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«Copyright © 2014 J. Kenner The right of J. Kenner to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the ...»

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Want me to talk to Tyler about sending your resume out through the placement office?” “Thanks, but no. I have something in mind, actually.” I glanced at his face, saw his attentive expression, and hurried on. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while, now. Ever since I started house-hunting. I think—I think I want to get my real estate license.” “Do you?” He nodded slowly, as if he was seriously weighing my words. And then an easy smile crossed his face. “I think you’d kick serious ass in real estate.” Tension I hadn’t even realized I’d been holding drained from me. “Do you really think so?” “It’s the perfect job for you. You’re good with people, you know how to sell a thing and a concept. You can bullshit with the best of them,” he added with a cocky grin. “Yeah, I think it’s good.” “You are just raking in the brownie points today.” “I’ll be sure to cash them in soon.” He turned a slow circle in the room. “Yeah, this place was a great find. It has a ton of potential.” “In other words, it needs a lot of work.” He laughed. “That, too.” “Will you help me?” The answer was there in the way he looked at me, his words only underscoring the truth. “You couldn’t keep me away.” I took a moment to simply look at him and soak him in and wonder why it had taken me so long to go after what I’d wanted. Because now that I had Cole beside me, all those empty days before seemed even emptier. And I was determined to fill to overflowing all the days that were still to come.

He tapped the end of my nose. “You’ve checked out again,” he said. “Where to this time?” “Away,” I said with a grin. “With you. To fantasyland.” His grin was bright and wicked. “I’m happy to make your fantasies a reality.” “And I am going to take you up on that. After I get your opinion on the rest of the house,” I said, then laughed as I grabbed his hand and led him toward the second bedroom. “I’m just going to do a basic paint job in here. I figure Flynn can decorate it however he wants.” “Flynn’s moving in with you?” “He’s my roommate now, and he’ll be my roommate when I move. He needs one, and I always appreciate saving money. Especially since he’ll be helping build my equity.” “I’m really not sure I like that.” “No?” I folded myself into his arms. “Then I guess you’ll have to spend a lot of time right here to make sure I’m being a good girl.” “Kat...” I’d been teasing, of course, but Cole’s expression looked anything but amused.

“Don’t be jealous,” I said, and though I tried to keep my irritation out of my voice, I don’t think I succeeded. “You know there’s nothing going on with me and Flynn. And honestly, if either of us has cause to be jealous, I think that would be me.” The minute I said it, I regretted it.

“Really?” He spoke in the overly polite tone of a boardroom executive.

I cocked my head and crossed my arms over my chest. “Come on, Cole, seriously? We’re not playing this game. I know about the Firehouse, remember? And I have an idea of what goes on there. And I know that you fuck that girl, Michelle.

And,” I added, because I’d gotten myself worked up and was on a roll, “I don’t even know if you’ve been with anybody since me. Because you told me that I had to be exclusive, but you didn’t say a thing about yourself.” “Is that what you think?” he asked in that dangerously flat voice. “That I’m with someone else when I’m not with you?” “Oh, hell, I shouldn’t have said anything at all. I’m sorry.

Truly.” I drew in a breath.

“I’m not sleeping with Flynn.

I’ve never slept with Flynn.

But he can’t afford to live alone and I’m not leaving him high and dry. And no,” I added, “I don’t really believe you’re with anyone else.” That was the truth, but it didn’t matter, because my mind had skipped ahead to Michelle and the Firehouse and leather and—and that was the problem. I didn’t know what the and was. And, damn me, I hated the idea that he couldn’t—or wouldn’t— get everything he needed from me.

Because even if he wasn’t going to Michelle anymore, I knew that he was leaving something on the table. That he was afraid to push me to the edge. That despite how far we’d come, we still had a long way to go. And we weren’t going to get there until he got over the fear that he was going to go spinning out of control.

“I’m sorry,” I said again.

“I shouldn’t have mentioned her. I’m completely and totally jealous of her, but if you say you’re not still seeing her, I believe you. You just pissed me off about Flynn.

He’s a friend. That’s all.” “You don’t have any reason to be jealous of Michelle.” There was nothing flat about his voice now. It was smooth and soothing and full of tenderness.

“But I do,” I said, as he took my hands and pulled me close to him. “Don’t you get it? I want what she had. You shared something with her— something I don’t understand because you haven’t even shown it to me—and maybe it’s petty and stupid, but whatever you did with her— whatever you got from her—I want you to get that from me.” “Oh, baby,” he said, then claimed me with a wild, violent kiss full of teeth and tongue and power and heat.





My head went spinning, my thoughts turning into a jumble, my worries fading to nothing more than mist. And when he cupped my ass and thrust me hard against him so that his erection teased me mercilessly, all I could think was that I had to have him— had to touch him—because then I would know that he was real and that he was mine.

He moved his hands to my shoulders, then pushed away from me as violently as we’d come together. “There is nothing—nothing—that I don’t get from you. You fill me up, Kat. Don’t you see that? Don’t you understand that?” “I do,” I said, my words coming on a gasp. But that wasn’t the truth. Not really. I still feared that I didn’t fill the dark spaces inside him. That he needed more than he was taking from me.

At the same time, I remembered the phone and the car. The way he took me with such wild passion in The Drake just a few short hours ago. I remembered, and I hoped. And I decided to bide my time. I’d waited so long for this man, I could wait a little longer for the whole of him.

He hooked his finger under my chin and tilted my head so that I had no choice but to look into his eyes, hard now with purpose and heat.

