RYDER (Antagonist to Lovers)

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C H A P T E R | 27


Ryder looked Julie over as he stood up, and she followed him ot the hotel. She eyed Ryder’s back with a new perspective, knowing that in a few minutes she would probably touch him in a novel way...and those rough hands of his would touch her as well.

They waded through the people inside the hotel and loitered around the elevator, a small crowd forming; the hotel was packed for the event over the weekend.

Quite a few gazes lingered on Ryder, many whispering and trying to engage in talking to him. Although, the crowd didn’t push interacting with him too hard, seeming to respect that he was clearly not engaging.

It seemed his persona from years ago retained its influence.

It was also awkward as hell standing next to Ryder, as neither of them looked at each other. They both knew where they were going and why. Thankfully, the doors to the elevator opened rather quickly, a group spilling out as those who waited refilled it. She followed Ryder onto the elevator and they stood to the side, with him against the elevator wall and her standing in front of him.

She hadn’t looked at his face, the tension so thick that she struggled to breathe normally. The excitement was almost too much to contain, as she knew the next time their gazes connected, nearly all the walls would be down.

The elevator filled with enough people that they pressed Julie up against him, and even that felt different now. Especially since he didn’t move or try to create space between them - he just let her press against him.

They shuffled one more time as a final person got on, and this time, Ryder placed a hand on her hip to scoot her further inwards. The already burning fire turned into scalding flames, making Julie’s stomach turn into a knot with anticipation. She was painfully aware of that hand...

He didn’t take it off once everyone was inside, either.

The elevator was quiet, save for some giggling in the opposite corner and others telling Ryder they couldn’t wait to see him fight; it seemed to take forever to reach the fifth floor, especially with his hand on her hip, unmoving. He wasn’t caressing her or squeezing it, but just the presence was enough to drive her wild. Oh, she wanted that hand in so many places...

Julie’s heart pounded when the light lit up for the fifth floor, even more so when she exited and Ryder followed.

They both remained absolutely silent though her mind was loud with excitement.

She didn’t know what to do or say, as this moment felt like it called for the opposite of jokes or small talk. With purpose, she neared her door of 523, sliding the card in as Ryder stood quietly behind her.

When the door opened, she pulled the card out, and he finally said, “I got it,” in regards to the door. She turned on a light and took off her coat, everything feeling hot now.

The door shut and slowly, her heart pounding in her chest, she turned to face him. There was an intense energy in his eyes, mirroring a ghost of what she saw when he was in the heat of fighting. He took a few steps forward, running a hand over the top of his head to smooth out his hair as he said, “We really do need to talk, though.” His muscled arms flexed as he did and Julie registered every single movement. She refrained from touching him, though, as she didn’t want to seem too straightforward.

“Oh?” she asked, trying her best to conceal her wide range of emotions. She didn’t like his tone, like he was prepared to leave as soon as he entered.

She wondered if she misread the silence for sexual tension, when it was really just apprehension.

He put the card in his coat pocket, staring her down as he pursed his lips. He sighed and quickly bit his lower lip before saying, “I just need to clear the air -- I don’t wanna fuck up whatever goals you have with your gym.”

“What do you mean?” she quipped, her hopes and good mood quickly dissolving. Is he going to draw a line in the sand tonight?

His gaze quickly ran over her as he sighed. “I wanna make sure you’re okay with everything.”

Julie’s pulse was so prominent that she felt it in her neck, unable to focus. She didn’t realize how much she wanted this to happen until now, when she considered he might actually draw a hard line between them.

She desperately didn’t want that. With a smaller voice than intended, she asked, “In regards to?”

He took a step forward, his gaze wandering around the room before landing back on her, his gray eyes revealing a fiery desire, his voice low and assertive. “You know I want you. I know you want me. If I touch you like that, just even a little, I’m not stoppin’. But I don’t wanna make this complicated for you. I can’t even try to predict where the fuck this will end up, and Andrew will hate it. Even though every fiber of my body regrets saying this, I can walk away and we can quit whatever the hell is going on between us. We can do that now, if you don’t wanna risk it. Either way, we gotta figure that shit out because I’m going crazy over here.”

