He’s my fix.
I can’t walk away from him.
I don’t even want to.
Daphne’s attraction to her roommate’s incredibly sexy brother results in a night of explosive passion, then another.
Jason has never been a long-term kind of lover, but when it comes to Daphne, he’s not willing to let go. He wants more, but she’s wary of letting him, or anyone else into her life.
How long can she continue to share her body without giving her heart?
“I’m so glad you agreed to come.” Amy turned back to look at me and smiled. “Mom and Dad are so looking forward to meeting you.”
We were on our way to her parents’ house for an overnight visit to give them a chance to meet and get to know Colin, and Amy had cajoled until I agreed to come too.
From what Amy had told me, her parents were great and very supportive, and I was looking forward to meeting them too. Her dad was a retired bank executive, and her mom taught art at one of the local schools. Amy had pleaded with me, saying it would be nice for Colin to have a familiar face around when he met them for the first time. That, coupled with the knowledge that Jason wasn’t going to be there, had convinced me to tag along.
Hardly a second had gone by in the last few days that I didn’t think about him. After he’d left my room on the night of our fight, it had only taken a few moments before my decision to go out, have a drink, flirt a little, find myself a man, and forget about Jason Wild lost all its steam and I ended up not going anywhere. I didn’t want any other man. I wanted Jason.
Thinking about him alone was enough to make my body throb with a relentless, aching need and I had to force my thoughts to the present moment, away from my memories of just what Jason’s body could do to mine.
“I’m only doing this for Colin,” I said lightly.
“And I am grateful,” Colin said. He was focused on the road, but he gave me a grateful smile in the rearview mirror. I liked Colin. If anyone in the world deserved Amy’s sweet nature, it was him.
“I still don’t get why you’re so nervous,” Amy said. “They have absolutely no choice but to love you.”
“You think that because you love me,” Colin said.
Amy smiled. “I do,” she said softly.
I gave them their moment of intimacy, gazing out the window, where the buildings and blocks had long given way to trees and brush. There was a book open on my lap, but even the mysterious Maxim de Winter wasn’t compelling enough to keep my thoughts away from Jason. According to Amy, he had traveled for work, first to London and from there to Miami. I wondered what he was doing. I wondered what would have been different if I hadn’t panicked when he proposed that we should be a couple. I wondered if he was thinking about me the way I was thinking about him.
I took a deep breath. It really wasn’t my style to spend so much time fixated on one man—on any man—but as much as I had tried to tell myself Jason was just some guy I’d slept with, I couldn’t let him go.
It was a long drive, and it took almost an hour before Colin turned into the paved drive leading to a beautiful ranch-style house surrounded by perfectly trimmed hedges. The front door opened just as Colin shut off the engine, and a pretty woman emerged into the porch. She looked just like Amy, tiny and slim with the same blonde hair, except hers was straight instead of curly.
“Mom,” Amy squealed, jumping out of the car and running to the porch where she threw her arms around her mother. They hugged for a long moment, smiling and talking, then hugging again. I swallowed the lump in my throat as a familiar emptiness rose in my chest. It was a feeling I got whenever I remembered everything I’d lost when I lost my mom, and I knew it would probably stay with me all my life.
“You okay?” Colin had opened his door and was about to step out of the car.
I nodded. “Yeah.”
I shouldered my light overnight bag and left the car, walking ahead of Colin to the porch.
“Daphne, this is my mom.” Amy’s voice was bubbly. “Mom, Daphne.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said politely.
She surprised me by drawing me into a soft hug before drawing back and giving me an open, welcoming smile. “Call me Helen, dear. Amy has told me so much about you. I’m just glad to meet you at last.” She turned to Colin as he climbed the porch steps. “And you must be Colin.” She gave Amy an approving smile before hugging Colin too. “Welcome.”
“Thank you.” He glanced at Amy, who gave him an encouraging smile. “Your house is lovely.”
