Addicted for Now / Page 26

Page 26


I start thrusting harder, filling her deeply. My c*ck aches for release but I keep pulsing, keep feeding her needs. My free hand takes her chin and I lean down, our lips connecting. I kiss her while I move in and out, in and out. I hit something and she breaks away from my mouth, grinning. I smile back and then press my nose up against her cheek as I push harder, my lips parting once a noise catches. My hot breath on her neck, my hand on across her lips, muffling her sounds and heightening her arousal.

Everything I ever wanted is right here in my arms. I wish I could stay like this forever, but eventually we come together—in a surge of bliss and longing.

***

We’re on the floor, curled up in two throw blankets and a couple of pillows. Lily has fallen asleep in my arms, her steady breaths warming my bare chest.

She’s never asked me why I can f**k better than the sloppy lay at fourteen. Granted, our first time together was actually my first. But I always knew I’d eventually get her back in my arms. I vowed to be better than all her other conquests. To keep Lily Calloway meant that I’d have to be able to satiate her every need.

So I practiced. I dated girls for a week or so, nothing too serious, but I made sure the sex was always about their desires, their pleasure, never mine. It helped figure out what would work for Lil—what sets off women the most. And I guess I just became good at it. So in most ways I succeeded.

I mean, I can satisfy my twenty-year-old sex addict girlfriend, for Christ’s sake.

What I can’t seem to do is fall asleep, but at least holding her takes my mind off finding a drink. Kind of.

Suddenly, I hear the back door open, and the kitchen light flicks on. Shit. Shit. Shit.

I forgot Rose lives here. How the hell did I forget that?

I glance down at Lily, completely nak*d like me. Oh…yeah. Her left breast is exposed, her nipple red and swollen from all the times I sucked on it. I cover her with the blanket and count the clap of Rose’s heels on the marble of the kitchen, waiting for that bomb to explode.

Maybe she won’t see us.

“Loren,” she says coldly, in her normal octave.

I lift my head. Rose gives me a death glare that I’m sure has sent children to tears. Her hands rest haughtily on her hips, and her mouth is downturned in a perpetual frown. She is about to bitch me out, but I put my finger to my lips and nod to Lily.

She’s asleep, finally. Hours usually have to pass before she relaxes, but after she came a second time, she dozed right off. I could have raced around the room and pumped my fists in the air. Sure, sex—her vice—helped her sleep. It’s not exactly a triumphant win. But it’s a small victory nonetheless.

Rose’s eyes flicker between us. She points at me and then jabs her finger at the kitchen. I mouth, okay and then carefully maneuver out from under Lily without waking her. She barely stirs, and I readjust the blanket so she’s covered completely.

“Loren!” Rose hisses at me.

I frown and look up to see her covering her eyes. Oh, right, I’m nak*d.

I try not to grin as I grab my boxer-briefs. Nope, can’t find those. I snatch a throw from the couch and tie it around my waist. I walk into the kitchen and she immediately assaults me with her leather purse.

“Okay, okay,” I whisper, blocking the hits with my arms. “I forgot you lived here, my apologies.”

She holsters her f**king weapon and uses her death glare again. “You can’t have sex in the living room, Loren. You broke a rule.”

“What?” No way. I know that list front to back…but so does Rose.

“No public sex,” she reminds me.

“The living room is not public.”

“It is now that you live with me. It’s a public space.” She motions around her. “Like the kitchen, and the garage, and everything that isn’t shared by only you and Lily. I didn’t think I had to explain that to you.”

A pain shoots up in my chest and I sink down on the nearest bar stool. “I didn’t…I…” I frown. Holy fuck. I’m such a goddamn idiot.

And the urge to vomit rises.

“Loren,” Rose says, her voice somehow soft. I meet her eyes and they look shockingly sympathetic. “It was one mistake. It won’t happen again.” Her voice is cold, but her optimism helps a little.

“It won’t.”

She lets out a small breath. “How did she do tonight?”

It’s like Lily had a quiz she needed to pass, and I guess partly that’s what sex is going to be like for her from now on—a test to see if she chooses to feed the compulsions or not.

“Better than usual,” I say. “She listened to me more, and she fell asleep after the hour. But I think that may be because I finally took her from behind.”

Rose talks about sex like we’re in a psychology class, nothing more than science, health and the human anatomy, which makes it frighteningly easier to discuss. “Did you two have anal sex often?”

I let out a low laugh. “Every day.”

I hear the garage door grind open or closed, and I immediately shoot to my feet.

Rose holds up a hand. “It’s just Connor.”

“He’s sleeping here?” I say in disbelief and then my lips rise. “Are you finally popping that cherry, Miss Rose Calloway?”

She looks about ready to tear out my vocal cords. My smile only grows.

“He has an early meeting in New York,” she says. Must be for Cobalt Inc., his family’s ink and magnet company, that is almost as profitable as Hale Co. baby products, but not quite. “It was last minute, so I told him it might be easier if he slept here…on the couch.” Oh. Fuck.

