I was a soldier on leave when we meet at a bar, and I rescued her from some asshole who tried to grab her. She shouldn’t have been there—she was just 19. She was innocent. She was running away from a drunken father and a house that never felt like a home. She wanted me to claim her but she was more than a one-night stand to me. So I vowed to do right by her. I waited for her and then I proposed. My unit was called back before I could truly make her mine. It’s been a year since I felt her touch. But now I’m back and I have only one mission: Make my wife come hard and as often as possible.
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I am sitting at the bar drinking a slightly too warm bottle of beer. Even though the beer isn’t ice cold, it tastes like perfection. Being out in the middle of nowhere on a special ops assignment will definitely make you appreciate the little things in life. Even when they’re not as good as you remember them to be.
It’s kind of like Mission Beach. In my head, I remembered it differently than what it actually is. I remembered it as home, not real home, but somewhere I had happy memories. My mom used to bring me here every summer for a week, and some of my happiest memories were here. But can a place be home when you’re there all alone? Can it be home for Mac Kramer when no one here even knows his name?
Maybe not. The place is like a breeding ground for surfers, tourists, and students. I reckon I’ll be leaving here pretty soon even if I’m not called back to active duty before my time in the military is up.
I sigh loudly and turn on my barstool and scan the crowd. I hear a musical laugh, and my eyes are instantly drawn to the owner of that laugh. My cock stiffens in my jeans just looking at her. If all of the girls in Mission Beach were like her, I’d never ever want to leave the place. She has long blonde hair that hangs down her back in beach-ready waves. Sun-bleached streaks shine in the light. She’s clearly into surfing, judging by the short shorts and vest top she wears and the way the muscles in her fucking awesome legs are so toned. Her whole body is tanned, and I wonder where the tan lines are.
It’s not something to wonder in a public place because I instantly see myself tearing off that little top and throwing it away, taking in her breasts and pink nipples. I see myself pushing her shorts down and fucking her until she’s screaming my name. My cock gets harder, reminding me I’m in the middle of a bar. I pull at my shirt, covering my lap with it.
The girl looks across the room, and for a second, our eyes meet. I feel a jolt of lust run through me as I look into her eyes. They are the blue of tropical seas, and they have a certain twinkle in them that tells me she’s a little bit naughty. I bet she fucking is. And if she isn’t, I could soon show her exactly how to break the rules.
She smiles at me, and I nod in her direction, forcing my eyes from her body. Now she’s seen me looking at her, I can’t get caught again. She’ll think I’m some sort of pervert. For her, I could be. I could be anything she wanted me to be and then some.
I try to tell myself it’s because I haven’t had a woman in the eight months I’ve been away, but I know it’s not that. There’s something about the girl. Something mesmerizing. Something that tells me she’s exactly what I need to get myself out of this funk and give my life some sort of purpose outside of the military.
I signed up to the military on my eighteenth birthday. Anything to get out of that foster home. My mom raised me alone until I was fifteen and the big C took her. And then I went into the system. I ended up being placed with a family fairly quickly, and I stayed there until I was old enough to leave. It wasn’t that they were mean or abusive. They were the opposite. Warm and kind. They made me feel welcome, loved even, and I am so grateful to them for that. But it was hard to stay there and not love them back. And anytime I felt the slightest hint of love for them, I felt such terrible guilt. My mom was gone, and here I was moving on. Yeah, I know it’s crazy and not what my mom would have wanted, but I couldn’t help feeling it. Maybe I should have had therapy. I definitely should have had therapy.
My eyes go back to Blondie, and I reckon those long legs of hers wrapped tightly around my waist while I claim her pussy would be all the therapy I’d need. She’d sure as hell make me forget everything except her slender body and pert breasts. I’d be willing to bet that her pussy would be tight enough to squeeze my cock to within an inch of its life.
