a bathtub filled with ice water.

“Shit.” I drop my hand to cradle my head. “I can’t do this. It’s a really bad idea.”

“Ideas are only bad if you don’t want them, and who are you kidding?” He continues staring down on me, his heated gaze unrelenting and oh, so seductive. “You know you want me.”

Clicking my tongue, I slide off the bed and straighten my disheveled shirt. “Wow. Conceited much?”

“I only say things if they’re true. You want me, and I want you, so what’s the problem?” Damn it, the way he’s so confident makes his sex appeal shoot off the charts. And the enormous bulge in his pants hasn’t subsided any.

Shit
.

I’m the poster girl for flustered as I stumble out into the hallway. My head and vagina are on two separate stratospheres, both vying for my complete attention.

“The
problem
is that your brother and Jewels told me to stay away from you! And I already
told you
this thing between us isn’t going to happen! I don’t need to get into a complicated relationship where I wonder if I have to fuck you in order to have a place to live!”

“Who said anything about a relationship? We’re adults. There
is
a such a thing as consensual sex.”

I cackle a bit too boisterously. “Right. Ask your brother and his girlfriend how well
that
goes.”

“Would you stop bringing my brother into this? You and I? We have absolutely nothing to do with him. Or Jewels. We’re two very attractive people. There’s nothing wrong with us being drawn to each other. I’m not saying we have to do this in order for you to live here. It would just be an added bonus. For
both
of us.”

I look away, my heart racing, crotch throbbing. He’s right, and I can’t stop picturing us having sex together. I imagine it would be a new level of hot that would put all my past conquests to shame. Something about his irresistible physique and king of the world attitude makes me wonder if I’d remember my own name after being with him.

I bite my lip and pull my phone from my back pocket for something to distract me. “My life’s already a mess without this added complication. I came out here to become a different person. I’m not about casual sex anymore. Anyone who wants in my pants is going to have to wine and dine me first.”

“Really? You’re going to pretend that’s what you want, and make me draw this out? I can do things to you that will never make you see sex the same way again.” His words, low and sultry, ping around inside my brain with excitement. “I’m worth skipping the pretenses for.”

I frown, ready to pull my hair out. “Jesus. You are
completely
full of yourself.”

“Listen. I normally don’t offer myself up like this to women.” He spreads his arms wide. The hard muscles of his chest shift with the gesture, about making me cream my underwear. “Are you interested, or not?”

I pull my jaw tight. “Fuck this. I’m out of here.”

Before he can try to stop me or say anything more, I spring from the apartment and practically jog down the hallway. My trembling fingers poke at the buttons in the elevator, pushing more than one and making the ride down to the lobby way longer than necessary. Feeling like I could punch something, I cross my arms and grumble.

Who
exactly
does Erik Murphy think he is? The kid’s only nineteen, for fuck’s sake. Not only does he act like he’s lived in the big city his whole life, but he thinks he’s some kind of superhero in the bedroom. If Jewels knew about any of this, she’d be ready with a big old “I told you so” look that would make me feel all of three feet tall.

I must still look flushed when I catch up with Chloe. She leans away from the marble wall with the sight of me, raising her eyebrows with a little smirk. “Well? Did you make any decisions?”

“You’re right, the place is amazing.” I hook my arm through hers, smiling as I pull her along to where the doorman holds the door for us. “Only a total idiot would turn down an offer like that.”

As we launch onto the sidewalk, I realize I don’t have a lot of options right now. I dug this complicated shit up all on my own when I decided to drop everything and hop on an airplane to escape my problems. Erik’s offering me this incredible place to stay, free of charge. I’ll just have to find a way to see him as being unattractive, even though I’ve seen just how phenomenal he looks without a shirt. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, I
am
capable of self-control.

Or so I hope.

FOUR

 

 

By the time Chloe and
I return to the brownstone, Jewels has showered and dressed for our night out—surprisingly
not
in the usual baby doll t-shirt and torn shorts. She wears a peach, fluttering tank top that flatters her skin tone paired with a flirty short skirt and a bunch of coordinating jewelry. Maybe the big city’s fashion is already rubbing off on her.

Not surprising, however, is that she appears to be finishing a hot and heavy session with her boyfriend. They’re each adjusting their hair and clothing as Chloe and I step into the living room. Jewels hops off the couch to join us, her flushed cheeks smiling brightly as if it can divert us from the fact that they likely just had sex. It only reminds me why I seriously can’t stay with them. “Hey! How’d it go? You guys have fun?”

“We spent most of the day checking out the Upper West Side,” Chloe says, kicking off her thick sandals and sinking into the couch across from Adam. She massages one of her feet. “We checked out a street fair, and grabbed lunch at a Mexican eatery. I showed her the ropes in the subway so she can find her way around on her own. At least she’ll recognize one corner of the city. It’s not much, but it’s a start. We’ll have to take her to see all the touristy shit another time.”

“I finally understand why you fell in love with this city,” I say, slipping my arm around Jewels’s shoulders. “And I owe you for setting me up with the best tour guide out there. Seriously, Chloe was amazing.”

Jewels wraps her arm around my waist, hugging me for a brief moment. “I knew you two would get along. Can you join us for dinner, Chloe?”

“I wish, but I have to fill in for one of the guys at the shop tonight. Some shit about his wife having the stomach flu and no one to watch his baby. Sometimes I think they just like to take advantage of me because they know I have to get my time in. I swear they’re always calling me in on my rare days off. It’s like I have a fucking sign on my head that says
gullible
or something.” She jumps to her feet, slipping back into her sandals. I get the feeling she doesn’t sit still for much longer than that. “You guys should come down to The Sticks tomorrow night on 23rd Street. My band will be playing at nine.”

