Read an Excerpt
A Hands on Serial, Part 2 of 3
By Cathryn Fox, Brenda Chin
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Cathryn Fox
All rights reserved.
Jack finished running through the exercises his physical trainer had given him earlier that morning and collapsed onto his bed. He tossed a couple painkillers back, chasing them with cold coffee that had been sitting on his nightstand for hours.
He checked the time, and glanced outside to hear his brothers ribbing each other as they pulled into the driveway. His fingers closed around the towel beside him, and he wiped his face and chest before tugging his shirt back on. Favoring his leg, he made his way downstairs, the smell of pot roast reaching his nose as he pushed through the front door, the late-day sun warm on his face. He rubbed his stomach as it growled in hungry anticipation. Dead tired of living off takeout, he was happy to be enjoying home-cooked meals with his family again. The only problem was that if his mother kept cooking for him like this, he'd be packing on the pounds and the league would never take him back.
"Hey, where were you last night?" Sam asked Jack, holding Luke's head in a lock as he ran his knuckles through his hair. "I thought we were hanging out."
"Got tied up."
Luke used one of his wrestling moves and turned the tables on Sam, taking him to his knees. "Oh yeah, who was she?" Luke asked.
Jack grinned. "I don't kiss and tell."
The front door squeaked open, and Luke let Sam go. Jack laughed. The three of them were grown men — Luke and Sam shared a condo, and co-owed their own repair bays on the other side of town — yet still came rushing home when they smelled their mother's pot roast. Jack's two brothers still acted like they were teenagers when they all got together at home for a meal. Sam climbed to his feet and gave Jack a nudge on the shoulder. Jack faltered a little.
"Don't kiss and tell, my ass," Luke said.
"Yeah, since when did that happen?" Sam pressed.
His mother came out and pointed a finger at Sam. "You shouldn't be pushing Jack like that. His knee can't take it."
His mother turned her attention to Luke and asked him to come inside and help reach a tray for her. Sam nudged Jack and made a face. "Momma's boy," he whispered.
Jack threw his arm over his brother's shoulder. "Don't be jealous 'cause she likes me more, bro."
Sam laughed, and gave Jack a pretend jab to the gut. "You just keep telling yourself that. Last night, she told me I was the favorite."
"Favorite asshole maybe."
Sam laughed, and as Luke took off inside to help their mom, he lowered his voice. "Seriously though, I thought you were coming to Grayson's last night. Candy's been dying to meet you."
"Not interested." Then again, when he'd mentioned BDSM to Danielle, her eyes had lit up. Would she be interested in visiting a club like Grayson's?
He pulled back. "You? Not interested in Shari's best friend, a girl who just happens to be named Candy?" He shook his head. "You do know what they say about girls named Candy, right?"
"No, I don't."
Sam made a clucking sound with his tongue. "Sweet on the eyes, and even sweeter on the lips, little bro."
"Doesn't matter. Not interested."
Sam lightly tapped Jack's temple. "Are you sure it wasn't your head you injured?"
"I'm kind of dating someone," he blurted out without thinking. Well, he was, at least for the next two weeks. And technically, they weren't dating. But he did kind of commit to giving her fourteen nights of his time. He shook his head, incredulous. Who would have thought that sweet, virginal Danielle Lang — a recent graduate who wanted to open a family counseling practice someday, but had taken a sex therapist position in the meantime to help pay down bills — would come to him and ask for sex lessons to get her up to speed before summer classes started up? He probably shouldn't be looking forward to it as much as he was.
His brother's eye widened. "What the fuck are you talking about, dude? Since when did you get serious enough with a girl to date exclusively?"
"Just started. We kind of committed to ..." Shit, that was probably a poor choice of words, and he didn't want to get into this with his brother. Danielle would be mortified if anyone found out what she'd asked of him, and he had more respect for her than to blab to anyone — even one of the guys he confided in most.
Sam rubbed his hands. "So, when do I get to meet her?"
"Never." The last thing he wanted to do was bring her around his brothers. "Look, she's sweet, and shy, and I like her okay." He jabbed Sam in the chest. "I don't need you corrupting her." One thing was true. He did like her. A lot.
Sam flashed his famous panty-removing smile, one the girls at the club knew so well. "Worried I'm going to steal her from you?"
The image of Sam and Danielle together flashed in his mind and soured his smile. His gut tightened. Shit, he didn't like that. He didn't like it at all. Not that he had to worry about it, really. Sam was a good guy, and if Jack told him Danielle was off-limits, Sam would respect that. But that wasn't what was bothering him. No, the visual of her with another guy — any guy — was something he couldn't seem to stomach. But what they were doing was just sex, teacher and student, nothing more.
How far would she want him to push her? How much did she want to experience between the sheets? "Actually, I think I might take her to Grayson's."