She’s turned away from me now, and I watch her for a minute longer. She’s sitting at a small table tucked away in the back of the bar. She should be on the fucking stage, not hiding herself away like that. She seems to be alone, the girl she was laughing with a moment ago gone. She runs her hand through her hair, pushing it back from her face. I feel another twitch from my cock. I want my hands in her hair. I want to grab handfuls of it, pull it, force her to her knees where she’ll suck me dry. And then I want to ruin her. To fuck her so hard and for so long she won’t know which way is up when I’m done with her.
I debate going over there and asking to join her. I mean why not, right? She’s alone, I’m alone. We could share a drink or two, maybe a laugh, and then I could take her home and show her what that body of hers can really do.
Just as I’m getting off my stool, a man approaches her and sits down at her table. He shrugs apologetically, and she laughs. Fucking bastard. I don’t know where he’s been or why, but he left her sitting alone for far too fucking long. If I had been with her, whatever the fuck it was he was doing could have waited. She would have been more important than going to the bathroom or taking a call.
The level of animosity I feel toward the man is nothing compared to the sharp, icy fingers of jealousy that stab at me as I watch him reach out and touch her arm as they talk. How the fuck can I be jealous of someone I’ve never even spoke to? I don’t know, but I am.
I turn back to the bar. I don’t need to watch this any longer. I release my grip on my bottle when I realize I’m holding it tightly enough that it’s about to shatter in my hand. I down the rest of the beer and wave to the bartender for another one.
He obliges, and I thank him and take a long drink. This one is icy cold, much better than the first one, and I would be wholly satisfied now if it wasn’t for the fact I can hear her laughing. The bastard is making her laugh. It should be me. Is it her boyfriend? Husband? Just someone who took a chance on talking to a beautiful woman quicker than I did?
Whatever he is, the thought of him going home with her, holding her, kissing her, and touching her pussy fills me with rage. I want to claim that sexy mouth as mine. I want to be the one to make her come as I claim her pussy. I want to hear her screaming my name. It should be me, not that fucking Joe Nobody.
As much as I tell myself to let it go, I can’t do it and I find myself turning again, almost subconsciously. I feel a cold, empty feeling in my stomach when I look to her table and she’s gone. She’s gone home with the loser. He’s getting to be with her, and I’m stuck here in a bar alone.
I hear her laugh again and the hole is instantly filled, my heart soaring. I follow the sound with my eyes. She’s on the dance floor with the loser, who has two left feet. He scores higher than I do in that category though. There’s no way in hell I would dance in public. Oh, who am I kidding? If she asked me to, I’d be up there like a shot.
Watching her dance is like slow, agonizing torture for me. She sways her hips, showing off her pert ass. She puts her arms in the air and her vest top rides up just enough to show me a flash of her smooth back before it settles back down. I swallow hard, watching her as she turns and sways and moves to the beat.
The man reaches out and puts his hand on her hip. She twists her body away from him, shrugging off his hand without being completely obvious about it. This gets my attention. He’s not her husband or her boyfriend. His touch is making her uncomfortable. She’s not exactly pushing him away though. Maybe she’s just playing hard to get.
When I first saw the man sitting down, I placed him around thirty, but now I can see he’s closer to my age, twenty-three. He’s not acting his age though. He’s acting like a drunken high school jock as he reaches out for her hip again. She neatly sidesteps him and keeps dancing as though she’s oblivious to his advances.
Her sidestep brings her face-to-face with me, and I quickly take a long drink, hoping she didn’t catch me staring at her. I dare to look back. She’s looking at me, smiling. She caught me all right. I laugh a little as she watches me. She doesn’t seem in the least bit concerned about me watching her. She’s certainly no wallflower, not like that quiet table in the corner implied.
The man she’s with spots her smiling at me, and he gets his body between us. Dick. This time, he doesn’t just try to put his hand on her hip. He lunges forward and wraps his arms around her waist, pulling her body against his.
