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Authors: Ashley Suzanne,Tiffany Fox,Melissa Gill

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BOOK: Rekindle
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CHAPTER FOURTEEN

TINA

Placing my hand on the back of the chair in front of me, I hold myself upright.  I knew he was here somewhere.  I could sense his presence—this weird thing my body does without me knowing when he’s near.  I was a little excited.  I was dressed to perfection and a part of me wanted to show off.  Lacy’s upcoming nuptials have me reliving the happiness I felt the days leading up to my wedding with Nick.  And I miss him.

So, yeah, I was excited to see him, have a few drinks and talk about our lives before Tim died.  We might have ended in a mess, but we started out so beautifully, so in love.  Nothing can be done to control the things that happened to pull us apart, but I wouldn’t take back the time we had together before.  It was magical.

Lacy mentioned earlier she sat him in the back with her co-workers so things didn’t get awkward and I was on my way to go steal him away when Carl’s friend, the best man, stopped me and wanted to chat.  Diego’s a nice enough guy, but he’s a mortgage broker and completely not my type.  Even when his hand came to rest on my back it made my skin crawl.  Then when he leaned in to whisper it was wedding tradition that the best man and maid of honor take the fun back to a hotel room after the engagement party, it took everything in me to not knee him right in the balls. 

Disgusted, turning away from Diego and the rest of the group, I find Nick on the dance floor with a redhead.  Recognizing the girl as the receptionist who works at Lacy’s office, I already know Nick’s in over his head with this one.  This little firecracker makes no attempts at hiding her sexual proclivities and there are just some things Nick won’t even try once.  I tried to stifle a laugh, but then I saw his hand placement, reminding me of Diego’s hand on my back. 

And now here I am, watching the man I miss and couldn’t wait to see, cuddled up with a self-proclaimed whore on the dance floor, kissing her head like she’s so precious in his arms.  Kissing her like he used to kiss me. 

My stomach rolls and my knees quake, threatening to give out from under me.  Gripping the chair so tightly my knuckles turn white, I can’t even run away, fearful my legs will crumble beneath me.  So I’m forced to watch his smug grin and her cat in heat face as they spin around to the rest of the song.

Just as the tears are about to start rolling down my cheeks, Lacy steps in front of me, blocking my vision and I’ve never been so thankful in all my life. 

“Come on,” she whispers, sticking out her arm for me to steady myself and leads us into the bathrooms.  Once inside a safe space, she pushes me into the handicapped bathroom and forces me to sit on the toilet.  Putting my head between my knees, I suck in a few deep breaths and will my overly emotional state to calm down long enough to finish the night.

“I had no idea, Tina, I really didn’t,” she mutters, unwrapping a few squares of toilet paper and handing it to me.  Accepting her peace offering, I carefully wipe under my eyes as to not disturb my kickass makeup job.

“It’s not your fault,” I respond, standing and straightening my dress.  Lacy’s delicate arms come around my body and pull me close to her.  Reciprocating the hug, I curse myself for letting Lacy’s night become about me and my fucked up relationship with Nick and pray for the courage to face the rest of the night.  “I think I’ll be okay,” I reassure myself more than her.

“Bathrooms are for pissing, not having a bonding moment.  Can you get out so the rest of us can use the facilities?” some random person yells from the other side of the stall door and Lacy drops her arms from around my body.

“Excuse me for a second,” she kindly says to me, putting up one finger before turning and unlocking the door.  Cracking it slightly, she lays into the woman who couldn’t use one of the other eight toilets.  “I don’t know who you are and you sure as shit don’t know me.  I’m dealing with a crisis right now, so how about you stop bitching.  You have two choices … you can use another bathroom or you can piss your pants.  Either way, I don’t care.  But I promise you this,
princess
, you come knocking on this stall again before we’ve finished our business, I’ll find you, pull all that pretty weave out of your head and strangle you with it.  Got it?”

The woman doesn’t respond, but her heels clack against the tiled floor, the exit opens and I no longer hear her stilettos. 

“Was that really necessary?” I ask, laughing at Lacy’s antics.  There are three things you don’t screw with when it comes to Lacy—her money, her kid and her family.  And in case you missed it, I’m just as much family as every biological member she has. 

