Read Blackout Online

Authors: Rosalie Stanton

Blackout (3 page)

“I mean,” she said, “how was it? Hunter told me I looked like a kid trying to impress a teacher or something.”

Lennon swallowed hard. “Hunter,” he repeated.

“The ex.”

“I gathered.”

“I didn’t send it to him after he dumped me as some insane way to show him what he was missing or anything that pathetic.” Kenzie sighed. “Well, not quite that pathetic. It was well before we broke up. He did a semester abroad in college and I…damn, I didn’t realize how stupid this sounds until now, believe it or not, but I sent it to him to show him I missed him.”

“I see.” His voice sounded calmer than he would have thought, for all the noise in his head.

Kenzie made a face as though it didn’t matter one way or another. She still didn’t look at him. “Anyway…I just wanted to…I mean, I was just curious…”

“How it was?”

She nodded, her shoulders dropping. “Yeah. Did I…was I like he said? A kid trying to impress a teacher?”

Lennon flashed to the image of her cupping one perfect breast and pinching her nipple for the camera as her other hand toyed with her pussy, inserting one, two, then three drenched fingers into her slick channel. She giggled then moaned, slowly dragging her wet digits over her tender flesh until her swollen clitoris was trapped under her thumb.

The predicament in his trousers did not appreciate his mind’s detour. His cock pressed firmly against the fabric, aching for attention. The distance separating him from Kenzie suddenly seemed downright cruel, as though the universe were repaying him for some tacit offense. She was close but impossibly far at the same time, and doing what he truly wanted to do was out of the question. He couldn’t tell a woman he’d gotten fired, after all, that she was the closest thing to perfection he’d known, especially with a list of reprimands waiting in case she tried to sneak out with the Buckingham file. Furthermore, and more to the point, why in the world would she believe him? They’d spent little to no personal time together; what he knew of her was constructed through brief, casual conversations, observations, and a whole lot of fantasy. Once he broke down the pedestal, he might not like what he found.

But looking at her now, Lennon honestly couldn’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy, let alone where the two merged. All he saw was a woman he’d wanted fiercely asking him how he viewed her sexual performance on a tape he shouldn’t have seen. He wanted to pounce on her, trap her beneath him, and feel that tantalizing pussy for himself. Watch her face contort with pleasure as his fingers—not hers, but his—explored her body, massaged her clit, pumped into her, and readied her for his cock. He wanted her to squeeze him until the lights went out. He wanted his name on her lips, her breasts in his hands, and her eyes on him as she took him inside again and again.

Lennon blinked, and the room seemed to blink with him.

“You,” he whispered, “you were…”

“Yes?”

Christ, her voice was soft.

“Kenzie…”

He looked at her, and she looked back, apparently no longer interested in the other corners of the elevator.

“I…” Lennon started, then shook his head and broke off. “Why is this so important to you?”

Kenzie released a long breath. “’Cause I wanna know. That tape is the…well, dumbest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s all me. And I’m already mortified and unemployed, and can now add petty larceny to my list of accomplishments, so I have nothing to lose by admitting I want to know what you thought.”

Well, put like that, it seemed he owed her. So he answered with the truth.

“You…I thought you were beautiful.”

Her smile was patient. “Is that it?”

And then, for no reason whatsoever, Lennon snapped. Adrenaline, stress, guilt, and shock mounted toward an unavoidable explosion. He wanted to give her honesty—she deserved that. But he deserved a break too.

“What do you wanna hear? That I jerked off? Thought of you looking at me while you stick your fingers up your cunt? Of course I did. I pumped my dick sore looking at you. Over and over. Told you as much, didn’t I? Said I couldn’t stop watching, didn’t I? It was the honest-to-god truth. Fuck me, I was gonna pop it in tonight and picture you on all fours sucking me so hard I forgot my name. I was looking forward to it. The fucking highlight of my fucking day. Thanks very much. Is that what you wanted?”

Kenzie swallowed visibly but still didn’t look away, as though determined to confront something. He had to hand it to her—he wasn’t sure if he could have maintained eye contact had the shoe been on the other foot, especially with a very noticeable blush that turned redder by the second.

There was something there, though—something burning in the depths of her eyes. Something he hadn’t seen before, at least not on Kenzie’s face. Something beyond the stretch of whatever game they currently played.

Lennon had been around the block enough times to know when a woman was interested in him. Or rather, he thought he had. For whatever reason, the notion that his confession had interested Kenzie rather than scandalized her seemed inappropriate—or too fucking good to be real. It wasn’t enough that he’d wanted her as long as he had. If she wanted him back…

He expelled a sigh and shifted. Whatever else, he wouldn’t be the one to break this silence.

