Logan Ross let his police cruiser rumble through the middle of town. Since moving to Paraiso from San Antonio, he’d learned to appreciate the slower pace and to savor small things such as the change of seasons, even if there were only two in this part of Texas. Life in Paraiso was certainly different from city life.
Here, on a Friday morning, there weren’t any commuters honking horns to push the cars in front of them out of the way, or anyone screaming into cell phones. Nope. Shopkeepers busied themselves around their white limestone stores with their brightly colored windowsills and doorframes, putting up sale signs and displaying their wares on unattended tables under their equally bright awnings.
His gaze snagged on Annie’s Antiques and Annie, not to be confused with the original Annie who happened to be her grandmother, as she carefully arranged a starburst array of quilts on an outside table. Instead of admiring the quilts, he paused to appreciate the fit of her pretty sundress before allowing his gaze to move restlessly on.
Since his buddies had settled down, Logan found himself feeling more and more like he was standing on the outside looking in at a happiness that continued to elude him. Both Cody and Joe seemed to thrive on their domestic arrangements, making Logan wonder what he was missing.
Still, life in Paraiso was good. And Logan thought he might just have found the remedy to the constant lonely ache that settled in his chest at night and gripped his loins so tightly no amount of self-gratification could relieve it.
Shaking off his dissatisfaction, his gaze went back to the town, and there she was. Schoolteacher, came the primal growl rumbling up inside him. Every red corpuscle streaming through his veins rushed south.
The tall, gawky figure striding down Main Street straight toward him sucked away his attention from everything else around him.
Just a glimpse of the unfashionable denim smock she wore was enough to make him hard as rock. Schoolteachers never dressed well. Still, it didn’t matter to him. She could wear a gunny sack and push his buttons.
His reaction to her still shocked him. She wasn’t his usual type—built like a brick house, with curves so deep and round he could clamp his fingers on the woman’s flesh and steer her like a Porsche.
No, Schoolteacher was downright bony and with an angular face. Her medium brown hair was the same soft shade as the deer he’d stalked through the woods just last weekend. Come to think of it, she resembled the creature with its slender, muscular build and darting glances, too.
Maybe that was the attraction—he equated the woman to prey.
Still, her demeanor and her wardrobe choices made him wince. Prim, buttoned-up, unfashionably homey. While he watched, she stopped to chat with Annie and ran a hand over the bright handmade quilts. Some were older and yellowed with time, their colors subdued, while others showed less age and were every color of the rainbow. Even as he watched, she picked up the sign that read, Good Price for a Good Home.
While Schoolteacher stood next to the chic and well-dressed Annie, Logan had to question his reactions to the woman. As ugly and bulky as her dress was, it couldn’t hide the slender curve of her hips or the length of her coltish legs. Even her hideous brown sandals turned him on. They made her feet look like a duck’s paddles until you looked closely and saw the slender beauty of her toes.
He’d caught a glimpse of them once, when he’d cornered her in the Gas ’n’ Go mini-mart squeezing fruit. A plum to be exact. Just the thought of that meeting made him shift uncomfortably in his seat.
Her long fingers had engulfed the plum, wrapping around the plump fruit to squeeze gently.
Naturally, he’d pictured her squeezing something else just about the same circumference. He’d been arrested in place, watching her test fruit and vegetables for ripeness.
Hell, she’d been so intent, sniffing the stem of a cantaloupe, he’d snuck right up behind her and reached over her shoulder for a honeydew before she’d seen him. Her shock had made him smile and had totally knocked her off-balance.
She’d backed up, her bottom brushing the front of his denim jeans, and he’d known the exact moment she’d realized what she’d snuggled up against. In profile, her cheeks had blushed a fiery red, and her soft mouth had gulped like a guppy’s.
He’d mumbled an apology, embarrassed at his lack of self-control and walked stiffly away, catching a glimpse of a sexy novel in her cart as he’d passed. But he couldn’t help glancing over his shoulder for one more look.
She’d placed her hands on the melons as though afraid her legs would crumble, and he’d left the store still smiling.
Over the months he’d been in Paraiso, it seemed as though he was fated to have her, because something kept placing her in his path.
The one house that had suited his needs sat at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac right next to hers.
Then the sheriff had selected him to be the new liaison at the high school to roam the halls, get familiar with the kids, and lead the anti-drug education classes.
His first class had been in the room right next to hers. Of course, she’d dropped the handouts she’d carried the moment she saw him step outside the door of his classroom.