Helen’s cheeks dimpled. “Why, thank you! Let’s go inside.” She turned back to her daughter. “Your father is in his study, but I’m sure he heard the car.”
The house was beautiful on the outside, but inside it was even more lovely. Light spilled in from large windows to give the high-ceilinged interior an airy feeling. We entered the hall, and as Helen shut the front door behind us, a man emerged from a door farther down the hall. He was tall and dark-haired, slightly above middle age, and he bore a striking resemblance to Jason that floored me for a moment. He was a little thicker around the waist and jawline, with some gray in his hair. Apart from age, the most noticeable difference was that his eyes were blue like Amy’s, whereas Jason’s were the stormy gray that still haunted me every night.
“Baby girl,” he exclaimed as Amy barreled into his arms. She barely reached his chest, and her tiny frame practically disappeared in his hug. After a moment, he released her, and she pulled him over to where we were standing.
“You must be Daphne,” he said, taking my hand, “and Colin.” He shook Colin’s hand, at first giving him a stern once-over, but then he smiled, and Colin relaxed. “I’m Grant, this one’s dad.” He patted Amy’s hair. “It’s good to finally meet you both. How was the drive?”
“Great,” Colin said. “I expected it to be longer, but it was a breeze.”
“A breeze, eh?” Grant laughed. “Well, good you’re here.”
“There are drinks in the kitchen,” Helen told us, “then you can go freshen up before dinner.”
In the kitchen, there was a jug of freshly made iced tea chilling on the island. A plump woman was hanging up her apron in the pantry and turned around as we entered.
“Minnie!” Amy said happily, going to hug her.
“You look good.” Minnie looked her over and nodded approvingly. She glanced at Colin. “Is this him?” she whispered, even though we could all hear.
“I like him,” Minnie announced. She studied Colin for a few more moments. “I’m Minnie, and this baby is precious to me, so you better treat her good.”
Colin chuckled. “Better than I treat myself.”
“Good.” She paused. “I like the accent,” she whispered to Amy before turning to me. “Daphne,” she said warmly. “Amy didn’t say how pretty you were.”
I blushed, absurdly pleased with the compliment. “Thank you, Minnie.”
Amy poured the tea into tall glasses and I sipped the refreshingly cool drink, surprised by how thirsty I was.
“I hope you’ve introduced her and Jason,” Minnie was saying. “She’s a hell of a lot nicer than most of the girls he hangs out with.”
I almost choked on my drink, but Amy was laughing. “She’s my roommate Min, not one of Jason’s harem, and she isn’t interested in him, thank God.”
I smiled weakly, a well of guilt rising in my chest. I still hadn’t come clean to Amy, but the way things were, I’d probably never need to. What did it matter if we had hooked up twice? Especially if it would likely never happen again.
Minnie was peering at me. She made a sound I couldn’t decipher then retrieved her handbag from a stool beside the counter. “I made dinner with your mom, and everything is in the oven and the fridge.” She gave Amy another hug. “Take care now, okay? Enjoy.”
Amy made a face. “You’re leaving already?”
“Yes. Theo and I are bingeing on some Netflix show he loves.” She opened the door. “Oh, and tell Jason thank you for helping Theo with his college applications.”
“I will, and say hi to Theo for me.”
The door closed, and a few seconds later we heard Minnie’s car leave.
“She every bit as awesome as you said.” Colin put down his glass and drew in a deep breath. “And whatever it is they’ve been cooking in here, it smells good.”
“I know right! I can hardly wait.” Amy looked at me. “Ready to go up, Daphne?”
“Yeah,” I said quietly, putting my glass back on the tray. I’d been thinking about Jason again, about the way the housekeeper had seemed to see through my pretense that I wasn’t interested in him. What red-blooded woman wouldn’t want him? He wasn’t just an insanely sexy man, he was also the kind of man who took the time to help the son of his parents’ employee with his college applications.
