Temptation Tuesday – Love and Tattoos

This is a fun little story to write. And little is what it is. Hot. Short. Sexy. Not long. You get the idea, right? 😉

However, we do have tattoos, loving, smexing, and a small piercing.

Love and Tattoos is on the calendar to be finished by the end of next week, if not sooner, but there are edits due on Slide Down On Me, and revisions to make on The Cupcake Cowboy.

This little gem though, I’m loving it. (And please remember it is rough and unedited)

Brax shrugged. He turned toward the board by the wall which held pictures of all the tattoos Joe had ever done. “You’ve been training her, right? Teaching her?”

“Yeah man, but —”

“Then let her have a client. Let her have me. I heard enough of your conversations before you knew I was standing here. There’s no harm. I won’t sue you if she completely fucks up.”

Oh yes, please. Let me have him.

Annie tried to be offended, that even Brax would doubt her ability, but she really couldn’t be. He didn’t know her and while she’d been itching to have an actual client for her own, she wasn’t sure she wanted it to be him. He was, his tattoos were flawless. She would hate to do anything to mar the canvas.

At the same time… “Joe? Please?” She glanced at Brax, then back to her brother. “He’s willing.” She was willing as well. She was oh so willing. She heard the hopefulness in her voice and prayed it didn’t sound quite like begging the way she suspected it did.

“Dammit, Brax.” Joe shoved his hands on hips. He heaved a sigh and turned to his friend. “You have to sign the same waiver as every other client and you don’t pay a dime, do you understand?”

“I’ll sign whatever you want me to sign but price and payment will be between your sister and I.”

“I don’t like the sound of that,” Joe remarked.

He might not, Annie thought, but she sure did. She was going to get to touch Brax, be close to him, smell him. Would he smell of city or sand? They weren’t too far from the beach but they were right in the heart of the city. The late Summer heat hadn’t changed anything on the west coast of Florida. It was hot three months ago and it was hot now.

Annie mentally shook thoughts of the weather out of her head. Though, the weather was probably a safer subject than her thoughts of Brax’s skin under her hands. Nervousness took immediate hold on her at the possibility of adding to his collection of tattoos.

Joe wagged a finger in Brax’s face. “If she screws up on you —”

“She won’t.” He hurriedly added. “Have a little faith, Joe. If you taught her, I know I have nothing to worry about.” Brax shifted his head and winked at her. “Now,” he said to Joe, “why don’t you run along and leave Annie and I work out the details.”

“I really don’t like the sound of that,” Joe muttered, but he relented and walked away without sparing her a glance. Annie watched until he disappeared around the corner. She stared until there was nothing else she could do to stall and keep from looking at her… Client.

“Do I scare you?”

Dumb question. Of course he did. “No,” she quipped.

“Damn.” He shook his head, pursed his lips, and sighed out an exaggerated breath. “I must be losing my touch.”

Annie grinned. Was he flirting with her? The light in his eyes seemed brighter, but that could be wishful thinking on her part. She hadn’t been flirted with, genuinely at least when someone didn’t want anything from her, since she was laid off last year. “Do you normally scare unsuspecting women?”

“Suspecting ones too,” he teased.

“A shame I don’t scare easily then,” Annie said dismissively. She presented him with the medical and liability waiver they presented to all their clients. Brax scrawled his name across the line at the bottom of both forms without reading them. “So, what are you looking for?”

“Loaded question, don’t you think? Assuming though, that you’re talking about the tattoo, my name, on my fingers. Here.” He indicated ‘here’ by pointing to the area of his fingers behind the second knuckle.

“Uh huh.” Annie needed to hold his hand in hers for a moment but she couldn’t make herself reach for him. Touching his skin, the feel of it where he wanted the ink, would help her visualize how to go about marking him, however, she was immobile. The messages from her brain to her hands weren’t getting through.

He must have realized she wasn’t going to be taking the initiative because he laid his palm across the back of her hand. “Annie?” His tone was all business and broke through her haze. “Don’t show hesitancy with your clients. If you do, they won’t have the confidence or trust in you they need to have. They’ll leave.”

