Read Sweet Online

Authors: Skye Warren

Tags: #Romance, #Adult, #Dark

Sweet (4 page)

BOOK: Sweet
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“Are fine.” A lie, but if I told him the truth, he would insist that I sit down, that I apply the ice pack with a detached solicitousness that I got from everyone else, all the time. I wanted the other part of him, dark and dirty. I wasn’t the first to be with him like this, but I was here now. And for now, that would be enough.

He slid open the belt and unbuttoned his pants.

I shook my head when his hand was halfway down the zipper. “Not yet. First I showed you my—” I looked down at the pale flesh peeking above the leotard I still wore. I had showed him my breasts.

His gaze was a tender mix of appreciation and bemusement. “Which I appreciated immensely, but I don’t think I have the right anatomy for that.”

“Show me anyway.” My voice lilted up at the end, turning into a question. Despite my demands, I wanted him to want this. This wasn’t a play at dominance; it was a different sort of game, one with points earned in longing and penalties for shyness. I had bared myself out of nothing more than desire, and I needed the same from him. “I want to see you, but only if you really want this.”

He didn’t answer with words. Instead he unbuttoned his shirt with slow, lazy flicks of the wrist while his gaze remained locked with mine. He tugged the sides apart, revealing a soft crinkle of hair peeking over the rim of a white tank undershirt.

After pulling that over his head, he leaned back—a pasha in a vintage chic armchair, casual and seductive and unafraid in the tower where I’d hidden for so long.

“Do you touch yourself there?” I asked, inclining my head toward his chest. His nipples were brown circles nestled beneath dark brown hair. His skin bunched in ridges at the top of his stomach, then smoothed out into a hairless expanse around his belly button.

“No.”

“Just…lower.” Where the hair became thick, pointing down into the waistband of his briefs.

“Yes, lower. Is that what you want to see? How I touch myself?”

“When you’re alone. Yes.”

Something flickered in his eyes, but he didn’t comment as he pushed down the blue fabric of his briefs and pulled himself out. It was thicker than I’d been expecting, more purple than regular flesh. He fisted himself and stroked once, twice, three times.

When he spoke again, his voice was hoarse. “It’s fast when I do it. Fast and hard and not all that good, really. But with your eyes on me, I think it will be even faster.”

I stared, fascinated, as he handled himself so roughly.

“Unless you want me to slow it down, I’m going to come soon. Unless you want me to wait.”

“Why?” I licked my lips, a motion he tracked closely with a gaze forged in iron. “Why would I want you to go slower?”

“There’s power in denial.” He stared at me while his hand shuttled at his cock. “There’s pleasure in waiting. Delayed gratification.”

“Oh. I wouldn’t know about all that.”

His laugh was curt. “You know enough, Rose. Any more and you might just kill me.”

Despite his assertion, it didn’t end fast. At least not like I’d assumed it would, based on his fierce pumping. He twisted his hand on each upstroke before settling down to a long, hard glide. Again and again, though still he didn’t finish. The mystery built in my mind—what would he look like?

My lips parted as I leaned forward. His breath stuttered, and his hand faltered.

“Rose,” he groaned.

“Should I help?” I whispered.

“Help how?”

Touch you. Lick you. Impale myself on you so we can both get what we want.
“I don’t know.”

He shook his head, his hand resuming its slide. “You can’t have it both ways. It’s either tease or fulfill me, withhold or submit—there’s no in between.”

With shaking hands, I pulled the tank top off me, baring myself to his hot gaze. “Then do it on me. It’s not really touching.”

A strained smile touched his lips, but his hand sped up. His eyes were glued to my breasts.

“Cup them again,” he said. “Like you did last night.”

I held them, relishing in the weight on my palms, the piquant offering they made.

He suddenly froze, his mouth falling open on a harsh exhalation. I tensed, waiting for the impact of his climax on my skin. Instead he shoved his hand in front of his cock, catching the ejaculate and blocking my view. He rocked into his hand in short, urgent bursts as his orgasm gripped his body.

He slumped back in the chair with a satisfied sigh. It filled me with a pride I couldn’t disguise even as I complained with a small smile.

“I thought you were going to do that on me.”

