Rough Road (A Lake Lovelace Novel)

Rough Road (A Lake Lovelace Novel), by Vanessa North
Author: 
eBook ISBN: 
978-1-62649-298-1
eBook release: 
Sep 28, 2015
eBook Formats: 
pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 
978-1-62649-299-8
Print release: 
Sep 28, 2015
Word count: 
48,000
Page count: 
164
Type: 
Cover by: 

This title is part of the Lake Lovelace universe.

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Eddie Russell is many things: A wealthy pillar of the community. An outrageous flirt. A doting best friend. A masochist with a kink for brawling with his bedmates. But he is definitely not a man who invites intimacy. His friends are close but few, his lovers rarer still.

When Eddie runs his Mercedes off the road on a hot July afternoon, Wish Carver comes to his aid—and leaves his number in Eddie’s phone. Wish, a road crew worker half Eddie’s age and sexy as sin, seems fascinated by Eddie’s different sides. Mutual attraction and compatible kinks ignite the sheets, but it’s their connection outside the bedroom that Eddie begins to crave.

When the two come down on opposite sides of a local issue, Eddie finds his growing feelings for Wish at odds with his business interests and his devotion to his best friend, local wakeboarding legend Ben Warren. Torn between old loyalties and his new love, Eddie is reluctant to make a choice. But he knows he can’t make Wish wait too long to make up his mind. 

Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes:

Chapter One

I’m talking to my best friend, Ben, when the blowout happens. It’s so goddamn loud it sounds like a gunshot, and I lose control of the car so fast I’m lucky I don’t take out a bunch of other vehicles as I careen off the road. I make one last attempt to correct, barely miss the construction barricade, and end up in the ditch with the airbag in my face, coughing and sputtering.

“Eddie, what the hell was that? Are you okay?” Ben’s voice is loud and urgent through the speakers.

“I’m pretty sure I crashed my car, and I’m dying, darling.” I roll my eyes and gasp for breath, trying to fight back panic with sheer will.

“Where are you? Do you need me to call nine-one-one?”

My car door opens, and a pair of dirty hands pull me back from the airbag and pat my head. “Are you okay? Are you hurt?” A low, rumbly voice fills the car. Not Ben’s southeastern drawl, but something more northern, something about the o’s is just a little nasal. I blink owlishly into bright-blue eyes below a yellow hard hat. An impossibly pretty, but filthy face. An angel in a fluorescent vest.

“Eddie? Ed!” Ben’s voice.

“Oh my god, Ben, angels wear hard hats like in that sex dream I had that time.” I wrinkle my nose as the odor of a man who works outside—in Florida, in July—hits me like a brick. “And heaven smells funny.”

“Where are you? I’m calling an ambulance.”

“Don’t bother, Ben,” the angel says. “I’ll take care of it.” Without moving his gaze from mine, he says, “Hang up the phone now, Eddie.”

“Yes, sir,” I grunt, reaching for the button on the radio. “I’ll call you later, Ben.” I hang up over Ben’s protests.

I look back at the angel, my heart pounding in my chest. “I’m not hurt.”

“Airbag deployed; you should probably get checked out. I can call an ambulance, or I can drive you over to the medical center in my truck. You’re also acting a little funny.”

“No, lovely, that’s how I am.” I draw the last word out long and slow, and I drop a wink on him, jutting my chin just so. Stiff and wobbly, I collect myself from the car and lean against the side of it in the Florida heat, fanning my face with one hand. “Oh my gawd. This heat shouldn’t be legal.”

“You’re lucky you didn’t hit the barricade.” He nods toward the construction area, where a bunch of men in hard hats like his watch us, their expressions somewhere between amused and concerned. Reaching into my car, he pulls out my phone.

“You want me to call an ambulance? Or should I drive you?”

“You should get back to work.” I gesture at his coworkers.

You shouldn’t worry about me. You happened to run off the road in the middle of the shift change. Don’t worry, no one’s going to have a problem with me making sure you’re okay.”

I shake my head. “I don’t need a babysitter. I need to call roadside assistance for a tow.”

He inspects my car carefully. “You’re probably going to need a little bodywork in addition to the new tire. My brother does that sort of thing, if they don’t handle it at the dealership.”

“Oooh, there are two of you? Is he gay?”

My angel snorts and starts dialing my phone. He mouths the word Ambulance at me, then he explains the situation to the dispatcher, including that I seem alert and aware but possibly disoriented. After he hangs up, he scrolls through my address book until he finds roadside and calls them. “He’ll leave the keys with me. Come over to the barricade and ask for Wish. Yep, I’ll be there.”

“I’m not leaving you my car keys!” I hiss.

“Relax, Eddie. I’m not going to steal your busted up S-Class.” He rolls his eyes. “Maybe before you crashed it, but now? Pffft.” He winks, a slow, deliberate mimicry of the wink I’d given him minutes before.