“Had she asked politely to use the stall, I would have let her, no questions asked, but no, she wanted to be a cunt, so I treated her like one,” she responds, face firm.

“Really?” I giggle.

“Everyone wants to be respected, but never once do they think they have to do something worth respecting.  It’s a two way street.  So if you wanna be nice, I’ll treat you nice.  If you wanna be a bitch…” she stops, not needing to complete her statement.

Giving Lacy one more hug, I make my way out of the stall and check my makeup.  Luckily for me, the makeup Lacy got me for Christmas is all high end stuff and a lot of water proof, which in woman terms means tear proof.  Once I approve of my demeanor and Lacy seconds my opinion, I walk out of the bathroom, Lacy at my side, and find our table in the main dining room.

Taking my seat, I refuse to look toward the dance floor again, worried the same picture will play before me and I’ll be back in the bathroom, tears streaming down my face.  Lacy deserves this night to be about her and Carl, not me and Nick.  We had our time, now this is hers. 

Dinner’s served shortly after my breakdown and I welcome the distraction.  Not realizing how hungry I actually was, I dig in with gusto, every taste bud in my mouth lighting up as the delicious filet flavors explode on my tongue.  Stifling a moan, I continue eating until I look down and nothing’s left. 

The party concludes with Lacy’s parents giving a heartfelt speech about how lucky Lacy is to have found her soul mate and a wonderful step-father for Dakota.  Lacy holds back tears as her father embraces Carl in a tight hug, whispering something in his ear.  Then, just as everyone is about to be excused, Lacy takes the microphone from her dad and stands next to Carl.

“Thank you, everyone, for coming.  It’s not every day we get to celebrate something so wonderful.  Especially in a city where we seem to be surrounded by negativity on a daily basis.  Other than my maid of honor, Christina Mitchell, Tim was my best friend.  He gave me the greatest gift of all, my daughter Dakota.  Until I met Carl, I was just going about my life, not really living it.  He brought back my sunshine.  He gave me the walks in the park, the white picket fence and the happiness I thought died along with Tim.  I just want to tell all of you, I’m so happy you’re a part of mine and Dakota’s lives.  And now Carl’s, too.  We’re blessed to have such great people supporting us and I can’t wait to celebrate this occasion for years to come.” 

Looking up at Carl, she smiles sweetly and he kisses her on her forehead.  “And to my soon to be husband, thank you for loving me in spite of my faults.  Tina’s the only person who’s ever loved me unconditionally before.  I have no idea what I’d do without the two of you, and I never want to find out.”  The couple exchanges a very private kiss for such a public venue and even I have to turn away, feeling like I’m imposing on their moment. 

Standing from the table, I give Lacy and Carl a quick hug and make my way to coat check.  As I’m waiting in line, all the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  Knowing he’s near, I straighten my spine and refuse to turn around and seek him out.  When I feel his hand on my shoulder, goose bumps flare across my skin and a shiver I’m sure he didn’t miss makes its way down my body.

“Nick,” I subtly say, not giving him anything more.

“Christina,” he responds, his fingers trailing down my arm and to my waist.  “Did you have a good time?” he asks.

“Not as good as you.”

“How many times are you going to call the pot black, kettle?”

Flipping around, I find him standing there, the top buttons of his shirt undone and his tie loosened to the point where he could just pull it over his head.  Biting the inside of my cheek, bringing me back to the point where I want to slap him instead of jump him, I swat his hand away from me. 

“I’m not the one who was all but screwing Lacy’s friend on the dance floor.”

“No, but you were the one letting that dick put his hands all over you earlier, am I wrong?”

“Diego?  Are you fucking kidding me?” I hiss.  “He’s the best man, and I promise you this, he came awfully close to having his balls chopped off after he not so subtly propositioned me.  You should do some fact checking before you start running off at the mouth, Conrad.”  Turning back around, I smile at my bravado.  This new Tina’s pretty badass; I might keep her around for a while.

Then she flees and desperate Tina reappears as Nick’s hand comes back down on my hip, squeezing softly, just the way I like it.  He leans close, his chest touching my back and his breath breezes past my ear, making me shiver again.  “So you weren’t here with that asshole?” he asks, tightening his hold.

“No,” I breathe.

“You look this damn sexy and you’re leaving alone?  Going home by yourself?”

