Wanting to Remember, Trying to Forget (Meet the Shepards, #1)

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Chapter 6: June

Anytime now, Danny thought. At any second Max was going to rip his mouth away from hers and all the hormones raging inside her would come to a screeching halt. It happened every time. The months had moved from May to June, but they had not moved from first base to second and it was frustrating the hell out of her.

Three weeks of making out – just making out – and it happened every single time. He would kiss her, the way he was right now, and every fiber of her being would come to life. Whether it was slow and easy, or fast and hungry, he would kiss her until she felt like she was going to burst if he didn’t touch her, and then he would abruptly pull away. The minute he felt like they might lose control, he ended it.

But not tonight. She wasn’t having any of that tonight. Not with the way she was feeling. Not with his tongue working its magic in her mouth. Not with his rock hard erection throbbing between her legs like that. Tonight she wanted to lose control.

He was on top of her, his chest crushing against her breasts; his hot, sexy mouth almost ravenous on hers. They were fully clothed, as they always were, yet tonight she was desperate for some kind of contact. She didn’t know what exactly her body was craving for, but there was an urge growing inside her. Every inch of her skin begged for his attention and so far her mouth was the only place that got any action.

She moved hips against the hard length beneath his jeans and he groaned, a groan that made every womanly part of her tighten. Her nipples hardened against him.

He broke the kiss. “Danny,” he whispered raggedly.

“No!” She buried her hands his hair, pulling him back down to her.

He lifted his head again. “I think…I really think…”

“Don’t think! Just shut up and kiss me.” She brought his mouth down hard on hers. She bucked her hips up again, the most sensitive part of her rubbing against the most sensitive part of him. The thin pair of cotton pajamas she wore was barely a barrier. She felt everything. It was thrilling, ecstatic, euphoric. But it wasn’t enough. Something was happening inside her. Something so exquisitely excruciating and she knew he could feel it, too.

He twisted his hand in the bed sheet, wrapping it tightly around his knuckles. “Danny…”

The constricted moan of her name only made her want more. More of what, she didn’t know, but she wanted it. The pressure built inside her and his kisses were having the most drugging effect on her brain. A breathless whimper escaped her lips. She moved her hips again and again, thrusting faster, pressing harder.

“Fuck, Danny!”

The choked whisper was the last thing she heard before everything stopped. Max pulled fiercely out of her grip and moved to sit on the edge of the bed.

He placed his elbows on his knees and dropped his head as he tried to catch his breath. “We can’t…we can’t do this…” He inhaled deeply a few more times as he pushed both hands through his hair and clasped his fingers together at the back of his head.

“Why…why won’t you touch me?” Danny asked, still sounding breathless. She couldn’t hide the bite of frustration in her voice, because that was exactly how she felt. Frustrated! Like someone had just dumped a bucket of ice water on her. He would turn her on until every inch of her was an aching, hot mess and then nothing! She hated this part the most. The cool down. It was almost painful. The point where her body had to accept that it had just been teased and tormented and there was nothing more to come. “Why won’t you touch me?” she asked again, almost shouting this time.

He tilted his head slightly to look back at her. “I just…I think we should wait for you to regain your memory before…before we do anything more.”

“That may never happen,” she said from between clenched teeth. She was angry now, tears stinging the back of her eyes. “Max, if you’re looking for excuses…If you’re not attracted to me, just say so.”

His eyebrows creased as if he had never heard anything more absurd. “Danny, I’m sitting here with a fucking hard-on,” he said, using both hands to point to the bulge in his pants. “I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m attracted to you.”

“Then, why won’t you touch me?”

A low, exasperated groan escaped him. “If you remembered everything…I don’t think you’d be doing this with me right now.”

“What are you hiding from me, Max?”

“Nothing.” The answer came out as quickly as her question. “Danny, your body is sacred to you. You’ve never let anyone touch you…and…and…I don’t want you to regret anything we’ve done when you get your memory back.”

“But I want you to touch me. I wouldn’t regret it, not with you.”