I waited as Amy quickly rinsed the glasses and Colin went to get their bags from the car, then we went upstairs. Amy showed Colin to the room they were sharing then took me to a room farther down the hall. It was lovely, with a queen-sized bed and a wide window that looked out onto the back lawn and a natural lake that shimmered in the evening sun, reflecting the dense woods on the other side.
“Nice view!” I dropped my bag at the foot of the bed and went over to the window to admire the scenery.
“It’s lovely, isn’t it?” Amy sighed. “Sometimes I forget just how much I love it here.”
“How?” I asked. “I’d come back every weekend if I…” I stopped. If I had a home, with loving parents and a lovable housekeeper who treated me like a favorite niece.
“It’s not too much for you, is it?” Amy asked softly, somehow attuned to my feelings.
I smiled to put her at ease. “Of course not. I love that I came.”
“Okay.” She looked around the room. “This is Jason’s old room. Mom finally redecorated it this year.” She laughed softly. “You can imagine how long it stayed the same with all his football trophies and music posters still hanging on the walls. Mine is still the way it was, so maybe in the next five years, it will get a makeover. Colin is probably drooling over my cheerleading pictures right now.”
“I would say definitely.” I laughed. “Seems he had no reason to be nervous. Your parents like him.”
“What’s not to like?” I said. “He’s adorable.”
She brightened. “I’m going to change, and hopefully stop Colin before he discovers any remnants of my teenage crushes. It’s embarrassing how obsessed I was with Rob Pattinson. There are probably some Amy loves Rob hearts on the wallpaper.”
I chuckled. “To be fair, that’s Cedric Diggory you’re talking about.”
“He was sexier as Edward,” she countered seriously.
“If you like sparkly vampires,” I said dismissively.
“I did.” She covered her face, giggling.
“Ryan Gosling was my celebrity crush,” I said, still laughing. “The Notebook used to make me melt.”
Amy considered me for a moment. “You’re a closet romantic,” she declared. “One of these days, you’re going to fall for someone, and it’s going to be fun to watch.”
I forced a laugh. “I don’t think so.”
“Whatever you say,” she sing-songed. “Anyway, see you downstairs.”
After she’d gone, I lay down on the bed and tried to imagine this room with Jason in it. I wondered what bands he’d liked. He had probably been very athletic, and I wondered if even then I would have found it easy to walk away from him the way I’d walked away from everyone else.
One of these days you’re going to fall for someone…
Problem was, I already had, and it was proving really difficult to pick myself back up.
About half an hour later, I went back downstairs. I’d changed out of my jeans and blouse into a black knit dress. I wasn’t wearing makeup, only some lip gloss, and my hair swung loose past my shoulders. I hadn’t made much of an effort, just enough for the semi-formal dinner rule Amy had informed me her mother enforced during family dinners.
In the living room, Colin was on the sofa flanked by Helen and Amy. There was a massive family album open on Helen’s lap.
“This is from her fourth birthday,” Helen said. “She was such a sweet little thing, hardly ever cried, and as soon as she could walk, she followed Jason around like a puppy.”
I breathed sharply at the sound of his name. I’d known that even though he wouldn’t be here, there would be reminders of him everywhere, but I had thought I’d be able to take it. Now, I wasn’t so sure how long I could keep hearing and seeing hints of him everywhere and not combust with unfulfilled need.
Amy was laughing. “I was really annoying.”
“Nonsense,” Helen said. “If anybody loved being a big brother, it was Jason.” She saw me at the entrance to the living room and beamed. “Here you are, Daphne. You look lovely.” She got up and patted her seat. “Come, sit—I was about to go set the table anyway.”
“I’ll help,” I offered.
She shook her head. “Don’t worry about it.”
I walked over to the sofa as Colin held up a picture of Amy missing two front teeth and grinning widely anyway. “Daph, look at this little cutie.”
“That smile,” I said with a chuckle.
“I’m so embarrassed,” Amy mumbled.
“Why?” Colin kissed her nose. “You were the cutest.”
