Authors: Teresa Noelle Roberts
Drake shoved the last of the laundry into the dryer, turned it on without paying much attention to what he was doing. Then he headed to the bedroom.
Drake was barefoot, wearing nothing but baggy, worn cargo shorts—home-alone shorts that he only wore on laundry day. All he had to do was get out of the shorts. He could have slithered out of them without unzipping, except his erection got in the way.
His damn dick burst free once he unzipped, as if it expected to find a woman nearby.
As he flopped down on the unmade bed, he realized it smelled like he might find a woman in the tangled bedding. No wonder his cock was confused.
Normally he stripped the bed first thing on Sunday morning, a habit developed in opposition to his father, who tended to assume someone else would take care of anything domestic, even if the only “someone else” available was his young son. But Drake hadn’t gotten to the sheets yet, hoping that he’d have a chance to get them funkier before he got them clean. All he’d done was coil up the ropes again and stow them away—he had high hopes he’d need them later too, but he preferred them out of the way. He hadn’t even pulled the sheets straight, a bit of fussing he usually did right after getting up, since smooth sheets seemed more restful than the fractal surface of rumpled ones.
The bed wasn’t just rumpled but post-sex rumpled, the kind of tangled mess that one person wouldn’t create, and the room was rich with Jen’s musk. When he lay down, he couldn’t resist burying his head in the pillow, sniffing the subtle scent left behind by her freshly shampooed hair. He couldn’t place the scent, other than vaguely herbal, but he already recognized it as hers.
Good news for his dick, which was enjoying all the reminders of last night’s adventures. Bad news for his sanity. He was in too deep already and wanted to get deeper. Deeper into Jen’s body, into her mind, into her life.
Into her soul, he thought fiercely, and was startled by the thought, since he wasn’t sure he believed in souls.
He wasn’t weirded out enough to defeat his obstinate dick, though. Fine, he was here to indulge his wanton cock so he could get on with his day. Best to get started.
What was he thinking? He’d already gotten started. While his brain had been musing, his hand had been stroking his dick. But it would be much better if he concentrated, paid attention…
He tried to focus purely on sensation, but that wasn’t doing it. His own hand felt good jacking his junk, but he needed more to get release from the almost painful arousal. Jumbled images of rope and whips and anonymous female flesh crept into his brain and that was better, but it wasn’t good enough.
It wasn’t Jen.
As soon as he admitted that to himself, his garbled stock jacking-off images became strong, vivid memories of Jen’s wild hair on his pillow, Jen spread-eagled and bound and clenching on his cock, Jen’s noises, Jen’s musk, the way Jen’s ass felt under his hand as he’d spanked her that first time. And another vivid image, one he hadn’t actually seen yet: Jen kneeling, her knees spread wide so he could see her gleaming pussy, arms tightly bound behind her, wrist to elbow, waiting for him. Just waiting. His to make wait, his to toy with, his to satisfy.
He came hard, clamping his jaw and growling deep in his chest to avoid screaming
loudly enough they’d hear him on campus.
And realized almost immediately that while his cock, for the moment, was appeased by the violence of the orgasm, his mind was still full of Jen, full of things he wanted to do to, for or with Jen, full of curiosity about who she was beyond the surface of arty and eccentric and sexy as hell.
Damn the woman. He had work to do, and for the first time in years, he was having a hard time keeping sex in a compartment, far from work and the rest of his daily life.
And bless the woman. He might be distracted, but he felt more alive than he had in years, as if those martial arts exercises to bring body and mind into harmony had finally clicked in a surprisingly erotic way.
And what was more, behind all the hot thoughts of Jen, he realized he knew exactly how to phrase a suggestion that could help Rajeev take his work to the next level, words he’d been struggling to find for several days.
Wow, if sexual satisfaction could do that, he’d have to make a habit of letting himself feel satisfied more often…
Like as soon as Jen walked in the door.
Only she didn’t.
Finally, late on Sunday afternoon, he called and got her voice mail.
He kept staring at his phone, willing it to ring, but she didn’t call back.
And she didn’t come home that night.
Jen let out a sigh of satisfaction. Her body still ached pleasantly from the night before and she’d gone beyond sleepiness, sometime midmorning, to a magical state where the colors were brighter, all her senses were keener, and the glass seemed to dance, forming itself into the shapes she wanted with seemingly no effort on her part. She’d set her phone to silent so nothing would disturb her flow or make her jump when she was handling hot glass, and the silence had been her friend. The Green Man’s molded face was done, and she knew exactly how to layer colored glass to show it off to best advantage. The face had finished annealing in the kiln and was resting on her worktable, so vibrant she kept reaching out to pet it, stopping herself because she didn’t want it covered with smudgy fingerprints. All shades of green, from the pale green of his face to the mossy tendrils of his hair and his beard—a proper Green Man beard, bushy enough to hide birds, though she’d been tempted to make it a tidy goatee inspired by Drake. His lips and eyes were a green deep enough it was almost black. The detail wasn’t as fine as it might be in a larger piece, but she thought it would look pretty damn impressive in its ultimate setting.
Jen stretched. Her stomach was rumbling—she’d brought a mini-loaf of cheese bread from work and had nibbled on that and some strawberries Sean brought in. But she could use a real meal, and she had just about enough time to stop home and make a sandwich or salad if she left now.
She stood, then sat down again.
hide birds. Not on this scale—they wouldn’t read as birds, just bright specks of color. But since she’d already figured out how to do the face, she could do a companion piece on a larger scale, with birds in the beard and hair. Maybe flowers too. No, she’d do a piece with two figures, a spring goddess, adorned with flowers, to go with the Green Man. Two feet tall each, maybe larger… They would be big projects, a big investment of time and initial cost, but they’d be beautiful—and sure to find buyers. She wouldn’t get started until she finished this piece and the big multicolored vase she already had planned out, but she had to sketch out the idea while she was thinking of it.
