Naked Risk (Shatterproof #3)

BOOK: Naked Risk (Shatterproof #3)
3.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub





Shatterproof (vol. 3)










Copyright © 2014 by Jordan Burke

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written consent of the Author.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.



Chapter One –




Watts showed up earlier than I had expected. I’d gotten home from work, changed into a t-shirt and shorts to wear while I cleaned up the kitchen and changed the sheets on my bed. I heard the knock, went to the door and saw him through the peep-hole.

“You’re early,” I said as I opened the door.

I immediately saw that look of his—another thing about him that I had fallen in love with—the stern eyes, clenched jaw, the way he strode in through the door and closed it behind him as he took my hand and led me to my bedroom.

All of it without a word.
No hello. No greeting kiss. Simple. Direct. Right to the bedroom.

He stood behind me as we both faced the full-length mirror, and I lost myself in that
familiar intensity on Watts’s face. He reached around to my front and took my breasts in his hands, caressing them beneath the t-shirt. My nipples puckered at his touch, and I pushed back to feel his erection. He was wearing black slacks, thin and barely enough to hold his cock back.

He slid his hands down my stomach and into the waistband of my shorts, tugging them down over my hips and letting them drop to the floor.

A few minutes ago, I had been cleaning my apartment, and now this was happening. It was a single example that mirrored my entire relationship with Watts—one minute plodding along, and the next, caught in a whirlwind.

reached into one of his pockets, undid his pants and let them fall to the floor. After taking off his shirt, he lifted me onto the bed, hovering over me. I watched as he rolled a condom on and positioned himself between my legs.

I gripped his biceps, feeling his taut muscles supporting his body as he pushed into me and immediately got into a slow, taunting rhythm. I moved one hand to his shoulder, then down, placing it flat against his chest.

After a couple of moments he said, “Wrap your legs around my waist.”

I tightened my legs around him and he rolled us over. He’d moved onto his back, taking me with him and letting me get on top, something I hadn’t done in what seemed like forever.

He pulled my t-shirt over my head and tossed it aside.

Straddling him, I worked my hips in small circles, taking all of his hard length insid
e me before changing my motion, picking up the pace, riding his cock.

I looked down at his hands cupping my
breasts, his thumbs exciting me, then shifted my gaze to his eyes. They were wide, intently focused on what he was doing with his hands as if he wanted to memorize every bit of me.

Finally, he pulled me down to his face and his lips locked onto one of my nipples.

I’d been lost in the feeling until he smoothly flipped us over—never leaving my body—and had me on my back again.

The thought of all of this—the newfound freedom I had with him, the flawless way we moved together and fit together—all of it brought me to the brink.

He fucked me faster, deeper, as I held one hand on the back of his upper thigh, pulling him into me.

A strange noise escaped my mouth

You squealed,” he said.

“No, I didn’t.” Or was that what that sound was?

“You did,” he insisted. “I fucking love that.”

He pushed in harder and I involuntarily made that sound again.

“I could fuck you forever,” he said, his voice raspy.

got into a long, even, hard rhythm, moving in and out of me.

Would you like that?” he breathed into my ear.


Do you trust me, Catherine?” His lips crushed into mine before I could answer, and his tongue swept through my mouth before pulling back. “Do you?” he repeated.


A spark of adrenaline flashed in my chest, making me grit my teeth and inhale sharply, as I started moving my hips in little gyrating motions, my muscles contracting and massaging his cock.

Watts was breathing rapidly and heavily, staring into my eyes, the most intense I’d seen him yet.

I was hopeless to hold off. I just couldn’t stop myself. I felt the spasms in my abdomen. They came quickly and fiercely, and so did I.

He picked up on my sounds and my body language. “I can feel you coming.”

God…I loved the way he said that to me
, and I let my muscles go slack as waves of pleasure spilled through my body.

As my stomach heaved with the
violent orgasm, I felt his cock pulsing, surging, as he came,
pumping into me.

After a moment, he collapsed on the bed beside me and pulled me close to him.

“Do you trust me?” he asked again.

I looked at his eyes, searching for…something. A reason, I guess. A reason that wasn’t evident in his expression, much less his words.

“You keep asking me that,” I said.

His lips closed tightly and he let out a deep sigh. “I need to know.”

I reached up and put my hand on the side of his head, letting my fingers slip into his hair. “I do trust you.”

What seemed like five minutes of silence
passed. It was probably more like twenty seconds, but the long wait for his words made me feel like we were separated by an ocean.

