Shut Out (Just This Once #2) (5 page)

BOOK: Shut Out (Just This Once #2)
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Even with the loud bass of the music thumping overhead and the girlish squeals and masculine yells, I was more relaxed than I’d been in days, weeks even. Pretty much ever since I woke up and found Joel still in my house.

“What do you think they do for a living?” Piper asked from the lounger next to me. I looked over to see her staring at a couple of buxom blondes in bathing suits that barely covered the important bits—which looked like they were going to be making an appearance soon if they didn’t stop bowling over in laughter.

“I think you’re looking at it.”

I wondered what Piper was thinking of when she saw those women. Was it the face of the women she knew her ex-husband had cheated with? For someone who was trying so hard to move on, sometimes I couldn’t help but look at her with pity. She was still young, cute, and sweet to a fault, maybe a little sheltered, but an honest and good woman. The longer I lived in Vegas, the more I realized those qualities didn’t come around very often.

“What are you two yapping about over there?” Kerri chimed in, almost groaning, as if our voices somehow carried above all the other surrounding noises, interrupting her idea of oasis.

“Piper was curious about their professions,” I replied, subtly pointing in the direction of the women now dipping their toes into the pool and kicking up drops of water onto the men that seemed to have permanent slack-jaw when looking at the women before them.

“Those are our future clients. Blaire, tell princess of Persia over there to take off her burka.”

My lips quirked to the side as I shrugged my shoulders at Piper. I was more thankful that my sarong hadn’t offended Kerri enough for her to want to strip me down, too.

Kerri was rough around the edges, abrasive on a good day and downright bitchy on a bad one, but I’d been around the two of them enough to know that was Kerri’s version of tough love. She didn’t want to pity Piper anymore. She was on a mission to get Piper laid, and she dedicated herself to the cause like it was volunteer work that came with a tax write-off.

Piper groaned. Kerri lifted up her sunglasses as if that were something she had to see—the turtle literally taking off its shell. When Piper pulled off the afghan-like drapes,
Kerri kicked up her own roar of laughter and yelled, “This calls for drinks!”

Piper smiled inwardly, probably shy from all of the attention that Kerri’s yell garnered, and I laughed underneath my breath at the three of us. We couldn’t be more different if we tried. Though, funny enough, Kerri was the glue that seemed to bind us all together. She made my endless hours and time away from my family worth it. I didn’t know what I would do without her boisterous personality, no matter how many times she made me cringe by her sometimes obnoxious flare for the dramatics.

“I’ll go get the drinks.”

Kerri and Piper both rattled off their drink orders, and I walked behind the row of loungers until I found the bar on the other side. The bar was relatively quiet, considering how many people were flooding the pool. I looked around taking stock of the servers in their skimpy bikinis
were flitting from loungers to cabanas, which were packed with people who looked like they should be cut-off with their pumping fists and testosterone-filled shouts.

“What can I get you?”

“One 7 and 7, and two margaritas on the rocks.”

The man behind the bar hid his lithe body behind white board shorts and a blue shirt. Standing alone at the bar amongst a smorgasbord of men wearing nothing more than shorts (or Speedos, for the absolutely daring) made me think of a certain body that made my already heated skin feel like molten lava, burning with just the thought of how it felt to clutch on to skin so firm and unyielding. How soft his skin was and how his wisps of hair danced with the tenor of his voice. And if that wasn’t enough to incinerate panties, he was a filthy talker with a capital “F.”

I rubbed my legs together, trying to stave off the newly formed ache that bloomed at the apex of my thighs. There seemed to be eyes in every direction from where I stood, and I wondered if they could see the urge that had just come over me. Could they see the blush I wore like a scarlet letter? Luckily, there was no one directly next to me to be annoyed by the tempered drumming of my nails on the bar top.

“Here you are,” the bartender said carefully setting all three glasses in front of me. My smile lifted nervously as I unrolled my wad of money, counting out the bills to hand over.