Grant entered the dining room through another doorway, and while Helen was setting the places, he placed a bottle of wine in a beautiful chrome wine chiller set in the middle of the table. I started to sit, preparing to tease Amy about her pictures, then I frowned, realizing Helen was setting six places.
There were only five of us.
Just then I heard a car outside. It grew louder as it approached, then it stopped, the ensuing silence quickly followed by the muted sounds of a car door shutting.
“He’s here,” Helen told Grant.
“On time too,” he replied, heading toward the hall.
Blood rushed to my head, faster and faster until I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Please let it be anyone else, I thought, desperate. Anyone but Jason.
The front door opened with a smooth sound and I turned a desperate glance toward Amy. “Who’s here?” I asked, praying the answer would be anything apart from the one I was dreading.
“Oh, Jason,” she said absently, unaware of the epic storm raging in my mind. “He called just before you came down. He returned early and decided to join us after all. Great, right?”
She was still engrossed in the pictures and didn’t look up at me as she spoke, but Colin did, and he saw the panic in my face.
I schooled my features a moment too late and forced a smile. “Yeah…great,” I replied, turning in the direction of the hall just as he walked into the living room.
Jason’s presence filled the room immediately. He was like a thing of brilliance, compelling everything else to orbit around him. He looked terrific too, intense, with his hair combed back and the overlong waves at the top just begging for my fingers to thread through them. A dark blue shirt emphasized the breadth of his shoulders, and it was tucked into light-colored pants that showed off his long legs. The muted leather belt at his slim, tightly muscled waist made me want to hook my fingers through it and press my body against the firm contours of his own.
He was hot, and me—I was burning.
I knew just how hard and strong his body was under those clothes. I knew exactly how the muscles in his abs formed a V all the way down to his cock. I knew exactly what his cock felt like when it was inside me, and the knowledge was turning me into an aroused mess of nerves.
His eyes locked with mine. Under that gaze, my nipples tightened under my dress and arousal spread between my legs. It had been easy to tell myself I could stop wanting him when he was far away, but now, standing in front of him, I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. There was a hole inside me that he had filled and now that he wasn’t there, the rest of me was crumbling around it.
There was a chorus of greeting and hugs. Everyone was glad to see him, even me. I was apprehensive, and my body had gone entirely out of my control, but there was nowhere in the world I’d have preferred to be than right there, just a few feet away from him.
“Glad you could make it,” Grant said after they hugged. “How was Miami?”
“Fun.” He grinned.
Jealousy twisted in my stomach as I thought of beaches with unbelievably sexy women clad in tiny bikinis. There was no way he’d been in Miami thinking about me the way I’d been thinking about him. I was sure he had long since moved on, and the realization hurt.
“Dinner is set,” Helen announced. “You arrived right on time.”
We went to the table. Jason disappeared for a moment but returned and took the seat right beside me. We’d said a casual hi for the benefit of his family, and now I wondered what I would say to him all through the meal. I didn’t look at him, but I could feel his presence with every inch of my body and with every breath I took. I knew what I wanted to say. It started with please and ended with I need you to fuck me now.
The wine was poured. Grant gave a short toast. We started eating, and through every moment, my senses stayed acutely trained on Jason. My nose caught the familiar scent of his shampoo, the faint hint of spicy cologne. I wanted to drag my lips across his skin, to fill my senses with all of him.
“What’s it like working for a small press?”
I turned to Grant, almost blushing at the direction my thoughts had been going. “It’s interesting,” I replied. “We cater to a relatively small niche. They know what to expect, and we know what to give them.”
“Makes marketing a lot easier, I assume,” Grant said.
“The wine is delicious, Dad,” Amy said. “What’s it called?”
I tuned out as they started to talk about wine, turning back to my plate while my latent awareness of Jason rose to the surface again. I knew I should talk to him, or else it was going to become glaringly apparent to everyone else that we had barely said a word to each other all night.
His long fingers were wrapped lightly around the stem of his glass. I remembered things those fingers had done to me and momentarily lost my train of thought.
He smiled my way, and I literally felt my insides clench.
