I hope you enjoy this little taste from Out of the Blue! Look for the whole book on November 21, 2016.
Brendan hadn’t looked forward to anything this much since he lost his virginity in his junior year at high school. Yep. On the eve of his seventeenth birthday, Mary Beth Sheldon had let him reach home base. He’d hoped to keep his newfound status as a non-virgin to himself for a little while, but his twin brother, Blake, knew something was up the instant he’d walked in their bedroom. Brendan had to admit he wasn’t the greatest actor. Plus, Blake had noticed Mary Beth’s hickey below his belly button.
That was eight years ago, and now on a short vacation in Hawaii, Brendan was getting just as worked up about going to the pool with a long-legged beauty—Casey—that he’d met on his run that morning. It only took Brendan a few minutes to change into his board shorts, and on the off chance they ended up coming to his place tonight, he picked up his dirty clothes, tossed them into the closet and slid the door closed. Then he straightened up the bathroom. It must have been remodeled recently because there wasn’t a spot of mold or cracked caulking to be seen. The granite counter contrasted with the design in the tile backsplash. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and froze.
No matter how much he tried to avoid looking at his ear, it was always the first place his gaze went when he saw his reflection. He didn’t know why. It wasn’t as if one day—by some miracle—he might discover he had a whole ear.
He was pretty certain Casey hadn’t noticed it yet. His hair covered it pretty well. Of course it was a matter of time. Then she’d ask. He either had to tell her the truth or lie about it. Or…
He pulled out the prosthetic ear from his toilet kit. He hadn’t had it for long. The prosthesis overlapped his partial ear without the need of surgical inserts or medical adhesive. He never would’ve gotten it if it wasn’t for next week. Hell, he’d never expected to make the cut, so when he’d gotten in, he couldn’t turn down the opportunity. He’d thought long and hard about what he wanted the public to know about him. Cameras would catch his deformed ear in a minute and he’d be forced to come clean. Then people would speculate and he didn’t want to put his family through it. They’d been through enough already. So maybe he should put the ear on and save himself the aggravation with Casey.
Or maybe he should let her see who he really was. Wasn’t that the real test anyway these days? “Screw it.” Brendan tossed the prosthetic back into his bag. He’d save it for next week when he really needed it.
He grabbed his sunscreen and sunglasses and bee-lined to the pool. He found a primo spot under a tan umbrella with two blue chaise lounges and tossed his shades on one and the sunscreen on the other before going to get towels. By the time he walked around the pool, there was already a line of twenty people waiting for towels so he was glad he’d claimed the chairs first.
After signing out two hotel beach towels, Brendan made his way back to the lounges. He slowed when he spotted a striking beauty heading toward him. Good God, she was breathtaking in a white bikini and sheer white cover up that left very little to the imagination. Thick framed white shades and a floppy oversized white hat topped off the outfit. She stopped in front of him, her two-inch heels bringing her even closer to his height.
“Hi.” She looked around the suddenly crowded pool area. “I think we missed chairs by that much.” She put her thumb and index finger a hairsbreadth apart but the best part was her genuine frustration. She lifted her sunglasses as she looked around the crowded pool.
“No, we didn’t. I snagged those two right over there.” Brendan pointed to the corner spot with the umbrella and pool and ocean side views.
Her immediate smile and twinkling eyes made him feel like pounding his fists against his chest in victory.
It wasn’t until they reached the chairs and Casey took the closest one, that Brendan realized his mistake. He should’ve walked in front of her and snagged the chair that put her on his right. Sitting to his left, she’d absolutely notice his ear.
Worse was that he cared so much what she thought about it. He shouldn’t. He usually didn’t, but for some crazy reason Casey’s acceptance mattered to him.
His best approach was to ease into conversation. Keep her laughing so that when she finally noticed, she wouldn’t be totally turned off by him. He’d never forget Danny’s birthday party two years ago. He’d met a girl and thought they’d hit if off. But after a quick trip to the restroom, he’d returned to hear her talking with a pal about how disgusting his ear looked. The hope in his chest had plummeted faster than a meteor after hitting gravity. He made up a bogus excuse to his brother about not feeling good and headed home. He had no inclination to go through a similar situation.