Like a waterfall of white and black, the papers had spilled at her feet, and then she’d sloshed coffee from the cup she carried as she bent over too fast, trying to retrieve them.
He’d knelt at her feet and gathered the handouts, wiping coffee from them on his pants leg before handing them back.
When he’d caught the surprised pleasure in her rounded eyes, he’d felt like a hero. But she’d quickly blinked and stiffened, her mouth sliding into that firm, prim line he was beginning to know all too well.
That didn’t stop him from feeling like that guy who’d whipped his cape over a mud puddle for some long-ago queen. Perhaps fortunately for him, the woman who’d stood in front of him hadn’t had a clue what more he was willing to do to please her.
Somehow, someday soon, Schoolteacher was going to come to him for instruction.
Over the past weeks, he’d fed her tantalizing glimpses of his body and his interests.
He’d padded barefoot to the mailbox when he’d spotted her car pulling into her driveway. He’d purposely worn a thin pair of sweatpants that fell beneath the notches of his hips and molded his sex in blatant detail.
He’d invited his friends for barbeques on his back deck and left the windows open, so that she might hear their rowdy shouts when they watched a game on the television.
One night after he’d spotted her standing in the field between their lots with her telescope pointing toward the sky, he’d made damn sure she had more interesting sights to train her lens on.
Perhaps he’d shared a little too much. Maybe he’d even frightened her. But it was best she understood his needs from the outset. Besides, fear was something he could twist into obsession.
In the meantime, he trailed her surreptitiously in his patrol car, pulling into a parking space when she entered a shop, and then continuing to trail her when she came out.
How she could have failed to notice him, stalking her along the narrow street, mystified him. But then again, most times he saw her, her gaze seemed blurred as though staring at something in the distance. Schoolteacher seemed perpetually lost in a daydream.
How he wished he could slide inside her mind. Were her dreams filled with erotic images of bodies dipping and writhing toward ecstasy? Or were they more romantic?
Logan grimaced, wondering if he’d have to do some research to figure out what a woman like her would find irresistible. His gaze passed the bookstore with its blue-and-white awning and tables set on the sidewalk for passersby to stop and sample the books.
Logan glanced at his watch. His lunch break was coming up. He had just enough time.
* * *
This night, a breeze tugged at the hair Amy Keating had scraped back into a ponytail to keep it out of the way, and she hoped the wind didn’t continue to build or tonight’s expedition would be a bust.
If the sky remained clear, and the wind didn’t interfere too much with her charts and equipment, she’d be closer to her self-imposed goal.
Concentrating on the celestial bodies on Messier’s list, rather than the corporal and virile specimen next door, had proven to be a challenge these past weeks.
Her neighbor commanded attention wherever he went. She wasn’t the only one to notice.
The day he’d surprised her in the hallway at school, and she’d dumped the worksheets she’d prepared for her class at his feet, she hadn’t been the only female in the vicinity to sigh as his big, brawny body folded gracefully to the floor. When he’d dried her coffee-stained papers on his thick, muscular thigh she hadn’t been able to drag her gaze from him. Something in her chest had tightened. Sensual awareness had sharpened to an exquisitely honed edge.
As he’d lifted the papers to return them to her, his fingers slid along her palm. Like an old romance novel cliché, a little electric current had passed from him to her, and she’d stiffened with shock. Heat had curled deep inside her.
As she’d sputtered her thanks, and then hurried through her classroom door, she’d heard Carla Banks and Vanessa Rosas in the hallway giggling. She must have looked like a red-faced fool. But what woman wouldn’t melt into a puddle at just a glimpse of his powerful frame and handsome face? That he’d been clothed in a crisply starched deputy’s uniform had only added to his masculine charm.
His universal appeal had given her the strength of will to carry on as usual, despite the constant distraction of seeing him everywhere she went. If she didn’t know any better, she might have thought he was stalking her, which could only be wishful thinking on her part. What on earth did she have to offer a man like that?
While she knew she wasn’t a complete bow-wow, she was honest enough with herself to admit that she was plain. Her hair was a nondescript brown and her skin was colorless, with a smattering of freckles that looked like droplets of mud on a pale blanket of snow. It was her height, however, that was her most notable flaw. Nearly six feet tall, she was too large to inspire a man’s protective instincts—something she completely, secretly craved.
Not for the first time in her twenty-eight years, she wondered how wonderful it must be for one of those women—the full-figured Barbie dolls whose heads snuggled nicely against a man’s chest. Hers, she imagined, would lie atop Deputy Ross’s broad shoulders.