“Tell me what you want,” he said, the gentleness of his voice in sharp contrast to the hard angles and lines of his face.

Everything. But I didn’t say that. Instead I said, “Take me here. Hot and hard and wild. And in every room in this house—tonight, before it even belongs to me, just because the idea excites me.” Humor lit his eyes, but there was heat in his movements when he dropped his hand and stalked toward me, one step and then another. I matched him, backing up until he’d trapped me against the wall and he stood there, a solid barrier of masculine power.

My pulse had increased and my breath was coming unevenly. He was so close I could see the movement of his T-shirt as his heart beat inside his chest. I could smell the scent of lust. And there was no mistaking the violence I saw in his eyes.

With any other man, it would have been terror that cut through me, sharp and cold.

Instead, I burned for him.

I was wet and open for him.

And when he grabbed my wrists and yanked them roughly above my head, it was a cry of passion I released. A wild, desperate moan of pleasure and need that, even without words, begged him to touch me. To fuck me.

“Is this what you want?” he growled, thrusting his knee between my legs so that it was hard against my crotch.

“Wild and rough?” he demanded as he curled his huge palm around both my wrists to hold me in place, then used his other hand to rip open my T-shirt at the collar. The violence of the action made me gasp—and it made me wet. And when he then yanked apart the tiny piece of material that held together the two cups of my bra, I really thought I would come right then.

He cupped my breast, then squeezed hard, making me groan. Relentless, he focused next on my nipple—on taking it and rolling the erect nub between his fingers before adding more and more pressure until I felt it not just in my breast but in my sex, and I ground shamelessly against his knee, wanting to feel more. Hell, to feel it all.

“Oh, yeah, you like it rough. You should see your skin, Kat, so pink and flush.

Tell me you want me to fuck you.” “I do. I want you to fuck me.” “Tell me you want my cock inside you.” “Yes, Cole. Please. Deep inside me. Hard inside me.” “Tell me you’re mine,” he said, releasing my nipple, then grabbing a chunk of my hair and twisting it tight in his hand. “Tell me you’re mine,” he repeated. “And then tell me what that means.” “I’m yours,” I said.

“Whatever you want, however you want it.” His eyes burned with the kind of passion I felt, and he used his grip on my hair to force me down onto my knees. “I want your mouth on my cock, baby.” Yes, I thought as I fumbled at his belt, then his fly. Oh, god, yes.

I was so wet, my body humming, my power to think reduced to a primal, passionate lust that only Cole could fulfill.

This was what I’d wanted to see. A wilder, more dangerous side of him. I wanted to go there with him, because I’d never been and there was no one else in the world I trusted to take me there. No one else in the world I’d want to slide down into the darkness with.

He was so hard and so thick, and I wanted nothing more than to taste him and tease him and take this man who’d opened the world to me right to the edge. I started slowly, trailing my tongue down the length of him, but Cole was having none of it, and he moved my head so that my lips were curled around his cock and I slowly drew him in, sucking and tasting and teasing with my tongue.

He tasted of male and lust and power, and I wanted to take him all the way. Wanted to be the one who made him break, and when he moaned and thrust into me, fucking my mouth, I concentrated on breathing and taking him deeper and deeper, even as my body fired with the knowledge that his passion was building.

His fingers were still tight in my hair and as he got closer, he thrust harder and controlled my head more, taking what he wanted, but also shifting off my natural rhythm and forcing himself just a bit too far back in my throat.

It was a little bit uncomfortable, and I felt tears prick in my eyes, not from pain but from that odd physical reaction that makes you tear up sometimes, like when you’re dicing an onion or deep-throating the guy you love.

But those were minor things, and completely buried under the pleasure that fell over me like a blanket—the pure, sweet satisfaction of knowing that my mouth, my touch, had taken him to the edge, and was about to push him over.

But then he increased the tempo, thrusting harder into my mouth so that I had to shift my head so as not to choke. He was lost in the moment, though, and tugged hard on a shank of my hair to get me back where I was— and the violence of the motion sent unexpected needles of pain digging into my scalp.

I cried out as I flinched, and that made me choke. I tried to steady myself and control my breathing, but then I felt a hard shove. All of a sudden, I was falling backward. I reached my hands back to steady myself, but still managed to whack my shoulder blade hard on the windowsill before landing flat on my ass with a startled, frustrated yelp.

My sad little noise, however, was totally overshadowed by the look of complete horror on Cole’s face.

“Kat,” he said, his voice as ripped and destroyed as his expression.

I tried to stand and go to him, but he’d knocked the wind out of me when he shoved me backward, and I couldn’t make a sound. All I could do was reach for him, but he stared at my hand as if it would bite him.

Slowly—like a man fighting for every ounce of control—he shook his head.

“I should never have—Jesus, Kat, I told you. Didn’t I goddamn fucking tell you that I’d go too far? That I’d hurt you?” “No.” The word came out hoarse, my breath still off and my throat raw.

He looked pale, battered, and when he lifted his hand and saw strands of wavy blond hair still twined between his fingers, I thought he was going to throw up.

He backed away from me, and I couldn’t seem to move.

It was as if I was trapped in amber, watching some horrific moment in history.

Then he was zipping his fly and buckling his belt. He reached into his pocket and tossed his keys onto my floor.

“I have to go.” “Cole, no!” That time, the words burst out of me, and there was no disguising my fear. Not of the man, but of him walking out that door.

Cole, however, heard only the fear.

“Take the Range Rover.

Get yourself home. And here,” he added, pulling off his shirt and tossing it at me.



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