The Butch and the Beautiful (A Queers of La Vista Novel)

The Butch and the Beautiful by Kris Ripper
Author: 
eBook ISBN: 
978-1-62649-435-0
eBook release: 
Aug 22, 2016
eBook Formats: 
pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 
978-1-62649-436-7
Print release: 
Aug 22, 2016
Word count: 
65,700
Page count: 
257
Type: 
Cover by: 

This title is part of the Queers of La Vista universe.

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Jaq Cummings is a high school teacher who really wants a committed relationship—as long as it doesn’t keep her out late on school nights or interrupt Sunday mass with her dad. She is absolutely not about to fall for the hot-mess divorcée she hooks up with even if said hot mess pushes all her buttons. Jaq’s white knight days are over.

But one hookup with Hannah becomes two, then coffee, then more incredibly hot sex. And unlike most of Jaq’s exes, Hannah’s not looking for someone to come on strong. In fact, Hannah comes on plenty strong enough for both of them. But she’s just out of a disastrous marriage, she’s in the process of moving across the state, and Jaq can’t take a chance on yet another relationship where she defaults to being a caregiver instead of a partner.

Just when Jaq decides her relationship with Hannah is far too precarious, a crisis with a student reminds her of her priorities and makes it clear that sometimes, you have to take big risks to get what you really want.


This book can be read on its own, or enjoyed as the second book in the Queers of La Vista series.

This title comes with no special warnings.

Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish.

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Chapter One

I wasn’t hiding behind the topiary. People in suits this expensive don’t hide.

I was trying to dodge Liz’s brother for the third time. He hadn’t caught me yet, but he eventually would, and I wanted to put that moment off as long as possible on this, the happiest day of Liz’s life. Or whatever.

It probably would be the happiest day of her life. Liz had a sentimental streak the size of the Pacific. And she and Marla were deeply in love. Since Marla was only a little bit crazy, I was genuinely pleased for them, but that didn’t mean I wanted to be buddy-buddy with my co–best man all afternoon. He was going to ask me to fix everything he’d screwed up, while eyeing my breasts—just wait for it.

If your ex ever shows up on your doorstep one brisk autumn evening, plies you with wine, and says, “We’re getting married, you’re the best man, and we’re doing everything ourselves,” run like hell. Obviously. Do not, whatever else you do, slosh more wine into your glasses and say something totally absurd like, “That is going to be amazing. How can I help?”

My co–best man was actually supposed to be helping, at the moment. Oh god. What if he had screwed something up? I had visions of Bobby surrounded by torn tissue paper and massacred crafts. Fucking lesbian weddings. I had no idea why people were so into DIY. I’d hated arts and crafts in school, and adulthood made everything worse.

“Jaq?” he called, edging into view. “I know you’re hiding!”

Liz and I had dated off and on for five years. I should probably feel at least a little bit guilty about leaving wee Bobby in the lurch.

I was on the verge of coming out of my, uh, lingering place, when a woman I’d never seen before walked up to him. In a stunning, intense, ocean-depths-blue dress that draped off her curves and flowed around her.

“You’re Bobby, right? Liz said I should find you. I’m Hannah.”

That was the other ex? I’d heard a lot about Marla’s ex, who was serving as maid of honor, but apparently everyone forgot to mention she was gorgeous. I ducked more completely out of sight and caught my breath. Then, utilizing skills learned over the course of watching many James Bond movies, I edged around the sculpted bush to see better. Did Hannah have a sculpted bush? I told my brain to take a break. By all accounts, Hannah was batshit, histrionic, and in the middle of a nasty divorce. She probably did have a sculpted bush, though. She was from LA. I think it was go sculpted or wax off down there, no exceptions.

Bobby, clearly unsettled in the face of a hot woman, stumbled over his words. “Um, I’m not actually in charge—the person you should talk to is Jaq—”

“Any idea where I can find her? Unless—if you don’t need help, I can just head back to my room.”

I couldn’t let that happen, now, could I? All hands on deck.

I strolled out into the open, you know, like you do when you have in no way been hiding from your former almost-brother-in-law.

“Oh, hi, Bobby.” My voice, so very casual. I turned to the perfect stranger, whose name I didn’t know since I hadn’t been eavesdropping, and held out my hand. “Hi. I’m Jaq.”

“Hannah.” Handshake: firm. Palms: dry. Nails: short, squared-off, French manicure.

