Page 16

 Kim Karr

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His lips part and his eyes grow dark with desire. He lets his fingers drift down to my shoulders and I shudder. When he places his hands on my thighs, spreading them wider, I crave his touch everywhere. My blood races as his eyes hold mine captive.
When I’m finally able to break free of this trance, I lick the outline of his lips, tasting the salty seawater from the beach still on his skin.
Pulling back, he studies me and his green eyes gleam under the halo of lights from the Hollywood sign. I press my palms to his chest and run them up under his shirt. He groans, and then slips his tongue in my mouth. I gasp when he forcefully thrusts his h*ps into mine and lose my connection to his lips.
His hands move from my h*ps to my chest. He presses his fingers into my skin as he traces the small curves of my breasts, and then grazes each rib before stopping at the waistband of my shorts. When his hands reach my h*ps again he cups my backside and lifts me up. Leaning my head against his, I run my fingers through his hair, tugging it ever so lightly and cinch my legs around his waist.
Closing my eyes, I feel our mouths meet again. We’re frantic for each other and our breathing becomes erratic. After a beat, he turns us around and starts walking toward the staircase. When I mold my body to his, he stops and presses my back against the wall, grinding into me. Again it’s more aggressive than we’ve ever been, even more so than last night. Hastily setting me down, his hands are at my waist in an instant and I whimper with longing when he tears the button off my shorts and I hear it clink on the patio. He yanks my shorts, along with my bathing suit bottom, down and they fall to the ground.
The more he touches me . . . the more I want to touch him, love him, satisfy him. I reach for his jeans, unbuttoning and unzipping them as fast as I can. He groans when I slide my hand into his board shorts. His lips find mine again and when he bites down on my lower lip, I want his pants all the way off. His are not as easy to maneuver as mine so he does it for me. I lift his shirt up and pull it over his head. Looking at his smooth chest sends a rush of adrenaline through me.
Standing there completely na**d, looking at me in anticipation of what’s to come, he practically tears my shirt off. He hastily tugs at the string behind my neck and the triangles of my bikini top fall to my stomach. When he pushes against me I can feel how much he wants me. His breathing hitches and his eyes blaze as he stares at me intently, like he wants to devour me.
“Mine always,” he whispers, nipping my earlobe with his teeth.
“Yours forever,” I breathe, burying my head in his neck.
He’s cupping my chin as we stare into each other’s eyes, reassuring the other that the words we’ve just spoken are the truth. He surprises me when he turns me around and urges my legs apart. But when his head comes around me for a kiss and I twist to meet him, I don’t care which direction I’m facing. Our tongues find the warmth of each other. With one hand he grabs my hip while the other one travels down to my slick flesh. His skin is warm and feels so good against mine. He plunges a finger inside of me and I gasp. Hissing in a breath, I prop myself up with my hands to the wall, telling him, “River, I want you. Now.”
When he inserts another finger I moan out in pleasure and my moans grow louder when he circles his thumb around me. Not able to stand it much longer, I reach behind to grab him and slide my grip up and down his hard length.
He’s nearly panting in my ear when I place him right where I want him. His hands go around my h*ps and he slams into me fast and hard. I’m bracing my palms against the wall for support as his thickness fills me. Each retreat is followed by another glorious penetration. As his pace quickens, he reaches one hand down and starts to circle my most sensitive spot. “Don’t move,” he says and pushes deeper into me at an increasing rate. When he lets out a low, almost primal groan, I know I have to experience him fully, so I push myself back and into him as hard as I can. Feeling him inside me is the single most fulfilling sensation in the world. When I hear that low groan from him again I know he feels the same.
I start moving up and down on my toes, pushing him as deep as possible into me. When his fingers dig into my flesh, I know his pleasure is building at the same pace as mine. He’s no longer kissing my lips, no longer able to—I can tell from the sounds he’s making and the way my body feels. As he continues to rock himself into me, my body responds rapidly. Closing my eyes, I inhale a deep breath and scream into the night, “Oh God, River yes!” My body shudders and pulsates from its core as I come hard and fast, experiencing a feeling that makes everything that was wrong between us feel right.
