Read Out of Control Online

Authors: Teresa Noelle Roberts

Out of Control (2 page)

Although she’d probably wind up sleeping in the turret until winter came so she could enjoy the morning light through the stained glass window.

Drake lingered behind her, letting her explore. She flung open what she thought was a closet door in the bedroom—and found herself staring into a definitely male bedroom, all white walls and dark wood and blue-and-green plaid, as stark and orderly as the rest of the house. Considering Drake looked like he’d just rolled out of bed and started working, still in whatever he’d worn to sleep, it caught Jen’s eye that the bed was made. She couldn’t remember the last time she actually bothered making her bed; her schedule was packed enough she couldn’t spare those few minutes.

But that wasn’t all that caught her eye.

A riding crop hung over the mirror.

Maybe he was a competitive rider, but gut instinct told her it had never been used on a horse.

“Something else to fix before you move in,” Drake muttered and slammed the door shut. “Putting a lock between the bedrooms, though I’m sure we can respect each other’s privacy. Great-Aunt Marian and Judith got together in the ’50s. They kept up the pretense of being housemates, but the door between the two bedrooms doesn’t have a lock. Can you imagine having to hide yourself that much?”

“Must be difficult.”
And you’d know, wouldn’t you? It’s gotten easier than it once was to be queer, but kinky still makes people nervous.

“It is. Was, that is, from what they said. Glad things are a little better now.”

He didn’t blush. Didn’t start talking about politics or the weather or something in an effort to cover.

But it was clear to Jen that he knew she’d seen the crop and knew what it meant.

She smiled at him. Tried, through her smile, to convey that if she’d accidentally gotten a hint about his private life, it didn’t bother her one bit.

On the contrary, it intrigued her. All that cool control, that body…and a riding crop. Good thing she had to get to her studio soon or she’d make a fool of herself by drooling over the guy.

Then again, it wasn’t illegal to drool over your smoking-hot, possibly kinky landlord. Maybe a bad idea, but as her friend Avi would say, you could have a lot of fun with bad ideas.

And Stan, Ryoko’s husband, thought Drake was a good guy, so maybe it wasn’t a
terrible
idea.

“Come on,” Drake said, breaking her reverie. “If you want the place, I’ve got some boring paperwork for you to fill out. But I have coffee to go with it.”

The paperwork was, as predicted, boring, but pleasantly brief. The coffee was good, although she noted a lack of baked goods in his kitchen. She’d have to bring some around from work. Maybe add some of her own spices to his meager collection. She got them in bulk dirt cheap at GreenStar, the local natural foods co-op, with her super-volunteer discount.

At the door, Drake extended his hand for her to shake. Acting on impulse, though promising herself it would just be a quick, friendly indulgence, she hugged him instead. “Thank you so much for letting me have this place!”

Drake’s arms closed around her, wiry and strong. His body radiated heat. Jen’s heartbeat sped up, or maybe it was his, echoing in her ear. He felt better than someone she just met had any right to, and something impressive was stirring inside his shorts. She squirmed against him, enjoying a second-long flash of explicit fantasy: him holding her down with his surprising strength, controlling her, fucking her.

Right. Time to back away. Professor Hot-Stuff was intriguing, and she would definitely consider an academic pursuit once they got to know each other better, but she’d already bordered on making an ass of herself with the hug, especially after the whole riding-crop thing. If she started rubbing against him like a cat in heat…

She ought to slip away but it was hard to make herself be sensible when he felt this good.

She raised her face, honestly not sure whether she was preparing to pull back or inviting a kiss. She knew which she wanted. She knew it wasn’t smart.

But she wasn’t sure she cared.

Drake’s grip tightened, not oppressively but enough to feel deliciously possessive. He bent down. “Kiss me,” he whispered, his voice throaty, intimate. He murmured, “That’s a good girl,” before his lips met hers.