Everything seemed to haze as her breathing hitched. She swallowed thickly, a pleasant chill giving her goosebumps, relieved that he really did want her.

She was also touched that he was so considerate. She muttered, “Oh, yeah...I mean, the only thing I am worried about is that Andrew will kill me, but, whatever. He’s always like that.”

She gave a defeated chuckle.

He raised a brow and blinked, looking away, like he contemplated what to say.

It was in that moment Julie had her answer. “No, no that’s not what I mean. I just, that’s honestly the only real reservation that I have. And I guess I just realized that I am okay with that. I’ll deal with that if I have to.”

He snickered, rolling his eyes to look at her. “Damn, Jules, you’re as eager as me.”

Her cheeks flushed, although it was less of a blush and more of a rush of blood as her body prepared itself for any way that he might want her. I guess I am that eager. She smiled. “Look, it’s fine. I got Dolores, and a place to go if Andrew burns this all down for me.”

The emotion in his eyes hardened once more. “See, I can’t feel good about that.”

“That’s not your fault, nor mine,” she reassured, taking a step closer so now they were only two feet apart. “Look, screw it. I want you, Ryder. I don’t give a shit about Andrew right now. I’ll deal with that once I need to.”

Again, he hesitated. “You’re sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure. I can’t seem to focus as it is.”

“Me neither,” he mumbled, and they just stared at each other for a period of time that seemed endless.

Then, without saying a word, Ryder leaned in and filled in the space between them, grabbing the back of her head with one hand and snaking his other arm around her, pulling her close.

Finally, his warm lips pressed onto hers.

She inhaled deeply through her nose, one hand on the back of his neck and the other reaching underneath his jacket to grab his side. In a series of quick movements and heated kissing, they were pressed hard into the other, their grips gaining tenacity with each passing second.

Julie severely underestimated how it would feel to be gripped in his strength, feeling his desire directed right at her. Every nerve in her body came to life and her knees went weak.

She moaned into his mouth when he pressed on her lower back to eliminate whatever space remained between them. A mixture between a groan and a growl escaped him when she pressed her chest against him. His broad lips were soft and commanding, their noses grazing the others cheek.

Ryder parted and Julie became lost in the moment, breathing deeper to see he was taking off his jacket. A wild, concentrated haze glazed over his eyes, and she took in how his shirt clung to his thick, warm body.

Once he dropped his jacket, Ryder moved towards her in the same manner that he moved in the ring, although a hunger replaced the anger that usually fueled him.

As if she couldn’t want him anymore than she already did...

When he kissed her again, after giving her that look, she became very aware of a certain pull between her legs. It only seemed to increase once she was in his arms without him wearing his jacket, their bodies even closer now. He moved his hands to either of her thighs, grabbing her on the backside as he picked her up, her legs wrapping around him for stability.

He lifted her like she weighed nothing, and a giggling moan escaped as she steadied the kiss, Ryder gripping her thighs hard with a strength in his hands she had never felt before, taking her over to the bed and laying her down on it.

They parted for only a moment as he crawled over her, kissing her neck as he rested on an elbow, his other hand moving down her body and gripping her hip. He squeezed his hand and growled into her neck while giving her quick, deep kisses.

"Fuck,” she moaned. The sensation of his warm kisses on her neck, coupled the weight of his body lowering onto her made her close her eyes.

His weight lowered even more, so now she was firmly underneath his heavy body. In essence, he pinned her to the spot, and she loved how powerful he felt, and how she wasn’t going anywhere without him moving.

He trailed back up as their lips found each other’s again, his tongue swiping for entrance. Their tongues pressed together as the groaning grew on both sides, her legs slowly spreading as she fell into a more comfortable position, his groin right against hers. Their pants were too thick to feel anything distinguishable, but she swore she felt... something.