A wry look transformed sated features. “The first part of me that touches you is not going to be my semen.”

I felt a blush spread over my chest, painting the tops of my breasts with a rosy hue and heating my cheeks. A small grin curved his lips as he watched me.

“You’re beautiful when you’re shy.”

My heart squeezed at his baldly sweet words. “I thought you liked me aggressive.”

“I like you every way. When you’re aggressive, I want to obey you. When you’re shy, I want to shock you.”

I hadn’t guessed he could be this way—so honest, so expressive—but maybe that was the benefit of a man who made rhetoric his trade. I paused, licking my lips. His eyes tracked the movement.
Be brave.
“What does it make you when I’m horny?”

He leaned forward and murmured, “Desperate.”

Then he headed into the adjoining bathroom, and I heard the sound of running water. I was flushed all over from that one word, flattened by need and the total lack of time to fulfill it. My brother was waiting downstairs for Drew, and besides, the illusory debt had been fulfilled.

Gingerly, I pushed myself into the chair, which was still warm from his body. Unbidden, I had performed for him, and he’d returned the favor. There was nothing more I could offer, nothing more to demand. If I wanted more of him, I would have to ask.

He unlocked the door but waited.

“Will you call me?”

He smiled, a full and brilliant thing that sucked all the air from the room.
There
, it said,
that’s what I was waiting for
. An invitation, a request. A tug of the line toward me when I hadn’t even realized I’d hooked him—but I had.

That much was clear from his easy acquiescence to my every request, to the heart-clenching words of compliment and kindness. He was interested in me for more than sex, and only as the knowledge clicked in my head did I realize how surprised I was. How little I expected that from anyone, least of all a sane and stable person like him.

Only then did I see the netted cage of my past surrounding me. A high school relationship. How could it still bother me? A dad who talked with his fists. Well, whose hadn’t? Easy to dismiss in theory, harder in practice.

I pretended to be healed, but the truth was, I had been paralyzed, struck with the teeth of teenage cruelty and poisoned by memories. But the recognition of that taint only spurred me on. The fear could only contain me if I let it.

The hurt could only catch me if I stood still.

He handed me his phone, and I keyed in my number. Both of us could have gotten each other’s number through slightly sneaky means, but it was sweeter this way, like passing notes in class.
Do you like me?
This was the grown-up version, a contact listed in his mobile phone—
check yes or no
.

He took it back. “We’ll probably be working all night. Tomorrow.”

I couldn’t hide the smile that lifted my lips, a reflection of his. “Tomorrow.”

Footsteps from the hallway alerted us to a new arrival, and I jumped back, smoothing my palms over my stomach.

Philip peeked in. “Are you okay?”

“What? Of course.”
Don’t blush. Don’t blush.

Damn it.

He frowned. “Drew was taking so long. I worried you were more hurt than you let on.”

“My knee is feeling great,” I said honestly. “Barely feel a thing.”

Which was true. Vicarious orgasms had that effect, I learned.

Drew picked up the ice pack from the bed where I must have set it down. Like he didn’t have a care in the world, he was casual, tossing the blue plastic compress and catching it in his palm. “Works like a charm.”

Though the expression on his face said he wasn’t talking about ice packs at all. He winked at me as he shut the door behind him, and their muted words turned to work.

Arrogant man. No, that wasn’t right. Confident, charming man who found a friend in everyone he met, who smoothed over feathers that Philip was forever ruffling. If I pursued a relationship, even a purely physical one, I would fall for him.

Hell, I already had.

Which wasn’t a good thing. When our brother Colin had fallen for a girl, Philip had almost gotten her killed. If I cared about Drew, I would leave him alone.

And yet, I couldn’t resist. I may have lived with luxury and excess for over a decade, but the years before that had been barren. For those few years in a group home before Philip had gotten me free, I had learned to take what I was given and steal what wasn’t.

Drew was a banquet when I hadn’t eaten all day. I was a poor girl who didn’t have the will to pass him by, even knowing he wasn’t for me.

Chapter Five

T
he next day
after practice, I followed Lindsey out to the space to let. We parked on a sunny street lined with thick, evenly spaced trees and red brick townhomes. As a large truck pulled away from the meters, we nabbed parking spots one behind the other.

