Authors: Jayne Kingston
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Fiction
“You sure you’re up for that?” she challenged, meeting his eyes unflinchingly despite the fact that he was now one hundred percent in control of her body.
He rolled her swollen hot button between his thumb and finger, making her body jerk and her breath catch with the shock of it, and leaned closer to her face.
“I guess there’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?”
He shifted off the bed and pulled her by the hips until her bottom was resting against the very edge, hooked his hands behind her knees and spread her open wide. Another shocking wave of heat blasted through her and she sounded a long, slow, deep moan the moment his tongue touched her. She twitched when he licked her as though she was an ice-cream cone, slowly at first, and then with an increasing urgency, alternately licking, circling and then covering her with his mouth and sucking until her moans turned into gasps and her whole body was quivering.
He let go of one of her legs and slid his hand up her body, impatiently pushing her hand out of the way of one of her breasts. He stroked it with is thoroughly masculine, almost rough palm, teased her delicately with his strong fingers until her back arched high and he had to hold on tight to her to keep her from wriggling out from under what his mouth was doing. When her cries peaked, coming up high-pitched and desperate on the ends, he rose up on his knees, buried his long middle finger inside her, cupped her throbbing sex with the palm of his hand and simply watched while her whole body seized and released in long, glorious pulses of pleasure.
When she went limp and was no longer gasping for air, he slid an arm under her and moved them both to the middle of the mattress as though she didn’t weigh any more than a rag doll. He stood, dropped his jeans to the floor and got a condom from the bedside nightstand. The sight of him touching his long, thick erection, rock-hard and raring to go again as he rolled the condom over himself, had her grinding her teeth in anticipation. She spread her legs wide again and reached for him. He covered her body with his and buried himself deep with one long, smooth thrust.
“Tell me your name,” he breathed against her neck, his voice ragged with restraint.
She stopped breathing. Not one of the men she’d been with before him had asked.
He lifted his head to look at her when she didn’t answer. She tried to look away but couldn’t. There was a brutal honesty in the way those green eyes of his held hers that caused time and her heart to stand still for a long moment. He really seemed as though he wanted to know.
As if it was important.
“Your name,” he repeated, balancing his weight on one arm and using his free hand to smooth from her face the hair that had escaped her braid. “I can’t call you Red forever.”
He had a nickname for her. She smiled and breathed out a quiet laugh despite the fact that his being buried in her to the hilt, filling her up and then some, was absolutely maddening.
“Come on.” He smiled, trying to coax it out of her with a little hip thrust that just made her eyes want to roll back in her head. “Whatever it is can’t be worse than George.”
She blinked up at him, her heart stuttering in her chest, and said, “It’s Sarah.”
His smile widened and her stomach fluttered dangerously.
“Hi, Sarah.” He said it like a sigh as he pulled almost all the way out of her and slipped all the way back in, his eyes never wavering from hers. “That wasn’t so bad, now, was it?”
He lowered his head and touched his lips to the sensitive spot behind her ear and whispered her name again on another upward thrust. She planted the soles of her feet into the blanket and raised her hips off the bed to take him in a deep as possible, moving in time to the hypnotic rhythm he set. His cock rubbed against exactly the right place within her body; his free hand traveled over all the right spots without. He kissed her in long, deep, mind-numbing waves, brushed his lips against her neck, grazed his teeth over her earlobe, punctuated the sound of their mingled moans and sighs by whispering her name over and over again.
He drove her body slowly at first, then with an increasing urgency as her hips started to come up off the bed faster and faster, until he was riding her hard. And while she never once begged him to stop, he did indeed fuck her until she called out his name. Several times.
And in the wee hours of the morning—after she’d coaxed him into one more ride, her over him this time, and was lying in his arms, committing the smell of his skin and the feel of his perfectly hairy chest to memory while he slept—she knew the answer to the question
What would George be like in bed?
was absolutely devastating.