Even over the music, I hear her telling him to get off her. I hear the fear in her voice and it sends a flare of anger through me. He ignores her, and my temper flares further. I slam my bottle on the bar and get up off the stool. He’s going to fucking pay for scaring her like that.
I spot him the second he walks in. He’s tall, muscular, and hot as hell. He has dark hair, dark skin, and eyes I could lose myself in. He holds himself like a man who isn’t to be messed with, but holy shit, I want to mess with him. Just watching him as he walks across the room and sits down at the bar is enough to start my pussy tingling, and I feel myself getting wet. I am shocked at the reaction he brings forth in me. I’ve never looked at a guy and had a reaction like that before and I am intrigued to know more about the mystery man who can do that to me without even glancing at me.
“Earth to Zoe.” Vicky laughs.
I turn my attention back to her, although it’s hard to pull my eyes away from Mystery Man’s back.
“Sorry,” I say. “What were you saying?”
“I said are you ready to leave? I’m fucked, Zoe.”
Am I ready to leave? If she’d asked me five minutes ago, I’d likely have said yes. But now? No chance. I want to go and talk to Mystery Man. I know I’m not brave enough to just march over there and introduce myself to him, but I could always go up to the bar and stand close to him and hope he starts a conversation. If he likes me he will, and if he doesn’t, well at least I’ll know.
“I’ve still got a full drink,” I say. “You go on. I’ll finish this and catch a cab.”
“Are you sure?” Vicky frowns.
“Sure I’m sure. Look at this place, Vick. It’s not like anything dangerous ever happens here.”
“You sound almost disappointed about that.” She grins.
I throw my head back and laugh. Maybe I am. Maybe I’m sick of being stuck in a rut and just want something to happen. Anything.
As Vicky gets ready to leave, Lester comes over to us.
“Mind if I join you?” he asks.
I shake my head. Lester is the older brother of one of my friends, and he’s harmless enough. In fact, he can be quite funny, and surely sitting with him will be more interesting than sitting here alone.
“Cool,” he says. “Let me just go to the bathroom and then I’ll be back.”
Vicky frowns as he leaves. “Lester? Really?”
“Oh, shut up.” I laugh. “It’s not like anything’s going to happen with us.”
“Yeah, try telling him that,” she says.
It’s my turn to frown, and Vicky shakes her head.
“He’s so into you,” she says.
“Bullshit,” I say. “Now get out of here, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She hugs me and leaves, and I sit alone sipping my drink. I turn in my chair slightly so I can see the full bar. I look around, people watching. At least that’s what I tell myself. What I really want is another glimpse of Mystery Man. I look toward the bar and see him. He’s looking in my direction, and for a second, our eyes lock on each other.
I see there exactly what I told Vicky I wanted. Danger. Excitement. Something to liven this place up a bit. I feel my pulse racing as we look at each other and I feel myself getting wet again as I imagine what Mystery Man would do to me if I went home with him. He looks like the type of guy who knows exactly what he wants and exactly what he’s doing.
I see him stripping me slowly, caressing every part of me. I see him laying me down, fucking me, taking away my virginity, and making me a woman. I suck in a little breath and then I realize I’m staring and being weird. I smile at him. I don’t feel self-conscious. Yes, I’m staring, but the whole time I’ve been looking at him, he’s been looking at me too.
He gives me a nod when I smile at him. Is it possible that Mystery Man likes me too? I shake the thought off. Of course it isn’t. He thinks we made accidental eye contact and he’s being polite. To start reading anything more into it is like doing a Vicky and assuming someone is into me just because they’re not acting like an ass around me.
I turn away from the bar, putting my back to Mystery Man. If he catches me looking at him again, he’s definitely going to start thinking I’m some sort of weirdo, and I don’t want that. Plus, I’m only just eighteen, three years away from being old enough to be here. The bartender seems happy enough to turn a blind eye and serve me alcohol, but I figure keeping a low profile can’t hurt. If I start actively flaunting the fact I’m here, he might start to get a little bit worried, and I can’t think of anything more embarrassing than being police escorted out of here.
