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Authors: Tina Donahue

The Yearning (10 page)

BOOK: The Yearning
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“The food on your lips.”

Laughing, she slapped his arm.

He offered her another spoonful, smiling as she accepted it. “Do you make stuff like this every night?”

She and her sisters took turns. Her shoulders lifted. “About two or three times a week.” She fingered a bit of potato from the side of her mouth, liking the way he licked it off her finger. “There’s nothing like home cooking.”

“If it’s like this, I’d have to agree.” He scooped more salad on the spoon. Once she’d tongued it into her mouth, he licked the utensil clean.

“You should eat,” she said, talking around the food in her mouth. “I’ll feed you.”

“In a sec.” He laid the spoon on the tray and looked at her. “Tell me about you.”

Her chews slowed. What did he want to know now? Somehow, she got the food down, though traces of it gurgled in her throat. “Can you hand me a beer?”

He passed a Corona to her, watching, waiting for her history.

She gulped a mouthful of the brew. Her hand flew to her mouth to cover her burp. “Excuse me.”

“Not a problem. Want me to take that?” He reached for the bottle.

“I’ll keep it.” She put the chilled glass on her thigh intentionally, wanting it to make her shiver. If her voice shook, she hoped he’d think it was from this and not fear. “I thought I did tell you about me. But if you want a recap: I live here. I own a dress design business with the bulk of it being bridal gowns. They pay the best what with the lace and beadwork. My parents have been gone for too long, because of a stupid, senseless accident. And I’m alone. What else is there to tell?”

He dropped to the mattress, his head propped up with his hand, his steady gaze assessing her. “When you first approached me at the bar, your behavior didn’t quite match your sexy outfit.”

Her heart lurched. Had he seen her real personality at the Blue Bliss? Would he notice her worry now? If he did and persisted in his questioning, she’d have to start an argument and force him to leave. What other choice would she have? She couldn’t tell him the truth. With no other options, she pretended not to understand his comment. “Even after buying you a drink you didn’t think I was interested?”

“I knew you were. But you also seemed very afraid.”

Her nails dug into the sheets. The music changed, the new selection a tune by Steely Dan. Her mind tried to formulate a response he’d accept. Thankfully, it came. She tried to sound embarrassed. “Despite sending you a beer, I was afraid you’d tell me to get lost. As awesome as you admittedly are, you must have been rejected at least once in your life, right?”

“Well, yeah, but…”

“I’m not saying it was your fault. Whoever turned you down had to have had poor eyesight. Maybe she was a lesbian.”

He smiled briefly. “It wasn’t worry over rejection I saw. It looked more like fear of what you were doing and where it might lead.”

“I told you in the alley, I had a bad experience with a guy.”

“Your boyfriend, you said. Did you pick him up at a club?”

She lied. “A mutual friend introduced us. So much for playing it safe.”

He adjusted his weight, finding a more comfortable position. “I can understand the experience souring you on your friend’s choice in men, but that doesn’t mean hanging out at clubs is the way to go.”

She looked past him, praying he’d drop the subject. “Other women do it all the time. So do guys.”

“Yeah, I know.” He sighed loudly. “But you don’t seem to be the kind of woman to bring strangers home with you. Is tonight your first time?”

Unnerved by how close he’d come to the truth, she found it impossible to answer or to get angry with him. If he left now, she’d be in even worse condition. Already the hellish yearning had returned. “What if I said it wasn’t?”

“I’d guess you were lying. Tonight should be your last in the club scene. Hooking up with guys you don’t know is dangerous.”

Her head swung to him. “Have you hurt me?”

His brows lifted in surprise. “Of course not. Nor would I.”

“I knew that all along.”

His laugh sounded tired and perplexed. “Although I’m flattered, how could you come to that conclusion without really knowing me?”

She transferred the bottle from her thigh to the mattress and for the first time tonight decided to be honest. “In the club, when I asked if you’d been shot I saw the pain on your face.” Her gaze dropped to his scar. “Something terrible happened—and I know, it’s none of my business. But the look in your eyes told me you’re a good man.”

His frown and features went slack, saying he hadn’t a clue how to respond.

She cradled his face, running her thumb over his high cheekbone, wishing the calm had lasted, only it had not. “I’m still very hungry, how about you?”