Then his hips moved in momentum with their kiss, that distinct girth more apparent as he pressed against her.

She kissed him harder, wrapping her arms around his muscled back, sliding one of her hands down his biceps that felt like chiseled stone.

Julie undulated her hips to reciprocate the desire, breathing deeply as her lungs filled with Ryder’s cologne and musk, the warmth of his breath mixing with hers. She couldn’t get enough of him, his warmth, his strength.

He growled into her mouth, jutting his hips forward and into her with more force.

She couldn’t take it anymore. She was fine with skipping everything else just so she could feel him inside of her, to feel his hands hold her in place as he filled her with every inch that he had. “Just skip right to fucking me, Joey,” she mumbled. “I want you so bad right now.”

Through the haze of hormones, she hadn’t realized that she called him by his first name. He, of course, could clearly care less.

He groaned low and languidly, parting just enough to speak with a husky voice, “Oh, I’ll get to that, Jules. But you’re gonna be moanin’ my name before we get there.”

She grinned wickedly, especially as his hand lowered to pet her through her jeans.

The feeling of his hand on an area so private made her shiver. When he pressed down, she could feel that even her underwear was already slick from her desire.

She helped him unbutton her jeans as the kissing grew hungry and deep, his hand sliding down underneath her underwear, sliding his rough hand through her folds with ease.

A needy moan escaped him. ”Fuck you’re wet.”

She wasn’t the best at sex talk, at least not when she was lost in a moment like this, so she just kissed him in return as he rubbed every sensitive part of her. She raised her hips in approval, moving with his hand until one of his fingers entered her.

Julie felt that rise of pleasure that would beckon her release, knowing that if he didn’t stop she’d eventually become overwhelmed until her pleasure was his.

Another wave of pure ecstasy rolled through her--

A knock came to the door and they both froze, parting their lips to look at the entry of the room. Ryder removed his hand and rested it on her stomach, glaring at the door.

She feared that he’d get called away for one thing or another, and that this moment was cut short. It shocked her how much she didn’t want that. Not only was there a growing need taking over between her legs, but she easily grew lost just being this close to someone. To him.

“Hey Julie, it’s Tony,” a muffled voice said through the door.

She sighed and closed her eyes, letting out a tiny groan. Ryder sucked in air through tight lips, shaking his head.

“Now I’ll know him as Blue Balls Tony,” Ryder quietly said, looking down at her.

She barely cracked a smile, as she mostly just sighed, staring at his handsome face. She’d be feeling whatever female version of blue balls that women got.

“You there, Julie? We’re trying to find Ryder,” Tony added.

That was the metaphorical cold bucket of water that they both needed to separate.

To her pleasant surprise, he swiftly kissed her before getting up, looking down at her unbuttoned pants and rolling his eyes as he placed his hands over his face. Then he smirked as he pulled a hand away. “Of course...you fucking smell good, too.”

“Fuck you, I’m trying to focus,” she whispered through a grin as she buttoned her pants.

He leaned back over, placing a hand on the bed as she glared up at him. He quietly said, “Oh believe me darlin’, I’m nowhere near done with you.”

He snickered when she must have given him a look of utter lust, and he backed away when a knock came to the door again.

“Yeah, one sec,” she said to the door, lowering her voice as she sat up, looking at Ryder. “Just hide around the corner,” she said to him, pointing to a wall that blocked the entrance.

It took a hot minute, but the reality of Tony at her door, looking for Ryder, finally sunk in.


Ryder picked up his jacket and moved it out of sight, leaning against the wall as he looked over her body as she walked by. She tried to ignore him so she could focus, making sure her clothes and hair were straight.

The way everything just melted away and meant absolutely nothing, for that small moment of time with him, was enough to make her head and heart spin.

“Yeah?” she asked, opening the door, looking Tony over, who dressed casually, although every article of clothing that he chose was probably triple the price of what she’d find at any Target.