I grimace, not able to glimpse at the couch from the kitchen. But through the archway, I imagine pillows astray on the floor and one of the cushions perilously hanging over the edge. Basically I left the room a disaster with Lily swaddled in a blanket. A bystander would assume we f**ked on the couch, even though I was thoughtful enough to move her to the rug.

“There are two guestrooms,” I say. “Why the couch?”

“He didn’t want to cause a fuss after he left,” Rose says. Her neurotic self would have to rearrange all of the pillows on the bed, wash the sheets, and probably iron the curtains just to be sure he didn’t touch those too.

Connor walks through the door, a small duffel bag slung over his shoulder and his hand preoccupied by texting on his cell.

When he looks up, his eyes meet mine and then drift down to my nearly nak*d body, stopping at my blanket, and then right back up.

“Hey beautiful,” I say with a grin.

He barely blinks. “Pants have been invented in this century.” He walks farther into the kitchen to give Rose a light kiss on the cheek. He must add the fact that I’m wearing a living room throw blanket because he says, “I thought you weren’t allowed to have public sex.”

Of course Rose told him about the list. She’ll take any lengths to make sure Lily stays on track in her recovery.

“No one was here. It seemed private enough to me.”

I can’t read Connor’s calm expression, but he looks to Rose. She already shakes her head—as though she knows exactly what he’s about to say. “I told you that you should have clarified for them,” Connor tells her.

“I told you? What are you, one?” Rose snaps, but she’s just pissed she was wrong and he was right.

“Most one-year-olds can barely speak, let alone utter an entire idiom like I told you so.”

She looks like she wants to slap him. “Why are we dating?”

“Because I asked you out and you said yes,” he tells her with a burgeoning smile. “And you’re madly in love with me.”

“I never said such a thing.”

He replies in French, and I can’t even process the words.

She smacks his arm, and he whispers deeper in her ear, his arm spindling around her waist as he draws her to his chest. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Rose so flushed before.

She puts a hand on his black button-down, making sure there’s space between them. He kisses her on the head and keeps his arm around her, but he turns to me. “The couch isn’t vacant then.” His eyes fall to Rose, waiting for her to offer another solution. Like her bed, but she has solidified to stone.

She’s not one-hundred percent ready to share a bed with a guy, which isn’t a bad thing. I take pride in pissing Rose off, but causing her this type of fear—even unintentionally—makes me feel horrible.

Rose says, “The guestroom in the basement is free. I put clean sheets on the bed the other day.”

Connor nods, accepting the offer, and if he’s disappointed, I can’t tell at all.

I leave Connor and Rose to talk quietly amongst themselves, and I carefully lift Lily in my arms. I successfully carry her back to bed without waking her. She sighs, dreaming peacefully as I place her onto the mattress and tuck the comforter around her.

“Lo,” she says in a sleepy voice and rolls over onto a pillow, hugging it tightly in her arms. I’ve never been so jealous of a damn pillow.

But I let myself smile.

A year ago it would have been another man in her arms.

Oh, how far we’ve come.

{ 16 }

LOREN HALE

We made a deal not to put ourselves in stressful situations. Like the Sunday luncheon with Lily’s parents. Like any communication with my father.

Today I’m breaking that deal.

Lily is busy with Sebastian, pretending to be tutored. I told her I was going to work out with Ryke at the Penn gym, but when I drive to Philadelphia, I make the turn into Villanova. Some of the houses have acres and acres of trimmed lawns, decorative fountains gushing in the front yard and glittering Lamborghinis parked in the driveway—a place more suited for Beverly Hills than the suburbs of Philly. My nerves ricochet every mile down the road.

Before I talked to Connor last night, I had no intention of seeing my father. But I asked him the probability of finding the blackmailer before the information leaked. He told me that I had the same chance as the sun exploding in less than a billion years. I looked it up, and apparently the sun won’t explode for another four to five billion, so in Connor Cobalt’s words—I’m f**ked.

Then Lily’s phone vibrated on the nightstand. She was in the shower, so I answered it. An unknown number texted her. The word pounding in my head. Slut. It felt like someone punched me in the ribs, and just before I went into the bathroom to talk to her, I had a sudden impulse to check her other texts.

Seventy-five of them.

That’s how many times she’d been texted with insults—some more colorful than others. I’m not upset that she didn’t tell me about them. But now she can’t be upset when I talk to my dad. This has already gone too far. And I’m out of options. My father, he has more power in his right pinky than I do in my whole body. And if this is what it takes to ensure Lily’s safety, then so be it.

I pass the gates and park the car into the circular driveway. It takes a moment for me to muster the courage to ring the doorbell. I can hear the chime reverberating throughout the house.

After a couple minutes the door swings open, and I expect the staff to stand on the other side, ushering me in to see my father. Maybe Jonathan’s assistant. Maybe the groundskeeper, who sometimes finds his way indoors.


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