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Authors: Susan Andersen

Playing Dirty (18 page)

BOOK: Playing Dirty
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“I’m sorry,” he said hoarsely. “I really want to make this good for you, but I don’t think I can hold out for long.”

She spread her legs. “So don’t—I don’t need you to. You have condoms?”

“Shit. Yeah. Hang on.” Rolling off her, he dove for the nightstand, yanking its drawer open so vigorously it pulled clear out. He swore as its contents dumped on the floor, and he slid his upper body over the side of the bed. “Pretty suave, huh?”

“Oh, very,” she agreed, but in all honesty, she wasn’t paying strict attention. He had a really great butt, all round and firm, with those sucked-in hips that only men ever seem to achieve—and it called to her. So she shifted around a bit.

Scooted closer.

And took a little bite.

“Jesus!” He shot up, the accordion of condoms in his fist unpleating from the floor, and flipped around to sit on the spot she’d nipped. The condoms whipped around in his wake.

The view was firmly covered, but there was an upside—that luscious penis pointed straight at her was equally firm—and mere inches from her face. “Oooh.”

“No!” he barked, and she glanced up at him. He was breathing like he’d run a marathon, and his eyes were hot and wild as he stared down at her lips.

“God,” he panted. “I want it. I want to see that mouth on me so bad.”

“Cool.” Licking her lips, she reached for him.

His hand came out of nowhere to snatch her wrist and pull it away. When she sighed and looked up
once again, it was to see a pained expression crossing his face.

“But you’re gonna keeps those lips off my dick,” he said flatly. “I promised I’d make this better for you than the last time. You put your mouth on me and it’s all over.”

Okay, she did not want that. “Maybe another time, then,” she said and reached for the end condom on the conga line of them and ripped it free. She thrust it out at him. “Here. Suit up.”

He took it from her hand but said, “Let’s get something straight, buttercup. You are not in charge here.”

She looked at his penis. Opened her mouth and ran her tongue in a slow circle around its inner membranes.

He swore. “Okay, maybe you’re partly in charge. But I’m taking over for now.”

Since she was having a tough time pulling her gaze away from watching him apply the condom, she decided she could live with that. But, holy Krakow. There was just something about seeing a man handle his own sex. And Cade’s jutted up between his hands as he unrolled the rubber down its length.

He looked up to see her watching and gave himself a rough stroke, stretching his hard-on at the apex of the pull. “You like that?”

Squeezing her thighs together, clutching her breasts and trapping her nipples between the sides of her thumbs and index fingers, she nodded.

“Damn!” he said, tackling her and driving her down onto the mattress. He scowled. “I don’t know how you do it. I’ve got experience on my side, you know? Quite a bit of it.”

“Big deal,” she said coolly, “I have some, myself.”
Then honesty compelled her to admit, “But, okay, maybe not what anyone would call quite a bit.”

He blew out a disgusted breath. “Like mine’s doing me a damn bit of good. Because I look at you and it’s as if I’m that horny kid all over again—the one who wants you so fucking bad he loses control before he can do you right.”

“No kidding?” Tickled, she flashed him a big smile. “That’s actually sort of…flattering.”

He stilled, looking at her. Then he cleared his throat. Dipped his fingertip into one of her dimples. “Yeah?” he said huskily. “Well, my ego’s feeling a little battered, so let’s see if we can’t do something to push you out of control, too.”

And he set about doing precisely that. It was as if he suddenly had more than the usual complement of hands, for his touch seemed to be everywhere, scorching her, sparking fires, making her burn. He pinned her hands over her head and held her down with hard thighs spread over her own as his teeth nipped her neck, her collarbone, her nipples. He licked her underarms, which she’d never dreamed could be so erogenous. He rocked that wicked penis between her legs but didn’t enter her.

Then he slid down her body. Shouldering her legs apart, he reached to cup her butt in splayed hands, his fingers curling in its division to separate her cheeks. His breath feathered the curls between her legs.

“Redheads rock,” he murmured and kissed her abdomen above the curls. He brushed the tip of his finger across a spot she didn’t expect and she jumped. No man had ever—

He looked up at her and brushed it again. Rubbed a tiny, gentle circle around it.

Ava shot up onto her elbows. “Cade! You can’t—”

Holding her gaze, he lapped his tongue up the swollen, split tissues between her legs. He grazed his teeth over her clitoris. Surrounded it with his lips and sucked.

And her elbows melted out from under her. Oh, God, who was she fooling? He could do whatever he wanted.

And he did. Wicked wonderful things with his tongue, his lips, his fingers, that made her writhe and moan and beg. Until, just as she was finally on the brink of what she
knew
was going to be the climax of her life, he suddenly pulled back.

“Nooooo!”