“That’s the plan.”

“Fuck that plan,” he says, letting go of my hip, only to grab my hand.  Slipping past the line for coat check, he looks around and pulls me through the crowd to the storage room.  Once inside, he locks the door and turns to face me.  “It’d be a damn shame if you let all this sexy go to waste.”

My stomach clenches and my breathing accelerates.  He stalks toward me with the intensity of a tiger stalking its prey.  Part of me wants to jump in his arms, but I listen to the other part and back away until I reach the end of the room, my back pressing against the cold, cinderblock wall. 

“Nick.  We can’t,” I sigh.  Surprisingly, he stops and his hands rest at his sides, his fists clenching.  I know that feeling.  Needing to do anything to keep from reaching out and stilling the tingling in your fingertips.  The desire to touch is too much and you do the only other thing you can think of—clench your fists.

“I’ve given you space.  I’ve given you time.  I’ve backed away.  I’ve done everything you didn’t ask me to do, but knowing you better than anyone, I knew you needed all of it.  I’m at the end of my rope, Tina.  I shouldn’t have ever let you go the first time, and I’ll be damned if I just walk away again.”  Leaning down, his mouth just barely touches my ear, his breath traveling down my neck, sparking something inside me only he can bring to life.  “This is me coming after you.  You hear me, Tina.  You’re mine and it’s about time you get with the fucking program.”

With a slack jaw, I have no idea how to respond.  I didn’t know I wanted him so desperately until this very moment.  Swallowing hard past the lump in my throat and clenching my thighs together, I try to think of a gesture to let him know I’m more than ready for him tonight—more than ready for whatever he has to throw at me.

Pushing him away slightly, he’s eyes flash with anger before he realizes what I’m doing.  Running my hands up my dress, I grab hold of the thin, lace thong and pull it down my legs.  Handing him the flimsy fabric, he looks at it for a moment, and then he understands.

“Just when I thought you couldn’t get any sexier, you go and do something like that.  Bring your gorgeous ass over here,” he says huskily, grinning and putting my underwear in his pocket for safe keeping.

Good lord, put a fork in me, I’m done.

CHAP
TER FIFTEEN

TINA

Nick’s mouth comes down on mine and I’m lost.  My tongue no longer battles for control like it would have weeks ago—hell, even an hour ago—but submits to his.  Groaning his approval, he tries to pull my breasts free from the dress.  Frustrated, he turns me around, all the while placing kisses on the back of my neck and shoulders.  Nick finally finds the zipper hidden in the lace patterns and drags it downward. 

Pulling my arms through the holes, I wrestle with the fabric a little at my hips, and once it’s past that point, I hold the top and step out of my dress.  Casually setting it on a stack of boxes next to me, I stand before Nick wearing nothing but a necklace—the pendant resting between my naked breasts, the cool metal against my skin—and the shoes I bought the afternoon prior.

“God damn,” he hisses through his teeth, taking a step back and raking his eyes over my naked body.  “You’re so fucking gorgeous, it hurts,” he says, adjusting his very visible package inside his pants. 

With any other man, I’d be bashful, embarrassed even, flushing and dying to get under a blanket or back in my clothes, but with Nick, it’s different.  Holding my shoulders back firmly and placing my hands on my hips, I soak in his approval and take my own pride in his.  Slowly, but with purpose, Nick unbuttons his shirt before pulling it off his arms and tossing it on top of my dress.

Unable to stand the distance between us, I jump in Nick’s arms, my hands pulling at his hair, my legs wrapping around his waist and my mouth devouring his.  Reveling in his groans, I let my head fall back and his lips find my pulse, licking his way up to my ear.  “I’m telling you right now, I don’t give a single fuck if someone walks through that door.  You give the okay and we’re not stopping until you’re screaming my name.”

Damn near coming on the spot, I nod my head and moan when his teeth find purchase on the top of my shoulder.  “Please, Nick,” I whine when he stops kissing.  Then I realize he’s focusing on getting his belt undone and pants off and around his hips. 

Smiling at me, his eyes dance with arousal as he rubs his cock through my lips, resting at my entrance.  “Say the words, Tina,” he prompts.  I’d give him just about anything right now, if he’d do it already.