For what may be the first time in my life, I’m actually at a loss for words. He sassed me. He sassed me.

“What kind of a name is ‘Wish’?” I grumble, reaching for my phone, but he holds it out of reach, tapping something on the screen. He’d best not be looking at my photos. Except the selfie I took in the mirror at the gym; I don’t mind if he sees that one. I try to remember if there are any dick pics on there. Well, if there are, he’s welcome to look at those too.

“Short for ‘Aloysius.’” He draws the name out, emphasizing the third syllable. He hands me my phone, screen locked.

“Your mama’s a Primus fan? I probably have ties older than you.”

“My family is very Catholic.” He shrugs. “I wasn’t named for Mud.”

“Okay.”

Sirens are ringing in the distance; they must be for me. “You can take my keys.”

“I know.” He smiles. He’s got a gorgeous smile, teeth a little crooked in a totally endearing way. He’s breathtaking, and for a heartbeat, I wish I were twenty years younger. Oh, the trouble I’d have gotten myself into for this one.

When the medics arrive and start checking my vitals, Wish tells them I seem disoriented. I start to argue, but they have me sit on the stretcher in the back anyway. It’s nice and shady, much nicer than standing in the sun, so maybe disoriented isn’t so bad.

“Text me later; let me know you’re okay.” He points to the phone in my hand. “I put my number in your address book.”

I nod, suddenly exhausted. “Thanks for babysitting me.”

He grins, waves, and goes back to work.

I unlock my phone and scroll through my contacts until I find his name, not under Aloysius, but under “Wish.” I study it for a long moment.

Wish “my-brother-isn’t-gay-but-I-am” Carver

Well. Isn’t that lovely?

***

I text Ben from the hospital. The two of us have spent too many years taking care of each other for me to let him worry.

I’m fine. They’re checking me out to make sure I don’t have any internal injuries or whatever. I’m okay though.

I stare at the edge of the bed, listening to the clock ticking on the wall. A flat-screen by the ceiling has Fox News on mute, closed captioning covering the headlines at the bottom of the screen. Boring. I’m so very bored. Stillness does not suit me.

My phone buzzes.

Good. What about hard-hat-wearing angels?

Oh, what about them? No denying the man was hot. The stubble on his face had been dark, but his eyes light blue. Pretty. But . . .

Too young, I tap out.

I can almost hear Ben laughing when I get the next text.

You say that about all the boys.

I snort. I said it about Ben’s partner, Davis, a time or two, but thank goodness Ben didn’t listen to me.

Seriously. If he’s approaching thirty, it’s from a distance.

A young red-haired nurse comes in, checks my eyes for god-knows-what, then points at the TV on the wall. “Want me to change the channel, sweetie?”

I shake my head. “No thanks, love.” I hold up my phone as it buzzes again. “Nosy matchmaking friends are keeping me plenty entertained.”

She laughs and pats my knee. “All right. You holler if you need anything, okay?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Another text from Ben flashes across my screen.

Do you need a ride?

Oh baby, do I ever. Even though I know it’s not what he meant, I let myself imagine sex with Ben. Not the awkward, too-gentle sex we’d fumbled our way through plenty of times—in over twenty years, we’d tried enough to know for sure we weren’t compatible—but my fantasy sex with Ben. Rougher. Dirtier. A hand pinning me down, a threat of violence. It’s a nice fantasy.

Maybe. I’ll let you know.

Or maybe I’ll text my hard-hat angel. There was an implicit invitation in the way he’d made it clear he was gay. Sure, he’s too young to date, but a hookup wouldn’t be entirely unwelcome.

Ah, fuck it. I scroll to his name in my contacts and call him.

“Hello?” I notice that nasal o again, and I mean to ask him about it—later.

“Wish, this is Edward Russell.”

“Who? Oh, Eddie S-Class. Sorry.” He chuckles, a low, easy laugh. “Checking on your car? They picked it up about a half hour after the ambulance left.”

“Oh.” Right, the car. “Yes, thanks. That was very nice.”

“So, how are you? Everything check out okay?”

“They’re still checking me out. I’m hospital-bored.”

“Sorry to hear that. I just got home, but it’s pretty boring here too. Want company?”

“You’d come entertain a man you hardly know, because he’s bored at the hospital?”

“Wouldn’t you? Might be fun. Could be a story to tell at parties years from now. Could be a nice thing to do for a guy who’s had a shitty day.”

Would I do the same? I don’t know, but it’s flattering he thinks I’m so selfless.

“Well, come on down, then. I’d love the company.”

“Gimme half an hour. Will they let me bring you food?”

“It’s worth a shot.” I am a little hungry.

“You like sandwiches? Not a vegetarian?”

“I do, and I’m not.”