She knew that. Really, she did. With most people she wouldn’t be this way and had rarely been nervous or hesitant in her advertising job. At the same time, she’d never reacted to her clients or potential ones in quite this way. Uncertainty filled her with dread. Maybe she couldn’t do this.

Only, she’d practically begged Joe to let her.

She nodded, took a steadying breath and turned her palm over to cradle his. He had rough hands with long fingers which weren’t too slender nor too thick. With the right font, she could make his name look incredible. “What color?”

Art. She was comfortable with art. She knew it, lived it, understood it. It’s what she had to focus on.

“The usual black.”

“Block, swirls, straight edge font?”

“Straight. No use putting my name on my hand if no one can read it, right?”

She couldn’t argue with his logic. “Right.”

“When would you like to schedule it?”

“Now.”

Annie’s gaze jumped to his. And there went her all business composure. “N-now?”

“I’ve got time and I think you probably do too. No sense in putting it off.”

“I guess that’s true.”

“Shall we discuss payment?”

“Y-you aren’t required to pay. Joe said so.”

“Who said payment had to be made in money, and who said I was one who would be paying?”

Annie didn’t know if he was still teasing her or not. He’d wrapped his fingers around her hand, holding it tight, palm to palm. His heat seeped into her, traveled up her arm, and the look in his eyes, with green shards around the pupils, made her shiver. There was no longer any lightness. There was now only dark lust.

She had no idea what he wanted of her besides a tattoo, but she did know that no matter what it was, she was willing to give it. “Go on.”

“You want the terms up front. Good girl. Never take on anyone without knowing what you’re in for. For this particular tattoo, with every hesitation mark, every little mistake, one article of clothing comes off.”

She couldn’t have been more surprised had he stripped himself naked in front of her right there and then. She quirked a brow. “Strip tattooing?”

Brax winked. “Yes.”

“Definitely don’t think Joe will agree to that during business hours.”

“Not here in his shop he wouldn’t.”

Annie giggled. “Honestly, he wouldn’t approve no matter the time or location.”

“Too true. Which is why it will remain between us.”

“Good idea, except, I haven’t agreed to this. You’ve signed the forms and I agreed to a tattoo. I did just meet you and you want me to strip for you?”

His shrug was just a casual lifting and lowering of his shoulders. Shoulders she’d like to cling to during a kiss, sex against the wall, or have her legs draped over.

“Only if you make a mistake. If you don’t make one, you remain fully clothed and I walk away with a very nice bit of ink and disappointment in my… Well, you know.”

“And if I make enough mistakes to render me completely naked,” she started, dropping her voice to a whisper with the word naked, “what then?”

Now, I must get back to work on writing and you need to figure out where and in what corner you’re going to read this when it comes out. Along with, if you plan on taking a fan or a bucket of ice with you…

~lissa

 

 

Temptation Tuesday with Author Amber Skyze

This one looks fun, y’all!

AS_OperationSecondHoneymoon_coverinBlurb:

On the verge of their tenth anniversary, Cole is planning a surprise gift aboard a boat for his wife Avery. Bathing suits are optional – preferably left behind. The only other thing they need to make this weekend perfect? Owen their next door neighbor.

Out on the open sea, Avery will find herself tied to the rails being tortured in the sweetest ways imaginable. The men take her to delicious heights, only to leave her hanging – if only momentarily. When she demands an orgasm she oversteps the boundaries Cole and Owen have but in place. The two men spank her back into submission. There’s nothing like red cheeks to ignite the flames of desire in Cole.

After a tremulous six months of clawing their way back together, Avery is ready to accept the help she needs to fix the marriage her husband has fought so hard to save. Will a weekend of hot, sweaty sex be enough to rescue them?

 

Excerpt:

AVERY WANTED TO wipe that smug look off her sister’s face.

“What’s so funny, Kendall?”

