Authors: Gina L. Maxwell
Tags: #Category, #tattoo, #bad boy, #gina maxwell, #series, #Contemporary, #brazen, #Romance, #ugly duckling, #erotic, #mixed martial arts, #tortured hero, #entangled, #best friend’s little sister, #sexy, #best friend’s older brother, #MMA, #transformation, #fighter
The guy wasn’t a slouch in the muscle department, but it made no difference. With Reid’s training he could take any street fighter, no matter their size, if it came down to that.
“And you already met Eric last night,” she added.
Reid turned and shook Eric’s hand. “Eric. Didn’t think I’d see you so soon.”
“Lucky for me,” Eric said with a smile. “Now you can buy my beers tonight.”
Lucie interjected with a pointed look at Reid. “Kyle is Eric’s
“At the hospital?”
Kyle smiled behind his beer as he took a drink and Eric laughed as he answered, “No, man, you missed it. Lucie emphasized the word ‘partner.’ She all but did the air quotes with her fingers for you.”
Vanessa was actually doubled over with laughter, but thankfully took a break to help him out. “They’re lovers, Reid. Eric and Kyle are gay.”
Reid cut a look over to Lucie for confirmation. Shit. Well, didn’t this just change everything. Holding his hand out to Kyle again, he said, “I’m sorry, bro. I just assumed…”
“That I was macking on Lucie? Don’t sweat it, man, I totally get it. You were just standing in for Jackson as a protective brother. But you’ve got a better chance of me hitting on you than our adorable Lucie here.”
Eric narrowed his eyes at his partner and Reid couldn’t resist a little tit for tat.
“Careful, amigo,” Reid said. “Your fangs are showing.”
“Yeah, I know. Kyle thinks it’s fun to see my hackles go up.” Then he turned to Kyle who seemed to be rather enjoying the exchange with his arms crossed over his chest. “Watch yourself, K, or you’ll pay for it later. That’s a promise.”
Kyle just scoffed, not the least bit intimidated by the threat. “You should know by now that I don’t do things by accident. I’ll go get us another round.” Before Eric had the chance for a retort Kyle winked at Reid—not the flirtatious kind, but the kind that said he was having fun pissing off his partner—and then walked past him to the bar.
“Hey, Orange Crush!” The five of them turned in the direction of the guy yelling over the crowd, but it was clear as to who he was addressing. Reid decided he was hiding that damn shirt when they got home. “You’re up!”
“Oh, crap, game three started,” Lucie said before finishing off the last few swallows of beer. “We lost the first game and won the second, so whichever team wins this one goes to the playoffs. Wish me luck!”
Her teammates all raised their glasses and yelled, “Luck!” at the same time. It seemed to be something they probably did often. Now that he was no longer seeing red, it was obvious they were a tight-knit group.
Reid bought a bottle of water and settled in to watch Lucie play darts. Every time she was done throwing she’d stand next to him at the bar as they all talked and laughed. He’d tried offering her the stool he was on, but she declined saying that she’d just be getting up every few minutes or so anyway. It seemed like most of the players didn’t bother sitting down, choosing to stand on the perimeter of their respective dart board and cheer on their friends and try to distract their opponents.
That was fine with him because sitting sideways as he was with the bar to his right and the dartboards to his left, Lucie just happened to stand casually between his knees. And since her friends stood just beyond her, it gave Reid the perfect opportunity to touch her without anyone being the wiser.
The first time he did anything—a light caress over her lower back with one finger—she actually flinched in surprise. Because someone had recently put a heck of a lot of quarters in the jukebox, everyone had to either shout over the raucous music or speak directly into a person’s ear. Yet another thing working in his favor. Placing his lips to Lucie’s ear he said, “Easy, baby. No one can see that I’m touching you. Take your hair down, Luce. I like it down.”
After a fortifying drink of her beer she reached up with one hand and pulled the plastic rods from her hair, placing them on the bar. Her thick hair cascaded to her shoulder blades in the back with shorter pieces in the front to frame her face. She had Pantene commercial hair, but she rarely wore it down which was a shame.
The next time she came back from her turn, she once again situated herself between his legs and started talking to Eric and Kyle as Vanessa took her spot at the dartboard. As she listened to Kyle tell a story of some event from work and responded appropriately at all the right times, Reid slid a hand up the back of her shirt, being careful to stay close to her so no one could see what he was doing. He wanted to make her hyperaware of him, not give the whole bar a show.