“Great. I’ll see you soon.”

It’s a little more than half an hour when he comes in, bag of sandwiches in hand. Without the hard hat and construction vest, he appears even younger than I remember. Damn.

“Hey. Still bored?” He cracks a smile and hands me the bag. “I didn’t know what you liked, so I got a couple different things.”

“That was sweet of you, Wish.”

“I’m sweet all over, Edward Russell.” The way he leers at me leaves no doubt in my mind the innuendo was intentional. God, to have the body and arrogance of a twenty-five-year-old again.

“How old are you?” I ask, digging in the bag to see what he’s brought. Turkey and avocado on wheat or ham and Swiss on rye. Two sodas in cans. I take the ham and one of the sodas and pass the bag back.

“I’m twenty-four. You?”

I almost choke on the first bite of my sandwich. Gah. Twenty-four. Finally, I swallow. “I just turned forty-four. Last month.”

“Nice. Happy belated.” He raises his can in mock salute. “Is that gonna be a thing? You’re going to say I’m too young and you’ll stop flirting and feel all guilty?”

Damn it.

“I was thinking something along those lines,” I admit.

“Don’t.” He points. “I don’t need or want a daddy, and the only person who decides what’s best for me is me.”

I start a little at his vehemence. It’s surprisingly bossy and self-assured for someone his age. How much experience can he be speaking from? Okay, I’ve got to stop thinking of him by his age. He might be young and hot, but I’ve got “sassy old queen” down to an art.

“Well, I don’t want a daddy either.” I jut my chin. “But I don’t usually play in the kiddie leagues.”

Just then a lab-coated doctor walks in. “Mr. Russell?” He looks up from my chart and reaches to shake my hand, but drops his when he sees the sandwich I’m holding. I try not to act too guilty. He glances over at Wish and then back at me. “Your son?”

Ouch.

Wish grunts. “His friend.”

“Ah. Okay, then.” The doctor eyes my sandwich. “You might have asked first, but yes, it’s okay for you to be eating.”

“I asked his nurse,” Wish volunteered. “She said it was fine.”

“Okay, well, Mr. Russell, you’re going to have significant bruising on your chest and shoulder from the seatbelt, and you’ll probably be sore for a few days. Take it easy, and you should be okay. I’m writing a script for—”

I hold up my hand. “No, don’t. I won’t fill it. I’ll just take Advil.”

“Okay, sure. Well, the nurse will be in shortly to discharge you. Okay.” He pats his pocket absently, gives a brusque wave, and walks out of the room.

Wish dissolves in laughter. When he’s collected himself, he grins at me and does a perfect mimicry of the doc. “Okay.”

“Okay.” I grin back.

The redheaded nurse returns and goes through the discharge paperwork for me. When she’s finished, she gives us each a brisk nod and props the door open.

Wish takes the sandwich out of my hand, rewraps it, and returns it to the bag.

“Come on, S-Class. Let’s get you home.”

“I’m not the car, you know.”

He snorts and holds out a hand to steady me as I stand up. “And you’re not the suit either. I get it. And I’m not my age or my hard hat.”

“Then I would really like a ride home.”

 

Chapter Two

I can see why he’s a little touchy about my pretentious car; he drives a beat-up old F-150. I give him directions to my house—it’s a god-awful monstrosity of a thing on the lake. I bought it because the price was right, but never got around to remodeling it to something less gaudy and ostentatious. Unlike Ben and Dave’s house, which exudes class and charm, mine screams, Look how much money I have!

I’m not ashamed of the money.

I am a little ashamed of the house. He’s going to think I’m an epic douche.

“So, where are you from, Wish?”

“Minnesota.”

“And now you’re in Florida. Did you get tired of the snow?”

“Mom got sick last winter. My brother was living here already, and he talked her into coming down so he and his wife could take care of her during chemo. She loved it here, so I moved too. No point staying in Minnesota all alone.”

“How’s your mama now?” I hold my breath.

“She’s good. In remission.”

I let out the breath. “I’m glad to hear that. When you said ‘loved’ instead of ‘loves,’ well, I worried.”

“Ha. Well, she doesn’t much care for Florida in July.”

“The heat has a way of making people ornery.” It’s part of what I love about living here: the tension bubbling under the surface is sensual in a primal, earthy way. It gets me so fucking hard.

“What about your dad?”

He grimaces. “Remember what I said about being very Catholic?”

I nod.

“Divorce in a Catholic home is not pretty. We aren’t on speaking terms.”

“I’m sorry.”

He shrugs. “He made his choices. What about you? You from here?”

“Indeed. Born and raised. That’s my house.” I blush as I point to the great big stucco thing with the tiled roof. “You can park in the garage if you want, but I need to enter the code to open it.”

“Okay.” The truck idles in the driveway as I type my password on the touch pad. He pulls into the spot where my Benz usually sits and turns off the engine.