She fed him most of the ham, advising that he’d need the protein for strength. He gave her both pieces of cake, informing that she’d need the carbs and sugar to keep up with him. Together they devoured the last of the potato salad and coleslaw.

Revived by the feast, he put the tray on the floor and crept across the bed to her, his hair skipping over his shoulders. “Where are your condoms?”

“They’re not mine, they’re yours. I’m giving them to you.”

He laughed. “Then tell me where they are.”

“I’ll get them.” She pulled a string of the shiny packets from the top drawer of the nightstand and draped them over his shoulders like a Hawaiian lei. “They’re the super big ones. I hope they won’t be too small for you.”

He looked down. “They may be. Ordinarily, I have to have mine custom made.”

Giggling, she tumbled backwards to the bed.

“On your knees,” he ordered, separating the first packet from the string.

She complied eagerly, turning her head so she could watch him. He used his teeth to rip the packet open. The others tapped his chest. He pulled them off, flinging them to the floor. His eagle tattoo rippled. Lust flooded her.

He separated the condom from the packet and worked the silky latex over the crown.

His fingers worked feverishly until the rubber was halfway up his erect shaft. There his hand stalled.

She laughed. “Come on, don’t tell me it really doesn’t fit.”

Mike didn’t comment. Head lifting, his gaze swept the room to end at the closed bedroom door.

Jasmine’s mouth went dry. Had he heard her sisters or Ben moving down the hall? How could he? She’d deliberately put on the music to drown out the other sounds. “What is it?”

He stared at the door. “Nothing.”

Then why was he acting like this? Did he wonder why she hadn’t left the door open when she supposedly lived here alone? Had the oddity of it suddenly occurred to him? “If you heard something, it’s just the floors and walls settling. The house is old. It makes a lot of weird noises. That’s why I close the bedroom door at night. It makes me feel safer.”

“I didn’t hear anything.” He shook his head. “I can’t explain it, but I had the strangest sensation of being watched.”

Her heart pounded. She stopped herself from glancing at the bath. On the left side of the counter, where she’d put his gun, a door led into Violet’s bedroom. Had Ben used it to come inside?

Earlier, he’d watched her and Mike from the stairway. That alone told her he was surely in her bath now. She imagined him kneeling behind the partially opened door, using the space between it and the jamb to watch what went on in this bed, to make certain she wasn’t injured.

She sensed his gaze moving over her partial nudity. The unseemliness of his spying would have stopped the old Jasmine. Tonight, her accelerating passion knew no boundaries.

She spoke up. “That’s because you are being watched.”

Mike’s head turned to her.

“By me,” she added and smiled. “I can’t help it.”

He unrolled the condom to his pubic hair, his face lowered to hide his grin. “I really enjoy your BS.”

“It’s the truth. And if you do enjoy it, show me how much.”

Challenged, he moved his thumbs down the furrow between her cheeks, though uncertainty colored his voice. “Have you done this before?”

The linens muffled her answer. “Not with you.”

“Well yeah, I know.” His words bounced on his laugh. “I meant—that is…”

“Don’t worry about me. I’m certainly not. I know you won’t hurt me.” She wiggled her butt.

Enthusiasm overcame his hesitation faster than a swallow follows a drink. “If you feel any discomfort, tell me and I’ll stop.”

“You won’t have to.” She proved it by consciously relaxing her body even as longing coiled in her mind, taking hold of her thoughts, banishing anything unrelated to this moment.

His girth made no exceptions for her narrow entry. She embraced the pressure and the act, subservience magnifying her urges. He moved with care and insistence, certain not to forget her pleasure. Leaning down, he rubbed her clit. Her blissful exhale of air matched his as the last of him slid inside.

Resolute, he kept his pace measured and slow in her anus and on her nub. Tension welled up, coursing from her genitals to the back of her neck.

His jagged breaths deepened his voice. “Doing okay?”

“Yes, don’t stop.”

He did not. His actions were both selfish and giving. The mattress vibrated with his vigorous pumps, the bed’s legs tapping the wood. Her pussy got the full attention of his gifted fingers.

Thrashing her head, Jasmine broke and came, shaking uncontrollably, not able to vocalize. Her body rocked beneath his relentless moves. His unending massage caused her to peak twice more, which ushered in his payoff. He made loud, uninhibited sounds with no thought as to niceties.