Jen’s stomach was still growling, but she could grab some food at work, some of the salads they’d otherwise toss at the end of the day or slightly stale rolls. She set the alarm on her phone before she got started. She knew herself and didn’t want to get lost in her artwork and get to the bakery late.
She thought briefly of calling Drake to let him know she wasn’t coming home. Then she thought better of it. They’d had what she hoped was the start of a streak of intense, somewhat-kinky sex, but Drake would have to get used to her work habits and the crazy hours she kept, or they’d never get anywhere as a couple.
“What a day!” Jen exclaimed, waltzing into the kitchen as if she had every right to be there. Which, Drake supposed, was a natural assumption, since he’d left the back door open and was making sure to sit where she could see him if she peeped in through the screen—or, more to the point, he could see her as she went to her entrance. “I’m exhausted, but wow!”
“Where have you been?” Drake winced internally as he heard his own tone. “Sorry, didn’t mean to sound like your dad checking up on you, but I was concerned. We must have kept missing each other.”
She shrugged, a movement that made her breasts bob under her bright green long-sleeved shirt, the color of grass after rain. It wasn’t, he thought, the same one she’d been wearing before, but the loose pink pants were familiar. “I haven’t exactly been home.”
“Since Saturday night? It’s Monday at five.”
“Yeah. Nice day too. Maybe we should have a picnic down by the lake.” Jen pulled a couple of loaves of bread out of her pack. “Here. Some of the multigrain rose funny, so we got to take it home. It looks like a mountain range, but it tastes good. I could make some sandwiches. Think I’ve got some tuna left, anyway. What do you think?”
She sauntered around the table, her hips swaying to a music only she could hear, bent down and gave Drake a light, tentative kiss, the kind you give when you’re not sure if you’ve had a friendly fling with someone or the start of something more.
She looked disheveled and there were huge circles under her eyes. She smelled like the bakery and like something else, a sharp smell of heat and minerals, but under it, Drake could smell her skin. He imagined, though he was pretty sure it was just his imagination, that he could smell himself on her. He reached up, fisted the hair at the back of her neck, and drew her into a deeper kiss. Fiercer. As if he could convey his worry and his inappropriate sense that she was his through the kiss.
He expected hesitation, since they were new, but she melted into him, letting him take control of her mouth, her body, without being passive. She held him tight with all the surprising strength in her slim, wiry arms, and when his tongue invaded her mouth, hers danced with it, tantalizing him. Delicious.
She felt soft and curvy, but not weak. He kept thinking of her as a fragile little waif, but she was all strong lushness, an utterly female animal. Drake’s mind clouded with desire, but at the same time things went cloudy, they became sharper as well, the texture of her hair in his hand, the softness of her lips under his, the coffee on her breath all shockingly vivid. His cock sprang from quietude to instant, aching need.
What was it about this woman? Why did he need her this much, want her this badly? Why did he think about her so much when there hadn’t been time for her to become a fixture of his life?
She touched his cheek with one hand, started to let that hand glide down his throat. His arousal built as she caressed what he’d never thought of as an erogenous zone. He let her stroke down his chest, drawing in a sharp inhalation when she brushed his nipples—half pleasure, half shock at the unexpected intensity.
But when she moved farther down, he caught her wrist with one hand, broke from the kiss.
He pulled back without releasing his grip on her hair, forcing her head up so she had to meet his eyes. She winced and bit her lip, but she didn’t protest, and her eyes went wider, softer, glazed with desire.
He yearned to throw her down on the floor or push her against the counter and take her, hard and fast. No toys, no rope, no preliminaries, just a claiming. Maybe he wouldn’t feel as raw around her, all his need and greed on the surface.
Right. As if her hot, gripping cunt convulsing around him would do anything except seal his need. As if her cries wouldn’t give him one more memory to distract him when he should be doing something else.
No. He’d set terms. Define the way things would be going forward, with him in control, taking charge, setting boundaries, not letting his lust ransack the order of his life. Not that where he was going was necessarily the best idea. It might be pushing the envelope, heading somewhere it was too soon to head, but it would set the right tone, define some boundaries, for him as much as for Jen.
“Where have you been?” he asked again. He snarled out the words, more than he’d intended to, and he could see he’d startled Jen.
“I told you—at work and at the studio.”
“I called you on Sunday. Why didn’t you call back?”
Her eyes went wide. “Oh shit! I’m sorry. I set my phone to silent—I do that sometimes when I’m wrapped up in work. Only I got so busy with one thing and another that I never checked for messages. Downside of being into the flow.”
“From someone whose work didn’t involve molten glass, I’d think that sounded like a lame excuse. From you, it makes sense. I’m glad you’re not such a slave to the phone that you put yourself at risk…”
“But I should remember to look at my messages.”
“Maybe I should let you go so you can do that. Who knows what other calls you might have missed.” He didn’t want to relinquish his grip on her, but he did, trying not to dwell on how much he’d enjoyed restraining her with his body.
She stretched briefly, then grabbed her phone from the front pouch of her pack. “Got a text from my mom too. At least she knows the drill and won’t worry I’m dead in a ditch.” She took a few seconds to dash off a quick text.
He shook his head as she did, wanting to stay annoyed but unable to do so. “And I guess I missed you when you stopped home…” Then he had a thought. “Have you been home at all?”
She looked like she was genuinely trying to remember before she answered, “I stopped in this morning and took a shower—I knocked, but I guess you were on campus—but then I had to go walk my dogs. After that I went back to the studio.”
“Dogs?” He shouldn’t have asked. He was letting her derail the conversation. But dammit, how could he not be curious?