His thrusts slow as my cries continue and a low groan escapes his mouth as he pours himself into me. It makes my muscles clench and my toes curl. He cocoons me against the wall, his arms on each side of me, his chest flat against my back, and his cheek resting on mine. We are both breathless and spent, but neither one of us wants to move—I don’t want this feeling of utter pleasure to ever end.
When he tugs on the string around my back, my bikini top falls to the ground. I twist my head around and joke, “What? You want more?”
His lips meet mine and he kisses me with so much love that when he stops my lips are tingling. I smile at him and a devilish grin crosses his face as he says, “I always want more.”
Chapter 12
Catch My Breath
The next morning we’re back outside in the yard and I love how River’s green eyes sparkle in the sunlight as I watch him from the lounge chair. I have my coffee in one hand and my Kindle in the other.
He turns to me and shoots me his full-blown smile. His dimples always make my heart flutter. Even with a black eye, he still takes my breath away.
“You’re really not going to help me, are you?”
I shake my head from side to side. “Nope. You have to learn your lesson.”
“What lesson would that be?” He walks over to me with the broom still in his hand.
Setting my Kindle down, I hold my hand over my eyes to block out the sun and say, “Why, the ‘you break it, you clean it up’ lesson, of course.”
He lets the broom fall to the patio and pushes my knees up toward me as he straddles the lounge chair.
“Hey, watch my coffee!”
Taking my coffee from my hand, he sets it on the side table. His mouth is on mine before I can say another word. Then pulling away, he runs his hands up the inside of my thighs and says, “I have a few lessons I wouldn’t mind teaching you. And I bet mine are much more fun.”
I wrap my arms around his neck and pull him back to me. He presses his mouth to mine and with the taste of his lips, the feel of his breath, everything seems perfect. Suddenly he sits up, his hand comes to my cheek, where he cups my face for a long moment, and then just stands up.
“Where are you going?” I protest.
With a sexy grin he says, “I have to finish cleaning up.”
I pout my lips. I wasn’t done kissing him.
He laughs. “I’m getting too turned on sitting here like this, but if you want to help me, we could finish a hell of a lot faster and start on one of those lessons.”
I giggle. “Nah, I’m good.”
He slips his Rolling Stones T-shirt off and tosses it at me. “It’s hot out here.” He grabs the broom and walks back over to the shattered green glass.
My eyes scan his perfect back—the way his muscles flex and move with every sweep of the broom, the way his skin glistens in the sunlight. “I know exactly what you’re up to and it’s not going to work.”
He smiles darkly. “Oh you have no idea what I’m up to. Trust me.” He winks before turning back around. Bending over, he attempts to push the glass into the dustpan with the broom. He manages to get about a quarter in each time and the more I watch the more I feel bad. He really could use some assistance. I finally stand up and walk over to help him.
When I’m standing next to him, I place my hands on my h*ps and let out a deep exaggerated sigh. “Hand me the broom and I’ll sweep the glass into the dustpan.”
His eyes peer up at me as a smirk crosses his face. “You sure?”
I nod my head and his smirk grows wider.
But instead of handing me the broom he drops it to the ground and lunges forward to hoist me over his shoulder.
“Put me down! What are you doing?”
“Lesson number one, beautiful girl—never feel sorry for the person who looks incapable of cleaning up because more than likely it’s just a big act.” And with that, he tosses me into the pool.
Surfacing, I sputter water out of my mouth and yell, “You suck.”
“No, I’m just good,” he says smugly.
When I reach the side and look into his seemingly content eyes I have to agree, “Yeah, you are good.”
He strides toward me, reaching his hand to help me out. “You mean you’re finally admitting it?”
“I guess I am.”