“You and Cole. You’re like dogs in heat. I’m surprised there aren’t a herd of kids running rampant around this yard.”

“We’re very careful. We both want children eventually, but we love our lives too much to have them right now.” She wondered if it sounded selfish. She and Cole shared such an incredible sex life that she worried if she had children, it would go away. She’d heard horror stories where couples had children and their relationships fell apart. While she trusted their love, she still didn’t want to risk losing the amazing sex.

Damn, how she’d wanted Cole to drag her into the kitchen, prop her up on the granite countertop, slide her bikini bottoms over, and slip his hard cock inside her. Once Kendall and Owen made their exit, Avery planned to attack her husband. She craved every last inch of Cole.

“You really should see a sex therapist, Avery.”

“Why, because I enjoy sex with my husband?”

“Yes and no. I’m glad you want sex with only Cole, but you guys go at it like rabbits. It can’t be healthy. Is your connection with Cole that deep on every level? If is it is, I hate you for making marriage look so easy.”

Avery turned and looked to the patio, where Cole stood talking with Owen. She wondered what had them looking so serious. She shrugged. Cole would tell her later. He shared everything.

“Oh, so you’re here today because you’re concerned about me?” Avery turned her attention to her sister sitting in the lounge chair, soaking up the sun’s rays.

“I’m here because you’re my sister and I love you very much. And your husband makes a killer steak.”

“He does, doesn’t he? Cole’s amazing.” God, she felt like a love-struck teen fawning over her favorite actor.

“Jesus, Avery. Are your nipples getting hard from looking at Cole? You really do need to see a sex therapist. I’m officially jealous of you two.”

Blah, blah, blah. She didn’t want to hear any more of her sister’s talk about a sex therapist. Avery wasn’t giving up sex with her husband. She longed to feel his soft lips licking and tugging on her hard nipples. Arousal swarmed over her body; juices seeped out onto her bathing suit. Frustrated over not being about to get the relief she sought, Avery jumped into the cool water and swam to the other end of the pool, where she could be alone. She hung on to the edge of the pool and let her legs float in the water.

The cool water didn’t ease the ache between her legs. She wondered if Cole suffered from a rock-hard dick. Did he wish they were alone so he could fuck her? Most likely. If she knew her husband half as well as she thought she did, he was on the same smoking-hot page as her.

“Steaks are done. Come and get it before it gets you,” Cole called out.

“Coming,” she said.

Buy Link

About Amber

Amber grew up reading sick and twisted murder mysteries. Romance was for little kids and their fairy tales. One day, after her grandmother died and she inherited a boat load of romances, Amber found a new genre to love. Then she discovered erotic romance and found her calling.

 In the summer, when not creating sexy, seductive stories, Amber can be found at the ocean or floating around in her pool, with music blasting in the background. In the winter she enjoys sitting in her sunroom watching the snow fall, with the fireplace glowing. She also spends lots of time with her husband, children, and three dogs.

Amber’s Website | Blog

Temptation Tuesday – Eli’s Promise

LissaLogoYellow_reasonably_smallEli’s Promise is the second book in The Bar Next Door series. It follows part-owner and bartender Eli as he struggles with his feelings for the young, hot buck Asa as well as his feelings about letting go of his lover Thad who’d passed away several years ago.

Eli is rough. He’s scared to let go and he’s scared to take a chance. This book is about the deathbed promise he made and the steps he takes or doesn’t take to fulfill it.

It’s also full of sass and vinegar. Malachi and Danny make appearances and all in all it was a fun book to write, hard at times, emotional, but fun.

Here’s a little (unedited still) taste…

“You won’t.”

Asa. God. How did the boy do that? How was he able to sneak up on Eli like that all the fucking time? “This has got to stop.”

Malachi laughed. “You’ve been off your game and out of the game for a while now.” He clapped a hand on Eli’s shoulder and headed out of the office. “I think it’s time you get back in it.”

Eli nodded and waited until Malachi was gone before he turned to face the man he wanted more than he wanted his the next breath. He held that air captive as he got a look at Asa.

