“So it is a date,” Rosie jumped in.

Bree burst into laughter while Nikki flicked salt at Rosie. Luckily the conversation did change.

“Oh, before I forget.” Rosie reached into her purse, pulling out a red velvet bag. “This is for the bracelet you’re working on. One of my friends who runs a healing shop that focuses on chromotherapy—”

“Chromotherapy?” Bree frowned. “You know what? I don’t even need to know what that is.”

Rosie flipped her off. “Anyway, she was telling me that the color red helps stimulate energy and vitality.”

“And here I thought the color red would have something to do with sex,” Bree muttered.

“Of course you would.” Rosie shook her head.

Nikki leaned over and took the bag. “Thank you. This will be perfect to put the bracelet in.” She didn’t know if chromotherapy worked, but it couldn’t hurt. “I just need to paint it. Now I know what color.”

Walking out into the cool evening air, Nikki said goodbye to her friends and headed down the block to where she parked. She folded her arms over her waist and picked up the pace. It was that weird time of the year when there’d be pockets of heat and humidity throughout the day and then surprisingly cooler temps at night. Then again, she knew that people up north would think nothing of what they considered cold, but Nikki was wishing she’d remembered to bring a cardigan with her.

She rounded the corner and stepped off the curb, mindful of the traffic as she edged along the side of her car. As she hit the key fob, unlocking the door, she felt a sharp swirl of tingles along the base of her neck, an acute sense of awareness that raised the tiny hairs all over her body.

It felt like . . . like someone was watching her. It was the same feeling she’d gotten the night she’d left Cure.

Looking over her shoulder, her gaze darted along the block. There were people, but like before, no one was paying attention to her. Not that she could see, but as she opened up the car door, the feeling didn’t go away.

Biting down on her lip to stop from crying out, Nikki wasn’t exactly successful at staying completely quiet. How could she? Not when he thrust another finger inside her as he sucked deep and hard. She came hard and fast, and would’ve fallen over if it weren’t for him holding onto her hips.

Goodness, he was really, really good at this.

“You totally wore a skirt today on purpose, didn’t you?” He dragged his mouth along the inside of her thigh.

Holding onto the counter behind her, she lifted a shoulder. “Maybe.”

“Easy access?” he asked, leaning back and straightening her skirt so it slipped back down her legs. “If so, I fully support this plan.”

She laughed as he rose. He’d found her in one of the bathrooms on the third floor Thursday afternoon, and while fooling around like this came with the risk of being caught, it hadn’t stopped them.

It wasn’t going to stop her.

Placing her hands on his chest, she slipped out from between him and the counter. She pushed him back against where she’d stood.

A single eyebrow rose. “What are you up to?”

“You’ll see.” She reached between them, finding the button on his jeans. His eyes flared as she unhooked the button and pulled the zipper down. “I think you’re starting to figure it out.”

“I am.” His voice was dark, rough.

Grinning, she gripped his pants and pulled them down. Gabe had gone commando today and the hard, thick length of him jutted out. She knew from that one night, long ago, that he would fill and stretch her, but if they hadn’t had sex, she would’ve realized that the moment she saw him.

She lowered herself to her knees as she wrapped one hand around the base of his cock. His hips jerked in response and he exhaled raggedly. She was in awe of how her touch could affect him.

Nikki knew he was watching her as she leaned in, running her tongue over the glistening head. She knew he didn’t take his eyes off her as he reached down and gathered up her hair, holding it back as she licked her way from tip to base and then made her way back, flicking the little indent. And she knew that he was wholly focused on her, only her, when she closed her mouth around him.

“Hell,” he groaned.

The hand in her hair tightened, tangling it, and with the slightest pressure, he urged her to take him as deep as she could, which wasn’t all that far. She used her hand, timing the movements with her mouth.

“You’re going to kill me,” he said.

She hadn’t given a lot of blow jobs in her life, but she was quick to realize that if a guy was into you, you pretty much couldn’t do it wrong. And besides, she loved doing this for him. She figured that made up for the lack of experience.

“Fuck. Nic,” he growled. He held her in place as his hips moved, taking over. “Look at you. Jesus.”

There was something hot about that—about having him take over, take control. He wasn’t afraid to hold back. He moved against her hand, in her mouth, and the way he fucked her mouth had her squeezing her thighs together to alleviate the ache that was springing back to life there.

His movements picked up, and she felt the deep pulse along his vein. He groaned, and her eyes flew open, wanting to see the moment he let go.

It was beautiful to her.

That striking face of his tensed as he kicked his head back, exposing his throat. Who knew a throat could be so damn sexy, but the straining muscle and veins were incredibly hot.

Gabe came, and Nikki didn’t get a chance to pull away, not with his hand where it was, keeping her in place. She didn’t want to, though. She wanted to finish him off and so she did, taking everything she could, sucking until he finally started to soften and he was pulling away.

He didn’t let go of her right away. His hand was still balled in her hair as he dropped his chin and stared down at her. A long moment passed where there were no words between them. He cupped her cheek with his other hand, dragging his thumb under what felt like a swollen lower lip.

“Does it make me sound like a chauvinistic pig if I admit to wanting to keep you like this? On your knees, ready for me?”

“Yeah. It does,” she said, cracking a grin as she turned her cheek into his hand. “But I wouldn’t mind keeping you on your knees, so what room do I have to talk?”

Gabe made this sound, half groan, half laugh, as he pulled her onto her feet and then against his chest. He folded his other arm around her waist as he dropped his face to her neck. “You’re going to kill me.” He kissed her there, eliciting a shiver. “You know that, right?”

“Because you’re old and going to have a heart attack?” she teased.

“Sweetheart, I could be your age and it would still feel like I’m seconds away from having a heart attack when you’re sucking my dick.”

“Not sure if I should feel flattered by that.”

“You should.” He kissed the side of her neck again. “You’ll be the death of me, yet.”

Nikki closed her eyes as her heart flipped over in her chest at the gesture. She wasn’t so sure about that. She had a feeling it would be the other way around when this was all over.

Because it would end, wouldn’t it?

The thought killed the mood about as effectively as getting doused with ice water. She wasn’t sure where the thought even came from, but maybe it was because she was trying to hold a piece of her back from him, and was slowly and surely failing at doing so.

Because she knew she was falling for him.

Falling for him again, and this time it would be harder and further before she hit bottom. She could tell Rosie that she was in control of this all she wanted, but she knew the truth.

She wasn’t in control.

And they . . . they hadn’t kissed. Not even that night four years ago and not once since they started . . . whatever this was. She felt stupid to put so much weight behind something like kissing, but didn’t that mean something? She wasn’t sure if that was just a silly notion or if it was a red flag.

“Hey.” His lips moved briefly against her neck before he straightened. She opened her eyes, finding him watching her intently. “What’s going on in your head?”

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