After stripping off my wet clothes, I threw his T-shirt on and left him to finish cleaning up. With wet hair, I’m sitting at the breakfast bar in nothing but his shirt, attempting to eat a bowlful of cereal. His mood swings since Ben’s reappearance are getting to me. One minute he’s happy and normal, like this morning. The next minute he’s quiet and distant like dinner last night—or he’s angrier than I’ve ever seen him like our argument last night over Ben’s note. Even though we’ve discussed Ben and I’ve made my feelings clear, I feel like there’s something left unsaid between us, something still lingering between us. But I don’t know how to figure out what it is.
Arms tighten around me and River’s chest presses against my back. “I’m sorry.”
I almost feel like he’s apologizing for more than throwing me in the pool, but since I’m not sure where a deeper conversation would lead, I just want to keep the mood light and our tempers even– keeled.
I swivel around and run my fingertips up and down his bare chest. Hovering my lips over his ear I whisper, “Never apologize for winning, because paybacks are a bitch.”
Kissing me on the lips, he shrugs as he walks into the kitchen. “Paybacks sound like fun to me.”
I follow him and pour my cereal down the drain. I haven’t had much of an appetite the last few days and the bowl of Wheat Chex did nothing to increase it.
He takes the box of Cheerios out and sets it on the counter. “Not hungry again?”
I sigh a little. “No, not really.”
Turning around, I lean against the sink and catch him shooting me a concerned look. He opens the cabinet to get out a bowl. I can’t keep all of this bottled up so I take a deep breath and grab on to the edge of the counter as I let it out. “Can I ask you something?”
Leaving the bowl on the counter, he twists to look at me. The intensity in his eyes makes me want to escape this conversation. “You know you can.”
“Why did you fire Caleb?”
He doesn’t hesitate to answer. “Do you want to know what I told myself was the reason then or the real reason?”
He says, “We didn’t need him anymore since . . . ,” he stops as if unable to say why.
I finish the sentence for him. “They caught the as**ole who attacked me.”
He lets out a long sigh. “Yeah, that’s what I told myself when I fired him.”
“And that’s not the real reason?”
“I just couldn’t stand that he was, can’t stand that he is, his friend.”
Ben and Caleb have been friends for many years. Somehow I always knew that was the reason River acted like he did toward Caleb. The only thing I can think to do is just tell him what he already knows. “River, even though I don’t want to ever talk to Ben again, we can’t avoid everybody he knows. That’s not fair to our friends or family.”
River nods his head. Striding over to me, he lifts my chin and cradles it. “Dahlia, I did hire Caleb back, but there is something else . . .”
The sound of the twisting of the lock abruptly stops our conversation. We both snap our heads toward the front door when it swings open.
Xander enters the foyer with his key in hand and signals hello with a single nod. Nix struts in right behind him and heads over to the sofa. He gives us an obligatory wave, and then does a double take. “What the fuck?” he says, pointing to River’s eye.
River shrugs his shoulders and responds, “Not now, man.”
Stepping in after Nix, a woman I’ve never seen before comes through the door. She has long dark hair and olive skin. About average height, she has the shiniest hair, and the most flawless complexion. She would give Aerie a run for her money. She’s truly stunning.
She smiles at us and Garrett comes in right on her heels, practically walking into her. His blond hair is tidier than I’m used to seeing and he apologizes to the woman before looking over to us. “Hey River, Dahlia. What’s up?” He, too, does a double take and also points to River’s eye. “Ouch, hope you did some damage to the opposite end of the fist that nailed you!”
River stiffens, but just grins at him and for the first time I wonder what the extent of Ben’s injuries were.
Garrett nods, grins back, and heads into the living room to turn the stereo on. River promptly redirects his attention to his brother who ushers the exotic beauty our way.
“Xander, just because you have a key doesn’t mean you don’t have to knock.”
“Shut up, River. I’ve been calling you since seven this morning. If you’d answer your goddamn phone I wouldn’t have had to bring everyone here.”
Nix makes himself at home and flops his feet up on the table. “Got any coffee?”