Authors: Karen Erickson
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Suspense
Playing with Fire 3
A teenage crush on her big brother’s boyfriend. It was one
of the few times in her spoiled-little-sister life that Alexa had to swallow
the word “no”. She got over it, or she thought she had—until her brother’s
wedding brings Eric back into her life, as flirty and fun as ever. It never
mattered to her that he’s gay. Attraction is attraction.
One illicit kiss, and their reconnection blows her mind and
rekindles girlish hopes. Then he sets her away from him and runs like hell.
Eric can’t believe that a woman’s touch arouses him. Not
just any woman, but sweet Alexa, and he can’t help but want more. Desperate to
come clean, he confesses all to his steady boyfriend, Brandon, expecting anger.
But Brandon’s intrigued. He wants to meet the woman who’s tied Eric up in
knots. With luck, maybe she’ll relight the spark between them.
Alexa may have lost her chance with Eric, but the
consolation prize—a fling with him and Brandon, is too tempting to resist. She
never expected to love both men, or to secretly yearn to belong to the one who
commands her body like no other…
Warning: Contains m/m sex, m/f/m sex, three people confused
and in love, a little bit of punishment, a lot of dirty talk and a lot of
They cannot be sold, shared or
given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places,
and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used
fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons,
living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
577 Mulberry Street, Suite 1520
Macon GA 31201
Copyright © 2010 by Karen Erickson
Edited by Bethany Morgan
Cover by Scott Carpenter
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used
or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in
the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
publication: August 2010
“There you are. I’ve wanted to get you alone since I first
The words, the voice, sent a shiver down Alexa’s spine.
Slowly she turned to find the very man she’d hoped would say such a thing
standing before her, sweating drink glass clutched in his large hand, gorgeous
in a simple black suit that clung to his broad shoulders and emphasized the
length of his legs.
“Eric,” she said breathlessly, swallowing hard. She didn’t
want to look like a fool the first time she talked to him in years. “It’s so
nice to see you.”
He cocked a brow. “Nice? I haven’t seen you in five years,
and all I get is nice?”
She laughed and shook her head. “It’s better than nice.” She
meant that. She knew he was coming to the wedding, had seen him on the
confirmed guest list and excitement had bubbled in her stomach for weeks at the
thought of seeing him again.
Despite the fact he’d confirmed himself accompanied by a
guest. A guest she was most curious to meet. Her past sexual fantasies were
fueled almost completely by Eric.
He opened his arms wide in invitation, and she walked into
them, closed her eyes as he pulled her close. His deliciously spicy scent
surrounded her, his warmth, his strength. His arms like bands of steel wrapped
tight around her. Her entire body melted, panties growing damp at his touch.
Just like that. Just like old times. Only before, she’d been
too young and too confused to completely understand her feelings. All for her
Yeah that had been majorly confusing.
“I can’t believe Austin got married,” Eric murmured close to
her ear. So close she swore she felt the brush of his lips against her skin.
“I know.” She reluctantly withdrew, flashing him a quick
smile. “But I love Michaela. We all do. They’re perfect together.”
“They certainly seem like they’re in love.” His head turned
toward the newly wedded couple who danced together out on the makeshift dance
floor. “I’m happy for him.”
“How long has it been since you talked to Austin?” They’d been
together for over a year, Austin and Eric. When Austin had still lived at home
and was going to college, they’d met in class. Became fast friends, fast lovers
and ended up the longest relationship her brother ever had at the time.
She still didn’t know why they broke up. Austin had never
really explained it, and she never asked.
“Ah, we’re Facebook friends so we chat occasionally there.”
Eric grinned and shook his head. “Gotta love modern technology.”
“I had no idea you were friends on Facebook.” Damn it, she
should’ve checked her brother’s friends list more often. And why didn’t Eric
“Isn’t everyone on Facebook?” He glanced at her, a gleam
forming in his light brown eyes. The music changed tempo to a faster beat, and
he offered her his hand. “Let’s dance.”
She took his hand, as if she could resist, and he led her
out onto the dance floor. Caught Austin looking at the both of them oddly, as
if surprised to see them dancing together, and she sent him a pointed look.
What was the crime in dancing with his ex? Not like anything
would happen. Though she wished something would happen.
