Read One Night of Scandal Online

Authors: Elle Kennedy

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Series, #Best friend’s girl, #one-night-stand, #One Night of Scandal, #wrong side of the tracks, #Boston, #Elle Kennedy, #Brazen, #alpha hero, #opposites attract, #bad boy hero, #After Hours, #forbidden romance, #MMA hero, #sexy romance, #Entangled, #contemporary romance, #erotic romance

One Night of Scandal (5 page)

BOOK: One Night of Scandal
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Reed’s kisses, on the other hand…

Nope, she wasn’t allowed to think about those toe-curling kisses again.

Or the way he’d made her orgasm just by rubbing his thick erection against her fully clothed body.

“Well,” Darcy said brightly, reaching for her menu. “Now that I’ve officially bummed everyone out, how about we order?”

Skyler snorted, then picked up her own menu. “Gage was so mopey that I was coming here tonight,” she said as she scanned the entrée list. “He wanted to make me this new Thai recipe he got off the Internet.”

“Jeez Louise. I can’t believe you landed yourself a man who likes to cook.” Envy dripped from Shannon’s tone. “Tom would eat his own arm first before even thinking about preparing dinner.” She was referring to her husband, who also worked at Jefferson as the Phys. Ed teacher.

Darcy loved watching Tom and Shannon together at school. The couple fought like cats and dogs, but she had no doubt they loved each other. And with that kind of palpable passion, she suspected their sex life was hot enough to set their bed on fire.

Argh. Why couldn’t
she
find a man who rocked her world like that?

You did. Saturday night.

Darcy smothered a groan. Jeez, would that inner voice just shut up already? Saturday night didn’t count.
Reed
didn’t count. She wanted to set fires with a man she’d actually be able to
keep
.

“Yeah, Gage is a real Martha Stewart in the kitchen.” Skyler broke out in a grin. “But in the bedroom he’s anything but.” She paused. “Unless Martha is a secret porn star or something. In that case, he’s like her in
all
areas of life.”

Jayani picked up her glass of Merlot and took a dainty sip. “Boyfriends are overrated. Me, I’m having way too much fun playing the field to even
think
about settling down.” She winked at Darcy. “Now we can play the field together. And you’re in luck—I make a damn good wingman, if I do say so myself.”

“I might take you up on that in the future, but right now I’m thinking I want to be alone for a bit, at least until I figure out what I really need from a relationship,” Darcy said with a sigh.

Their regular waiter walked up to the table, greeting the four women with a smile. His dark eyes twinkled playfully as he gestured to their menus. “I don’t know why you bother looking at those. You ladies always order the same thing.”

He was right—none of them were very adventurous when it came to food. As every single woman ordered the exact same dish as last time, the dark-haired man laughed in delight, then wandered away without writing a single thing down.

Skyler leaned close and poked Darcy in the arm, her gaze fixed on their waiter’s retreating back. “Why don’t you ask Tony out? He’s so cute. And he’s single, right?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. Those slick Italian good looks don’t do it for me. I like ‘em a little more scruffy.”

Skyler rolled her eyes. “Says the woman who was dating
AJ
. Doesn’t get much more clean-cut than that.”

“I know some scruffy guys,” Jayani said helpfully. Then she made a face. “Most of them are total douche bags, though.”

“It’s not just the scruffy ones,” Shannon said sadly. “If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say 50% of the male population is all douche.”

Well, wasn’t that a disheartening thought. Darcy knew the dating pool could get pretty grim, and now that she was single again, she wasn’t looking forward to sifting through a whole lot of muddy water in search of that one sparkling diamond.

Crap. She was mixing metaphors again. Good thing none of her students were there to witness it.

“I guess it’s good that I’m taking a break from men then,” she said lightly. “Honestly, I’m looking forward to being on my own for a while.”

“And hey, if you’re ever feeling lonely, just pull Bob out of the drawer and put him to good use. You still have big green Bob, right?” Shannon teased, referring to the enormous vibrator Darcy had won as a door prize at Shannon’s bachelorette party the previous year.

“Oh, I still have him.” She decided not to mention that she’d used the toy more than once this week.

Or that she’d pretended it wasn’t Big Green Bob who was fucking her senseless, but Reed Miller.

Okay, enough. She
really
needed to stop thinking about that man.

Except the universe clearly didn’t
want
her to stop, because the second she banished his gorgeous face from her mind, her cell phone buzzed with an incoming text message.

From Reed.

