Applause erupted throughout the pub. Apparently no one had to explain to the crowd exactly what Stephen had won. They already knew.
So did Julia since Dolly had told her about the race, but she wanted to hear the explanation from Stephen. “What did you win?”
“I’ll tell you when I get back with the drinks. Guinness, Dusty?”
“I’ll go with you.”
She watched the two men walk to the bar. They both possessed muscular bodies from the physical labor of their jobs. Otherwise, the cousins favored little physically—Dusty’s light brown hair and blue eyes completely opposite from Stephen’s dark brown hair and cognac eyes—but they both had that swagger Dolly mentioned.
She turned her attention back to Hannah. Dusty’s wife had fair skin, dark brown hair that curled to her shoulders, and icy blue eyes. Julia could sum up her looks with one word—
. “When is your baby due?”
“Mid-July. I am so ready to hold him.”
“You know it’s a boy?”
Hannah nodded. “Dusty and I were going to be surprised, but then we decided we wanted to know for sure. All his little dangly bits showed up clearly on the ultrasound last week.”
Julia laughed while Hannah grinned. She liked the open friendliness of the lovely brunette. “Have you picked out a name?”
“Finally. Dusty’s real first name is Randall and I wanted to name our son after him. He thinks Randall is a stuck-up name, which is why he goes by Dusty. But he finally agreed on Randall as the first name if our baby’s middle name could be Jacob, which is Stephen’s middle name. We’re going to call him R. J.” She swirled her straw through her tea, making the ice cubes tinkle against the glass. “Dusty is an only child and grew up with Stephen and his brothers. He and Stephen have always been tight, even though Dusty is closer in age to Stephen’s brother Mark. Dusty and Stephen bonded when they were children and have stayed close ever since.”
“Stephen must be honored to have his cousin named after him.”
“We haven’t told him yet. We’re keeping the name secret until after R. J. is born.” Hannah’s eyes twinkled with mischief. “I can hardly wait to see the look on Stephen’s face when we introduce him to little Randall Jacob. He is such a sensitive man with deep feelings. I know he’ll cry.” Hannah’s eyes suddenly filled with tears. She dabbed at them with her napkin. “Just like me. Damn pregnancy hormones.”
The men arrived with the drinks at the same time a young waitress stepped up to the table. “Hey, y’all.”
“Hey, Nina,” Dusty said.
“Does anyone need a menu?”
Stephen looked at Julia as he sat on the chair to her right. “Fish and chips still okay with you? They come with coleslaw and baked beans, too.”
Stephen turned back to the waitress. “Fish and chips all around, Nina.”
“Got it.” She made a note on her order pad before she grinned at him. “I’ve started the tab of drinks for you.”
With a sparkling laugh, she moved on to the next table. Julia decided the mention of Stephen’s tab would be the perfect opening to ask him about the race. “What did you win and why are you buying drinks?”
Stephen took a long pull from his mug of Guinness before he spoke. “I’m in a motorcycle race the first Saturday of every month with five other guys. We all chip in one hundred dollars. Whoever wins the race wins the money.”
“So you won five hundred dollars today?”
“What he isn’t telling you,” Dusty said, “is that he usually wins.”
Stephen shrugged. “I’ve been lucky.”
“You’re skilled, man, not lucky.”
“Hey, McGettis,” a man called from the area of the dart boards, “you wanna lose some of that money you won today?”
“Who’s supposed to beat me, Greene?”
“Come over here and find out.”
“The tournament doesn’t start until eight.”
“Afraid you’ll lose now?”
“Yeah, right.” He lowered his voice before he spoke to Julia again. “That’s Jaxon Greene. The guy next to him is Bain Duncan. They work at the newspaper.”
Julia touched the back of his hand. “If you want to play a game with them, don’t feel like you have to entertain me. I was enjoying talking to Hannah.”
“Yeah,” Hannah said. “Why don’t you guys go play until the food comes?”
“I think they’re trying to get rid of us,” Stephen said.
“They probably want to talk about girl stuff.” Dusty gave his wife a quick kiss. “Back in a bit.”
