Falling Under
Page 1

 Lauren Dane

  • Background:
  • Text Font:
  • Text Size:
  • Line Height:
  • Line Break Height:
  • Frame:
Carmella Rossi held the truck door open for Ginger, who hopped down with a happy look. Carmella understood, she wanted to dance around for joy now that they weren’t at her mother’s house too.
Medication had been delivered for the next three days—it wouldn’t do to let her have any more than that. She’d just use it all and then not have enough and eventually end up in an ER somewhere trying to get pain scrips to get her through.
“Some people’s mothers make pies,” Carmella told the dog as they headed up the steps to the front porch.
Her key was in the lock when she and Ginger both paused at the throaty growl of a motorcycle approaching.
Duke Bradshaw. The hottest neighbor in the history of hot neighbors.
Considering the morning she’d just had with her mother, it was a nice treat to see all that long, hot, inked man get off a motorcycle and amble to his front door.
“Totally the best thing about this entire neighborhood,” Carmella murmured.
Ginger got in front of Carmella and sat. Ever protective and also sort of hot for Bradshaw just like her human was.
Carmella looked to the front door. “We should go in. Come on. It’s weird to wait out here like weirdos.” Not like it wasn’t weird to have a full conversation with a dog.
Ginger made a doggie snort but shook, her tags jingling merrily as she followed Carmella up to the front door.
And that’s when Duke Bradshaw pulled not into his driveway, but Carmella’s. That caught her attention as she unlocked to let Ginger inside. But the man brought Ginger bones from time to time so the Manchester terrier had no intention of leaving Carmella alone to greet the big, bad, tattooed biker who lived next door.
“Jeez, dog, he’s on his motorcycle. He’s not carrying bones in his pocket.” Not that she was unaware that he quite frequently appeared to have something pretty hefty behind that zipper of his.
His bike was beyond gorgeous and the sight of it never failed to make her heart beat faster. Flat, matte black. No chrome at all. It was a custom rebuild of a 1963 BMW. It was understated and classic while still being really sexy and super masculine. It also sounded like sex—low and throaty, the bass of it settled into her belly in much the same way his voice did.
He keyed the bike off and pulled it back on the stand before sliding one long leg over. He wore a half helmet bearing the logo of his shop, the T and the S swirling together looking sharp and badass.
His attention seemed to settle on her like a physical thing, freezing her to the spot.
And then he smiled and every erogenous zone—including a few she hadn’t known existed until that moment—did the wave.
“Just the person I was looking for.” Duke hung his helmet on a handlebar and headed up the steps toward her, still wearing black wraparound sunglasses and his jacket.
She wondered—not for the first time—if he ever wore them while he had sex. Would you be able to see your own reflection as he fucked you?
Proud at the calm in her voice, Carmella smiled like she hadn’t just been imagining riding his cock while he wore sunglasses so she could watch herself.
“Me? Did Ginger get into something?” She gave a look toward the dog, whose normally erect ears were even perkier at the approach of the guy with the bones.
Duke bent to give Ginger a scratch behind the ears. “Nah. She’s a sweetheart. It’s her owner I’d like to talk about.”
There was honey and lazy afternoons in his voice. Charming. He tucked the sunglasses into his shirt pocket and his pale green eyes took her in. Laugh lines only made him more attractive.
He had a tiny smattering of gray at his temples but it worked with the gold and caramel tones of hair that was closely trimmed at the sides, long and thick at the top. He had some sort of nouveau rockabilly thing happening.
Her fingers itched to reach out and touch.
“Um.” She shook her head, disgusted with how flustered he always seemed to make her. He’d been her neighbor for going on two years so there was no reason to get fluttery, but every single time she spoke to him, he seemed to turn her into a twit.
Ginger barked and Carmella pushed the storm door open. “Sorry, where are my manners? Come in.”
She let the familiarity of her front entry calm her a little as she bent to free Ginger from the harness and leash.
Duke’s hand landed on her elbow when she stood again. “Here, let me help you with your bags.”
She shrugged free of the totes slung over one shoulder, repressing a shiver as his fingers brushed the side of her neck. Carmella thanked him as he hung them on the peg.
Removing herself from the temptation to touch him or his leather jacket, Carmella stepped back with a smile. “You have excellent manners. Your parents did a good job.”
“The army gets most of the credit for that.” Again the grin.
“Want some iced tea? I was just going to make more.” Of course, she’d been pondering whether or not to add a big dollop of whiskey to hers, but those were easily changed plans.
He placed his hand at the small of her back as he followed her through the house and into her kitchen. Which really threw a wrench into her plan of trying not to think about this big, tall, broad-shouldered man right behind her.
He took up a lot of space. His scent seemed to push itself ahead of everything else, the electricity of his body seemed to hum from him on a frequency she wanted a lot more of.
Duke was a toucher. Not in a creepy way at all, but he frequently brushed his fingers over her forearm, or a shoulder when they spoke. In another man she’d have said something or made enough of a movement away that her don’t touch me would have been clear. But she liked it when he did it so she allowed herself that sensual treat.