Yet for all his wanting, a thousand lifetimes couldn’t have prepared him for the words that next came out of her mouth.

“Show me.”

He stared, a warm tingling sensation spreading through his stomach. “What?”

“Show me,” Kenzie said again, nodding pointedly at his erection. “You’ve seen mine. Show me yours. Show me what you do when you watch my tape.”

“Are you playing with me?”

“No.”

“Then why—”

“’Cause it’s fair,” Kenzie explained, her tone cool. “And you can’t think you were the only one who had fantasies.”

Lennon’s throat ran dry. “You thought of me?”

She laughed. “Have you looked in a mirror recently?”

“So my body then? That’s all.”

Kenzie hesitated, then nodded again. “Of course. What else?”

A hot rush of anger combated with the rising heat in his skin, but his aching cock didn’t care. There was no cause for Kenzie to want anything else, but damn, though he’d wanted to be something, he’d almost prefer nothing over just a body to keep her warm throughout the night.

His cock, however, didn’t give a flying fuck what she wanted him for. His cock was eager to perform.

Lennon cursed under his breath and drew his right hand to his fly. Kenzie kept her gaze on him as he shifted and freed his cock completely. She didn’t say anything, but her eyes darkened and her tongue took a sinuous swipe of her lower lip. His blood pumped harder, and he bit back a groan.

Perhaps before the night was finished, that tongue would lick something else.

“I start like this,” he said, tenderly squeezing the base of his cock before drawing the flesh upward. “Not too much pressure. Like a little tease or something.”

Her breathing hitched. “I see.”

“Starting slowly is key.” Lennon maintained these strokes, his fingers falling back down his length just before he reached the head. “Gets me nice and ready. Don’t want to blow it too soon, you know. Wanna be able to watch the whole damn show. Finish when you do.”

“With me?”

Lennon nodded, picking up the pace just a hair. “My favorite part,” he continued, amazed at how level and even he managed to keep his tone with the situation in his head so loud and intense. “My favorite part is when you stick your fingers inside your mouth, right before you touch your clit.”

Kenzie swallowed audibly, and this time he didn’t bother holding back his groan.

“Is it?”

“Oh yeah. I can imagine your lips around me. Pulling me deep into your mouth.”

“That’s something you want?”

It seemed wiser, at the moment, not to acknowledge the question’s absurdity—as though any man in his right mind wouldn’t want a blowjob.

“Oh yeah.”

“From me?”

Lennon arched a brow, at last pinching the head of his cock. “What do you think?”

“I think…” Her gaze remained locked on his prick another long beat before she looked up again. “Stand up.”

“What?”

“Stand up.”

His hesitation was fleeting. Why bother questioning her now?

Once he was on his feet again, cock bobbing in the air, Kenzie crooked a finger and beckoned him toward her. He followed without thought.

“Kenzie…”

Sharp beads of pleasure rumbled through his veins as she wrapped her hand around his shaft.

“Lennon?”

Oh fuck. Oh fucking fuck.

“Y-yes?” he stammered unevenly, his eyelids fighting to remain open, which became damn near impossible when she began stroking him. Was this real? Shit, was any of this real? Everything since he left the office had been on a strange, elevated plane of reality. Walking down the hall toward his apartment only to find the door ajar, catching Kenzie in the elevator, the power shutting off, and now…

Whatever it was she intended to say remained a mystery; instead, she drew nearer, her lips parting and sucking the head of his cock inside her hot, sweet mouth. Lennon hissed and leaned forward, bracing his hands on the wall behind her.

“Oh Jesus…”

Kenzie squeezed the base of his erection, her tongue teasing the underside of his belled head. She was tentative at first—as though worried she’d break him by sucking too hard—but soon gained ground and developed an easy, natural rhythm. And every second was pure bliss. Lightning sparks shot through his trembling arms and sweat dampened his forehead; any time now, he would stir out of the most vivid wet dream he’d ever entertained with a raging boner. Or snap out of some anxiety-induced coma the week had placed him under. Or anything but what was actually occurring within the same bland, brown rectangle that carried him floor to floor throughout the week. He’d never again see the inside of the elevator without picturing Kenzie’s face. Without visualizing the way she looked now, pulling his dick intently into her mouth, her head bobbing, her eyes on him.

That was what did it. Her eyes.

