The Hook Up
Page 22

 Kristen Callihan

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My heart turns over in my chest.
“What are you doing?” I can barely get the question out, and it sounds too soft, too weak.
He pauses for only a moment, his lips just touching my shoulder. “Kissing your freckles.” The tip of his tongue flickers on my skin, the barest taste, and something deep within me goes hot.
“But why?” I ask as he keeps on doing it. Slow. Steady. Exploratory.
It’s the tenderness behind it all that makes my heart beat fast and my breath catch.
“Because I’ve been dying to do it.” God, his voice. It’s so low and gentle, a caress of sound. It unravels me. Combined with his kisses, I’ll soon be a quivering mess. His big, warm hands cup my upper arms, as if I might run. Which I might.
“You have so many here,” he continues in lazy fashion, his lips brushing along my skin, “like golden sugar on cream.”
I snort. “They’re orange spots.”
He makes a rumbling sound deep within his throat. “Potato-potahtoh. Now quiet, I’m busy here.”
It’s not like I can move. His heavy thigh lies across mine, and the warm weight of his chest presses against my ass.
He’s moving, nipping and tasting his way over my shoulders. A gentle touch sweeps my hair off my neck so he can kiss my nape.
I shiver. A full body shake that feels as delicious as it does terrifying. It’s too much. Too intimate. He surrounds me, all heat and strength, every touch like adoration.
He presses an open-mouthed kiss on my shoulder blade and a small groan comes from him. “I dreamed of doing this the other day.”
“What?” I’ve fallen into a haze, but this stirs me enough to lift my head.
I can see him grin, but his attention is on my freckles. “In class,” he says. “I lost track of time thinking about peeling off that white sweater you were wearing and licking my way across your shoulders.”
As if to emphasize this little confession, he licks a path from my nape to the tip of my shoulder blade.
“You can’t be thinking about that in class.” God, he can’t because then I’ll be thinking of him doing it, and I won’t remember another freaking word our professor utters.
Unfortunately, Drew shakes his head as he proceeds to kiss his way down my spine. “Sorry, Jones, but you don’t have a say over my fantasies.”
He laughs outright at that, but doesn’t stop. “Take your br**sts, for example. Those play a starring role in so many.” He’s conversational now as he slides his way down my back, his hands holding my ribs, his mouth destroying me. “God, I almost lost it during a footage review, thinking about your ni**les, the way they go stiff when I suck them, and how you make those little whimpers when I do.”
I might have whimpered again because he stops for a moment, his lips hovering. “Yeah,” he whispers, “like that.”
“Jesus.” It’s all I can say.
“Or your pu**y. Your sweet, pink,”—he kisses the dip in my waist—”pussy. Always so wet for me.” The tip of his tongue glides downward, scattering pleasure in its wake. “I think about that every time I drive over here.” He sucks the tender skin at the small of my back. “How tight and wet you’ll be for me.”
His words are crude. I should protest. I can’t. He’s turned my body against me. It has become this languid thing, stretching and undulating into his touch like a cat to sunlight. I’m so hot my skin actually shivers. But he doesn’t stop. Of course not.
The truth is, I don’t want him to. Nothing has felt better than this.
“And then there’s your ass.” He lets out a long appreciative groan that makes me blush. Not that he’s noticed. He’s too busy mauling me. “This ass.” His big hands palm either side of my butt and squeeze.
“Shh.” He gives my butt a light slap, and I blush harder at the resulting wiggle of flesh. While he hums. “I’m having a moment.” His voice goes husky. “With this f**king perfect ass.”
“It is not!” Though I’m happy with my body, I know what it is and what it isn’t.
“Ah, Jones,” he tuts, “you’re just fishing for compliments now.” He gives my left butt cheek a feather-light kiss.
“I’m simply being honest, you goober.”
Another kiss lands on my skin. “You’re blind. Your ass. Jesus, your whole body...” He pauses, his mouth just touching the point where my back swoops up to meet my butt. “Nothing compares, Jones.”