“I have so much to prove to you,”
he whispered, pulling me closer to him. The words he had just said to me were like a vow. That’s how I heard them, that’s how I was sure he had meant them, and that’s how I wished to believe in them. No one had ever made such a promise to me.

I nuzzled into his chest, feeling content, safe, and fulfilled.
“Don’t ever let me go.”

“I won’t.
I promise I won’t.”

he truth was that I did trust him enough now to take the next step. I also believed deep down that he wasn’t lying when he said he would prove it to me. But I didn’t tell him that.

I also didn’t say what I really wanted to say—that I had fallen in love with him.
I couldn’t say it. Despite how much we had shared, despite how far I had come out of my shell, I wasn’t in a position to make myself quite that vulnerable. Part of me wished he could read my mind and hear the words I was too afraid to say.

The time to say it would either come or it wouldn’t.

Everything from that moment forward hinged on Watts’s promise to me.




Chapter Two –



woke early the next morning. Catherine’s room was still dark. As quietly and gently as I could, I rolled over to pick up my phone off her nightstand.

5:20 a.m.

Wide awake. And thirsty.

I managed to get out of bed without disturbing her, and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. I took it back to the bedroom and sat in a chair on her side of the bed.

Catherine was lying on her right side with her arms tucked under the pillow. What little light there was revealed her form—one leg covered by the top sheet, the other bent at the knee and exposed; she was naked from the waist up, and I could see the outline of her breasts, her nipples slightly darker in the dim light.

The room wa
s perfectly quiet except for Catherine’s deep, even breathing. She was so peaceful as she slept. So relaxed. So perfectly beautiful.

I watched her for an hour, thinking…

My mind once again flashed back to the dream I’d had about that old fairy tale, and how it had been the first step in cementing my decision to be with her. The images of her melting like the snow princess still made my gut wrench.

Like the prince in the fairy t
ale, I was now responsible for what happened to Catherine—not only in terms of her physical safety, but also her emotional well-being.

When Howard McDowell entered the bookstore earlier that afternoon and gave me the ultimatum, he said he would give me some time to end things with Catherine. He didn’t say how much time. A week? A month?

It didn’t matter. I knew I wasn’t going to end it with her. I just needed to figure out what to do next.

As I sat there watching her sleep, the stillness of the room brought more clarity to the situation than I might have otherwise gotten.

Catherine had made her choice to stay with me, but she needed more. It was her life, her future. I would be perfectly honest with her about the danger she faced just from knowing me. Just hours earlier, I had told her that I would never let her go. She knew how I felt—almost, anyway, as I hadn’t yet said those three words to her—but I still needed to make it clear exactly what she was getting into. It wasn’t going to be an easy discussion, but it had to be done.

She began to stir on the bed, stretching her legs and starting to open her eyes. I moved to the floor, kneeling beside her. “Good morning.”

Her eyes opened slowly and a smile spread across her face. “Mmm. Hey.” I loved her hoarse morning voice.

I leaned toward her and kissed her forehead. “I’ll go start some coffee.”

She came out of the bedroom a few minutes later, wrapped in the top sheet. I had seen her do that before but this time it was different. It wasn’t going to be a quiet, easy morning.

Catherine walked into the kitchen and I handed her a mug of coffee.
A little sugar, a little milk, just as she liked it.

She sipped,
then said, “Thank you. Almost as good as Starbucks.”

“It’s my fallback
skill,” I said, leaning on the counter. “If I ever need a different job…”

She stepped toward me, pressing her body against mine, looking up at my eyes. I bent my head and kissed her.

“I can’t imagine you with an apron on,” she said.

I laughed softly. Goddamn, this was going to be more difficult than I thought. She was in a comfortable, fun, flirty mood and I was about to ruin it.

I took her hand and led her into the den where we sat next to each other on the couch.

“What just happened?” she asked, looking worried. “You were smiling just a few seconds ago, and now I see your jaw all
tensed up.”

I didn’t say anything. I just
looked at her, and I couldn’t help but see her as that snow princess.

“Watts? Talk to me. You’re worrying me. And why did you keep asking if I trusted you?”

She’d gone from relaxed and content to nervous and nearly frantic in the span of thirty seconds. It was my fault. I couldn’t let her linger anymore like this.

I took a sip of my cof
fee, set the mug on the table, and turned to face her. “This can’t wait. There are things you need to know. And you need to make a decision.”

Her brows furrowed and she cocked her head to the side a little. “
I already did. I told you, I’m not going anywhere. I want to be with you.”