“You seen Ryder?” Tony asked, looking her over and peeking into her room.

“Nope,” she said with a high-pitched voice, the throbbing between her legs still present.

“Someone said they saw him come up with you,” Tony said, narrowing his green eyes.

“Oh, well, yeah he did that,” she said, spinning a lie as her heart raced with slight panic now. “But he got off on a different floor. Said he saw someone he knows.”

“What floor?”

“Third or something.”

“Alright,” Tony said, his tone unconvinced. “If you see him, tell him Andrew wants him. He said that he spotted a ‘situation’, whatever that means.”

“I’ll text him,” she said, trying to end the conversation.

“You got his number?” Tony asked with narrowed eyes, as if trying to crack a mysterious case.

“Yeah, we do work together,” she chided.

“Well, he isn’t returning Andrew’s calls or texts, so just see if you can find him,” Tony said, looking over her shoulder once more.

“Alright, have a good night,” she said, hating the way he seemed to suspect her. Then again, his senses are top fucking notch.

She shut the door and peered out the peephole, watching him walk away. “Clear,” she whispered. “Although he is sneaky.”

She rounded the corner to look at Ryder, who seemed like he couldn’t decide on what he wanted to do next. He snickered. “Now I gotta pretend like I know someone on the third floor.”

“You can figure it out,” she retorted with a coy smile.

He ran his hand over his face, sighing through his fingers. “Guess I should leave,” he said, but didn’t move a muscle. Instead, he just stared at her. “If I stay too long they’ll become a pain.”

“Unfortunately,” she said.

The hardness of his gaze relaxed, slowly looking her over before he nodded towards himself. “Come here.”

She didn’t know if it was a good or bad thing that her body listened to him before her mind even thought that through. Julie walked over to him and he leaned down to kiss her again. It started off gentle enough, but like a candle desperate to burn, the heat turned up and they were once again deeply kissing, their bodies moving with the other.

He readjusted the two of them by spinning her spun around picking her up the same way he did earlier, pinning her back against the wall as she straddled him, only his strength holding her up. God she loved the way she had to wrap her legs around him for stability, his hand sliding up her ass to pull on her so her legs spread further against him.

Julie didn’t know how much time had passed as they feverishly made out before her phone vibrated on the dresser next to them.

Ryder groaned, parting the kiss and looked down, although didn’t put her down. He leaned in and kissed her jaw. “I know I should go, but I just can’t fucking move my legs.”

She didn’t try to make him move either. Instead, Julie whispered into his ear, “What really needs to happen is I need to get a new apartment as soon as we get back”

He laughed into her neck, the warmth of him and his voice spurring on something more than physical inside of her, loving the moment of humor and closeness with him.

“Yeah, you do,” he said solemnly before putting her down.

He pulled his hands away, sliding them up her hips and off of her, looking as if he’d touch her again, but he sharply pulled his hand back with a curt sigh.

Even his frustration drove her wild.

He put on his jacket before glancing away with a defeated grin, shaking his head. He looked her over once more and said with concession, “Have a good night, Jules.”

“I probably won’t sleep now, but I’ll make do,” she said with a warm grin, catching a mirrored expression from him as he walked past her.

Then she said, “Wait, should I leave first? To see if Tony is sneaking around? I’ll pretend to get a candy bar, or something.”

“Good thing your brain still works right now,” he said languidly and she pressed her lips together to prevent a smile, trying to get a serious face on as she neared the door.

He looked down at her like he wanted to say something more, but refrained as he nodded towards the door.

She opened it and casually left, looking down both hallways. She cleared her throat and headed towards the elevator area, seeing no one. Quickly, she shuffled back and opened her door. “Coast is clear.”

He opened it and they stood there for a moment as he said, “This sneaking around shit will get old quick.”

“Where’s your adventure?” she asked with a grin.

They heard the elevator door open, and Ryder left before saying anything more, walking away.

Julie shut the door, but not before she heard Andrew say, “Where the fuck you been, dude? Been calling you.”

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