Batshit, histrionic, nasty divorce. Do not assess.

“Good to finally meet you,” I said.

“Jaq!” Bobby shifted restlessly from foot to foot. “I’ve been looking for you—”

“Sorry, Bobby. Took a walk. What’s up?” I gave Hannah a pointed last look before turning to Bobby.

“It’s the paper-bag things! There aren’t enough of them to reach all the way to the altar thing.”

“There’re two hundred of them. I mean, it’s not that far.”

Even at twenty-five he still looked like a sixteen-year-old wearing a suit too big for him. “We tried!”

Who was “we”? Cousins? Nieces and nephews?

“I’ll be over in a few minutes,” I told him, hoping he’d take the hint and skedaddle.

“Fine, but it’s almost four—”

Screw hints. I lightly shoved him. “Go on, baby brother. I’ll take care of it.”

He sighed. “Why didn’t they hire someone to do all this?”

“Hey, you’re preaching to the choir.” Another shove.

“Yeah, okay. Fine.” He turned away, then looked back. “That suit looks really good on you, Jaq.”

The eye-flick downward was only a second long. I shoved him a third time. Harder.

“Get to work.”

He grunted and took off.

“I thought he was Liz’s brother,” Hannah said.

“Well, they are both Asian.” I paused to see if she could take the ribbing.

“I literally just thought that. Then I was like, shit, he could have been adopted or something. Or you could have. So should I shut my big mouth, or—”

I have a few ideas for things you could be doing with your mouth. “He’s totally Liz’s brother. I’m just her ex.”

“And I’m Marla’s ex.” Hannah offered a charming half smirk. “You know this means we have to have sex, right?”

Damn. And yes. But damn.

“Did I shock you? Sorry. I really should stop talking altogether. You’ll tell everyone I’m mute, right? Unless that’s totally ableist, which it probably is.”

“I didn’t say I objected to sex.” Okay, obviously I should, but come on. Like, look at her. “Before we get there, though, we have to survive the wedding, and at the rate we’re going, I’m gonna have them recite their vows sitting in the car so they can drive away real fast. And that’s if I can find their car keys, and Bobby’s the last person who saw those.”

“That bad, huh?”

“Shambles might be an improvement.” I gestured to her dress. “Do you want to help, or—”

“Or I’ll sit in my room rewriting my entire life. Lead me to the work.” The smirk reappeared. “I’m glad he’s not your brother. Or that look he shot at you would have been wildly inappropriate.”

“What can I say? We met when he was a teenager. I think I ruined him for femme girls.”

Her laugh was higher pitched than her voice and didn’t seem to fit anything else about her. She had the exhausted eyes of a wary fortysomething and the laugh of a teenager. She was probably in her midthirties, like me, and Liz, and Marla. It was kind of a miracle we hadn’t met before, but she and Marla had hooked up in college—or so I’d heard from Liz, who’d repeated histrionic three times during our conversation, as if I’d never been known to go in for a drama queen before.

We took the direct route back to the “venue,” which, let’s be very clear, was a hillside. A hillside. With a flat area where the couple stood to get married, and another flat area where chairs were set out for everyone else. Folding chairs. Is it really a “venue” when you can set it up and take it down in less than an hour?

I tried not to pay too much attention to the flashes of leg I was getting from Hannah as she walked beside me. Cheers to comfortable dresses that allowed for urgent wedding-catastrophe-related walks up hillsides.

“I gotta get to the gym,” she muttered. “And stop smoking. God.”

Damn it. Smokers. I hated kissing smokers.

“I quit, you know. For six years. Six years.” She looked over, so I nodded, because it seemed like she needed some kind of validation about having quit—for six years. “I’m quitting again,” Hannah continued, as if I’d challenged her. “The second this divorce is final, I’m quitting again.”

“How long were you married?”

“Seven years.” She smiled wryly. “She’s the one who talked me into quitting in the first place, and believe me, I’m aware how idiotic it is that some part of my brain thinks I’m actually getting back at her by smoking again. It’s just . . . so fucking hard to stop.”

“I’ve had some girlfriends like that. Bad for me and hard to quit.”

“Exactly.”

We finally reached the folding chairs, and it became clear that either we didn’t have all the paper bags for the luminarias, or we’d been shorted. And I didn’t think for a second we’d been shorted.

“Oh damn.”