Her crush on Eric had been huge, overwhelming. He’d always
been so nice to her, so sweet. Taking the time to talk to her, hang out with
her when he came by the house. Their parents had been accepting of Eric from
the get-go, surprisingly accepting of Austin and his announcement that he
believed himself gay. She’d always been thankful for that. Their openness was
She wondered what they might do if she said she’d become
involved with Eric. If Austin could marry someone of the female variety then
why couldn’t she set a gay man straight—literally?
“You’re pretty good,” she yelled above the loud music,
impressed with his moves.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” he returned with a knowing
smile. As if he could read her mind, see her thoughts and her cheeks flamed.
If he knew, he just might run screaming from the building.
Alexa admired him as they swirled around each other. Tall
and lean with the perpetually messy dirty blond hair, more dark than blond,
she’d accused him of highlighting it oh so long ago. He’d denied it. He just
had perfectly natural highlights, he’d explained before they both burst out
Perfectly natural everything. His gorgeous, masculine face,
the artfully arranged hair, the intense golden brown eyes and a body she
desperately wanted to press up against. It was all enough to make a grown woman
want to drop to his feet and cry. Beg him to switch teams, just once.
As she danced she caught sight of her parents feeling the
music. Her brother’s friend Scarlett was dancing with her hot as hell boyfriend
Trevor. Caught a glimpse of Austin’s other ex-boyfriend Brad who was
practically grinding on his long-time boyfriend Drake, and she shook her head.
Everyone was having way too good a time at this reception.
The music again switched gears, slowing down into a tender
love song, and the floor cleared with the exception of a few swaying couples.
Alexa turned to leave but stopped when long fingers curled around her upper
“Still want to dance?” His voice deepened to an almost
unbearable sexy level, and she nodded her head mutely, stepping into his
embrace. Felt his arms come around her, big hands settled at her waist and she
rested her hands upon his shoulders.
They swayed silently to the music. She was again impressed
with his graceful movements, but unsure of what to say. It had been almost too
long since she’d last talked to him, and it was as if she’d put him on a
pedestal. The unattainable, never getable man.
Now she was in his arms, could feel his warm breath at her
temple. If she stepped close enough she’d feel the beating of his heart.
And yet in her eyes he was still unattainable.
“You here alone, Lex?” No one had called Lex in forever. She
hadn’t allowed it. Viewed it as a childish nickname she’d rather forget.
His use of it made her melt on the spot. “Um, yeah no date.”
“No boyfriend?” Eric sounded incredulous.
She shook her head once. “No, no boyfriend. I’m completely
and totally single. “
And I sound completely and totally desperate.
“I find that hard to believe,” he murmured, his arms
tightening around her, pulling her closer. Closer to his heat, his hard,
unyielding strength, she tightened her hands on his shoulders. Wished she could
slide her hands down. Down his back to grip that butt she knew would be rock
hard beneath her fingertips.
The man had always taken extra good care of himself, even
when they were little more than dumb teenaged kids.
“Are you here alone tonight, Eric?” Her heart rate picked
up, she could hardly hear what with the roar in her ears. She knew the truth,
she’d seen it typed up on that list Michaela had carried around for weeks.
Weddings made a woman obsessively crazy.
“I am.” She read his lips more than heard his voice and
relief flooded her, made her go limp against him. What happened to his
mysterious guest? Maybe he was single after all. A sliver of hope cracked her
Foolish, she told herself. Foolish to believe she had a
chance with him. He was gay. He liked men. And she was okay with that. Really.
The loss she felt shift deep within her, she’d get over
that. She’d been over him for years.
So why did one look at him bring all of those old useless
feelings rushing back?
“You look good, Lex,” he whispered. “All pretty and grown
As a bridesmaid she had to wear a black dress but at least
Michaela had allowed everyone in the wedding party to choose their own. She
wasn’t stuck in some God-awful color with bows and ruffles and lace. “Thank
you.” She decided to keep her answer simple. Easier that way or else she might
slip and beg him to fuck her.
Had he ever been with a woman? Curiosity filled her and she
glanced at him from beneath her lowered lashes. His strong jaw was lined with
stubble, his mouth firm yet yielding. Full, almost vulnerable lower lip offset
by the determined chin, she really wanted to kiss him. Not some fleeting
No, she wanted to experience a kiss with Eric involving
fierce and frantic mouths, tangling tongues and wandering hands. Low moans and
whispered sighs and lots and lots of licking.
Her entire body tingled just thinking about it.
“You feel good too.” He ran his hands up and down her back
slowly before they settled just above her butt. All the air left her lungs at
his touch, and she jerked her head up, studying him. No, he hadn’t sprouted two
“Are you all right?”