Gently he caressed her, dragging his fingers down the dip of her spine, trailing his thumb across her waistline under the edge of her jeans. Below the bar, her hand that had been resting on his knee now clenched, digging short nails into the denim of his pants.
Without missing a beat he answered a question from Kyle as Vanessa returned and Eric now left. Holding her hips he discreetly pulled her back the last few inches so she could feel exactly where his thoughts were. A shiver went through her body when they made contact, and it sure as hell wasn’t because it was cold in the stuffy bar.
“Come on, Eric, you can do this!” Vanessa shouted. “Just one more to go. All you need is a triple eighteen and we’re in the playoffs, baby!”
Reid bent his head close to her ear. “Do you usually stay and celebrate after the games are over?” She nodded. “Tonight I want you to tell them you’re tired, sick, getting abducted by aliens, whatever you want. You’re coming back with me.”
She turned in his arms and leaned in to answer. “Vanessa will know something’s up if I don’t get a ride back with her. And she won’t let this whole thing with you go enough as it is.”
He inclined his head and stood. “Fine. I’ll be waiting for you. Don’t be long, Lucie. I find I’m not a very patient man at the moment.”
Reid said his good-byes, gave Lucie one last meaningful look, and strode out of the bar into the heavy night air. He’d give her thirty minutes. Tops.
Lucie faced the door of her apartment, studying every nuance of the tarnished brass 3C and the peephole below it…and stalling like a virgin on prom night for going on five minutes now.
She didn’t know why she was so nervous in the first place. She certainly had no nerves when Reid was touching her. No, then it was pure fire, unbridled desire like she’d never known. So all she had to do was make it into Reid’s arms, and she’d be fine.
She turned the doorknob and entered her apartment. The small lamp with a burgundy shade on the console table by the door cast warmth and sensuality into the small living area to the right. She noticed his iPod connected to a set of small speakers on one of the end tables, set to a slow and sexy song that was no doubt part of an entire playlist of songs just like it.
“In here, Lu.”
She slid her feet from her sandals and padded farther into the room, looking for Reid. His voice, even lower than normal, came from the direction of the living room, but she didn’t see him anywhere. Her stomach tightened into that knot which was probably suffocating the things fluttering around in there. Screw butterflies. Those had to be hummingbirds. On speed.
Rounding the couch, she finally found Reid sitting on the floor in nothing but a pair of white athletic shorts, one leg stretched in front of him and the other bent with his forearm resting on his knee. He’d laid out the big floor pillows usually stacked in the corner and then complemented them with the decorative pillows from the couch and each of the beds. It looked like the floor of a sheikh with terrible taste in interior design, and yet, it was also the sexiest setup ever.
In one fluid motion he stood and held out his hand. Lucie swallowed hard and wiped her hands on her thighs in case they were grotesquely sweaty, and then placed her fingers in his. He pulled her into the center with him, but didn’t pull her into his arms. There couldn’t have been more than two inches between them, but it felt like the Grand Canyon.
She tilted her head up to meet his stare, and he angled his down to meet hers. It was then she realized he might be waiting for her to make the first move like in the workout room.
Okay, no problem. All you need to do is start things, Lucie.
She closed her eyes and tipped her face even more, waiting for the moment her lips would meet his, anticipation coursing through her veins like a drug…
But nothing happened.
Opening her eyes she wondered if time had somehow frozen. Reid hadn’t moved a muscle—His jaw muscles jumped. God, that was sexy. Why was that so sexy? She wondered what it meant when he did that. Jackson always did it when he was aggravated. Was he aggravated?
He said nothing at first, but lightly tapped the length of his finger over her lips once, as if to say he didn’t want her to speak, then took it away again. She furrowed her brow. She didn’t understand.
He walked around to her back, again so close but not touching. She felt his breaths on the side of her face as he leaned in. And when a single finger trailed down her arm, she swore an electric current burned in its wake. “Seduction isn’t about actions,” he said, retracing the path back toward her shoulder. “It’s about control. I can make you do all the work—have you undress me, do a strip tease, even have you on your knees in front of me—and as long as I’m the one controlling the situation, you’re actually the one being seduced.”