“Nick,” I moan, trying to push my body down, wanting to take matters into my own hands. 

“Words, Tina,” he commands.

“It’s yours,” I whisper, and not even a full second goes by before he pulls me down onto him, my walls painfully stretching around his girth.  He rests his head on my shoulder and gives me a moment to adjust.

“You’re fucking right it’s mine.  Always has been, always will be.”  His last statement scares me until I come to terms with the fact that he’s right.  It wouldn’t matter if we were together or not, when Nick’s around, my body craves his and vice versa.  We’ll never be done with each other sexually.  We’re far too compatible.

With his hips in motion, his mouth on my tits and my clit rubbing against his pelvis, it doesn’t take long before I’m ready to fire off like a rocket.  Panting his name, I hold him tightly to my breasts, needing just a little more to push me over the edge.  Nick’s fingers grip my ass so hard I’m sure to wear his marks the following day and the thought has my hands pulling out of his hair, pressing on his shoulders, using them as leverage as I desperately seek my release.

Both of our bodies slick with sweat, I lean down and lick a bead off his neck, the taste of him only fueling me further.  “Fuck,” I moan, our lower halves slapping together with such intensity, I’d be surprised if everyone outside the thin plywood door couldn’t hear exactly what was going on.

“I’ve only got so much in me, Tina.  Get there,” Nick growls through clenched teeth.  Knowing he’s close, I reach one hand between our bodies and manipulate my clit until the fluttering low in my belly turns into an inferno.  “Fuck me, you feel so amazing.  You’re squeezing the life out of my dick, baby.  Keep doing that.”

My tightly strung body suddenly explodes, my head falling to the crook of his neck and my legs quivering around his waist.  Riding my release, it’s seconds before Nick’s teeth bite down on my shoulder once again, his groans of satisfaction ringing in my ears as he joins me. 

Slowly and carefully, Nick withdraws from my body.  I ease myself to the ground on shaky legs, my hands planted on his chest until I gather my bearings.  Suddenly, I’m shy about standing here naked while he’s buttoning his pants.  Stepping into my dress, I turn around so Nick can zip me up. 

“Meet you back at your place?” he asks as I spin to face him.  Glancing up at his face, he’s as serious as a heart attack.  Unsure of his intentions, I cock my head to the side and wait for an explanation.

“You think I’m gonna get a taste and leave it at that?  You’re sadly mistaken.  I’ve got plans for this sexy little body I can’t do in this little-ass room.”  Shuddering, I don’t know how to address his proposition.  Do I want another earth shattering orgasm?  Of course I do.  But do I want to fall into this routine with Nick?  Something I can’t come out of unscathed?  That’s the million dollar question, ladies and gentlemen.

I already know what I’m going to say, so I kiss the corner of his jaw.  “I’ll leave the door unlocked.”

Slipping out of the room and through the doors of the restaurant, cautious of the wind whipping around me and my lack of undergarments, I rush to my car parked in the tower next door.  Racing home, I’m in my apartment and in the shower within twenty minutes.  Knowing Nick’s going to be soon behind me, I wash quickly and am waiting in the bedroom, under the sheets, when the front door opens.

“Get a head start, baby,” he calls and I know exactly what he wants me to do.  Pushing the blankets off my body, I reach my hand between my thighs and get to work on priming myself.  Nick stops on his way to the bathroom to enjoy the sight before him.  Instead of showering, he walks into my bedroom, crawls up the mattress and this time we make love. 

He doesn’t talk dirty to me.  He doesn’t move too fast.  He doesn’t work my body over like he’s in a hurry.  Nick takes his sweet time enjoying every facet of me, telling me in detail how much he’s missed this.  For a brief moment, I revel in this new side of Nick—the
old
Nick—and it feels damn good to be worshiped the way he’s doing it.

After another two orgasms for me and one for him, we fall asleep, or pass out, wrapped around each other, the blanket casually tossed over our legs. 

I wake the next morning, the bed empty next to me, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the small apartment.  Taking the sheet and draping it around my body, I stumble into the kitchen to see Nick pouring two cups, wearing only a pair of boxer briefs.  Walking up behind him, I snake my arms around his middle and place small kisses along his back.

