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Skin on Skin
By Jami Alden Valerie Martinez Sunny
APHRODISIA BOOKSCopyright © 2007 Kensington Publishing Corp.
All right reserved.
Chapter One"My darling, I want to touch you everywhere," Lars whispered.
Miranda shivered as his long, elegant fingers slid down the flat plane of her belly, his skin so dark against her own pale flesh. His hardness stirred against her bare leg and she gasped. Soon he would drive that thick column of flesh inside her. Could she possibly bear it?
A soft mewl escaped her lips as his hand drifted to the delta of springy curls between her thighs. She squirmed in embarrassment as his fingers tickled the entrance of her body, finding her shamefully wet, aching for his touch.
"Oh, Miranda," Lars sighed, groaning in approval as he felt her wet welcome. "Have you any idea how long I've wanted to touch you like this, how I've ached to slide inside the sweet petals of your womanhood ..."
Lauren put the book facedown on her bedside table and closed her eyes. Her hand slid down to the waistband of her pajama bottoms and inside her cotton bikini panties. In her mind, Miranda's silvery blond hair became a mass of cinnamon curls, and her petite, delicate figure became Lauren's own strong, curvy form. Lars morphed too, his burnished gold hair turning thick and black, his burning blue eyes melting into deep, dark chocolate.
She bit back a cry as her fingers found her slick, hot center, circling her clit, teasing herselfso this wouldn't all be over in less than a minute. Her hand became his-huge, strong and callused from work, rubbing, circling her clit, sliding inside her just enough to tantalize. Just enough to make her ache to feel the hot, huge length of his cock driving deep inside her.
A muffled cry squeezed past her lips as she came, arching off the bed, pressing her hand firmly between her thighs to draw out her climax as long as possible.
Before the last tremors of her orgasm had subsided, she flipped over onto her side, hugging a huge down pillow against her stomach. Wishing with everything she had that it was him instead of a pillow.
These ridiculous fantasies about Tony Donovan had to stop, or she was going to put her head through a brick wall.
Never mind that Lauren had been telling herself the exact same thing for seven months now, ever since she'd met him. And, she scolded herself silently, her steady habit of romance novels wasn't helping matters. Could she help it if, no matter how the author described him, every damned hero ended up looking like Tony? She closed her eyes and allowed herself one more glorious vision. Six foot three, a body that should be on the cover of Men's Fitness magazine. Thick, dark hair with just the tiniest hint of curl and an adorable cowlick waving off his forehead. And his eyes, big, dark, and liquid. Eyes that made a woman think about drowning herself in chocolate so he could lick her clean.
Cursing, she reached for the remote control and flicked on Sportscenter. Maybe that would distract her.
Tony. Her best friend. Her coworker. But not her lover. Never that.
She listened with half an ear as the host made his predictions about tomorrow's Oakland Raiders game. But most of her brain was still occupied by Tony. Wondering where he was, what he was doing. Who he was doing it with.
She should go back to masturbating. At least those images of Tony didn't twist her guts until she thought she might throw up.
Stupid jealousy. So unproductive, especially given how he felt about her. She cringed, remembering his invitation to join him and his brother Mike earlier tonight.
"We're going over to Pete's in Tahoe City later on," he'd said over wings and beers at Sullivan's pub. "Want to go?"
Lauren cast a glance at Mike's wife, Karen. "Are you going?"
"No," the other woman said. "I've been on my feet all day and I'm beat."
Mike rubbed her shoulders affectionately. "Maybe you wouldn't be so tired if you wore better shoes." He'd looked pointedly at Karen's stiletto-heeled boots.
"You love my shoes and you know it," Karen had replied and pulled Mike's face down for a kiss that made the room temperature rise at least ten degrees.
"Ugh, you guys are gross," Tony said, sounding like a twelve-year-old afraid of cooties. "So, Lauren," he'd said. "You want to go?"
Go shoot the shit with Mike while she watched Tony roll up on some hot young thing? No thanks. She'd done plenty of that since she started working with the brothers at their building and renovation company seven months ago. But all she'd said was, "Nah, sounds like you should have it be a guys' night."
"Aw, Mac," he'd said with a grin and a squeeze of her shoulder. "You're practically one of the guys."
She knew Tony loved to say things like that just to get a rise out of her, but that comment had stung. Even more than his usual jokes about her masculine profession as a carpenter and her customary workman's attire.
Lauren thumbed the volume up on her remote, trying to drown out the evil voices in her head. Why are you surprised? You know exactly how he sees you. Just one of the guys. An athletic, tomboy of a girl who's great to hang out and drink beer with, but not a girl he'd ever feel that way about.
She sighed and flipped over to Saturday Night Live. Hugh Jackman was hosting, and he was almost enough to keep thoughts of Tony Donovan at bay.
She'd see him soon enough, her friend, her buddy, her pal.