“We’ll be there,” Jewels assures her, grinning. If there’s one thing my bestie would never miss, it’s the chance to see a live band. She runs over to hug Chloe. “Thanks again, I owe you.”

“We had a good time.” Chloe shrugs, turning to smile my way. “I think she’ll do just fine in this city. I look forward to hanging again.” After throwing me a wink and exchanging goodbyes with Adam, she disappears down the stairs.

Jewels flashes me this ridiculously toothy smile until we hear the front door click. “Did she drive you crazy?”

“No,” I say with a shrug. “She’s a talker, but she’s also a lot of fun.”

“Good. I knew you’d like her.” She becomes preoccupied with her phone for a moment. “So I hope you won’t get mad over this, but we invited Theo to come with us tonight.”

“Jewels,” I whine, twisting my hair around my finger. “
C’mon
.”

“Kel, he really wants a chance to start over with you. He’s embarrassed that you thought he just wanted a one-time fling. That’s totally not what Theo’s about. He’s a flirt, and I know just exactly how blunt he is when he’s attracted to a woman, but he’s a total sweetheart once you get to know him.” She reaches out for my hands, batting her thick eyelashes. “Pretty please, will you give him another chance?”

“You’re like a pathetic puppy dog with those dopey eyes. Are they supposed to make me cave in or something?”

“Of course.” She flutters her lashes again like a cartoon character. “Say yes.”

I catch Adam throwing me a hopeful look, and remember what he said about Jewels being crushed over our spat the day before.


Fine
,” I cave, pushing her away. “If you’re going to make me go on an actual date, then I need to get ready. Put my sexy face on.”

“That’s the spirit!” she says in her old cheerleading voice. “Yay, Kel!”

“Can you say that again, exactly the same way?” Adam asks her, wiggling his eyebrows. “Although maybe jump around this time.”

“You two are like a bunch of newlyweds,” I moan. “I’m outta here.” As I slip away to the guest room, my gut pangs anxiously. Tonight I’ll have to tell Jewels and Adam that I’m going to move in with Erik. I can’t put it off any longer.

 

The restaurant, small and charming
, reminds me far too much of the Italian bistro Erik took me to the day before. It makes me all the more nervous about breaking my news to them. I’m chewing on my straw and tapping my knee against the bottom of the table by the time Theo joins us, looking mighty fine. Jewels told me he looks amazing in a suit, which I have yet to see, but
damn
he can really rock the shit out of a casual button down and chinos shorts.

“Hey, big guy!” Jewels greets him eagerly.

His sincere gaze meets mine as he dips his chin. “Hey. You look beautiful tonight.” He stuffs his hands in his pockets and tilts his head toward the small bar. “Join me for a quick drink?”

“We’ll order some appetizers,” Adam suggests.

“Get the prosciutto crostata and pancetta focaccia twists,” Theo tells him as he helps me slide my chair away from the table. He gently touches my arm while we walk over to the small bar at the far end of the restaurant. We settle into the only free stools in the middle.

“What’s your drink of choice?” he asks, signaling the bartender.

“Jameson on the rocks,” I blurt, knowing I’m going to need some liquid courage to confront Jewels and Adam by the end of the night.

Theo lifts his eyebrows, smirking. “Really?”

“Why does everyone expect me to order something with an umbrella?”

“No judgments.” He turns back to the young guy behind the bar. “Two double shots of Jameson, on the rocks.”

The bartender nods with a smirk. “You got it.”

Theo turns his stool so his knees press to the side of my legs, and casually drapes his large forearm against the bar. “I wanted to thank you for giving me a chance to apologize. I was an ass. I wasn’t trying to suggest that you were
easy
. Jewels made it sound like you might be interested in me, and I wanted to let you know that I was definitely into you. I knew the long distance thing wouldn’t be ideal, but I saw it work for a couple of my buddies when we were overseas. Now that I know you’re going to stick around, I’m
especially
interested in getting to know you better.”

“Yeah, well, if I hadn’t jumped to conclusions and run off like that, maybe there wouldn’t have been such a colossal misunderstanding.” I set my hand on his massive bicep, quivering a little with its firmness. “I’m the one who should apologize. I’ve been through a lot lately, so I guess I’m a bit more sensitive than usual.”

“Anything you want to talk about?”

“Not especially. I haven’t told Jewels all the sordid details yet. All you need to know is that I’m not interested in a casual hookup. I came to New York for a fresh start. Maybe to figure out who I am without my parents, or sisters, or anyone else defining me.”

“I can respect that.”

The bartender sets our drinks down. Theo quickly pays him and holds his glass up. “Here’s to fresh starts.”

I clink my glass with his. “Thanks. I hope I didn’t bruise your ego by turning you down. Don’t get me wrong—I really am interested in getting to know you better.”

His eyes widen. “Does that mean I can take you on a real date?”

“Sometime. I’m not quite ready to go there yet.”

With his eyes twinkling, he grins. “You know where to find me when you decide that you are.”

The mood between us turns light and playful as we join Jewels and Adam. I catch myself biting my bottom lip when watching Theo tell us work-related stories. As much as he appears to be the complete package and as much as I’m attracted to him, he doesn’t get me going the way Erik can. I curse myself out under my breath. Erik’s just a
kid
. Theo’s as manly as they get. He served our country and has a stellar job that could eventually lead to parties with celebrities. He earned his money instead of having it handed down to him like a spoiled rich boy. Why
shouldn’t
I want to jump his bones?

BOOK: Kelly's Quest (NYC LOVE Book 2)
5.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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