Ethan Haywood hadn’t been sure he wanted to come to a wedding for his best friend’s band member. It was bad enough he’d had to watch Lauren and West make googly-eyes at each other all damn night, but to hang out with a bunch of crazy rockstars seemed excessive even for him.
He liked them well enough. Lauren had dragged him to enough concerts that he had more than a passing knowledge of their music. Their camaraderie had been good for his best friend. She needed a tribe. She’d been hungry for acceptance since they were children and this group embraced the eclectic whims of the band members.
They’d even been welcoming to him. He just didn’t have a hell of a lot in common with them.
His specialty was creative writing and folklore. He was buried in dusty tomes and struggling not to kill his students four days out of five. There were a few bright spots in his schedule that kept him sane. One of them had always been Lauren’s crazy schemes to round out her curriculum. He’d been hooked on her particular brand of crazy since they were kids. So hooked, he’d fancied himself besotted.
He should have known there was nothing but friendship between them when he found it far too easy to be distracted with the endless supply of men and women on and off campus. The only time Lauren had shown any interest in him as a man had been when he’d stumbled in after a long night of anonymous sex. Most of her interest had been academic. Puzzling her way through the labyrinth of his sexuality had been her laser focus. She tried not to be obvious about it, and sometimes she was downright naive, but it had amused him to answer her off-the-wall questions.
Until she’d brought West into the picture. Then things had been a little sticky between them. And not in the fun way.
He’d watched her fall fast and hard for the only man who could out-weird her. They were fucking perfect together.
And now he was in that odd third wheel fuzzy place.
Until the night he’d met Lauren’s new family at the fair. Until Molly McIntire. Bohemian beautiful with her wild blond curls and eclectic jewelry. She was statuesque and vibrant with a raw talent that gut-punched him.
But that night at the fair, when she’d looked up at him with those lake-blue eyes and surprisingly shy smile, he’d been done for.
Any vestiges of romantic vibes with Lauren Bryant had scattered thanks to the dusty fairgrounds and a star-strewn moment with Molly.
And here they were, with another deep dark sky as their backdrop. This time, he’d make sure he didn’t take his phone out and ruin the goddamn moment. He’d spent a fun weekend with an engineering professor a few weeks prior to the fair and John had thought he was clever marking his details on Ethan’s phone with a very annoying, very loud ringtone for both texting and phone calls and by labeling his information as “Hot Fuck”.
Normally, it wouldn’t matter if a contact had a ringtone because Ethan kept his phone on silent, but he’d turned it on that night to make sure he didn’t miss Lauren’s phone call.
And the snowball effect had bypassed unfortunate and cascaded into a shitfest that cost him the girl.
The ringer had attracted an ungodly amount of attention and the hot and heavy makeout session had come to a screeching halt when the camera phones had come out en masse.
Molly had turned skittish, then she’d seen the name on his screen and the moment had been lost. He still remembered the taste of her cherry lip gloss and the accusing glare she’d thrown him before disappearing into the crowd.
That had been two months ago.
Right now, the bohemian girl was gone. In her stead was a siren in a red dress with more sparkle than material. It skimmed her full breasts and cinched in at her waist before flowing around her lush hips and ass. She had layers of gold and sparkle at her neck that teased his eyes down between the valley of her mouth-watering breasts.
But it was the shoes that had done him in. Three inches of heel put them nearly eye-to-eye. It was a rarity in his life. He usually tended to drift toward more petite women. He didn’t have a body preference otherwise. He enjoyed ones who were more lush, yoga freaks, and all manner in between, but rarely did he date anyone as tall as Molly. And fuck, did she have the lush thing down. It was the statuesque part that had him on full engage.
“I wasn’t sure you’d speak to me again.”
She peered through the wild curls framing her face and shoulders. The torches surrounding the tents and fountains cast her in shadows and gold highlights. Her eyes glittered before she faced forward again. “I almost didn’t.”
“So why did I get a second chance?” he asked.
“Not sure you have.”
“Oh, I have.” He was so sure of it, his balls ached. Considering the state he’d been in for the last few weeks, it wasn’t exactly a welcome change. Classes had started up again and he was pent-up. Between the stress of a new school year and the fact he couldn’t get her off his mind, he was a damn mess.
Starting this with her wasn’t a good idea.
She veered off the main path to a more secluded one. A large fountain burbled and solar lights kissed her skin. She threw a glance over her shoulder. A secret smile lit her features before she disappeared around the bend.
His cock was more than willing to follow. So much so that his legs started moving double time before his brain kicked in. She was bad news. He’d seen a familiar light in her eyes that night at the fair and look how that had turned out.
He’d had blue balls for a week.
For fuck’s sake, he’d dreamed of her for the entire week after the fair. Waking up to find his own fist clenched around his cock and an unsatisfying stream of cum on his belly.
All because of a fleeting touch and a kiss hot enough to melt iron.
She was literally the path to destruction. And again, the divining rod that was his dick right then definitely hadn’t gotten the memo. It just wanted one thing. And all of it was waiting in the heaven between her endless tanned legs.
He groaned inwardly as he followed the winding path around the grounds of the hotel. They were on the outskirts of the city. The sea roared below the cliffs at the edge of the property.
