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“No, as much as I’d love to break every speed and traffic law in existence to give you a firsthand introduction to rocky road, you’re just going to have to wait until next Thursday for that.”

I needed another sip of water. “You know what they say? The key to happiness is having something to look forward to,” I said, taking another long drink for good measure.

“I’ll show you something to look forward to.” Jude had mastered the art of inflection; these words were no exception.

Screw the drinking—I was going to have to douse myself with water if he kept up that kind of talk. “Even more to look forward to.”

“I’m going to hang up, Luce, and call you right back,” he said. “Okay?”


The line went dead and, before I could wonder what he was up to now, my phone was ringing again. Instead of Jude’s picture that normally popped up whenever he called, the phone displayed me in real time, requesting a Face Time call.

The pieces of the what-was-he-up-to puzzle were starting to come together.

Accepting the Face Time request, I stared at myself on the screen a few more seconds before I disappeared and someone I enjoyed staring at much more appeared. I adjusted the phone so he had only a neck-up view.

His infamous smirk fell into place immediately. “Hey, Luce.”

“Hey, Jude,” I replied, cocking a brow. Seeing him made my heart as happy as it made it ache. I wanted to be able to reach through that phone and touch him and have his hands on me. It seemed like an eternity since we’d been together. The day the cell phone manufacturers figured out a way to program a teleportation or virtual reality option into these so-called smart phones would be the day I’d call them “smart.”

“Nice jersey,” I said, appraising him. His skin had darkened in the Southern California sun, and his hair that he normally kept short had grown a bit longer and a shade lighter. His gray eyes were metallic tonight, somewhere between silver and pewter. A sheen of sweat dotted his face, dirt streaked his neck, and his shoulder pads made him appear even more superhuman in size than he normally did.

“Nice face,” he said, his smirk growing more pronounced.

“I know how much you love it,” I replied, “so I wanted to give you a close-up.”

“Baby, that face is so damn beautiful a man could die happy looking into it, but you can’t do this to me when I know what’s on display below it.” The skin between his brows lined as his eyes narrowed. Jude’s tortured face was almost as sexy as that smirk of his.

“You mean this display?” I said, tilting the phone so it ran down my body. Slowly. I watched Jude’s face shift from tortured, to expectant, to excited, ending at ravenous.

He stayed quiet, nothing but the heaviness of his breath exchanging with mine.

“Damn,” he breathed when I made the round trip, ending back at my face.

I smiled shyly at him. I don’t know what it was—Jude had seen me na**d more than I’d seen myself, but something about sharing it over the phone, when there was no way for him to touch me, made the experience about ten times more intimate.

“You’re a lucky bastard,” I quoted back his favorite saying.

“Don’t I know it,” he said, licking his lips. “Do you have something you can use to prop your phone up with?” he asked, adjusting his and doing the same, I guessed.


“Luce,” he said, exasperated.

“Fine,” I relented, grabbing the sparkling wine bottle and sliding it across the table. Propping my phone against it, I adjusted it so he had a view of everything. “I improvised and utilized the wine we were supposed to be celebrating with tonight as my hands-free device. Happy now?”

“Happy always,” he said, shifting on the seat of his truck. “Because you’re going to need your hands free for what we’re about to do.”

I choked on the sip of water I was taking. Another puzzle piece slid into place.

“What the hell are you talking about, Ryder?” I said after clearing my throat. “And what the hell are you doing shifting all the hell around?” His head disappeared from the screen as he lifted himself. His hands slid down his sides, pulling on the seam of his football spandex.

“Taking my pants off,” he said matter-of-factly. No shame—not even a hint.

His torso lowered right before I caught the X-rated version of this video. “Why?” I said, my voice cracking.

His lips parted, revealing a smile that made my thighs clench. “Because I’m about to give French vanilla a run for its damn money.”

Shit. He was crazy. Loco crazy.

“I like French vanilla,” I replied, my voice so shaky you would have thought I was a virgin on prom night.

“If you like French vanilla, Luce, I can guarantee you’re going to love this.”

Double shit.

“I’m going to love what?” I cursed myself. Why did I ask myself questions to which I already knew the answer?

“Touching yourself for me,” he replied, his voice so deep it was dark.

Triple shit all the way to infinity.

“I’m not doing that,” I said firmly. Skanky girls had phone sex. I certainly didn’t. I’d do anything for Jude, with perhaps this one exception.

“Yes, you are,” he said, his confidence the total opposite of what I was feeling. “Just pretend it’s my hand on you.”

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