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Second thing I notice: he feels very muscular against me.

Okay.

My heart is beating so fast I can feel it threatening to burst out of my chest and run away.

I start to unwind myself from Malcolm, and I feel him stir, tightening his arm around me. He groans a little, and I can feel him move his arm a little lower.

I try to unwind myself more, and his hand ends up splayed across my butt cheek. His hand is huge; it covers my whole butt cheek. I try to contain my panic and some other emotions boiling up in me as I manage to lie on my back. Malcolm shifts again. He drags me up against him and I gasp. The bastard is awake, isn’t he?

His face is nestled between my breasts.

“Malcolm!” I shout-whisper.

He stays silent.

“Malcolm, I swear to god, someone could come in here any minute; get your face off my boobs!”

At that he laughs and picks his head up, looking at me quietly.

My breath catches in my throat. He looks gorgeous. His lazy stare, his bed hair, his body deliciously warm and holding mine. I feel something stir in the pit of my stomach. He lowers his head back down.

“Don’t be mad at me,” he whispers to my neck. His voice sounds even deeper in the morning. I groan inwardly because my anger vanished the moment he opened his eyes and smiled at me.

I don’t answer, because I know my voice will betray me.

He looks up at me again. I frown and attempt to scowl at him, but I don’t think it works that well, because he just smirks and lowers himself back to my breasts, then moves lower still. He plants a kiss on my stomach; then he raises himself up and places another kiss on my neck.

“Are you mad at me?” he says again.

I don’t even know what he asked me.

“What?” I ask.

He places a kiss on my shoulder, then takes my hand and kisses the inside of my wrist. He keeps my hand in his, his fingers playing with mine. “Are you mad at me?” he teases, brushing my hair behind my ear in a move that suddenly just fills me with longing.

“Yeah, I’m mad. I’m mad because . . . What are you doing here? I can’t sleep with you.”

He chuckles.

“I can’t sleep with you, Saint. I won’t.”

His gaze goes liquid as he rubs his thumb up my arm. “Yeah, you will, Rachel,” he promises.

“I won’t,” I promise him.

All the laughter fades from his eyes and he says nothing. He surveys me, and I can almost hear the wheels turn in his head as he figures out how to break my walls.

“Is there a man in your life?”

“No!”

“Then I don’t see a problem.”

“The problem is”—I jab a finger in the direction of the tent’s zipper—“Tammy . . . and all your other floozies. I don’t want to be one of them!”

“Then don’t be one of them,” he whispers in my ear.

When he offers to give me a ride home so that I can change for the office this morning, we don’t even tease each other at all.

“Come here so I can kiss you,” he coaxes from the bench across from mine in the back of the Rolls. I feel vulnerable and raw, like someone just opened me up and peered inside. He knows I want him, and I can tell from the look in his eyes he won’t let up until he gets me. I shiver. “Rachel,” he says, when we get close to my place.

“We can’t keep doing this.”

“Rachel, there’s nothing I won’t do to get you in my bed,” he says, his eyes hot and hungry.

My body responds, and it takes all my effort not to leap across the car, wrap myself around him, and let him kiss me stupid like he always does.

“Thanks, Saint,” I murmur as the car stops before my building.

He murmurs, “Malcolm,” as I get out.

I pause and look at him. I feel like I’m kissing him again when I concede and murmur, “Malcolm.”

He looks at my lips like he’s definitely thinking of kissing me again. Like hearing his name in my mouth just fondled him somewhere . . . maybe his beautiful, perfect dick. Ohmigod, what am I thinking?

I turn away and hurry upstairs.

On Thursday, he asks me out to dinner.

My heart leaps and vaults—he wants you, Rachel, he’s actively pursuing you—but my brain puts an end to that ridiculousness. I can’t risk being seen by more press—my true story being discovered. I am also afraid of seeing him in any sort of dating sense again. Look what happened last time?

I tell him that I’m busy and he just texts back: OK.

I wonder if he’s calm about me denying him or if he’s frustrated. My own sexual frustration is so acute I beg the girls to please let’s have a night out at our favorite Japanese restaurant because I need the girl therapy. Distraction. I just really need to stop thinking of him.

But it seems they both found out, through word of mouth and everyone’s best friend, the internet, that Saint was at an End the Violence campout, and they can’t believe he actually went looking for me after my casual mention at the Tunnel.

“Okay, so let me get this straight. This guy, a playboy who doesn’t truly know you, is willing to do what Wynn and I aren’t?” Gina says.

“Don’t look so stumped. You’re with me when I’m painting murals, you’re great supporters.”

“He wants to get laid—that’s a powerful motivator. Wynn and I, on the other hand, want nothing from you but your friendship.”

“Does he want to get laid? He’s a guy who gets it whenever. He’s the kind whose body just begs for it.” I blush. “He’s getting it somewhere.”

“Get out and get drunk, have fun, and get it somewhere too, then,” Gina says.

I’m sleepless and tired, groaning. “Not really up for that.”

“You’ll get rolling once you’re a few cocktails in.”

“You’re worried that you like him?” asks Wynn.

“No. This isn’t a relationship, I’m just worried that he’s much more than a manwhore. He’s pretty cool.”

Wynn: “It’s so nerve-wracking but exciting not to know in those heart-pounding early stages what he’s thinking.”

Gina: “Oh, trust me, all he’s thinking of is his cock in your mouth.”

“When you say you worry,” Wynn says, “you mean you worry the man wants you or that you may not be as strong as you thought, strong enough to resist him?”

“I am resisting him. Otherwise that night I could’ve just torn his clothes off and ravaged him.”

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