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Authors: Laura Jardine

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BOOK: Not Just a Friend
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Oh, God. Was he seriously thinking of taking advice from Gavin?

* * * *

Maya frowned as she opened the door to the lobby. Liam had sounded a bit panicked.

She was early, but only by ten minutes. The pizza—she’d stopped to get one on the way—hadn’t taken as long as expected, so she was ahead of schedule.

She took the stairs up to his apartment rather than the elevator. A man she didn’t recognize opened the door.

“Hey. You must be Maya.”

“Uh…yeah.”

“I’m Gavin.” He held out a hand. She wasn’t sure whether he wanted to shake her hand or was offering to take the pizza box; she handed him the pizza. “Liam’s cousin.” He turned his head. “Hey, Liam! Your girlfriend’s here.”

“I’m not his girlfriend,” Maya said quickly. “We’re just hanging out because we have nothing better to do on Valentine’s Day. Eating pizza and drinking beer.” She lifted up the six-pack of Guinness in her left hand.

“Liam, your girlfriend sounds pretty cool! Beer and pizza for Valentine’s?”

Liam came to the door, and Maya felt a jolt of desire when she saw him in his jeans and a sweater. He was wearing a light pink collared shirt under the sweater—appropriate for Valentine’s Day—and that looked good, too. She couldn’t wait to take it off.

“Gavin was just leaving. Right?” He clapped his hand on Gavin’s shoulder.

“Of course!” Gavin said. “Just leaving. Going to the bar to watch the hockey game. You two have fun.” He winked at Liam, then stepped toward the door.

As soon as the door closed behind Gavin, Liam said, “I’m sorry about that.”

She shrugged. “No big deal. Though I’m curious to know what you told him. You’d clearly been talking about me.”

Liam took the beer from her and set it on the coffee table. “I had to explain why I was unavailable to go to the bar with him tonight. So I told him about you. I said that I had a friend coming over, and I might have mentioned that we sleep together. The conversation went downhill at that point.”

“Please tell me exactly what happened. I’m sure it will be fascinating.”

“No,” he said firmly. “No way.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “We’re having pizza. Then I’m going to fuck you.”

Oh
.

Liam never said things like that. She was suddenly very aware of every inch of her body. It seemed like all the blood was rushing between her legs, and she felt empty. Needy. For the hot guy standing in front of her, who could give her exactly what she craved.

Screw it. They didn’t have to eat yet; they could microwave the pizza later.

She might be single on Valentine’s Day, but she was going to have a great time.

Maya wrapped her arms around his neck. “Why wait when you can have me now?”

His eyes darkened, and he pulled her close and kissed her mouth. His hands were all over her. One hand lifted up the bottom of her shirt, and the other struggled with the button on her jeans. She loved his desperation to touch her skin.

“I like what you’re wearing,” he murmured.

“Do you think it’ll look better on the floor?”

Liam ran his thumb along the neckline of her V-neck sweater, and her nipples hardened. She’d worn this sweater because it showed off her cleavage, and she wanted to look sexy for him. No big sweatshirt today.

“I’m positive it’ll look better on the floor.” He brushed his thumb over the peak of her nipple. She gasped, even though he was touching her through two layers of clothing. “
Positive
.”

When he slipped his fingers under the cup of her bra and touched her bare breast, she clenched her thighs. Knowing exactly what she needed, he dipped his other hand inside her panties and ran his finger over her slit.

“You know how many times I’ve come because of you?” he said.

“Thirty-seven?” Okay. That was a stupid thing to say, but she wasn’t thinking straight now.

Liam took a step back. “Have you been counting how many times we’ve have sex?”

“Maybe.”

She wished he would he would go back to touching her. But he didn’t. Not where she wanted him. He merely put his hands on her shoulders.

God, that had been a
really
stupid thing to say.

“Way more than thirty-seven,” he whispered, then pressed a kiss to the base of her neck, another one farther up. “I couldn’t even guess at the number.”

“Did you think of me when you jerked off as a horny teenage boy?”

“Oh, yes. Of course I did.” He kissed her throat. “As an adult, too.”

“Weren’t you thinking of Ginny Cuthbert, even when you were with me?” she said, then immediately regretted it. Why did she keep saying silly things? Liam’s touch was destroying her brain function today.

