The truth was I felt alive with Cohen. He made the baggage of my past feel lighter, helped me to just live in the moment. It was refreshing. Maybe it was because it didn’t seem like there could be any sort of future for us—me with my loose morals and him with his…perfection—that made it so easy for me to spend time around him.

I couldn’t help but smile at the curve of his mouth, and the playful grin that urged me on. I thought about the smooth, tanned skin of his shoulders and back, where I longed to dig my nails in and hold on to for dear life. Because I was convinced that was what being with Cohen would be like—a life-altering experience in which I’d need to grasp onto tight and not let go. He wasn’t the kind of guy you let get away. That thought popped into my mind, unbidden and unwelcome. But once it was there, I couldn’t push it away.

He leaned in slowly and pressed a soft kiss to my lips. “What do you want from me? Tell me.”

The hallway was empty and dimly lit with bare florescent bulbs every several feet, and even though it wasn’t at all private, I wanted him. I gripped his sides, and lifted up to meet his lips again. The height of my heels made it easier to kiss him. “This. Please.” I didn’t even know what I was asking for. All I knew was that I was slightly drunk, and a mix of emotions ranging from sad to horny were racing through my system.

Cohen lowered his mouth to mine and kissed me thoroughly, his tongue pushing past my lips to coax and flirt with mine. All of my senses buzzed with his presence. Cohen alone was intoxicating, forget the alcohol. How in the world had I ever thought that Stu was enough?

He gripped my ass and hauled me closer, pressing me up against the firm length of him, rubbing both hands up and down my behind. I could tell he was already hard, and my body responded. I let out a soft whimper when I felt his thick ridge press against my hip.

He cupped the back of my knee and lifted my thigh, securing it around his hip, and nudged into me. He, above all other men, knew how to make me wet in an instant. Or was it just because of the anticipation of being with him, and the fact we hadn’t been intimate yet? I wasn’t completely sure, but I knew that it didn’t really matter. Before I realized what was happening, Cohen had picked me up and was carrying me down the hall, my high-heel-clad feet bouncing against his backside. He reached a door, unlocked it and brought me inside of what looked to be an office. He locked the door behind us, then set me on my feet and returned to kissing me, pressing my back up against the door, his hands roughly exploring my body.

He tugged the neck of my tank top and the cups of my bra down, freeing my breasts, and bent down to taste them. His mouth and hands were everywhere and I leaned my head back against the door, closing my eyes. All my senses were heighted as I lost myself in his touch, the masculine scent of his skin, the rough stubble on his jaw and his eager kisses.

I opened my eyes to watch him, needing to know that it was really him here with me. My chest rose and fell quickly with each nip and kiss he laid across my breasts. I threaded my fingers through his hair and tugged, holding him closer. “Cohen,” I moaned.

His fingers fumbled with the button on my jeans, and once it and my zipper were undone, his hand slid along my belly, inside my panties and his warm fingers were inside me, stroking me from the inside out. I was soaking wet, and my body provided no resistance, sucking him in greedily. I cried out when he added a second finger and started pumping harder.

I grabbed his shoulders for support when I felt my legs shaking, and Cohen slowed his pace, lazily fucking me with his fingers, sliding them in inch by delicious inch and then retreating.

I fumbled with his belt buckle and tugged at his jeans. His free hand helped me and together, we yanked down his jeans. Reluctantly pulling his fingers out of my panties, I dropped to my knees in front of him and looked up, my cheek nuzzling into his boxer briefs. He stroked the strands of my hair back from my face and looked down into my eyes.

I slowly pulled his boxers down until his beautiful cock sprang free. I nipped and licked from his balls up to the tip while he buried his hand in my hair. “Oh, fuck, Eliza,” he moaned, begging for more contact. “Come here, baby.” He gripped the shaft in his hand and fed it into my mouth, pushing his hips forward with gentle pressure to drive it into my mouth. I clutched his length in both hands, and impatiently pulled him even deeper, swirling my tongue over the head as I sucked. His cock jerked in my mouth and he let out a stream of obscenities.

