SUMMER RAIN PUNCTUATED the tense silence between Sam and me on the way home. He clenched the steering wheel hard as if to hold it up while his gaze darted to the rearview mirror. His lead foot careened us around corners nowhere near the route toward home.
Sam—a thoughtful, brooding, funny package who snapped at random strangers in dance clubs—was a terrible driver. Especially when focused on something other than the wet city streets. What deal could he have had with that guy? And why is it that only females are labeled as moody?
Surprisingly, I wasn’t. I felt free, more so than I had in a long time, even though I’d blown my chance at a job at the LOC. Rick’s naked pictures of me were staying on Janice’s desk. After he texted me more threats, I sent him only one.
That was me taking back the fifty years of feminism I’d single-handedly lost. Maybe I should make a pin that read Scratch and Sniff for Feminism! and make it smell like bacon.
Finally, we pulled into the empty driveway, and I let out a relieved breath at still being alive when he cut the engine. The patter of raindrops unbunched my shoulders, and I glanced over at him.
He rested his head on the back of his seat, staring blankly through the windshield, while the ends of his blond hair played with the collar of the leather jacket he always wore when he wasn’t half naked. His eyelashes fanned quick shadows on his cheeks with every blink, and his stubbled Adam’s apple bobbed on a swallow. The man was a god, his very presence filling the car with a dizzying, dangerous mix of leather, musk, and sex appeal.
“You’re looking at me,” he murmured.
“Yeah,” I said simply.
He sighed and turned toward me. “Why?”
“Because you’re a hard book to read. It’s like the words on your pages are sometimes written in a language I can’t understand.”
His gaze dipped to my lips and lingered there for several long seconds, each one triggering a tighter and tighter clench to my thighs. “Maybe someday you will.”
“Maybe,” I breathed.
This thing we had, this chemical attraction, hummed between us while the rain drummed our own private beat. I could sure get used to this, sitting next to him, while he looked at me like a thing to be worshipped. And the need to be worshipped by him rushed an electrical ache through me more powerful than the burst of lightning overhead.
A half smile in place, he tipped his head toward the front door and said, “Ready?”
The next instant, we threw ourselves out of the car and were soaked by the time we made it to the porch. Moonlight slanted through the half-circle window at the top of the door and lit Sam’s face in an angelic glow. But something in his eyes flashed dark and dangerous and not angelic at all. I shivered under his probing gaze as he jabbed his key into the lock, and blood rushed in tingling waves to my center.
Once inside, I reached for the entryway light switch.
“Leave it,” he said, voice low, and took a single step toward me.
We stood so close our lips almost touched. My whole body magnetized toward him, and I didn’t bother to fight against the heat he fueled through my veins since it was a losing battle anyway. I wanted him to feel the thread of trust I’d wrapped around my heart for him when he pressed against me. I wanted him body and soul.
My lips feathered against his when I said, “Okay.”
We shared the same breath, searching in the dark for what the other wanted, or maybe to be absolutely sure.
“Okay,” I said again and smiled against his lips. Okay.
He swept his fingers through my hair toward the nape of my neck and pulled, angling my face toward his, then pushed me against the wall with the force of his body. His mouth captured mine in a searing kiss. The air left my lungs from both the impact and the urgency of his tongue, but I didn’t care. I held to both sides of his face to ground myself to some kind of reality, to remind myself that this was really happening, that it was about damn time.
He undid the button on my jeans and dragged the zipper down. His hands worked the pants down my thighs in too slow of a crawl, his lips only relenting with his groan.
“You’re not wearing any underwear to rip off,” he growled.
I laughed, but it changed into a gasp when he cupped my ass. A powerful need throbbed through my body at the skin-on-skin contact.
“Sam,” I moaned into his mouth.
An answering rumble thundered through his chest and into mine, vibrating pulsing thrills down to my toes, and I lost all control. My fingers fumbled to tear his shirt off. My hips rocked against him. I melted into his hands, needing, craving, so much more.