“Oh no, your drinks are already paid for.”

“By whom?” I asked, looking around, assured that I would be able to spot said person who was obviously not buying my drinks just for charity.

I could tell the bartender was starting to feel uneasy about my questioning, as if I was putting him in a weird position by my inquisition, but after a deep breath, he leaned across the bar.

“How about I keep this drink,” he said, pulling one of the margaritas back closer to him and nodding to the other two just within my reach, “and you take those two back to your friends and return for this one.”

I felt my eyebrows furrow of their own volition as I took the drinks like I was possessed
. My body didn’t even give my mind time to process what I was told before I was turning away from the bar, drinks in hand.
It was only as I drew closer to our seats that it finally hit me,
why would he offer a suggestion like that when I asked him who paid for my drinks?

“Where’s your drink?” Kerri asked as I set their drinks on either side of the lounge chairs. The lie fell easily from my lips, so easily it surprised even me. It was like a hiccup mid-sentence that I nearly covered my mouth in shock that I was capable of something so obviously disgusting.

“The bar ran out of limes. They’re running inside to go get some.”

“Oh, you can have my margarita. I’ll wait,” Piper offered.

“No. You sit. Relax. I can’t imagine it being that long.”

When I got back to the bar, the bartender was still there guarding my drink. Before I could speak, he pushed the drink closer to me and handed over a room key and a cocktail napkin. The writing on the napkin was a blur as he pressed them both into my hand. An image of a skeleton key was stamped on the room key with the Cosmopolitan’s logo, giving it the illusion of something clandestine and forbidden but also alluring. I could have also felt that way because of the gentleman benefactor who went through all of these lengths just to buy a few strangers’ drinks. Practically tossing the card aside at the forwardness of the suggestion, I
the napkin—my curiosity getting the better of me—just to see what would accompany such a forward gesture.
If I was a prostitute, my minimum would be a whole hell of a lot more than the cost of three drinks

Room 913, pretty bird.

My head shot up, sweeping across the bar and pool to see if I could spot him.
No one called me “pretty bird.” No one but him. Is he watching me right now? Did he somehow know I would be here? Do I want to see him?
That question wasn’t even necessary; I knew I wanted to see him. My body had been screaming for him for weeks. Every time my phone rang at work and I didn’t recognize the number, every time I turned the corner to my block and noticed a car I didn’t recognize, every time I dropped down onto cold sheets at night—he shot across my thoughts like a bullet leaving bits of shrapnel in its wake, carving a bit of him into my everyday routine.

I couldn’t see him, but I knew he was near. The same feeling that kissed my skin earlier was back in full force, pulling me down with the strength of a runaway horse, and I was at a loss of the reins. I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to be in control of the feelings that were overcoming me. In that moment, I wanted to give in. The taste of his skin, his manly scent,
way he breathed against my neck and kissed me with those thick fingers that peeled me open like a peach. Just thinking about it had me ready to strip off my sarong and race up to the ninth floor to give his mouth something to feast on.

A few more glances later, I knocked back my margarita and
to the nearest elevator. There was a rush of bodies that passed me as they exited the elevator, and I raced in, hitting the “closed door” button like a gamer trying to get a combo. The doors slid closed, and I felt my shoulders ease back with the knowledge that another person wouldn’t be able to see or feel the energy rolling off of me like riptides. The walls and ceiling of the elevator were lined with mirrors that I avoided. I didn’t need to see myself to know how flushed I looked. I was more afraid to see the desperation lurking in the depths of my brown eyes. When I relaxed into the cold metal of the elevator—ignoring the icy steel piercing my shoulders and back like tiny icicles—the doors jerked and slid open to reveal him waiting just on the other side.

The air in the
elevator was electrified
—still, stagnant, and dry.
It wasn’t the desert that created this feeling that my body was hovering just above the floor.
Was it static? Was it the energy that passed between us like two magnets whose sole purpose was to connect?