Chapter Two

Fire. The kiss was like the heat from her glass furnace. No, it was like the molten glass itself, malleable and flowing, suffusing her body from where their lips met. His lips were firm but soft, his beard deliciously raspy and masculine. One of Drake’s hands slipped up to cup the back of her head, long fingers tangling in her hair. He tugged just enough to pull her head back, opening her up for a deeper kiss. Her lips parted under his, inviting his tongue. His breath tasted like coffee, which she loved on the right man’s breath almost as much as in the cup, and peanut butter, which she wouldn’t normally find sexy but which suddenly became intensely erotic under the deft ministrations of his tongue.

Damn, her bike shorts were going to be soaked. And by damn, she meant supercalafragilistic with a side order of expialidocious.

Just when she reached a viscous state, Drake released her with a sigh, though his shorts were obviously packing some serious heat. “Living with you is going to be dangerous. Good thing I’m on a deadline, or I’d want to keep you here.”

“I don’t mind being kept.” Where did that quiver in her voice come from, and why was she talking like Betty Boop?

“There’s an art to these things, Jen. The process is as important as the end result.”

He looked stern. He looked passionate. He looked both bookish and badass, with the kind of hard muscles she’d expect on an athlete, not a mathematician. The silly shirt added a hint of attractive good humor. Not to mention his shorts were tenting in a most suggestive way. Delicious enough to start red desire swirling inside her, even without that amazing kiss.

If he preferred a drawn-out game of seduction to a quick fling, Jen would play along. She was usually the quick-fling/booty-call type, almost had to be with her crazy schedule, but she had the feeling he’d be worth the wait.

She smiled as sexily as she could. “Process I can appreciate. I blow and sculpt glass. You can’t rush it, and sometimes the glass has a mind of its own. And you have to follow the steps of the process, or it will fail.”

Drake pulled her close again. “Molten glass sounds dangerous. Play safe. Now go, before we do something we both regret.”

“I doubt either of us would regret it.”

He gifted her with a slow, lazy grin. “I’d be distracted. Half my brain’s tied up in the paper I’m working on, and it would be sad not to give you my full attention.”

Jen was distracted herself by his lazy smile and sharp gray eyes, by his muscles and the force of his kiss. But she wasn’t so distracted she didn’t ask, “Okay, today’s bad. When’s good?”

“Move-in day’s April thirtieth. Enough time to get you settled in before end-of-semester madness starts.” There was something mischievous about the way he said it, which was the only reason she didn’t either smack him or tackle him. “Though you’ll probably hear from me as soon as my damn paper’s done.”

He liked the game? She could play too. “And what if
I’m
busy then? I have work too, you know. Two jobs, in my case, sometimes three, and a big show in June.”

“We’ll make time for each other.” He said it with such quiet confidence she found she believed him, though she always took it with a grain—more like a pound—of salt when a guy said he’d call.

Though often as not, she was too busy to care if he never did.

This time, at least, she knew they’d see each other again. Hell, they’d be sharing a house. Plenty of time to sort things out, even if her body thought it made more sense to sort it out now. So she smiled a little smile, cocked out her hip, waved slyly, said, “See you around,” and headed out.

She pedaled a block, shaking the whole time, before she had to stop and sit on the grass, pretending to take a drink even though her water bottle was empty. She was too blind from lust to ride safely. She couldn’t sit down with the hard leather of the seat between her thighs, couldn’t ride standing because her legs were trembling too badly.

At least she could catch a glimpse of the lake from here. She could pretend she was looking at the view instead of trying not to cause a traffic accident because she was on the verge of coming in her pants.

How the hell had that happened? That kiss had devastated her in a way no kiss had done since high school.

When Jen was first learning to work with glass, her instructor had told the class that if molten glass hit your skin, you wouldn’t know how bad the burn was at first. The hot glass would sear the nerves.

The kiss was like that, so fast and furious she didn’t realize immediately how aroused she was.

She ran her finger over her lips, remembering the kiss, remembering how his hand had felt on the back of her neck, in her hair, on her ass.