She stood in front of a stone bench, her skirts billowing around her on the breeze. There were no torches this far away from the party. Just the cool light from a three-quarter moon and a blanket of stars.
If he were a fanciful man—and he could be at times—he’d say she was like the bronze statue on the shore of Ireland. A woman waiting for her man to come home from the sea. Knowing the mistress would take him again and again.
But then she turned away from the water and her skirts fluttered on the wind. There was no fanciful longing there. No, she wasn’t one to stand and wait. She was all fierce warrior with the light of battle shining deep within her.
He wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted with him, only knew he’d be willing to be whatever she needed tonight.
Tonight, he could promise her the moon, as long as she understood it was a fleeting promise gone with the sun.
He crossed to her, standing an arm’s length away from her. “I’m not really worthy of a second chance.”
“No. You’re right, you aren’t.”
The dig was sharp, but he grinned. He liked that she had claws. That acid burned the tip of her tongue and her words could bite. She was real and unapologetic and the fire that burned inside her was so goddamn alluring.
He’d watched her on stage a number of times. Effortless sex trapped behind a glass wall.
She poured everything into her songs, into the voice she wielded like a sword in the midst of battle. But she only shared so much. Only allowed the crowd to see a piece of her, so they longed for more.
She’d walked away from him once. Her disapproval and her derisive sneer had lived in his head for weeks, but not before he’d tasted her. Not before the soft swell of her hips had tattooed a brand on his palms.
He wanted behind the glass again.
He reached out. A long curl wrapped around his wrist, luring him closer. “Then why are we here?”
She tipped her head to give him more access. He sifted through the dancing curls and gripped the softer hair at the nape of her neck. He knew her eyes were a wild blue, but right now, the darkness swallowed the color and left a glittering black from the moon.
It only added to her otherworldliness.
And fuck, he was already wrapped up in her. Just ten minutes in her space and the lure was absolute.
Would the attraction vanish the minute he had her?
It had happened to him on a number of occasions. The chase was the ultimate high, but then he was done.
Time would tell if she was different. He was already afraid she could be.
He tightened his grip and she tipped her head back. The long line of her throat was pale and perfect. Something glittery kissed her collarbone and shoulders. If she was anything like the other girls in the wedding party, they’d been splashed with some pearly powder.
He leaned down and trailed the tip of his tongue up the column of her neck. “Cherries?”
She let out a little moan. “Lauren’s idea. Got it during one of her many trips to the sex shop with West.”
His gut clenched.
Once upon a time, he would have been wounded by that statement. He’d wanted Lauren—at least he’d thought he wanted her. Now he knew it was more like she was a comfortable pair of jeans. The kind a man never wanted to part with because it felt familiar and fit all the right spots.
But he’d never been the kind of man to want comfortable. Not really. He was just tired of fucking around with women and men who didn’t pull at him for anything other than a quick release.
He twisted her hair tighter and a low moan slipped out of that golden throat. “What are we doing here, Molly? And will I find this cherry powder on other places on this perfect body?”
She trailed her fingers along the collar of his white dress shirt before she lowered her hand to her own shoulder. She tugged at the little strap holding up the triangles of material. Her fingers trembled slightly, but then one creamy breast was bared to the moonlight. “Why don’t you test it out?”
His cock hardened painfully and he quickly ducked to take her tight little nipple into his mouth. The artificially sweet cherry flavor exploded on his tongue as he swirled around the taut point.
Suddenly, he didn’t want to taste anything on her skin but her. It seemed like a sacrilege.
He tugged until her back arched again and he sucked more of her flesh into his mouth. She squeaked then her fingers were buried in his hair, holding him tight to her skin.
He let her nipple go with a little pop. “Is this what you need?” He lifted his head and met her starlit gaze. Endlessly dark with pinpoints of light. Either they would guide him or he’d get lost.
He wasn’t quite sure which one he was more attracted to right now.
She dragged in a ragged breath. “Why the hell do we need to talk about it?”
“Because I’m not letting you go again. Not like before. You run and I will chase you this time.”
She flinched. “I’m not yours to run after, Professor.”
“Ethan.” His voice was low and he knew it sounded on the raw side of dangerous. But this wasn’t some twisted fantasy fuck.
If she was doing this, it was with him. Not the dirty professor role people liked to slot him in. That was all well and good when there were other games on the table. He was more than willing to fuck through that fantasy for a man or woman of his choosing.
But it was of his choosing.
This wasn’t that kind of night.
She wasn’t that kind of fuck.
He didn’t want that from her.
He’d believed he could be whatever she needed, but evidently he had a hard no for one specific thing.
He didn’t want her hot for teacher.
“Ethan.” Her voice was harsh with anger and a little bit of bravado.
“So tell me what you want, Molly.”
“Me, or a fuck?”
“I want you to fuck me. I need you to fuck me. I need you to make me feel something.” The last few words were as rough as sandpaper and barely more than a whisper.
He eased down her other strap until there was nothing but moonlight and the glittering gold necklaces she always wore.