Annoyed with herself for wasting time yearning for something she’d never have, she pulled a flashlight from her bag and turned it on. The red lens was just bright enough to check her star chart for settings for her scope without destroying her night vision.
M43—the Orion Nebula—beckoned.
In the distance, the growl of a powerful engine rumbled loudly as it approached. Neighborhood dogs barked. Car doors slammed shut. Laughter pierced the air—a feminine squeal, followed by low, rumbling masculine chuckles.
Lord, no. Not again.
She’d recognized the woman’s voice. Although the last time she’d heard it, Sarah Michelson was cursing a filthy blue streak. And no wonder after what the two of them had done to her.
Yet, she was here again. Did that mean…?
No, she wasn’t going to peek. Nope. No way. The last time had been devastating. She’d been in this exact spot, at approximately the same time, when she’d trained her telescope on the window of the Deputy Logan’s special room.
Oh, the things she’d seen!
Her cheeks had burned for days. Her body had felt tight, hot, so filled with sexual frustration she’d fished out the vibrator her sister had given her one Christmas from its box underneath the bathroom sink.
For several nights afterward, she’d lain in her bed, rolling the smooth gel head over her sex and plunging it deep into her core, trying to satisfy the cravings the trio had awakened.
Light spilled across the clearing, shining from the naughty room, bleaching the dried grass a pale gray.
Amy stood in the darkness, just beyond the light, staring at the ground. I’m not going to watch, I’m not going to…
She closed her eyes briefly, calling for inner fortitude, but then her shoulders slumped. It was just too tempting. And she was too curious.
Without any further internal argument, she lifted her tripod to reposition it and pointed her telescope toward the room.
She adjusted the focus, zooming in on a patch of pink skin. A protruding nipple. Oh.My. God. Her lens had landed on an aroused nipple surrounded by a very round and generous breast. The woman’s shirt was open, and one breast had been exposed.
A dark figure stepped in the way, blocking her view.
Her head jerked up, and she stared into the window. Logan Ross leaned against the window frame. His features, burnished by the subtle lighting in the room, were drawn and taut—and he was staring directly at her!
She whirled and pressed a hand against her chest. He knew! Sweet Jesus, what did he think of her now?
Slowly, she glanced over her shoulder, pretending to reach for her bag, and then caught his gaze again. He straightened, moving away from the window.
He strode toward Sarah, lifting her hand and dragging her forward to place her in front of the window, but not so close that Amy couldn’t see most of her shape, head to nearly knees.
Slowly, he peeled away the blonde’s clothing while Joe Garcia took a seat at a small wooden table and watched, his gaze never leaving Sarah’s pretty body as it was bared one piece at a time.
When she was completely naked, Logan lifted her hand and twirled her under his arm as though dancing her around in slow motion, and, at that moment, Amy understood.
He was letting her watch them. Inviting her to do so.
Amy swallowed, her eyes filling as the painful yearning swamped her again. Everything missing from her staid little life was there on display.
But why was he doing this? As punishment for intruding on their games? Or was he trying to tempt her? Her, plain Amy Keating.
While both possibilities struck a chord of fear inside her, still she couldn’t drag herself away as Logan led Sarah to a wooden frame she hadn’t seen in the room the last time she’d spied on the three of them.
Made of gleaming wood and shaped like an “X”, there were shackles, leather bindings with metal buckles, attached to each arm.
Sarah meekly stepped up to the frame, leaning her back against it, and lifted her arms for him to place the straps around one wrist then the other, and lock her into place.
Then Sarah widened her stance, her legs settling against the lower half of the wooden beams, and her ankles were restrained.
Next, Logan carried a black hood to Sarah, which he pulled over her head, completely concealing her face. He tucked her long, white-blonde hair beneath it, and only the curves Amy already knew so well identified the woman as Sarah.
Joe rose from his chair to join Logan. Both men ran their hands over Sarah’s body, smoothing broad palms from her shoulders to her feet.
Sarah’s chest rose and fell more sharply. Her skin flushed with heat that spread like warm butter over skin.
Joe bent and captured one of Sarah’s nipples, cupping her breast and holding it, squeezing it while he tugged and lashed his tongue around her dimpled areola.
Logan strode to the opposite side of the room, disappearing from her view. Amy waited anxiously for him to return, afraid for a moment that he might be coming outside to confront her, but then he returned, holding one of his short whips. He flicked the tail in the air.
Sarah jerked at the sound, her head turning to follow the sound as he flicked it again.
Amy began to sweat, imagining what it must be like to feel the lash he used to stripe the woman’s flesh.