He pulled away from our kiss for a moment, lips swollen, eyes shuttered with need, and met every thrust of my hips with his own. His stubble scraped along my cheek to nip and lick and tease my neck, and I tilted my head to grant him full access. One of his hands kneaded my ass so my hip bone grinded against his erection, and every brush of his fingertips stormed slick desire to my core. He tugged at my shirt with the other.
“I don’t know the combination to this lacey tie-up thing you’re wearing,” he said between heavy pants.
I reached behind me to pull the tie, and the thin fabric fell away from my shoulders. Sam’s heated gaze pinned to my chest and the cleavage that practically burst out of my pushup bra.
“Do you think you can handle it from here?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.
He flashed a wicked grin and unclasped my bra within seconds. His gaze roamed over my completely naked body, drinking me in with a thirst that sparked the blood in my veins to run faster. That look and the determined set of his jaw while he took his shirt off made my insides quiver. Not from nervousness or doubt, but anticipation.
Lightning strobed outside, accentuating the dips and creases of his muscled body, and the air crackled with electricity both inside and outside the house.
His gaze locked on mine, he yanked down his boxers and took his erection in his hand. Always so uninhibited.
“Condom,” I said, amazed at how calm I sounded given the flutters rolling through my lower belly.
One appeared in his other palm from his jeans piled on the floor, and he rolled it down his length. Then he stalked toward me, a silent predator, and the force of his mouth on mine drove me into the wall once again. With my back braced against it, he hiked up my thighs around his hips and sank inside me inch by blissful inch.
I gasped at the sudden fullness and wound my arms around Sam’s neck to draw him even closer. He groaned into my mouth, rumbling a shockwave to my nipples that rubbed against his chest. His body moved slowly against mine at first, but his hungry kisses promised his gentleness wouldn’t last. God, I hoped not.
Lick for lick, I urged him on until his thrusts rattled the picture frames on the wall. His fingers curled into my thighs, his hips relentlessly rolling into mine, while a delicious pressure mounted inside me. I broke the kiss with a sharp inhale and held tighter to Sam, as if to bring him with me over the edge. Closer and closer, then my whole world ignited, and I shuddered against Sam in great, quaking waves.
He dropped his head into my neck, his stubble dragging goose bumps across my sensitive flesh, and groaned, “Oh...fuck.” A head-to-toe tremble shook through him, then his hips slowed, as if he was milking the feeling to last and last.
We held to each other, even when Sam eased my legs to a standing position, but he didn’t pull out. Not yet, so I wrapped a foot around the back of his legs to keep him there. He wasn’t the only one who wanted to milk the feeling, but it wasn’t just that. It felt so natural to wrap my arms around him, to twine my fingers through his wet, silky hair.
And him, with his strong arms locked around my waist, his breath warm against my neck, his musky leather smell engulfing me... This was how it was supposed to feel like after sex, like a powerful warmth blossoming through my chest. Not guilt. Not shame. This.
He blew a slow exhale that tickled down my shoulder. “I don’t think I can stand on my own after that.”
“Then don’t,” I said and clung to him even tighter.
He chuckled. “If my rubbery legs don’t hold me up, you have my permission to fall on top of me. Actually, yeah. Let’s do exactly that.” He pulled out and away, then with an arm still curled behind my back, toppled me over.
I let out a high-pitched “whoop” before landing on top of him on the entryway floor in a tangle of limbs. Laughing into his pectorals, I straightened my body against his, relishing the perfect way we fit together.
“We can’t stay like this,” I said lazily, and my voice sounded like it was caught in a dream. “Riley could come home.”
“Let him see.” He smoothed hair away from my face and pressed a kiss to the top of my head. “I’m done hiding.”
His skin was so soft against my lips that I kissed his pecs again and again until heat stirred between my legs. The growing tingling sensation bucked my hips against his, and my long sigh blew across one of his nipples until it hardened. I captured it with my mouth, licking and sucking and biting, while my hips pumped into him. With Slave, I was usually a one-and-done kind of girl. With Sam, his touch fueled an addiction I had no intention of ever recovering from.
He heaved a loud groan and roughly grabbed my ass. A loud crack rang out, followed by a sharp sting.