I am almost finished my drink. I seem to be drinking it more quickly now that I am alone with no conversation to break up the drinking. I should have just left with Vicky. My nerve has gone with Mystery Man; there’s no way I’m going up to the bar and hoping he starts talking to me now he’s caught me staring, and it looks like Lester isn’t coming back.
I sigh and pull my cell phone out and scroll through my Instagram feed, liking some pictures and commenting on a few. A shadow falls over me and for a second, I allow myself to think that Mystery Man has come over to me. He hasn’t. It’s Lester. The strange look he gives me as he sits down opposite me tells me I probably didn’t hide my disappointment at that fact all that well.
“Sorry,” he says, grinning apologetically as he pushes a drink across the table at me. “I had to make a quick call.”
“It’s fine,” I say.
“Yeah? Tell your face that.” He smiles.
I laugh out loud. He’s right. I’m sitting here looking miserable and I’m not mad at Lester. I don’t particularly care where he went or why. I’m too busy thinking about Mystery Man and trying to not show it.
Lester and I chat for a while and it soon becomes clear to me that he’s a bit more drunk than I first thought. And I’m starting to think Vicky is right. He’s trying to flirt with me and he keeps touching my hand across the table. When I said I wanted something exciting to happen, this was far from what I had in mind.
I mean it did involve flirting, but not with Lester. I let my mind wander as I half listen to Lester rambling on about how successful he is. For the record, he can jazz it up all he likes, but I know for a fact he works in the local 7-Eleven. He’s not even a manager or anything.
I imagine how different the conversation could be if Mystery Man was sitting opposite me now. If he was the one making slightly suggestive comments, I wouldn’t be purposely missing the meaning. If he was the one touching my hand across the table, I wouldn’t keep moving it and fiddling with my hair instead of being touched. I would welcome his touch. It wouldn’t be my hand I wanted him to touch though. It would be my eager pussy, brought to life by the brooding glances he gives me.
I realize Lester’s hand is on my knee beneath the table now, creeping higher, and I wish I was wearing jeans. This creep touching my bare skin makes me shudder. I reach beneath the table and shove his hand away. He looks at me with a hurt expression, and I tell myself I’m being a bitch.
It’s not his fault he’s not Mystery Man. And it’s not like he’s gross or anything. I think about what I can say to lighten the mood between us without giving him anything he can take as a come-on. I decide the best way to do it is to drag him up to dance. I can stay far enough away from him that he can’t touch me, and he gets to save face a little as he’ll think I only pushed him away to stand up.
“Come on,” I say as I get to my feet. “I love this song. Let’s dance.”
I don’t give him a chance to reply, I just turn and head for the little dance floor at the front of the bar. My plan to keep a low profile in the bar seems to have abandoned me, but I don’t want to be stuck in the back of the room, nestled away with Lester, giving him any sort of signal.
I reach the dance floor and begin to move. Lester has followed me as I figured he would. I really do like the song that’s playing, and that, coupled with the alcohol in my system, loosens me up and I get into the music, swaying, waving my arms, and shaking my hips.
I’m conscious of the fact that being on the dance floor has brought me a whole lot closer to Mystery Man too, and knowing that puts an extra bit of flair into the way I sway my hips. It means I lift my arms higher, knowing it will expose a bit of flesh as my top rides up. I find myself putting on a show for Mystery Man, hoping he’s noticing me.
Lester is certainly noticing me, and he reaches out and puts his hand on my hip. I twist my body, turning away from him. His hand slips off me like I knew it would. He dances without touching me for a moment, and then he reaches out and touches my hip again.
I’m starting to get angry. Can’t he take a fucking hint? Isn’t it obvious to him that I don’t want him to touch me? I spin away, pushing his hand away in a much more obvious way this time.