Reid moved her hair over to fall in front on one side. God, she wanted him to pull her into his body, to feel his chest on the backs of her shoulders and the length of his erection cradled against her ass.
“Lose the shirt, Lucie.”
Grabbing the hem in both hands, Lucie raised her arms, pulled it over her head, and tossed it onto the couch.
“Now the pants.”
With shaking fingers she released the button, slid the zipper down, and let the capris fall to the floor before kicking them away. All that remained on her body was a white lace demibra and matching thong.
Finally Reid put more than a single finger on her and to feel the kiss he placed on the nape of her neck after teetering on the edge for all that time was like a jolt of lust shot straight through her. She jerked in response and there may have been a moan, she couldn’t be sure. Her body, her brain, everything felt hyperaware and short-circuited all at the same time.
Her knees gave way, but strong hands grabbed her hips and pulled her back to hold her steady. “Shhhh. I’ve got you. I want you to lie on your stomach. Use the pillows however you want to make yourself comfortable.”
He helped her down and once she was settled, joined her by stretching out alongside of her. With her face turned toward him she studied the intensity in his features as he ran his hand down her back, her waist, over the curve of one cheek. His jaw flexed, hollowing his cheeks with every tic, and his hazel eyes in the red-tinged light reminded her of the fiery colors of autumn.
“Damn, Lu. When did you get an ass like this?”
Was she supposed to answer him? He hadn’t wanted her to talk earlier so she’d just assume it was a rhetorical question. Besides, she wouldn’t even know
to answer that given the way her brain had shut down the minute he touched her.
All thoughts of questions and answers evaporated when a thick finger followed the line of her thong between her ass until it reached the sheer triangle covering her sex. Instinctively her hips raised off the floor, giving him better access. Apparently they had a mind all their own. Thankfully they were on the same page as her.
“Fuck you’re so wet.” Now two fingers stroked back to front, and back again. Then he settled his upper body between her legs, which placed his face—
Lucie gasped as he bit her left cheek. Not hard enough to hurt, but enough to cause a quick sting of surprise before he kissed it better.
“I’ve never done that before,” he said, “but there’s something about your ass that makes me need to devour it. Did that bother you?”
“No,” she said, lifting her hips off the pillow underneath, a silent beg for more.
“No,” he agreed, kneading the opposite cheek with his calloused palm. “I think you rather enjoyed it, didn’t you?” The fingers of one hand returned to massage her swollen folds as the other continued to stroke and knead her ass and all she wanted was more.
A strangled scream rent the air a split second after his hand left her butt. Again, her reaction was more from shock than pain.
“You didn’t answer me, Lu.” Answer him? She couldn’t even remember her name at the moment, much less a question. Thankfully he repeated it. “Do you like what I’m doing to this pretty little ass of yours?”
“Yes,” she exclaimed through another nip, this one closer to the crease near her thigh. “Everything you’re doing feels so good.”
“It’s a damn good thing because I’m really digging seeing my marks on your skin, sweetheart.”
Before she had a chance to respond Reid grabbed the thin strap that banded her waist in both hands and yanked in opposite directions, rending the silk in two. “I’ll buy you more.” She didn’t know why, but the idea of Reid needing to replace a pair of her underwear every time he ripped it from her body struck her as funny. She giggled. Until his tongue laved her sex in a warm, wet stripe.
Now it was his turn to be amused and the vibrations from his lips tingled her nerve-rich skin and coaxed more juices as she clenched inside. “Turn over so I can do this properly.”
She rolled to her back and stared up as he held himself above her. “I don’t know that the word ‘proper’ works in this context. I think the adverb you’re looking for is ‘illicitly.’”
“You’re right. Illicit definitely describes my plans for you. But you’re also wrong.”
“There’s still a proper way to perform illicit acts.” With a wicked grin and a devilish glint in his eye he said, “And I’m going to show you exactly what I mean.”
Reid soaked up her innocent reaction like the desert would a long-awaited rain. He’d never been with anyone like her. He’d always dated fast and ready girls who knew what they were doing and what he was about: no-strings-attached sex.
Lucie was refreshing and so damn responsive. He loved keeping her on the edge, always wondering what he’d do next, and then shocking her—and sometimes even himself—with his next move.
