Playing with fire
I gulp, my palms sweating like that same horny virgin and if I’m being honest, I may as well be for fuck all I know about sex.
Lucas had taken complete control of everything our one night together and it’d been so incredibly life changing, I would’ve cried if I hadn’t remembered how goddamn fucked up I really was. Am.
It was the most empowered I’d felt in years and the taste of it was so captivatingly desperate, I’d inhaled it like it was the purest oxygen. For once in my life, I’d felt sexy and desired without the lingering emotions of uncertainty cloaked in that undercurrent of fear.
It was though the last four years of my life hadn’t happened. I hadn’t married Winston. I hadn’t left school. And I wasn’t a battered woman with the scars that never quite seemed to fade no matter how much baby oil I’d put on them.
It was the first time my name on a man’s lips had been soft commands rather than hostile threats and I reveled in it.
Until reality set in.
I hadn’t recognized Lucas as my brother’s teammate that night in the hotel, but I’d certainly known he was bad news for me. He’d had heartbreaker written all over him and I was just still weak enough that I hadn’t thought I could suffer another one of those.
I could’ve gone for a round two. Or even a round three. But I’d known the end game and I was just fragile enough for self preservation to kick in.
So I did the right thing and kicked him out of my hotel room.
But looking at him now, with his dark blonde hair, longer now than it was weeks ago, beneath a backwards baseball cap… damn.
It’s hard to reconcile I’d made the correct decision.
His baritone that always sounds like a honey dipped French kiss tears me from my mind rambling. “Huh?”
The corners of his mouth tilt upwards and my heart seizes in my chest. “I can honestly say I’ve never chased down a one night stand before, but I’ve tried Holli and I haven’t stopped thinking about you since you showed up at that bar all those weeks ago.
“I don’t claim to be a saint but I’m not an asshole either. You’re my best friend’s sister and I respect and love Andy, but I’ll do right by you Holli, so all I’m asking for is a chance.”
My body stills and the pulsing between my legs becomes uncomfortable. My breath hitches in my throat. “Wow.”
Lucas raises a brow. “Wow, yes? Or wow, get lost.”
I giggle. “No. Wow, that’s the nicest thing any man has ever said to me.”
He flashes me his brilliant smile again. “I’m warning you Holiday DeLower.”
I swallow, my throat dry. “About what?”
Lucas lightly grips my neck, sliding his hands up until he’s cupping the side of my face. My skin burns where he touches me and I can feel my panties grow wet. “I don’t share. So all that stuff with your ex cleared up?”
I stiffen slightly, but nod. “The divorce is final.”
His green eyes flash, but his touch on my skin is gentle. “That’s not what I meant, beautiful.”
I know what he meant. “The only feeling I have for Winston is indifference. I haven’t had contact with him in nearly three years nor do I wish to. Our marriage did not end amicably and quite honestly I can’t even say I wish him the best.”
Lucas frowns, but nods. Thankfully he doesn’t ask for me to elaborate. The last thing I feel like thinking about is my marriage to a cowardly abuser.
“Good.” He does a slow scan over my body that makes me shiver and my nipples tighten.
When his eyes meet mine, I sigh like a damn teenager.
“So you ready for that beer?” He asks, grinning again.
I’m so turned on, I’d almost thought beer was a euphemism but my brain is seeing what it wants apparently.
And what it wants is a six two, two hundred fifteen pound solid-as-hell man.
I nod, licking my dry lips. “A beer would be nice.”
As I pull into the parking lot of the very bar I met Lucas at the first time, I’m suddenly self conscious. I hadn’t had time to run home to shower after my workout and with only wet ones and deodorant, I’d had to take a hoe bath in the back seat of my car.
My frizzy hair already a lost cause, I swipe a coat of gloss over my lips and put on a denim jacket before getting out of my car.
Lucas had to take Dale home but promised he’d be right behind me and meet me here. I push through the doors of the rusty looking, tavern-like hole in the wall and grab a seat at the bar.
“What can I get you love,” a woman in her mid thirties asks from behind the bar.
I snort. “A clue.”
She frowns and I cringe with embarrassment. “No, I mean. I’m about to have my first date in six years and I’m just nervous.”
The bartender’s baby blue eyes light up. “Oh? Is he cute?”
I nod. “This might be TMI, but we’ve already done it, and it was fantastic but I feel like I’m out of my league, here.”
She shakes her waist length, Ariana Grande ponytail and smiles. “A girl that looks like you is in anyone’s league.”
I spin in my chair, horrified to see Lucas standing behind me. “How much of that did you hear?”
He shrugs. “I was fantastic huh?”
My face heats and I want to die of mortification as the bartender watches us. “I’ll have a shot of tequila— two shots of tequila.”
Lucas chuckles taking a seat beside me and I inhale his scent like a crackhead. “He really is a good kid, you know,” I say, making conversation.
Lucas frowns. “Who?”
“Dale. Your brother.”
Lucas rests his arm over the back of my stool and his fingers trace along my arm, leaving goosebumps in their wake. “Holli, I really don’t want to talk about my little brother.”
Something in his tone makes my belly flutter. “Oh.”
“I want to talk about why you’ve been avoiding me,” he murmurs.
The bartender sets my shuts down in front of me and I throw them back, one after the other. “One more, please.”
Lucas laughs. “Long week?”
I sigh. “I teach high school summer classes. What do you think? It’s emotionally draining trying to get kids excited about reading classic American literature when the sun’s shining bright, taunting them. Five minutes in and I just lose them completely.”
He shakes his head at me. “I’m not going to lie, I’d pictured you in about a thousand different costumes, but now I think the teacher one is my favorite.”
His smile widens and his green eyes darken wickedly. “Oh yes, Holli. Student, librarian, nurse, cheerleader, Wendy Peffercorn from The Sandlot.”
I snort. “Wendy Peffercorn?”
“What can I say? I like my blondes.”
Jesus that smile. I’m surprised I don’t stutter. “You’re a freak.”
“You have no idea, missionary Princess.”
I smack him over the arm. “Hey!”
His grin only turns more sinister and he pins with a heavy look. “Really think about if this is what you want Holli. Because once we go there, there’s no going back. Your brother will probably kill me and I’m too selfish to care.”
My heart melts and desire puddles at my feet. “I want you.”
He nods signaling the bartender and I watch as he closes out my tab, then reaches a hand out to me. I take it and the roughened, calloused touch makes my panties soak a little more. “Good answer.”
I barely have time to breathe before his lips meet mine and I’m pulled to his body. Lucas doesn’t kiss, he consumes me whole like an inferno and licks of flames dance along my tongue burning me from the inside out. I want to taste everything he has to give until my heart meets her threshold.
I just have a feeling I’ve really walked into a burning building of a man and if I’m not careful, I’ll be playing with fire.