My spin brings me face-to-face with Mystery Man, and I am instantly oblivious to Lester. Mystery Man looks away quickly as I face him, and I know I caught him watching me. I smile to myself. The thought of him watching me dance brings another flood of wetness to my pussy.
He looks back and laughs softly when he sees my grin. He knows I caught him watching me, and I’m pretty sure he knows I’m not pissed off about it. I move my hips, still looking at him looking at me.
Lester spots the moment passing between me and Mystery Man, and he steps over to me, putting his body between us and cutting off the eye contact. Fucking dick. He looks at me, and I feel the first stirrings of nervousness when I see the look in his eye. He doesn’t look happy at all, and behind the anger is something else. Something like lust. Something that says he’s not going to take no for an answer.
He lunges forward suddenly, no longer content with trying to put one hand on me. He grabs me around the waist and pulls me against him. I put my palms on his chest, trying to push myself away from him, but he holds tight and he’s too strong for me.
“Fucking little slut. Don’t think I didn’t see you making fuck me eyes at that guy at the bar,” he snaps. “You’re here with me, not him. And if anyone’s getting fucked tonight, it’ll be me.”
He says the last part like it’s a done deal, not so much a threat as a promise of what’s to come. I feel my insides shrivel up as fear grips me in its icy fingers. I try to push him away again.
“Get off me,” I shout.
“I don’t fucking think so, Zoe,” he says in a hiss. “In fact, I think I’ll be getting right on you.”
I wriggle, trying to free myself from his grip, but it’s no use.
“She said get off,” a voice says from beside me.
The voice is low, masculine, and full of barely concealed anger. I know without having to look that it’s Mystery Man. His voice is exactly what I imagined he would sound like, and even in the situation I’m in, I feel a shock wave go through my body at the sound of his voice and the sudden proximity to him. I can smell his scent, Guilty by Gucci, and beneath it, something more primal.
“Fuck off,” Lester says, looking Mystery Man up and down. “This is none of your fucking business.”
He makes no move to release me, and I try to pull away again.
“You have about three seconds to let go of her and get the fuck out of here before I make you do it. And that scenario doesn’t end well for you,” Mystery Man says in the same low tone that barely conceals the rage bubbling beneath his surface.
Lester releases me, and I breathe a sigh of relief. I take a step back as Lester shoves Mystery Man in the chest.
“You think you can boss me around?” Lester demands.
Mystery Man regards Lester with cool amusement. Lester shoves him again, and the amusement turns to anger. People in the bar are starting to notice the situation, and conversations are falling away as they turn their attention to the scene on the dance floor.
“Get the fuck outside and say that,” Mystery Man says.
Lester, drunk and full of himself, sneers.
“Big fucking mistake, man,” he says as he turns and stalks angrily toward the door with Mystery Man on his heels.
I have a feeling this isn’t going to end well for Lester.
Anger surges through me in hot, uncontrollable waves as I follow the douchebag out of the bar and into the almost empty parking lot. I was willing to let him walk away. All he had to do was take his hands off Blondie and leave, and it would have been over. As much as I want to hurt him for scaring her like that, I don’t particularly want a fight on my first night home, and I don’t want Blondie to think I’m some sort of fucking animal. At least not outside of the bedroom.
But then he had to play the big man and start shoving me around, and now he’s going to pay for touching her.
“Still think you’re big and fucking clever without an audience?” the douchebag taunts me.
I’m done listening to him. All I can see when I look at him is the fear in Blondie’s eyes, and I see red. I cover the distance between us in one large stride and I punch Douchebag in the mouth. His lips explode in a shower of blood and his head snaps back on his neck. He makes a sound like a wounded animal, but he’s still not ready to walk away.
He pulls his fist back and swings for me. I see it coming and block it, but his other hand follows it and catches me in the side of the jaw with a stinging blow. I swing at him again, landing another blow on his bleeding lips. I feel my knuckles pop as they connect with him. The sting through them spurs me on, and I lose control completely, raining punches down on the douchebag, shouting at him about being a fucking pervert.