Brendan tossed her a towel, spread his on a chair and sat down. “Sunscreen?” he asked, lifting the bottle.
She perched her shades on her slim nose. “Only if you put it on me.”
Was it Christmas…because it sure as hell felt like Christmas. Her invitation sent a spark of hungry anticipation racing through his veins. “I think that sounds like a very fair deal.”
Slowly, she undid the first of three giant buttons on her flimsy cover up. A mini strip show that ensured his eyes followed every move of her hands. “Make sure you don’t miss any spots,” she warned, her voice a sultry promise. “I usually get burned right along my bikini.”
Brendan imagined the bikini lines right at the juncture of her perfect legs, but figured he could only go so far in public without getting arrested. Besides, she was probably talking about her top. “I promise I won’t miss a spot.” She could count on it.
The cover-up fell, leaving her standing in a ruffled white bikini that might be outlawed in certain states. Brendan’s mouth watered at the long lean perfection of her tanned legs. He wanted them wrapped around his waist as he pushed inside her. Wanted to feel the strength of those toned arms holding him tightly against her.
He looked up to find her smiling down at him. “Lie down. Don’t want you to get burnt.” He gestured to the chaise and Casey stretched out on her front next to him. This might be the best few minutes of his vacation so far.
Brendan squirted some lotion onto his palms. Beginning in the middle of her back, he stroked up and out to her shoulder blades, circling the cream over her shoulders, down her arms and back up again.
“Oh my God,” she moaned in a feline purr. “You’re hired. I’ll pay you to keep that up.”
No payment necessary. He’d never been happier to put his hands on someone. He chuckled. “What if I’m expensive?”
“Then we’ll take it out in trade.”
Brendan’s dick came to attention at that information. “I don’t mind trade. What did you have in mind?”
“Can I think on it and get back to you?” Her muffled voice made him smile.
“Take your time.” Brendan took his time…smoothing sunscreen over every inch of her. After the top of her back, he worked his way down to her waist and hips.
Casey sucked in air every time he smoothed lotion on her sides so close to her breasts. When he moved to the bottoms, he barely snuck his fingertips beneath the edge of the material, reveling in the curve of her ass. He loved the quick intake of air, the way her muscles clenched when he got close to a sensitive spot. He fantasized about untying the strings of her top and stripping off the miniscule bit of fabric covering her ass. His dick very much enjoyed the mental show.
But Brendan kept it legal, kept it business as he continued down her thighs, her calves, her ankles and feet. “You know,” he said, rubbing a fresh palm full of sunscreen on her heel, “the feet can be a very erogenous zone.” He stroked his thumb down the center and watched her toes flex. A low moan rumbled from her gut. He caught the tightening of her ass and the testosterone in his system multiplied.
Once he’d exhausted every possible place to spread lotion, Brendan had to take his hands off her or risk being arrested for some type of unlawful behavior.
Casey stayed on her front, but her heavy lidded gaze followed him as he sat next in the chaise next to her. “How am I going to thank you for that massage?”
Brendan gently eased a lock of her hair behind her ear. “You strike me as a highly intelligent woman. I’m sure some wonderful idea will come to you.”
“You are?” Her smile was wickedly sinful.
“Definitely. Maybe while you think on it, you’ll have dinner with me tonight.”
“We haven’t even had lunch yet.” Her sparkling eyes slayed him.
“I like to think ahead.”
“An outside of the box kind of dude. Is that what you’re saying?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying.” Brendan quickly spread sunscreen on his arms and legs, then noticed Casey’s gaze following every movement. As much as he would’ve loved to give her a show, he didn’t plan to entertain all the people poolside. He wasn’t quite ready to lie back so he just watched her from his perch on his chaise.
“You’re staring,” she said, her lids blinking slowly.
“That’s because I’ve got something beautiful to look at.” He liked the flush on her cheeks and imagined how hot he could make her if they were alone in his room. He’d take his time, drag his finger along every inch of bikini line and make her squirm until those virgin white bottoms were damp with her arousal. Then he’d slowly strip them down her long legs and give her the best orgasm of her life.