She’d gotten exactly what she thought she would and then some, hadn’t she? Only he hadn’t just taken advantage of what she’d offered. He’d turned the tables and had given back a hundred times over, making something that felt a whole lot like love to her—saying her name, kissing her tenderly, pleasuring her first before he took his own every time.
She slipped out of bed feeling foolish for thinking such crazy, misguided thoughts, and went in search of her things. Wrapped safely in her coat and boots, she pulled on her hat, scarf and mittens and stepped out onto the street. The sky was pitch-black and the air was so cold the moisture on her eyes felt as if it was going to ice over. She pulled her coat tight around her legs to keep a draft from creeping up over the naked parts of her body and made her way down the block to her car, parked under a street light.
As she came around the driver side, keys in hand and not looking forward to the long wait while the heater warmed up, she saw it. The driver’s window was smashed in and there was a huge gouge down the side of the door, as if someone had keyed it with something a whole lot bigger than a key.
Fear rose on a wave of bile in her throat. She looked around to see if whoever had done it was still hanging around. When she didn’t see anyone—Lord knew what she’d have done if she had—she brushed broken glass off the seat with her mitten-covered hand, got in the car as quickly as she could and started it. As the dash lights came on she saw the note propped over the speedometer. It said: whore.
She was gone when he woke up late the next morning.
George wasn’t entirely surprised when she didn’t come back to the bar the next week. The second week didn’t faze him much either—as long as he didn’t count the bruise forming on his ego—but when she didn’t show up for a third, something that felt a whole lot like worry began to tickle its cold fingers inside his head.
He tried to tell himself it was nothing, but he kept going back to the look on Red’s face when she thought she’d seen someone through the window right after they’d fucked on the beer cooler. In the bitter cold of winter, it was unlikely one of the residents from the neighborhood behind his bar had randomly been out walking at almost three in the morning. If she’d seen someone, that someone had more than likely been there for a reason. And while it didn’t necessarily mean anything, the broken glass he’d found on the street the next morning had made the hair on the back of his neck rise.
Both things happening in the same night kept eating at him, until he was sure something bad had happened while he’d been sleeping. She’d been playing a dangerous game. Although it was unlikely anyone had seen her going into the bar after closing, the odds that she’d pissed off someone she shouldn’t have—someone whose anger over being rejected for that second romp had been festering into something dangerous, to the point they just might have been waiting around to catch her alone on the street—were not in her favor.
He wanted more than anything to know that she was all right. But without knowing anything more than her first name, he had little idea how to go about looking for her.
“What’s going on with you?” Melissa asked, pulling him out of his thoughts.
It was girls’ night again. Someone had slipped him Andrea’s phone number the first night Melissa brought her in to meet him, but he hadn’t used it. She didn’t seem especially put out, so maybe she hadn’t been any more enthusiastic about it than he had.
“Listen, I know I said I’d call her,” he said with a glance in the direction of her table.
“Don’t worry about it.” Melissa rolled her eyes and waved her hand. “I think she’s seeing the troll again. What’s with the storm cloud hanging over your head?”
He shook his head. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“I can come back later, take you to breakfast?” she offered.
“You’re a peach for asking.” He took her hand and kissed it. “But I’m good.”
She shrugged. “Let me know if you change your mind.”
He gave her an indifferent nod and turned his attention to Terry when he motioned him down the end of the bar where he was sitting.
“Another round?” George asked.
“One more.” Terry winked at him. “And then I think she’ll be warmed up enough to take back to her hotel,” he said, meaning the knockout in the suit he was drinking with. George thought Terry’d told him she was consulting from an out-of-town firm on a case or something.
Terry was an insufferable man-whore. He was married to a perfectly beautiful, perfectly nice woman who stayed at home to raise his children, keep his house and entertain his business partners. George liked the guy well enough—he was always good for a laugh or an intelligent debate—but after watching him pick up woman after woman throughout the years, he didn’t have much respect for him as a man.
“More power to ya, buddy,” he replied, pouring two more Scotches into a couple of clean lowballs. He gritted his teeth, unable to believe he was about to do what he was about to do, then asked, “Hey, you know anything about the redhead that comes in on Friday nights?”