He gets in another punch or two, but there’s no real force behind them. He’s beat, and he knows it. I give him one final punch, and he crumples to the ground, bleeding and unconscious. I start to pull my foot back, ready to really finish this, when I become conscious of eyes on me. I look up and find myself looking into Blondie’s eyes.
Tears swim there, and I know I’ve blown any chance I had with her after she’s just watched me pulverize someone. She steps closer to me as I stand frozen, watching her. I realize I don’t see any sign of fear or revulsion on her face as she looks at me. Instead, I see something that looks a lot like gratitude. She takes another step toward me.
“You … you did that for me?” she asks in a quiet voice.
Her bottom lip quivers, and I want to pull her into my arms and hold her and tell her that she’s safe and she’s mine and nothing bad will ever happen to her again. Instead, I shrug.
“He should have let go of you when you told him to.”
Sirens sound in the distance, and Blondie blinks away the tears and the moment of vulnerability is gone. She starts to walk away. I watch her go, and she turns back to me.
“Come on,” she says. “We need to get out of here before the cops show up.”
I’m shocked, to say the least. I thought she would be afraid of me after seeing what I did to the douchebag, but here she is inviting me to wander off into the night with her. I don’t need telling twice. I jog toward her, and we slip out of the parking lot. She crosses the street, and I follow her. She takes a winding path through the blocks, dodging down little side streets and alleyways. It’s obvious she knows this place well, and after a few minutes, I’m confident no one would be able to trace our path. I am one hundred percent lost and I don’t care. I’d follow this woman into a pit of boiling lava if she asked me to.
I want nothing but to take her into my arms and shove her roughly against the wall. To push those little shorts down and fuck her mercilessly until she’s begging to come. It takes everything I have not to do it. I know I can’t though. Not after what happened to her back there. I don’t want her to think for even a second that I’m anything like that douchebag.
She stops walking abruptly and turns to me with a smile.
“Thank you. For what you did back there. It’s by far the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.”
I can hear the sincerity in her words and it pains me to think about what sort of life she’s had where a bar fight is the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for her. I open my mouth to respond but she’s still talking. The moment of vulnerability has passed, and she throws me off guard again. She has a way of flitting from being this frail little thing in need of protection to being this confident woman who can take on the world and probably win.
“You should be far enough away that you won’t get caught. The cops won’t bother looking for you—it was just a fight, nothing for them to worry about too much. I guess I’ll see you around maybe.”
She flashes me that smile, that killer smile that makes my cock twitch just looking at it, and then she turns and starts to walk away from me. I can’t just let go like that. I reach out and grab her wrist, more roughly than I planned to.
As I touch her, I feel an intense jolt of lust flood through me. She stops and looks down at me holding her wrist and then up at my face. She doesn’t seem afraid that I’ve grabbed her. I can see the lust I feel for her reflected in her eyes as she searches my face, her eyes flitting across my features. Her breathing speeds up.
I feel my cock start to stiffen and I drop her wrist.
“I … I’m sorry,” I stutter. “I just … it’s not safe out here alone. Let me walk you home.”
She looks uncertain for a moment, but then she nods and smiles.
“How can I refuse my knight in shining armor?” she says.
We start to walk side by side. I am shaken to my core by this woman. How can she be so fucking addictive? How can she have this effect on me so quickly?
“Do you have a name, Mystery Man?” she asks shyly.
“Mystery Man, huh?” I laugh. “Macauley Kramer. But my friends call me Mac.”
“Zoe Ford,” she replies with a mischievous glint in her eye. “But my friends call me Zoe.”
“Original.” I grin.
If I get my way, her friends will be calling her Mrs. Kramer soon enough.
I don’t know what it is about Mac that makes me feel so comfortable. I mean I’ve just seen firsthand how dangerous he can be, but I don’t fear him. I feel completely safe with him. That and completely flustered and wet and ready for him to take me.