Bobby looked up from where he was trying to adjust the spacing of the bags he had. “See?”

Hannah shook her head. “What on god’s green earth are those?”

“Luminarias,” I said. “Each one has rice and a glow stick in the bottom. Some of them have quotes printed on the outside.”

“Quotes?”

“A mix of Maya Angelou, the Indigo Girls, and k.d. lang.”

Hannah covered her mouth, but a small giggle escaped. “You are kidding me.”

I pointed to my face. “Not my joke face.”

“They are such fucking lesbians. Really, they should write a handbook.”

“Lesbian wedding of the decade. They’re also giving away plants.”

“They are not.”

I nodded solemnly. “If they had more money, maybe they’d be giving away Subarus. I could get behind that. Because who needs a plant in a jar that’s probably going to be dead in three days anyway?” I grinned at Bobby’s pained look. “Sorry, bud, but you know your sister’s the poster child for the enlightened dyke.”

“Jaq . . .”

“Fine. I’ll behave. Listen, are you sure you unloaded everything from my truck? You’re missing a box of luminarias.”

“I’m pretty sure. I think. I mean, there was a lot of stuff—”

He meant Your truck is pretty much trashed, so it’s possible I missed something, but I wanted Hannah to get the idea that he meant wedding stuff, so I interrupted. “I’ll go check it out. How bad is the reception area right now?”

“Well. I kind of have the cousins on it.”

“Kind of?”

“They weren’t all that focused when I last checked on them.”

“Bobby, you have to—” But he wouldn’t. Liz got all the do as I say in that family. I turned to Hannah. “So, you feel like whipping a bunch of teenagers into shape?”

She laughed. “That’ll keep me from drowning my sorrows in nicotine.”

“Unless it makes you smoke more. Anyway, follow Bobby. The hotel provided tablecloths, but we need to get the table with the plants set up, as well as a table for gifts, the receiving table with the book they want people to sign, and probably a bunch of other stuff I’m forgetting.”

“And the wedding starts in two hours,” Bobby added.

Hannah glanced around, eyebrows raised. “But where’s the coffee? You skipped a step.”

I surveyed her dress. Definitely no pockets. And she wasn’t carrying a bag. I pulled out my money clip and handed Bobby a ten. “Get the pretty lady who’s about to save your ass whatever she wants, and me a large coffee. If there’s money left over, get yourself something too.”

“Okay, Jaq.”

Hannah inclined her head toward mine and murmured, “So obedient.”

I shuddered. “That’s sick. And thanks for helping. Welcome to the family.”

She laughed again. “I hope you make good on that welcome a little more personally later, Jaq.”

I would have come up with something really clever to say in response if she hadn’t already been walking away. Because you can’t call out your clever comeback at the top of your lungs—that’d be weird. Plus, I had a job to do. An important one. Glow-stick luminarias were at stake. The entire wedding hinged on my finding the missing glow-stick luminarias. What if they’d been printed with life-changing quotes by bell hooks, or maybe Maggie Nelson? What if their absence changed the course of history because the exact person who was supposed to see that exact quote at that exact moment . . . didn’t?

Or I could stand on the hillside all day rationalizing my lack of clever comeback.

I trudged down the hill, trying to remember the sequence of loading bins into the truck. I might have shifted things out of the way enough for one of them to get trapped under the seats. Possibly.

That dress, though. And Hannah’s hair, pulled back in a braid, looked like it’d be wild and untamed if it wasn’t quite so controlled. I have kind of a thing for wild and untamed.

Batshit, histrionic, nasty divorce, smoker, I chanted. Do not feed the animals, Jaq. Keep all arms, legs, and other body parts inside the vehicle at all times.

 

Chapter Two

The wedding came together. Doesn’t that always happen? Every wedding I’ve ever been a part of has had some moment of preceremony crisis when it seemed like it simply wasn’t going to go as planned, and every damn one of them turned out fine. Like there’s some kind of slightly sadistic wedding god who gets off on fucking with people but can’t bring himself to actually ruin weddings.

I can tell when I’ve had too much wedding: I start coming up with deities and their tragic backstories. Wedding fever is a little contagious, and you don’t have to be interested in having one to catch it.