Sam arched a brow, his grin wide. "If she's as sweet as you say, you sure that's where you want to take her?"
He nodded and walked up the three steps to the front door. "Just to show her around."
Sam gave him a questioning look, but said no more when their father and Jack's best friend, Jamie, came from the garage and entered behind them. His dad was a big man who still towered over all his sons.
His father scrubbed a hand over the graying hairs on his chin and turned to Sam while he and Jamie kicked off their boots. "Sam, did you get that part I sent over?"
"Yeah, I installed it today. There was a problem with the bolt, though."
As Sam and their dad talked shop, Jack and Jamie walked into the kitchen. His mom stood at the counter wiping her hands on her apron, and her smile widened when they entered. His heart squeezed. She loved having him home, loved doting on him every chance she could. It was hard on her to have him away so much.
"Need any help?" he asked, stepping up and giving his mom a hug.
She tucked a blond strand of hair behind her ear. "Why don't you help Luke set the table? Jamie can get the pie out of the oven."
Jack laughed. "You don't trust me to get the pie."
"Jamie is a chef. He knows his way around the kitchen."
Jamie grinned. "Learned from the best," he said. Jack's mom beamed at the compliment. "Why do you think I was always hanging around here?"
"To mooch food, not to learn how to cook it," Jack argued as his mother shooed him away with her dish towel. Jack grabbed forks and knives from the drawer and stepped into the dining room. As he helped Luke, he dodged questions and jabs. Danielle was not up for discussion. End of story. Ten minutes later, they were all at the table. His heart warmed as he looked around at his family. He missed this. Missed his folks, missed hanging out with his brothers, his best friend, missed everyone convening for a midweek dinner just to catch up.
He was about to shove a forkful of mashed potato into his mouth when Sam spoke up. "Hey, Mom, did you hear your baby boy is dating someone?" He turned to their dad, a smirk on his face. "I hope you gave him the talk." The three guys started laughing, and Jack stiffened.
His mother's brown eyes widened. "What's this?" she asked, turning to Jack.
"Yeah, he's committed," Sam kindly supplied, doing air quotes around the word. "Isn't that what you said, bro?"
"Really?" his mom asked, sitting up a little straighter. "Why am I just hearing about this?"
"Now, Cindy," his father piped in. "Jack's private life is just that. Private. He'll tell us about his new girl when he's ready."
"When do you think that will be, Jack?" Sam asked. It was all Jack could do not to climb over the counter and smack that shit-eating grin off his brother's face.
"Hmm?" Sam pressed.
Jesus Christ, he was going to kill Sam for busting his balls like this. He exchanged a look with Jamie, who nodded, ready to back him up once they got outside. He was happy to see some things never changed. He could always count on his best friend to have his back.
"It's not like that," Jack said, giving his brother a look that suggested his ball sack was in jeopardy if he didn't shut the hell up. But Sam only laughed it off.
His mom blinked up at him. "Maybe you'd like to bring her by for the next family dinner. We're doing it again on Sunday. Isn't that right, Joseph?"
"Mom, I don't think —"
"Why not?" she asked, the look of hope in her eyes damn near killing him. Everyone knew she was dying to have a female in the family. But she'd have to look to Luke for that. Traditionally, the oldest married first, and since Luke didn't seem to be in any hurry to settle down, the attention should be on him, not Jack.
"Yeah, why not?" Sam asked.
"Because." What the hell was he supposed to say? Oh, I'm just teaching her all the ways there are to fuck. That's it. "Look, I'll check with her okay," he said, hoping to appease his mother. "She might be busy."
His mother smiled and turned her attention to her dinner. Throughout the rest of the meal, conversation was kept off him, for the most part. After dinner, Sam took off before Jack could give him a proper beating, so Jack went upstairs for a shower before he headed out to Danielle's place for the evening.
When he came back down, his parents were in the living room, his dad reading the paper and his mom, a novel. "Don't wait up, okay? I'll be late tonight," he called out as he left the house. He was anxious to see Danielle, to explore so much more with her.
He wondered how she was feeling today. Last night's phone sex had been incredible. He'd sent her a text when he woke, asking about her plans for the day and telling her to keep her night free. She'd responded instantly, agreeing.
He hopped on his bike and drove through the streets, going past the house Danielle had pointed out to him when he'd taken her home last night. Slowing his bike, he watched as a Realtor guided a couple inside. Shit. He hoped the couple didn't swoop in and buy it before Danielle could scrape up the down payment. It really was the perfect house for her. The location was ideal for her family counseling business, and the upstairs would make a great living space.
Revving the engine, he took another corner and pulled up outside Danielle's apartment. He glanced up to her window to find her standing there, watching him.