Once the men left, Julia leaned forward in her chair. “Tell me more about Stephen.”
ou’re quiet,” Stephen said halfway to Dolly’s house. “Is something wrong?”
Yes, something was wrong, but she didn’t know how to bring it up with him, or whether she should say anything at all. “No, of course not. I’m just full from all the fish I ate.”
He reached for her hand, lifted it to his mouth, and kissed her palm. “Good, huh?”
“The best I’ve ever eaten.”
He smiled, kissed her hand again. “I’m glad you liked it.”
“I enjoyed everything about tonight, even if you didn’t win the dart tournament.”
“That damn Jax beats me almost every time.”
She could see the smile still tugging at his lips, so she knew losing didn’t truly upset him. She studied his profile in the dim light from the dash. Her conversation with Hannah while Stephen and Dusty played darts with Jax and Bain had been very enlightening. Not only did Stephen race motorcycles, he also went white-water rafting and participated in several other activities that could easily put his life in danger.
A true adrenaline junky, just like Cole.
She didn’t have the nerve to travel that road again. She should end their relationship now, before her feelings for Stephen deepened.
Stephen pulled over to the side of the road. Leaving the motor running, he turned in the seat to face her. “The road to my house is coming up soon. We can keep going to Dolly’s, or you can come home with me. Your choice.”
It would be awkward to ask him to take her back to Dolly’s house once she told him good-bye.
she told him good-bye. “Dolly’s.”
He touched her cheek with the back of his knuckle. “You got it.”
Stephen had sensed Julia’s discomfort all evening. She’d laughed and talked and been friendly with everyone he introduced her to, yet he knew something bothered her.
He wanted her fiercely, but perhaps he should tell her good night at the front door and leave.
Deciding he’d take his cue from her, Stephen parked in Dolly’s driveway behind Julia’s car. He met her at the hood of his car, took her hand, and led her to the porch. Once they reached the door, he released her hand and took a step back, giving her the chance to invite him inside or say good-bye.
Julia unlocked the door, stepped over the threshold. She stood still, her back to him, for several seconds before her shoulders rose and fell with a deep breath. Turning to face him, she held out her hand to him.
Relief surged through him, along with the desire to hold her. He stepped inside, closed the door, and drew her into his arms. He held her close for long moments before he covered her lips with his.
Her soft lips moved, parted, beneath his. She pressed her body close so he could feel her firm breasts against his chest. He wanted them in his hands, her hard nipples in his mouth. He longed to touch every inch of her skin.
It almost frightened him how much he craved her.
She took his hand and led him to her bedroom. The lamps on either side of the bed came on when she flipped the wall switch. She stopped beside the bed, looked at him with lust burning in her eyes. Taking her quickly would be easy. He had no doubt her pussy already creamed from desire. Fast and furious didn’t work for him. He wanted to take his time and savor her.
He kissed the spot beneath her ear that he’d already learned made her breath hitch. “I’m going to undress you.”
“Okay,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper.
Blood surged in his cock when he heard her breathy surrender. Stephen moved up her neck, dropping gentle, nipping kisses until he reached her mouth. Once again, it softened beneath his. He laid one hand over her heart. It pounded beneath his palm. Moving his hand lower, he cradled her breast and gently squeezed it. Her moan urged him to continue, to give her even more.
He would gladly give her whatever she needed.
He slipped the blouse from her shoulders, let it fall to the floor behind her. The tank top followed. Before he could unhook her bra, she tugged his T-shirt out of his jeans and slid her hands beneath the fabric. Now Stephen moaned when she scratched his nipples.
“You don’t like scratching?” she asked.
scratching.” He proved his words by digging his fingernails into her ass. “And biting.” He scraped his teeth across her neck. “And sucking.” Placing his mouth over the throbbing pulse in her neck, he sucked hard.
“Are you giving me a
He’d love to mark her neck so everyone would know she belonged with him, but wouldn’t do that when she started a brand-new job in two days. However, he could suck on other parts of her body that no one else would see. And he would love doing that.
