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A Hands on Serial, Part 3 of 3
By Cathryn Fox, Brenda Chin
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Cathryn Fox
All rights reserved.
"So tonight's the night you're finally going to lose your virginity?" Violet asked from the other end of the phone.
Danielle paced inside her small apartment, her knees a little wobbly, wearing the new heels she'd bought earlier that day. Although her unsteadiness had nothing to do with the shoes themselves, but more to do with Jack, and the text he'd sent to say he was on his way.
"Yeah, he should be here any minute," she replied to her best friend, sounding far more breathless than she would have liked.
"I have to say, I'm kind of jealous." There was a hint of melancholy in Violet's voice that Danielle had never heard before.
"From everything you've been telling me, he sounds like a keeper."
"Violet, you know what this is all about," she warned. This was just sex, lessons to help her get up to speed so she knew what she was talking about when she started teaching sex therapy to a bunch of incoming freshmen. The job would help her pay down her bills. Hopefully, she'd soon have enough equity to get a loan to purchase the house she wanted to convert into a family counseling practice. That's all this was. A means to an end. She knew, personally, that getting close only led to heartache. "Besides, when have you ever started thinking about guys as keepers? You love being single. Love having a different guy every weekend."
"I guess," she said with a sigh. "But I don't know. Maybe someday I'd like to find my very own Prince Charming."
Danielle was a realist. A life in foster care had taught her not to dream. She didn't believe in fairy tales, but if there was one man who came close to filling the shoes of Prince Charming, it was Jack. Rugged yet sweet, tough yet tender. Yeah, he played the role well, but that's all it was for him, right? A role.
Stop wishing for more, girl!
"He has a brother," Danielle supplied. "Two, in fact."
"Oh yeah? Do tell."
"Sam and Luke. From what he says, they seem pretty tight. Who knows? Maybe he'll bring one of them by when he looks at the house with us tomorrow."
"You think?" Violet asked, a new inflection in her voice.
"So you and Jack, then," she said, turning the conversation back on Danielle. "You think there could be more?"
Her heart wavered, but she quickly shut it down, zipped it up, and buttoned it tight. "No. He's just helping me out for now. Life will go back to normal when he leaves."
"Normal? You think you can go back to being asexual after him?"
She walked over to her sofa, picked up her Home Sweet Home pillow, and fluffed it. "No, I'm not saying that. I just mean we'll each go our own way." Her heart squeezed at that thought. As much as she tried to fight it, Jack was becoming so much more than simply a teacher to her. Just hearing his name, or thinking about him — which she found herself doing more and more often — had her pulse fluttering and her stomach taking flight.
"Okay, good, because having sex has been good for you."
Technically they hadn't really had sex yet, but they'd come close. Very close. Hot, tie-her-to-the-bed kind of close. Her body warming with memories, she put the pillow back and stepped away to admire it. "What makes you say that?"
"You're happier, even if you are walking a little crooked."
"Hey," she protested with a laugh, her throat drying as her mind raced back to the way Jack had touched her. God, she was in so much trouble. "I am not."
"No, not yet. But I bet you will be tomorrow. Seriously though, Danielle, this experience has been good for you."
She examined her emotions and walked to the hall mirror to observe the new flush in her cheeks. It was true, she was happier. Definitely an interesting point of discussion for her class. "Endorphins," she explained, the academic part of her understanding the physiological effects on her body. But the woman in her, well, she knew what was really going on.
"Whatever. All I know is if he leaves, I'm going to set you up with a guy I met last week at work. He'd be perfect for you."
Danielle's hand fell from her face. How the hell could she ever be with another man after Jack? The roar of an engine outside gained her attention. She hurried to her window and pulled her curtain back. Her heart did that familiar pitter-patter thing it always did when her gaze fell on him. He climbed out of a vintage Corvette, one she'd seen outside his dad's shop the day she'd asked him to sleep with her.
"He's here. I have to go." She gave a little wave to him when he glanced up to see her.
"Okay, enjoy your meal at Lucien's, and your dessert back home," she teased.
Danielle slid her finger over the phone to power it down, then dropped it into her purse. She smoothed her hand down her little black dress, one she'd splurged on after work. The restaurant was elegant and upscale, which meant she needed to dress nice, but more importantly, she wanted to look good for Jack. Wanted to see the desire in his eyes when he saw her. And why's that, Danielle? Do you want him to see you as more than a pupil?
Cripes, she needed to shut down that kind of thinking. He had a career to get back to and she shouldn't wish for things she couldn't have.
