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He slipped a finger into me and my muscles spasmed in shock at the intrusion.

“Okay?” he asked, holding still.

I nodded. “Just caught me by surprise.”

Slowly, he eased in deeper, making me squirm. Ever so skillfully he worked me higher and higher. His thumb rubbed around my cl*t while he stroked over some sweet spot inside of me. Someone somewhere had given up the secrets of my pu**y; the man knew everything. I couldn’t remember anyone ever turning me on so effortlessly.

“Fuck, you feel good, my finger’s in heaven.”

“Mal, please …” I wasn’t even sure what I was asking for. I wanted his fingers, his cock, his mouth, his everything. The man made me greedy.

His finger slid out of me, teasing over my lips, spreading me gently open. My pelvis moved of its own accord, grinding against his hand. My moans were so loud the driver had to have heard them despite the divider. Did I care? Nope.

“We’re ready,” Mal announced.

We so were.

One hand held my hip while the other moved his c**k into position. The press of him sliding against my labia had me seeing stars. I didn’t know how I’d survive more. Slowly, steadily, I sunk down on him. His nostrils flared as I took him deep. I didn’t stop until I sat atop his bare thighs, the hair on his legs tickling me.

“There we go.” His focus on me was complete, his gaze searching my face, taking in everything. It left me no room to hide. A problem, given I had the stupidest impulse to burst into tears or something.

Since when did sex mean so much?

“I want to move,” I said. But the hands on my waist held me down. The feel of him filling me couldn’t be described. It bordered on being too much.

“Wait.” He reached up, kissing me soft and slow. “Just gimme a minute. Fucking perfect. Been waiting to feel you for forever.”

I rocked against him, getting past desperate.

We were still dressed up top, but oh man, the things we were doing down below.

“Mal,” I breathed. “Now.”

Fingers dug into my ass, drawing me up his hard length before easing me slowly back down, letting me get used to the feel of his thick cock. That same motion, over and over, again and again, was heaven. The slide of him into me made my blood run red hot. Slow was too good. It melted my mind.

Gradually, I started picking up the pace, his hands helping me along. Faster and harder, I rode him. Nothing could compare to the solid heat of him dragging over sweet places inside of me, turning me liquid. I slammed down onto his hard length, working us both into a frenzy. Sweat slicked our skin. My spine tingled; my whole body was shaking with need. This was life and death and a billion other things I never even knew existed. The tension inside me grew to exquisite gigantic proportions. His thumb slid back and forth over my cl*t and the whole wide world burst open. My h*ps bucked and I hid my face against his shoulder as I came hard, biting down through his Henley. A mouthful of cotton tried to muffle the noise escaping my throat.

It went on and on until I fell limp against him, lost and found and everything in between.

Mal groaned, holding me down on his cock. He was growling something. It might have been my name, in which case I appreciated the sentiment. The minute I could, I’d be sure to tell him thanks.

I never wanted to move. Never ever. Or at least, not until the next round.

We sat slumped on the limousine’s backseat in silence. Sweat and body fluids glued our thighs and groins together. Every muscle in me trembled. Holy f**king hell. That had been epic.

“You alive?” he asked after a while, brushing my hair back behind my ear.

I gazed up at him, slack jawed and f**k drunk. Best feeling ever. “It was okay, I guess.”

Crap, my words were slurred. My tongue had turned thick and dumb.

“Yeah?” He didn’t bother to hold back the smile.

“I’m sure you tried your hardest.”

“I appreciate the vote of confidence.”

I kind of grunted at him in a completely ladylike manner, out of energy.

“Sweetie pie? Pumpkin? You screamed so loud my ears are still ringing. I can’t actually hear whatever bullshit you’re peddling right now. Tell me later after I get a couple of stitches put in my shoulder, okay?” He chuckled, the sound rumbling through his chest in the nicest way. “A biter and a screamer. And you seem like such a nice, quiet girl. I’m shocked.”

I pushed the neck of his shirt aside, inspecting his shoulder. “You’re not bleeding. There’ll be a bruise at the most.”

“I’ll wear it with pride.”

Damn, he smelled good. The limo should just keep circling the city until it ran out of gas so I could keep breathing him in. Sex and sweat and man.

“Did you still want to go to practice?” I asked, mostly being polite. The desire to keep him all to myself kept my arms around his neck in something close to a strangle hold. But if he wanted to go, I’d go. Orgasms tended to leave me in a pretty benevolent mood. “I could hang out, listen to you play again.”

“Fuck, no,” he said.

“Fuck, no?”

He snorted, his lips twisted like I was lacking in the mental department. “Home. Bed. Now.”

“You got it.” I grinned.


We fell out of the limousine, still tugging our clothes into place. Things between my legs were sticky and swollen. Upon reflection, I don’t think I’d make a very cowgirl because my thigh muscles still hadn’t quite recovered from the ride. I really did need to get back into going to Pilates. A mild bit of muscle strain wasn’t wiping the stupid smile off my face, however. More practice was required and odds were, the way Mal kept putting his hands on me, he wouldn’t mind.

