I could smell his shampoo. A wave of emotion washed over me and my breath hitched.
Dylan’s body stiffened, and he turned his head a fraction of an inch but was still facing away from me. After one heartbeat, two, he turned back to face the bartender.
I wasn’t sure what to do next and thought about retreating to beat some sense into myself. But I saw some evil girls down the bar eyeing him up. Screw pride, and sense. There was no way I was going to let them any closer.
I downed my drink and tilted my chin at the bartender to get another, mouthing my drink order. I’d need it. Dylan didn’t move to acknowledge me except to let me in at the bar just enough to pay.
After taking a long sip, I tried again. “I miss you.” My voice was casual but there was a raw edge to it. Something more meaningful.
His laugh sounded tight. Not the easy sound I’d come to expect, but at least he acknowledged me. And why the hell wouldn’t he look at me?
We stood, not touching, surrounded by people and drinks and a low, thrumming beat, for endless moments. I could smell Dylan and feel his warmth even in the heat of the club. Being this close to him after nearly a month apart was perfect, and it was torture.
Well, at this point I had very little to lose.
“Dylan. I can’t stop thinking about you.”
“Yeah?” The first word he’d said to me. He glanced in my direction for a split second, our eyes connecting. I took the opening and charged ahead.
“I think about the way you laugh at my stupid jokes. The way you’ll be totally sweet one moment and drive me crazy the next.” He was still listening, but I couldn’t read his face. I dragged in another breath. “The way every girl in this bar wants you but you don’t have a clue.”
Being this close to him without touching him was killing me. It had been too long since I’d had his hands on me, his mouth. While my memory had preserved parts of him, it hadn’t quite gotten right the intensity I felt being in his presence. The way it felt like the air crackled between us when we were just a few breaths apart.
I waited endless minutes. The song changed to something low and primal, and still I refused to move. How long was he going to make me wait? Would he even acknowledge me at all?
He’d have to, I thought determinedly. Because I wasn’t going to move.
Dylan slowly finished his drink before turning to me. When he finally did his eyes were stormy, but in the low lighting, I couldn’t tell what mood he was in.
“I think about you too.” Something in me thrilled as he reached a hand out to my hip, pulled me gently toward him, leaned down until his mouth brushed my ear. God, yes. Yes, yes, yes.
“I think about my mouth on you.” Dylan’s voice was low, his lips on my skin. Something in me curled at the feeling. “When you’re just starting to come, you make those little noises because you’re so close you want to scream.” He pulled me harder against him. A bolt of pure lust ran down my body at the feel of how hard he was already. I had no idea whether he felt anything beyond the physical, but I was ready to take anything he would give me.
“I think about sliding into you when we’re in the shower. Of being hot and wet and slippery all over, and you’re even hotter and wetter inside.” He said it on a single breath and I felt the air pass my ear. I swallowed audibly, not sure I could speak if my life depended on it. But my body was responding, turning to Jell-O until I thought I’d melt at his feet. He must’ve known, as his hands held my hips tighter to steady me.
Dylan’s mouth grazed my ear again. “I think about feeling like a fucking king when you’re so far gone that all you can say is my name.” His voice was rough but his lips were soft, moving back and forth across my sensitive skin. When he spoke I could hear not only hunger but something else. Something deeper. “And you say it, over and over.”
Shit. Dylan had just obliterated the time and space that’d come between us. I couldn’t tell whether my heart or my libido was leading the charge, but both were completely invested.
I’d missed him more than I thought possible. In that moment, with him pressed up against me and whispering those things, I needed him back. Would tell Ava about us. And his family. And anyone else who cared to listen. I’d shout it from the top of the Empire State building.
I didn’t care if he broke down my walls. If we broke up and it caused problems, so what? We’d deal with them. The bigger question was, what if we didn’t break up? Was it fair to deny us the possibility of something epic because of what could go wrong? What Ava or her parents might say or do?
The reasons I’d been keeping us apart suddenly seemed feeble. As they crashed down around me, in their place I felt a sudden possessiveness spring up.
In that moment I didn’t care that he was my best friend’s brother. He was my Dylan now, mine first. Everyone else could get the hell in line.
I grabbed his hand and pulled him along behind me toward one of the private bathrooms, tugging him in. I locked the door behind us. Looked up at him for the first time in weeks.
Dylan towered over me, looking like a mirage conjured by a girl dying of thirst. His tailored jeans perfectly fit lean hips. The navy button-down made his eyes a deeper brown. The eyes that were stormy and just inches from mine.