She buzzed him in and wrung her fingers together as she waited at her door. Nervousness, excitement, and a barrage of other emotions hit her as his shoes sounded on the stairs. Her heart beat faster as the pounding grew louder with his approach. When he reached the third floor, she saw him. Taking in his attire, a breath of air fluttered past her lips, and her parched throat dried even more at the handsome vision before her. She knew that once she went all the way with him, it was going to push her feelings over the edge.
As if they weren't hanging on by a fingernail now.
Dressed in a navy suit that showcased his athletic form to perfection, he stepped up to her. She'd never seen this dressed-up version of Jack before. There were so many sides to this man, and she had to admit, she liked them all.
He smiled as his gaze leisurely traveled down her body, warming her from the inside out. "You look amazing," he said.
"So do you." She ran her hands down his tie, smoothing it and touching him as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do. Even though she wore heels, he still towered over her. She went up on her toes and drew in the soapy clean scent of his skin. Her fingers marched upward to stroke his freshly shaven face. They lingered there for a moment, a light brush that spread heat through her veins and blackened his already dark eyes. "Soft," she whispered.
A smile played on his mouth. "That's the only part of me that's soft." He dipped his head and pressed his lips to hers. God, I could get lost in his kisses. She touched the lapels on his suit, holding him to her and absorbing the warmth of his body. After a good, thorough kiss, he pulled back and ran his tongue over his bottom lip, like he was still tasting her. He briefly pinched his eyes shut and exhaled a sharp breath.
"Jesus, Danielle. I could barely function today," he said, looking a little less composed as he glanced past her shoulder to the hall that led to the bedroom.
"Oh, why is that?" she asked innocently, even though she already knew the answer. Her day had been hell, too. She'd been unable to focus on anything except what it would feel like to lay herself wide open to him, to have him own her body.
To have him make love to her.
He touched her shoulder and ran the back of his knuckles down her arm. "Because all I've been able to think about is stripping you naked, climbing between your legs, and burying myself deep inside you. I'm dying to hear my name on your lips when you come for me again."
A shiver moved through her, and she felt warmth flood her pelvis. "Jack." She whispered his name, giving him a hint of things to come.
His mouth hovered over hers. "Yeah, just like that," he said. They exchanged a long, heated look, then he drew a sharp breath and straightened. "I want to take you hard, right now, show you what I do to girls who overstep boundaries," he teased. "Believe me, there is nowhere else I'd rather be than inside you. We need food first, though." He winked. "You'll need the energy."
"Ah, so that's why you're taking me to an Italian restaurant," she teased back. "You think I need the carbs."
"You and me both. Because I plan on thoroughly fucking you, over and over again." His knuckles brushed hers, and their fingers linked. "Ready?"
A bit startled at his honesty, she nodded, then followed him into the hall and locked the door behind her. They walked outdoors, and the warm night air fell over them as crickets chirped in the strip of grass in front of her apartment. Their hands met, their knuckles brushing intimately as they waited for a truck to pass. Then they crossed the street and Jack walked her to the passenger side of his vehicle.
"Nice car," she said when he opened the door for her.
"Couldn't have you on my bike in a dress." He winked and added, "As much as I like the idea of your bare legs wrapped around me."
"They will be ... later," she promised.
"Jesus, Danielle. I'm in tight dress pants here. I'm not really that much into exhibitionism."
"What does not that much mean?"
"It means I'm not interested in giving your neighbors a show." He leaned into her, bracing his hands on the hood of the car on either side of her. "If you want to take this inside, to Grayson's club, I could be convinced." He paused and then added, "If that's what you want."
It was interesting the first time, and she was glad he'd given her a glimpse into the world of BDSM and the different types of fetishes. It would definitely help with her lectures, but was it something she wanted to try again? She wasn't sure. The academic part of her was interested, but it might be too much for the woman in her. "You'd do that, for me?"
Her mind raced back to the things she'd seen in the club. Jack had asked if she was interested in a threesome. "What about a threesome? You'd even do that?"
The muscles along his jaw clenched. "If that's what you want."
"You've done it before, right?" When he nodded, she continued. "Two guys and a girl, or two girls and you?"
"Interesting," she said as she eased into the car. She considered herself in that position, and doubt moved through her. Did she want another man's hands on her body?
The answer came sure and swift. But the scholar in her was intrigued by the whole scenario.
"If it's something you want to try, Danielle. I can arrange it."
"You could do that?"
"Don't worry. It would be with someone handpicked by me. I'd never let some random asshole touch you."
Her heart swelled at the way he looked after her. "Okay." It was all she could get out.
He shut her door and scrubbed his jaw as he circled the car. He slid into the driver's seat and reached out and found her hand, giving it a little squeeze. "Okay, as in you want me to arrange it? Or okay you'll think about it?"