Sweat dripped from his brow and the T-shirt he wore was plastered to his tan skin. Jeans hung low and his scuffed boots were crossed at his ankles. He could see the tail end of a red and white bandana hanging from a ripped back pocket and when Eli finished his perusal and met the bright green eyes again, a knowing smirk crossed Asa’s full lips.

“I don’t think you’ve been quite so frank in looking at me before. I think I kinda like it.”

“Yeah well, don’t let it go to your head.”

“Which head would that be?”

Eli chose to ignore the bait. He didn’t want to but it was best for the time being that he do so. “What are you doing here?”

“Unloading the beer.”

“Malachi said it wouldn’t be here for a couple hours.”

“Malachi lied.”

“Seems like it. He’s been helping you out, you realize that, right?”

“I do. It wasn’t a subtle helping out. He seemed to know when you needed the extra shove or push.”

The next words were going to be hard for him to part with… “I’m glad he has.” And then it was his turn to smile when Asa’s eyes widened. He moved toward the desk and leaned back against the solid wood surface. “This isn’t easy for me, Asa.” He tried for a casual stance, but found his hands tightly gripping the edges.

“I know. I mean, I don’t know, but, I know something isn’t easy for you.”

Eli nodded. Here goes nothing. “His name was Thad…” And down the road he went, sharing with Asa the details about the only man he’d ever loved, and at the time, the only man he could ever see himself loving and living life with. He kept his eyes on Asa, unwilling to break the contact, unwilling to forget who he was talking to, unwilling to get lost in the memories. It wasn’t easy and through some parts—he was close to breaking down—but he got it all out.

“How did he die?”

“Motorcycle accident. Car came out of nowhere. Thad was always trying something new and he’d always wanted to get a bike. They said the helmet was what kept him alive for the few days he lived afterward, but really, in the end it didn’t matter.”

“I’m sorry.”

The voice was soft, tender and nearly his undoing. “Thank you.” He found he meant it too. He wasn’t sure he felt that way in the past when people said those words, but he did with Asa.

“I don’t want to take his place,” Asa said, coming to stand in between Eli’s parted thighs.

“I know you don’t. I—”

“I just want you to give me a chance. You said he was my age when he died. I’m not him though, Eli. I’m me and I’m here, alive, and I want you.”

“I…” He tried to muster some objections, his tried and true lines of defense, but nothing came out. When he closed his mouth, Asa kissed him—sweet. It was so different than their other encounters and Eli savored the mere feel of Asa’s lips touching his.

“You’ve been through so much and you’re pretty young, too, to have gone through it. And look. You’re alive too.”

Eli just nodded. He didn’t have any words to add. Asa was right. He’d buried his lover and his hopes and dreams all at the same time before he was twenty-five. He’d had to grow up in a short span because the days were going to go by no matter what he wanted, even if that included dying too.

Thad woulda been so pissed had Eli taken his own life. “He made me promise that I’d find someone new one day.”

“Did he?”

Eli smiled. It was bittersweet, but it was the first smile he’d been able to offer when speaking of those last moments. “Yeah. He said he w-wouldn’t let go of the pain until I promised him that I’d find someone someday and let them love me.” As he spoke, Asa pried his fingers free of the desk and looped them through his belt loops. Eli gripped the thin pieces of denim as though they were the only things keeping him there.

“Hold onto me now. You can do the same thing. You can let go of the pain and hold on to me.”

The words, so kind and genuine, broke him. The kiss that followed made him hungry. The tears he didn’t even realize were falling were wiped away by rough, workman’s hands.

He pulled Asa closer, deep into the opening of his legs. They were both hard and warmth spread through his chest, his belly and he tangled his tongue with the younger man’s. Asa gave as good as he got and met each thrust with a parry of his own.

“Do you remember what I promised you?” Asa urged the question out through barely moving lips. He hadn’t lifted his head by much and Eli could see brown and copper flecks in the irises of Asa’s eyes.