When he gets out of the car, we stare at each other for a long moment. I want to invite him in. I want to climb him like a tree. I want. But he’s so damned young.

“You don’t know me.” He gestures toward the door. “And I can see you have a nice place and maybe you’re second-guessing bringing a virtual stranger here. I get it. Why don’t I go, and then I’ll call you later in the week. Fair warning, I’d like to ask you out on a real date.”

“No.” I shake my head. “It’s not about you being a stranger. I’m trying not to think of you as a corruptible young thing.”

“Here I thought we were going to finish our sandwiches, and all this time you were planning to corrupt me? Eddie S-Class, I do believe you have a dirty mind.”

Oh boy, did I read that wrong. “Oh my gawd.” I cover my face with my hands, peeking at him between my fingers. “I’m so embarrassed.”

“Mmm. I like it. How would you corrupt me? I mean, I know I’m younger than you, but this ain’t my first rodeo. I’m curious. How would you do it?” Okay, maybe not so wrong at all.

“You want me to . . .”

“I want you to tell me, in great detail, the story of my own corruption.” He crosses his arms over his chest, leans back against his truck, and watches me expectantly.

God in heaven, he really means it.

“Let’s go inside.” I reach for the button to close the garage door.

“No.”

“No?”

“No. I want you to tell me out here, in your garage, with the door open, where anyone in the neighborhood who happens to be going for a walk can hear you talking dirty. And, S-Class? Make it dirty.”

I don’t know what it is about him that makes me go for it. Maybe it’s because he came to the hospital to save me from my own boredom. Maybe because of the teasing nickname. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had truly awesome sex in long enough that I’m starting to forget what it’s like.

Temporary insanity.

I take off my suit jacket, and hang it on the never-used coat hook by the door. My tie is next—I toss it to him as I reach for my cufflinks, which go in the pocket of my pants. I unbutton my shirt slowly, never breaking eye contact. Any minute I’m going to take it too far, and he’s going to look out that open garage door and stop me.

But he doesn’t. When I hang the shirt with my jacket and turn back toward him, his gaze drops to my shoulder and chest, which are turning purple and black and a dull red. His eyes widen, and he swallows.

I clear my throat. “I’d start by stripping us both naked. Me first, so you can watch.”

Reaching for the button at the top of my trousers, I spare a moment to press the heel of my hand against my dick and close my eyes against the rush of pleasure.

“Take it out. Show it to me.”

I unzip, pull my cock out, and hold it in one hand like an offering. He examines it for a long time, long enough to make me uneasy, but my semi hardens under his gaze. Finally, he meets my eyes again.

“A dick piercing? I’m feeling a little corrupted already,” he teases. “What would you do next?”

I kick off my shoes, push my pants and briefs down my legs, step out of them, and fold them carefully before setting them aside. I turn around as I take off my socks, and wiggle my ass a little for his viewing pleasure. When I straighten up and face him again, he’s got one hand pressed against his own zipper. If I cross the garage to him, I’ll be naked in plain view of anyone walking by, practically on display. It really turns me on. Who knew my exhibitionist streak ran that deep?

The first step is the hardest—moving from the idea of exhibitionism to the reality of it—but then I find myself smirking as I amble toward him. I hurt from the accident, and I’m a little freaked out, but the captivated expression on his face is like a drug.

I reach for his T-shirt, tugging it up to expose that flat twenty-four-year-old stomach.

When his hand claps down on my bruised shoulder, I hiss sharply, meeting the challenge in his gaze. He squeezes—he didn’t grab it by mistake. I let my eyes roll back in my head as I exhale, waiting for the pain to cede to pleasure.

“You . . . like that, don’t you?” The squeeze becomes a caress as he explores the edges of the still-forming bruise. He digs his fingers in a little under my clavicle and the frisson of delicious agony draws a whimper from my lips.

“Okay, Eddie. This is the point where we go inside and have a talk.”

I heard him, and yeah, I know he’s right, but now? I want to chase the ache his fingers are tracing along my chest. I lean into that hand, rewarded with a dull throb north of my heart.

“Come on, man. I may only be twenty-four but I know enough about the game you’re playing to know we don’t do this without talking. In the house, now.” He nudges me away from him, sending another jolt through me.

I swallow, pulling myself together. I thought I wanted him before, but now? It’s like a madness inside me. I have to have whatever it is he’s promising.

Leading him inside, I say, “Just so you know, my house is . . . Well. It doesn’t really reflect my taste, you know?”

“You took your cock out in the garage and you think I give a fuck about your furniture?”

Right. Hookup house call, not a date. It’s not like I even have a thing against casual sex. I love casual sex. I just can’t help feeling like I’m taking advantage of him.

He follows me into the kitchen, and I notice him glancing around, but he doesn’t say anything.