She knew she shouldn’t read it, but the temptation to do so was too darn strong. It lured her in like a siren’s song.

Then again, was it the sirens’ fault that all those sailors were too weak and stupid to resist it? So really, weakness and stupidity was what pushed her to swipe her finger over the screen.

The message was short and sweet:
Can I see u 2nite? Need 2 talk.

Wow. She couldn’t believe the request had come from him and not the other way around. Weren’t women the ones who usually demanded to have the uncomfortable post-hookup talk?

But she knew she couldn’t say no. The memory of fooling around with Reed had haunted her for days, gnawing at her like a dog trying to chew the last bit of marrow out of a bone. The sooner they spoke and put their transgression behind them, the sooner she could stop feeling like the worst human being on the planet.

Trying to be discreet, Darcy typed a short response, letting him know she was out but could see him afterward. They arranged to meet at the front stoop of her building, and after she’d tucked the phone away and lifted her head, she found her friends grinning at her.

“I thought you were taking a break from men,” Skyler chided.

Darcy’s cheeks grew warm, and she felt like strangling her English heritage for cursing her with a blush she could never hide. “Who says I was talking to a man?”

Shannon chortled. “You are the worst liar on the planet.”

“Will you at least tell us his name?” Jayani teased.

Darcy averted her gaze, staring at the crisp white tablecloth as if it was the most fascinating thing she’d ever seen. “It’s nobody. Trust me.”

“Uh-huh,” Shannon said in a singsong voice. “If you say so.”

Fortunately, her friends didn’t press for more details, and Skyler changed the subject to tell them about her first week at work. The younger woman had just finished her Masters and was now practicing under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, thrilled to finally be able to put her skills to good use.

Darcy was grateful for the reprieve, but although she made an effort to participate in the discussion, her mind was elsewhere.

With two short sentences, Reed had succeeded in ruining girls’ night for her. Now, thanks to him, all she’d be able to think about for the next two hours was their impending meeting.

Chapter Five

Reed didn’t get nervous often, but his hands were embarrassingly shaky as he parked his car at the curb a few steps from Darcy’s building. Through the windshield, he saw her sitting on the bottom step of her stoop, the light fixture above her head bringing out the reddish highlights in her wavy hair.

He reluctantly slid out of the car and walked toward her, trying not to dwell on the appealing picture she made. Other than the night at the Krib, he’d never seen her in anything dressy. Usually she wore jeans and colorful tops, and he had to admit he preferred her casual style to the too fancy, too made up women he encountered at Sin on a nightly basis.

It was funny—before he’d met Darcy, he hadn’t been drawn to the girl-next-door type. He’d preferred bold, confident woman who didn’t mind taking a walk on the wild side. A nice rack didn’t hurt, either.

Darcy was confident, sure, but she also radiated goodness. A sweet, compassionate side he tended to shy away from. But although she was sweet, she certainly wasn’t
meek
. The woman challenged him like nobody ever had, and that only added to her appeal.

“Hey,” he said gruffly, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Thanks for meeting me.”

“Hey.” She rose from her perch, her hands dangling awkwardly at her sides, one of them clutching a folded piece of paper.

“What’s that?” he asked.

She glanced at the sheet as if she’d forgotten she was holding it. “Oh, just a memo from my landlord about some fire alarm and carbon monoxide inspection the building is doing next week. It was stuffed in my mailbox.”

“Ah.”

They both went quiet for a second.

“Um.” Darcy fidgeted. “I’d invite you up, but…”

The smartass in him reared his annoying head. “But you’re afraid if I come upstairs you’ll end up ripping my clothes off?”

She rolled her eyes. “Well, aren’t we arrogant?”

“Am I wrong?” He’d meant to voice the question lightly, just a little tease that meant nothing, but the words came out raspy and dead serious.

She faltered, averting her gaze for a beat before shifting it back to his. She looked utterly resigned. “I want to say yes, but I don’t think you are. I never thought, not in a million years, that I’d be saying this, but…I’ve been picturing you naked ever since…” She trailed off, but they both knew what she was talking about.

Her honesty didn’t surprise him. Darcy had been a straight shooter from the moment he’d met her. He got the feeling she always spoke her mind. Didn’t avoid a single confrontation, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

Normally he’d appreciate that, but learning that she’d been picturing him naked achieved the opposite result of what he’d come here for. He was supposed to tell her that what happened between them was a mistake. A mistake he didn’t intend on making again. But then she’d gone and said the word
naked
, and now his mind was overflowing with the dirtiest, filthiest images known to man.