His friendship meant the world to her, so she would continue as she had, concealing any inkling of interest and enjoy the time she did spend with him. From the moment she met him, she'd wanted to be his lover, but knew it would never happen. So she'd settled for friendship. Like she always did.
Tony settled next to Lauren on the couch and stretched his arm along the back of the cushion behind her. He snuck a quick, jealous glance at his brother Mike and his wife, Karen, snuggled together on the short end of the sectional. Karen didn't even bother to pretend to pay attention to the game, but rested with her head in Mike's lap as she read a paperback. Mike settled into the corner of the couch, absently playing with his wife's hair.
It still surprised him every time he saw them together. Mike, the least physically affectionate person in the family, couldn't keep his hands off his wife. As though he needed to have constant contact to make sure she was still here. Although, Tony supposed, considering their rocky path to love, he supposed he couldn't blame them.
His lips pursed into a frown. This was his couch, his house. If anyone should be snuggling down in front of the game it should be him.
But no, he had to content himself with sitting next to Lauren. Almost, but not close enough for his thigh to press against hers. His hand dangled off the back of the couch. Almost, but not quite touching the thick reddish-brown curls that hung down past her shoulders.
"Yes!" Lauren and Mike shot off the couch simultaneously, arms up in wide vees. "GO GO GO," Lauren shouted, and Tony finally focused on his 42-inch-wide TV screen.
"Did you see that pass?" Lauren looked down at him, amber eyes sparkling with excitement.
He'd missed the entire play. "Yeah, it was nice."
"Nice? It was a thing of beauty." She and Mike settled back on their respective ends of the couches, and Tony was hard-pressed not to pull her flush against him. An urge that became even harder to resist when Lauren stripped off her fleece pullover. The mountain weather had turned chilly in the past week, but Tony's house was plenty warm, just the way he liked it.
"It's a sauna in here, Ton," she said, fanning herself a little before she sat back against the overstuffed cushions.
"I like it hot," he replied, and took a long pull at his beer. He tried not to think about how good she smelled, soft and fresh. And she always smelled good, even after a hot day under the sun doing manual labor. The clean scent emanated from her pores until he wanted to bury his head between her breasts and soak her up.
Oh, bad idea, thinking about her breasts. He shifted and tugged at the leg of his jeans. He nonchalantly rested his foot on the coffee table and bent his knee to shield the rapidly growing bulge in his fly.
But really, she did have a fantastic rack, showcased very nicely today in a T-shirt that read "JUICY." She had a fantastic everything, as far as he was concerned. He shot up off the couch to get another beer, hoping the alcohol would do its part to put his dick to sleep.
He didn't have much hope it would work, but it gave him an excuse to retreat to the kitchen and get a handle on himself. He remembered the first day he'd met Lauren. Mike had hired her after their youngest brother, Nick, moved to Palo Alto to live with his fiancée. Tony had been skeptical about hiring a woman, but she came with great recommendations and proved that first day to be a highly skilled, motivated worker.
Of course he'd been attracted to her, with her comic strip heroine's body, all juicy curves and nicely defined muscles. And that hair. A riot of reddish brown corkscrew curls tumbling around her shoulders. With hair like that, you just knew she'd be a fuckin' wildcat in the sack. Topped off with her wide smile and whiskey-brown eyes full of warmth, and she was almost irresistible. But unlike most women he came across, she showed absolutely no awareness of him as a man. Besides, they worked together, and Tony didn't sleep with women he was likely to run into on a regular basis.
And the real clincher had come later that week. They were finishing up on a remodel job out in the Lakeview Estates. Mike was pushing them to complete the job so they could have the rare privilege of telling a client they'd actually finished ahead of schedule. But at about six-thirty Lauren had started looking at her watch. And by seven she'd mustered up the courage to ask her new boss when he thought they might finish.
Mike's brow had furrowed and he'd shot Lauren that intimidating look Tony knew he practiced in the mirror. Tony knew because he'd once caught Mike at it. "Do you have somewhere you need to be?"
But Lauren hadn't flinched. She'd just smiled that wide, laughing smile and said, "Not really. But the Sharks are playing and-"
"Ah, a woman after my own heart," Tony had said, looping his arm over her shoulders. "C'mon Mike. If we finish up tomorrow we'll still be two days ahead of schedule. You can come over and watch it on my plasma-screen."
Lauren's mouth had gone slightly slack and her gaze blurred. It was a look he'd only ever seen on a woman's face when he was buried deep inside her. "A plasma-screen?" she'd murmured lustfully. "You have a plasma-screen?"
At that moment Tony had a startling revelation. He'd finally met a woman he liked too much to fuck.
For the past seven months he'd shoved any and all sexual thoughts aside and settled into a comfy friendship. They did almost everything together, from work, to working out, to watching sports on the plasma-screen she so openly coveted.
Unfortunately the lust he felt every time he saw her was becoming exceedingly difficult to resist.