I’m struck breathless. He’s the one who is incomparable.
“I’ve seen the girls you’ve been with, Baylor.” As soon as the words are out of my mouth, I wince. It’s stupid to call them to mind. But I’ve said it, so I’ve got to finish. “You cannot claim that my body is…” I was wrong; I can’t say the rest.
And by the way his hands tighten on my waist, I don’t think he wants me to either. When he speaks, it’s quiet but insistent. “The fact that I’m finding it hard to even recall another woman ought to tell you something.”
“Yeah, well…Shit.”
Slowly, he laughs. “You’re never going to win this argument.”
“Oh, no?”
“No. Because you’re begging the question.” His palm smoothes down my hip and then back up. “It is my opinion that your ass is perfect. Ergo, your ass is perfect to me.”
I can’t help laughing. “I cannot believe you’re pulling out philosophical constructs now.”
“Believe it, baby.” Happiness and a certain smugness lighten his voice. “I like debating with you.”
I like it too. More than I should. I like him. “You realize I can use the same argument? Seeing as you’ve made the state of my ass a question of personal preference rather than a discussion of empirical facts.”
He chuckles, the laugh muffled by his lips pressed to my skin.
“And, anyway,” I add just a bit strangled, “you’re cheating.”
“How?” But he sounds like he knows perfectly well how. He just doesn’t care.
“You attack only after putting me in this weakened condition.”
I’m proven correct when he grins. “I’m a competitor. What did you expect?”
“Not your face in my butt,” I mutter. But his attention and care feel so damn good that I don’t want it to end. Ever. I want to lie here and let him do what he wants to me until I can’t remember my name. Or his. So of course, idiot that I am, I tense up further.
“Relax, Jones,” he whispers, his fingers lightly tickling me as they drift along. “You can handle it.”
“Easy for you to say. You’re not having your ass inspected at close range.”
Another chuckle rumbles. “You can inspect my ass. I won’t mind.”
“Baylor…” I warn.
“Jones…” he mocks. And then his tongue licks the curve of my butt cheek.
A pathetic whimper escapes me, and my head hits the mattress. But he simply laughs in that husky, satisfied way again. “If you can’t handle it, call this a boon,” he suggests before giving me a small nip.
“A boon?” It comes out way too close to a squeak.
“Yeah.” His breath is warm. “Like a reward for hauling my ass out here in the pouring rain for a booty call.”
“Oh, I see.” My breath hitches as he hits a sensitive spot. “So it’s a chore now?”
“Never said that.” He nuzzles, f**king nuzzles, my butt. “I said you could call it that if it makes you feel better. Me? I’d be here every day if you’d let me.”
I’m not going to get into that. But I can’t help but smile against my forearm. “And what boon do I get the next time you’re the one to call?”
He gives me another soft kiss. “Anything.”
The quick, yet steady way he answers sends a little thrill through me. He might have backpedaled or given me conditions, but instead it’s a promise more than an answer. I press my lips harder into the flesh of my arm. “Careful, Baylor, you might regret that.”
He makes a humming noise. Content. Amused. “Possibly. But something tells me I’ll enjoy it too.” Lightly, he traces his fingertips over my hips, raising gooseflesh in his wake.
“What if it’s an hour-long foot rub?”
“Maybe I have a secret foot fetish.” I know he’s smiling. I can feel it along my skin. “Maybe I get off on foot rubs.”
I laugh just a bit. “If you think that’s going to scare me, you’re wrong.” He probably gives great foot rubs. Strong fingers. Intense concentration. I’m tempted to beg for one now.
“Damn.” His sigh tickles my back. “Then what?” Another kiss. “Come on, hit me with it.”
I tilt my head and snuggle down into the cradle of my arms. “Maybe I’ll have you edit my class paper.”
