Authors: Rhian Cahill
Tags: #friends to lovers;contemporary romance
It’s all…or nothing.
Hearts Are Wild, Book 1
Zac Moreland knew he shouldn’t act on the sizzling attraction between him and his best friend’s little sister. But act he did, and he can’t forget that one night he let the heat between them burn.
Now, after months of doing everything in his power to avoid a repeat performance, he’s ready to admit defeat—and ready to go up in flames all over again.
Freddie never understood why Zac gave her the hottest night of her life and then the cold shoulder. But what she does know is that her eyes are wide open when it comes to Zac, and he better understand that this time she isn’t settling for anything less than everything.
Warning: Two people learning to be more than friends and a big brother ready to spill blood.
No More Talking
This one’s for TimTam for getting married on the beach and renting a house for the weekend.
For Mr.C. Thank you for always believing.
Zac took a deep breath and tried to ignore the woman standing beside him. He’d be fucked if he let her get to him. Again. He faced forward. Stared at the two people standing barefoot in the sand only a few feet away and wondered how soon he could leave. But then he remembered why he was here. Why he stood next to the sweet-smelling female who’d starred in every one of his recent fantasies.
He closed his eyes and breathed through his mouth to stop any more of her tantalizing scent seeping inside and short-circuiting his good intentions. He’d let that happen once before. Memories bombarded him. His eyes shot open, but the sight of West and Kelsey exchanging their vows didn’t eradicate the reel of X-rated images playing through his mind.
Six months had passed, and every single second was as vivid as though it were only minutes ago he’d given in to the unrelenting attraction that seemed to have sprung up overnight.
Zac didn’t know why Frederica Mann had gone from being his best friend’s little sister to the woman he couldn’t get out of his head. All he knew was two years ago his libido had taken notice in a way it never had before. And he was fine with that. Completely prepared to ignore the gut-scrapping lust he suddenly felt whenever he looked at Freddie.
Until last March.
He’d answered a call for help from his sister, Cassie, and found himself working alongside Freddie. He’d had it all under control until he’d caught her looking at him as though she wanted to eat him whole. In that instant, he’d been dead in the water and known it.
He hadn’t been able to walk away when he should have.
Hadn’t been able to keep his hands—his mouth—off her.
One night and she’d ruined him. They hadn’t even had sex, but what they had done was the most sexually charged erotic encounter he’d ever experienced. She’d blown more than his cock. She’d blown his mind. But he couldn’t—
—be with her. She was West’s sister. His
That’s when he’d started thinking of Freddie as Red. Red meant danger—keep clear, stay away—and Zac needed every reminder he could give himself to keep his distance.
Fuck. He may have kept away, but that hadn’t stopped him from thinking about her. It was a good thing West couldn’t read minds. The dirty thoughts Zac had about Red were bad enough. If his friend ever found out Zac had touched her…that he relived every nanosecond over and over while jerking off…
No matter how badly he wanted Red, he couldn’t have her. Except now that he’d had a taste of her, no other woman interested him. Zac would laugh if it weren’t for the blue balls he was living with.
She shifted beside him and the sand beneath her feet gave way a little, toppling her in his direction. Her arm brushed his, and in spite of the loud voice screaming in his head not to touch her, he did.
He slipped his arm around her waist to steady her. Warm bare skin met his forearm and Zac’s whole body tightened.
He’d forgotten about the backless dress she was wearing to her brother’s wedding. The minute he’d seen Red in the sexy blue number, Zac had cursed. She was going to kill him.
Red stiffened against him. She sucked in a breath, her chest rising and thrusting her breasts higher. He couldn’t have stopped his gaze from dropping to her generous cleavage if his life depended on it. The lush mounds had felt so right in his hands—under his tongue. His mouth went dry and his cock throbbed as memories of playing with her tits bombarded him.
Zac swallowed, the raw tightness of his throat making it difficult. “You okay?” he asked, his voice a hoarse rasp.
She pulled from his grip. “Fine.”
He took a half step away. Her tone and posture spoke volumes about her reaction to their first meeting in six months. She was angry. Rightly so.
Zac had no idea how he’d managed to keep from coming face-to-face with her since March. Luck and survival instinct possibly. And fear. Definitely fear. He’d never had a woman get under his skin the way Red did. She’d been in his life since he’d walked into the first day of preschool and met her brother, but it wasn’t until the night of her twenty-fifth birthday that something had changed.