My panties were soaking wet and my pussy begged to be filled, but still, I continued enthusiastically sucking him. It had never turned me on so much to do this, but Cohen’s genuine response was hot. He continued rocking his hips forward, pushing himself farther each time into my mouth until soon his cock was hitting the back of my throat. I gagged once accidentally and he quickly pulled out. “I’m sorry.” His eyes held mine with a look of confusion and concern. “I didn’t mean to choke you, you’re just so fucking good at this, it’s hard to hold back with you.” He stroked my cheek in apology.

I smiled up at him with swollen, damp lips. “It’s okay.” I liked that I affected him so much and got him to lose almost all control. I was pretty sure I affected him in ways other girls never had and I liked that, too.

His thumb stroked my bottom lip and I sought out his cock again, licking and suckling the head.

His earpiece crackled with static and he pressed it to his ear, listening to a conversation I couldn’t make out.

“Fuck,” he groaned, with frustration rather than pleasure. He hauled me to my feet then tucked himself back inside his pants. “I’ve got to go, babe. There’s a fight outside.”

The thought of stopping just then was torture. I was about to suggest we meet up in ten minutes in the bathroom, when he pulled me in for a tender kiss.

“Can we finish this later at home, where there’s an actual bed and I can take care of you like you deserve?”

I returned his kiss, and without thinking blurted, “Yes.”

He nodded and kissed my lips softly. “Thank God. I don’t think this thing will go down until I come at least twice.” He winced and adjusted his erection in his pants.

I grinned, loving how worked up I could get him. “That shouldn’t be a problem.”

His fingers skimmed over my belly, lightly tracing my hip bone and sending a ticklish rush straight to my clit. “What about you? Will you be okay to wait for me? I can’t wait to eat that pretty pussy of yours.”

I whimpered and nodded, while clenching my thighs together. Cohen smirked at my response.

Once our clothes were back in place, he helped me to the rest room and set off to the front of the club to deal with the disturbance.

I was shocked by my appearance. My bun was a now a loose wreck of curls thanks to Cohen’s roaming hands, and my cheeks were flushed and pink. I finger-combed my hair, choosing to leave it down and went to re-join Ashlyn and Aiden, who were no doubt wondering where I’d disappeared to.

***

When I got home, I changed out of my jeans and into yoga pants to get more comfortable. I curled up on my couch with my cats and made sure my cell phone ringer was turned up to full volume to wake me in case I fell asleep when Cohen called. I turned the TV on to add some background chatter and settled in to wait.

An hour later, I was still flipping through the channels, waiting for his call, when the shrill sound of my cell ringing startled me. It was Cohen.

Home in 10 min. Up for hanging out?

If hanging out was code for fucking, why yes, yes I was.. Those next ten minutes ticked by more slowly than the entire hour before them, but finally I heard Cohen’s SUV rumbling to a stop outside. I locked up and met him on the porch. Still dressed in his black security T-shirt, he looked hot and tough. I liked knowing that even though he had a sweet, soft side to him, he worked as a bouncer at a downtown club and tonight was breaking up a fight. There was actually nothing I didn’t like about Cohen and that realization scared me a little bit. He jogged up the porch steps and swept me up into a hug, lifting my bare feet from the ground. He planted a sweet kiss on my temple and lowered me down.

“You want to come up?” he asked.

I nodded, eagerly, and he laughed. “Good. I just need to grab a shower first. Tonight was insane.”

Once we got upstairs, I lounged on his bed while he headed into the bathroom to clean up. I pulled back the blankets and snuggled into the warm, inviting scent of Cohen that was all over the sheets. I didn’t even complain when Bob jumped up to join me, sprawling out across the foot of the bed.

When Cohen returned, dress in only his black boxer briefs, my heart started thudding. I didn’t know what might happen between us tonight. The heated passion from earlier had diminished, but not worn away completely. I just wondered now that Cohen could approach things with a clear head, if he’d still want what I needed.

Bob lifted his head at the sound of Cohen’s bare feet advancing along the wooden floor, but then he sighed and turned over, making himself more comfortable. Cohen’s eyes flicked to mine, and we both smiled.

“This is what you two do when I’m not here, isn’t it?” My mouth twitched in a grin.

“No comment.” He lifted Bob off the bed and deposited him in the hallway, closing the door behind him, but not before I heard him softly whisper, “Sorry buddy,” to the dog.