“Still hungry?” he asks, holding up the bag of half-eaten sandwiches.

Not for food. I shake my head, and reach for the bag. I stick it in the gigantic-but-mostly-empty refrigerator. Knowing he’s watching, I bend over and pull out a couple of water bottles, letting the chill from the fridge wash across my naked skin and pucker my nipples.

He makes an appreciative noise behind me, and I glance over my shoulder. “See something you like, Hard Hat?”

“Oh yeah. Is that another piercing?”

I stand up, laugh, and hand him a bottle. “You want to see it again, we’d definitely better have that talk.”

“You like pain.”

It’s a statement, not a question.

“Yes.”

“Sexually, you get off on pain?”

“Yes.” God, yes.

“Would you want me to hurt you in the course of having sex?”

Ah. There’s the question.

“Do I need pain to get off? No. But for me, it’s better that way. If it got you off too, fuck yes, I want you to hurt me. But if you aren’t into that? No big deal. We could do the vanilla thing, have a nice time, say good-bye afterward, and let that be that.”

“That was remarkably uncoy, S-Class.”

“I’m forty-four years old. I’m not going to apologize for what gets me off.”

“Good. Because hearing you talk about it gets me hard.”

Oh, there is a God, and angels really do wear hard hats.

“‘Red’ and ‘yellow’ for safewords,” I tell him. “I doubt you’ll push me hard enough to need them, but if I say ‘yellow’—”

“You need a break. You say ‘red,’ everything stops.”

I study him carefully. He’s confident, the flirtatious smile back on his lips. Twenty-four years old. What in Hades am I about to do?

“You really have done this before?”

“Eddie, when I walked over to your car to see if you were okay, your welfare was my only thought. Then you started talking about sex dreams and angels in hard hats to your friend, and my curiosity was piqued.”

Shoving a hand through his hair, he steps up close to me. We’re about the same height, but he’s brawnier. He runs his other hand down the center of my chest, then brushes it back up to pinch and pull at one of my nipples before he continues, teasing me all the while.

“When you got out of the car and I could actually see you? So handsome and swishy and wincing in pain, you made me hard. I wanted to fuck you. I wanted to see you wince from pain I inflicted. Not because I thought you’d like it, but because I like it. The fact that you do like it? That it could be more than a jerk-off fantasy?” He shakes his head, then goes on.

“I had a guy I played with in Minneapolis. He was a little older than me, and into paddles and crops. He didn’t care for a naked hand on his ass, but every once in a while, he’d let me. I loved that. Skin to skin, my handprint . . .” The hand on my chest slips back up to my bruised shoulder and grips me again. “Would you let me?”

I’m lost for a moment in the sensation of his hand, rough and warm, on my shoulder. Finally, I nod. “Yes. You can slap my ass, my legs, chest, and face. No closed fist though.” Oh, I’d love to really brawl with him, but confessing that seems too intimate. Admitting you like pain is one thing. Pain can be sterilized. Violence though, and a sexual craving for it, tends to creep civilized people right the fuck out.

He releases my shoulder and touches my hair, so gentle. “Any other limits I should know about?”

“Breath play is an absolute hard limit. Other than that?” I shrug. “Let’s play it by ear.”

“Come here.” He leans back against my gaudy marble countertop and pulls me into the V of his legs. I resist a little bit to test the waters. He responds by tugging me firmly into place and wrapping his arms around my waist. God, he’s strong.

“I should warn you . . .” I put a hand up to stop him when he bends in for a kiss.

“What’s that?” He pauses, but doesn’t draw away.

“I’m not a naturally submissive guy. Just because you like to inflict pain and I like to take it doesn’t mean you aren’t going to have to make me.”

“Make you?” His eyebrows pull together as he studies me. I can almost see the gears turning. “Like, a rape fantasy?”

I shake my head. “No, but if you’re into that we can try it. It’s like this: I get off on pain, but I don’t get off on taking orders. I sometimes get off on humiliation, but it’s not my usual kink—you’d really have to get me in the mood. I’m not a submissive, I’m a masochist. You don’t have to force me, but I still might fight you. I don’t know why, but I like it like that.”

“So if I tell you we’re going to go into the bedroom and I want you to bend yourself over my knee and ask for a spanking?”

“I’ll tell you to go fuck yourself.” I spit the words out, my body starting to hum with adrenaline.

“You say the sweetest things.” He picks me up, roughly, and tosses me over his shoulder. It jostles me, sending pain echoing from my bruised shoulder all the way through my torso. My hard cock rubs against his chest, and a moan escapes me.

“Which way is your bedroom?”

“Fuck you.”