She’d changed from being West’s sister to a desirable woman in front of his eyes.
He’d done the right thing—ignored the attraction. For months, he’d managed to pretend he didn’t want her. That his mouth didn’t water—his groin didn’t throb—every time he saw her. Thought about her. And what had those long months gotten him? Nothing but a severe case of blue balls and a craving that burned hotter than ever. He wasn’t the type to lie to himself—was usually a straight shooter who valued honesty—except when it came to this lust he had for Red.
Lying over and over again, he’d denied, ignored and crushed the unfamiliar hunger she now inspired.
He knew his reluctance to take what he wanted had to do with who she was along with the small part of him that struggled with the change in his perception of Red. She’d always been West’s little sister, and getting his head around the fact that he now wanted to nail her against a wall had him twisted in knots just as much as the belly-clawing lust.
Dragging a hand down his face, he blew out a breath. He wasn’t sure he could keep this up. Even now, he wanted to push her to the sand and strip off that flirty little dress so he could get at what lay underneath. Press his lips to the heat between…
Applause and cheers broke out around him, and Zac realised he’d been so lost in his thoughts that he’d missed his best friend’s wedding.
He needed to forget Red. Ignore the way she looked walking towards her brother and his new wife—her sweet arse swaying side-to-side with each step of those long sexy legs.
Heat and blood filled his groin and his cock grew thick and heavy as his gaze followed Red. He couldn’t seem to drag his eyes away. Not until people—his friends—moved between him and her. Someone elbowed him.
“The wedding got you all choked up?” Coop asked with a grin.
Zac shook his head. “What? No.”
“Then what the hell are you standing here staring into space for?”
He gave a grunt. His brother had a knowing smirk on his face and Zac had no intention of getting into any kind of conversation with Coop. “I’m going to congratulate the bride and groom.”
Before Coop could reply, Zac moved through the crowd towards West and Kelsey. It wasn’t until he was shaking his best friend’s hand that he noticed Red had disappeared. He couldn’t stop himself from scanning the group until his eyes landed on her strawberry-blonde head. Her back was to him as she headed across the patio of the rental house where West and Kelsey’s wedding and reception was being held. As he watched her go, Zac came to a life-altering conclusion.
He wasn’t going to keep his hands off her.
Freddie watched as her brother pulled Kelsey into his arms. You’d have to be blind not to see how in love they were. Zachary Moreland cut across her line of sight, bursting the bubble of happiness her brother’s wedding day had given her. She frowned. He was ignoring her like he had for the last six months. Not that it had been hard to ignore her when he miraculously vanished every time she got within shouting distance.
Today, he couldn’t avoid her, but he sure as hell could pretend she didn’t exist.
She still wasn’t sure what had gone wrong on that warm autumn night back in March. They’d been all over each other. Then something had happened—changed—and Zac’s interest had gone from I-can’t-get-enough to I-can’t-run-fast-enough. Freddie sighed. She’d never understand the male species.
“What’s got you brooding in the corner?” Shaye asked as she handed Freddie a glass of champagne.
“Nothing. Just thinking about how we wouldn’t be here if those two hadn’t managed to work things out.” Freddie tipped her chin in West and Kelsey’s direction.
“Mmm…sure, that’ll put a frown on your face.”
Freddie wasn’t about to bite. For a start, Shaye was Kelsey’s best friend and not hers. Not to mention part of the tightknit group that Zac hung out with. Plus, she’d always kept things close to her chest. After the drama of her teenage years, Freddie preferred not to air her personal matters in public. Having everyone know her business wasn’t something she wanted to deal with ever again.
She took a sip of the cool bubbly liquor and continued to watch the happy couple.
Shaye waited a few more minutes. The two of them stood silently as the party carried on around them until Shaye sighed. “Fine. Let’s go over there. Cooper looks like he’s having way too much fun, and you know how I like to be his personal party pooper.”
With a smile, Freddie let a grinning Shaye drag her across the room to the patio where a group of West and Kelsey’s friends were in an animated discussion about the latest blockbuster movie.
She managed to lose herself in the conversation and revelry for about an hour. But the second Zac wandered over and joined the group, Freddie’s skin prickled with awareness. It didn’t matter how much she wanted to hate Zac for the way he’d treated her since they’d hooked up, her body came alive with need so sharp it stole her breath.