He crossed the room and joined me on the bed, lying beside me so our faces were only inches apart.

“Hey, beautiful,” he whispered softly.

For the first time, I noticed just how exhausted he looked. His eyes were shadowed by dark circles underneath them, and a few faint lines marred his forehead. I traced a single fingertip along the skin, and he closed his eyes, as if savoring my touch.

I ran my hands along his chest, over the coarse hair and taut muscle. I trailed the back of my fingers over his belly, and gauged his response. His cock wasn’t yet hard, for once, but twitched in the snug boxer briefs.

His eyes were still closed, and he had a small smile planted on his lips. “That feels nice.”

“Turn over. I’ll give you a massage.” As soon as the words left my mouth, I sucked in a breath. Memories of giving Paul backrubs flashed back to me. He loved to have his back scratched, and I’d practically leave welts scraping my nails across his skin. But this was different, I reminded myself.

Cohen rolled over and accepted the offer. I rubbed his shoulders, neck and scalp using the pads of my fingers. His breathing slowed and evened out as he relaxed into my touch. I leaned down and looked at him. Closed eyes. Deep breathing. Mouth slack. He was asleep.

I chuckled to myself and curled my body up next to his sleeping form, dragging the blankets up to cover us both. He rolled to his side, and pulled me against his chest. “Night, Easy E,” he mumbled.

“Night.” I exhaled softly, surprised that the emotion rushing through my system was that of relief. I knew sex would change the dynamic between us, and even though my body ached for that intimacy with Cohen, I hadn’t quite decided if that change would be welcome. Things were starting to feel very relationship-ish and I wasn’t sure I could go there with him. My last thought before I drifted off to sleep was that I was safe for another day, safe in Cohen’s arms.

Chapter 14

Why I’d agreed to a family dinner at Cohen’s mom’s house, I had no idea. But somehow, the following Saturday, I found myself dressed in a skirt and sweater set trailing dutifully behind Cohen and Bob, with a still-warm casserole dish in my arms.

Denise pulled open the door once we got closer, and Grace burst from inside and into Cohen’s waiting arms. She began climbing him like a jungle gym while Denise looked adoringly at her son. It was clear that he was a hero in her eyes.

Bob tugged spastically at the leash, ramming into my legs and causing me to nearly tumble. Thankfully, I remained upright with the casserole still intact.

“Mom, Grace, you remember Eliza, right?”

They both turned and stared as if I were a three-headed monster.

“Why’s she here?” Grace asked him, climbing down his lanky frame until her feet were once again on the ground. “You’ve never brought a girl with you before.”

Cohen cracked a grin. “From the mouths of babes.” He placed a reassuring hand on my lower back, and leaned in close to my ear. “Sorry about that.”

Denise’s mouth curved into a stiff smile and she held open the door. “Please come in.”

I followed her inside and into the kitchen, where I presented her with the casserole dish.

She took it and suspiciously eyed its contents through the glass lid. “What is it?”

“It’s baked brie and cranberries.”

She frowned. “Oh. Well, thank you.” She held the container out from her body like it was filled with nuclear waste and walked it over to the counter to set it aside.

I’d like to say the evening got better after that, but sadly it didn’t. Both mother and daughter clearly adored Cohen and delighted at each thing he did and said, and otherwise pretty much ignored me. The baked brie was mysteriously forgotten in the kitchen when the roasted chicken and potatoes were placed on the table, until I went to retrieve it. I’d been torn about bringing something, but Cohen liked the idea and thought it would be a nice touch.

Cohen took a large serving of the soft cheese and smeared it over a slice of bread, commenting on what a great cook I was as he chewed. This caused his mother’s frown to return, and a line to crease her forehead as if to punctuate her opinion of another woman feeding her son.

Cohen, for his part, seemed oblivious that these two ladies in his life did not think there was room for a third, and I wasn’t about to point that out to him. That wasn’t my intention anyway, was it? So I remained quiet during dinner and watched the easy family banter they shared.

His pager beeped noisily, startling Grace. I always teased him about how loud he kept the volume turned up. He said he didn’t want to miss a call. He checked the pager and frowned. A second later, it beeped it again.

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