When he pulled up the courage to look Terry in the eye he found the man grinning.
“She got you too, huh?” he asked.
George ignored that. “Anything?”
Terry chuckled, raised his glass to George and drank.
“She took me to one of those motels out by the strip joints near the Michigan border,” he said with a shrug. “Didn’t tell me her name, leave a number or a forwarding address. Just fucked me better than I’ve ever been fucked in my life and left.”
He was afraid of that.
“Oh, wait.” Terry stopped George from turning away. “I did see her once afterward. My wife and I were out Christmas shopping. She worked at the Lindt store in the mall. The little cunt walked right up to my wife and sold her three fucking hundred dollars’ worth of candy, smiling like she was some kind of goddamn angel the entire time.”
Thirty years of experience and one well-practiced poker face kept George from laughing.
“Thanks.” He nodded, thinking,
Good job, Red
* * * * *
“Sarah doesn’t work here anymore.”
The young woman—whose nametag said Stephanie—looked slightly taken aback with his answer to the question of could she could help him find anything.
“She hasn’t worked here for a while,” she added, giving him an assessing once-over.
A woman who looked to be a whole lot closer to his age approached the two of them. Her name tag said Deborah, with the words Store Manager printed in smaller letters below.
“What can I do for you?” Deborah asked.
“He’s looking for Sarah,” the girl said.
The older woman’s smile got a funny, tight look to it.
“Sarah quit a few weeks ago,” she said, her tone professionally dismissive.
The younger girl gave him another odd look and strolled off.
“I suppose you don’t know where she went.” He tucked his hands in his pockets.
“Even if I did it’s not information I can share.” She looked him over, sizing him up the same way the other girl had. “How did you know her?”
He figured the odds her former boss knew about her extracurricular Friday night activities were slim to none. “I’d rather not say.” He nodded. “Thank you for your time.”
He wasn’t more than twenty feet from the store when he heard the sound of heels clicking on the floor behind him, felt a hand on his arm. He turned and found the younger girl.
“Don’t you think you’re a little old for her?” she asked.
It was bad enough he’d resorted to asking Terry about her, despite his better judgment. Getting treated like a lecherous old man by her former coworkers was starting to feel a whole lot like a lesson he needed to learn well and remember.
“Don’t you think you’re assuming a lot?” he countered, even though she was right.
She gave him an amused smile that gave her away as older than he’d originally thought she was—midtwenties, maybe. He was losing his ability to judge age the older he got.
“Fair enough.” She cast a wary look over her shoulder. “Sarah didn’t quit. She got fired right before Christmas. Some crazy guy in a suit came in and caused a huge scene.”
“A suit?” he asked. “Was he about my height with dark hair?”
She nodded. “He was screaming about how dare she act that way around his wife after what she’d done with him. He called her all kinds of ugly names.” She shook her head, clearly disturbed by the memory. “It was really horrible.”
Funny how he’d left out that little detail when telling George he’d seen her at her work.
“The store was packed with holiday shoppers,” she added. “They had to let her go.” She looked him over once more before adding, “Listen, I’m not sure how you know her, but it’s obviously not very well if you didn’t know she hasn’t worked here for a month. I don’t get the feeling you’re some kind of stalker pervert, but if she hasn’t been in contact, the best thing for her would be to just leave her alone. She had a horrible year, and the very last thing she needs is for someone else coming around to dump their shit on her, no matter what she may or may not have done to deserve it.”
He was quiet for a minute while he processed what she’d just said.
“If you do happen to see her, please tell her George stopped by.”
He left, anger starting to burn inside him.
Terry had picked Red up first. He remembered the first night she’d come into the bar, by herself. He’d been surprised when Terry offered to pay for her beer and then made his move. The women Terry usually went for were always of the classy, stylish, smelled-of-big-money variety, the kind who got off on his boisterous, showmanlike attention. Red was cute, but in a very basic, down-to-earth way. She hadn’t seemed especially impressed by Terry or his flattery, so it had been a surprise when the two of them left together.