“I do.” At the suggestion, his cock pulsed behind the placket of his jeans.

“Good.” Asa nudged himself at Eli. “See? This is what you do to me. Only you, Eli.”

“Asa, I…” But his words died when Asa dropped to his knees in front of the desk. His mouth dried up like a desert and he couldn’t do more than helplessly watch. He braced his hands again as Asa pulled at the button and let the zipper down.

“Fuckin’ hell.”

This book has a release date of December 10th.

Y’all have a great day!

~lissa

 

Temptation Tuesday – Slide Down On Me

LissaLogoYellow_reasonably_smallSo, now that I’m back from Lori Foster’s Reader Author Get Together, I’m trying to get back into the swing of writing. Even though I wrote a few thousand words while there, it still takes a few days to get into the groove once home. There’s housework to balance with writing… kids, pets, husband, cooking, etc… It typically takes me two or three days of concentrating on home before I can start in with work, but I don’t have that luxury this week. I need to do both because I’ll be leaving again next week and will have even less time to write while I’m away than I did while at the con.

With all that being said and going on, I wanted to make sure I give you a little bit of a tempting treat on a story I’m working on right now titled Slide Down On Me…

*

Bella locked up the flower shop. Her boss, Mrs. Cleary, had been her mother’s closest friend up until the plane crash that had killed Marianne and William Drake when Bella was in her freshman year at college.

Mrs. Cleary had lost everything, same as everyone else in town had at the hands of Bella’s brother but she didn’t hold it against Bella and had gladly given Bella a job and a place to stay until Bella could get a place of her own.

Bella had been grateful for the help, for the kindness, but every time she looked at Mrs. Cleary, she couldn’t help feeling a little responsible. Then again, Bella felt a little responsible for what everyone had gone through. She was also grateful though that Mrs. Cleary trusted her enough to let her open and close the store.

When she was certain the lock was secure, she turned and couldn’t disguise her surprise to find Travis leaning against his truck in the front parking spot. “I thought we decided on Friday? I don’t have any more money now than I had this morning.”

“I’m not here for money. Thought you could use a ride home. It’s about ten miles out your place and I didn’t figure you’d be wanting to walk all that way after being on your feet all day.”

“Oh. That would be… You don’t have to do that. It’s out of your way and—”

“C’mon.” He cut her off and waved her forward. “I don’t mind.”

Bella stood at the edge of the curb, uncertain what to do. Travis was a secret, a wet dream, a fantasy she’d never be able to have. He was the only man in town who didn’t look at her with distain. Okay, make that the only person, aside from Mrs. Cleary, who didn’t look at her with distain. She hadn’t had control over her brother or what he did, but the way people treated her, she figured they thought she should have.

“I won’t bite,” he teased and Bella laughed. It had been a long time since she had, since she’d even felt like smiling.

“From what I remember hearing, you used to like biting.” Travis grinned and gave her a slow wink which did things to her insides she’d only wished for in the deep dark hours of the night.

“There were stories about you too, so don’t think I believe you’re anymore innocent than I am.” He leaned casually against the front quarter panel of his truck. “Let’s see. If I recall, you liked your sex a little rough and tumble. You were pretty and perfect on the outside, never a hair out of place, but behind closed doors, you were something else entirely.”

Bella blushed. She knew it, from the heat in her cheeks and the way her blood pumped through her body faster. It was summer in the South, but for the first time since she’d stepped outside the shop, she was sweating. “You heard about all that?”

“There was nothing you did that was a secret. Those private school jocks you dated weren’t worth shit when it came to keeping their mouths shut. You were a very naughty girl, Bella Drake.”

Oh dear God. Had her parents known? Her brother? The whole damn town? She wanted to look away, to look down at the ground and wait for it to swallow her whole, but she wouldn’t hide from who she’d been anymore than she hid from who she’d had to become. She kept her gaze leveled at Travis. “Were being the operative word.”

“Really?” At her nod, he clucked his tongue. “Now that’s a damn shame.”

