Losing My Balance (Fenbrook Academy #1.5) (5 page)

BOOK: Losing My Balance (Fenbrook Academy #1.5)
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I darted forward and planted a kiss on his lips and then ran outside and faked a rage about
that man
and how I
can’t stand to be in the same room with him!

I wasn’t completely sure Nat bought it—especially when I got home and saw how smeared my lipstick was. Within the space of two days, I’d gone from living my life in perfect balance to being dangerously unsteady. All those decisions I usually made…suddenly, they didn’t seem so important. Two thoughts screamed at me, competing for attention:
What the hell have I just done?!
And:
When can I do it again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

 

Clarissa

 

The next day, Saturday, Nat was walking on sunshine because she and Darrell kissed again—and more—and he was going to take her out on Monday. I watched her getting ready to go and work at Flicker, a bar close to Fenbrook, and it was like some alien being had taken possession of her body. She was actually
smiling.
I was worried she was moving too fast, but I didn’t want to hold her back when it was the happiest I’d seen her in years.
As long as it’s not too serious,
I told myself.
As long as it doesn’t start turning into love, she’s safe enough.

Normally I went along to Flicker with her when she worked, to people watch and sip ludicrous cocktails all night, but that night I had to rehearse for the dance show I was in. It had been a swelteringly hot day and by the evening the air was thick and muggy—too many cars and no wind to blow away the exhaust fumes. I knew there’d be nowhere to park—nowhere I’d trust for Bartholomew, at least—so I trekked halfway across the city on the sticky, airless subway. I spent three hours practicing chorus line-style steps with twenty other dancers, going quietly insane while the choreographer dithered about what he wanted. Then another long, stifling trek home. By the time I got back to the apartment, all I wanted to do was sleep—and it was only ten o’clock. I had a quick shower instead, threw on sweat pants and a tank top and opened the living room window so I could feel some breeze. I sat in the window with a glass of ice water and tried to think cooling thoughts.

Thump thump thump.

The sound of a motorcycle engine, somewhere down in the streets, and immediately my mind was on Neil. That wasn’t a cooling thought. Not at all.

I flushed as I thought about what had happened at Darrell’s house. I still couldn’t believe I’d said it:
“Well, why don’t you, then?”
What sort of a hussy was I?! I might as well have added “
Big Boy!”

And yet…when he’d swept me up in his arms and kissed me, it had been…I shook my head to clear it, just the memory of it stirring wicked thoughts inside me.

Thump thump thump.

I shifted in my seat. This whole thing was ridiculous. It had probably been hormones or something. If I saw Neil a third time, probably the spark wouldn’t even be there. I’d give it a few days, and I’d be back to my usual, safe, control-freak-ness.

Thump thump THUMP.

I sat up, startled. The engine was right outside my building. I looked out of the window and glimpsed a Harley, its rider already gone.

That’s crazy. He doesn’t know where I live.

I got up from the chair and walked, very slowly, towards the front door of the apartment.

You’re being stupid. Of course it isn’t him. Lots of people ride Harleys.

But my heart was suddenly pounding. It was like a switch had been thrown, or a gas pedal hammered to the floor—I’d gone from zero to sixty, just at the possibility of seeing him again. And it wasn’t just some fluttering heart, butterflies in your stomach thing. There was something strong and dark and undeniable, down between my thighs.

I put my eye to the door viewer.

There was no one there.

I felt my body relax.
Well, good! God, imagine if he
had
shown up here! How would he have gotten my address? That would be stalker-ish.

And yet I felt sort of cold and empty inside, like a kid who’s just been told Christmas isn’t until tomorrow.
This guy is seriously screwing with my head.

I was halfway across the living room when there was a knock at the door. I spun so fast I actually staggered.

It’s a coincidence,
I told myself. But it wasn’t. I knew it wasn’t. That had been a man’s knock.

I put my eye to the door viewer and Neil was standing there, looking right back at me as if he knew I’d check the spyhole first. A growing drumbeat of arousal started to crash inside me, so powerful I was sure he could feel it too, even through the door.

Part of me almost didn’t want to open the door. I wasn’t used to being influenced like that—I’m very independent, but right then I felt like I was under a spell. But seriously, what was the alternative? Forget all about him? Impossible.

I did a little mental check of what I was wearing. Tank top and sweat pants.
Not good.
But I opened the door anyway.

He stood there in silence, watching me, the tension building. I wanted to ask
How did you find me,
but I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. I stepped back, and he moved inside.

I closed the door and leaned back against it. We stood there watching each other, the tension still rising.

“Are we alone?” he asked. His voice was incredible. Warm honey poured over hot coals.

It was a simple enough question, but the answer wasn’t simple at all. “Yes” implied something. It said “
We’re all alone here and we can do what we want.”
Or even “…
and you can do what you want to me.”

Maybe he just wants to talk privately.

Yeah, right.

“Yes,” I said, my voice catching.

“Take off your top.”

The words seemed to echo through my brain. I had to replay them a few times to make sure I hadn’t mis-heard them. But no: a guy I barely knew, a guy whose last name—Eliasson—I only knew because I’d found him on Darrell’s Facebook friends, really was expecting me to take my top off. No romance, no foreplay. He just expected me to do it.

The really disturbing thing, though, wasn’t that he was giving me orders. It was the hot throb that reverberated through my body as he said it, the heat changing to moisture as it slid down between my thighs. It wasn’t the order. It was that I wanted to follow it.