“Fancy meeting you here,” he murmured.
I tried to smile. “I didn’t know you were going to come.”
He raised one eyebrow. Jeez, why does he have to be so devastatingly sexy? “And if you had, you wouldn’t have come?”
I gulped down some wine before facing him again. “Probably not.”
“Why not?” he asked, leaning toward me and bringing his lips even closer. I knew just how those lips felt on mine, how they trailed heat down my skin. If I kissed him now, they would taste of wine and sex and memories.
Because then I wouldn’t be considering dragging you from your chair and finding the nearest place to spread my leg open for your cock.
“I don’t know,” I replied with a small shrug. “After our last conversation, I would have thought showing up at your parents’ home with you in attendance would be like sending mixed signals.
His gaze dropped to my breasts, and I wondered if he could see the hardening of my nipples under the fabric of my dress. Under his gaze, I felt them tighten even more.
His lips curved. “I don’t know about mixed signals,” he said slowly. “I think I’m reading your signals very clearly.
My throat felt dry, and I took another gulp of wine, pretending I didn’t understand what he meant, didn’t know he could read my need for him like I was an open book. Colin was telling Grant and Helen about growing up in a small town in England and going to boarding school at a young age while Amy looked adoringly at him. I focused my attention on them, forcing my mind to ignore the man seated so close beside me.
It wasn’t easy, but for the rest of the meal, most of the conversation centered on Colin and Amy, and I did my best to join in, spreading my attention all around so I wouldn’t for one moment find myself focused on Jason again.
After dinner, Amy followed Grant to the wine cellar to pick out another bottle for us to drink outside on the patio. Helen shooed Colin away from helping with the dishes, though she wasn’t so successful with Jason and me. We stacked the plates and carried them over to the kitchen where Helen rinsed and loaded them in the dishwasher.
“You shouldn’t have bothered,” she said, smiling gratefully as we brought in the last of the plates. “I’m sure I can manage from here.”
Jason washed his hands and wiped them on a towel then planted a kiss on her cheek. “Thanks for dinner,” he told her. “I’m going out back.”
I tried not to ogle his long legs as he strode away and chose to linger in the kitchen, not eager to join him outside just yet. Helen finished loading the dishwasher and started to wipe the sink.
“It’s really nice outside tonight,” she mused. “Just warm enough, and the sky is so clear you can see all the stars…and the lake is just beautiful at night.”
“I saw it from the window upstairs. It’s lovely.”
“Yes.” Her voice was warm. “The kids used to swim out there when they were younger. It seems so long ago now.”
I made a sound of agreement. I didn’t know how it felt to be an empty nester, but I could imagine missing the vibrancy of teenagers in a silent house. I washed my hands, and as I dried them, I noticed a picture frame above one of the counters. It was one of those electronic ones where the pictures were part of a slideshow. There were a few pictures of Amy and Jason, then one of Jason and a much younger Grant at Disneyland. Jason looked about four years old. He was clutching a furry rabbit and a balloon, and he looked miserable.
My heart ached with a weird desire to comfort that long-ago Jason. “You’d think he’d be more excited to be at the happiest place on earth,” I mused aloud.
Helen came over to peer at the picture. “Oh! That picture.” She shook her head. “Actually, he was miserable. His mother had just left, and he missed her so much. Grant says he used to cry himself to sleep at night.”
For a moment, I was at a complete loss. “His mother?”
Helen looked at me and understanding washed over her features. “You didn’t know,” she said softly. “He’s my son, but no, I didn’t give birth to him. His mother left about a year before I met Grant.”
“How awful,” I murmured, my voice small. I’d told Jason he had no idea what it was like to lose someone while totally unaware that the person who was supposed to love him most in the world had walked out on him.
“I think they must have picked the wine by now,” Helen said. “We should join them on the patio and leave the past for another time, okay?”
The night sky was clear, and the stars burned brightly. The wine was smooth and mellow and made me feel warm, just not warm enough to forget some of the things reckless I’d said to Jason.