He lowered himself so he was partially draped over her, but still held himself up enough that he wasn’t crushing her with his weight. She was such a little slip of a thing, fine and delicate and utterly beautiful. He couldn’t understand why she thought herself so plain.
Her soft gray eyes encompassed by a charcoal-colored ring gazed at him with the unfocused sight lust was known to induce. He brushed the fringe of her bangs to the side and noticed the tiny heart-shaped freckle. He bent his head and kissed it and her eyes fluttered shut on a sigh as he then kissed a path to her mouth.
Using pressure he encouraged her to open and swept his tongue through to find hers. The feel of her tongue sliding with his, moving over and around as their lips laid claim to the other was the headiest feeling. Her hands came up to frame his ribs and when he rocked his hips, grinding his cock against her, her fingers dug into his sides. The sharp bite of her nails scratching his skin turned him on something fierce.
The lace of her bra rasped against his sensitive nipples and he groaned as they tightened from the sensation. As good as it felt, he’d rather have it gone. Reaching behind her with one hand he expertly unhooked the clasp, pulled it off from the front, and whipped it somewhere behind him as he got his first glimpse of her bare breasts.
“Phenomenal,” he rasped. And they were.
They were the perfect size for his hand; small enough to be perky and big enough to have that curved swell on the bottom from their weight. The first thing he thought of was the need to sculpt them. He’d spend hours getting everything just right. Her small, dusky rose nipples that puckered when he circled them with the tip of his finger. The gentle slope from her delicate clavicle to the tip of her nipple. The fullness underneath that grew even more under the heat of his stare.
Not wasting another second he bent to place moist kisses around the base of a breast. She arched her back and her breathing quickened. With his tongue he drew lazy patterns, but was careful to stay away from the center, driving her closer to that edge once more. After a minute or so he inched his way closer, now tracing the outer line of her areola.
Lucie made a frustrated noise and grabbed his head, trying to direct him to her nipple, but again Reid made her wait. Though she’d never believe him, holding back from taking her breast was almost just as torturous for him. At last he opened wide and drew as much of her as he could into his mouth. He lashed at her nipple with his tongue and sucked on her like she was his favorite hard candy. She cried out and arched into him until her back was bowed. Finally he pulled his head back until she was released from his lips with a wet pop. Her tight, reddened bud gave him the same high as knowing he’d won a round in one of his fights and gave him the same motivation to do it again.
He repeated the entire process on the other side, worshiping her breast with his mouth while his hands roamed over her satin skin. When he was certain he’d won round two as well, he released her breast and homed in on the location of his next conquest.
Raising up on his knees he used his hands to push her legs further apart. Her dark pink lips glistened with her honey. Unable to resist he parted them with his thumbs to gaze at the source. He’d never studied a woman like this before and was surprised he could actually see her inner walls tightening, desperate for something to hold on to.
Dragging his gaze away he saw the self-conscious look in her eyes. “You’re absolutely gorgeous. But you look too empty.” Holding her gaze he slid his thumbs in to circle the rim of her opening. “Want something to fill you up?”
She no sooner gave him a nod than he plunged both of his thumbs inside as far as they could go. She cried out as her pelvis shot off the pillows, her hands fisting in the ones unlucky enough to be under them. Her response fueled the fire inside of him until his core felt molten. When her hips lowered once more he rewarded her by thrusting his thumbs, putting pressure on her inner walls with every withdrawal.
He watched as her juices ran out, dripping down the crevice to her ass, and a deep thirst for her suddenly overwhelmed him. Repositioning himself lower, Reid began kissing her inner thighs.
“No, you don’t have to—”
“Yes, I do.” If he didn’t get his mouth on her in the next few seconds he’d go crazy. “I really do.”
Just as he was about to descend, her hand cupped his chin preventing him from going anywhere. “No, what I mean is, it doesn’t do anything for me, so you don’t have to do it.”
It took him several seconds to process what she’d just said. It doesn’t
for her? Either her ex was a total fuckup in the oral department or—no, he wasn’t even going to finish that. He’d bet his UFC contract the dude was a fuckup.
He encircled her wrist, pulled her hand from his face, and placed a kiss in her palm as he stared into her eyes. He needed her to see the truth in his as he spoke. “I need to taste you, Lucie. I’m dying to have you on my tongue, in my mouth. And I will guarantee that what I’m about to do, will do plenty for you.”