How had they gotten on this topic? And how could they get off it? “Why?” Certainly her asking questions wasn’t the way to do so.

“Why indeed. Let’s get you home.” He moved to the passenger side door and opened it for her.

“Won’t people talk if they see us together? I know it’s only a ride home, but as we’ve just discussed, gossip is rampant around here. Not to mention, I don’t want to cause further harm to your business by you being seen with me. Guilt by association isn’t fun.”

“I can handle myself and any of my customers who may have issues. C’mon now. In the truck with ya.”

Bella couldn’t find any other way to argue with him. She wanted to but couldn’t. Hurting his garage further wasn’t something she wanted. Heck, none of this was what she’d wanted. Her brother’s actions had killed something wonderful in a small town. They no longer trusted anyone, especially outsiders, and especially her. Her family had always done right by the town, had always helped see to its prosperity, its charm, its way of life. They’d lived in the county since before the War Between the States and their money had kept the town from falling into Union hands, into enemy hands.

And now, she was the enemy. Southern pride was something strong and unyielding. As close as she’d come to breaking down, mentally and emotionally over the months dealing with the fallout from her brother’s actions, that pride had never faltered or failed her.

She nodded once and walked toward Travis, then climbed up in his truck. The door closed firmly once she was seated and he climbed up behind the steering wheel. She kept her gaze forward until they were passed the seed store on the edge of town. She didn’t want to see the accusatory looks from anyone. Oh she was used to it for herself, but those looks wouldn’t be aimed at her this time. This time they would be aimed at Travis.

“Why are you being nice to me?” she asked when the silence became too much for the small cab of the old truck. She was too aware of him seated just a few inches over. Dirt, sweat, grease all assailed her, but underneath it all was the scent that was Travis. He’d always has dirt under his nails and oil smudges, but he smelled like the country. Fresh cut grass, hay bales, freedom. It all went against the look of him; hard, inked, pierced. He’d had the tattoos and the piercings for as long as she could remember. Every time she saw him, it seemed there was some new piece of art on his body, but he still had that smell of springtime and summer all rolled into one.

The two lane road out to her side of the lake was deserted but that wasn’t unusual. She’d come to like the solitude, the privacy. She didn’t so much like the pariah stigma, but she’d gotten used to it.

Out the passenger window, the lake glistened under the late afternoon sun. She’d gone swimming in it along with the rest of the county when she was growing up. Even Travis and his friends would hang out on the water. There were several floating docks that all the kids swam out to and sunbathed on, but Travis, his brother, and their friends would water ski, or fish at one end, or swing out and jump in from long hanging ropes that dangled from tree limbs.

It was her guilty pleasure to watch him. She did it discretely so her friends or whatever boy she happened to be dating at the time didn’t notice and if they ever did, she always told them she didn’t understand the foolishness. In truth, she was in awe of him, fascinated by him, crushing on him so hard it made her bathing suit bottoms wet and her heart beat fast in her chest.

She would’ve thought growing up, moving away, living among her own kind in Nashville society, and finally the hell she’d been through would have cured her of fairy tales filled with hot, sex in a pair of jeans prince charmings. She had obviously been mistaken.

“Why shouldn’t I be nice to you? You didn’t do anything to me.”

He said it casually, easily, and Bella struggled not to look at his profile. The cold, businesslike tone he’d used on her earlier that morning and at lunchtime, and while part of her was grateful for it, it made another part of her wary.

“No, I didn’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that my name is Drake.”

“You’re not your brother or his actions.” Bella did look over at Travis then only to find him looking at her. There was something unreadable in his eyes, in the slight curve of his lips, but her heart thundered all the same. She nodded once, again grateful, and turned her head until she was looking back out over the water.

When the curve of her driveway came into view and Travis made the veer to the right that would take them to the front of her house, she couldn’t deny the pang of disappointment. She wasn’t ready to be out of his company yet. Though they’d said little after their little bantering conversation outside the flower shop, she found she wasn’t as prepared to be alone as she usually was.

