Brandt looked stricken for half a second, then he laughed softly. “God. You’re killin’ me, woman.

Yes. On your knees on the floor.”

Jessie slithered down his body purposely letting her hair drift across his groin, his thighs and the tops of his feet, because she knew how ticklish he was.

“Playin’ with fire, Jessie.” Brandt sat up and pressed the creases of his knees into the edge of the bed.

Setting her hands on his thighs, she bowed her head over him, taking his cock into her mouth completely. Keeping her lips suctioned tight didn’t keep the saliva in her mouth. She used the wetness to move faster, letting it trickle out of her mouth and coat his shaft.

“Fuck, I love it when your mouth gets me so wet I can feel it dripping down my balls.”

The husky way he dirty talked made the inside of her thighs sticky. Jessie slid her hand down to fondle his sac. So tight. So ready.

Then the skin on his shaft seemed to tighten even more.

Brandt eased out of her mouth and she looked at him.

“Enough.” He fisted his cock in his hand and was beating off with more force that she’d dare try. He rasped, “Watch me.”

As if she could tear her gaze away from the eroticism of him masturbating.

“Put your hands on my thighs. Lean closer but arch your back. Yeah, like that. You’re so goddamn hot, Jess, I can’t believe you’re…” He groaned. “Close your eyes and part your lips.”

The slapping sounds increased as did his moans and the first spurt landed on her cheek. The next on her chin. The next on her chest. Followed by warm drops hitting her upper lip. Several droplets slid down the center of her lip and dripped into her mouth. The salty tang made her want to swallow the full taste of him, but she stayed still.

The flesh slapping noises stopped and Brandt’s strenuous breathing filled the room. She could feel his eyes, drinking her in, as she kneeled before him, her body bearing the marks of his passion.

She felt his pleasure even when he didn’t utter a word.

Softly, he said, “Don’t move.”

The droplets had cooled. Brandt swept his thumb over the stickiness on her lips and said, “Lick it.”

She did.

Brandt swiped a wet spot on her jaw and pressed his thumb into her mouth. “Suck it.”

How different his come tasted on his hand instead of directly from the source.

He continued to wipe every drop of come from her chest, her neck, her face. She sucked and licked his fingers. His slow, deliberate means of drawing out the connection set her skin to tingling. Her focus dimmed to just fulfilling Brandt’s needs. There was incredible power in surrendering to this man because she knew he wouldn’t abuse it.

His lips grazed her ear, sending a shudder from her neck to her toes. “Sexy, nasty Jessie. Are you my dirty girl now?”

“Yes. God yes.”

“If I reach between your thighs will I find you wet?”

She could come just from him whispering in her ear. “Yes.”

“And just what should I do about that wetness?”

“Anything you want. Just touch me.”

“Look at me.”

Jessie opened her eyes.

Brandt’s cheeks were rosy. His eyes were brimming with lust and his cock was fully erect again. He took her hands in his with a forceful, “C’mere,” and he moved them into the center of the bed. Then he flipped them so Jessie was on her back. He eased into her bit by bit, watching her eyes with the possessive gleam that caused her stomach to somersault. The instant he began to stroke inside her, she brought her legs up and circled his waist.

This was what she wanted. Needed. Him. This closeness. This tight fit. This perfect friction. This bond she only got from being with him.

He joined their hands and slid them above their heads, bringing their bodies in full contact from chest to legs.

“I like that.”

“Me too.” Brandt kissed her.

When he kissed her, everything fell into place. She brushed her lips over the spot below his ear that made him shudder. “I missed you,” she said softly.

“I can tell.” He stroked her hair. “I missed you too, Jess. A lot.”

And rather than taking an afternoon to prove how much he missed her, Brandt took the entire week.

Not every instance was sexual. He made her coffee. He shoveled out her truck after it snowed. He got up early and fed the animals so they could have a long shower together before starting their workday. All thoughtful things that showed Brandt really listened to her. He cared that she was happy. That was the sweetest feeling of all because she’d never had that before.

He made love to her every night before they went to sleep. Sometimes hard and urgent. Sometimes slowly and tenderly. Every night after he’d rocked her body and her world, he’d spooned behind her in her bed and held her all night long.

With every touch, every laugh, every new inside joke, Jessie knew this was moving out of the realm of a temporary situation, into something permanent.

Chapter Nineteen

Jessie had forgotten how much she loved the holidays.