“I can probably find it on my own.” He shrugs, his shoulder jabbing into my gut, and then he carries me up the stairs. He finds my room easily, and he throws me down on the bed and starts pulling his clothes off. The impact jars my shoulder, and fuck if the pain doesn’t get me harder. I sit up and start to crawl away from him, but he grabs my ankle and hauls me back, landing a stinging slap on the outside of my thigh.

“Stay put,” he grunts, undressing faster.

The next thing I know, I’m flat on my back, and he’s on top of me, skin on skin, and it feels even better than the pain radiating out from my chest and shoulder. When he reaches between us and flicks my Prince Albert with a fingernail, I groan helplessly.

“I gotta see that up close,” he mutters. Strong hands pin me down to the bed for a moment. “Don’t move.”

I wiggle around to remind him about that whole not-naturally-submissive thing, a smile curling my lips up at the corners. He returns the smile, placing a hand on my chest and pushing enough to rev that dull ache of a bruise into something sharper.

“Tell me about these piercings,” he murmurs, making his way down my body with his hands, dry callused palms raising goose bumps over my chest and shoulders.

“There’s not much to tell. I like pain, and fuck me running, a Prince Albert hurts like hell when you get it done. There’s a sadist at my friend Keith’s BDSM club who’s really into cock and ball torture—he suggested it. The guiche ring is a little different, but it aches so nice when you pull on it.” Take the hint.

Oh, man, does he. He flicks it, hard, then grips it between his thumb and index finger and tugs, sending a shiver down my spine. Then he reaches up to twist one of my nipples, making me arch into his hand.

“There are some—” I gasp as he pinches harder “—clothespins in the drawer.”

He opens the drawer and pulls them out, grabbing the lube and condoms while he’s in there. “Really, wooden clothespins?”

I smile. Sometimes simple works. “Yeah. I’ve been getting off with clothespins on my nipples since before I even knew there was such a thing as a nipple clamp.”

He studies one before clipping it to his thumb. Together we watch his thumb turn red, then white. I imagine that pressure around my nipples and bite back a whine of anticipation when he pulls it off his thumb.

He starts to play with my nipples—light, teasing touches. A tickle here, then a lick. He blows on the wet skin and then bites my chest above the nipple. The touch of his teeth sends my hips thrusting into the air. Fingertips return to my nipple, twisting, stretching, sensitizing it. Finally, I feel the pinch of the wooden clothespin closing over the skin. The pain is sharp and intense, and for a moment, I feel flushed all over like I’m going to come. He closes a hand around my cock and gives it quick, rough tug. Oh god, he’s good at this.

The next clothespin closes over my other nipple and I close my eyes, catching my breath at the sharpness of it, that exhilarating instant when the pinch and swell of pain short-circuits everything else. A fight or flight response sending that wonderful rush of adrenaline through me. I want to fuck, to fight, to crawl out of my skin and into his.

Another tug on my guiche ring, and I snap my eyes open again, drawing in a deep breath—the sharpness in my nipples subsides, leaving me hungry for more sensation.

“Okay?” he asks softly, twisting the end of one pin, giving me exactly what I need.

I nod, my eyelids heavy with lust, my vision bright with endorphins. I feel high and giddy, a thousand contradictions in my body.

“Want to fuck,” I say, reaching for his cock. He twists the clothespin again, and my eyes start to roll back.

“Can I fuck you with these still on?”

I nod, anticipating the scrape and pull of being shoved into the mattress chest-first. “Hell, yeah.”

He flips me over, hands skimming down my back, spreading my cheeks, tickling the guiche from behind. Then a hard—really fucking hard—swat lands on my ass,

“You are so fucking hot,” he whispers, as if he’s surprised. “Hot little ass, all pink right here.” He slaps again over the same spot, not even trying to soften the blows. I wriggle. A hand spanking seems incredibly intimate right now, with clothespins digging into my chest as he shoves me harder against the bed. He slaps my ass again, the other cheek lighting up with the sting.

“You want me to fuck you? Fill this hot ass with my cock and ride you hard?”

“Fucking do it.” I glance over my shoulder at him, and the way he’s staring at me, eyes dark, lips open and drawing a ragged breath, something about it makes my own breath catch. He’s beautiful, not just pretty, but stunning, and right now, he’s all mine, talking dirty and raining slaps of sensation down on my ass.

“Mine.” He growls, reaching for the condom.

I close my eyes against the surprise of hearing my own thought from his lips. He spreads my stinging cheeks, then presses into me.

My body fights him at first, though I breathe deep and push back. He hauls me up to my knees and the changed angle makes everything slide just right. His big, warm chest covers my back, and his hand closes around my cock.

“So fucking sweet, Eddie.” He whispers into my ear. “Your ass is so sweet.” And then he grips my hips in his hands and fucks me hard.

I often dream of rough, raunchy sex, of a lover who treats me like something he wants to break. I fantasize about bruises on my skin and about hiding a bite mark from my friends. I long for someone to fuck me like he’s fucking me, slapping my ass and reaching around to twist at the clothespins.