He dropped over her with a force that lifted her head off the comforter when his elbow drove into the mattress next to it. His hand speared into her hair, and his mouth rocked over hers. Then the knuckles of his other hand brushed down her slippery furrow a second before the broad head of his penis pushed past the ring of muscle guarding her opening. He plunged his tongue into her mouth even as he sank into her body with an emphatic thrust.

And Ava’s world turned scarlet as the tension that had been steadily tightening inside her detonated. Sensation exploded in wave after ever-expanding concentric wave. And somewhere in the room a woman emitted a drawn-out, muffled scream.

Cade ripped his mouth free and stared down at Ava as he thrust in and out of her with edge-of-control ferocity. Her eyes blazed green, her teeth sank deep into her full lower lip and her breasts, those beautiful, beautiful breasts, jiggled against his pecs with every forceful thrust of his hips, her nipples punching through his chest hair like diamond drill bits.

“God, Ava, God,” he said through a sandpaper throat. Because he was so close, so fucking close, balanced
on the edge of heaven as her hot, muscular sheath contracted up and down the length of his cock. “You are so—”

His balls drew up.

“—damn—”

Thrusting deep, he ground into the slick clasp of her. “Beautif—aww,
Jeeeeeeeezus!
” Stiff-arming himself up on his palms, he pressed as deep as he could go and gritted his teeth as he began to come in pulsation after heaven-sent, hell-hot pulsation.

He had no idea how much time passed before his cock quit jerking and his head dropped forward on a suddenly weak neck. But the position left him gazing at where they were joined and his dick gave a final pulse at the sight of her red curls meshing with his black. He dragged his gaze up to meet hers. “Damn,” he said hoarsely. “That was…”

“Amazing,” Ava breathed, lolling beneath him in a boneless sprawl.

“Freakin’ A. You totaled me six ways from Sunday, Av. I can’t feel my hands.” And his arms were starting to tremble. But he could still raise one eyebrow. “You gotta admit, though, it was better than the last time.”

Then his strength gave way completely, and he crashed down on top of her.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Holy crap. Was there an emotion I
didn’t
feel today? They were are all over the damn place!

C
ADE TURNED
out to be a cover hog.

Ava awoke with a toasty back at the same time chilly air poked sly, frigid fingers down her front beneath the only bedding still covering her, a high thread count, wholly inadequate Egyptian cotton sheet. Pushing up on one forearm, she rubbed sleep from her eyes and felt the heavy weight of Cade’s arm slide away from her waist. Grumbling in his sleep, he rolled onto his back, taking his body heat with him. She shivered and turned to reach for the blanket and comforter he’d commandeered. Straightening them out, she pulled her newly reclaimed share up around her neck.

Then she faced him fully for the first time and simply stared for a moment, a small smile tugging at her lips.

A romance book hero he wasn’t. He had a serious case of bed head, his mouth hung slack, and he snored.

But after last night she had to admit he did have
one
thing in common with that larger-than-life species. Her gaze drifted down his torso. His body might be bundled beneath blankets, but the vision of him buck-naked was burned into her brain.

For all time, she feared.

Then her eyebrows drew together. Because speaking of brains, what had she been thinking to even start this with him? Well, sure,
thinking
hadn’t had a whole lot to do with it. But even a half-baked attempt to look beyond her sudden itch to climb in his pants would have been a nice idea.

Not that she could bring herself to regret scratching that itch, exactly.

Or, okay, at all; neither the first time nor their second round, either. Hell, she was an adult—she’d known what she was getting into.

But great as the sex had been, it was sort of a dead-end relationship, wasn’t it? Cade had built a life for himself in L.A., or wherever he lived, while she’d built hers here. So even if they managed to cobble something together, it hardly seemed like an association destined to prosper.

She wasn’t even sure she wanted a relationship with him. Their history was loaded with so much baggage they could open their own storefront—if only their luggage weren’t so freaking shopworn. She liked to believe she had the maturity to move beyond that history, but in her heart of hearts she wasn’t at all confident that she did.

Of course, this even was supposing
he
was interested, which was a mega-big “if” indeed.

“You’re thinking way too hard.”

She started, having failed to notice the sudden lack of snoring. She’d been too busy looking inward. Now she focused on Cade.

He smiled at her, his eyes still sleepy beneath their heavy fringe of dark lashes. There was something in their rich blue depths, however, an indefinable emotion or intent she couldn’t quite put a finger on.

But it made her heart pound.

Then he distracted her by saying dryly, “I can practically smell the circuits frying. You are so transparent, Spencer.”

“I am not!”

“No? Then tell me you weren’t lying there wondering what the hell you’d gotten yourself into.”

