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Authors: Carly Phillips

Summer Lovin (10 page)

BOOK: Summer Lovin
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“Hi.” He shoved his hands into his pants pocket.

Sexy khakis that, although neatly pressed and probably expensive, still gave him a more casual look than usual and she couldn't help but admire the fit. Wondering if his thighs were as strong as she thought or how they would feel pressed hard against her own.

At her thoughts, she didn't just swallow hard, she gulped. “I guess some thanks are in order,” she said, opting for the safe subject of his role in bringing her to the party.

Though aware all prying eyes of her family were on them, she stepped closer, anyway. His musky scent enveloped her, reminding her of the sensual dreams he'd inspired lately.

He grinned. “If you want to say a proper thanks, I can't say I'd stop you,” he said, his voice husky and deep.

Zoe was so far gone with thoughts of being alone with Ryan that she immediately took his words as sexually charged innuendo and her body responded. Heat spread through her belly, and dampness pooled between her thighs.

“You're cute, Baldwin, but I'm not dumb enough to make out with you in front of the whole clan.”

“Not even a quick peck on the cheek?” he asked.

“How about later?” She spoke quickly, before she could think it through or change her mind.

“Be sure,” he warned her, sounding like a man on the edge.

“I am.” The man might be trouble of the deepest kind. He might represent a heartbreak to her family. Yet Zoe was so drawn to him, so mentally involved already, she couldn't control what she now believed was inevitable.

In her mind, she was making a promise she absolutely intended to keep.

At her reply, a low groan reverberated from deep in his throat, cut off because at that moment the jukebox began to play and her family began to clap and dance, drowning out any chance at conversation.

She exhaled hard, aware of the break they'd just been given, knowing it was just a temporary reprieve. Still, she wasn't about to let the relatives separate her from Ryan. He'd asked her out on a date and she wanted to spend the evening with him. Before one of her cousins could drag her off, she grabbed Ryan's hand. They spent the night in true Costas style, eating, dancing and eating some more.

Her male relatives pulled Ryan aside and although she pitied him, she decided to let them have some fun. Ryan could handle any question they threw at him and since they believed him to be Sam's social worker, he wouldn't be subjected to questions about his manliness, as Zoe's and Ari's past boyfriends had been, she thought wryly.

Stifling a laugh, she turned to find her mother standing by her side.

“It's so good to see you happy,” Elena said.

Zoe shot her mother a sideways glance. “I'm always happy.” She paused. “Aren't I?”

Her mother shrugged. “I suppose, but you have a light in your eyes I haven't seen in quite some time. Maybe never. I like to see it and I bet that nice Mr. Baldwin has something to do with putting it there.”

Zoe shuffled her feet and did her best not to look around for Ryan, lest she give credence to her mother's innuendo. “Maybe it's just turning thirty. It's a good age.”

“Ha.” Elena waved a hand dismissively. “Now come with me. I have something special for your birthday.”

She followed her mother to the back of the restaurant where there was a small party room. “What's going on?” Zoe asked.

“Just a game to make the party more fun.”

Zoe rolled her eyes. “Ari and I are too old for games.”

“Not this kind.” Elena held a scarf in front of Zoe's face.

“Isn't that from Sam's party? Orlando Bloom's not quite my speed, Mom.”

“That's because he was too flat.” Her mother wrapped the scarf around Zoe's eyes. “Your surprise is real.”

Zoe tried to pull the scarf off, but her mother slapped her hands, then turned her around three times, making her dizzy by the time she stopped.

“Okay, now go.” Elena kissed Zoe's cheek and pushed her forward.

From behind her, Zoe could have sworn she heard Elena tell her to “Go pin the hard-on Ryan Baldwin.”

 

Z
OE'S AUNT
K
ASSIE
had walked Ryan into the back room in the guise of showing him the rest of the restaurant. She left him there and asked him to wait a minute and she'd be right back because she needed his help with Zoe's birthday gift. Enough time had gone by that he figured he'd been had, when a blindfolded Zoe stumbled inside and the door slammed shut behind her.

He grabbed Zoe before she could fall, then he heard Elena and Kassie's voices beyond the door. And finally, one of them opened the door, flipped off the light and closed them inside once more.

He shook his head and laughed. “They can't be serious.”

“Oh you don't know the half of it,” Zoe said as she pulled the blindfold off and shook out her hair. “They're over the top to begin with, but add me turning thirty to the mix and I think they've lost their collective minds.”

“Don't they realize that the light switch is inside the room so we can turn it on ourselves?”

She laughed.

“Or that it's not quite dark out yet and there's light coming through the window?”

She laughed again. “You don't get my family, Ryan. They really just want you and me together. Scratch that. Me and anybody together.”

“Now that hurts my feelings.”

She stepped closer, her body language and sultry tone making it clear she was fully aware of the sexually charged air around them. They had been set up by her family yet Zoe obviously didn't mind.

“I wouldn't want you to feel insulted,” she murmured. “Especially when you could be
feeling
so much more.”

She had a point and the bulge in his pants and desire pulsing through him proved it.

He met her gaze and let his hand caress the soft skin of her cheek. “I think we should get out of here.”

“You're reading my mind.” Her gorgeous green eyes sparkled with desire, but her serious expression indicated the time for jokes was over. “Unfortunately I live with my parents. The same people we're looking to avoid.”

He chuckled at the reminder. “Fortunately I've got a motel room,” he said, knowing full well the step they were about to take. Zoe Costas was many things, but a one-night stand wasn't one of them.