The found luminarias, once distributed, lined the path to the altar. I set the cousins on breaking every single glow stick. Two hundred. Two hundred. Thank goodness Liz and Bobby had a lot of cousins. Hannah had organized the plant table and given me a look when I came down to see it. I wasn’t exactly positive, but I think the look translated to something like: Oh my god, lesbians./Who the fuck does this?/Actually, they’re pretty cute, shut up. But don’t quote me on that. It was just a look.

We were damn hot together. The photographer couldn’t get enough of us, especially after the picture where Hannah squeezed my ass and I jumped. My shirt was a complementary shade of blue to her dress, and we had no problem stepping right up to each other.

“If I’d been thinking more clearly,” she said through her smile as the photog snapped away, “I would have gotten two room keys so I could seductively slide one in your back pocket right now.”

“I’d’ve probably thought you were trying to steal my wallet and dropped you with my jujitsu moves.”

She laughed. That was gonna be a good picture too.

The ceremony itself was sweet and touching and, um— Okay, I didn’t actually listen. But I was there for the rehearsal, and I can confirm it was both sweet and touching. And thankfully not too long because Hannah was barely holding back shivers. You wouldn’t think May would be quite this chilly, but the second the sun set, it got cold. And yes, you’re damn right I offered her my jacket. I’m a gentlewoman. I’m fucking dashing.

I wouldn’t have put it over a puddle or anything, because it was extravagantly expensive, but sure, I offered the hottie in the blue dress my jacket. And settled it over her shoulders, too.

I tried to tell myself that getting involved with Hannah was a bad idea, but I was already committed to having sex with her. And in my defense, sex with batshit women is often worth having, as long as you go into it knowing that’s all it is. I know that’s some horrible cliché, but . . . grain of truth. Grain of truth.

“Baby! It’s amazing, isn’t it? Amazing! Listen, listen, Jaq, listen—” Liz had been mediating her nerves with wine, clearly.

I made my voice soothing. “Yeah, kid? You good?”

“I am soooo good. You know—you know, Jaq—” She hiccupped, and leaned over until she was half in my lap. “Jaq! You know—you know that I love you, but you and I—you and I never would have worked out.” Hiccup. “You and I—we were good, but we—we didn’t— You know, once I found Marla, it’s like everything happened, like everything fell into place for me, you know?”

If no one’s ever written a book about how to escape the bride at her own wedding when she’s slobbering all over you, someone should.

“Honey—baby—you are going to spend the night, aren’t you? I mean, for fun—just for fun—”

“School night, Lizzie. That’s what you get for having a Sunday wedding.”

He face turned down comically and she opened her mouth to say something else, when an angel appeared at our side. An angel in blue.

“Liz, can I steal your best man? She owes me a dance.”

Liz immediately beamed up at Hannah. Make that . . . pot as well as booze. Booze made Liz chatty; pot made it so she switched moods in an instant. “Yes! Steal her away! Jaq so needs to be swept off her feet, you don’t know—”

That was more than enough of that. I wrapped my arm around her shoulders. “Okay, doll, time for you to go see your wife.”

“Jaq! Don’t call me that! You know I hate—”

“I know you do. Go tell Marla what a horrible person I am.” I made eyes at Marla that I hoped she was sober enough to interpret as Do something before she climbs into someone else’s lap. She was just saying to her new bride, “And how are you, hmm?” when Hannah took my hand and tugged.

I went willingly. So, so willingly. “Thank you, thank you, thank you a thousand times over.”

“Did you call Liz ‘doll’?” Hannah’s lips curved up in a slightly wicked smile. “I can’t believe you did that.”

“I can’t believe she didn’t give the whole fetishization-of-Asian-women lecture. I mean, I’ve heard her give that one to a professor, after an all-nighter, with nothing in her veins but coffee. And get a standing ovation.” I mimed smoking. “Somebody’s been into the good antianxiety meds tonight.”

“Somebody should have shared.” She took me in her arms, sending a fierce shot of arousal through me. I flushed. All over. “So, Jaq. Do you need to get swept off your feet?”

Flirting. I knew how to flirt. I could even be good at it, sometimes, when I tried. “Why? You think you could pull that off?”

“I’ve done some sweeping of women off their feet in my time.”

And god, she led. I was in my suit, dapper as hell, and the woman with the dress and the severe braid was leading as we danced.

When I didn’t say anything, she kept talking. “Do you know everyone here? I can’t get over how everyone seems to know each other. It’s creepy. La Vista is not small enough for everyone to have fucked everyone else. And I grew up here, but I flew south before I tarted it up.”

