Kelly's Quest (NYC LOVE Book 2) (8 page)

BOOK: Kelly's Quest (NYC LOVE Book 2)
13.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

The night’s filled with amazing food, a ton of laughter, and enough drinks at the bar down the block from the restaurant that I feel tingly and loose-lipped by the time we agree to head back for the night.

As we near the brownstone, Theo slows his pace at my side, letting Adam and Jewels—who have their arms wrapped around each other—get a decent lead on us.

“Wanna come over to my place for a drink or two?” Theo asks in a low voice.

I reach out to touch his toned arm, because apparently I can’t keep my hands off his marvelous body. “And how’s that going to work with our agreement to take things slow, exactly?”

“I can be a gentleman,” he says with a rather devilish smirk.

I brush my fingertip across his forearm. “Maybe so, but I don’t know that I trust myself around you.”

“Then don’t,” he says, taking my arm to stop me in the middle of the sidewalk. “This
be about more than sex. If you let me kiss you, maybe we’d both make it through a few dates before we decide to cave in and take things further.”

I wag my finger at him, grinning. “Don’t you know kissing’s a gateway drug?”

“I have a high tolerance,” he says, leaning in closer. “I once had to tread water in the ocean for two hours straight. It takes a lot to break me.”

I shove him lightly, pretending to be offended. “Agh, do you have to make yourself even hotter? Seriously, Theo, let’s just stop this now.” My head spins from all the drinks I had, and I can’t help but feel incredibly guilty for even
kissing Theo when I almost took things too far with Erik earlier. “I don’t want our friendship to be tainted by our alcohol-fueled hormones.”

“Okay, fair enough.” He backs away, hands held up at his sides. “But if I promise to keep my hands in my pockets, will you at least let me kiss your cheek before we say goodnight?”

It’s actually kind of sweet how he doesn’t want to part without having kissed me in some way. “Would you settle for a hug?”

With an ear-splitting grin, he leans into gather me in his arms, bringing me close with his arm hooked around my neck. I feel like a little girl with my face pressed to his chest. I feel his nose skim against the top of my head.

“Are you sniffing my hair?”

He pulls away, slowly letting go. “Can’t help myself. You smell like sunscreen. It’s driving me wild.”

“It’s coca butter scented shampoo.”

“I like it.” His eyes light up, and he reaches down for my hand, bringing it to his lips for a soft kiss. “Goodnight, Cavenaugh. I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow.”

I agreed to let him take me to see Chloe’s band, figuring it would be safe to double with Adam and Jewels again. But as he strolls away, whistling, I can’t decide if canceling would’ve been a better idea. My head’s such a mess. Is there something
wrong with simply being
to two guys at once?

I find Jewels by herself in the kitchen, drinking from a bottled water. “Adam said to tell you goodnight. He’s wiped.”

“I never got a chance to ask him how it went. Are they going to install the pump thingie?”

“Yeah, it’s all good. He’s set up for the procedure next week. You and Theo have a good time?”

I grin happily with the memory of his hug. “Yeah, we did.”

She offers me the bottle with her eyebrows raised. “You want to hang out in the backyard and chat, or are you ready for bed too?”

I take a swig of the water before handing it back, and hook my arm through hers. “I’m up for a girl session. We haven’t had much time alone since I got here.”

She grabs a bottle of wine from the fridge before we head out.

The night has taken on a significantly colder feel, although there’s still a heavy humidity that settles around us like a dense fog. Jewels flicks the switch to bring the twinkle lights to life beneath the canopy. The beautiful sight of the white lights shining against the dark night brings on the feel of a mix between a fairytale and a stunning wedding reception.

Jewels crosses her legs once she’s on the couch and settles against my side the way she always did in our dorm room as she works on twisting the top off the wine bottle. “So! What’d you think of Central Park? We’ll have to go running through there some time. I’ve only been on the edge of it a couple of times with Adam, but Theo keeps inviting me to run the trails with him. I guess the park is huge.” She hands me the bottle. “Speaking of, how’d it go with Theo just now?”

“We didn’t kiss, if that’s what you’re hinting at.”

“So you’re not interested?”