Reed cleared his throat, valiantly ignoring the merciless throbbing of his groin. “Look, I can’t pretend I didn’t enjoy what we did. I enjoyed it a hell of a lot. But…”

“But it can’t happen again,” she finished quietly.

“No, it can’t.”

“You know, you really didn’t have to come all the way here for this. We could’ve had this talk over the phone.” She sighed. “Is there a reason you decided to do it in person and up the awkward factor by a hundred percent?”

“That’s not the only reason I came. I hate to break it to you, but things are about to get a little more awkward.”

Suspicion clouded her eyes. “What do you mean?”

“I just saw AJ—” When she paled, he quickly held up his hand. “No, I didn’t tell him. I was going to, but I didn’t get the chance. He asked for a favor before I could.”

“What kind of favor?” she said warily.

“He wants me to take his place at the self-defense workshop you guys are holding at your school next week.”

A curse flew out of her mouth. “Oh crap. I totally forgot about that.”

Pausing, she nibbled on her lower lip, and the cute nervous gesture sent a ripple of heat to his cock. He suddenly imagined those perfect white teeth nibbling on something other than her lip. His neck, for one. Or maybe his shoulder, so she could stifle a scream as she rode him to orgasm.

Christ.

Fantasies weren’t usually his thing—good old-fashioned porn was enough to get him off—but his brain refused to quit running over all the delicious scenarios he and Darcy could find themselves in.

“I can see why AJ wants to back out.” Sadness radiated from her petite frame. “But the workshop is so important.”

“He feels that way too. That’s why he asked me to do it.” Reed swallowed. “Would you be okay with that?”

Her hesitation was palpable, but it didn’t stop her from giving a quick nod. “We’ll have to make it okay. The kids need this, especially after what happened to Jamal Littleton.”

Reed shook his head in anger. “That poor kid. He’s not still in the hospital, is he?”

“No, he got out last month.”

“That’s good.” Reed stared down at his scuffed Timberlands. “Anyway, text me the details for the workshop. Dates, times, all that stuff. I’m happy to help out.”

“Really?”

The skeptical note raised his hackles. “Why do you sound so surprised?”

“I don’t know. You just don’t strike me as the type of guy who’s into community outreach.”

Her answer only grated even more. “You think I’m not the type of guy who would want to help a bunch of children? Thanks for the vote of confidence, Darce.”

Shame stabbed into him as he remembered that his first instinct at the bar the other night had been to say no to AJ’s request, just for the selfish reason of avoiding Darcy. That she’d made the same assumption about his selfishness only heightened that feeling of remorse.

Clenching his teeth, he moved away from the stoop. “I should go. See you next week.”

“Reed, wait.” She grasped his forearm, her fingers warming his skin. “I’m sorry. I guess I had no right to say that. I don’t know you well enough to make that sort of judgment.”

“It’s fine,” he said roughly. “I really should go.”

She paused, and then her voice went dry. “So that’s it? Are we really not going to acknowledge the fact that we orgasmed together in a room the size of a closet?”

A burst of laughter flew out. “That’s a nice way of phrasing it.”

“How would you describe it?”

His gaze locked with hers. “I came in my pants dry humping you against a wall with my tongue down your throat.”

Darcy gave a sharp intake of breath. “Yeah…you’re right…my description
was
nicer. Yours just made me…”

This time when she drifted off, he truly had no idea what the rest of the sentence was. And God help him, but he wanted to know.

“My way made you what?” he said in a husky voice.

“Your way made me hot all over again.”

Son of a bitch. Why,
why
had he asked? What was the matter with him that he kept giving in to self-torture?

A groan rose in his throat, but he choked it down. “You really can’t say stuff like that. Not around me.”

“Why not?” Her voice was barely above a whisper.

His frustration soared to a whole new level. This woman would be the death of him. He’d never experienced a craving this strong—even the last two times he’d tried to quit smoking had been a piece of cake compared to this. His hands itched with the need to explore every inch of her body. His lips ached to taste her.

Hot jolts of desire whipped through him, so powerful he was liable to burst into flames. His pants had become unbearably tight, his dick throbbing painfully against his zipper. He was nearing his breaking point, that critical moment of desperation where he either kissed the living daylights out of her, or ran far, far away from her.

The latter. Christ, he definitely needed to do the latter.

Unfortunately, Darcy seemed determined to push him to the limit. “Why can’t I say any of that?” she repeated.