He looked almost agonized at her response. “It’s not just you, it’s me.” He shifted his brown eyes from her to the floor. “I’ve only ever been with one woman,” he admitted softly. “And that was three years ago...a whole two times. I don’t…know what to do. I’m just a skinny nerd…and you’re…so beautiful, completely out of my league. You saved yourself for so long…I’m just going to end up disappointing you.”

Danny was taken aback by the honest confession. It was refreshing. They were finally talking openly and it was clear that he was as insecure as she was. She crawled across the bed and slipped onto the floor. Moving between his legs on her knees, she looked up at him. “Max, if you knew what you do to me, you’d know that I only feel disappointment when you pull away.” She shrugged. “I don’t know what to do either, but we can learn from each other…teach each other. I’m not asking for sex. I’m just asking you to touch me.”

His eyes met hers then and with all the words and insecurities that hung in the air, a simple touch seemed less daunting for both of them. The silence stretched on for some time before he finally spoke again. “Okay,” he whispered.

She lifted herself off the floor and sat down beside him on the bed with her legs crossed. “I want you to kiss me...” She tilted her head to the side and pointed to the hallow spot at the base of her neck. “…here.”

She didn’t know if she would like it, but she’d seen Tom Cruise do it in Jerry Maguire and it looked tempting enough for her to give it a try.

Max dipped his head and placed a soft kiss on her collarbone. It was gentle, tender and yet it still managed to send shivers down her spine. The tip of his tongue traced tiny circles on her skin. The sensation was ticklish, but electrifying so. Her hand moved into his hair, pushing his mouth harder against her. He pulled her skin into his mouth and she gasped.

He pulled away, whipping off his T-shirt, and she took a moment to appreciate the sight of him. She had only seen him without a shirt once before and because of the bruises that had covered his body at the time, she hadn’t paid much attention. He was not as skinny as she thought he was. He wasn’t muscular as such, but extremely toned. His chest and arms were defined and she could see the faint lines of a six pack that was in the early stages of development.

He pushed her back against the bed, resuming the same position they had been in just minutes before. Only this time his lips didn’t stay in one place. He kissed her down the other side of her neck and began unbuttoning her pajama top. It only took a few seconds for her brain to register what he was doing and as soon as it did, her hand quickly moved to her chest, tightly clutching the material between her fingers.

Max lifted his head and looked down at her. “What’s wrong?”

“Not there,” she managed to say.

He smiled awkwardly. “I am so confused right now.”

“I want you to touch me…but not there. Just skip that piece. Move onto something else. There’s nothing wrong with the bottom half of me.”

He snapped up, his forehead creasing. “What’s wrong with the top half of you?”

It wasn’t the question as such, but the way he asked it, that made her feel like another proverbial bucket of ice water was dropped on her head. She placed both hands over her face, trying to hide the humiliation and the tears that came all too quickly.

“You can tell me,” he said.

She shook her head, pressing her fingers harder against her eyes.

Max gently pulled her hands away from her face. “Hey,” he whispered. “It’s just me. You don’t have to be afraid when you’re with me.”

Danny shut her eyes tighter, but the tears still seeped through. She was afraid, afraid of showing vulnerability, afraid of him rejecting her again. She hadn’t wanted this. All she wanted was a heavy make-out session with her boyfriend and now she was an emotional damper on the mood.

“Danny, look at me.”

She shook her head again. She felt his hand on her cheek, stroking her tears away. “It’s just me,” he whispered, kissing the side of her face.

His words were supposed to calm her, make her feel less intimidated, but it actually had the reverse effect. It was just him. The one person who she had completely opened herself up to and she wouldn’t be able to handle it if he rejected her again.

With his mouth still placing reassuring kisses on her face, his hands moved back to the buttons on her pajamas.

Again, her hand clamped down on the fabric. “Max, please don’t. I don’t want you to see me.”

His hand moved over hers, tugging the material from her fingers. “It’s just me.”

She finally mustered up enough courage to open her eyes and look at him. His hands moved tentatively, nervously as he undid the rest of her buttons.