She thought long and hard, sweeping away all her hesitation and putting on her professor hat. "I probably should try it once, don't you think? For research."
He gave a quick nod, exhaled sharply, and grabbed the stick shift, squeezing it hard as he turned his focus to the road.
She studied his reaction, then glanced around the interior. The scent of pine from the tree-shaped air freshener reached her nostrils. All that was missing was a set of furry dice. "Is this your car?"
The muscles in his jaw relaxed. "Yeah, I rebuilt it myself." There was a note of pride in his voice as he ran his hand over the dashboard. "I took her apart and put her back to together, piece by piece. She purrs like a kitten."
Danielle couldn't help but think he was doing the same thing to her. Peeling away the layers, introducing her to pleasure, and creating a more confident, knowledgeable version of herself once he put her back together again.
"You like working with your hands?"
"I enjoy automotive work." He grinned and shook his head. "Dad had us all in his bay as soon as we were old enough to hold a tool. I don't think I told you, but my brothers Sam and Luke co-own their own garage."
"Oh, I didn't know that." His fingers left the dash and closed over hers again. "Speaking of your brothers, I think Violet wants me to set her up with one of them."
His gaze shot to hers. "Really, how did that come up?"
"I have been giving her a play-by-play, remember?"
"And when this first started, she basically told me not to expect too much out of sex because if you're like most guys, it would be over before I knew it. Yet here you are, drawing it out for weeks. She's never heard of foreplay going on so long, and she thinks that if you're that good, one of your brothers might be, too."
He laughed. "From what you've told me about Violet, I think my brother Luke could be the guy for her. She just might meet her match with him."
He grinned. "Yeah, I do." He cast a glance her way. "But don't worry. He's a good guy."
She chewed on that as Jack flicked on his signal and took the corner. She leaned into him, taking pleasure in the warmth of his body. Her gaze moved over his face, reveling in his strong profile. "I guess that runs in the family."
"Me? Nah. I'm not that good." He gave her a wink. "I'll prove that later."
Heat sizzled through her. "I'm looking forward to it," she said. "And to everything else you want to show me. We still have one whole week left."
The grin briefly fell from his face, and he turned from her as he pulled into a parking spot outside the restaurant. She slid from the vehicle, and he met her at the front of the car, his arm going around her waist to lead her inside. She took in the opulence of the place, and was delighted by all the delicious smells as the waiter led them to an intimate table in the back corner. Jack ordered a bottle of wine, and after they each had a glass in hand, they put in their orders. Beneath the table, their knees bumped, sending heat through her. She gazed at him and noted the way the soft candlelight made his eyes look warmer.
"This place is amazing," she said, taking a sip of her wine. "Looks like we have the best seat in the house."
"That's what happens when your best friend is a chef." He slid his hand across the small table and laced his fingers through hers. The touch ignited her body and squeezed her heart. "You'll probably meet him tonight."
"I look forward to that."
"He's the one, Danielle." The muscles along his jaw rippled. "He's the one I'd ask."
Her mind stalled, then raced to catch up. "Oh, you mean —" She leaned in, even though no one could hear them. "For the threesome."
His fingers tightened on hers. "Yeah. He's a good guy, and he'll take care of you."
She took another big drink of wine, not knowing what to say.
"After you meet him, you can decide if it's something you want to do."
"Is it something you want to do?" she asked, her stomach a little queasy at the thought. "You seem troubled by the idea."
He ran one hand through his hair and pushed back in his chair. "This week is about you."
"But I don't want you to do —"
"It's whatever you want, Danielle."
She leaned forward. "You're so sweet, Jack." How the women in his world couldn't see that was beyond her. Then again, none of them deserved him if they couldn't look beyond his money and fame.
He cleared his throat. "Sweet? I don't know. I've been called a lot of things, but sweet was never one of them."
"Well, you are." He reached for his wine, and she decided to shift topics. "After you left the field today, Liam told me the guys had a lot of fun."
"I really enjoyed it. Liam mentioned that he was looking for an assistant in the fall, too. For the regular college football season." He looked into his wineglass, his brow furrowed, but there was a ghost of a smile on his face. "I still can't believe you set that up."
"I don't know. I'm just not used to things like that, you know?"
"I know," she said, and she did. Jack was a giver, and he was accustomed to people wanting things from him, not giving back. But she cared about him and wanted to do something that would put the light back in his eyes. Yes, his knee injury was serious, and it could even end his career. But that didn't mean he couldn't continue to play football.
Excerpted from Full Exposure 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.
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