“Of course I wasn’t,” she said with great dignity—then shrugged. “So, maybe I was. But you have to admit—”

Snaking out a hand, he hooked the back of her neck and leaned close to lay a soft, lazy kiss on her. A kiss that made her melt. When he finally drew back, it was only far enough to rest his forehead against hers. “Mornin’,” he said in a gravelly voice.

“Good morning, yourself,” she replied. But her brain was sputtering like a combustible engine running on fumes, rendering her more confused than ever. Because that hadn’t been one of the hot, let’s-get-it-on kisses they’d shared last night. This one had been sweeter, more tender, almost like the kiss of a guy in lov—

Cade’s cell phone rang, chopping the unlikely thought in half.

“Crap,” he muttered, then rolled to pick it up off the nightstand. He looked at the screen, then glanced at her. “I’m sorry, it’s Beks. I’ve got to get this.”

“Of course,” she murmured, unsure whether she felt relieved or disappointed.

Before she could decide, the incredulousness in Cade’s voice caught her attention. Climbing to his feet, he said something about John, and, from what she could glean from his end of the conversation, it sounded as if the night watchman might have been hurt. She could
be misinterpreting, but whatever it was, it wasn’t good. Cade looked upset.

Without stopping to ask herself why, she scooted closer.

He disconnected a moment later, thrust a hand all the way though his train-wreck hair until he stood gripping the back of his neck. He stared at the floor in front of him. “Well, that wasn’t news I’ve been holding my breath to hear.” Then he turned to stare at her. “I don’t suppose your contacts extend to a night watchman, do they?”

 

T
ONY STUCK
his head into the room Gallari used as an office. “Beks said you wanted to see me?”

The producer/director looked up from whatever he was working on. It was hard to say, considering all the junk, from paperwork to props, piled atop the desk. “Yeah, have a seat.”

Tony dropped into the one indicated.

“Beks tells me you’re a student.”

It caught him by surprise, but he was a professional; he allowed the fact that the PA had passed along his lie to neither show nor rattle him. “Yeah.”

“And that you wouldn’t mind taking over the night shift?”

Mind? Hell, hadn’t he been turning himself inside out trying to figure out a way to do precisely that? He wanted to laugh like an asylum escapee but slapped on a slightly puzzled expression instead. “That would be great, actually. Not only could I get my homework done in the downtime, but it would free me up to take more classes during the day.”

“Then the job is yours, if you don’t mind pulling a double shift today and—worst-case scenario—tomorrow
as well. But Ava’s working on a replacement and we’re hoping to have one in place by tomorrow.”

“Sure. But what about John?”

“He had to fly to Phoenix. Apparently his mother fell down her basement stairs and busted her leg all to hell.”

“That sucks.”

A corner of Gallari’s mouth tipped up. “To say the least.”

They talked a few minutes longer, then Tony left Gallari to go back to his messy desk. He maintained an everyday normal expression as he nodded and exchanged greetings with the crew members he passed, then took the stairs two at a time up the sweeping central staircase. He strode down the hallway past the Wolcott broad’s sitting room, catching a snatch of conversation between the makeup chick and someone. A moment later he reached a deserted room, stepped inside and eased the door shut.

Where, erupting into laughter, he broke into a victory boogie.

He didn’t allow himself to carry on for long. But damned if his luck hadn’t finally taken a turn for the better! It had seemed like one fucking thing after another on this gig, but where he’d run different scenarios through his head for getting John out of the way long enough to give him time to search the sitting room without fear of somebody catching him doing so, the night man’s old lady had done the job for him.

He had considered hitting John with his car to put him out of commission, but balked at the inability to guarantee the evening security guard wouldn’t recognize his vehicle. He’d thought of putting Visine in John’s coffee but didn’t know how much would just make the
guy sick and how much might kill him. Not that he was morally against killing, necessarily. But a death would likely mean an autopsy—and he was sure as hell against setting off any alarms that might make anyone look more closely at his credentials.

Sometimes life was just one big crapshoot—but with this throw he’d rolled himself a pretty little eleven. Damn, he oughtta send John’s mama some flowers.

He didn’t know how much time he’d have before the older man returned. But, hell, the night watchman must be somewhere in his fifties—and probably late fifties, at that. The guy’s mother really had to be up there in years. It would likely take several days to see a woman that old through hospitalization and probably some rehab as well, right? So it should be plenty long enough. And if it wasn’t?

Well, Mother John’s fall had presented him with a third option. He could always string some nice transparent fishing wire from railing spindle to railing spindle halfway up that fancy stair case and help John have a few fractures of his own. So, the guy had better hope his mother’s recovery took a while.

Or his old lady wouldn’t be the only one to take a tumble.