His brows furrowed and his hold lessened on her. “What do
“If I’m not mistaken, I think you might be…flirting with
me.” She frowned, not in the mood to be screwed with.
Ever since she was little she’d always gotten what she
wanted. The youngest, the baby, the only girl, her parents had indulged her.
Her big brothers had indulged her as well. She wasn’t necessarily spoiled
though she wouldn’t deny it either, but she was awfully determined. Had no
qualms going after what she wanted.
Eric was the first man, the first thing she’d never been
able to get. No matter how badly she’d tried, no matter how hard she’d worked
at it. It had been a waste of her time. The man hadn’t caved then, and she
didn’t believe he’d cave now.
Or would he?
Eric studied her, his gaze roving over Alexa’s pretty,
delicate face. She was beautiful, a complete heartbreaker, and he’d thought of
her that way since the first time he met her. All long limbs and eager
attitude, ready to hang with her big brother and his new, ahem, friend.
She’d been aware of their situation long before he realized
it and the relief he felt at her acceptance of him, of them, had been acute.
Oh, he’d known she had a crush on him. Everyone knew it, even Austin. She’d
followed him around, her eyes wide and full of stars, looking at him as if he’d
hung the moon.
It had made him feel good. And a little bit strange.
He’d never been with a woman before sexually. He still
hadn’t. Having her in his arms now, well, it felt good. Damn good.
Even his cock twitched in reaction, and he’d rarely gotten a
hard on for a woman.
So was he flirting with her? If he let his fingers do what
they really wanted they’d be sliding down the smooth curve of her ass at this
very moment. Her body heat seared into him, her breasts were crushed against
his chest. The dress was low cut, giving him a fair view of cleavage and damn
it, he wanted to know the color of her nipples.
“Maybe I am flirting a little,” he admitted with a shrug as
he tugged her closer. “It’s completely harmless.” As long as she didn’t feel
his growing erection nudge against her then yeah, totally harmless.
“You never flirted with me—before.” She hesitated, looked
away, her little pink tongue sneaking out to swipe across her lower lip.
Eric wanted to groan but he bit it back. “You were too
Blazing blue eyes lifted to glare at him. “I was only two
years younger than you.”
“And still in high school.” At that time he’d been so
focused on the beautiful and intensely sexy Austin he hadn’t given the little
sister much thought.
Austin had been his first boyfriend, his first relationship
where he was out and didn’t hide anything. They’d boldly declared themselves
gay to anyone who would listen. After keeping his secret all through high
school and from his friends and parents, it had been liberating. Moving to a
new town for college, he’d created a new persona. His true persona.
He hadn’t really deviated from it since.
“Well, I’ve grown up.” She lifted her chin, sexy as hell
with her restrained, haughty anger. Her dark hair, which she’d always worn long,
was cut into stylish bob, curling about her jaw, sleek and smooth. She was,
simply put, gorgeous. Sophisticated.
“You definitely have.” He let his gaze wander down her form,
and he swore he caught a hint of pink tingeing her cheeks. As if he embarrassed
her with his blatant perusal.
Damn, what had gotten into him? He didn’t ogle women. He
didn’t send them lecherous looks and wonder what color panties they had on. He
didn’t get hard when they snuggled their soft bodies against him. He’d kissed a
few. Gotten drunk and made out with close girlfriends, tongues and all. But
they’d meant nothing.
The temptation to kiss Alexa out in the middle of the dance
floor was damned near overwhelming.
“Let’s get out of here.” He took her hand without waiting
for her reply and led her off the dance floor. She didn’t protest, didn’t say a
word, and they threaded through the crowd. Headed toward the double doors at
the back of the building.
He just needed to cool down for a minute. Get his head on
straight, get his shit together, whatever. Talk to Alexa and treat her like the
old friend she really was.
Nothing more and nothing less.
“Where are we going?” Alexa asked as he dragged her through
the doors and down a narrow hall.
“Somewhere where we can talk.” He found an alcove with two
chairs, and he pointed at them. She sat down without a word, obediently, her
Eric didn’t normally behave like a macho ass. He usually
left that behavior to Brandon. But there was something almost…thrilling about
seeing Alexa do what he said.
Shit. Had he really just completely forgotten about his
boyfriend of two years? The very guy he lived with?
“So talk,” she said when he sat down across from her. She
crossed her legs, the skirt of her dress lifting to reveal a slim thigh. His
gaze locked on that leg, wondering at the softness of her skin.