He entered the elevator, eyes transfixed on mine as if he could measure my thoughts. I supposed he could. Just being in the elevator said everything he needed to know. He stepped closer, just inside the doors, and my eyes only dropped down when I saw that large fist of his slap the “close door” button as if he’d done this regularly. Perhaps he did. I wouldn’t put it past him. He had a body made for fucking, and this was the Chuck E. Cheese of playgrounds.

With a soft thud, the doors announced their closure and he pounced. One rushed step forward and he was on me, pushing me into the back of the elevator so hard I thought my insides would combust. That large hand wrapped around my neck, pulling me into his seeking lips. His other hand ripped off my sarong just as his lips closed down around mine, sucking me in like vacuum. He sucked my tongue, and I could have climbed his body right then and there with how needy I was. He kissed and nibbled around my mouth, extinguishing all the breath that surfaced, leaving me panting and scrambling, but not for breath. What I wanted was more. No, I needed it, more than the breath I was missing. I had missed him.

Every thought of why I shouldn’t have been in that elevator, let alone with him,
snuffed out as surely as the breath I couldn’t seem to hold onto. Like hanging on the ledge by nothing but my fingertips, it was useless.

Pinned to the wall, my legs dangled uselessly above the ground. As Joel sucked at my neck and clawed his way down my body, I looked up and saw our reflection in the mirrored tiles of the ceiling, watching the way his shoulders bunched beneath his tight blue shirt while he gorged on my skin.
No wonder I couldn’t spot him. He blended in with the uniforms the rest of the staff wore
. Although, had I seen him walk by me, there was no way that body could slip past without garnering a second glance.

I moaned his name, aware of how my breasts vibrated against his chest with that one syllable, one word. Joel wore his restraint like a thinly veiled armor, the slight tremor of his chest displaying the lust he could barely contain. I knew what he was waiting for. It was the same thing that stopped me from climbing him right there in the elevator—
the elevator could stop at any time before making it to the ninth floor.

Clutching his hair, I held him in place, taking control. If we were doing this, I wanted to be present and participating for every bit of it because as soon as the moment washed away like ships set to sea, I knew I would be done.

I was quenching a thirst; that was all. It was just something, anything to hold me over. The throb may have started between my legs, but every day I woke up, it seemed to consume more and more of my body until it seemed like if my chest were open you’d be able to see the bruising with your own eyes.

“I’m trying to keep this decent, but god I want to worship your pussy with my tongue and taste the juices I know are already waiting for me. Do you feel the heat?” He took my hand in his and I watched fascinated by the difference in the size of our palms. I forgot what it felt like for him to do something as innocent as hold my hand, but there was nothing innocent about what he was doing at that moment. He shoved my hand and his between my legs, and I felt the inexplicable heat that washed over our hands like steam rising from manholes on a New York winter day.

“Tell me that’s for me. Tell me I’m not alone in this. I need you,” he groaned, and I felt the weight of his body finally give way to mine, relinquishing all of the torment that he’d endured at my rejection of him.

The elevator slowed and it was as if time stopped as the doors peeled opened. Joel looked at me with an intense need in his eyes. A look that one night wouldn’t be able to snuff out
. This was
all I was giving him, so before the doors could close I took his hand in mine and escaped, dashing out into the corridor that stretched endlessly before us.

“You’ve got thirty minutes.”

The words had barely left my lips before he was yanking me down the hall to room 913.

“You’re killing me with the time limit, but I can make my pretty bird sing in less than five minutes. I’ll make do.”

He searched his pockets for the key card and I handed over mine—the one he sneakily passed me, much like he’d done everything. I felt my lips fall into a smirk, and his green eyes gleamed like brilliant rainbows in a drop of dew.

“Strip and get on the bed,” Joel said in a voice that could be felt more than heard, and boy did I feel it. It licked up my ankles, across my skin, circled my hips, and made my nipples pucker.

BOOK: Shut Out (Just This Once #2)
6.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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