He slowly spread the material, revealing the thick, ugly scar on her chest. It started below one breast and zigzagged its way to above the other. A look came over his face, a look she couldn’t quite read. It wasn’t pity, but it wasn’t appreciation either. His breath caught slightly as his eyes moved over every part of her exposed skin.

“I’m hideous!” she said, quickly covering herself up again.

“You’re not.” His hand caught hers. “You’re not. You’re beautiful.”

Her eyes shut, burning from the tears, the embarrassment, his brazen stare. “You don’t have to lie to me.”

Max stood up and pulled her up as well. “I wanna show you something.” He walked with her to the dresser and stood behind her, shifting her body so that she looked directly at her reflection in the mirror. Both his hands came up from behind her and he slowly pulled the pajama top off her shoulders, exposing everything, including the same thick, ugly marks on her back.

“Max…”

“It’s okay.”

He held her gaze in the mirror as his fingers lightly traced the length of her scar, starting under her left breast and ending above the right.

“I’m so ugly,” she whispered, tears welling up her eyes again.

“No.” He kissed the scar on the side of her head. “You see scars, but these aren’t scars, Danny. They’re reminders…reminders that I could have lost you, but here you are…in my arms. There’s nothing more beautiful than that.” He lifted both her arms and pulled them back around his neck. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered against her skin.

His hands moved down her arms, but when they reached her chest, they stopped moving in unison. One hand moved onto her breast and she gasped. The other hand pressed against her stomach, pushing her back against his chest.

There was something strangely erotic about watching his hands move over her body, feeling his bare skin against hers. He dipped his head to her neck, kissing her Jerry Maguire spot again, cupping her breast at the same time. She bit her lip to stifle a moan, her head falling back against his chest.

The warmth of his mouth caused goose bumps all over body and for a few minutes she closed her eyes and enjoyed every tantalizing touch. The hand on her abdomen began to inch lower, but she could tell he was nervous. With one hand still holding onto the back of his neck, she placed her other hand over his and guided it past the waistband of her pajama pants to the wet spot that was aching to be touched. He groaned against her ear and she melted against him. With the slightest encouragement of her hand, his fingers moved inside her. This time she couldn’t stifle her moan.

Suddenly all the sensations flowing through her body were overwhelming. She had asked him to touch her, but now she was feeling like maybe it was more than she could handle. The lips on her neck, the thumb rubbing over her nipple, the finger pushing deeper inside her, it was all too much. Too many pleasure points were receiving too much pleasure.

“Max,” she whimpered.

Her knees felt weak, ready to give in at any moment. She shifted her pelvis, rubbing her bottom against his crotch. A low growl rumbled in his throat and the urgency built inside her. Max spun her around, pushed her back until she was sitting halfway on the edge of the dresser and then he was kissing her again, hot and intense. The hard wall of his chest pressed against her.


His hand moved down her pants again, his finger easily sliding into her.

Every muscle in her body tensed. She bit his shoulder as attempt to release the pressure, but it kept building with each thrust of his finger. She wanted more. She needed more. She shifted her hips and his thumb accidentally brushed against her clitoris.

A staggered groan left her lips. “There, Max,” she whispered urgently. “Touch me there.”

His thumb began rotating over the same spot. “Like this?”

“Faster.”

Her hands moved to the buckle of his belt. She wanted him to feel what she felt, give him the same pleasure he gave her.

“Don’t,” he said, quickly grabbing her hand. “I’m hanging on by a thread here and if you touch me, I’m done.”

She didn’t argue. Instead, she wrapped her arms around him, pulling him closer. She needed something to hold on to. With his hand working her inside and out, she felt almost dizzy. Her nails grazed over his back as he moved faster and faster until…

“Oh…Max…”

It started off at her core, tiny little tingles. And when the pressure finally released, it was like a burst that rippled through her entire body, all the way to her toes. Her head dropped against his shoulder and he held her silently, allowing her time to regain composure.

When she finally had enough strength to lift her head and look at him, he was beaming; a very proud smile on his face.