As we walk, I feel his eyes on me as he keeps throwing me sideways glances. I want more than his eyes on me. I want his hands on me. His tongue. I want to feel him inside of me. I’ve never believed in sex before marriage; I could never understand why people had no self-control and couldn’t wait. But I hadn’t met Mac Kramer then. And now I have, I get it. All of my moral beliefs seem to have left me, and I know if he kissed me now, I would melt in his arms and let him do anything he wanted to me.
“So it’s Friday night and you were in a little dive bar like that one rather than a club,” Mac says, piercing my thoughts. “What’s with that?”
“Clubbing isn’t really my scene,” I say.
He raises an eyebrow, and I laugh.
“Fine. You want the truth? I’m not old enough to go clubbing, and the clubs are a lot more careful with their ID checks than those seedy little bars. But we’ve just finished finals and we wanted to celebrate, so it was there or nowhere. Vicky, my best friend, got wasted and went home early. I figured I’d be okay with Lester—the douchebag you punched—because he’s my friend’s brother. Well, she’s probably an ex-friend now.”
“So you’re some sort of genius then?” Mac says.
“Well, you’re not old enough to drink, but you’ve just finished finals. Aren’t people usually around twenty-two when they finish college?”
“Sure,” I say. “But I’m not at college.”
I’m about to drop the bombshell. The one that will make Mac run for the hills.
“I’m about to graduate high school.”
His eyes open wide and he stares at me.
“How old are you?”
I laugh. “I’m eighteen,” I say quickly.
I see the relief flicker over his face. Obviously, I’m younger than he thought, but at least I’m not an actual kid.
“How old are you?”
“Twenty-three,” he says.
“Oh, you’re ancient,” I joke.
“Yup. I’m almost due to get my pension,” he says, playing along.
His joking makes me brave, and I laugh and bump him with my hip. I wait for the sparks I felt when he held my wrist. The touch doesn’t disappoint me. I instantly feel a wave of desire flood me as my hip bumps the top of his leg. My pussy clenches as the delicious feeling floods my body. God, why won’t he just kiss me already? I know he feels it too. I could see it in his eyes when he held my wrist.
I never want to stop touching him. The feeling it brings on makes me feel confident, like a new woman. I tentatively reach out and slip my hand under his arm, linking him to me. He sucks in a breath as my hand curls over his skin. That breath makes my pussy wet. If I can make him sound like that touching his arm, imagine what I could do touching his cock.
Probably not much. It’s not like I’d know what to do with it. I’m sure he could show me though. He turns his head and looks at me. His eyes are darker than usual, clouded with lust, and I feel another rush of wetness coat my pussy. If I’m not careful, I’m going to be leaving a trail as I walk.
He clears his throat and looks away from me. I smile to myself. We keep walking, a comfortable silence falling. Mac seems to get himself back under control and he looks at me again.
“So Zoe, whatever will your parents think when you turn up with me arm in arm?”
“I don’t live with my parents,” I say.
He raises an eyebrow. I know I have to elaborate. I don’t usually talk about my life growing up, but I don’t want him to think I’m some delinquent runaway. I surprise myself by realizing I want to be honest with him, even about the bad parts. I want him to know everything about me.
“My mom left when I was two. I don’t even remember her. My dad was an abusive drunk who used me as a punching bag. I left the day I turned sixteen.”
“Shit Zoe, I’m sorry,” he says.
“It is what it is. There are plenty of people who have it far worse than me.”
He moves his arm, releasing my hand, and I think for a horrible moment I’ve said too much. He doesn’t want me now that he knows I am so ugly inside that even my own mother didn’t want me.
He turns his wrist and takes my hand in his and my heart soars. He isn’t quite ready to run a mile just yet. My hand tingles where he touches it.
“So do you live with some other family?” he asks.
I shake my head.