“There’s so many stars. Look how clear it is.” I let my head fall back, inspecting the heavens. Fresh from a great orgasm with Mal Ericson at my side, the world was a pretty f**king awesome place.

Mal kissed my chin. He tucked a finger in the waistband of my skirt and towed me toward our apartment building’s front door. “C’mon, your shirt looks uncomfortable. You need to get it off.”

“But nature, it’s beautiful and stuff.”

“Your tits are beautiful and stuff. I’m more than willing to spend serious time looking at them. Will that do?”


He laughed.

I fumbled the key in the door, clumsy in my haste. The lock turned, the door swinging open, slamming into the wall. Crap, what a noise. It echoed through the hall, up the stairs. We really would break the building before we were through. Mrs. Lucia was going to give us hell for being so loud. She lived on the first floor and considered herself the sheriff in these here parts. No one had the nerve to tell her otherwise. But if I had to, I’d pull up my big-girl panties and deal with Mrs. Lucia.

What I didn’t know was how to deal with the sight of Reece sitting on the stairs with a bunch of flowers in hand. They were every color of the rainbow. I stumbled to a halt, Mal beside me.

Reece bought me donuts now and then. A bottle of wine when we went out for my birthday or his. He didn’t bring me flowers. And he sure as hell didn’t sit on my stairs looking forlorn, a lock of hair hanging over his forehead.

“Reece …” I climbed the stairs toward him.

Mal stayed put, his hand slipping from my grasp.

The color had fallen out of Reece’s face. He looked as white as a blank piece of paper. My and Mal’s disheveled state couldn’t be interpreted too many different ways. Reece looked like a child who’d lost his favorite toy. I don’t think I’d fully appreciated the differences between Mal and him before now. But for all of his joking, Mal was in his head and heart a man. Reece was a boy. I’m not even sure I could explain the distinctions. They simply played in different ways.

“Anne.” Reece gave the flowers a perplexed look, like he wasn’t quite sure how they’d come to be in his possession. “Didn’t realize you’d have company. Sorry.”

I silently held my keys out to Mal. His mouth flatlined. He gave me a harsh little shake of the head and I shoved the keys at him. What the hell did he expect me to do? I couldn’t just leave Reece sitting on the f**king stairs. Mal stared at me and I stared back, silently willing him to understand. God, this was basically my best friend.

After a moment he snatched the keys out of my hand and went ahead, stepping around Reece. Mal went inside, closing the door (not slamming it, thank god).

Reece offered me a stiff smile. “This is awkward.”

What an understatement. I sat down beside him, resting my elbows on my knees. “Nice flowers.”

“They’re for you.” He handed them over, the scent sweet and heady. He didn’t meet my eyes.

“Thank you. They’re beautiful.”

“I was worried about you.”

The statement sat there like an accusation. I didn’t know what to say. Emotion had never been my strong point. I was woefully unprepared for this mix of sadness and guilt and whatever the f**k else he’d bought in on his boot heels. Mom had taught me a long time ago to play it safe and keep your mouth shut.

“You two worked things out,” he said.

“Yes.” On the other hand, my mom was a beyond-shitty role model. Reece deserved better. “What’s going on here?”

“I got to thinking about things. About us.” He shoved a hand through his hair, pushing back the floppy fringe. I’d always adored the way he did that, the accompanying toss of his head. But my heart didn’t roll over and give it up to him. Not like it did for Mal. Reece had waited too long.

“Us?” I prompted, both angry and bewildered.

His smile was far from happy. He nodded toward the upper floor. “Thought he was gone.”

“So did I. Apparently, I misunderstood.”

“Guess that’s good for you. Think it’ll last?” His voice wasn’t unkind exactly. But the question garnered an immediate reaction.

I sucked in a breath, an honest answer eluding me. My happy-sex high hadn’t dissipated enough for brutal honesty, not with Mal waiting upstairs. My mind didn’t want to know. Mom had always said love made you stupid. Guess I hadn’t learned that lesson yet after all. “I don’t know. But I hope so.”

It was still relatively early but the building sat in silence. Our voices barely made a dint.

Reece rose to his feet, moving slowly like he’d been hit. “I’m going to go. See you tomorrow.”

“Reece,” I said, my voice tight and high. Something was breaking right there beside me and like so much lately, I didn’t think I could fix it. I couldn’t give Reece what he’d finally decided he just might want. “I’m sorry.”

He hung his head. “It’s my fault, Anne. I was an ass**le. I was too stupid to see what was right in front of my eyes until it was too late.”

I had nothing. Absolutely nothing.

He waited a moment, lips skewed with disappointment perhaps. Then he started moving.

“Night.” He jogged down the stairs, taking them two at a time, obviously eager to get gone.


I sat there, holding my flowers, staring into space. I just needed a moment to get my head together. The world was so strange. Nothing made sense. A minute later Mal came out and sat down beside me. He leaned over, sniffed at the bouquet. His hands bashed out a beat against his thighs, but he said nothing. Finger tapping seemed to mean restless or busy thinking things out. This savage piece of percussion was something altogether different.

“Reece left,” I said, breaking the silence.


“This has been a strange day,” I said, quite possibly making the understatement of the century.

“Strange good or strange bad?”


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