“That…was far from disappointing,” Danny said, her voice sounding strange to her own ears. Her hands moved up into his hair. “Now, give me those lips again.”

* * * * *


“Yeah, Lauren,” Danny said as she surveyed the conference room. “I definitely see what you mean.”

“I am up in arms, Danielle. The function is in two days and this is what they left me with.”

Danny smiled to herself. Lauren didn’t show anger like most people. It wasn’t curt, or even nasty. It was poised like everything else Lauren did.

She could understand why Lauren was angry, though. She had paid a small fortune to the designer to decorate the conference room and it looked horrid. The colors were all mismatched. Red, green, purple, and yellow. Who the hell does that?

It looked completely unprofessional. Even an untrained eye could pick up the lack of attention to detail. The tables were arranged untidily, leaving minimal room for the dance area Lauren requested.

Danny studied the room, top to bottom and left to right before she turned to the older woman. “Hey, Lauren. This is a benefit function for underprivileged kids, right?”

“Yes.”

“Well, maybe you could play on that. Maybe…never mind. It’s a stupid idea.”

“No. Go on, Danielle. No idea is stupid at this point.”

Danny squished her lips together, almost nervous to elaborate. “What if you change the theme? Maybe a kid’s party…or a carnival. You could mix it with a fourth of July kinda feel. That way you can still use all these mismatched colors. You paid for it, you might as well use it.”

Lauren smiled at her, but there was something odd about it. “What else?”

“I don’t know. Maybe some balloons…and a popcorn machine…” She began to speak slower, feeling more anxious under Lauren’s eager gaze. “Maybe some jugglers…or a clown…we could move some of those tables…um…”

Lauren released a sigh that sounded a little fake. “Everything you are saying sounds wonderful, dear, but like I said, the function is in two days and unfortunately I simply do not have the time to put all that together.”

“I’ll do it,” Danny volunteered. “I’ll be happy to do it. I don’t really have much else to do.”

“Then it’s settled.” Lauren reached into her handbag and pulled out an iPad. “This is yours. Your code is four-one-nine-two. It has all the information you may need. Caterers, florists, all those things. If you need any help, call Charlene, our receptionist, and she can help you with all the other details.”

She spoke so fast that Danny couldn’t help but feel that it was all rehearsed. Before she could even voice her thoughts, Lauren was making her way to the door.

“Oh, Danielle, I think it’s only fair that you charge me for your time and effort.”

And that’s when it became very clear that the whole thing had been orchestrated. Danny had wanted to start working again, but finding a job in a professional, corporate environment wasn’t easy when the last thing she could remember was bits and pieces of the tenth grade. Creativity, however, did not require a degree and Lauren, bless her heart, had known that all too well.

* * * * *


Max switched on his gaming console and sat down. He needed something else to occupy his mind. Feeling at odds with himself was sort of a given at any moment in time.

A part of him wanted to leap wholeheartedly into this relationship with Danny while the other part of him was holding back. The more they progressed, the heavier the burden of guilt became. And they were progressing quickly.

It was bewildering. Danny had dated nine other men before him and not once had she been tempted to explore beyond first base. Maybe it was because she couldn’t remember how strict she had been about physical acts, or maybe it was him. He brought out a side of her that he never knew existed.

Leo and Aries. Maybe that was the product of two fire signs colliding. Heat. Sizzling heat. Burning passion. Scorching need.

He had that with Danny. Chemistry between two people could not be faked. Even if their entire relationship was based on a fabrication, that part was very real.

He wanted to confess everything to her, tell her the whole truth, but with every passing day, he was sucked deeper into this lie. He couldn’t possibly tell her the truth now. There was too much to lose. It seemed simple enough on the surface. She liked him. She cared about him, so telling her the truth shouldn’t really change her feelings for him, especially because she couldn’t remember what their relationship was like before. But that wasn’t the problem.