“Are you kidding? Of course I am. He’s one of the hottest guys I’ve ever met. He’s really funny and kinda sweet, too. I’d be stupid not to give him a chance. He’s the total package.”

“You don’t seem convinced.”

“I’m just really not ready to start a relationship when I have other things to worry about, like finding a job, and figuring out what I’m going to do here, if I can find a way to finish college. What if I
find an affordable place to stay, or a job that pays enough for me to live here?”

Jewels begins playing with strands of my hair, something she only does when completely inebriated. I didn’t realize she had so many drinks tonight. “It’ll all work out, Kel.”

“And if it doesn’t?”

“Then you move back to La Crosse. Or somewhere else in Wisconsin. But you should stop worrying about it so much
this minute.” After taking another slug of the wine, she sets in the bottle in my lap and snuggles into my side, wrapping her arms around herself and closing here eyes. “You’ve got all the time in the world to figure this out. Just enjoy life while you’re here.”

“Jewels?” I ask softly, wondering if she’s sleeping. She hums with her eyes still closed. “Have you ever wanted something that you knew wouldn’t be good for you?”

“Does falling in love with a guy who wanted to give up on life count?”

I look down at my sweet friend, reminding myself she’s been through hell and back with Adam. My drama is like a stroll through the park compared to all she’s been though.

I stroke her head gently. “Yeah, that counts,” I whisper, listening to her breathing slow into soft snores.

I’m going to have to sort out my living situation and feelings for Erik on my own.




Jewels, Adam, and I spend
the entire next day unpacking. Yeah, the two of them are a bit sickening to be around at times, but they’re so in sync with each other’s emotions and every move that it warms my heart. They’re the first couple I’ve been around where it’s obvious they’re meant to spend the rest of their lives together.

I’m caught up in the excitement of my best friend settling into her very first place off campus with the guy she’s head over heels in love with, and completely forget about my meeting up with Theo later. Erik sends me a text while I’m getting ready, asking when he can expect me to move in. The reminder that I still have to tell Jewels
, even if it isn’t the truth, weighs down the excitement of going to see Chloe’s band perform. I quickly type:


Come 2 The Sticks on 23rd St tonight after 9. I’ll fill u in


The city’s alive with locals
and tourists as Adam, Jewels, Theo, and I wander down to the hip bar just before nightfall. You’d think it was the weekend rather than a random weeknight the way an excited vivacity buzzes through the crowd on the sidewalks. For the most part it’s easy to pick out the visitors from the residents the way some stop to take pictures frequently while others carry along at a steady pace, filled with laughter and conversation. I find myself wondering if I’ll ever fit in with the locals, or if I’ll always be overwhelmed by the constant movement of the massive city.

As we wait in line to enter the bar, I occasionally feel Theo’s warm breath on my neck as if he’s staring down on me. My body tingles in anticipation despite my resolve to take things slow. As much as I want to change my ways, it still feels good to be wanted. And I can’t deny a part of me wants him just as much. The fire rippling between our connected hands has the feel of holding on to a live wire.

Once inside The Sticks, I let out a sharp laugh. The interior is eerily similar to the rural bars back home, complete with log-lined walls covered in tin signs, only there’s just a touch of modern added with stainless steel lights and bar stools, and it’s filled with fashionably dressed patrons rather than flannels. A decent crowd gathers around a small stage at the far end where a three-person band plays a punked-out cover of some 90s song, their guitars ripping through the bar with a boisterous charge that vibrates against my chest. The four of us join the cluster of people waiting to put in their order at the bar.

“Holy shit, they’re playing Blind Melon!” Jewels squeals, jumping up and down. No one is surprised to hear that the musical genius knows the song playing. She tugs on my arm. “I freaking
this song, but I’ve never heard it played like this before! C’mon, let’s dance! The guys can join us after they buy our drinks!”

“Yeah?” I confer with Theo, raising my eyebrows in question.

“Go ahead. She’s not going to let you say no to her anyway.” He winks, flashing me one of his million dollar smiles. “Besides, I know what to order.”

“Thank you!” I yell, allowing my friend to drag me away.

