Author: Jaci Burton


Yeah, right. There’d been a huge problem when her kid had gotten drunk. And Mick had stepped in like a champion. How could a guy who wanted nothing more than sex from her have gotten so involved like he had with Nathan?


Maybe he was just a nice guy. No reason to read any more into it than what it was.


She was kind of the best summer fling he could have, right? And she’d made it pretty clear she wasn’t trying to put hooks into him, which would make leaving when his season started easy enough for him to do.


There was nothing holding him to her. Nothing holding her to him.


It was the perfect relationship.


So why didn’t it feel so perfect right now?


“You’ve been quiet.”


She lifted her gaze to his and offered up a smile. “Just enjoying the remarkable scenery.”


“You’re remarkable scenery. To hell with the ocean, the palm trees, and the sand.”


He drew them away from the water and dropped to the sand, pulling her down on top of him.


She laughed. “You’re pretty good for my ego.”


“Yeah, they’re paying me to boost you up a little.”


She arched a brow. “They? Who are they?”


He put his fingers to his lips. “I can’t tell you. It’s a secret. But trust me, they have your best interests in mind by hiring me on to give you a little lift.”


She laughed and pushed on his chest, lifting herself up to a sitting position. She slid her fingers under his shirt, loving the warmth she found when her skin met his. “So how much will I have to torture you to get the truth out of you?”


He laced his fingers behind his head. “Give it your best shot.”


She unbuttoned his shirt, pulled it aside, and splayed her fingers out over his chest.


“Holding me down to get the truth out of me?” he asked.


She didn’t answer and instead let her fingers drift over his ribs, down his stomach and even lower, dipping into his shorts to search for his cock. He lifted when she tugged on his shorts and removed them, tossing them to the side.


“Now I’m at your mercy.”


“So you are,” she said, taking his cock between her hands. She stroked him from base to tip, a slow slide of her hands, enjoying the feel of his cock hardening as she touched him.


“That’s torture.”


She smiled down at him. “Ready to give up your secrets?”


“No.”


She swirled her thumb over the crest of his cock, using the fluid that had gathered there to lubricate her movements. His eyes were locked onto what she was doing, but she was watching his face, his sharp breaths when she gripped him hard, the way his nostrils flared when she rolled both hands over his cock. She kept her gaze focused on his face as she bent down and licked his cock head, curling her tongue around his shaft, then dragging it down the underside. She licked his balls and he lifted, moaned, and sat up, spread his legs.


“Christ, that’s good, Tara.”


She rolled her tongue over the sac, putting each in her mouth, wanting to taste him everywhere before putting his cock in her mouth and drawing his shaft deep inside. She went down on him, letting him watch his cock disappear between her lips. She felt him shudder, loved that she made him weak the way he made her weak when he made love to her, wanted to take him right to the brink and over it. She held on to the base of his shaft and increased the suction as she brought him to the back of her throat, then eased up on the pressure, establishing a rhythm that had him grasping her hair and thrusting into her mouth with swift, hard strokes.


She laid her hand on his thigh and felt the dampness of perspiration, knew he held back, so she swept her hand along his shaft and fluttered her tongue across the soft head.


“Yeah. Oh, yeah. Dammit, that’s going to make me come. I’m going to come in your mouth, Tara.”


She hummed against his shaft, needing him to let her have it all.


He arched into her mouth and groaned, then tightened his hold on her hair as he let go, spurting hot come into her mouth. She held him there, swallowing what he gave her as he rocked against her, his entire body quaking with the force of his orgasm. She finally released his cock when he fell back against the sand.


“Damn,” was all he said.


Tara laid her head on his stomach, listening to the wild beat of his pulse, the upward rise and fall of his breaths while he smoothed his hand over her hair.


She lifted her head and gazed up at him. “Ready to give up your secrets to me?”


He laughed, raised his head. “Secrets? What secrets?”


“Damn you.” She picked up sand and rubbed it in his stomach. He lunged for her, but she screamed, jumped up, and ran, Mick on her heels. She knew she didn’t have a chance, and he was on her in seconds, tossing her to the ground. She squealed with laughter when he tackled her.


“Not fair,” she yelled as he pulled her under him, the top of her dress now around her waist. She didn’t care. “Your profession gives you an advantage.”


“Quit whining.” He grabbed sand and rubbed it between her breasts. She fisted a handful of sand and rubbed it in his hair. By the time they were through rolling around in the wet sand, Tara was convinced there was more of it on them than on the beach.


“Okay, enough,” Mick said, spitting sand out of his mouth.


Tara giggled and Mick pulled her up, threw her over his shoulder, and headed for their bungalow.


He turned on the shower while Tara stripped off her dress. They stepped into the oversized shower together and she laughed as Mick turned around. He had sand on his face, in his hair, and chunks of it hung on various parts of his body.


“Do I look as bad as you do?”


He brushed sand off her shoulders. “Probably.”


They lathered up and washed—rather thoroughly, since sand had gotten everywhere. Tara was thankful for the jets on both sides of the shower, and for the removable shower head, since she ended up with sand in uncomfortable spots of her body.