“Ahhh.” I lifted my gaze, only to find him staring with hooded, lust-filled eyes. “Did you just spank me?”
His mouth at half tilt, he said, “I did.”
“Because you created a permanent home in my sexual fantasies for seven fucking years, but I never thought I’d actually have you. I needed to make sure this was real.”
“You’ve thought about me?”
“Constantly. Since the day you left D.C.” He brushed his fingertips down my jaw, a loving caress that swelled a knot into my throat. “No one even comes close to you.”
“Sam...” I brushed a thumb over his bottom lip as if to hold those words close for an eternity. The thought of leaving him pinched my heart, but after the last day of my internship, it would be time to head home and try to start a life. A new one with...Her, if she would have me. And maybe Sam, too.
He wouldn’t want to come with me. Would he? Even if he did, I had to stop hiding behind my past and tell him the truth. It might make him change his mind about me, but the way he made me feel solidified the fact that he was worth the risk. Completely and totally.
I was about to open my mouth to tell him so, when a weird mix of Metallica and Adele blared somewhere behind me.
“I’m not answering it,” Sam said.
I slumped against him, waiting for the singer on his phone to stop ch-yeah, ch-yeah-ing. “I’m not answering mine, either.”
Sam tipped my chin so I would look at him. “Do you like Metallica? Old school Metallica, not the new shit.”
I popped my mouth open for a snarky reply but thought better of it. Instead, I slithered up his naked body to whisper in his ear, “I prefer silence so I can hear you smack my ass.”
A devilish smirk curled his lips, and he rolled out from under me to fly at his phone. He crouched over it, lightning flashing through the front door window all over his beautiful body, and fumbled at the buttons. Then quiet buzzed across the distance between us, pulling me to my feet, drawing me closer until the silence became a roar of desire.
He stood slowly from his crouch with his chin tucked to his chest, and he somehow reminded me of a wild animal. Raw and powerful. His mouth parted while his gaze lingered on my chest, my center, my legs and back up again, my flesh, my soul bared just for him. In that moment, I knew I could trust him with all my truths, and it unburdened my entire body.
I smiled at him, big and goofy, and I didn’t even care. “I want to be yours, Sam.”
Something glinted in his eyes, not lightning but a spark from within. Then he charged, his mouth seeking mine, and pushed me into the living room with one of his thighs between mine.
The force of my renewed need multiplied with the friction his leg created. He matched my fervor, chasing my tongue, while he shifted us around the leather couch and straight into a floor lamp. It toppled to the floor, but I barely noticed.
He crashed onto the couch with me on top so I straddled him. His hands trailed up my rib cage to cup my breasts, and I arched into them while he pinched my nipples between his knuckles. Between us, his erection pointed straight up. Breaking our kiss, he rolled a fresh condom on and looked at me as if waiting for me to slide down onto it and ride him into oblivion.
I touched my forehead to his and positioned myself over him. His penetrating gaze never wavered as I slowly took him into me. A soft moan escaped at how good he felt, and I moved with him, deeper, faster, harder.
Neither of us closed our eyes; we watched each other as if we were afraid we might miss something. Face-to-face like this, it felt less like pure fucking and more like we were clutching to each other’s hearts.
My nipples dragged against his chest every time I grinded against him, rolling them into buds he caught in his mouth and suckled. He worked a hand between us and played his fingertips where we were joined until my whole body throbbed. All these sensations, the glide of his tongue across my nipples, his hungry gaze, the feel of him inside me rushed me to the brink of ecstasy once again.
I threw back my head with a moan, his name on my lips, then collapsed against his mouth so he could come with me.
“Oh, fuck... Paige.” He rolled his hips into mine with slow thrusts, milking his release, then sagged against the back of the couch with a laugh. “Oh my fucking god.” He wrapped his arms around me, and I happily sank into them to inhale the musky leather from his neck.
His pounding heart knocked into my chest, the same tempo as mine, both of them in time to the raging thunderstorm outside. And in time to the blossoming warmth in my chest that grew into a different kind of ecstasy.
Slow and steady, I was falling in love with Sam Cleary. I could only hope he felt the same way when he knew the truth about me.