“I thought I would…but no. I always think of you. And I’m over her now.”

Maya let herself smile. She didn’t want him for herself, but she didn’t like the idea of him lusting over someone else. And as his friend, she was glad he’d gotten over his crush on a married woman.

That’s what she told herself.

Liam rubbed his finger over her cheek and smiled back at her. He looked at her fondly, but also with smoldering heat, like he could barely control himself. It was exactly how she wanted a man to look at her. In some ways, Liam was perfect.

It was too bad they were only friends.

“It’s just you and me,” he said.

She would have replied, but his hand dipped between her legs again. She was damp from her desire for him. As he stroked his finger in and out of her, she tipped her head back and moaned.

“Just you and me,” he murmured. “And the couch.”

“The couch?”

He started moving away from the door, and she walked backward with him until the back of her legs hit the coffee table. They toppled onto the sofa.

“Yes,” he said as he moved on top of her. “I don’t want to wait to get you into the bedroom. I want you right here. Right now.”

She shivered at his words. “Do you have—”

“Yes. Now shut up and let me fuck you.”

“Did I tell you how much I love it when you swear?”

“You did. But you didn’t say it turned you on. You just said it was amusing.” Liam pushed down the neckline of her sweater and her bra, and he swirled his tongue over her aching nipple. She was so sensitive today. “I hope you don’t find it amusing now.”

“No.” She swallowed. “I don’t find it amusing at all.”

Needing more of him, Maya struggled to pull off his sweater and shirt. She ran her hands up and down his bare chest, fascinated by his body. He wasn’t going to be on the cover of a fitness magazine. He didn’t have the muscle for that. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t gorgeous.

She raised her head so he could take off her sweater, and then it was her skin against his as they kissed. And it was perfect, until…

“Oww,” she said. “Did you bite my shoulder?”

He sat up. “I…yeah. I thought you might like it. I’m sorry.”

The moment was ruined, but then his mouth was on the place where he’d bitten her. His lips, his tongue. He was soft, and it was all okay.

Liam kissed his way down her body until his head was between her legs. He made quick work of the rest of her clothing and parted her folds. He touched his tongue to her clit, caressed her with his mouth, his finger sliding inside her body at the same time. This was the way she liked it—she’d told him that before.

But this time, it was different. It was
more
in every way. She was more sensitive, it felt more than amazing, he made her come more than once. When he rolled on a condom and sank into her, it was almost unbearably intense.

“Don’t move.” The words rushed out of her. She couldn’t stand it if he moved. It would be too much. It would push her over the edge. What edge, she didn’t know.

“You okay?” He skimmed his fingertips over her cheek. “Does it hurt?”

“Yes…No…I’m not sure.”

He started to withdraw, but she didn’t want that. She wanted
him
. She grabbed his ass and pulled him into her. Grabbed his shoulders, tried to touch as much of him as she could as he thrust in and out of her.

“God,” he said. “I love having my cock in you.”

Even when he was screwing her on his couch and talking dirty to her, there was something about him that was just so gentle.

She was over that edge now. Falling. It didn’t hurt; it was just such a powerful sensation, the likes of which she’d never experienced before. She’d thought she wouldn’t be able to bear it if it got more intense, but she’d been wrong. It was incredible.

So incredible.

Her skin started to prickle, and then she was crying out, maybe saying his name, she wasn’t sure. It was all overwhelming.

He slowed down after her orgasm, after she came back down to earth.

“My idea to sleep with you…” She released a shuddering breath. “It was brilliant.”

Liam pushed a lock of hair away from her face, and he held her gaze as he started moving faster. Held her gaze as he grunted and came inside her.

He waited a few seconds before he withdrew. She felt empty without him. For a moment, she hoped she’d have a string of bad dates, hoped she wouldn’t get a boyfriend anytime soon. That way she wouldn’t have to stop sleeping with Liam.

But she wanted to find someone, and she knew he did too.

They didn’t have all the time in the world.

* * * *

After they ate lukewarm pizza, Liam offered her cheesecake.

“No, thanks.” She shook her head. “I’m not a fan of cheesecake. Give me regular chocolate cake any day over that.”