All I would need to come like this would be to close my eyes and let the carnality of the moment take me. His cock pushing against my prostate on each thrust, his hands manipulating the pins on my oversensitive nipples, his teeth sinking into my shoulder.

“Want you to come.” He removes the first clothespin and the rush of pain and pleasure as the blood flows back into my nipple is exquisite. He moves my hand down to my cock, and I take the hint, fucking into my fist for him. My orgasm swells in me, building in intensity as he plays with the other clothespin. When I think it will actually kill me, he pulls off the clothespin, and I’m done, shooting between my fingers and shouting incoherently.

He fucks me harder, right through the sensation, and then he’s shouting too, his voice mixing with mine in some primal cacophony. Sweaty-man-fucking at its glorious finest.

We collapse to the bed in a tangle of limbs and sticky mess. I’m dimly aware of his hands on my body, rubbing and gentling me.

“That was so good, Eddie,” he praises me, running a hand over my chest. “Come here.” He engulfs me in a big hug, clutching me to all those hard muscles and kissing my forehead. He trails soft kisses over my eyelids, then leans back and tilts my chin.

I stare at him, see the tentative confusion in his face, then realize what he’s about to do just as his lips close over mine.

Jesus.

The kiss is sweet, but the sensual glide of his tongue into my mouth, the whispers of callused thumbs across my cheekbones, they sting something in me, drawing a well of emotion to the surface, and I’m kissing him back, gripping his head with one hand and tasting him. He groans, holding me close and shuddering under my hands. His skin is hot everywhere it touches mine, hot and bare like me. I’ve never felt so naked, so vulnerably open to another person as I do in this moment.

I drag my lips away and bury my face in his shoulder while I catch my breath. I don’t want to see a good-bye in his eyes.

“Can I get you something to drink, honey?” he asks. “If you tell me where to find it, I’ll fix something warm.”

He’s staying. I don’t examine the rush of relief that runs through me.

“There’s tea in the cupboard above the stove. And an electric kettle.”

He disappears for several minutes. I hear sounds from the kitchen, but I lie on the bed and float on the aches and pains still thrumming through my body.

When he reappears, the spicy-sweet scent of my favorite tea precedes him into the room. He smiles, ducking his head. “I put sugar in it, I hope that’s okay?”

I give him a boneless nod and start to sit up.

“Whoa.” He sets the tea down, pulls on his boxers, and slides into bed behind me, my back to his chest. Placing the cup in my hands, he wraps his fingers around mine to make sure I don’t drop it, and holds me while I take the first cautious sip. It’s not too hot, and it’s sweet, sweeter than I would make for myself, but good. I drink more deeply, then lower the cup to my lap and let my head loll back against his shoulder.

“That was amazing,” I tell him, a smile tilting my lips up. “You were amazing.”

“It was fun.” He kisses the side of my head. “I’d love to do it again.”

My heart sinks a little because yes, I would too, but he’s twenty-four years old and I’m too old, too jaded for him.

“I don’t know whether it’s a good idea,” I admit.

“Shhhh. Don’t think too much,” he whispers. “We can talk about it tomorrow. Just let me hold you awhile.”

And that I can do. I snuggle deeper into his embrace and sip at the tea, enjoying the warmth flooding my limbs and the achy souvenirs of our lovemaking on my skin.

***

I wake to the sound of rhythmic breathing—snoring? No. I lift my head enough to see a moving form backlit by gray window light. Yoga. Wish is doing yoga.

I glance at the clock.

“Oh God, you’re exercising? At five in the morning? That’ll teach me to let a sadist spend the night.”

I pull the pillow over my head, blocking out the noises and the light.

My body hurts. Everywhere. And while some of it is a good hurt—I clench my ass cheeks and feel the pleasant sensitivity of a few light bruises—most of it is a holy-fuck-I-crashed-my-car hurt. Which is most certainly not.

“Good morning, S-Class.” He pulls the pillow off my head. “How ya feeling?”

“Like I smashed up a $150k car with me inside. Ow. I don’t know which hurts more, me or my pride.”

His hand traces down my naked back. “You want me to call someone? I’d offer to stay, but I have to be at work at six thirty.”

“You’re as bad as Ben,” I grumble. “Morning people.” I grab for the pillow, but he holds it out of reach. He really is a fucking sadist.

“Who’s Ben? Who you were on the phone with when you cracked up your car?”

“Ugh, now? We have to talk about him now?” I peek over my shoulder, and he’s smiling at me, all serene like “coffee before talkie” isn’t even a thing in his worldview.

“Well, I need a shower, and then I gotta get out of here. But we could meet for dinner later and you could tell me about him then? I’m guessing he’s either your brother, a fuck buddy, or a friendly ex.”