Each stroke caused Sarah’s hands to tighten above the restraints, her back to bow.
Amy wished she could hear. Wished she knew whether the woman suffered or was enthralled.
Nothing in Amy’s experience could fill the lack of sound. She didn’t know what the crack of the leather flanges would sound like landing on flesh. Didn’t know what the men’s voices would sound like—harsh and commanding, tight with sexual excitement, or low murmurs intended to sooth a woman’s fears?
When Logan turned the short whip upside down and skimmed the handle up the woman’s thigh, Amy’s breath caught.
It disappeared inside the woman’s body as his arm stroked up and down, fucking her with the handle.
Her own body spilled fluid onto the crotch of her cotton panties. But the sight was too distant for her to know if the woman enjoyed it quite as much as she did. She trained the telescope again on the window and adjusted the focus, bending to the eyepiece and skimming her gaze along Sarah’s voluptuous body until she found the thatch of blonde hair.
The men had been careful to leave her a clear view of the woman’s pussy and of the large hand gripping the handle as it was pushed up and down between Sarah Michelson’s legs.
The other woman’s thighs gleamed with moisture; her folds were red and swollen. Oh, she enjoyed it all right. Her body vibrated with her pleasure. Her thighs strained wider to allow Logan to continue to fuck her.
Logan pulled the handle from her vagina while Joe unbuckled the restraints.
Sarah sagged against Joe’s chest, but he held her away. Then the men walked her to the window, forcing her head down, and she raised her hands to hold the bottom of the windowsill so that her body was bent, her breasts swaying.
Then Logan gripped the wet handle, raised it high, and struck her buttocks.
Sarah’s head dropped lower, her knuckles whitening against the casing she clutched hard. However, she did nothing to avoid the blows that followed in quick succession, aimed at different spots.
He paused, thrust a hand downward, and then lifted his fingers to his mouth and sucked on them.
Amy quivered at his expression. Dark, intense, his gaze rising to meet hers across the yard.
From the corner of her eye, she saw Joe tug his tee over his head and shove down his pants. He walked toward Logan and held out his hand for the whip, which Logan surrendered immediately, stepping back.
Joe brushed the flanges over Sarah’s trembling back and buttocks, and then dropped it. His hands clasped her cheeks and massaged them, lifting them up, then releasing them. His hand raised, and he slapped her with his open palm.
Amy followed the motion, watching as he delivered another blow to the other cheek, and then realized she’d lost sight of Logan again. She searched the room, her breath releasing when he stepped back into view, only to choke when she saw that he was nude.
His cock rose straight from his groin.
Joe glanced over at him then laughed
Logan’s expression was rueful, but he gripped his cock in one hand and stroked it, up and down. He stood to the side of Sarah, and Joe turned her to face Logan, still bent over.
Sarah’s hands reached in front of her, caught hold of Logan’s cock with one and cupped his balls with the other. Then she tugged him toward her face.
Joe reached around her, rolling up the bottom edge of the hood until her mouth was exposed.
She licked her lips once then stuck out her tongue and wet the tip of Logan’s cock.
They were in perfect profile. Amy could see everything. Joe palming Sarah’s ass and thrusting his hips toward her, his cock disappearing, sliding into Sarah’s body. Sarah opening her mouth wide and swallowing Logan’s cock as he fucked her mouth, his gaze intent on Sarah’s motions as she licked and sucked then swallowed him again.
Then his head turned slowly, his gaze meeting Amy’s again, and Amy backed up against her folding table, grabbing the edge to steady herself.
This was all for her. Staged for her to see. Her gaze slid away from his, dropping to where Sarah greedily gobbled him up.
Impossibly, the other woman swallowed his length, her mouth stretching around his girth, her cheeks hollowing as she sucked, billowing as she drew off and breathed. Her breasts and ass jiggled with the force of Joe’s strokes.
Amy met Logan’s gaze again, locking with his for a long moment, trying to read whatever message he was trying to send her over the distance.
Was he mocking her? He needn’t have gone to such extremes to make her feel unequal. She didn’t possess the feminine beauty of Sarah Michelson. He didn’t have to drive his cock like a stake through her heart to make that point.
Or was he telling her what she should expect, what he meant to do to her? As intimidating as this staged tableau was, more frightening to Amy was the thought that she’d eagerly let herself be used, to be mocked or pleasured, for the sheer orgasmic sensation of feeling Logan slide between her lips…and dear God, her legs.
Whatever he wanted, she would willingly give for just one night with Logan Ross.