“No parking lot,” I commented as we crossed the street.

She snorted. “In this neighborhood? You’ll be lucky to get a few parking spaces in the garage out back.”

“Yeah, but parents need to drop off their kids.”

“And they can,” she said, gesturing to the fire zone in front of a courtyard area. “This is what everyone else in the city has to do.”

Resigned, I pushed through the throng of people in front of the coffee shop we passed. They had figured out a way to get there, and of course my customers would too. We crossed the courtyard, which, I had to admit, would be a lovely space for the girls to wait to be picked up. And after Lindsey unlocked the door and let us inside, all my worries faded.

Just as Lindsey had said, the place had been a yoga studio at the height of Chicago’s minitech boom but had lain dormant ever since. A beautiful wooden floor would need to be refinished and then covered with more knee-friendly material. I would install barres, which probably meant redoing the wall of windows. But it was perfect. Any place would need some renovations, and besides, something about this place just felt right. Warm and hopeful…or maybe I was projecting. I didn’t want to jinx it, but I had a feeling good things would happen here.

And the apartment above the studio was icing on the cake. It had been some sort of lounge, complete with beanbags and hanging beads in the doorway, but it had all the right parts for a living space, as Lindsey had said, and that was exactly how I planned to use it.

My savings would cover the rent on the whole space for a year. Not a huge cushion, but I had to have some faith that my business would succeed. I had to trust.

After I returned home, I stayed up late reading the contracts and rental agreement. The phone sat beside me, a silent testament to where my thoughts strayed so often. He was a busy man, hard at work, and if he was too tired to call, well, that was fine by me. But oh, I wanted him to. I lay back on the bed, stretching my shoulders, and wanted, wanted, wanted him to call.

The phone vibrated in my hand, startling me. I must have drifted off for a minute, as my brain was sluggish to start again. I checked the screen. Drew.

“Hello?” My voice was thready, not quite there.

There was a pause. “It’s too late.”

“No, no.” I turned and blinked at the bright red dashes on the alarm clock. One a.m. Okay, it was too late. “Is everything all right?”

“Yeah.” He swore softly. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have called. I just got home, and I didn’t want you to think that I had forgotten or that I wasn’t serious about you.”

Like a splash of water on my face, and I was awake. “You’re serious about me?”

Silence, and then, “Yes.”

I rubbed my eyes, shaking off the remnants of sleep. “Okay, you have to help me out here. I understand why you didn’t want to start mauling me in my own home, but if you were really interested in me all this time, why didn’t you ask me out? I’ve been out of the game for a while, but I’m fairly sure that’s the typical progression of things.”

“You’re not a typical woman, Rose.” His voice was dry.

He was talking about my brother. Me? I was as common as snow in a Chicago winter. As drab too. He seemed to have heard my unvoiced denial, because he explained.

“Do you remember the first case I took for Philip?”

Years ago, when my brother was making the transition from small-time “problem solver” to an actual businessman. Some lowlifes we knew from the old neighborhood had sued him. Honest to God served him papers. Philip had wanted to do more than make it go away. He’d wanted to teach them a lesson.

That was where Drew came in, a young hotshot working at a prestigious firm in a fancy skyscraper. He must have had an enviable paycheck and salary, and for the first time, I wondered why he’d left. Philip was persuasive, but Drew wasn’t easily blinded by flashy lights.

“Your brother showed up with an attitude and a fat wallet. None of the partners wanted to touch his case, but they weren’t about to turn down his money. So he got assigned to me.”

“I bet you were thrilled,” I said, thinking of how damn angry Philip had been back then. Still was, but he hid it behind expensive clothes and expensive cars and a disdain I might actually believe if I didn’t know him so well.

“I complained to my bosses, but I was still the new kid, no matter that I’d begun to make a name for myself. So we were stuck with each other. I was a cocky little shit, thinking I was the biggest thing to hit the Chicago law scene in the last decade. And your brother was…your brother.”

“But you must have gotten over it, since he hired you.”

“It took a while. He kept wanting me to lie and break the rules for him, and I told him there was no way in hell I was going to jail for a shithead punk. So he punched me in the face.”

BOOK: Sweet
6.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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