Dazed Page 8

’’Oh, Dahlia, I wouldn\ pull out the violet card for River,’’ I say pointing to my dress. Then with a shrug I add, ’’It just might.’’

Since Jagger is coming over tonight and I wasn\ sure if I\d have time to change before he arrives I decided to select my clothes for tonight this morning.

’’I want to hear all about it,’’ she says stabbing her fork into the salmon lying on top of a bed of fresh greens.

We eat our food as I fill her in on what\s been going on with Jagger and me.

’’I like him. He\s different from anyone I\ve ever gone out with.’’

’’Like how?’’ she asks fondly.

’’Not like Zane,’’ I joke.

She almost spits her water out and her eyes dance with hysteria. ’’God, I hope so. I mean, Aerie, the fact that you could tell me you liked his ceiling fans told me he wasn\ the one for you.’’

’’To his defense, they were really funky. Twin fans turned sideways and connected by an industrial sized rod.’’

We clear our area and deposit our trash in the can near the door. She pulls me in for a hug. ’’Just have fun with him.’’

’’That\s what I\m doing.’’

’’Aerie, you forget how well I know you. You look for a guy\s flaws before he even asks you out and find them before you finish your date.’’

’’I\ll have you know, we\ve gone out on one date and I\m seeing him again tonight and still haven\ found a reason not to date him.’’

She smiles. ’’Well, that\s progress. And I\m proud of you that the ex-girlfriend thing didn\ bother you.’’

I look at her and there must be confusion and jealousy written all across my face.

’’Jules, his ex . . .’’

’’Oh, Dahlia, you know how much I despise talking about other women,’’ I say before she has a chance to say any more.

As we walk back to my office, Dahlia talks about a new band she and River are signing, but my mind is trying to recreate the conversation Jagger and I had about his ex. He never mentioned her name. Should I have asked him more questions about her? We arrive at my office building quickly and I realize it\s late. I have to get back to my office and besides, jealousy is never a becoming quality.

’’So what do you think? You\ll interview them?’’ Dahlia asks.

’’Yes, sure. Of course. What was their name again?’’

She laughs and puts her hands on her hips. ’’Aerie Daniels, you weren\ even listening to me. It\s Look Again.’’

’’Look Again. Yes. Okay, I\ll get in touch with them and see what we can work out.’’

We part ways with a giant hug, and when I enter my office, I find a note on my desk. It reads, ’’I stopped by to introduce you to Ms. Hudson but you were out to lunch. We are out of the office the rest of the day. I arranged a meeting with your secretary for eight a.m. tomorrow morning. Please plan to be there. ~Damon.’’

I stare at the note. The penmanship is exquisite, but the man rubs me the wrong way. Something about him irks me, but I can\ pinpoint it. I feel bad that I missed meeting Kimberly though and look forward to meeting her in the morning. I twirl around in my chair and stare at my sandals again before I settle at my desk to read through the copy for this month\s columns. I manage to get through half of them when my phone beeps. I pull it out and see a text from Jagger.

Just making sure we\ e still on? Should I bring Indian or Mexican?

I\m actually going to be able to leave work early. So I was wondering if you\d like to pick me up and go out instead?

Time seems to stand still as I wait for his reply. Staring at the screen, I smile when my phone rings.

’’Hello,’’ I answer.

’’Hi, Alice.’’ His voice is low, but deep and I feel that now familiar flip in my stomach. ’’I had to call to make sure I was reading my screen correctly. I can pick you up? Like a real date? You know that means you have to ride in my car?’’

’’Yes, you can pick me up and yes, I know I\ll be riding in your car,’’ I say. Then I add, ’’Do I have to wear a crash helmet?’’

He chuckles. ’’I\ll be on my best behavior. I\ll pick you up at seven.’’

I like his laugh. ’’See you then,’’ I say, glancing at my watch thinking three hours seems like forever away.


When the doorbell rings, my heart practically storms out of my chest. I stop in front of the antique hall table to glance in the mirror one last time. I smile when I see the bottle of bourbon I brought back for him. I quickly flatten any flyaway pieces of hair, which I have fastened loosely behind my neck, and take a deep breath. I had left work shortly after my phone conversation with Jagger and headed home. Even though I had selected what I thought was the perfect outfit for this evening, I began to rethink my choice. I thought about Dahlia\s natural style and how I think she always looks se*y without even trying. And on a whim, I decided I wanted to look se*y as well, not professional, not uppity, but simply se*y.