 

U
P ON THE
third floor Ava picked her way across the ballroom. They hadn’t started filming up here yet, but it was crowded with furnishings, props and the usual complement of crew busy performing their specialized jobs. She wove through the bustle, stepping over cables and dodging grips moving ladders and furniture, to make her way to where Cade stood deep in conversation with Jim Short. Reaching them, she politely halted a few feet away to wait until they were finished.

It took almost ten minutes, but eventually the gaffer turned to her and grinned. “He’s all yours, doll,” he said, and raising his voice bellowed, “Ryan! Get over here, boy. We’ve got work to do.”

He strode off, leaving her facing Cade, unasked-for visions of last night playing through her mind. The emergency with John this morning had knocked personal considerations aside. She’d driven home for a quick change while Cade had headed straight to the mansion to talk to Tony about switching over to the night security position. Since then, he’d been doing his thing while she’d done hers, and any communication between them had been filtered through Beks.

Taking a deep breath, she buried the unexpected frisson of nerves she experienced coming face-to-face with him again. “I found you a day security guard,” she said. “She can’t start until the day after tomorrow, but she came highly recommended so I think it might be worth the wait. I told her, however, that I’d have to call her back.”

“That’ll work,” he said. “The odds of someone waltzing in and trying to liberate hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of production equipment are a helluva lot lower during the day with all the people swarming around here than at night when the place is empty. Thanks, Ava.”

“Not a problem. I’ll call her back to let her know.” She turned away.

“Hold up.”

When she turned back, she found Cade had closed the distance between them. Those damn visions popped front and center once more, making her heart trip over itself.

He looked down at her. “Have dinner with me tonight.”

“What?” Not that she hadn’t heard him perfectly well, but being caught by surprise made her a little slow on the uptake.

“You and I have screwed our brains out,” he said in a low, rough voice, “but we’ve never been on a date. Not back in the day and not as adults. Let me buy you dinner.”

She should say no, of course, but, when she opened her mouth, what came out was, “Okay.”

His eyes lit up. “Really? Okay?”

“Yes.” A dinner date sounded so normal, and she could use some normal. It was something that had been in short supply in their relationship.

“Excellent. I’ll make a reservation somewhere nice for—what?—say, around seven-thirty?”

“Seven-thirty sounds good.” She took a tiny step away. “Well, I’d better get back to work.”

“Doing what?” He followed her retreat, looking down at her with those cerulean eyes. “I thought things were slow for you around here right now.”

“They are, but I’ve got a few things to cross off my own business list.”

“What kind of things? No, wait, I’ve got to get back to it, too, if we’re gonna have any chance of getting out of here on time. Tell me over dinner.” He looked at her as if he wanted to kiss her, and for a second she held her breath thinking he was going to do just that. Then, with a roll of his shoulders, he turned away.

She blew out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. “Hoo, boy,” she whispered and turned away. She’d go talk to the caterer about tomorrow’s menu, then dive into her own stuff.

 

S
HORTLY AFTER
seven that evening, she and Cade met in the kitchen. “I had Beks do a little research on restaurants,” he said, as she buttoned her coat and wrapped a scarf around her neck. “And one that kept coming up is Spring Hill. I understand it’s even in your neighborhood, so I made a reservation there.”

“Oh, that’s a great choice!”

“I thought I could follow you home and drive us from there, so you don’t have to come back for your car.”

“That would be nice. Feed me a good meal and the last thing I want to do afterward is have to head across town and then drive back again. I usually just wanna go to bed.”
Crap!
That had
not
been an invitation. God, did he think it was an invitation?

She couldn’t tell, for he merely gave her a ghost of a smile and walked her out to her car. He saw her inside, got in his own vehicle, then did as he’d said and followed her to her condo, where he waited out on the street while she pushed the garage door opener to the secured parking beneath her building and put her car away. When she emerged a few minutes later, she found him leaning against his fender waiting for her.

A scant ten minutes after that, they were being seated in Spring Hill Restaurant and Bar. After ordering wine, looking at the menu and agreeing on selections to share, Cade leaned into the table. “So, I gotta ask. Are you still dating the Argentinean Wonder?”

“Oh. No.” She gave him a sheepish smile, which she should have known he’d pick right up on.

His gaze turned sharp, and he leaned toward her even more. “What? What aren’t you telling me?”

“Oh, there are a lot of things I don’t tell you, Gallari.”

“Okay, what aren’t you telling me about Mr. Argentina?”

Crap.
“That maybe he’s my friend Eddie.” She offered him another smile. “And that he thought you were
real
cute.”

“The guy’s gay?”

She nodded, hoping that wouldn’t be a problem for him, because Eddie was a good friend.

But Cade merely grinned. “
Ex
-cellent.”

BOOK: Playing Dirty
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