Brendan looked as if he wanted to do more than lie out in the sun. Casey would rather he continue with his sunscreen massage, but if she had to feel his hands on her much longer, she’d whisk him away to her room and jump him without a bit of regret. But what if—after a couple hours of playtime—he decided to bail on her before the sun set? Then she’d be pining and lonely her last night in Hawaii.
No way. She planned to keep this guy on the hook all day so she had the whole night to get crazy under the sheets. She deserved a little adventurous spontaneity. After tiptoeing around her shitty fiancé for two years, she was ready to break out of her meek existence and live life to the extreme. At least for the rest of this trip.
Brendan looked around the pool and Casey waited for him to relax in his chaise, but he just sat facing her and added more sunscreen to his very delicious, very broad shoulders.
If she didn’t come up with conversation soon, she was going to chuck her convictions, find the nearest darkest corner and let him have his way with her. “So what got you started playing the guitar?” she asked.
His lips quirked up in the corner. “That was my dad’s fault. He was a closet musician himself. A drummer. My mom accused him of having kids just so he could force us into playing instruments so he could have the band he always wanted.”
Envious of the fondness in his voice and eyes, Casey beat back the emotions that hit her like a club. She wasn’t close to her parents and they didn’t support her passion for music, but she forced her sadness aside and focused on her curiosity about Brendan. “How many brothers and sisters do you have?”
“One big sis and three older brothers. One being my twin.”
She sat up on her elbows, her eyes wide. “There are two of you? You have an identical twin?” She had an instant picture of a Brendan and twin sandwich, and she desperately wanted to be the filling between. Not that she’d ever participate in something so kinky, but it was fun to think about.
“Yep. Double trouble.”
She grinned and laid her head back down. “I’ll bet.” Did his twin have the same long hair, the same crazy gorgeous eyes? Too bad she’d never know. “What instruments do your siblings play?”
“Blake played the bass, but not for very long. He actually got into sculpting guitars. Turned out he was better at art than music.”
“So he’s an artist?” Casey rolled over to her side, propped up on her elbow.
“Not even close.” Brendan chuckled. His gaze roamed to her teeny bikini top before meeting her gaze and Casey’s temperature spiked. “He’s on his way to becoming a private investigator. He gave up music and art.”
Brendan shrugged. “Shit happens. We all change…and sometimes take different paths for different reasons. Blake grew up, looked at the world around him and decided to do something else that made him feel better.”
There seemed to be a whole lot of subtext behind that statement. Subtext she’d probably never know. But shit did happen. She was living proof. “Was your sister in the band?” she asked.
“Of course. For a little while,” Brendan said. “Tambourine,” he added, answering her next question. “Eric played the keyboard and Danny took up the bass that Blake left behind.”
“Your mom didn’t get in on the action?”
“Sometimes, but my mom was into a lot of things. On occasion she’d join us and sing a song or two, but being part of the band was never really her main thing. I guess she figured our band time was her chance to do what she wanted.”
Casey nodded. “I can understand that. With five kids she must have been pretty busy.” Five kids sounded outrageous to her. She couldn’t imagine three more siblings on top of her sister. “So was your family band any good?”
Brendan laughed. “Well, we didn’t suck all the time.”
His endearing reply made her smile. It seemed crazy to think she’d compared him to her ex when they met this morning. Nothing he’d said since that one comment was anything near Jeff-like.
“What about you? When did you start playing piano?” He handed her the sunscreen so she could do her front. The sun had broken free of some puffy clouds and beat down hard.
“I started lessons when I was in fourth grade,” she answered, reaching for the plastic tube. Seeing no need to talk about her boring life, she moved on to something more enjoyable. “Let me get your back. Fair is fair, you did me so I’ll do you.”
His gaze locked with hers and the unintentional double entendre hovered between them.
She wiggled the sunscreen container in her fingers and motioned with her other hand, twirling her index finger. “Spin. Give me your back.”
“Okay,” he said, turning around. “But be gentle with me.”