The problem was figuring out a way to explain to her that he had blatantly lied to her every day for two months. She would never be able to trust him again if he told her what was really going on. She would doubt everything he had told her so far and that’s what stopped him. Losing what they had built scared him into silence. He had been in love with her for the longest time, but this was different. His feelings for her were changing, morphing into something deeper and he didn’t want to ruin that.

The lie was beginning to escalate beyond their relationship. His mother had called several times since she had been discharged from the hospital and every time she asked to speak to Danny, he had to think of another excuse. His mother knew that she had lost her memory, but he had not told anyone in his family – not even Jordan - that they were now dating. He would have to think of a way to rectify it before Christmas, but right now all he could do was continue living a lie.

And while their invented lives pushed Danny forward, the guilt kept pulling him back. He wouldn’t allow himself to lose control with her. He barely let her touch him. That was how he maintained some kind of sensibility, because one slip, one moment of weakness and they could end up doing something she may regret. And that was the last thing he wanted to be if she regained her memory. A regret.

So even though it was killing him, he was trying to practice restraint. Operative word being trying. Two inexperienced people in the bedroom and he had foolishly thought that making out would be enough for a long while. It was definitely not the case. Danny was insatiable. Reasons and excuses all fell on deaf ears. She had always been assertive but even more so now. She didn’t ask anymore. She took what she wanted. And she wanted him.

When a woman as hot as that wanted something he so wanted to give, practicing restraint was damn near impossible.

Max continued playing his game, shooting aliens and dodging monsters. It was a welcomed distraction from the thoughts afflicting his mind. He had just conquered level seven when she swooped through the front door and into the living room, glowing with excitement.

Leaning over from behind the sofa, she wrapped her arms around his neck and plucked a quick kiss on his cheek. “So…I think I got a job,” she said.

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. It’s just a one-time thing, but I’m really excited.” She moved around the sofa and sat down on the floor between his legs.

Max leaned forward, resting his elbows on his thighs, holding the controls with both hands in front of her. “I’m happy for you,” he said, kissing the top of her head. “Maybe Lauren will let you plan more functions in future.”

“How do you know that’s what Lauren wanted me to do?”

He chuckled. “She made it pretty obvious when she came to pick you up earlier.”

“I guess you guys do know me better than I know myself right now.”

Max noted the saddened tone in her voice and placed another kiss on her head. “You’re still the same person,” he said softly. “The accident didn’t change you, it just…altered your perception a little bit. I know this is hard for you and it’s going to take some time, but eventually you’ll feel whole again.”

Max used one hand to select his weapons for the next level while his other hand idly slipped into her T-shirt, his fingers tracing along the scar at the top of her chest. He loved that scar, all her scars. He loved everything they represented; a life with her he never would have had. They were tangible evidence that her perception had been altered and as much as it invoked guilt, he felt gratitude as well.

She dropped her head back so she could look up at him. “Will you come with me to the charity dinner?”

“Sure.”

He leaned down and brushed his lips against hers. It was supposed to be brief, a quick simple kiss, but then she opened her mouth and everything in his body shifted up a gear. There was something about the way she kissed him that drove him absolutely wild. It was hungry, consuming and as much as his mind always told him to practice restraint, his body, the traitor, always reciprocated every one of her voracious desires. This was how things got out of hand.

She twisted on the floor, moving onto her knees. “Max,” she whispered, nipping his lower lip. “I wanna try something.”

Nope! No way! He wasn’t agreeing to anything with her looking at him like she was the predator and he was the prey. No! That look could only mean trouble. “I…uh…I would…I would really love to, Danny, but…” Her hands pressed up his thighs and his eyes shut involuntarily. “Uh…mmm…but I’m already…”

She tentatively unbuckled his belt and unzipped his jeans. “I’m listening,” she said, looking up at him with innocent hazel eyes, but what she was doing was far from innocent. Her fingers nervously crept into his pants and wrapped around his thick shaft.

“Fuck,” he whispered.

That was the only reaction she needed for her nervousness to subside. His breathing accelerated as she began stroking him.

“You were saying?”