His breathing was unsteady, like he wasn’t sure where his words had left us. Like he didn’t know what it had done to me. He was waiting for me to give him permission. But I’d dragged him in here, hadn’t I?
“Don’t go shy on me now, Cameron.” I raised my chin, both in challenge and surrender. Dylan’s eyes blazed at me and he released a long breath I hadn’t noticed he was holding.
“Turn around.” His voice was firmer than usual, leaving no room for argument, and just a little hoarse. I did. “Pull up your dress.” Shaky hands lifted it to my waist, leaving my ass exposed. Dylan groaned and leaned into me.
“Fuck you’re gorgeous. It’s been driving me crazy, being away from you,” he murmured, lips moving on my neck. My chest was pressed against the wall. “I want to do everything to you.” His finger ran down my spine slowly, down my thong where it ran between my cheeks. Pulled it tight so I could feel the fabric slide across heated flesh. Then he slipped his finger underneath, into me.
He was still the Dylan I knew, but our time apart had made him edgier somehow. Like he’d taken every second we were separated and thought of a million things to do to me and was now focused single-mindedly on executing them.
I felt like I’d just fallen off the face of the earth and into another dimension. Just when I’d gotten used to our play, he’d changed the rules of the game and I was breathless and disoriented again.
I groaned. “Please, Dylan.” I didn’t know what I was begging for. I’d take whatever he’d give me right now. In a minute I might be a puddle on the floor of the bathroom.
“Tell me you missed me.”
“God, more than you can imagine.” The words were husky.
He added a second finger, sliding in and out. “Tell me you need me.”
“You have no idea. I always need you. Only you.” My hands were braced on the cool tile of the wall but I was burning up everywhere.
Dylan groaned and I could tell my words were affecting him.
His thumb had hooked around my thong and he pulled it tight every time his fingers left. It was madness, no relief. Back and forth, fingers invading then the friction of lace against my wet skin. I shuddered.
“In a minute,” he whispered against my ear, his voice raw, “we’re going to go back out there. I want you to talk to your friends, and dance, and drink. And every second you’re going to be thinking about how badly you want me inside you. Of how wet you are because you can’t wait.”
His words made me both hotter and anguished. I writhed over his hand, and he slipped the other hand up my dress to cup my breast. His fingers pinched my nipple while the other worked me down below. I’d clearly taught him too well.
“And later,” his words were a promise hissed through his clenched jaw—he was almost as worked up as I was, just from touching me—“I’m going to have you a million different ways until I’m so deep inside you that you can’t ever forget me.”
So close. His fingers sped up to match my rhythm and I was biting my lip to keep from letting the sounds escape. I could hear loud voices just outside the door. Dylan’s hushed tones into my shoulder, where he scraped his teeth across my back. “Lex, I love your smart mouth. But keep quiet for a second.”
It was enough to make me lose control completely. My head fell back. He reached a hand across my mouth to muffle the involuntary moan that emerged. I reached back to grab his hair and pulled hard as I clenched around him. My whole body shook with the force of it as it ripped through me. Holy God, this boy undid me. The dirty talk, the sweetness, the innocence, the boldness. All wrapped up in a combination that seemed to be my kryptonite.
Then Dylan kissed me, just once, lightly and almost sweetly, before leaving me to wash up and find my way out of the bathroom.
I needed a drink.
“There you are!” Ava exclaimed. I blushed all kinds of red, hidden, I hoped, by the darkness of the club. “Where were you?”
Getting my brains fucked out by another stellar example of the Cameron gene pool. “Bathroom. Can I get a drink?”
“Sure. Then get your ass back out here and dance!”
Every second you’re going to be thinking about how badly you want me inside you. He was so right. I was. I felt empty without his fingers. Was still wet and couldn’t seem to turn off my brain. I’m going to have you a million different ways until I’m so deep inside you that you can’t ever forget me. Images of his promises were running through my mind. Shit. What I hadn’t quite worked out was how I was going to see Dylan without Ava noticing. I didn’t want to have this conversation in the middle of a club. But I might have to.
I drank and danced, trying to smile along with Ava and the seemingly endless parade of guys. One seemed to have a thing for me, and Ava kept giving me pointed looks. But no matter what I couldn’t stop thinking about Dylan for even a second.
Ava seemed to be into one guy in particular. After dancing with him for ages, she came up to me. “Will you hate me if I ditch?”