“Why?” Lennon gasped at last, hips thrusting of their own volition. Every time her mouth pulled away sharp pangs of protestation riddled his nerves and he became desperate to regain it. Her mouth. Her tongue. Even the hint of teeth gracefully sliding against his skin. She pulled the foreskin over his head and squeezed, then rolled it forward and squeezed again. “Why…now?”

She released him and threw her head back, her gaze burning as her hand pumped his cock in the absence of her mouth. “’Cause I wanted it too.”

The words made no sense. “Wha…”

“This. You. Me. All of it.”

“You’re…no more games. You…”

She nodded.

“You…” The thought was too explosive to handle. A ragged sigh tore through his lips and his eyes rolled back as his cock slipped inside her mouth again. Her strokes became firmer, more confident, her lips applying sweet pressure to the tip with every wicked lap. And the more she gave, the more he needed. The more desperate he became. Lennon swore blindly, his hands abandoning the wall and finding her hair, wrapping those glorious brown strands around his fingers. His hips jerked and he did his best to keep from stuffing himself down her throat, but god, he needed more. He needed everything she had to give.

Kenzie murmured around his cock, sending sweet vibrations through his skin. He felt her other hand on his balls, cradling, massaging, coaxing him closer to release. All it took, though, was one glance down. One brief look at her, her eyes, her face, her mouth wrapped firmly around his prick and pulling with enthusiasm he was certain no woman could fake, and the agonizingly wonderful pinpoints of release pushed to crescendo.

“Kenz—”

She cut him off before he could find words, pulling him in as far as she could muster and working her throat muscles around him, and he lost it. White-hot bolts of bliss ripped through his tired body. He spasmed, coming hard—harder than he could remember—and she drank him down. It lasted forever but was over in seconds. Sweat dripped into his eyes, cold tremors took his body, and when he looked down again, Kenzie was staring up at him. Words assaulted him in no particular order, but he bit them back. Let her speak first—he was done talking.

Lennon slumped back, staggering on wobbly legs. He crashed against the opposite wall and sank to the ground, panting. Kenzie’s gaze followed him, but she still didn’t speak.

If it had ever been a game to her, now it was something more.

He just didn’t know what.

Four

 

If Kenzie breathed any harder, her chest would break.

Thankfully, Lennon had yet to speak. At least, that seemed like a good thing. It gave her a chance to sort through the abundance of mental crap unloading onto her already fragile psyche. In the midst of a tentative truce, she’d talked herself into a corner and let her inner wild child loose on the one man she couldn’t have. Whatever neutral ground they’d found was well out of reach now. If there was a path back, she couldn’t see it.

“I’m sorry.”

As soon as her voice touched the air, blood rushed to her cheeks. Dammit, she hadn’t meant to speak the words aloud.

Lennon looked up, confusion marring his face. “What?”

She inhaled deeply and rubbed her arms. “Sorry. For…well, that.”

He just stared at her without speaking. Then a bubble of laughter erupted from his lips and was quickly followed by another. In seconds he was laughing hard, his arms crossing around his middle and his features dissolving into a fit of hysterics.

Kenzie scowled. “What?”

Lennon shook his head. It took four tries to stifle his giggles before he calmed.

“You,” he said, his voice teetering between sobriety and breaking again. “You gotta be the only woman on the fucking planet who would apologize to a man for sucking his dick.”

If her skin had ever been this hot before, she didn’t remember it. “Gee. Thanks.

“What the hell do you expect from me? ‘No, no. It’s all right. No harm done.’ Shit, Kenzie…”

“Well, you could start by not being a total ass.”

“Sorry. Can’t be held responsible for my reaction to an outrageous apology.”

“I didn’t mean to do that.” The words sounded ridiculous to her, and judging from Lennon’s trembling lips, equally ridiculous to him.

“I’m sure women go around giving accidental blowjobs all the time.”

“Stop it!”

“Stop what?” Lennon demanded. “Stop finding it amusing that you’re apologizing for blowing me? Not a chance.”

Kenzie huffed, tearing her gaze away from his and focusing instead on the elevator’s corner. “I got carried away. The video…and you…”

“If that’s what happens when you get carried away, feel free to—”

“Could you do me a favor and shut the fuck up?” she snapped, glancing at him before looking away again. At last all hints of mirth faded from Lennon’s face, as though it finally dawned on him she was seriously distraught. And then it was her turn to laugh. Suddenly and without direction, realizing at last what exactly it meant to be in on the joke. “God, what a mess. How the hell did we get here?”

Lennon was quiet for a long moment. “I don’t know.”

