Page 11 of The Other Man

“What are you doing?” I asked him.  He’d shown no sign of letting up, like he was just going to go down on me indefinitely, with no signs of stopping for the foreseeable future.

He smiled.  Yes, it was a cold smile, but I was starting to like that just fine.  “Showing manners.”

Dammit.  He was really starting to grow on me.

I liked him way too much for someone I had no clue if I’d ever see again.

He climbed onto the bed, pinned me down.  He held my wrists with one hand, the other gripping into my hair.  He pushed his hips between my thighs and started fucking me.

He started talking while he did it.  A lot.  And not just dirty talk.  Random talk.

“What the fuck?” I asked, after he slipped some inane comment about the weather in.

“Small talk,” he explained.

Dammit.

He was a weirdo, for sure, but I definitely liked him.

He pulled out of me suddenly, cursing.

I squirmed a bit and tried not to curse myself.  Why had he stopped?

“I forgot to put on a condom,” he growled, going for his pants.

Shit.  We both forgot.  How the hell had that happened?

At least he hadn’t come inside of me bare.

Still, I couldn’t believe I’d missed that.  It was a bit sobering.

He wrapped up and mounted me again.

He stayed for hours, but not for the night.

At least he said goodbye this time, though perversely, I wished he hadn’t.

Big hands shaking my hip and shoulder woke me up.

I blinked groggily awake to an intimidating Heath looming over me.

“I have to go,” he said gruffly.

I sighed out a breath, shifting restlessly under his hands.  “Okay.”

“You said I should say goodbye when I leave.  This is goodbye.”

I just shut my eyes and nodded.  He was apparently a literal guy.

Still, he didn’t move, just staring down at me for a long time.

“I wasn’t even supposed to come here,” he finally said, each word sounding like it was fighting to come out of his throat.  “I’m in the middle of a job, something . . . something I can’t be distracted from.”

Whatever the hell that meant.

“You’re distracting me,” he continued.

Unaccountably, I liked that.  A lot.

“I’m not leaving because I want to.  I need to go.  Legitimately.  I hate having to explain myself.  To anyone.  But believe this: If I could stick around longer, I would.  Okay?”

He’d told me almost nothing, given me no answers, not that he owed me any, all things considered, but what little he’d said, I appreciated.  Whether it was bullshit or not, I liked how he’d taken the time to reassure me, to let me know that he’d have spent more time with me if he could have.

“Okay,” I whispered to him in the dark.

He started to pull away.  I stopped him with a hand on his retreating wrist.  “Will I see you again?” I asked, the words torn out of me.

He cursed and bent down, taking my mouth roughly, his hands pulling my soft sheets up, wrapping them around my body.  Tucking me in.  I wasn’t sure what to make of the tender action, but I liked it.  A lot.

Loved it.

“You will if I have anything to say about it,” he said cryptically and was gone faster than he’d come.

God, he was rough around the edges.

Why the hell did I like him so much?

He was uncivilized.

Churlish.

Uncouth.

And strangely, kind of sweet.

CHAPTER TEN

I was soaking in the bath, glass of red wine cupped loosely in my hand and balanced haphazardly on the rim of the tub.

It was eight p.m., and I’d gotten back from a work trip in L.A. about thirty minutes prior.

I couldn’t even have said why, but the trip had been stressful to me, and it was sort of a belated shock to realize how relieved I was to be home.  I mean, it’s not like I wasn’t accustomed to traveling, and I’d only been gone a few days.  I almost always went to L.A. multiple times a month for work.  It was typical for me.

I’d gone for an editorial spread for a fashion magazine that had involved dealing with a temperamental supermodel.  Maybe that was where all of my pent up tension was coming from?

I didn’t think so.  I’d dealt with many a prima donna.

That sort of thing never fazed me.

What was it then?

My body was coiled so tight, jaw held hard, lips pursed, shoulders drawn up too stiffly.  Before the wine today, I’d looked down at my hands several times, always surprised when I found them made into nervous little fists.