I heard him laugh. I let him refill my glass. I listened to his deep voice when he spoke and ached with the need to tell him how sorry I was for the way I’d rejected him that night.
Helen touched my hand. “Are you okay dear? You’ve been awfully quiet.”
I smiled. “I’m a bit tired.”
“Do you want to go up?”
I shook my head. “No, I’ll stay for a while.”
She was quiet for a moment. “Amy told me about your parents,” she said softly. “I’m sorry. It must have been hard for you.”
It had been, but I’d survived. “It’s okay,” I replied, giving her a small smile. “It was a long time ago.”
She patted my hand again then stood. “I am tired,” she said. “You kids have fun. These days I need my beauty sleep.”
“That’s my cue,” Grant announced, rising to his feet as well.
Amy and Colin also went inside after a while, leaving just me and Jason. I lingered in my chair, waiting, though not exactly sure what I was waiting for. He showed no inclination to speak to me. His gaze was far away across the lake, and every now and then he would slosh the wine in his glass and take a sip.
I want us to see each other for real.
I closed my eyes, wondering how different things might have been if I’d been willing to go along with what he wanted.
“More wine?” Jason’s voice jolted me out of my thoughts.
“Yes, thank you.” I held out my glass, and he poured me some of the wine then turned the rest into his glass. He downed it before starting to gather the bottle and the glasses together. It was as if I wasn’t even there. Was he just going to leave? I didn’t know for sure what I wanted, but I didn’t want the night to end without us having a conversation at least.
“Helen told me about your mother,” I started.
He stopped moving, and his eyes rose to mine. “Helen is my mother.”
“Of course.” I searched for words. “I wasn’t aware that your biological mother left.”
He chuckled. “Well, Daphne, it’s not the sort of thing I generally tell people I’m just having sex with.”
I drew in a short breath. “Look, I’m sorry for the way I spoke that night. Obviously, I was wrong, and you do know what it feels like to lose someone.”
“Hold on.” He gave me a puzzled look. “You’re sorry for the things you said because you found out a woman I barely remember abandoned me when I was four years old? Come the fuck on.”
He stood and went inside the house, taking the glassware with him. Well, that was that. My attempt at an apology had gone nowhere, and maybe it was for the best. What was the point of having a conversation with him anyway? If his pride was still hurt because I’d rejected the idea of dating him, there was nothing I could do about that.
I wasn’t going to change my mind and submit to any kind of commitment with him. I wasn’t even sure we could hook up again, because I wasn’t confident I could stay emotionally detached from him if we did.
And I couldn’t be emotionally attached—not to him, not to anyone, at least not yet. I hadn’t worked up to that part of my recovery yet. Jason had derailed me, and while he’d been right when he’d dismissed my self-imposed celibacy as just another wall I put around myself, I wasn’t ready to bring down all the walls yet.
So, I couldn’t be with him the way he’d wanted, and I couldn’t fuck him either, because I would likely grow to want him far more than I should.
I might as well go back to being celibate, I thought with a sigh, because somehow, he’d made it impossible for me to want anyone else.
The lake rippled, and the movement was illuminated by the moonlight. Insects made their night sounds, and somewhere not too far away, a bird was singing. It was the sort of beautiful night where no one should have been alone, but there I was.
The door to the house opened and closed, and Jason joined me again. He’d rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, and now his arms were bare to the elbows. He sat and stretched his long legs out in front of him then closed his eyes.
I ogled him, gazing at his body and fighting the temptation to go over to him. I drew my legs up and turned back to the lake.
“It’s a beautiful night,” I said softly when the silence had stretched for far too long.
“It needs some music,” he said, chuckling dryly. “Or maybe poetry.”
“You like poetry?” I’d studied some poetry in college, but I didn’t take him for someone who liked stuff like that.
“Some,” he admitted with a shrug. “I took some courses back in school, poetry and classical mythology.” He looked at me. “And so it was with the god and the virgin: one with hope pursued, the other fled in fear.”
