Page 54 of The Shy Bride

His words warmed her even as they gave her heart a twinge.

She wanted so much more than friendship with benefits and sometimes she thought he did, too, but then he reiterated his stance on their relationship. And as wonderful as she found his friendship, it hurt to know one day he would fall for another woman and she would be relegated to the fringes of his life.


That night, she decided to expand her lovemaking repertoire and when her mouth first touched his hardness, his body jerked in shock.

“What are you doing?”

“I believe it is referred to as—”

His laughter was choked. “I know what it is, you imp,” he interrupted. “I am surprised you have decided to offer this gift to me.”

“Why?” She licked along the length of his shaft, thoroughly enjoying the flavor of his skin. “I’ve been wanting to for a while.”

“Why wait?”

“I was afraid of messing it up.”

“Trust me, there is no messing up.”

“Oh, I’m pretty sure there is. I read up on it and I’ve got it on good authority that a lack of care with my teeth would be a bad, bad, bad thing.”

“There is that.” For once, he was the breathless one.

She took the flared head of his erection in her mouth and swirled her tongue around it. He tasted sweet and she liked it.

“You taste good.”

She closed her mouth over his throbbing flesh and sucked hard.

He shouted, canting his hips upward.

She’d been prepared for this reaction, her hand wrapped firmly around his big erection. It stopped him from thrusting too far into her mouth, but she loved this proof of how much he enjoyed what she was doing.

He’d used his mouth on her many times sending her into spasms of pleasure that seemed to last forever. She wanted to do the same for him.

She’d read about not letting him climax right away and intensifying the effect, so that was what she did.

She was unprepared for him grabbing her and dragging her up his body even as he flipped them, and then thrust into her. He stopped a moment later and swore. “I forgot the condom.”

“I’ve been on birth control for several weeks.”

“You did not tell me.”

“It isn’t something you discuss over dinner.”

“It is something you mention to your partner before he has a heart attack making love to you without protection.”

“I did tell you.”

He shook his head, but resumed moving, taking them both over the pinnacle more quickly than she would have thought possible.

Afterward, she curled up into his side like she always did and faded into sleep, a proud little smile curling her lips.

Neo sat with Zephyr on the side of the pool after swimming laps with his business partner. They hadn’t used the pool at the same time in months.

“How are things between you and Cass?” Zephyr asked. “I noticed you’re still taking piano lessons.”

“Yes.” Though he spent as many lessons in her bed as he did on the piano bench. He’d made it a personal competition to see how often he could sidetrack Teacher.

“Is it serious between you?”

“Serious? We are friends.”

“Who sleep together almost every night.”

“How do you know this?”

“Please, I’m not blind.”

He shrugged and repeated, “She is my friend.”

“Friends with benefits?”

“That’s what she calls it.”

“So, you wouldn’t mind if she shared similar benefits with other friends.”

“She does not have other friends she sees in person.” But now that she was overcoming her agoraphobia, that would change, a voice taunted in his brain.

“You haven’t hooked up with anyone else since you met her.”

“I grew tired of the one-night stands.”

“But you don’t want anything more than friends with benefits with Cass?”

“What else is there?”

“Marriage. Babies.”

“Have you lost your mind?” he asked his friend. “I do not have time for a wife and children. I barely have time for Cassandra. Besides, things are fine just the way they are.”

“Are they?”

“I don’t want anything else.”

“You’re sure about that?”

“Absolutely.”

“That’s good I guess.”

That response shocked Neo. He’d been prepared for Lecture 101 on the benefits of married life and family. Not that Zephyr would ever succumb to the institution. “Why?”

“Because Cass apparently decided to go swimming and I think she overheard pretty much everything we just said. I can’t be sure, but the way she rushed out of here looking stricken spoke for itself, I think.”

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