Page 13 of Shiver

He didn’t look at her as he answered, “Just coffee.” He lifted a questioning brow at me.

Nancy finally seemed to notice me. “Hi, Kensey. What would you like?”

I jerked a napkin out of the holder and used it to sweep away the bits of salt from the tabletop as I said, “Just coffee, thanks.” I waited until Blake and I were alone before I asked, “Why are we here?” Conscious that I was unnaturally still, I forced my muscles to relax.

“You didn’t answer my question properly the other day. I asked who Cade is to you.”

I sighed. “Like I said, he’s important to me.”

“That can mean a lot of things.”

“You’re right, it can.”

He curled his fingers around my wrist and damn if it wasn’t like having an electric shock. “Hurts just a little, doesn’t it?”

Yes, it did. This thing between us might just be chemical, but those chemicals sure packed a punch. God, it was hot in here.

His thumb stroked over my pulse. “Not even a trace of a scar on this skin. That’s a hell of a plastic surgeon you found.”

“The cost was extortionate, but he was definitely worth it.”

His lips twitched—a smirk that was gone too fast for me to be sure it was ever there. Releasing me, he leaned back and draped one arm over the back of the booth. “You really don’t care what people think of you, do you?”

“I do if it’s someone who matters to me.”

Nancy reappeared and, with another megawatt smile at Blake, poured the coffees. She looked a little disappointed when he didn’t pay her any attention. He was too busy searching my eyes for … something.

Steam wafted into my face, which didn’t help my blushing cheeks at all. Once Nancy strolled away, I grabbed a sachet of sugar and shook it. “What’s this all about?”

He lifted his mug and took a sip; his brow creased. “Your coffees taste better.” He cocked his head. “Is Cade your boyfriend?”

“He’s not for sale, sorry.”

“I’ll take that as a no, or you would have just given me a straight answer.”

Pouring the sugar into my cup, I stirred the coffee with my spoon. “If you want straight answers, be straight with me about why we’re here.”

He drummed his fingers on his cup as seconds of silence ticked by. “You know what one of my first thoughts was when I saw you at CCC? I thought, Christ, that fucking mouth. Full. Fleshy. It’s the most enticing fucking thing I’ve ever seen in my life. The little scar there only makes it more tempting. Really, you blew me away. Bedroom eyes, fuckable mouth, hair the color of black cherries, incredible rack, curves exactly where I like them.” He paused. “We’re here because I want you, and I need to know if Cade or anyone else stands in my way.”

Right on time, my hormones did the wave. I swallowed hard, stomach clenching. “The fact that you have a low opinion of me stands in your way.” I had more self-respect than to go to bed with someone who regarded me with pure distaste. “And then there’s the fact that I don’t like you.”

“That doesn’t mean I can’t fuck you so hard you scream.”

My pulse skittered. I flicked a quick glance at the people around us. No one had heard him over the sounds of country music, Nancy laughing, and the kids arguing.

My eyes snapped back to him as his cell began to ring. He dug out his phone, canceled the call, and then tossed it on the table. I had to admit, I kind of liked that he was giving me his full attention.

“Where were we?” He rubbed his chin. “Ah, yes, we were talking about me making you scream.”

“I don’t scream.” Cade called me a ‘shy comer,’ because I tended to go quiet just before I came. When we were together, he’d taken it as a challenge, determined to one day hear me scream … and I could see that Blake also felt challenged by it.

“Now I’m wondering if it’s because you’re naturally not a screamer … or you don’t truly let yourself go when you’re with someone.” He sipped his coffee. “I won’t let you hold anything back when I’m inside you, Kensey. You should probably know that upfront.”

The warning wasn’t necessary. I could already tell he was a guy who’d demand every response I had to give. Shame for him that he wouldn’t get what he wanted. “You’re talking about this like it’s a foregone conclusion.”

He shrugged. “I go after what I want in life, and I never stop until I have it. Right now, I want you. My dick has been hard for you since the second I laid eyes on you. There’s something about you, Kensey … I don’t know what it is, but you’re up here.” He tapped his temple. “Getting you out has been a real problem for me.”

“Maybe you haven’t tried hard enough.”

He leaned forward and dropped his voice an octave as he said, “Tell me you haven’t thought about me at all since we last spoke.”

“I can’t,” I admitted without shame. “I also can’t say that thinking about you didn’t lead to me spending some quality time with my vibrator.” He started to choke on his coffee, and I hid a smug smile. “But, see, I prefer my vibrator to men. It stays hard, doesn’t expect me to cook, doesn’t hog the remote, and always hits exactly the right spot.” Shrugging, I picked up my mug.

“But it can’t lick or suckle on your clit like I can.”

And then I started to choke on my coffee. “We’re getting off track. Look, I don’t want to stomp on your pride, but I’m going to be straight with you so we both know where we stand—I’m not interested in getting involved with you.”

His expression called me a liar. “You want exactly what I want, Kensey; you want me to take you home right now and fuck you so raw you’ll feel me for days.”

My pussy contracted at those words—my body was so easy for him it was embarrassing. “And then you’d leave, and I’d never see you again,” I guessed.

He didn’t deny it. In that moment, he made me think of Cade, who pushed for sex right off the mark, bypassing the getting-to-know-the-girl phase. Cade did it to avoid being open. For him, sex was almost a shield. I wasn’t sure if the same applied to Blake, but I did know that I was dealing with someone who didn’t want to connect with others.

At one time, I’d been much the same. I’d stuck to one-night stands to avoid emotional intimacy. Not because I feared it, but because the getting-to-know-someone thing involved sharing your past and upbringing. My messed-up family situation wasn’t something I enjoyed sharing. And people didn’t always stick around when they heard their girlfriend’s stepfather had murdered thirty-two women.

So, yeah, I’d shied away from relationships. But then one day I’d woken in a strange apartment with absolutely no memory of how I got there or of the guy beside me. Not even a flicker of a memory. And that had scared me. When he told me that we hadn’t even exchanged names, I’d been so damn angry with myself. Of course, he gave me his name … and the blood then left my face, since I recognized it as belonging to a local drug dealer. And it drove home just how careless I’d been.

I’d trusted my safety to a perfect stranger while—given that I was blind drunk—I was so vulnerable that anything could have happened to me. And since I didn’t remember a damn thing, I really had no idea what had happened. I would never get those hours back; never know exactly how the night went. There and then, I’d decided that enough was enough; I was worth more, and I was going to sort my shit out. And I had.

Tags: Suzanne Wright Romance