MEAL PREPPING IS tedious business—popcorn is so much easier.
Twenty minutes later, I have finally finished. Now I feel like my entire body smells of onions, peppers, and broccoli. Hating the vegetable smell on my skin, I decide since I haven’t showered yet today that I have time to take a quick one before I start dinner.
Without a word, I slip away.
Upstairs, I’m faced with a tough decision—shower or bath. The bathroom off of Fiona and Ethan’s room is old and only has a bathtub with a shower sprayer, which means you have to stand and hold the sprayer over you.
Not very relaxing.
The only other full bathroom is all the way down on the bottom floor, and Nick has been using that one. Fiona and Ethan plan to remodel their bathroom to add a shower, but they haven’t gotten to that renovation yet.
Not wanting to invade on the space I practically ordered Nick to take, I opt for the tub. Turning on the warm water, I run the bath and add some of Fiona’s lavender oil to it. Soon enough I’m settling in. I let the water enfold me, hold me, cradle me even as I sink deeper and deeper.
When the water is at the halfway level, I let my chin rest on the surface and start thinking about this past week.
Nick is so different from what I thought he was. I thought he was a jerk, so I never bothered to look any further. Now, I’m not only looking, I’m seeing way more than I should be. Feeling way more than I should be. Wanting way more than I should be.
I’m feeling it all.
So much so that I find myself sliding my hands down my body in the hot water. The bath oil makes my skin slick. Smooth. Soft. Slippery enough that my palms skid over my stomach and thighs with ease.
Because I haven’t had sex or even masturbated in months, my arousal seems heightened. Desperate even.
Sinking lower into the deep tub, with my ears now in the water, I’m able to hear the wildly beating thump of my heart.
The pitter-patter caused by thoughts of him.
Thoughts I shouldn’t be having.
And despite this, I am spurred on by the sound of my own heart. Without a second thought, I cup my breasts. Stroke them. Pass my palms over my nipples before pinching them both between my fingers. A sigh leaks out of me as they burn and tighten.
His voice is in my head. “Cocky has consequences.”
I want them, and I don’t even know what they are.
I tug and tug and tug until I feel an answering pull in my clit. I move the firm flesh back and forth, tugging on them harder and harder, waiting for it to feel like his hands are on me.
I want to know what that feels like—in the worst way.
Needing more, I open my legs and push my hips against the water. Still tugging on one of my nipples, I slide my other hand down between my thighs.
My clit is more than ready for my touch, his touch.
I bite my lip, the gentle stroke enough to make my hips jerk toward the surface. Still it’s not enough. Not nearly enough. Not him.
Needing even more, I apply pressure and circle my clit. The water supports me and lifts me, but not for long. Soon I’m pushing my pelvis against my fingers and my shoulder blades bump the bottom of the tub.
His big, callused palms.
Rough and soft.
His long, strong fingers.
That’s what I want to feel.
That’s what I pretend I feel.
Sliding two fingers inside, I try to make believe it is okay I’m daydreaming about him. And for a minute, it is okay.
It’s only pretend.
I think of him and the way he moves, and my clit swells, opening my body with an ache that needs to be filled.
By his huge cock.
By the time I realize I shouldn’t be thinking this way about him, it’s too late. I can’t stop. I imagine it’s him in here with me. Not my own fingers. And he is fucking me. Fucking me hard in the alpha way he has about him. Telling me to sit on his lap. To ride his hard cock. And I do. I do just as he says. Soon, we’re all tongues and hands, and fucking like animals. With an image in my mind that can never take place in the real world, I explode in a small whirlwind of lust.
It’s an orgasm that rocks me.
Makes me feel alive for the first time in months.
I may not know what it is about Nick Carrington that is making me feel like I want to get close to him and keep my distance at the same time, but I do know for absolute certainty that I needed this. Needed this to put an end to the craziness going on in my head about a man I certainly don’t need to get involved with.
About a man who’s pure temptation.
About a man who I know can only bring me heartache.
“Stop,” I order myself.
And I think I can now. I tell myself that I will get out of here and put those animalistic desires to rest as soon as I do.
Stepping out of the claw foot tub is tricky. I didn’t plan very well. The floor is wet and the towels are across the room.
Just as I take my first step the door bursts open. “Auntie Tess. Auntie Tess. Auntie Tess. We’re going to have a campout. Uncle Nick started a fire. Come see, come see.”
The doorknob is broken, and therefore the door could not be locked. I’d completely forgotten about that, but it’s just Max, and I although I want to hurry to grab a towel, I’m afraid I’ll slip and fall, so I step carefully, but swiftly. “That sounds like so much fun. I’ll be down as soon as I get dressed,” I tell him softly.
“Max,” Nick yells coming to an instant stop in the doorway.
Now I’m like a deer in the headlights. I have no idea what to cover first. My breasts? My sex? Like one of those dumb movies, I place one arm across my small breasts, the other going down allowing my hand to shield my sex.
Nick’s gaze simmers over me for the longest time, and then a smile curves his lips. “Ummm . . . sorry about this. I tried to stop him from coming up, but he was too excited about the campout. I had no idea you were bathing.”
My eyes widen. I consider waving him away, but I’ll expose myself even more if I use my hands. I consider yelling for him to go already, but that will scare Max. So I do neither. Instead I remain calm. I saw him naked. Now he saw me. No big deal. Right? “Yes, I thought I’d clean up before dinner. How about you two boys go downstairs and finish setting up?” I suggest.
Nick seems to be enjoying himself. Staring at me. At what he can see, which isn’t much.
“Nick,” I prod.
He scratches his messy hair, shifts his eyes back and forth, and then absently says, “Yeah, Max, come on buddy, Tess could use from privacy.”
“Privacy?” Max asks, “What’s that?”
Nick’s gaze is practically sizzling now as his eyes travel over me. “Well, it’s when someone, well . . .” As Nick struggles to try to explain the word to Max, he takes his hand and leads him away, leaving the door open behind him, and looking back one last time before disappearing out of the bedroom.
Temptation is clear in his gaze, as I’m sure it must be in mine. And just like that, my little pep talk seems irrelevant.
It’s now very apparent—we are both in so much trouble.