“If I didn’t know better, it would appear I’ve fucked the bitch right out of you,” he jokes.  Laughing, I accept the perfectly prepared cup of coffee and sip cautiously. 

“If I didn’t know better, I’d think I fucked the cold asshole who never made me a cup of coffee in his life right out of you,” I retort, using his logic against him.

“Touché,” he mutters, sitting on the couch and pulling me on his lap.  “What time are you on?” he asks.

“Four,” I respond, glancing at the clock.  “So I better get ready.  You?”

“Seven, so I get a little more time.”  Nick starts kissing his way up my neck, licking the shell of my ear and whispering sexy little things to me.

“Knock that shit off,” I push him away and climb out of his lap.  “I have to get ready.  You should go.  I’ll see you later?”

“Yep.  Alright.  I’ll see ya.”

Within ten minutes, he’s dressed in his suit from the night before and doing the walk of shame to his truck.  Resting under the shower spray, I let the water beat down on my exhausted body.  Then, just before four, I’m stepping through the doors of the firehouse just in time to come face to face with the bearded wonder, Flynn.

“Hey, Mitchell.”

“Hey,” I mutter, walking past him to the locker room.  Setting my bag on the bench, I turn around and he’s there, too.  “You stalking me?”

“Nah, just wanted to see if you could help me out with something.”

“Oh, sure.” 

“It’s kinda private.  Can we go out back?” he asks, rocking back and forth on his heels.  Not too often will you find a firefighter nervous, so this has to be important judging by the look on his face.

“Give me just a second.  I’ll meet you down there.”  Changing quickly into my uniform, I leave my boots unlaced as I walk to the picnic table behind the firehouse.  Sitting on the top, I pull my feet up to get my boots situated.  “Alright, what’s up?  How can I help?”

“Okay, this is going to be really weird.  You know what, never mind.”  He turns to walk back inside.  I know what it’s like to not have anyone to talk to and for Flynn to come to me for help, it has to be really important.  Running to step in front of him, I place my hand on his chest and look up at him with sympathetic eyes.

“I can do weird.  And we’re a family here.  If I can help, I will.  All you have to do is ask,” I sincerely tell him, prompting him to continue.

“Okay,” he huffs out a breath.  “My parents are coming to town this week and I need someone to pretend to be my girlfriend while they’re here,” he rushes out, not bothering to enunciate any of his words, all of them running together like one large word.

“I’m sure you have no problems in the lady department.  I’ll be happy to pretend for you, if it’d make you feel better, but give yourself some credit.  You’re a good looking guy, I’m sure dates aren’t a problem for you.”  Maybe he’s had issues with girls in the past.  Firefighters aren’t really known for committing and most women they associate with assume they can fix them in some way.  I’ve seen it before and those pathetic women … I’ll never understand why they are the way they are.

“Thanks for that,” Flynn says, looking at his feet before raising his head to meet my eyes.  “And I don’t have problems with dates.  I’m also fairly sure my boyfriend thinks I’m a good looking guy.”

“Excuse me?  What?” I ask out loud, meaning for it to stay in my head.  “You need a beard?” I ask again, trying to recover from my outburst.

“Yeah.  I do.  And if you can’t do it, I understand.  They don’t know and none of the guys here do, either.  It’s not the kind of thing I want getting around, you know?  So if you could help me out, you’d be doing me a real solid.  I’d owe you one.”

Nodding my head, I take his hand in mine.  “If that’s what you need, then you’ve got it.  If we can’t look out for each other, then we shouldn’t be doing this job.  But I gotta tell you, Flynn, you shouldn’t hide who you are for anything.  There’s nothing wrong with you being in love with another man.  There’s nothing wrong with you.”


I
know that and
you
know that, but my parents won’t see it that way.  And I can’t have the guys second-guessing my decision because I love a man named Sam instead of a woman named Samantha.  It’s a fucked up world we live in and I’m just trying to get by.”

“I get it.”  I squeeze his hand reassuringly.  “Christina Mitchell, beard at your service.”

“Thanks, girl.  I appreciate it … and you.”

We exchange phone numbers and I give Flynn a quick hug before he walks back inside and I stand out back for a little while trying to come to grips with what just happened.  When I’m good with the situation, I stroll back inside.  And that’s how I became Flynn’s fake girlfriend.

BOOK: Rekindle
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