Still holding tightly to her ass, Stephen brushed his dick back and forth on her mound. Julia whimpered. She rubbed both thumbs over his nipples, urging them to hardness. Stephen loved her touch, but wanted to give her pleasure before he thought about himself. Grabbing the hem of his T-shirt, he jerked it over his head and dropped it on top of her blouse and tank. Her bra soon followed. He tugged her closer, until her breasts once again flattened against his chest.
She drew back so they no longer touched. “I want to look at you.”
Stephen stood still while her gaze moved over him. She glided her hands over his shoulders, across his chest, and down his flat stomach to the waistband of his jeans. She loosened the buckle on his belt before looking back into his eyes.
“Don’t stop now,” he said, his voice raspy.
Her gaze still locked with his, she unsnapped his jeans and slowly lowered the zipper. Stephen kissed her neck again as she pulled his briefs away from his body. He waited, breath held, for her hand on his hard flesh.
He blew out his breath with a groan when she slid her hand inside to wrap around him. He arched his hips forward, searching for more of her soft hand. “Yeah. Touch me.”
She gripped his cock, ran her thumb over the velvety head. He could feel her thumb sliding through the moisture oozing from the slit. Cradling her face, he drove his tongue deep into her mouth as she spread the pre-cum over the tip.
The sensation became too much when she started moving her hand up and down his shaft. He had to stop her before he wouldn’t be able to.
“How about if we get rid of the rest of our clothes?” Stephen asked as he pulled her hand out of his briefs. He gently pushed on her shoulders until she sat on the side of the bed. Dropping to his knees, he slipped off her sandals. He massaged one foot, then the other, until her eyes turned slumberous.
She leaned over and kissed him. Her position let her breasts sway away from her body. He couldn’t resist cradling them while her lips and tongue played over his mouth.
Her breathing sounded heavy and harsh when she ended the kiss. “I want to watch you take off your clothes.”
Happy to do what she requested, Stephen stood. He toed off his shoes, then removed his socks. He liked that Julia’s breathing became heavier when he hooked his thumbs in the sides of his jeans. They and his briefs fell to the floor at the same time. He kicked them aside. His cock stood up, thick and long and straight, with moisture still leaking from the slit.
Julia grasped the base of his cock, leaned forward, and licked off the pre-cum.
He couldn’t resist indulging in the pleasure of her mouth on him for a few moments. He tunneled his hands into her hair to hold her head in place. “That feels really good.”
She circled the rim with her tongue, licked down the entire length to his tight balls. After her third trip, Stephen tightened his hold on her head and gently pulled away from her.
“That’s enough. It’s your turn to be naked.”
Stephen pushed on her shoulders again, this time to get her to lie back on the bed. Julia lifted her hips when he unfastened her capris. He quickly added them to the pile on the floor. She now lay before him in nothing but a pair of tiny white panties.
Looking into her eyes, he gripped the waistband of her panties with his teeth and tugged. Julia helped him by pushing them past her hips. Still holding the elastic with his teeth, he pulled them down her legs.
After dropping them on the floor, he leaned over her, his hands on either side of her waist. His gaze swept the entire length of her body, admiring her ivory skin and generous curves. “Much better.”
She wrapped her hand around his cock again and spread her legs, releasing the scent of her arousal. “I want you inside me.”
Nothing would please him more than to slide his dick into her wet channel, but not yet. He shook his head. “If I enter you now, we’ll fuck.”
A confused expression crossed her face. “And that would be a problem . . . why?”
“I don’t want to fuck you, Julia. I want to make love to you.”
Her eyes softened with so much emotion, his throat tightened. He lowered his head and kissed her gently, slowly, telling her with his lips how much he wanted her. She slid her hands up his arms, over his shoulders, into his hair. She clutched handfuls of it as he coaxed her lips to part for the sweep of his tongue.
Stephen could kiss her all night, but he needed more and knew Julia did, too. Cradling her breast in his palm, he licked and sucked her nipple as his other hand traveled down her stomach to between her thighs. He delved through the creamy folds.