He goes so still, I can hear my own heartbeat, and then he rests his cheek on my butt. I want to squirm but he slips his arms under me and holds tight.
“Edit it?” His voice is a vibration through my skin.
Absently I nod. “Mmm. You know, point out all the flaws of logic like you do in class. Which I hate to admit, you’re right more than you’re wrong. Not surprising, smart as you are.”
I’m basically babbling, but his hold on me clenches, and he takes a sharp breath.
The sheets rustle when I crane my neck to look down at him. From my vantage point I can only see his profile from above, the gold streaks in his hair at the crown of his head and the darker brown along his temples, the high bridge of his nose, and the thick curve of his lashes against his cheeks. With his head resting on my ass, his body is half off the bed, he’s so damn long. Lean yet strong, muscular yet graceful. I could look at him forever. And his shoulders are so tight now that every sinew and curve stands out.
“You don’t think you’re smart?” My voice is a rasp in the quiet.
His answer is just as rough, but there’s a hint of bitter laughter in it. “Oh, I know I’m smart.” He glances up, and when our eyes meet, that familiar, sweet punch hits me straight in the heart. His eyes are dark and shining in the low light. “It’s just that, outside of my team, not many people give a shit if I am or not.”
No, most care about that arm of his. The one now wrapped around my waist, giving me a little squeeze as if he needs to bring me closer. Or his hand, which is tenderly pressed into my lower belly, so warm and secure that contentment spreads over me.
I want to keep this moment. Keep this part of him, like a secret. But he’s not mine to keep, and even though it might hurt him that people only see his surface, he still loves that life. And why shouldn’t he? His talent is immense, and he works his ass off. I don’t want to change that. It would change him.
Watching me, his expression turns pinched and pained. “I caught one of my professors grading a test in my favor.” He almost chokes on the words, as if it’s killing him to admit this to me. “I don’t know how many times it’s happened without my knowledge, or if they’ve all done things like that.”
He holds himself so tightly, the pain and humiliation he feels so evident that I see red. “Fuck him, Drew.” Never have I wanted to punch someone as much as I want to hit his professor. “Fuck anyone who does that.”
Drew’s cheek presses harder into my flesh. “I know. I just don’t like thinking my academic career has been a lie.” His voice drops to barely a whisper. “It means something to me.”
My fingers dig into my forearms as I glare at the herringbone-patterned bedspread. “You did the work, you have the intelligence. No one can take that away from you.” I swallow past the thickness in my throat. “And if you never even went to one class, you’d still be one of the smartest people I know. The most dedicated.”
Silence follows my statement, and the soft caress of Drew’s breathing tickles my skin. When he finally speaks, his voice is rough. “You always make me feel better. Like myself again.”
A pang shoots through my heart, sweet and aching. Drew doesn’t make me feel like myself. He makes me feel better than myself. As if there is a little broken part in me, rattling and loose, and whenever he’s near it falls into place and tightens. The thought has me withdrawing, sinking into that cold, thick place that chokes me. I’m beginning to need him too much.
And because he is smart, and knows me now, knows my stupid fear, his hold suddenly shifts. One hand eases up to cup my breast while the other hand drifts down. Long, calloused fingers slide between my legs, and I close my eyes, my muscles clenching in that delicious way that makes me feel like an addict, wanting to beg for more and more. Always more.
“Again?” I ask as if half-exasperated, but I’m not. I’m grateful, and my heart falls that much further into his keeping. Which terrifies me.
I don’t get a chance to plummet into terror. Drew is turning me over, his lips following the path of his hand. “Just proving my earlier point of your irresistibility.” It’s a murmur against my skin.
I close my eyes. Don’t think. Just feel. And he lets me, because we both are excellent liars now.
AS QB, I lead my team. I set the tone of the game, lighting a fire under my guys’ asses or making them fall flat if I’m not on top of things. I never really felt the pressure of that responsibility because it isn’t in me to sit back and be subordinate in a game. I love leading my team. But it can get lonely.