The fists were gone, and the rest I was working on decompressing the best way I knew how.

I was reading on my phone, since it was easier to hold in one hand, the perfect arrangement for doing two of my favorite things simultaneously.

Drinking wine and devouring a book.

I was an avid, lifelong reader.  I didn’t stick to any one genre.  In fact, I read everything, though not all mixed together.  I went through phases.  My last phase, which had lasted maybe four months, had been a True Crime phase.  That one had started when I read my friend Dair’s novels and turned into me finding and reading every non-fiction book that covered the crimes his novels were loosely based on.

That phase had ended a few weeks prior, and I was back to my favorite genre of all.  Old faithful, guaranteed to get me out of a funk.

Romance.

Who didn’t enjoy a good love story?  I’d been devouring them lately, one after another, sleep being sacrificed, work being neglected, but somehow it always felt worth it for a good book.

I was just getting to a good part, mid-sip of wine, when I heard a noise somewhere in the house, around the kitchen, I thought.  Something very commonplace, like a door creaking open.

My brows drew together.  One of my boys, maybe, or ‘Tato being just too big to move around quietly.

I had a brief regret about leaving both my bedroom and bathroom doors open.  I’d done it because otherwise, ‘Tato whined at the closed door, no matter which side I put him on.

If he was closed in with me, he invariably needed to go out and do his doggy business.  If he was locked out, he felt deprived of my company.  With the door open, he usually just parked himself somewhere close by, happy as a clam.

I was pretty sure both my boys knew better than to charge into my bedroom or bathroom unannounced, but I decided that it would be a good idea for me to still make my dripping way across the big bathroom to close the door, just to be safe.

My tub had a big ledge around it, perfect for candles and decorative items.  I had a dry hand towel folded in a corner of it for my phone, and I set it there.  My wine glass was going next, but as a big, quiet body filled my bathroom doorway, I miscalculated, and crashed it just perfectly wrong into the edge of the bath.

It shattered on contact, raining big chunks of glass and a healthy serving of deep red liquid, right onto my chest.

Even so, I was still more distracted by the familiar figure in the door than I was by the mess I’d just made.

How the hell had he gotten in?

“How the hell did you get into my house?” I asked Heath, not sure if I was more alarmed at the sight of him invading my privacy, or relieved that he’d come back, yet again.

Relieved, I thought, eyes running over his body.  He looked amazing, as always, in his usual jeans/T-shirt combo.

His eyes were on my hand with the now broken glass.

Dammit, I thought, looking down at myself.  I really needed to invest in some of those non-shatter wine glasses I’d heard about.  My friend Bev, the one who hosted the girls’ night, had some, and they seemed to do the trick.  I’d been meaning to get some myself, but this definitely tipped me over the edge from a side-note into action.

“I tried ringing the doorbell, but you didn’t answer, so I checked the back door.  It was unlocked.”

That I couldn’t credit.  I’d left the back door unlocked?  I lived in Vegas.  I knew better.  What a silly, out of character thing that was for me to do.

My naive self just believed it because he’d said it.

“Don’t move,” he added, voice rough, not his normal rough, but like he was pissed.

His authoritative tone brooked no argument, and so I just sat there and watched him approach, holding perfectly still.

He crouched by the tub, reaching over me to take the stem, which was still intact, out of my hand.  He set it on the ledge next to my phone.

That same hand moved to my chest where wine and a few large chunks of the jagged glass were clinging to my skin.

Very gently, he plucked the glass away.

“Fuck,” he growled.

I glanced down.  It was the tiniest cut, but one of the sharp pieces had drawn blood.

Without warning, he suddenly grabbed me under the arms, lifting me clean out of the bath.

My eyes flew to his face as he sat me down on the plush rug just in front of my vanity.

I was dripping a small flood onto the floor, some of it red wine, and I glanced to where I’d had my towel hung on a rack, reachable from the tub.  But it wasn’t reachable now.

“Could you hand me a towel?” I asked him, pointing.


Tags: R.K. Lilley Romance
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