I groan, and not only because I need to stop this talk of dating before it gets off the ground, but because these days Ben truly is more like a brother than a lover to me. It doesn’t even matter that I don’t want him that way; it still hurts that someone else is closer to him than I am. But maybe not as much as it hurt yesterday. “He’s my best friend. There, nothing to talk about. We—you and me—we can’t date, Wish.”

His hand pauses its stroking on my back, then resumes again slower, lighter. “Why not? I’m not in the closet, and I would guess you aren’t either. We’re hot as fuck in bed together, and I like you. I think you like me, or at least, you smile at me a lot, but that could be gas I suppose.”

I give an offended snort, but my heart isn’t in it, and I end up laughing instead. Damn him for being so sassy and cute I can’t help myself. I roll onto my back, wincing in not-sexy pain. “Because, lovely, you are twenty-four years old. I’m nearly twice your age and that creates an awkward power dynamic for me. I like you. I had a great time last night. But you should date someone closer to your own age. Someone in the same stage of life.”

He frowns at me. “So this was just a hookup for you?”

Ouch. Not often I get slut-shamed by my own date. Not date. Hookup. Still, I make my voice soft and conciliatory, because I do like him, and he needs to understand that it isn’t personal. “I don’t expect a relationship when I have sex with someone I just met. Especially not kinky sex. A lot of people like us get what we need outside of monogamous relationships. You know this, right?”

He nods. “Yeah, I felt last night . . . it was special. I felt really connected.”

“I’m not going to tell you it was ordinary, everyday kinky fuckin’. But it wasn’t the start of a relationship. Don’t get attached.”

“Okay.” He shrugs, but his posture is stiff. “I don’t suppose there’s anything I can say to that. May I use your shower?”

I nod, a lump in my throat, wanting to take back my words. But they were the truth. He shouldn’t get attached. This is for him, not for me. He can find some sweet young thing like himself, get married, adopt kids. His generation has opportunities I still feel like I’m peering at through a locked window.

When he finishes in the shower, he comes and sits on the bed, fully clothed.

“Thanks for last night, S-Class.” He leans over me and presses a kiss to my forehead. “Call me if you ever want to do it again. No strings.”

I close my eyes for a long moment while I try to figure out what to say, and when I open them, he’s gone. I sigh and pick up my phone to dial Ben.

“Hey, Ed.” Davis. “How are you?”

“Why are you answering Ben’s phone at six in the morning? Oh, Bedhead, tell me he hasn’t converted you into one of them.”

“No, no, I’m still in the snooze alarm club, but I have an early flight this morning. He’s in the shower, want me to tell him you called?”

“Where are you going? Why haven’t I heard about this?”

“My former business partner is receiving an award. I promised I’d go be his plus one at this banquet.”

His . . . yeah, that raises some protective hackles. “His plus one, Bedhead? Is your former business partner gay?”

“No. But his wife is hugely pregnant and on bed rest. It’s a thing—preeclampsia or something. I’m the backup plus one.”

“Breeding is just not natural.” I wrinkle my nose. “Fine, tell him I called, tell him I’m all banged up from the accident and won’t be there to help with his month-close books, but he can email them to me. He should get with Jerry about some package deals for gear with the sale of wake boats—our gear sales have slowed down. And he can bring me pizza from Portofino’s after work. Plain cheese.”

“I’ll let him know. You okay? Ben got the impression it wasn’t serious?”

“Yeah, I am. Only sore all over. And I picked up a very energetic twenty-four-year-old sadist to take advantage of my bruised and battered self, so I am taking the boss man prerogative of working from home.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. A twenty-four-year-old sad—?”

“Bye, Davis, talk soon!”

I hang up.

I like Davis Fox with his freckles, his dimples, and his daddy’s work ethic. I love that the guy loves my best friend. But I don’t want to talk about Wish with him until I’ve told Ben. Because Ben and I loved each other first, and we don’t let each other find out important shit secondhand.

And why the fuck was I filing a hookup under “important shit”?

from MM Good Book Reviews (by Zane)

Filled with romance, sweet sexy moments and fun loving kink, Eddie and Wish made my day.  Pleasure, pain and piercings – What’s not to love? Rough Ride is an easy recommendation, as is Vanessa North. Hop on board for a sweet romance with some kinky fun – you won’t regret it.

from LeAnn's Book Reviews

[S]o much more than meets the eye. . . . Hot, kinky yet with an undercurrent of sweetness throughout.

from Swept Away by Romance

A sweet romance mixed in with some serious sadistic play and extremely hot sex scenes made for a smooth ride.

from Prism Book Alliance

[S]assy, snarky banter, steaming hot and deliciously kinky sex scenes, heartbreaking emotions and flawless writing.

from Joyfully Jay

[R]eally entertaining and I loved Eddie and Wish together.

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