First he had to work with her through the hot summer, her long muscular legs showcased in cargo shorts while her D-cups strained against a tank top. The image was still vivid in his mind, of firmly muscled arms tan and glistening with sweat, khaki shorts hugging the firm curve of her ass. He'd spent the entire summer resisting the urge to yank down her shorts and bury his mouth in the moist, gingery curls of her pussy.
He grabbed another Dos Equis and held the nearly empty bag of chips in front of his crotch for good measure. He settled back on the couch, nearly groaning when she reached into the bag of chips he still held on his lap. Her hand brushed repeatedly against his cock as she rooted around for more than crumbs, and he wondered how the hell she could be so fucking sexy in a T-shirt and jeans hiding those world-class legs. And she had no fucking clue, he thought angrily, as her gaze remained guilelessly fixed on the game.
Karen and Mike were nuzzling and whispering on the other end of the couch and Tony bit back a demand for them to get a room. It was a good thing they were here. God knew what stupid moves he'd pull if he was alone with Lauren.
Moves, he grumbled silently, that had worked without failure in the past. But for whatever reason, Lauren was completely unaware of him sexually.
Which was a good thing, he reminded himself, because if she showed the slightest bit of interest, offered the tiniest bit of encouragement, he knew he wouldn't be able to hold himself back. He had no faith in his self-restraint. And then he'd be down one very good friend, which in his experience was much harder to come by than lovers.
He was startled from his musings by a shrill, electronic version of the William Tell overture. Lauren squirmed to get her phone out her pocket and he savored the sensation of her firmly curved hip rubbing against his thigh. Would have been nice if she'd been a few more inches to the left, but he had to take what he could get.
Lauren frowned at the caller ID display and flipped open the phone. "Hi Mom ... yeah. Yeah. Of course I'm coming. No, I haven't asked for the time off, yet." She smiled tightly at Mike. "No, Mike's really great, I'm sure he'll let me," she grinned and winked at Mike, who grinned back and mouthed, "No way."
"I don't think so, Mom. I know, I know, I just ..." Her gaze met Tony's for a half second before flicking away, hidden by a sweep of dark amber lashes. She went silent and cinnamon-colored brows knit furiously over her small, straight nose. "Motherrrrr!" She sounded like an exasperated adolescent. "I know there's nothing wrong with that! Jesus, Mom, give me a break!" She rolled her eyes at whatever her mother was saying. "Well, don't. It's fine. Fantastic, in fact. Yeah, I'll see you in a week."
She flicked the phone closed and let out an exasperated sigh and flopped back against the sofa cushions. "I don't believe it!"
All three stared at her expectantly.
"My mother thinks I'm a lesbian."
Mike and Karen laughed, but Tony just raised his eyebrows.
Lauren brandished her phone threateningly. "If you say anything, I'll pound you."
Typical Tony-he couldn't resist the opportunity to needle her. "I don't know where she'd get that idea. You're so girly and feminine in your denim and flannel." He choked on a laugh as Lauren launched herself on top of him and tried to pin him to the couch. She shrieked as he rolled over and knocked her to the floor.
She made a pretty good show of trying to get away while her struggles afforded her the perfect opportunity to rub against Tony like a cat in heat. She even got a full-second ass grab in there under the guise of trying to roll him over.
Sad, yes, but a girl had to get her thrills where she could find them.
And despite her masculine profession and affinity for flannel, she was emphatically heterosexual. She pushed Tony off her and climbed back onto the couch. Not that she could blame her mother for her suspicions. Her mother-well she had her own ideas about sexuality, namely, that if you were young and healthy you should be doing it as often as possible. Carly MacLean couldn't imagine a world in which a willing woman wasn't getting laid, and often. So if there wasn't a man in her youngest child's life, there must be a woman.
"I could give you a mullet and complete the image, if you want." Karen, a hairdresser, giggled and ducked when Lauren pegged her with a pretzel twist.
"Shut up, it's not funny," Lauren said, laughing. "You don't understand. My mom is obsessed with my sex life, or lack thereof," she said with a roll of her eyes. "And now she's telling everyone I'm a lesbian."
"Why do you care, anyway?" Mike asked around a mouthful of pretzels, "It's not like the gossip will reach here."
Lauren sighed. "My parents are having a thirtieth wedding anniversary in two weeks, with a big reception, renewal of vows, the whole thing. My mom keeps pestering me to bring a date, and now that she's got this idea in her head, no doubt she'll invite some prospects." She sat back and covered her face with her hands. "She even asked me if I go for the more butch or the more lipstick types."
"Oh, lipstick, definitely. And I want to watch," Tony said.
Lauren was about to punch him again, but something in his eyes stopped her. A heated glint lurked behind his amusement. Even teasing her, Tony oozed sexual heat. It was in the tone of his voice, the deep richness of his eyes, the way he moved with lazy athletic grace.
Excerpted from Skin on Skin by Jami Alden Valerie Martinez Sunny Copyright © 2007 by Kensington Publishing Corp.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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