By the time he started kissing me again, I was already close to the edge. The need and desire and craving that spiraled through my body were building, and I could feel it just ahead of me. A little more . . . All I needed was a little more and then all that energy could explode out of me, setting me free again.
I was already hovering on the edge of overload when he reached down, sliding a hand under my ass to roll us over again. Suddenly I was on top and in control, perfectly positioned to take exactly what I needed from him.
I’d been waiting for this moment for more than a year . . . Leaning forward, I braced my hand against his shoulders, jerking my hips back and forth, riding him for all I was worth. His firm grip on my waist steadied me, allowing me to focus on one thing and one thing only—getting off.
Then it hit—my body tightened as all that twisted need unraveled at once, destroying me in the process.
“Fuck,” he groaned as I spasmed around him. I felt his dick swelling inside me, pulsing as he flew over the edge, too. “Jesus, fuck . . . Mel.”
Collapsing down over his body, I let him pull me into his arms. Nestling into his shoulder, I decided I wouldn’t think about what this might mean in the grand scheme of things.
Better to just savor it while it lasted.
With that as my last thought, I fell asleep.
I woke slowly, stretching out across my futon like a satisfied cat.
Sunshine filled the boothlike room, and shards of multicolored light sparkled against the wood-paneled walls from the prisms I’d hung in the window. They’d belonged to my mom, and when she’d taken off, she’d left them behind. I reached for my phone, catching a glimpse of the dried, flaking remains of the face paint.
Memory flooded back.
I’d had sex with Painter. Really good sex. I looked to the pillow beside me, finding the imprint he’d left. No sign of him, though . . . Had he taken off? He’d warned me that he wasn’t the type to commit, but had our friendship really fallen apart that easily?
No, I should give him the benefit of the doubt. For all I knew he was downstairs cooking me breakfast.
Standing slowly—isn’t that an interesting little ache between my legs?—I found my bathrobe, then started toward the bathroom, trying not to think about how many times he must’ve fucked and run with other girls. Not like he made me any promises.
God, I was stupid.
I’d left my phone downstairs, so I wasn’t even sure what time it was. Still early. Maybe he’d left me a message.
A quick stop in the bathroom later—holy crap, I need a shower to get all that dried paint off—and I was heading downstairs to find it.
My phone wasn’t on the coffee table or in the dining room, which didn’t bode well. I could hear noises in the kitchen, though, and even smelled bacon. I had a brief, intense fantasy it was Painter. I found Jessica and Taz instead. The Devil’s Jack was leaning back against the counter drinking a cup of coffee, which he raised to me with a smirking salute.
“Good morning,” he said. “Have fun last night?”
Too bad I didn’t know him well enough to flip him off, because I wanted to in a big way. Jess turned from the stove, my favorite red spatula raised like a weapon in one hand while the other was braced on her hip, which she’d cocked belligerently.
“You look like shit,” she said, eyes flicking over me. This wasn’t news. I’d seen my reflection in the bathroom mirror—the paint had dried and flaked into a molting lizard pattern, so I couldn’t really fault her for her words. “Why did you let him in? Didn’t you get my text warning you? I can’t believe you slept with him, are you totally fucking cra—”
“Hey, Jessica,” Taz said, cutting her off. “Shut the fuck up. It’s none of your business.”
Jessica’s mouth gaped open. Then her eyes were narrowing as she turned on him. “You’re just my booty call, don’t think you get a vote—”
Taz reached over and casually caught her behind the neck, jerking her into him for a kiss. Somehow he managed to give me a thumbs-up behind her back as I tried to bite back my laughter. Jess had been so subdued for a while after whatever the hell it was that’d happened to her down in California. I’d been happy to see her showing signs of life again, but this thing with me and Painter? Yeah. None of her business.
I wandered back out into the living room, looking around for my phone. Jessica’s was next to the TV, and I grabbed it to call myself. (She’d been using the same pass code since she got her first phone—I’d cracked it years ago.) The couch buzzed at me before I could even dial, though. Incoming text. The phone must’ve fallen down between the cushions.
I pulled it out to find a series of messages from Painter.
PAINTER: Mel—you’re still asleep so I went to get breakfast. Back soon.
PAINTER: Dunno what you like so getting you a latte.
PAINTER: Back in five.
I smiled, feeling a tension I hadn’t even fully acknowledged release in my chest—he hadn’t pulled a runner on me. Not only that, he’d be here in less than five minutes . . . and I still looked like a diseased lizard!
Oh no. Not gonna happen.
“I’m taking a shower!” I yelled at the top of my lungs, hoping Jess wouldn’t be too busy screwing Taz to let Painter inside. It was a risk I’d have to take, because no fucking way was I answering the door in full molt.