I frowned. “Ovid?” I’d been a mythology buff as a teenager, so I knew about Daphne and Apollo, but I’d never given much thought to the story of the lustful god and the nymph who turned herself into a tree to escape his advances.
“It seems fitting, doesn’t it? Except you’re not a virgin, and I’m not some god in the grip of uncontrollable lust.” His lips curved into a wry grin. “But you might as well have turned yourself into a tree for how creative you are in ensuring that nobody gets past your walls.”
Nobody had ever compared me with my mythological namesake before. “Those walls have always worked for me,” I said quietly.
“Yeah, you know what you want,” he said, his eyes on some faraway spot on the lake. “Whether you’re having casual sex, playing at celibacy, or soul-searching, there’s one constant: you’re alone, just the way you want.”
Alone, just the way I want—except I was no longer sure what I wanted. I knew I wanted him. I wanted him casually, but I also wanted him in more ways than that. I couldn’t explain it, and I didn’t want to face it.
“Funny thing,” he continued, “alone has always worked for me too, but that night, when you told me about your mother and being left alone with no one to call your own—I felt like I never wanted you to be alone again, not when I could be there for you.”
As he said the words, I realized I’d wanted to hear him say something like that to me since the first moment I laid eyes on him, and hearing it now, it felt like a dam had broken inside me. I felt vulnerable and exposed, but I didn’t want to push him away. I didn’t want to walk away. I wanted to let him into every single vulnerable part of me.
It wanted to break down my walls for him.
“But of course, you were right,” he said, laughing self-mockingly. “It was the sex clouding my mind, because there’s no actual reason in the world why I would prefer to be with you in a long-term relationship over zero-commitment, guilt-free sex.
It felt as if someone had splashed cold water on my face. My eyes stung, and I had to blink to keep them dry. “At least we’ve cleared up that you’re still the casual sex and hookups guy. Good thing I didn’t fall for your temporary change of heart.”
“Good thing,” he agreed. “You also got to ditch your celibacy and see it as the ineffective strategy it is for whatever you’re trying to achieve. You can go back to…how did you put it? The one extreme that has always worked for you.” He fixed his gaze on me. “How’s it been? Daphne. How many guys have had the pleasure of fucking you since that night?”
Because I only want you.
“None of your business,” I retorted, getting up and walking to the edge of the patio.
I felt like I never wanted you to be alone again, not when I could be there for you.
I sighed. How could I ever forget that he had felt that way about me, even for a second? The night was getting colder, and a gust of wind blew past me. The fabric of my dress was thin enough that I felt the drop in temperature immediately. I rubbed my arms to keep them warm.
I heard Jason stand and come up behind me. My breath caught in anticipation, but he only draped a light shawl over my shoulders. His fingers trailed down my arms as he smoothed the length of the cotton, and I shivered.
“My mother keeps them out here in case it gets cold,” he explained.
He was standing so close I could feel his warm breath on my neck. “Thank you,” I whispered.
He was silent. Through the thin cotton, the pads of his fingers felt hot against my skin. I could feel the heat of his body behind me. If I leaned back even a little, I would be flush against him, and yet he made no move to leave.
He shifted his fingers lightly, trailing them along my arms. I closed my eyes, wanting him to continue. “Are you planning to lecture me some more about the walls I’ve built around myself?” I asked shakily.
He chuckled and lowered his hands. “No, I’m done analyzing you. I’m going for a walk—unless you’re open to fucking, of course.”
Zero-commitment, guilt-free sex.
For a moment, I forgot how to breathe as red-hot arousal pooled between my thighs. “Jason…” My voice was weak.
“What?” he said in my ear. “It’s what you want, isn’t it?”
It was, but then again, it wasn’t. I didn’t have the words to explain, but as his hands moved to hitch up my dress, I decided it wasn’t necessary to explain it to myself or to him, not yet anyway, not when my whole body was anticipating his touch. He drew my dress up, his fingers tracing a heated trail along my thighs and hips. Then when the dress was bunched around my waist, he slid his hand into my panties.