“He wants me back, you know.” Kenzie held up the tape. “Hunter. Gotta admire a guy who loves you so much he fucks around on you, blames you for not being interesting enough in the sack, and then sends a tape you made for him because you were dumb enough to love him to the guy you actually like. And then you, instead of acting like a decent human being, use this as a masturbatory aid that ends up costing me my job.” She shook her head. “One little tape.”

“He cheated on you?”

Kenzie laughed again. “How else do you think this story ends, Lennon? Of course he cheated on me. That’s not the question. The question is just how stupid was I to think he wouldn’t?”

“Kenz—”

“I mean, how many times does someone have to say he’s bad news before it sinks in? Before you realize you are not the exception?” She waved the tape again. “I knew what he was when I made this. I wanted him to remember me while he was out chasing European tail. I wanted him to feel…something. And he did. I’m sure he enjoyed it just as much as you did—”

“Somehow I doubt that,” Lennon deadpanned.

“I dunno. But here’s the big question—why the hell did I bother?” Kenzie redirected her gaze to him and held this time. “Was it because I loved him? In my own, pathetic way, sure. The way you love the first guy who fucks you. The guy who says he’s the forever type. The guy you know better than anyone else. But the last time I checked, I’m not a doormat, so why did I turn myself into one for him? Why did I let him get so deep inside my head that I craved his approval so much I’d get naked and fuck myself on camera?” She sighed. “You know what? I’ll lie in the bed I made. Whatever happened in Hunter’s warped mind to think sending my boss a sex tape I made back in college would show me the error of my ways…well, I guess it’s just about what I deserve.”

“Stop it.”

“Why? It’s the truth.”

“Bullshit. Everyone goes nuts in college. It’s sort of the point of college.”

“I bet you didn’t make a sex tape.”

Lennon snickered. “Kenzie, if that tape’s all you have to be ashamed of, you’re a right and true success. I once got hammered and wrapped my boss’s Honda around an oak tree.”

She allowed a small side-mouthed grin. “If it was a Honda, you did him a favor.”

“Strangely he didn’t see it that way.”

“Is that all you have to make me feel better?”

“About what?” Lennon retorted sharply. “You can’t control anyone’s actions but your own. You gave an asshole something private and he exploited it. You can’t say you knew that would happen when you made the tape, can you?”

Kenzie inhaled deeply. “I should have known.”

“Yeah. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. Hindsight’s a fucking bitch. We’ve all been there.”

“Everyone told me he was bad news.”

“Of course they did. Part of the thrill, right? Knowing you shouldn’t but damn the consequences? Honestly, you act like you’re the only human alive who’s ever been in love with the wrong person.” He paused. “You couldn’t control what that bastard would do, any more than you could control me acting like a horny teenager who’d never seen a naked woman before.”

Kenzie licked her lips nervously, doing her best to ignore the sharp intake of breath that resounded from the other side of the elevator at the gesture. “But,” she began slowly, “I am responsible for the way I handled this. With what…just happened.”

Thankfully, he didn’t start laughing again; rather, a small smile toyed with the corners of his mouth. “Can’t say I regret that.”

“I don’t know what came over me.”

“Well, let me know if you feel it creeping back. I can take one for the team.”

Kenzie felt herself grow hot all over again. If she never blushed another day, it would be too soon. “How long have we been here?”

“In the elevator? An hour or so. Why?”

“You’d think, in this day and age, fixing a little power outage would be nothing.”

“Who’s to say it’s a little power outage?” Lennon replied. “I still don’t have signal. Do you?”

She reached into her sweater pocket and procured her mobile. No signal, and a dying battery to boot. “Nope.”

“Could be across the city, then.”

“Seems unlikely.”

Lennon shrugged. “It’s the Midwest. Stranger weather’s been known to happen. My brother lives in Springfield, and he and my sister-in-law went without power for two weeks after last year’s ice storm.”

Kenzie shivered again, rubbing her arms. Great. Now she had the possibility of two weeks trapped in an elevator with her gorgeous former boss. She wasn’t sure whether to feel claustrophobic or turned on.

“Not that I think it’ll be weeks,” Lennon clarified with a short laugh. “People have a way of forgetting how technology works until it craps out on you is all. Since no one’s come yet, I think it’s safe to assume it’s not just this building, but someone out there is working on it. We might be stuck here a few hours, but I doubt any more than that.”

