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“Thanks,” she said when he finished. “Is the part like a two-hundred-dollar thing or a five-dollar thing or what?”
There was an edge to her tone. Just a little one. He’d been right to assume things were tight for her.
“It’s a common part. I looked it up on the Internet earlier today. I can get the part via Twisted Steel at our cost. It was thirty-seven bucks that way. Retail, that could be fifty or more. Shouldn’t your landlord pay you back? I’ll keep the receipts so you can send them to him.”
“He’s been blowing me off for months. If it were totally broken, he’d do something. Probably. He’s not a monster or anything. I asked if it was under warranty. I figured I’d just have it done myself. He said he got them secondhand. So it’s not like you fixing anything screwed that up. Thirty-seven bucks is fine. Three hundred and I’d have to wait. Thank you again.”
He stood, pulling her up his body, getting a better hold by bending his knees, grabbing two handfuls of her ass, and lifting.
“My. You’re very strong.” Her voice bordered on that purring thing she did. Duke’s cock liked that very much.
Carmella wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist. The play of her muscles as she did spoke to her strength. She was fire. So very lovely to look at. Ferocious, he bet, when necessary. Dangerous. Orderly. Usually. But Duke bet she could be unpredictable too.
He kissed her as he deposited her ass on the counter again; this time there was no crack to the skull to be worried about.
Still, he promised her some romance. Back deck. Stars and beer. “We should go over to my place. I promised you beer. I have food too.” He spoke around kissing across her collarbone, through the thin material of her blouse.
“We will.” Carmella slid her fingers into his hair, tugging him to her mouth. He kissed her and forgot what he’d been planning to do before.
“Are you trying to distract me?” he teased.
“I’m trying to nail you.”
Startled, he paused a moment before he burst into laughter. “My fragile flower.” He nipped her chin.
“Fragile flowers get trampled. Can’t afford to be fragile.”
But there was something distinctly vulnerable about Carmella. Something that called out to him. Spoke to him. Made him want to soothe and defend.
He didn’t say any of that.
He needed to seduce the trust out of his skittish redhead. Slowly and surely. She was wary. Enough that Duke was sure there was something in her life—past or present—that had left some deep scars.
But he wanted her to open up. Wanted her to look at him with the same unguarded pleasure she did only very rarely now.
So he’d take his time and do a lot more showing than telling.
He unbuttoned the front of her blouse, exposing a far fancier bra than she’d had on a few days prior. Navy blue against her skin so pale she seemed to glow in the golden, end-of-the-day light flooding the kitchen.
Another flick of his wrist and the front of the bra came open, her breasts bared to his gaze. His touch.
“You requested nailing?” Duke murmured as he took her right nipple between his teeth, tugging until she arched on a yes. “Handy you have a skirt on.”
“I’d never leave such a thing to chance.”
Of course not. That made him so hard his skin seemed too tight. He stepped back as she wriggled free from one leg of her panties all while getting his belt, jeans, and boxers out of the way, his cock in her fist in what felt like forever but was more likely to have been less than a minute or two.
He hated to stop her, but he had to bend to grab the condom in his pocket. Knowing he’d be inside her shortly was finally enough to work up the nerve to move.
“Stay right there.” Duke kept one hand on her hip, not wanting her to fall, and grabbed the condom with the other, ripping it open with his teeth and rolling it on.
She was slick and hot, ready for him. But he lowered his mouth to her pussy, replacing his fingers. Her gasp and the way her grip tightened in his hair only drove him harder. Need beat at him in waves as he floated on her taste.
He wanted his scent all over her skin. His marks on her body. He wanted to drive any thought of any other man at any other time out of her head.
She tightened against him, straining as orgasm hit her, he kept going for a few more seconds before standing, sliding into her pussy. He’d planned to fuck her hard and fast, but once he’d gotten all the way inside, he had to stop, still, and concentrate to push back climax.
He’d masturbated in the shower just an hour before and he still had such whisper-thin control when it came to her.
“So good. You feel so good.” He kissed her as he began to move in hard, deep digs. She drew her knees up and he braced his hands on the other side of the narrow counter, bending over her body as he did.
“Just so you know, I’m going to be having you again. We’re going to relax and have some food and then we’ll get to it.” He kissed her when she stretched to meet him halfway. “For now I think you need to finger your clit. Make yourself come around my cock.”
She swallowed hard, her pupils going wide. But she did it, a hand sliding between them.
Her pussy tightened, inner walls fluttering as she began to stroke.
“Soon I’m going to watch you masturbate. You’re so pretty when you come.”