It wasn’t because Landon brought out her childish glee. The kid was still too young to understand what the hustle and bustle was about. But he loved the sparkly lights, the excitement in the air. The cookies.

Her little man was as much a cookie monster as her big man.

Her happiness stemmed from having someone like Brandt to share simple things with. They’d done no Christmas shopping. They hadn’t decorated much. They hadn’t attended a single holiday party.

The Sunday trip into the woods with Landon to chop down the perfect pine tree hadn’t started on a fun note. Lexie had taken off after a deer and knocked Landon over with enough force he’d rolled down a small hill and landed face first in a snowbank. With snow inside his jacket, snow down his pants and snow in his boots, he’d screamed bloody murder. Then Brandt fell into a shallow stream hidden beneath icy layers of snow, soaking both his boots and his pants up to his knees. When they’d gotten back to the truck, wet and miserable, Jessie realized she’d forgotten Landon’s bottle, but she’d remembered the thermos of coffee. Too bad she hadn’t remembered to screw the lid on tight because the coffee had spilled, creating a puddle on the passenger side floorboard of Brandt’s truck.

But after they’d returned to Jessie’s place, cleaned up and warmed up, the three of them snuggled on the couch to watch cartoon Christmas classics. They’d gorged themselves on sugar cookies, loaded with colored sprinkles, and warm, chocolatey milk. Then after Brandt tucked a sticky, sugary, exhausted Landon in bed, they’d curled up together on the couch, talking, laughing, making out like teenagers. Indulging in long, candy-flavored kisses, cold hands straying beneath wool sweaters, rubbing noses, creating static electricity from rubbing their fully clothed bodies together, drifting off in front of the soft glow of the Christmas tree lights.

It’d truly been one of the best days Jessie remembered.


She glanced at Brandt. “Sorry. What?”

“Do we need peanut butter?”

“Yes. Jelly too. Here’s the list. I’m going to grab some tater tots.”

As they passed the junk food aisle, Landon said, “Cookie!”

“No way, lil’ buckaroo.”


“Nope. You’ve eaten your weight in cookies this week. We’re all boarding the veggie train. Carrots.

Broccoli. Snow peas. Yum.”

She slowed in the frozen food section after passing two hundred kinds of frozen pizza. She’d just tossed a bag of tater tots and a bag of chicken nuggets into the cart when she heard, “Is that Landon?”

Jessie looked at the woman blocking her cart. Around forty, she had dyed red hair with two inches of brown root showing. She reeked of cigarettes. Her pale face was pinched as if she’d been sucking on a sour pickle.

This couldn’t be good.

The woman leaned to squint at Landon. “That is him.” She focused on Jessie. “Is the boy’s name still Landon or did you change it?”

“Excuse me?”

“Samantha did the right thing and finally gave that kid up for adoption. That girl had no business being a mother. When my son told me some of the shit she pulled…well, it’s a wonder she stayed out of jail as long as she did.”

“Who are you?” fell out of Jessie’s mouth.

“I’m Drexel’s mom.”

Who was Drexel? And who in their right mind would name their kid Drexel?

“Samantha moved in with Drex after her aunt kicked her out. She took off about six months later. I wasn’t surprised. Drex had gotten tired of her bullshit and lies anyway.” She jerked her chin toward Landon. “He’s a cute kid. Lucky to have the chance to overcome his bad start in life.”

Jessie frowned.

“I hope you had him tested for mental problems. If not, you should because Drex was pretty sure Samantha drank like a fish and smoked pot when she was pregnant.”

“I don’t see how that’s any business of yours.”

Those bloodshot eyes drew together. “Well excuse the fuck outta me for tryin’ to help you. I doubt you knew what you were getting into when you agreed to adopt him.”

“What’s goin’ on?”

The woman turned. Then her calculating gaze winged between Brandt and Jessie. “You’re the adoptive father? I was just telling your wife about some of the issues you might have with the kid.”

Brandt bit off, “Not that it’s any of your business, but we’re Landon’s guardians, not his adoptive parents.”

The clicking noise of the woman’s acrylic fingernails against the glass doors sounded like one of those killer insects about to sting. “So she really did it, huh? Dumped the kid off with his father’s family.”

Landon’s mother had told this freak she intended to contact the McKays?

“I don’t know who you are, lady, but you don’t know squat.”