I started to protest, unsure whether I was genuinely protesting or putting on an act. But it didn’t matter, because almost as soon as my mouth opened, he killed any debate.

“Clarissa. Take off your top. Now.”

My brain screamed at me, asking what the hell I thought I was doing. But I could feel my breath hot in my chest and the room seemed to fade down around him, until it was just the two of us standing in a void.
Jesus, I want to. I really, really want to. I’m going to. I’m—

My fingers lifted the hem of my tank top, my arms criss-crossing in front of me, and I pulled the thing up and over my head. I had left my hair down after my shower, but hadn’t really done anything with it and it fell in a tousled mass down my back. I hung on to the tank top, my fingers toying with the ribbed fabric. I watched his eyes slowly lower to my breasts in their white bra, and then back up to my face.

“Now the bra.”

This is ridiculous,
I thought.
This guy turns up at my apartment unannounced. I barely know him. We have nothing in common. I am
not
going to fuck him. I am
not
going to take my bra off!

I took my bra off. My heart was racing like I’d just thrown back a triple espresso and every tiny hair on my arms was standing on end. I didn’t know until then that it was possible to be utterly terrified and hugely turned on at the same time. And it wasn’t him I was scared of; it was me. My own helpless response.

“You can’t just come in here—” I said in a tight little voice. “You can’t just come in here and expect me to—”

He moved just fractionally closer to me—a half inch, at most. Six feet something of hard muscle and leather. My eyes flitted all over his body, taking in the massive, curving pecs, the flat stomach, the thickness of his arms under the jacket. I felt my nipples tighten.

“What are you going to do to me?” I asked, and my voice was a full octave higher than normal. I was aware that saying it in that way was giving him permission. I was asking
what
and not
if.
Because I wanted it as much as he did and, worst of all, he knew it.

I was still looking at his chest. I realized I couldn’t lift my eyes to meet his. That alone sent a deep shock through me.
Why can’t I look him in the eye?

“What makes you think I’m goin’ to do somethin’ to you?” He asked, his voice a low rumble. “What makes you think you’re not goin’ to do somethin’ to me?” His eyes tracked down over my naked chest and one hand came up to rest, very lightly, on my breast. His thumb stopped just short of brushing my nipple and I knew it was deliberate. Inside, I was begging,
aching
for him to touch me there.

His eyes flicked downward and I fell to my knees. There was a sense of unreality about it as I unfastened his jeans and freed his cock.
I can’t be here, doing this! I’m Clarissa Forsberg-West and I like men who have a car and a job and plans for the future and make me feel like I’m worshipped and sure as hell not a filthy biker who’s arrogant and pushy and expects me to service him and—

I put my hand around him, his weighty thickness making my mind do back flips. And as I knelt there staring at him, it hit me that he
wasn’t
filthy—he actually smelled really good, like soft leather and sandalwood. And he
did
make me feel worshipped, in a completely different way to some fawning Wall Street suitor—they wanted me, but Neil
needed
me in an almost primal way. And he was arrogant and pushy, but I swore there was something else, underneath—I had this deep certainty that he’d never ever hurt me.

And if I really liked men with cars and jobs and plans…why was it I hadn’t stayed with Roger?

I touched my lips to his cock, my decision made. I watched him go from just hard to pure iron, felt him throbbing and ready on my tongue. And then he put his hands under my arms and lifted me to my feet…and carried on lifting. Before I knew it, I was upside down, my cheek against the small of his back. He was carrying me over his shoulder in a firefighter’s lift, one arm like steel across my calves to hold me in place.

“Which one’s your room?” he asked.

I told him and he carried me there, kicking the door shut behind us. When he dropped me onto the bed, I lay there staring up at him, my breath coming in quivering little pants. “I’m not like this,” I told him.

“Yes you are,” he said. “You just didn’t know it.”

He gave the sweatpants one tiny tug and they slid right off my legs. My panties were a little trickier—the elastic caught on my hips.

So he ripped them off me.

I took a deep, shuddering breath as his eyes licked over me. “Neil, I’m not—I don’t know what’s going on here.”

His eyes met mine. “Do you like it?”

All I could do was tell the truth. “Yes.”

“Then don’t move.”

And then his mouth was moving between my thighs and, for the next full hour, I didn’t move. I twisted and bucked and put my fingers in my mouth, knuckles clenched between my teeth to keep from crying out and, when that failed, I scream my throat raw as his tongue and his lips and his long, thick fingers took me to climax after climax.

When he eventually shucked off his clothes and rolled on a condom, I was wetter than I’d ever been. I was readier than I’d ever been.

We didn’t “have sex.” We certainly didn’t “make love.” I’m not sure it even qualified as fucking. He…
ravished
me. I was left gasping and trembling on my back, staring up at him as he withdrew from me, wondering if I’d gone completely insane.

 

***

 

He didn’t stay. He quietly let himself out while I was still lying there in the afterglow and, as the apartment door closed behind him, I had the sudden, terrifying thought that I might never see him again.

What the hell am I doing? I just had sex with a guy I barely know!

Minutes later, I heard the door open and close again—Nat was home.
Did she see Neil in the elevator?

I was still naked. I throw on a robe and stuck my head around my bedroom door. “Hi,” I said as Nat came past.

She stopped in the hallway, folded her arms and raised one eyebrow, and I knew she knew. I sighed and nodded.

“Neil?” she asked. “
Neil?!”

I buried my face in my hands. “I know! Don’t!”


Neil?!”

BOOK: Losing My Balance (Fenbrook Academy #1.5)
9.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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