So I called Dahlia as I pulled into the mall and asked for her help. I walked through the store describing the clothes and sent her a few photos. Within twenty minutes she had helped me select a pair of tight, ankle-length black skinny jeans and a slightly oversized shimmery gold blouse with a deep neckline. I know that if I bend down my red lace bra will be on full display. I added my own leather jacket and red studded high-heeled pumps to finish off the look.

Once I got home I decided to strip down and soak in a lavender scented bath. As I lay in the tub, soaking in it for the first time since I had moved in, I smelled the fragrance that reminded me of him and remembered how my body goes on alert whenever I see him or hear his voice. And when an ache erupted between my thighs, I squeezed my legs together and closed my eyes. I tried to push it away, but to be honest . . . it\s been there since I first saw the cupcake thief.

As I swing open the door, a nervousness overtakes me. He stands in front of me looking like sin on a stick. God, he\s beautiful. His hair is styled the same way as the first time I saw him. He\s wearing jeans, and the orange laces of his now-familiar boots put a huge grin on my face. His blue quilted vest is absent and replaced with the most handsome black pea coat.

His eyes swirl like impending storm clouds as he looks me over, head to toe. ’’Hi,’’ he says, his voice as smooth as molasses. His tone sends electricity through me in bolts.

’’Hello,’’ I say back. My voice sounds high, almost squeaky.

He doesn\ move. He doesn\ say another word and neither do I. Hours of flirting and dancing around this seduction have left me unprepared to face him now. My pulse races out of control as he steps toward me. I take a deep breath and the moment his lavender and sage scent graces my senses, I begin to tremble. Our eyes share a silent conversation and then his mouth is on mine in a heartbeat. And this, our second kiss, is just as satisfying as the first. No, it\s so much more. His hands grip my hips, graze my ass, run down the sides of my thighs. My body tingles with every touch. I push myself into him and when I feel the hardness between his legs that must match the ache between mine, I let all my inhibitions go.

I have never wanted a man like I want him. I\ve never wondered what any guy looks like na**d, what he feels like but I want to do nothing more than explore the man in front of me. The harder he presses into me the more I can\ wait. He kicks the door closed and slams me up against the wall. I gasp, returning his hungry kiss. When he stops kissing me, he pulls back to look into my eyes. His hands are still on my ass and his gaze is bright, full of promise, but nervousness makes my words tumble out without thought.

’’We should probably get going if we\ e going to make our dinner reservation,’’ I say in a broken whisper.

’’Is that . . . what you want?’’

My pulse is beating rapidly in every hollow of my body, but I manage a coherent answer. ’’No, that\s not what I want.’’

A single hand slides to my hip, then he wedges his knee between my legs, and his other hand lifts my chin and his lips attack mine. ’’Good.’’

My hands flit under his coat to untuck his shirt. He stiffens at the touch. I move my palms under the thin fabric and revel in the smoothness of his skin. He gasps. I trace the lines of his body and feel nothing but sculpted muscle. My palms rest over his heart and I can feel it racing just as fast as mine. Next I move my fingers to the buttons of his coat and I undo them as quickly as I can. He groans, shrugging out of it, and when it lands on the floor, I think I should pick it up. When he tugs his scarf off and it too falls to the ground, I again think I should pick that up. But when his hands slip under my blouse, his touch sets me on fire and all I can think about is laying down on the pile of his clothes with him above me.

He pulls the elastic from my hair and it falls forward, grazing my shoulders. He walks me backward and then pauses to look around. His hands glide up my back and tangle in my hair. When my calves brush against the wool of the carpet runner on the staircase, I\m surprised by how close it is and I fall back. His strong hands catch me and ease me down. I didn\ even realize we were in motion. I feel drunk, dizzy, lost in the moment.

’’Do you have any idea how much I want you right now!’’ he growls not meaning for it to be a question.

’’I want you, too,’’ I respond shakily.

With one hand braced beside my head, his other finds my hip again. Electricity shoots through me. And this time when he slides his fingers down, he moves even closer to the inside of my thigh and heat flares under my skin. When he grazes my se* he touches that ache that won\ go away and the sensation is unlike anything I\ve ever felt. Then in a move of utter boldness I cup his c**k through his denim and stroke it.