I searched her face, watching it change from its earlier relaxed expression to worry, and now to what appeared to be abject fear. Or anger. Maybe both.

Her lips closed tightly and she shook her head. “Don’t do this.”

My breathing was getting shallow. I recognized it the instant it started and I needed to get it under control, remain calm,
keep my cool. I took a slow, deep breath before continuing: “Catherine—”

She cut me off.
“You’re setting me up to leave me.”

I had feared she would interpret this conversation like that
, and she did, in just one sentence. Her issues with abandonment would come raging back, flooding her mind, clouding her ability to understand what I was really doing.

“I’m not
leaving,” I said. “Everything I’ve said to you is true. Exactly how I feel. You said you trusted me. I need you to listen to me.” I kept my voice as soft and low as I could, not wanting to upset her anymore than I already had.

She didn’t say anything. Instead, her eyes left my face and her gaze dropped down to her lap where she held the steaming coffee mug.

“You said you would trust me,” I continued, and her eyes shot back up to my face. “You can’t truly trust me unless you know exactly what it is you’re getting into. It would be selfish of me to downplay the risk and danger you face. And I can’t do that. I want you to be with me, by my side, the rest of the way. But I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t make you aware of exactly what you’re facing.” I paused for a moment. Our eyes were locked on each other’s. “Okay?”

She nodded. “Okay.”

“I live a dangerous life. It’s dangerous for me, and for other people. I’ve gone ten years knowing it could all end at any second.” I hesitated for several seconds, not wanting to say the words, but knowing I had to. “I promised that nothing would happen to you, but I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t make it clear that there’s always going to be risk. It’s just the way the world works.”

Her face was still a mask of fear and worry. The anger had disappeared. I hated putting this kind of pressure on her, but it had to be done. She had to face it squarely in order to make the best decision for her.

She wasn’t answering yet. She probably knew I had more to say.

“We’re already more involved than either o
f us could have thought,” I went on. “Once you’re in, though, there’s no turning back—not from the lifestyle I live, and there’s no turning back from
. I’d never be able to leave you out there, alone, with the threat of your connection to me posing a threat to your safety. I’ll never be out of your life. Everything will change in a major way.”

“I’ve thought about it so many times,
” she said, this time without hesitation. “And each time, the future looks nothing like my life so far. I want that. I want

You have me,” I said. “You just need to decide if you want to keep me.”

She smiled as a tear rolled down her cheek.
“I’ve spent my entire life feeling like I was either in a prison or randomly floating around with no anchor. I thought changing my lifestyle and cutting myself off from people and getting a good job would give me something to hold on to. It’s a safe way to live, but it’s not a life.”

She paused for a moment, and I couldn’t help but think how similarly we looked at the world. Solitary lives, singularly focused on doing our jobs. She was right. It was no way to live a life. I’d known this for
a while now, more and more as I got older and each year passed, but I’d never felt it as strongly until I met her.

I lifted my hand to the side of her face and wiped her tear away with my thumb.

“I haven’t felt as real as I do now. Ever,” she continued. “You’re the only person I’ve ever had any kind of connection with, and that’s why I took a chance on you. I’m so glad I did. I realize you’re asking me to take another chance, but you’re taking a chance on me, too, you know?” Her eyes flicked back and forth between mine.

She was right. I nodded.

“So,” she said, “I trust you, Daniel Watts. I do. But do you trust me?”


I pulled her to me, pressing my lips to hers. She began to cry a little more, and tried to pull away, but I couldn’t let her. I wanted to feel her lips on mine a little bit longer. After a moment, I let her go.

“So, as far as you letting me go?
” she said. “You couldn’t even if you tried.”

I pulled her onto my lap and leaned back on the couch. She leaned in toward my face and we kissed. There were almost unspoken words as our lips and tongues devoured each other.
Words that would soon be spoken when the time was right—when I felt she was safe enough to hear them.

She sat back up, her hands on the sides of my face. She was smiling a smile that I could have looked at for hours, but she had to get to work and
I had to get back to Baltimore and spend a few days on something this week.

“Maybe you should do something the next couple of nights,” I said, sitting up. “Something normal.”

“Something normal?” Her feet hit the floor and she stood.

I stood before her, gazing into that beautiful face of hers. “Go out with what’s-her-name? Tara? She’s always trying to get you to do something. Go. Have fun.”


“I know. You’re going to worry. It’s going to be okay. Everything’s going to be okay.”


BOOK: Naked Risk (Shatterproof #3)
3.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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