I parted my legs just enough so he could explore my aching core. His fingers slid over my clit, making my entire body tingle. I was so wound up that my hips jerked with every caress.
“Always so fucking wet,” he whispered against my ear. He was seducing me with both his touch and his words, and I loved it. His other hand found my nipple pushing out against my dress, and he massaged it through the fabric.
I let out a low moan. He was still touching me between my legs, lightly and then a bit hard, then feather light again. The pleasure was becoming unbearable. I wanted to tear off my clothes and drag him down on the floor with me.
He drew on my nipple then squeezed my breast. “Have I told you that I love your breasts?” he murmured against my ear. “Best fucking pair of tits I’ve ever seen.” He continued to tease the sensitive flesh between my legs, and I bit back a moan as he slid two fingers into me, fingering me deeply while he rubbed my clit with the pad of his thumb.
I was walking on the thinnest of wires, about to explode and fall into ecstasy on either side. My body felt like it was crackling. My pussy clenched around his fingers, and I felt his tongue on a spot right under my ear.
He drew his fingers out then plunged them inside me again. My legs shook as pleasure built around my center. I felt like I was going to explode at any moment.
“Do you like this?”
“Yes,” I replied breathlessly.
“Good.” He drew out his fingers and spread them over my core, stroking me in slow circular motions. I gasped as pleasure built to an unbearable crescendo.
“Come for me, baby.”
I shattered, biting my lip to keep myself from screaming. I clutched his arms as my body tightened and then released with so much force, only his hands kept me on my feet. He steadied me, holding me flush against him as I caught my breath, then he drew his fingers out of my panties and slowly turned me around to face him.
With his eyes on mine, he lifted his fingers to his lips, tasted me, and smiled. He stepped back, and my body moved instinctively to close the gap, because I still wanted him. I still wanted his touch, and I knew he wanted me too. I could see the evidence where his cock strained against his pants. “Jason…” My voice was a needy whimper.
“Daphne.” He chuckled. “My little Daphne Bird.” He took a deep breath. “I’m going for a walk,” he said calmly, as if he hadn’t just touched me in the most intimate places. “Enjoy your night.”
I watched him cut a path through the lawn, going toward the lake. I wanted to follow him, but I wasn’t any closer to figuring out where I stood with him than I’d been before he fingered me to orgasm, and I didn’t want to run after him like some desperate groupie, especially when he was obviously taunting me. I ran a frustrated hand through my hair and reluctantly made my way into the house.
Everyone had gone to bed, so it was just me and my chaotic thoughts to keep me company. Upstairs, I changed into my sleep shorts and a tank top. I could barely think of sleeping while the feeling of Jason’s touch lingered between my legs. Had he known what he was doing? Had he planned to drive me into this relentless agony of need? I imagined him walking around the lake like a god in the moonlight, knowing I was there in his childhood bedroom, frustrated and wanting to fuck him so badly it felt like no other alternative could give me release.
I went to the window and opened it, letting the night air calm my aching skin, and as I stood there, I saw Jason walking back to the house. His clothes were under one arm, and he was wearing only a dark pair of briefs. They were dripping wet, as was the rest of him.
A god in the moonlight.
As if he could feel me staring at him, he looked up and met my gaze.
My fingers curled around the blinds. Come up, I whispered silently. Come and fuck me senseless.
He laughed and raised one finger to his lips as if to taste me again.
He was mocking me. Annoyed, I tore my eyes away from his and shut the window, and as I went to bed and buried myself under the covers, I thought I could still hear his laughter from outside.
Yet, I knew if he came to my room, if he knocked, I would let him in. I would gladly spend all night surrendering my body to him. I waited, but he didn’t come, and I finally fell asleep, my dreams composed of erotic visions starring Jason and myself. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to bear another day of being around him, but by the time I woke up in the morning and went downstairs for breakfast, he had already left.