Jack tugged off his helmet and made his way inside. She buzzed him up and just as he was about to knock on her door, she opened it, a warm flush on her cheeks. His gaze dropped to take in her frayed shorts and bare legs. Fuck, she was sexier than any pinup model on every calendar in his dad's garage. He put his hand around her waist, leaned in, and pressed his mouth to hers.
"Hey," he murmured, determined to put her at ease, to let her know that what they'd done last night was normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Christ, she'd come for him and he was pretty damn proud of that, honored even. "How do you feel today?"
"Last night was amazing." He stepped closer and her scent swirled around him. "You're amazing."
"You're not so bad yourself," she said, her uncertainty ebbing away as she relaxed into him.
"How was your day?"
"Busy. I did a bit of prep work for the course, and met Violet for lunch."
Ah, Violet, the best friend who'd put her up to asking him for sexual help. "Sounds like a good day."
Danielle held her hands together, her fingers steepled. "I hate to get too ahead of myself, but we drew up plans for my future clinic."
Shit. His gut clenched, but he wasn't about to burst her bubble. Then again, the house hadn't sold yet.
"How was your day?" She frowned and looked downward. "How's your leg feeling?"
It should have surprised him that she cared enough to ask, but for some reason, it didn't. She was sweet, with a genuinely caring nature. "Tough therapy class this morning."
Real concern moved over her face. "Are you okay? Come in and sit."
He shook his head. "I'm okay, and we're going out."
Wanting to keep everything open and honest between them, he said, "The BDSM club I mentioned last night."
She stiffened, her eyes wide. "Really?"
He cupped the back of her neck and stroked her nape. "Don't worry. I'm not going to leave your side. There is nothing you have to do if you don't want. Grayson's is a safe place to experiment, to let go and feel. Isn't that what this two weeks is all about?"
"I thought you might like to watch, see what goes on. It'll be an education, of sorts. And you did seem interested in the club when I mentioned it."
She straightened her shoulders, a new steadfastness about her. "I am interested. I want to go." A small smile touched her mouth, and she looked over her shoulder to the empty box sitting on her coffee table. Where did she stash the ropes I sent her last night? She coiled her hair around her finger, a sexy move that always hardened his cock. "Should I bring the ropes?"
Growling, he pulled her hand from her hair, and her eyes widened in innocence. But she knew what she was doing to him. "Keep it up and we won't get out of here."
"So that's a no to bringing the rope?"
He laughed. "That's a no." His gaze moved over her face, taking in the pink flush. He moved closer, pushing a knee between her legs. "They're for here, for some time later, when I tie you up and have my way with you."
"Oh." She exhaled slowly, then pushed her glasses up. Her glance flickered over his collared shirt and jeans. "What, ah ... what should I wear to the club?" she asked, sounding a bit breathless.
He backed up and took in her frayed shorts a second time, and the T-shirt tucked into the waistband. "You look fine to me."
"I feel a little underdressed. I think I'll pull on a pair of jeans, and change my top." She took her glasses off. "I'm going to put my contacts in, too."
"Okay." He stepped inside and closed the door behind him as she darted down the hall. He resisted the urge to follow and watch her change, but consoled himself with the knowledge that he'd be the one undressing her later. His cock throbbed in anticipation.
She emerged, looking sexy in her skinny jeans and lacy light blue top that brought out the color in her eyes. He spent a long moment looking at her, admiring her innocent sensuality. His thoughts careered in an erotic direction, but he marshaled his cock. Tonight was about her, not him.
"What?" she asked.
His gaze lifted to hers and he smiled. "You look beautiful," he said. Then he frowned, a sudden pang of jealousy hitting him like a jagged knife to his gut. "The guys at the club are going to love you."
She stepped up to him, a smile playing on her mouth. One slender finger poked into his chest. "But I'm with you. You made it pretty clear that you own me for the next two weeks, so I'm sure no one will bother me." Her small chuckle curled around him. "Not if they know what's good for them."
His knees nearly gave. Jesus, the trust she put in him, the way she was so willing to place herself in his hands, laid him low. But it was her confidence in him, the blatant belief that he'd protect her, that made him feel important, as if he wasn't a shell of his former self, the way the damn league made him feel. One minute he'd been the star quarterback, the next, he was on his way home to recover from his injury. Worthless. But she didn't make him feel like a failure. His chest puffed up a bit. He kind of liked that she looked at him as her protector, a man she could count on. It shouldn't thrill him as much as it did, but it did, and there wasn't a fucking thing he could do about it.
"Don't worry, Danielle." He dipped his head, his thumb brushing over her lower lip. "I'm going to take really good care of you."
She smiled at him, and his heart missed a beat. He sucked in a quick breath to get it pumping again. Putting his hand around her waist, he asked, "Ready?"
Excerpted from Body Contact by Cathryn Fox, Brenda Chin. Copyright © 2016 Cathryn Fox. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.