He sat at her feet and brushed his hand against her ankle, causing her to shiver and remember with complete detail just how well he could use his hands. The next few minutes were torturous. She tried to concentrate on the conversation, but all her brain cells were focused on the man at her feet and the memory of what he’d done the last time he’d been there.
Zac shifted and pressed his arm against her leg, his warmth seeping deep beneath her skin. Freddie trembled. He leaned into her and it was all she could do to keep breathing normally. The man was driving her insane without effort. She needed to get away from him before she did something foolish like throw herself into his lap and beg him to finish what they’d started all those months ago and fuck her.
Whistles and clapping erupted and Freddie turned to see her brother carrying Kelsey into the house. With a smile, she faced the group once more, only to be pinned beneath Zac’s stare. His gaze drilled into hers and he didn’t need to say a word for her to know what he was thinking.
His eyes blazed with heat so intense that every part of her seized—burned. Her throat constricted, her lungs refused to pull air in or push it out, and her pussy clenched in rolling waves that squeezed moisture from her body and drenched her inner thighs. She’d foregone underwear in favour of a panty-line-free outfit and now regretted it. If she didn’t get up, there’d be a telltale wet spot on the back of her dress.
“Excuse me.” Freddie pushed to her feet and stepped over Zac’s outstretched legs. She couldn’t miss the way he slid his hand along the back of her calf as she passed and didn’t have a hope in hell of stopping her body’s reaction to that simple caress.
Walking briskly, Freddie headed for the bedroom she’d be staying in tonight. West and Kelsey were leaving early in the morning for their honeymoon and she’d promised to take care of clean up and returning the keys to the estate agent. It went against every principle she had, but if she had to, she’d hide out in her room until everyone left.
She opened the door, stepped inside and pushed it shut behind her. The latched hadn’t even clicked into place when Zac shoved his way into the room. In a move so quick she didn’t see it coming or going, he had the door closed and Freddie trapped between his hard body and the wall.
Air rushed through her lips a second before he took her mouth in a kiss that demanded full surrender. He drove his fingers into her hair and gripped her head as though he were trying to stop her from escaping. But Freddie had no desire to get away. She sighed and the soft sound was swallowed by the groan that rumbled deep in Zac’s throat.
“Can’t keep my hands off you,” he spoke against her mouth.
Freddie didn’t bother to answer. She let her hands do the talking, unbuttoned his shirt and shoved her hands under the open sides to get at his hot flesh. With fingers that shook, she explored his back, the muscles hot and firm beneath her touch. He growled and drove his tongue deeper into her mouth, and when she slipped her fingertips beneath the waistband of his slacks, he rocked his hips into her, pressing his hard cock against her.
“God, you drive me fucking insane.” He nipped at her bottom lip. Licked the sting away. “I need to taste you again.”
Zac tugged at the thin straps of her dress. Pushed them off her shoulders and down her arms until the bodice crumpled around her waist. Like underwear, Freddie had gone without a bra.
“Fuck, you’re gorgeous.” He stared down at her for a heartbeat before he leaned down and buried his face between her breasts. “I love your tits.”
His words vibrated over her skin and her already hard nipples tightened further. The straining tips throbbed with need as he scrapped his stubbled jaw over each one in turn. She let her head fall back and slapped her hands against the wall as a moan left her throat. “Zac.”
Zac pulled his mouth away from the nipple he was about to suck between his lips and stared at Red. “Shit.” He laid his forehead on hers. “Don’t talk.”
Their laboured breathing echoed around them and his pulse pounded in his ears—his dick. He needed to think.
“Don’t say a word. I need to think.”
He watched through hooded eyes as her tits rose and fell on each ragged breath she took. Her puckered nipples were tempting him beyond reason and he clenched his jaw, grinding his back teeth in an effort to thwart the need racing through him.
“You fuck with my head.” He closed his eyes in the hope of clearing the lust fog weaving its way through his brain. “I can’t think when you talk.”
“Ah, Zac.” Her warm breath bathed his mouth, making his lips twitch and his gut clench. “I’m not talking.”
Zac could hear the humor in her voice. Knew if he opened his eyes, he’d see a smile on her kiss-swollen mouth. “Shh…no more talking.”
Red laughed. A deliciously sexy chuckle that had his eyes opening and his brain thinking one thought. He had to taste that happy sound. The growl that rumbled in his chest was the only warning either of them had before he took her mouth once more.