“Because I’m a selfish bastard. Damn it, Darcy, when a woman tells me I’m getting her hot, it just makes me want to prove how much
hotter
I can get her.”

She moaned.

The goddamn temptress actually
moaned
, and the throaty sound sizzled into him and tingled in the tip of his cock. He was so hard he could barely breathe, and he wanted to shout at her to stop eyeing him like she was an addict and he was her fix.

“But I can’t do that,” he said helplessly, his voice strangled, tormented. “I can’t do any of the things I want to do to you.”

“Like what?” she murmured.

This time he was the one moaning. “I want to kiss you again. I want to bite on that sexy bottom lip of yours. I want to slip my tongue in your mouth and tease you until you’re begging me to put my tongue somewhere else.”

Her eyes went as wide as saucers, but he couldn’t stop the wicked details that growled out of his mouth, couldn’t censor himself even if he’d tried.

“I’d give you what you want, Darce. I’d lick my way down your body, and then I’d fuck you with my tongue.”

“Oh
God
,” she whimpered.

“I’d lick you for hours. I’d get you nice and wet and drive you crazy with my tongue, and then, when you’re lying there limp with satisfaction, I’d crawl back up and fuck you with my cock until neither one of us can see straight.”

His mouth snapped shut, breathing ragged as his explicit play-by-play came to an end.

Darcy’s eyes had glazed over and her cheeks were so flushed he knew her body temperature must have skyrocketed.

Silence crashed between them. Long and deafening and simmering with sexual awareness.

“I should be offended and disgusted,” she blurted out. “I should be angry at you for saying all those dirty things. But I’m not.” Something resembling defeat flashed in her eyes. “Come upstairs.”

Surprise jolted through him. “What?”

“I’m inviting you upstairs, Reed.”

There was no mistaking the lust in her eyes. Or the cloud of unhappiness.

“I know it’s wrong. I
know
it. But maybe…” She bit her lip again. “Maybe we need to get it out of our system.”

“We can’t.” It took every ounce of willpower he possessed to say those two words. “I can’t do that to AJ.”

“You already did,” she said softly.

“Well, I can’t do it again.” Fighting a rush of regret, he took several steps back and did his best to ignore the insistent pleading of his impossibly hard cock. “You weren’t there tonight, Darce. The guy is devastated over your breakup. If you and I hooked up, it would kill him.”

She looked genuinely confused. “Neither of us was devastated by the breakup, Reed. It sucked, yeah, but we made the decision together.”

“You didn’t see him tonight,” he insisted.

“You must have misinterpreted what you saw.” Frustration filled her eyes. “I’m not saying he’d be thrilled if you and I…if we…” She didn’t bother finishing the thought. “But it won’t kill him. Eventually he’ll come around to the idea of—” She stopped abruptly, and the dark look that swept over her face could only be described as self-loathing. “Oh, for fuck’s sake! What am I even saying? Why am I pushing this?” She shoved both hands in her hair, her distress obvious. “For some reason I turn into a sex-crazed lunatic when I’m around you. What’s
wrong
with me?”

He sighed. “It’s lust. Regular old lust, and it will pass.”

“Will it?”

Reed bit the inside of his cheek so hard he tasted blood in his mouth. “Yes.”

He decided not to mention that this particular case of lust had been wreaking havoc on him for months. He ran his tongue over the tiny cut in his mouth, stepping even farther back, needing to put as much distance between them as humanly possible.

“We just need to forget Saturday night ever happened. It’s the only way for us to move forward.”

Darcy looked upset. “We should tell AJ.”

“I’ll take care of it,” he said gruffly. “I’ll tell him it was my fault, that I took advantage of you.”

“But that’s not the truth,” she protested.

Reed exhaled slowly. “There’s no reason for him to hate both of us, Darce.”

“No. I can’t let you do that. It’s not right.”

She sounded so distraught, he couldn’t help but reach for her again. The hug was meant to be gentle and reassuring, but somehow turned into a desperate embrace that resulted in her face buried against his chest and his arms wrapped tightly around her slender body.

“Hey, it’s okay.” He was unable to resist stroking the small of her back. “We messed up, okay? Turned out there was an attraction there, and we gave in without thinking. I’ll make sure AJ knows it was nothing but a random, stupid mistake, and that it won’t ever happen again. Right?”

She tipped her head, those gorgeous blue eyes locking with his.

“Right?” he repeated, firmer this time.

It felt like forever before she responded with a slight nod. “Right.”

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