“Queer La Vista’s pretty small. And I haven’t fucked everyone here.”

“Only most?” she teased.

I glanced around, like I was taking stock. “Oh yeah, definitely most.”

“Slut.”

“Jealous.”

She huffed a laugh, shaking her head. “I am. Seven years is a long time to be married. We were still in college when we got serious.”

“I had a serious girlfriend in college.”

“How’d that work out for you?”

“Walked in on her, drunk, kissing my roommate.”

“Oh, ouch.” She spun me. When I came back to her arms, feeling winded—not from the exertion—she said, “Your roommate, though. What a bitch.”

“He really was.”

She grimaced. “Double ouch.”

“No, no. She was an out-and-proud bisexual. So was he, actually. They were a better couple than she and I were, anyway.”

“Still, must have hurt.”

I shrugged and turned us until she was facing the bar. “Woman on the end, tall, black, mohawk.” Mmm, and damn, Jess looked good in an ankle-length orange dress. Not everyone could pull off orange, but it looked great on Jess.

“Yeah?”

“She’s the one I caught kissing my roommate.” I watched her eyes narrow as she took in Jess. “But, like, look at her.”

“She still swing?”

I hit her arm. “She’s still bisexual. Or pansexual. Or omnisexual. I don’t know what she’s calling herself. But I do know your dance card is full, doll.” I switched up my grip and after half a beat she followed, letting me lead.

“Should I give you the lecture about calling people ‘doll’?”

“Only works if you’re pissed, Chinese, and five feet tall.”

“You’re prejudiced against people over five feet tall.”

“True. I like my women like I like my pool game—short and sweet.”

Hannah shifted. “I bet you don’t like your women sweet at all, Jaq. When’s the earliest you think we can get out of here?”

For a split second my better angel argued with the horny devil on my shoulder. But come on, everyone knows how that cage match ends. “Gonna have to be soon. I need to get up to teach angry high schoolers tomorrow.”

“Oh, a teacher, huh? I don’t know how you do it. I barely went to class when I was forced to be there by law.”

“Well, now they pay me, so it works out.”

“Good point. If they’d paid me to attend school, I might have been more invested. So. Your room or mine?”

“Yours.” I calculated quickly. I hadn’t planned to stay at the hotel overnight, so everything was still in my bag, barely touched. “You should be able to sleep in in the morning even if I have to get up.”

Hannah raised her eyebrow. “Oh, are we spending the night? Here I thought we were just hooking up.”

“Shit, sorry, I—” I am an idiot. Good god, Jaq, get it together.

“Hey, I’m not complaining.” She moved in until we were swaying more than dancing, lips brushing my ear. “It’s been way too long since I spent the night with a beautiful woman. Let’s go.”

The certainty that we were hooking up should have made me feel more confident, but instead I was weirdly off-footed. I wanted desperately to recapture how in control I’d felt hours ago, before we met. Before I realized how irresistible she was.

Her hand, warm, remained in mine as we left the dance floor. We might have looked like we were walking side by side, but it was Hannah leading and me keeping up.

I snagged my best friend from forever out of a knot of people (not all exes, damn it, I’m only kind of a slut). “Zane, Hannah. Hannah, Zane. I’m taking off, so hold down the fort.”

Zane rolled her eyes at me while shaking hands with Hannah. “Please. Do I look dumb enough to have signed up for wedding duty? Plus, Jess is here, and she might be single, and I’m here and definitely single, so—”

“Spare me the gory details.” I kissed her cheek. “See you tomorrow afternoon.”

“When we’ll work off all the cake. Good to meet you, Hannah.”

“You too.”

Halfway down the hall she said, “Another ex?”

“We grew up together. First kiss, at eleven, but decidedly not an ex. Total failure of a first kiss. I mean, it was like kissing my sister.”

“Please don’t tell me there was tongue.”

I shuddered. “We’d just found out what a French kiss was! We didn’t even really know it had to do with sex. We thought it was how French people kissed, and French people were cool, so we tried it.”

“French people are cool.” She hit the up arrow of the elevator, then reeled me in, one hand on my hip, the other running over my shirt. In the lobby. In front of the main elevators. “Want to give it another shot?”

“I’ve kissed people since then with better results.” We were almost exactly the same height, though I consoled myself with the thought that she was in heels. “You want me to show you how it’s done?”

“Teach me, master.”