On an indistinct comment, he wrapped his arm around her waist and tipped them so they’d topple over. The bed bounced with their fall, rattling the frame. His punchy gasps whistled past her ear. “That was—was…”


He grunted. His fingers held hers in a loose fist, his arm’s weight pressing on her hipbone. Before she finished her yawn, she knew he’d fallen asleep. For the next few hours, at least, there’d be no more questions and he would belong to her.

Happiness bubbled up unexpectedly, as it had when she was a little girl and received a present she hadn’t expected. Drawing his arm more tightly around her waist, she allowed his weight, scent, and the music to lull. Remarkably, her thoughts remained quiet. The insides of her lids got gluey, encouraging them to stay shut. A feeling of weightlessness soothed. Not realizing it, she fell asleep.

In her dream she was back at Tempos, the restaurant Connor Rolands had taken her to on their only date. Dishes clattered in the kitchen, male servers in black bowties and vests hustled between tables set with fine china and sparkling silverware. The scent of bacon-wrapped filets made her stomach rumble, though no one came by to fill her empty plate. Had she told them she was too nervous to eat? First dates always affected her appetite.

“Try this,” Connor said, offering her a glass of wine.

She smiled across the table at him, liking how his white shirt and beige linen jacket enhanced his movie-star looks. He reminded her of a young George Clooney or Jon Hamm from that sexy TV show
Mad Men
. Female patrons deliberately passed their table, whispering to each other about how hot Connor was. Jasmine smiled and tried to voice her agreement. The restaurant’s music, an eclectic mixture of old hits, was too loud for them to hear her.

Jasmine stopped one of the servers to ask if he could turn down the volume on the current selection, a song by Whitney Houston. The young man glanced over her head and hurried off, as though something frightened him. Curious, she turned and saw a woman three tables away. Emptiness surrounded the area where she sat. Her hair was the color of champagne, her skin café au lait, her exquisite features a mask of pain. When she opened her eyes, Jasmine saw they were a sheer, unearthly green and focused on Connor.

Jasmine looked and found his chair empty, overturned by his hasty exit. She tried to stop one of the servers to ask where he went. None of them would acknowledge her. When she grabbed the sleeve of the maitre d’, he yanked his arm from her and backed away. “Get out of here fast,” he said.

Panic gripped her. “Why?”

He looked past her and fled.

The woman with the sheer green eyes rose from her chair. A man behind Jasmine murmured, “Do you know who that is?”

Another man hushed, “Desiree.”

You will want as I want.

Jasmine ran from the restaurant into the night. Horns honked, but no one was on the street, there wasn’t anyone to help. She heard a rush of wind barreling toward her. Reaching an intersection, she didn’t know which direction to take. Taut with fear, she looked behind. Desiree approached—intent, relentless. Jasmine heard her voice in her head.

“Connor is mine. You will pay. You will die.”

Horror constricted her throat.

Hair snaking in the wind, eyes narrowed, Desiree advanced. Jasmine tried to step back but couldn’t. Desiree loomed over her, hate in her eyes. Crying, Jasmine lifted her arms for protection.

A laugh tore through the violent wind.

Jasmine fell to her knees, screaming.

Chapter Six

Mike jerked awake, his pulse thumping, not certain what roused him. His head swung to the bedroom door. Still closed. His hand patted the mattress next to him. The linens were cool to the touch and empty.

Where is she?

Propped on his elbows, he took a closer look at the shadowed room. Moonlight angled across the shiny floor, rather than the four-poster, telling him some time had passed. He groaned to a sitting position and lifted his watch off the figurine. They, or rather he, had slept for nearly an hour.

Dropping his watch on the bed, he left it and turned down the music. He couldn’t immediately place the steady hissing noise he heard until he glanced at the bath. A faint glow, as from a nightlight, illuminated the wood at the bottom of the closed door. Was she taking a shower?

It reminded him of his own grubbiness. He could still smell the honey sauce on his hands, his bristly cheeks were starting to itch, and the forgotten condom hung from his flaccid penis. He dropped the rubber into a wicker wastebasket near the dresser and toyed with the idea of joining Jasmine.

BOOK: The Yearning
5.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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