She squirted the warm lotion in her hand and smoothed it over his muscled back. She glided her hands over his broad shoulders and down his arms to spectacular biceps. What would it feel like to have those arms wrapped around her, to have all this smooth, warm skin sliding along hers? She rubbed more cream along his neck, snugging her fingers under his hair to make sure she didn’t miss a spot. He stiffened for a second then relaxed when she pulled away for more lotion. She continued at the middle of his back and worked her way down to his waist. The devil in her smiled as she tucked her fingers into his waistband and slid that cream all the way across the inside of the band.
Brendan sat up straighter and sucked in air, his muscles flexing at the contact.
Sometimes payback was too much fun.
“Should I do your legs?” she asked, surprised at the husky sound of her voice. Where had that come from?
Brendan turned back toward her. “Nope. Not a good idea.” His gaze was more intense than the sun that was now baking everything in its path.
“It’s not?” Casey found it hard to get in a breath. Everything about Brendan’s body language screamed tension.
He shook his head before motioning her back to her lounge chair. “Not when all I want to do right now is pick you up, take you to my room and lay you out on my bed.”
Goosebumps lifted the hair on Casey’s arms. “Is that all you want to do? Just lay me out on your bed?”
The slow shake of his head answered her question. Casey licked her lips and sat. Finding something mindless, she spread some lotion onto her stomach and legs, then flicked her gaze up and caught him watching her. The attraction between them bubbled up like molten lava. All she had to do was say the word and she knew it. One affirmative and she could be in Brendan’s room, in his bed, beneath him, over him, around him. But the longer she waited, the better chance she had of keeping him the whole night. At this point, that was her main objective.
“How about a swim?” Because she needed some serious cooling off. Without waiting for him, she dove into the pool. Cool water surrounded her in a much-needed respite from the internal heat building in her system. She really hadn’t planned to go under after her ocean experience earlier, but she needed the distance before she bagged her plan. She was two seconds away from jumping into bed with him now.
This was crazy.
She heard a splash and turned to see Brendan swimming toward her, avoiding the groups of other twenty-somethings who’d already started the day with an alcoholic beverage of some kind. His arms and legs pumped as he ate up the space between them. When he surfaced, he shook his hair out and sprayed water in all directions. She laughed as he grabbed her waist and pulled her close.
“Hi.” Water droplets caught in his thick lashes and his big hand splayed across her lower back, sending all sorts of impulses straight to her private parts.
“Hi.” She licked her lips. She shouldn’t have, because his gaze zeroed in her mouth, but she couldn’t help it.
“I’m not the only one feeling this, right?” He let go of her waist and gestured between them. His eyes snapped to hers. She saw his uncertainty. He was pretty damn brave to put it out in the open like that and she had no reason to lie to him.
She shook her head. “No. You’re not alone.”
He eased her back toward the side of the pool and locked her against the cement. His heat and strength acted like a giant force field nothing could penetrate. All those other people in the pool disappeared. She wanted him to take that one extra step that would put them chest-to-chest, thigh-to-thigh, but he stayed just far enough away to make her crazy.
Water lapped between them, chest high, and Casey’s hair floated next to her arms
“Would it be completely wild to ask you to spend lunch and dinner with me today?” He was super sweet the way he asked that question.
“I thought we’d kind of agreed to that already.” She swallowed, wanting to touch him so badly she tingled with it. “Would it be wilder to ask you to spend the night with me tonight?”
If his eyes had been intense before, they lit up even hotter now. He set his fingers on her favorite necklace—a gift from her sister when she turned eighteen—and adjusted the amethyst stone on her chest, causing a little shiver to race down her spine. Then he looked up and brushed his thumb beneath her jaw, tilting her face just the smallest bit toward him.
When his lips slowly closed the distance, Casey barely found air to breathe. Her eyes fluttered closed as his mouth brushed the corner of hers. He slid his lips across to the other side and kissed that too, before he pulled away.
He must have heard the crazy loud pounding of her heart because it seemed to drown out all the sound around her.
“Was that code for yes?” she murmured softly.
“More like hell yes.” His smile promised everything she wanted and maybe more.
Check out Against the Wall if you’d like to start the series at the top. (Although it’s not necessary since all my books stand alone.) Over the Top – a High Stakes novella (book 2) is always 99 cents!