He pulled to a stop and before she could say anything, even a thank you for the ride, Travis had the truck in park and the keys out of the ignition. She gaped at him, but he didn’t look at her, only got out and came around to open her door. “Thanks,” she said, hopping down from the cab.

Travis inclined his head and gave a small smile. “My pleasure.”

She thought he’d leave then, but after he closed the door to the truck and she started up the steps to her porch, Travis cleared his throat. Bella turned. He was leaning against the same front quarter panel as he had been earlier. His arms were crossed over his chest and his feet crossed at the ankle. There was arrogance in eyes, and heat. She couldn’t mistake that because it matched her own. The arrogance however, made her shiver in the humid Tennessee summer heat with uncertainty. “Travis?”

“Sleep with me.”

*

Y’all have a nice Tuesday and try to stay cool…

~lissa

Temptation Tuesday

Nothing like a new little feature, huh? Temptation Tuesday, tempting you with snippets, the not-safe-for-work kind of snippets, the not for minor eyes snippets from WIPs I’m working on…

Wait

“For the best is not a good enough answer,” she insisted.

If she had the willpower, she’d walk away from Vin and head back to town, but she didn’t. She was willing to fight for him, for them, for herself and for what she wanted most. To be with Vin. That was all she ever wanted, from the first glimpse of him years ago, she’d only wanted him. If there was kismet or soul mates or Prince Charmings, he was hers. He wasn’t perfect and he sure as hell wasn’t easy, but he held her heart and she knew she’d never get it back.

“What do you want me to say, Mel?” It was one of the few times she’d ever heard a plea in his voice. And he used his nickname for her which touched her even more. He stood across the room from her, daring her to leave, daring her to stay. She stared him down, refusing to give an inch even though her insides were quaking. He knew why she was there and why she couldn’t leave. “You really want an answer to your questions? Fine.” His voice rose, louder with each subsequent word. He pushed away from the bench and stalked toward her. Black denim  rode low on his hips and a gray sleeveless shirt hung loose on his upper body. Unlaced combat boots clomped on the sawdust-covered wood-plank floor beneath his feet, and as he got closer, she could smell grease, dirt, grass, and faint traces of metal. The chain he wore around his neck, his dog tags… He was never without them. He had to keep his hair cut military short and the heated look in his eyes kept her rooted to the spot.

“Uh, Vin, I…” What the hell was she going to say? She had his attention, just as she’d wanted when she burst in on him, and she couldn’t back down now or he’d know her for a coward. He scared her and tripped her up but he also turned her on like nobody’s business and melted her heart. She’d been half in love with him since they were kids in school. She’d started missing him the day he’d enlisted in the Army and she’d cried for days after he left for boot camp.

From then on, each time he came home and each time he left, she was a broken mess. This time wouldn’t be any different, but when she’d heard he was home, she couldn’t stay away. When it came to him, self-preservation wasn’t part of her vocabulary.

“No.” The one word was curt, and somehow even shorter than the two letters that made it up. She wasn’t sure what the no was in reference to, but she closed her lips tight. He was a formidable man, and though he never physically hurt her, never would cause her harm, he damn sure excited her.

He stopped in front of her. Up close, she could see he had fresh scars that hadn’t been there the last time he’d been home. His nose had been broken again, too. Ugly scratches and scrapes slashed the side of his neck along with a few jagged cuts leading to his collarbone. She’d even go so far as to bet her next paycheck that he had a new bullet wound or two as well.

“Vinny,” she whispered helplessly. She didn’t know what else to say or do. He was silent as he loomed over her, gazing down with unblinking eyes. She reached out with a trembling hand, and with that lightning-quick reflex she had reluctantly admired earlier, he had her arm in a vise grip and her body slung over his shoulder. “Vin,” she protested, albeit weakly. “Put me down.”

He kicked the workshop door closed and walked with unhurried, measured strides back to the workbench. “Nope.”