Hell no. “No, it’s OK. Is he legit? I don’t know how safe it is for you to go home with some random guy.”
“He’s fine, trust me. I’ll text you his address.”
My phone buzzed and I glanced down without Ava noticing.
Put Ava in a cab and meet me out back
“OK, A. I’ll see you tomorrow. And don’t have too much fun. Be back by eleven so we can have lunch and prep, alright?” I watched Ava leave with the guy before heading to the door myself.
Dylan was waiting when I got there. He held open the door to a cab and I stepped in, conscious of my dress rising up my thighs as I did. He shut the door behind me and walked around to get in the other side.
“Good night?” the driver asked.
“It was alright.” I was afraid if I gave anything away in my voice, I’d lose control in the cab.
“My place or yours?”
“Um, yours.” I didn’t want to risk Ava coming home early.
Dylan plucked the phone from my hands and pocketed it. His eyes darkened. “I haven’t seen you in weeks. I’m not in the mood to share.”
I tried to make some semblance of conversation during the unbearably long ride. “Ava said you were here for a conference?”
“I bought the plane ticket earlier this fall. It was going to be a surprise.” Our eyes connected and my heart swelled in my chest. “In the end I couldn’t cancel, and figured why waste a perfectly good trip to New York? Then when Ava might have mentioned your plans tonight …”
We managed to get out of the cab and into his hotel. The elevator ride was a blur, his mouth on mine before the doors even closed. He pinned me up against the mirrored wall, and my legs wrapped wantonly around his waist as my hands fisted in hair that had grown longer over our break.
“God I missed you,” he murmured against my mouth. A thrill rushed up my spine, not just because his hardness was pressing against my stomach. I had missed him too, more than I wanted to admit. Missed his voice. The way his mind was always running underneath the smooth surface. The way he could be sweet when he thought no one was paying attention, unlike most guys, who waited until they’d be noticed.
“Key?” I asked hazily after we stumbled out of the elevator. He reached into his pocket and handed it to me, his teeth on my neck and his other hand up my skirt. My hands shook as I tried to slide the card into the door. Dropped it. Dammit.
“Lex?” Dylan’s voice was a raw whisper in my ear. I could tell his impatience was kicking in, and loved how I could make him come unhinged. I could barely breathe, let alone answer him. “If we don’t get into this room right now, I’m going to fuck you up against that door.” My fingers almost dropped the key again. “In about two minutes everyone on the eighteenth floor is going to know my name.”
Mercifully, the green light flashed and we fell into the dark room.
The door closed almost as quickly as it’d opened, and Dylan slammed my body up against it. I’d never felt him this desperate before.
I reached for the zipper in my dress and started to carefully slide it down my body so as not to damage it, extending one hand to hold his chest away from me. “Dylan, as much as I love this,” I managed to get out between kisses, “Ava will kill me if I wreck this dress.”
“I’ll kill you if you wreck that dress. I fucking love that dress.” His mouth was buried in my shoulder, my hair wrapped around his hand pulling my head back to allow him better access.
I managed to step out of it and toss it on the stool by the bar. It shouldn’t wrinkle too badly in the next twelve minutes. Which was probably a generous estimate of how long we’d last.
Feeling a sudden urge to take a breath, to catch up with what we were doing, I pushed Dylan back just far enough to look at him. He complied, though clearly unsure of this unexpected shift in me. “Hey,” I said.
“Hey.” A million things were running through his eyes. A question, why I’d stopped him. Impatience and hunger because he wanted me. A deeper emotion I couldn’t name but desperately needed to.
He reached a hand up to run a finger across my lips, almost reverently. At first we’d been all about the passion, but the sweetness had crept in over time. It resurfaced now. “God you’re beautiful.” The emotion in his voice made me swallow.
“Dylan, I’m sorry if I—”
“I know. Later.”
I didn’t know what had caused the moment, but it felt like we were frozen in time. We were still seducing one another, being seduced by one another, but our touches were slow, and longing, and meaningful.
I’d fallen for him, hard—after a month apart, was ready to give him anything he wanted. Would tell him anything he wanted. Which scared the hell out of me.
So instead I lifted the bottom of his shirt and ran a finger along the top of his pants, feeling his skin heat beneath my touch. I tilted my chin up at him.
“Are you going to fuck me or what?”
His eyes lit as he pulled the shirt over his head and I went to work on his belt. He pushed me back up against the door and wrapped my legs around his hips.