He looked strangely disappointed considering all she’d done was refuse a piece of cake.

“You can have some,” she said. “Don’t let my dislike of cheesecake stop you from indulging. Did your mother make it?”

He went to the kitchen and came back with a small plastic container. “No. I did.”

“You made cheesecake for yourself?”

“And you. Since it’s Valentine’s Day.”

Maya wished she liked cheesecake, but she didn’t. Too bad. Liam was such a sweet guy.

She peered into the container. “That’s an oddly-shaped piece. It’s almost a semicircle.”

“I cut it up strangely. That’s all.” He sat down on the couch and had a bite.

“Why have you taken up baking?”

“It’s a useful skill. Women are impressed by men who bake, right?”

She imagined him pouring cake batter into a pan, a woman watching with a smile.

That woman wasn’t her. Of course not.

But Maya couldn’t help but be a little jealous.

Chapter 8

Once again, Maya sat alone at a table in South Plate, waiting for her date. She’d suggested this restaurant because the food was amazing, and this time, she hoped to enjoy herself enough to make it to dessert. Pecan pie…Mmm, that sounded delicious.

If only Liam had offered her pecan pie instead of cheesecake, then she would have been in heaven on Valentine’s Day. Pizza, beer, pecan pie, and good sex? It didn’t get much better than that. Though it would have been nice to spend Valentine’s with a boyfriend rather than a friend.

Tonight she was having dinner with Tom, a software developer she’d met on a dating website. They’d been chatting for a few days now, and he seemed like a decent guy.

But Tyler had seemed like a decent guy…and then he’d started talking about making art out of microwaves. Justin had seemed fine too…but now he was in jail. She wasn’t sure if Gerard was in jail. He could be, since he’d been caught stealing from his employer. She hadn’t cared enough to follow up on what happened.

Yep, these were the sort of guys who were interested in her.

So really, she shouldn’t be too hopeful that it would work out with Tom. But no matter how much she told herself not to hope, she couldn’t seem to help it. Years of disappointment in the romance department had not erased the part of her that had hidden romance books inside textbooks during class in high school.

It wasn’t like she needed a fairy tale. She just wanted the sort of love story that her friends and sister had, but it had always eluded her. One or two kids and a husband—that’s what she wanted eventually. A small family, unlike the large, rowdy one she’d grown up in.

Maya had another sip of her drink. It was quite good, better than the one Caiden had bought her at the izakaya restaurant. But maybe she just thought that because it was very sweet, and though she drank her coffee black, she’d always had a sweet tooth. She loved dessert—except for cheesecake. For some reason, Liam had to bake the one thing she hated.

Perhaps Tom liked baking too. Although he worked as a software developer, he looked like a muscular guy who spent a good amount of time at the gym, and the idea of a burly man making her a chocolate cake turned her on. If he didn’t bake, hopefully he at least went for cake every now and then rather than protein shakes. It would be no fun to date a guy who was obsessed with making sure he didn’t have an ounce of body fat.

He was five minutes late now. She would try not to let it bother her until it got up to twenty minutes. After all, she’d been fifteen minutes late for Allison’s birthday. And she would try not to imagine he was waiting for a large shipment of crack.

Like last time, she had arrived early. She wasn’t sure why she’d bothered. Maybe because she wanted to torture herself by waiting longer.

Or maybe because, despite all the disappointments in her dating life, she was excited about this. Perhaps she would finally meet her soulmate.

Yeah, like that’s going to happen.

“Maya?”

She startled at the voice that came from somewhere above her. She looked up into the face of a man…

Oh, God. What she saw barely qualified as the face of a man.

She hoped he was wearing a mask. And yet if it was a mask, that would bring up even more questions. Like why was he wearing a mask on a first date? Was he going to rob the place?

At first she brushed that aside as impossible. But then she thought of Gerard and Justin, and she figured it wasn’t so far-fetched after all.

Closer inspection revealed that it wasn’t a mask.

No, it was a facial tattoo.

Maya might have been okay with a guy who had tattoo that curled up his neck. She could imagine that being sexy. A small tattoo on the side of his face—that might be okay, too.

BOOK: Not Just a Friend
6.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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