“This is ridiculous,” she said into his back. “You can’t just go hauling women around like this.” Though honestly, she got a secret thrill when he manhandled her. It made her feel protected, cared for. Most women she knew would probably think it barbaric, and maybe it was, but it was one of his traits she loved most. She liked his He-Man strength and way of overpowering others. He was a physical man, strong and unbending. It was what had drawn her to him all those years ago and part of what kept her panting after him now.

“I don’t haul women around like this. I haul you around like this.” He set her down on the workbench, but not before he gave her ass a hard, stinging swat. “There’s a difference. And don’t think I don’t know how much you like it.”

“How?”

“Because it’s me and you,” he answered with finality, and bracketed her between his arms. “I can smell your pretty pussy when you’re over my shoulder, too. Did you know that? I know it gets you all kinds of hot when I do shit like that.”

Well, that shut her up. Figures he would know. “You’re crude.” It wasn’t much of a retort but it was all she had. The quirk of his lips told her it was on the weak side as well. She started to cross her arms over her chest but he stayed the motion. Most women would likely be embarrassed if a man said that to them, but she knew better than to try and play that trick. She liked it too much and he wouldn’t believe her if she tried to deny it.

“You like me crude. Now, do you want me to answer your questions about my comings and goings, or do you want me to let you go? I won’t hold you against your will, but I won’t let you run if what you really want is to stay.”

“Answer,” she whispered. And then…he started unbuttoning her shirt. Soft sleeveless denim and tiny white buttons slipped through his dirt-crusted fingers. “I don’t think this is a good idea, Vin. You don’t need to undress me.”

“You want answers, you abide by my rules.”

“But how can I do that if I don’t know the rules?”

He lifted his gaze and raised his brow. “Really? You don’t know the rules? After all the years we’ve known each other? All the years we’ve been screwing, fucking, and loving? That’s the card you’re gonna play?”

Fortunately or unfortunately, she did know the rules. She knew all the rules. She’d come to him, after all. She knew exactly what would happen the moment they so much as breathed the same air. That didn’t mean she couldn’t try being a little dumb in the hopes that her heart didn’t get broken again. “Stop teasing me,” she said with a conviction she didn’t feel.

“Not teasing, but I believe I’ll need to remind you.” He looked down and traced the edges of her bra with his fingers. They stood out against her lightly tanned skin, and his touch left a trail of heat in its path. “So pretty,” he softly admired. “I’ve always loved how you look in lace and cotton, baby. It’s real and gentle and feminine. It’s fucking sexy in a way satin and silk never could be. You’re a sweet country girl and it fits you. I absolutely love it. But,” he shook his head sadly, “it has to go.”

Without sparing it a second thought, Vin had a pair of wicked-looking clippers in his hand and snipped through the underwire and fabric. He lifted the cups away, caught her breasts in his hands and his thumbs went immediately to her nipples. In an instant, her clit twitched and her hips bucked as she orgasmed.

“Primed and ready. Damn, girl. Still just a flick of a finger can get you off.”

“You,” she breathed, heavy and hard. She hadn’t even known she was ready. Willing, yes. But not ready. She should have known though. All it took was one small, well-placed touch from him and she was wet, aching, and orgasmic.

“Me?”

Mel nodded and licked at her lips with a tongue suddenly dry. “Always you, goddammit.”

Vin smiled. “Seems to be your favorite word today.” He leaned in for a kiss that Mel met eagerly. God, she’d missed his kiss, the taste of his lips and the swipe of his tongue. She’d happily drink from him but when she joined in, aching for a deeper kiss, he moved on from her lips, down across her jaw. Her throat was next where he stopped to suck at the skin in the hollow at the base. His thumbs still rasped across her nipples, but when his mouth replaced one of them, she bucked again.

Orgasms in such close proximity to one another usually weren’t her forte, but with Vin, anything was possible where her body was concerned. He could command and control her reactions with little more than a look or the slightest touch. She might as well say yes now and get it over with. Anything he might do to her, want or need from her, she would give.

Only thing was, he already knew that.

Wait For Me is a short story and will be available at the end of May.

~lissa