Not knowing how to reply, Kenzie opted for silence. It didn’t make her feel better, but she failed to see how it could make things worse. Every time she opened her mouth, she got herself in trouble. It was by her doing, after all, that had turned an awkward situation downright mortifying, and though Lennon was cracking jokes, she could tell he was shaken as well.

“For the record,” he said, clearing his throat. “Your ex is a jackass.”

She snorted inelegantly. “Thanks. Where were you when I was eighteen?”

“If I’d known you then…” Lennon sucked in his cheeks. “Well, things would be different.”

“Oh yeah? How so?”

“I’d have asked you to dinner, for one thing.”

Kenzie looked at him and shivered again, though this time for a completely different reason.

“Yeah?”

He nodded. “Yeah. And you would’ve said yes. We would’ve had a nice time too. You’d tell me about your classes, and I’d give you horror stories about mine. I’d try to impress you and embarrass myself doing it, but we’d have a laugh about it. I’d take you to a movie. Some slasher flick with limbs flying left and right every five seconds. It’d be to get my arms around you when you started jumping, but you wouldn’t jump, would you?”

Kenzie smothered a grin. “Are you kidding? I’d end up shielding you from the big bad monster, you big wimp.”

“Probably. Maniacs with chainsaws are scary.”

“In real life, yes. On a screen, no.”

“Either way, I’d get you against me.”

Suddenly the air between them was thick—thick in ways she had never understood. Distance became something both essential and maddening. She wanted to bury her face in his chest and wish everything away. This whole mess with Buckingham, the damned tape, the job, everything. In another life, perhaps they could have been together.

This life remained burdened with reality.

“I’d try to kiss you goodnight,” Lennon continued softly. “And you’d let me.”

“Probably.”

“No.” His voice was firm. “Not probably. You’d let me. I’d be a gentleman at first. Chaste, but not too chaste. I’d want to get enough of you in my mouth to carry you home with me and give me something to look forward to next time.”

She arched a brow. “There’d be a next time?”

“Without a doubt. And a time after that. Who knows? If we’d met then, we…” He broke his gaze from hers, sighing. “I don’t know. But it’d have been something. Whatever your ex did to you wasn’t because of you.”

“I never thought it was.”

“Yes, you did. I know you, Kenz.” He tapped his temple. “You know it in the head, but you’d wonder
what if
all the same.”

She crossed her arms. “I didn’t realize you were an expert on all things me.”

“You didn’t realize a lot of things.”

“Just what every girl likes to hear. Anything else?”

“Just this—if I had a girl like you waiting at home, nothing could have taken my eye off the ball. I’d get through each day knowing you were out there thinking of me, wishing me home.” He eyed the tape. “And that? If you’d sent me that, it would have been nothing but a bittersweet reminder of what I had to look forward to.”

Kenzie licked her lips. “But you would’ve jerked to it.”

“Well, obviously. Point being, the tape’s not you. It’s a substitute for you. I never thought I’d get the real thing.”

The elevator fell silent once more. If possible, the space between them felt heavier. Kenzie didn’t realize the ache in her head was the echo of her thundering heart until she noted how tingly her fingers felt. How every inch of her body trembled under the larger meaning of his words. She swallowed again, but her throat ran dry.

“Why didn’t we do this?”

“What?”

“The others at Doran and Gage fool around with their secretaries all the time. It’s practically a job requirement.”

Lennon shook his head. “You aren’t the kinda woman one fools around with.”

“So you never wanted to…I dunno, date?”

“Interoffice romance is prohibited.”

“But interoffice fucking isn’t.”

“You got it. Anything more than fucking and you’re bringing your laundry to work. Relationships get complicated.” He released a shuddering breath, and found the courage to solider on. “But if you’re asking if it were up to me…I’d have asked you to dinner right off. And the more I got to know you, the more I’d want to know. The more…”

“The more what?”

“You name it.” Lennon paused. “If I’d asked you out, would you have said yes?”

She smirked. “Are you kidding? I’ve already admitted to having had a crush on you.”

“That doesn’t mean you’d go out with me.”

“Actually, that’s exactly what that means. What planet are you from?”

He offered a weak, self-aware smile. “You really had a crush on me?”

“Gee, is that just now sinking in?”

“How did we get here? You secretly liking me, me secretly liking you…”

“You watching a tape I made for my ex…”

The smile faded. “There are only so many ways a man can apologize.”

“Well, you haven’t gone through enough of them yet.”

“What do you want from me? I knew it was wrong, but I—”

“Couldn’t stop,” she supplied for him. “Yeah. You’ve said that a time or two.”

“It hasn’t stopped being the truth.”

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