Dylan reached between my legs, sliding the scrap of silk aside to plunge his fingers into me. “Bossy,” he murmured against my lips, stroking me with his fingers and rubbing his thumb in circles over my clit. My head fell back at the intensity.
After a few moments the pressure was starting to build, and then he pulled his hand back and I moaned in protest. He slowly slid those two fingers into his mouth and sucked them, eyes fierce on mine, before letting them fall. Holy shit. Then he leaned forward and kissed me, hard, and nothing in the world had ever been hotter than tasting myself on him.
When he pulled back I was dizzy. “Where’d you learn that?”
“Creative license,” he drawled.
“Dylan Cameron, you are the hottest thing I’ve ever seen.” I pulled his face back to mine and pulled him out of his boxers so I could stroke him. He groaned into my mouth and suddenly the race was on.
We clawed desperately at each other as his control snapped. I tried to get a few more strokes in, but he pushed my hand aside and reached around my thighs, lifting me up and against the door as he plunged into me in a single stroke. If I hadn’t been so ready, it would’ve been unbearably tight. But it felt like heaven.
Our voices mingled as we kissed and moaned together. He felt unreal. He was so deep, but still I wanted him deeper, closer to me, part of me. I wanted him to be mine forever.
We were so far gone. I leaned my forehead against his, beads of sweat mingling. Our eyes locked.
“Lex, I’m close,” he warned.
I dug my nails into his back. “Dylan, please. Just like this.”
We came together, crying out, not caring who heard.
* * *
I woke up to the sound of the door closing behind me. The way the sun was peeking through the gap in the curtains, which we’d forgotten to close the night before, suggested it was still early. I stretched and rolled over to see Dylan wearing jeans, last night’s shirt, a leather jacket, and a killer grin. He was carrying two cups of coffee. I smiled and beckoned him with a finger. “Get over here, you.”
“Are you talking to me or my coffee?” Dylan raised an eyebrow.
“I meant the coffee. But I guess you can come too.” I held the sheet over me and leaned toward him while he passed me the coffee. I promptly deposited it on the bedside table behind me and grabbed the collar of his shirt. His mouth was warm on mine. I could get used to this. It felt right.
“How can I be this sore,” I muttered between kisses, “and still want to do it all over again?” I moaned as his lips and teeth started doing wicked things to my neck.
He smiled smugly against my skin. “I’d be happy to oblige.”
Thirty minutes later we were back on even ground in the clothing department: 0–0.
“Have I told you how much I love your new ideas?” I said.
“So how’ve you been?”
“OK. Actually, that’s not true. I’ve been shitty.” He leveled serious eyes at me. “School’s OK, the guys are fine. But there’s this girl I was into, and she kind of up and left me. And I realized there’s no one I can talk to like her. There’s no one that makes me laugh, and swear. And she already knows my secrets, so it’s just easier.”
“You’re saying I’m a sure thing?”
“Something like that. But you’re not predictable.”
“Can I ask something?” He nodded. “Did you really hit Jake?”
Dylan expelled something between a laugh and a groan. “I hate that guy.”
I was glad. Jake was pretty hard to hate, but the fact that Dylan did on principle meant something.
“I guess I should be his biggest fan since he’s responsible for you being single. But I hate that he was with you. That he’s touched you, talked about his dreams and yours. And the way he was talking about you guys getting back together …”
“Jake said that?”
“Yeah. And I just lost it,” he admitted.
“I didn’t peg you for a fighter.”
“I’m not. It just made me crazy thinking about you with anyone but me.”
I mulled this over for a few moments.
“Dylan, I want to make this work. You mean a lot. I’ll tell Ava tomorrow. I just want to wait until after the pitch.”
“Seriously? Thank God.”
Round three was sweeter, but not slow.
* * *
I was still lying on my back when the knock sounded at the door. Dylan jumped up to answer it, pulling the handle.
“Why did you order room service? We just had—”
“Dylan?” I froze at the familiar voice. “I’m freaking out. I need you to help me find Lex.”
In slow motion, Ava stepped into the room. I noticed she was dressed a bit more conservatively than usual in a gray wool skirt and a violet blouse. Her polished appearance didn’t match her face, which wore an expression of panic. Our eyes connected and the expression was instantly replaced with one of horror and disbelief.
Then she turned on her heel and took off as quickly as she’d come, leaving a wide-open door in her wake.