“Mmm, you’re nice and wet.”
Julia lifted her hips and spread her legs wider. Her action meant she obviously enjoyed his touch, but he longed to do more. “I think you need something other than my fingers.”
She grabbed his wrist to keep him from moving his hand. “Your fingers are doing fine.”
Her frantic tone made him chuckle. “No, you definitely need more.” He dropped to his knees at the side of the bed. Slipping his arms beneath her knees, he dragged her hips right to the edge. “Don’t you?”
He spread her labia with his thumbs and licked her . . . a long, slow stroke the length of her folds. She twisted her hands into the bedspread when he stroked her again. He circled her clit, darted his tongue inside her channel. Julia hooked her hands behind her knees and spread her legs even wider. Stephen ran his tongue down to her anus and back to her clit.
He’d never get enough of her scent, her taste.
Obeying the silent command in that one word, he stood and leaned over her again. She reached between their bodies and grabbed his cock. “Condom. Now.”
He pulled back so she could no longer touch his shaft. “Not yet.”
Julia released a sound of frustration. “Why not?”
“I want you to come first.”
“Trust me, coming won’t be a problem.”
“Good. That’s what I want.”
He kissed her mouth and each nipple before dropping to his knees again. This time he feasted, using his tongue and teeth to stimulate every sensitive spot between her thighs. Julia arched her hips again, pushed her mound closer to his mouth. Stephen took her silent request to mean she needed more. He happily gave it, pushing two fingers inside her and pressing upward into her G-spot as he suckled her clit.
Julia gave a long, keening moan. She grabbed his head as her hips bucked and her body trembled. He continued to gently lick all over her pussy until she stilled.
No woman he’d ever been with looked as beautiful in the throes of climax as Julia.
Grabbing his jeans, he located one of the three condoms he’d stuck in his pocket. He stood and watched her while he sheathed his cock. She lay with her eyes closed, her lips parted. Her breasts rose and fell with her rapid breathing. He kissed each thigh, her mound, the center of her stomach. “Move to the middle of the bed.”
She slowly opened her eyes, blinking several times as if to bring him into focus. “
You aren’t serious.”
He chuckled. “You have a very horny man here who has all kinds of ideas of what to do to you.”
“Oh. Well, in that case . . .”
She shifted until she lay lengthwise on the bed, tucked a pillow beneath her head. Stephen followed. With one thrust, he entered her.
Stephen kissed her as he began to move. He heard the catch in Julia’s throat, that sexy sound of pleasure. She dug her fingernails into his shoulders, wrapped her legs around his waist. Needing to move faster, thrust deeper, he slipped his hands beneath her ass and lifted it. She made that sound, the one he knew meant she would soon come again.
He straightened his arms and lifted his torso away from her. “I love being inside you.” He gazed at her breasts, moved down to where their bodies joined. He watched his wet cock sliding in and out of her slick pussy. “Look at that.”
Julia lifted her head and watched him pumping into her. Stephen hooked one of her legs over his arm to raise her hips higher so she could see better.
“It looks good, doesn’t it?”
“Yes.” Her eyes drifted closed, her head tilted back. “Feels so good.”
“What do you need me to do?”
“That. Just . . . that. Keep moving . . .
Her back bowed, her nipples beaded, a sheen of sweat covered her skin. Stephen pushed his cock all the way inside her. The walls of her pussy milked it, signaling her climax.
She opened her eyes and smiled at him. Stephen kissed her forehead, the tip of her nose, her lips. “You’re so beautiful when you come.”
She tunneled her fingers into his hair. “You didn’t come.”
“Not yet. I’m not through with you.”
Her sudden burst of laughter made him smile. “Stephen, I’m wiped. That’s it. No more.”
“Never say never. I might have some tricks you haven’t seen.”
“I have no strength for tricks.”
“Then I’ll do all the work.”
Holding tightly to her body, Stephen rose to his knees. He arranged her over his lap, his cock still buried deeply in her pussy. Gripping her ass, he started pumping again.