So little to do so much.

And she was going to be sharing his house.

She couldn’t decide if she was in trouble or he was.

Probably both.

Yeah, she’d definitely sleep in the turret. At least her bedroom wouldn’t be directly attached to his that way—not that she imagined it would save her.

Not that she imagined she really wanted to be saved.

Then suddenly she knew what to do, who to call. She pulled out her phone, hit an old friend’s number. “Hi, Avi. How are things with you and your boy-toy?”

She smiled to herself while her old friend, otherwise known as Mistress Avilyn, sex columnist and former New York pro domme, filled her in on how things were going with her lover-slash-slaveboy.

“Damn, girl.” Jen sighed when the story was done. “You sound happy. I’m so glad Johnny’s a keeper. I need a little advice, though. I’ve met this guy. I’m really attracted to him but I’m picking up all these signals he’s a dom. Hell, I saw his riding crop. Which turns me on, but I really don’t know what I’m doing here. Any tips?”

“If you were involved in your local scene, I’d say to ask a few people if he’s okay before you go too far, but being involved in the local scene would require you to actually have time for social life, and I know better. And if I know you, you’ve probably already gone too far, because when you finally let yourself have some fun, you get crazy.”

Trust her old college roommate to know her, warts and all. “Well, yeah. I might have. Drake was the one who put the brakes on things.”

For a second, Avi was silent. “Oh my. Drake? I know a Drake who lives in your area. What does yours do for a living?”

“He’s a math professor at Cornell. There’s no way you’d know him.”

Avi laughed. “It’s a small world, babe. Drake Matthews, right?”

Okay, that was weird. “Uh, yeah.”

“Tall, gray eyes, nerd glasses and the body of a god?”

“That’s him. I cannot believe you know him!”

“Normally I’d keep things vague until I talked to him.”

“I’ll kill you if you tell him about this conversation!”

Avi snorted. “Since I trust you, and also you’re the most impatient person I know, I’ll tell you a few things. You’re reading him right. He’s incredibly ethical and has a reputation for playing safe. And as you’ve probably noticed, he’s gorgeous enough to make me wish either he or I had a single submissive bone in our bodies. But neither of us do, so he’s all yours.”

Pleasurable panic flooded Jen. “Cool! But what do I do now?”

A throaty chuckle. “Call him, woman! From what I know of him, he’s not hung up on the idea that a submissive should always wait for a dominant to make the first move. If anything, he likes it when a woman makes it clear she’s interested. Besides, you’re not exactly a sub, unless something changed since we last talked.”

Although Avi couldn’t see her, Jen shrugged. “Still curious with some subbish leanings, though maybe I’m about to get my curiosity satisfied. Definitely not so subbish I won’t make the first move. So what’s he into?”

“Don’t know exactly. He’s not the kiss-and-tell type, and I’ve never had a reason to ask for details. But he always leaves his playmates smiling.”

Chapter Three

Jen spent a couple of days alternately checking her phone for messages from Professor Hot-Stuff and mildly freaking out that she was wasting time checking her damn phone and salivating over her future landlord but not having the guts to contact him. She had better things to do. Besides, she had no idea how long it took to write an academic paper, and she could hardly snark about putting work first—or getting involved enough in work you lost track of everything else—since every friend and lover she ever had accused her, accurately, of doing the same thing. And who knew how serious he’d been? The kiss, however toe-curling, was an impulsive bit of fun. Probably it wasn’t a good idea to get involved in some kinky landlord-tenant affair. Professor Hot-Stuff, being a genius, had undoubtedly figured that out before she did.

Either that or he just forgot to call. Genius didn’t preclude absentmindedness, as anyone who dealt with professors knew. And if you lived in Ithaca, you dealt with professors, even if you had nothing to do with either Cornell or Ithaca College. They were as much a part of the town as Cayuga Lake, the gorges and the unpredictable weather, which had turned from summer-warm to below freezing in the few days since she’d last seen Drake.

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