“You know you're the first guy who could use that line on me and not end up flat on his back.”

“Can I take that to mean you're sure about this?” There were too many issues and feelings for either of them to take this lightly.

She nodded and he released the breath he hadn't been aware of holding. “Think we can get out the front door without too much of a fuss made by the posse?” he asked.

“No chance in hell.” She stepped on the chair and then climbed onto the tabletop and unlocked the window. “I know you're a by-the-book kind of guy, but how would you feel about sneaking out the back way instead?”

 

Z
OE COULDN'T REMEMBER
the last time she'd had to sneak around with a guy in order to avoid her family, but she didn't want an audience nor did she want to provide more ammunition for their questions tomorrow. She'd have enough questions for herself come morning.

Somehow they made it out of the restaurant, through the parking lot and into Ryan's car without being seen. He drove to his motel like someone who knew the area, already comfortable with the New Jersey highways and cloverleaf turns. And now, holding hands, they made their way along the catwalk to his small motel room.

Her heart pounded hard in her chest, her desire for him as strong as her determination to be with him tonight. She just didn't understand how a man like this affected her so deeply. She didn't get how she felt so good around a guy who represented the opposite of the unstructured life she enjoyed. Oh she knew he was sexy, but that wasn't enough to explain the reason she'd come to his motel room after knowing him such a short time.

It was the combination of all of Ryan's decent qualities that attracted her. Like how he tried his best to understand Sam, a kid who meant nothing to him except a continuation of bloodlines. He treated Zoe's whole nutty family with respect, when in reality, he probably had every right just to pick up Sam and walk out, and would likely win against the Costas clan in any court. And then there was the tenderness and desire she saw in his gaze each time he looked at her. The same way he was looking at her now.

She sat on the edge of the bed and watched as he pulled off his jacket and shut off the overhead lights, leaving on only one bedside lamp. She swallowed hard and extended one hand toward him.

Ryan strode forward, tall, imposing and breathtakingly male. When he pushed her onto the bed and came down over her, she appreciated the breadth of his shoulders and the strength in the muscles normally hidden beneath his suit jacket. And when his lips came down hard on hers, all the pent-up passion they'd held in check since their first meeting rose to the surface.

Her entire body trembled as she returned his kiss. Letting her eyes shut and her mind go blank, she focused on feeling—his lips nibbling at hers, his tongue tangling and swirling inside the deep recesses of her mouth, and his teeth taking light nips as he devoured her every way he could.

She worked at the buttons on his shirt with shaking hands, eager to get him naked as soon as possible. Apparently he shared a similar goal because at the same time he pulled her shirt upward. She sat back and helped, lifting her top over her head and tossing it to the floor.

Within minutes they were both free of clothing and once more his body covered hers. “Damn but you feel good.”

He nipped at her earlobe and tremors shot straight to her core. Liquid heat trickled between her legs, making her even hotter for him than she already had been.

“You're pretty impressive yourself. Who knew you hid such a fantastic body beneath those fancy suits,” she said.

He chuckled, then taking her off guard, he rolled so he was on his back and she lay atop him, her breasts heavy against his chest and their lower bodies perfectly entwined.

Skin against skin, his heat seeped into her pores and as he laced his fingers through hers and raised her arms above her head, she suddenly became aware of the intimacy of the moment—the intensity, which she'd never experienced to this degree with another man. Something else she just couldn't explain away as pure physical attraction.

“Can I ask you something?”

“I don't see why not,” he said, his breath against her ear.

“Does your need to follow the rules extend to the bedroom?” As she asked, she rose until she straddled his hips, wanting to see his face during this particular conversation.

He burst out laughing, his grin causing somersaults in her stomach. “Are you trying to tell me you're kinky?”

She shook her head, hoping her cheeks weren't bright red by now. “I just want to know whether I need to be…restrained.”

A part of her worried that his more conservative past would lead him to want a sedate woman in bed, yet she had a feeling that sex with Ryan would be nothing short of mind-blowing. If so, there was no way she'd be able to maintain any type of pretense. Nor did she want to. With the emotions this man aroused, she needed him to accept her for the expressive, open woman she was.

His warm gaze held hers. “Aah, Zoe, I think I'd be disappointed if you were restrained.” He cupped her breasts with his hands and her nipples grew hard beneath his touch. “In fact, if I didn't hear loud moans, I'd worry that I wasn't pleasing you.”

His seductive stare never wavered as he began to slowly massage both nipples between his thumb and forefingers, teasing and arousing her with his deft touch. The desire he built traveled directly from her breasts straight to the damp place between her thighs, making her want to clench her legs together until the sensations built higher and higher. She had to force her eyelids to remain open so she could see his face and absorb his eager expression as he worked his magic on her.

He leaned up on his elbows until his face was level with her chest and without warning, he tasted her breast. His tongue swept over her nipple in luxurious laps, ending with him suckling her until a low purring sound rose from the back of her throat.

“I take it I have nothing to worry about?” he asked in a raspy, but certain voice.

Though she didn't want him to think she was
that
easy or he was
that
good, they both had their answers. She didn't need to concern herself with covering her reactions or not being herself. He truly did accept her and the relief she felt knowing that was huge. And more emotionally frightening than she'd bargained for.

“Well?” he asked, still grinning.

She focused on the ceiling as she replied. “Arrogant as you may be, no, you have nothing to worry about.”

BOOK: Summer Lovin
11.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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