The dusky pink of her nipples barely stood out against her pale skin. Her breasts were heavy enough that they swayed with his rough touch. He groaned and released her hair so he could fill both hands with her.
She tipped her head back and swayed a little. There was little more than a stone bench and the edge of the grassy knoll before the cliff’s edge.
The wind ripped off the water and tossed her hair around her shoulders. The ends teased his cheeks as he drew her nipple harder, deeper. As he tugged the other and gauged what she needed.
Did she like it harsh and forceful, or did she like a gentler touch?
He tugged until the tip was distended against his tongue. The low groan that grew out of her belly told him he was right.
She wanted to taste the edges. The hard ones that were as sharp as shale and just as fragile.
A wrong move and they’d tumble.
He sat on the stone bench and pulled her astride him. He jerked at her skirts until there was nothing but endless leg and the scrap of lace underneath. One pull and seams stretched.
“What are you— Are you crazy?” she gasped. “Those are La Perla.”
He found the weakness in the lace and yanked until it tore. “I’ll buy you a dozen more. I just need that slick pussy against my fingers.”
She leaned back. “Then ask.”
“I don’t want to ask.” Her face was fierce again, the feral cat who lived inside her on full display. And he wanted all of her gloved over his dick. “You don’t want me to either.”
The leftover lace and elastic snapped across her hips. He started with the chiffon and silk of her dress, but he wanted skin. He dug down into the filmy material and groaned when her ass filled his hands.
He lifted her enough that those glorious tits bounced against his face. He dragged his scruffy face over her cleavage and the little cross at the end of her last chain tickled across his lip.
He tugged it slightly as he looked up at her.
Kneeling on the bench, she loomed over him, shifting to give him access to the heat at the center of her thighs. The little chip of a diamond she wore in her nose tonight winked in the shadows, and then it was just her eyes.
They were boring deep into him.
Watching as if she needed to figure out exactly what they were.
He didn’t want her thinking.
Thinking wasn’t for tonight.
The next night.
The next week when his dick reminded him what he’d had tonight—then he could think.
Then he could stew.
Then she could fucking think about it and maybe remember what it felt like to have his dick filling her up.
Because she arched like a woman who needed a good fuck.
She’d rarely been attached to a man who wasn’t in her band. And there was never a hint of romance between her and any of the men surrounding her.
As if she did it on purpose.
And that made him want her soaking his cock even more.
That she chose him.
He wouldn’t allow her to regret it.
His fingers slid over the curve of her ass and her soaking cunt was right there. He dropped her chain from his mouth with a groan. “Sweet Jesus, so fucking wet for me.”
She lowered her hips to grind against his dress pants. “I am wet for you. I told you I needed this.”
She lowered her mouth to his. “I need this.”
“Me.” He said it on a growl. Probably too much of one, to be honest, but this wasn’t going to be a nameless fuck even if she wanted it to be.
He dragged his day’s worth of beard over her water-soft breast. “Make no mistake, Molly. It’s me who makes you wet. It’s me who will get you off so many times tonight you’re going to lose count.”
“Is that right?”
He slid his hand forward until his two middle fingers slipped inside of her. She closed her eyes and her head tipped back.
She was fiery satin.
Slick and perfect, she sucked his fingers deeper and clenched around him. Fuck, she was going to feel so damn good.
He pulled out of her and she growled.
He laughed. “I said you were going to come, don’t worry.”
The pads of his fingers sluiced through her swollen pussy to find her clit. He widened her with the palm of his hand and made a merciless path of destruction around her clit.
He ground hard against her ass, his entire hand slick with her arousal. Sea spray misted over her hips and back as the wind whipped her hair around his face.
She wound her arms around his neck and ground against him. Her hips rocked and she bit her lower lip as he found the first combination to her lock.
Her soft purr wasn’t enough.
She shuddered over him, her hips rotating against his rhythm. Instead of throwing them out of sync, it only heightened her release.
Because there was no doubt she had split apart for him. She just did it quietly.
That wasn’t good enough to suit him. He dug under her skirts from the front and replaced the pads of his fingers with a thick knuckle from his other hand. He rubbed fast and hard, his mouth full of her breast. Her chains swung in front of his face as she crowded him.
She pulled him closer.
His fucking forearm was seizing, but he didn’t stop. He held on as she broke again. As her purr became a groan.
Her legs shook and her knees vised around his hips as she tried to push up and away from his touch.
“No.” He nipped her shoulder and her neck, then back to her breast. “No. You take all of it.”
“Not enough. No pansy-ass orgasms like the last boy to touch you probably gave you.”
Her eyes widened.
It was a guess, but a correct one. Fumbling boys who cared about their pleasure more than hers. Men in their twenties couldn’t be counted on for much, but being a selfish prick in bed was usually a certainty. Hell, he’d been one himself once upon a time.
But then he’d learned that giving was where the power was. And he liked power.
He pushed her back on her feet. Her heels wobbled on the stone pathway that led to the edge of the property.
Good. He liked keeping her off-balance. Unsteady and hungry, just as she made him.
He threw a look over his shoulder to make sure they were still alone before he slipped off the bench to kneel in front of her. “Hold on to me, love.”
Then he dove under her skirts.