The intensity on the designated dance floor matches the thrum of the power cords blasted over the speakers. I dip and grind with Jewels as we’ve done a hundred times before, letting the excitement of the music lift my worries off my shoulders.

When the song ends, Jewels jumps up and down, sticking her fingers in her mouth to let out an ear-shattering whistle. The band switches to an even more energetic song with an undeniably sexy beat. Jewels squeals excitedly with the sound of the new tune, jumping around with such force that her long blond curls sway over her face. She closes her eyes, losing herself in the music as always. She doesn’t even notice when a wall of dancers barge their way between us, jumping and clashing into each other.

Giggling, I shift my hips along to the electric beat, letting myself also get lost in the notes. Each strum of the bass guitar makes me feel more sexy, confident. I close my eyes, feeling the deep staccato of the drums thrum down to my core.

A pair of hands slip around my stomach, cradling me. I spin around, expecting Theo, but I’m met with Erik’s seductive blue gaze. Incredibly turned on by the intense way he’s looking at me and still holding on to my waist, I let out a low gasp between my parted lips. His mouth slowly curls with a pleased smile as he presses up against me, sliding his hands along my sides as he dances, slow, tantalizing.

I’m too focused on the pulsating swell between my legs to remember that I’m supposed to play it cool with Erik, that I’m not going to become involved with him, no matter how insanely sexy it feels to be dancing in his arms. I rest my hands against his lean chest, locking my eyes with his as I slide up and down him like a feral animal. Not only do his eyes shine in approval, but I can feel him growing against my leg when I straighten back up.

I’ve hooked up with a lot of guys over the years, but I’ve never felt as wildly attractive around anyone the way I do when Erik’s looking at me with his commanding gaze. He slips his hand beneath my shirt to tease the small curve of my back with his fingertips. His touch is like hot coals against my skin.

He pulls me close. “Come with me.”

My heart’s racing at dangerous levels as I allow him to pull me away, undetected by Jewels. I should dig my heels down and refuse to leave with him, but once again my hormones dictate my actions, and I find myself exiting through a back door at his side. The small parking lot out back is filled with half a dozen smokers lined up against the back side of the building, laughing with one another. The smell of nicotine and the warm city air add to the excitement of the impulsive moment.

Erik doesn’t stop pulling me by the hand until we’re around the corner, sandwiched between another side of the building and a rusted out conversion van with the name of a catering business on the side.

I’m breathless when he tosses me against the hood of the van, his lips colliding into mine, making way for his warm tongue to sweep through my mouth. Our hands eagerly grip onto each other as our bodies mold into one hot mess. Erik eagerly slides his hand against my bare stomach, popping a button off my shirt. He stops at the swell of my breasts when he finds the small barbells pierced into my nipples and gives them a swift tug, none too gentle. I moan with pleasure, and our kisses become more ignited.

He stops to grab my hand away from his chest, guiding me down to the button on his shorts. I reach down to release him, nearly coming come undone when I discover he’s commando. I use both hands to ease him out of his shorts, delighted. I’ve been with some good-sized guys before, but

His lips cover mine once again, claiming me with a kiss so deep I’m surprised I don’t gag with the probing of his tongue. It’s the hottest make out session of my life. And it only gets hotter when he reaches beneath my skirt to rip my thong from between my legs with one hard pull, pressing two fingers into me as if to check to make sure I’m wet. With the flash of his hands, he stops to reach for a condom from his back pocket, and rolls it on, tossing the wrapper down to the parking lot. Maybe I should be concerned by just how easily he does it, as if having sex is something he does on a daily basis, but instead I’m mystified at the skill.

Then he enters me swiftly with the sounds of the smokers around the corner still dancing through the air. He pulls at the hardware on my nipple while guiding my hips and biting my bottom lip. A low grunt vibrates against his throat as he pushes into me repeatedly.

Holy shit,”
I gasp against his mouth, wondering how I’m able to fit all of him inside me without splitting in two.
I dig my fingers into the roots of his hair, pulling the soft tufts as I ride him. Intoxicated by the unexpected thrill of the moment, my head swarms with each thrust.

BOOK: Kelly's Quest (NYC LOVE Book 2)
13.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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