“No. I have a little apartment. My grandmother, the only person in my family who ever seemed to give a fuck about me, died when I was twelve. She left me some money, money that my deadbeat dad couldn’t touch. It was released to me on my sixteenth birthday. She wanted me to use it for college, but I honestly didn’t think I’d make it to college if I stayed at home. So I used it to buy my place. There was enough left over to see me through a few years, and I work a few shifts as a waitress where I can to make it go further.”
I pause and take a deep breath as a feeling of loneliness floods through me.
“When I said what you did outside of the bar was the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me, I guess I meant the second nicest. Because my grandma saved me from the life I was living. But it’s lonely, Mac. I’m all alone in the world. And what you did for me reminded me that not everyone looks at me and sees trash.”
He squeezes my hand tightly and when he speaks again, his voice is rough, full of emotion.
“You will never be alone again,” he says. “Not now. Not ever.”
Something tells me he’s not just saying that to make me feel better. It tells me that he means those words. That I am somehow his now. The realization sends a rush of excitement through my stomach and my pussy. To belong to him, to be his. To have someone by my side. It’s something I’ve only ever dared to dream of.
“I get it, you know,” he says after a couple of minutes of reflective silence. “Being alone I mean.”
I find it hard to believe that someone like Mac would ever have to be alone. I mean, the guy is sex appeal walking.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had girlfriends and stuff, but it’s never felt real. There’s never been that connection where you just know it’s meant to be,” he says as though he read my mind.
I do know what he means, and the way he says it like it’s changed and he feels that connection now sends another shiver through me. I know if we keep going down this road, I’m going to end up blurting out something stupid and scaring him away, so I move the conversation back around to something safer.
“Do you have any family?” I ask. “Just you said you knew what it’s like to be alone.”
“I was never really alone as such. I never knew my dad, but it didn’t matter because my mom was all I needed. She worked three jobs to keep a roof over our heads, and yet she still made time for me. I had a great childhood. But then when I was fifteen, she got cancer. She was dead two months after her diagnosis.”
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry,” I say in a pained whisper.
To have someone who cares, someone who would do anything for you, and then have them ripped cruelly away is surely worse than knowing that no one gives a fuck one way or the other about you.
“I can’t imagine how awful that must have been,” I add.
“Yeah. It was pretty rough. I had no other family, so I ended up in the system. I was one of the lucky ones. I didn’t have to wait long before I was found a foster family. And they were nice people. Not abusive or anything like that. They made me feel welcome.”
“But?” I prompt him.
I can hear the but in his voice, and I know there’s more to the story.
“But no matter how much they loved me, I couldn’t let myself love them back because it felt like I was betraying my mom,” he says.
Suddenly I can see him as a fifteen-year-old boy, lost and alone. Craving affection and yet pushing it away. My heart breaks for him, and I reach out and squeeze his arm with the hand not holding his. I press myself against his side.
He shakes his head.
“What are you doing to me, Zoe?” he says.
“I … I was just …” I stammer.
I’ve gone too far. He didn’t want to feel me pressed against him like that. I back off slightly. He looks at me as I pull away from like he’s burned me. He smiles a sad smile.
“I didn’t mean that,” he says, nodding down to the gap between us. He tugs gently on my hand, and I move back to his side, closing the gap again. “I meant how the hell do you get me to open up like that. The guilt? I’ve never told a soul about that. Fuck, I’ve barely admitted it to myself. And now here I am spilling my guts to you like this.”
“Yeah. I tell my friends here that my parents died so I don’t have to go into the whole story. You’re the only person I’ve told the whole story to.”
He looks at me, a storm of emotion in his eyes. I can feel every one of those emotions inside of myself. Heartbreak and loneliness, abandonment. But now there’s something new that we share: hope.
“Maybe tonight was meant to be,” I whisper. “Maybe we were always meant to meet so we could save each other…”
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Lola StVil is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes Fantasy in addition to Contemporary romance. She has written over a dozen books and loves taking her readers on an emotional roller coaster ride. She is currently living in California and enjoys staying in touch with her readers.