“Well, that was like a spa treatment,” she said once she’d rinsed the sand out of every possible crevice. “But my skin is utterly smooth now.”


Mick rinsed his face and turned to her. “Is that right? I think I should double-check to make sure you got all the sand out.”


Tara arched a brow, then held her arms out. “Inspect away.”


He turned her around and smoothed his hands over her shoulders and arms, then down her back. “Looks good here. Turn around.”


She did, and he locked his gaze with hers as he swept his fingers through her wet hair, letting his fingertips trail over her nose and across her lips. He bent and brushed his lips across hers. “Tastes sand-free.”


She sighed when he ran his tongue over her lips, slid between her teeth to taste her tongue before pulling away.


“No sand on your tongue.”


She laughed.


Her breath caught when he rolled his thumbs over her breasts, then caught her hips with his hands. “Yes, very smooth here, but I need to take a closer look down here.”


He dropped to his knees. “Spread your legs, honey.”


She did, bracing against the side of the shower when he leaned forward, his tongue snaking out to lick along the folds of her pussy. She tilted her head back and let the water fall over her face and hair, the heat and steam only adding to the pressure building deep inside her as Mick sucked on her clit.


She gasped when he slid his tongue inside her. He raised her leg and rested it over his shoulder, opening her further to him.


“Smooth, sweet, so soft here. He slipped a finger inside her, fucking her with gentle strokes while he lazily drew circles around her clit with his tongue.


It was the soft and easy that took her right to the edge—and over, shocking her that it was so quick. She gasped when she came, rocking against him while he held tight to her, making sure she wouldn’t fall as she rode out a delicious orgasm.


Mick stood and reached outside the door for a condom, then wrapped her leg around his hip as he shoved inside her, pushing her against the wall of the shower. He raised her hands above her head and bent to lick at her nipples.


Now it was a matter of passionate hunger, and she reveled in it.


“Kiss me,” she demanded, and he lifted his head, took her mouth in a blistering kiss, ratcheting up her desire to unbearable levels as he shoved into her with deep, penetrating thrusts.


He rolled his hips over her, grinding against her over and over until she was coming again, crying out as she exploded with sensation. He let go of her arms and lifted her, kissing her with everything he had as he let go with an intimate look that melted her. She drank in his groans and held tight to him while he shuddered against her, his fingers digging so hard into her buttocks she knew they’d leave marks, but she didn’t care.


The water had started to cool by the time he released her, and she was still quaking inside from the force of both her orgasm and his.


Mick reached over and turned the water off, grabbed towels for both of them. They dried off and climbed into bed. Mick pulled her against him, sweeping her damp hair to the side to kiss the nape of her neck.


Tara closed her eyes and tried to shut off the emotion that being with Mick always brought forth.


It was just sex. Just sex and nothing more.


Maybe if she kept telling herself that over and over and over again, she’d buy into it and keep the realization that she had fallen head over heels love with him at bay. Because that notion kept cropping up all the damn time, and the more she tried to push it away, the more it appeared.


She was afraid it was too late to make it disappear, despite her best intentions to talk herself out of it happening.


SEVENTEEN


“I NEED YOU TO GO TO A MOVIE PREMIERE.”


Mick had just had one of the most grueling workouts of his life. The last thing he needed to see when he walked off the field was Liz, looking fresh-faced, not a hair out of place, and like a tiger ready to pounce.


He wheezed in a breath of oxygen and blew it out, then sat on the bench and grabbed one of the bottles from the assistants passing by. “Why?”


She cocked her head to the side and gave him a look. “You know why. Season will be starting up soon. I need your face front and center on magazine covers.”


He gulped down half the bottle, then lifted his gaze to her. “What’s the movie?”


She grinned. “It’s an action flick. The new one with Matt Larson.”


“When?”


“Wednesday night.”


Mick nodded and grabbed for his towel. “I’ll check with Tara and see what her schedule looks like.”


“Whoa. I don’t think so.”


He looked up at her. “What?”


“You’ll be attending the premiere with Valisha Staniskowa, the hot beauty gracing the cover of the swimsuit edition.”


He stood and faced her. “No.”


She arched a brow. “Excuse me?”


“I said, no. I’ll try to get to the movie premiere if you think it’ll help PR. But I’ll be going with Tara. And any future events you want to plan will be with Tara as my date.”


Liz let out a laugh. “You’ve got to be kidding me. She’s a nobody.”


“She’s not a nobody to me, Elizabeth. She’s someone I care about.”


“What does that have to do with anything? I’m only talking about promotional appearances that are a benefit to your career. Appearing with Tara at these events is of no benefit to you.”


He was in no mood for this, and Liz either didn’t get it or was too stubborn to see things his way. Either way he wasn’t going to budge. “I’m only going to say this one more time, so be sure to listen. I’m not going to do these events without Tara anymore. I care about her, and I don’t want to be seen in public with other women. Got it?”


She raised her hands. “Got it. Geez, you don’t have to bop me over the head with it. We’ll do something different then. You have a game this weekend, and the team barbecue is after the game. Invite Tara. She can meet the wives and girlfriends. And it’s a nice photo up. We’ll play that up and make sure cameras are in place to take your picture.”

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