He groans again and that noise floods me with a kind of desire I\ve never felt before. Raw is the only way I can describe it. His hand finds my bra and when his fingers slip inside it, I moan. And this isn\ like a When Harry Met Sally moan. This is the real thing true and authentic. I feel his smile around our kisses and then a moment later, he pulls back and tugs my shirt over my head.

I rest both my elbows on the stairs and his eyes go immediately to my red lace bra. His control is unexpected as he admires me for the longest time. ’’F*k, Aerie. You\ e so beautiful.’’

Our gazes lock as he finds my eyes and I get lost in his, lost in watching him, lost in wanting him. His hands cup my breasts, which fit perfectly in his palms. He unsnaps the front closure of my bra and my br**sts spring free. He\s fast and before I can register the look in his eyes, his knee is pressing into my side and his long, lean body is draped over me. God, he\s so handsome. When his mouth closes around one of my nipples, I moan even louder. He moves to the other side and I kick my shoes off. I press one of my knees into his crotch and move it up and down over the hardness of his erection.

His mouth nips at the soft skin of my shoulder and I breathe in his scent as he kisses his way up my neck, alternating between licking and sucking. I\ve never liked a man to lick me. It always reminded me of a dog or a cat, but I more than like it now. His hands are on my zipper before long and he\s tugging the tight denim down. I know this is the point of no return. But honestly I think I hit that point the moment he called me Alice.

He tugs my jeans off one leg at a time. I\m breathing hard, trying not to pant as his fingertips glide down my legs. I sit up before he even has my foot out of the second leg and skim his shirt off. I sit here on the steps of my house, the house that has never seen a male visitor, in my underwear and just stare at the guy before me. I feel connected to him in a way I\ve never experienced. And my desire for him soars unlike anything I have ever felt.

’’What do you like?’’ he asks.

I stop breathing. ’’I don\ know.’’

I can feel the corners of his mouth curve upwards as he moves to kiss my stomach.

’’Well let\s find out,’’ he smirks.

His lips course their way down my body and I start to quiver. When his wet mouth moves over the lace of my panties, I can feel his hot breath on me and I shake harder. His hands cover my ass and my pu**y and in a flash my panties are off. My legs spread apart and when his tongue circles my clit, it starts throbbing in a way that I\ve never felt before. His touch is hot. His breath is warm. His lips are wet. And I\m pulsating everywhere.

’’Let go, Aerie,’’ he says lifting his mouth from between my legs for only a few short seconds.

And when his lips touch my soft flesh again, I cry out and let myself go. Let him rid me of the aching pain I\ve been feeling for days. My head falls and I arch my back as he licks, sucks, and kisses all of me. My toes curl as an exquisite sensation overcomes me, rocks me unlike anything I\ve ever felt before. And in this single moment of ecstasy, my body trembles as it comes alive and I cry out louder than I ever have with what can only be described as pure pleasure.

Our conversations have been full of laughter, interesting topics, and in-depth discussions, but right now there is nothing I want to talk about. All I want to do is feel. The nerves within my body are alive wherever he touches me. And when his lips rejoin mine and he runs his hand up my stomach, my muscles jump. My fingers unbutton his jeans and I mutter around his lips, ’’Do you want to go to my room?’’

His mouth opens to answer, but all that comes out is the word f*k, which sounds more like a groan. Before I can slide my fingers inside his pants, he is on his feet with his hand extended. ’’Lead the way.’’

With his lips on my neck, I lead him to my room and he flicks the lights on. My first instinct is to turn them off, but I have an overwhelming urge to see him completely na**d, and that outweighs any issues I have about the lights being on.

He stops and again looks around, but only long enough to untie his boots and kick them off one at a time. Any rules I have about not wearing shoes in the house are completely tossed out the window. I chew my thumbnail as I watch the orange laces come undone. Once they are he comes at me without hesitation. He walks us backward, and when my thighs graze the silk coverlet of my high mattress, I find his pants by touch and I unzip them. He shoves them down. He stands before me in his white boxer briefs and my arousal escalates to an alarming level. It\s unlike me to swear, my parents strictly forbade it, but, f*k, he is beautiful.

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