Her tone was neutral, completely indifferent, like they were talking about the fucking weather. But her hand was around his cock, slowly rubbing him up and down, and talking about anything at that moment was difficult. “I was…I was…aaah…I was saying that…um…fuck…I’m already…on the eighth…level…just…really busy.”

“Oh, okay,” she said, feigning disappointment. “You carry on with your game. I’ll just find something better to do.” She pulled on either side of his jeans, tugging slightly until there was no longer a barrier between her and the only part of him that mattered right now. “Wow,” she said, staring at the thick rod in her hand. “That’s impressive.”

He tried to give her a nonchalant shrug. “One dimple.”

He knew she didn’t get the joke, but she smiled anyway. “I was talking about the game. Eighth level. That’s impressive.”

She leaned closer and it felt like his heart was beating so fast, it was going to burst out of his chest at any second. She licked her lips and the predatory look returned to her eyes. He wanted to stop her. He knew he should stop her, but the light breaths on his skin were rendering him useless, unable to move or speak. He was nervous, anxious, anticipation flooding through him. No man in this position would be able to stop, not with a pair of luscious lips being so close.

Her tongue lightly licked his tip and it sent a fleeting ripple through his entire body. He groaned. He couldn’t keep his head up anymore. It fell heavily against the backrest of the sofa. She circled her tongue around his tip before pulling it completely into her mouth. His body stiffened. His hands tightened around the controller. Her moist, warm mouth turned the ripple into a tidal wave.

He stopped breathing, literally stopped breathing for several seconds. His brain had stopped working as soon as she had unzipped his jeans. His heart was going into overdrive because somewhere in the last few minutes, it had forgotten how to beat in regular intervals. And now his lungs were giving in, blatantly refusing to take in any air. It was like every organ was confused and electrified by the sensations pounding through his body; like they were all shouting: “Hey, what’s going on down there, Penis?”

But Penis was too wrapped up in Danny’s mouth to respond so they all just continued to malfunction. His cells were scurrying around in a daze, not knowing whether they should be carrying oxygen to one head or the other.

Amidst all the chaos, his brain finally managed to form a coherent thought, an ingenious idea that would hopefully slow everything down. Just think of something mundane, he told himself. Like butterflies and daisies. That always used to work before. Of course, before his cock wasn’t caught up in the hot, wet vise grip of her mouth, but it was worth a try.

Butterflies and daisies!

He looked down at her, watching the erotic way her lips moved up and down the length of him. Somehow seeing and feeling at the same time had the opposite effect of what he was trying to achieve.

Butter…flies…and…daisies!

“Danny…”

He wasn’t sure if she had heard him. It was a muffled moan that had barely reached his own ears over his ragged breathing. She moved her hand to just below her mouth, stroking him as she pulled and sucked. He dropped the controller, gripping onto the side of the sofa instead. He stopped breathing again. The blood drained from his head.

Butter…Butterdaisies…and…flies…

“Danny…Danny, stop!” He grasped her shoulders and pushed her away from him. “Stop…stop…please stop…” His fingers pressed hard into her arms as he tried to get his breath back. “This…could all end…very quickly if you keep…doing that.”

“What could end?” she asked, trying her hand at innocence again. “I thought you were playing your game.”

He laughed and ran an unsteady hand down his face. “You’re evil.”

Her hand resumed the task, rubbing faster than it did before. He was so close to the edge that it didn’t take long. A deep groan rumbled in his throat. He felt every muscle contract, a shockwave jolting through his body and then…the ultimate release.

He shut his eyes, unable to keep them open. His body shuddered; another thing he could not control. It was only when his breathing slowed that his brain started thinking normally again. She slowly loosened her grip and Max looked down at her wet hand.

“I’m sorry,” he said, feeling slightly embarrassed. “I…I tried to warn you.”

A wide smile stretched across her face. “It’s okay. I’ll go get cleaned up.” She stood up with a sigh of satisfaction and kissed him. “Hey, Max. Who knew video games could be so much fun?” She gave him a naughty wink and left the living room.

Yeah, he loved her!

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