I squared off, resting both of my hands on her back, holding her tightly. She probably expected me to go all-in, leaned like she was ready to take my face off the second our lips touched, but I didn’t let her. I kissed the corner of her mouth, decorously, and she missed me by a mile.

“Bitch.”

I grinned.

She squeezed my ass.

“Now, now. We’re in public!”

She took a long breath, still close enough for me to feel it. “I need this so badly right now.”

“Me too.”

But somehow, no matter how hot the sex would be, I thought we were talking about very different things.

Oh well. You win some, you lose some, and if the sex is good, you don’t keep score.

* * * * * * *

I hate to be clichéd, but the sex was really good.

I like being butch. It works for me. It’s always worked for me. Ever since I saw Queen Latifah in that movie where she and her girlfriend rob banks, I knew that’s what I was. It’s not just clothes; it’s a presence, a way of handling yourself. Being a butch dyke isn’t like a religion or something, but it’s also not a style, or a hobby, or a phase.

And when you’re butch, some things happen kind of a lot. One of them is that the women you date seem to assume you’re dominant, or that you come on strong, that you’re toppy. I don’t mind being a little bit toppy. That’s hot. But when it’s every single time—when it’s the only way someone sees me—it gets exhausting. I blame Fifty Shades of Grey. Do I look like a billionaire businessman? No. I may look good in a tie, but I’m not a dominant force, okay?

Hannah did not need me to be toppy.

“You look so fucking sexy in your suit,” she purred against my ear, pressing me into the wall, the door, the doorjamb to the bathroom, kissing me all the way. “I could eat you, Jaq.”

“Go ahead.”

She laughed. “Not yet.”

I could feel her breasts through the fabric of her dress and my shirt, but I needed a hell of a lot more than that. It took seconds to push my jacket off her and find the zipper at the top of the dress. “May I?”

“Such a gentleman. And fuck yes.”

The sound of the zipper seemed to turn her on; she threw her head back and sucked in air, which I took as an invitation to kiss all that skin, working my way down her throat. I didn’t want to move too quickly, even if this was a wedding fling, so instead of immediately stripping off her dress, I let my hands wander, slipping along her back as I kissed her, dipping lower to her ass. Hannah wasn’t skinny. She wore her body just like everything else: with attitude, unapologetic, and sexy as fuck.

“You’re a tease, Jaq.” She coaxed my lips back to hers. “Don’t you want me naked? You’re still in your suit and I could writhe against you.”

I ran my hands along her hips, over the dress. “This feels more torturous for you. A bit stifled there?”

As if to prove she wasn’t, she shifted until she could bring her thigh up between my legs. I laughed.

“So that’s a no, huh?”

“I’m never stifled.” She pinned my hands to the wall on either side, holding me in place so she could kiss me and do even more suggestive things with her leg. “Pussy want to get off?”

“Tell me you’re not a cat person.”

“No cats, no dogs, no kids. I’m selfish.” Teeth grazed my jaw. “Very selfish.”

I stopped straining for more kisses and watched for a minute. Up close her lips were thinner, widened with liner, and her skin lightly dotted with scars here and there. Old pimples picked too long, maybe. I always expected people who lived in LA to have vaguely tanned skin, whether from a salon or the sun, but Hannah was pale, her complexion slightly uneven.

And the hair. I was desperate to get my hands in it. “Need my limbs back.”

She released me immediately, dragging her fingers down my shirt. “I want to make a mess of your suit. It’s so crisp. My first thought when we met was ‘I wonder if I can fuck her in that suit.’”

“That was damn near my first thought when we met too.” The clasp at the back of her elaborate braid felt straightforward, but I failed at smooth while trying to get it off.

“Do you want me to—”

I didn’t, but if I couldn’t get it to work, I was going to have to give up. “Is this the Fort Knox of hair clips?”

Her fingers carded up the back of my head, where my hair was shortest. “Not something you deal with a lot, I guess.” No impatience.

Got it. The clasp came loose, and oh god, yeah, that was fantastic. Auburn hair I could tell immediately was curly, trying to bust free from the high-security braid and clip combo.

“Mmm, that feels good.” Her thigh pressed a bit more insistently against me as I carefully unwound the braid.

“So it turns you on when someone plays with your hair? I’ll make a note of that.”

“You could say that.” She untucked my shirt. A second later she shrugged out of her straps until the dress gathered around her waist, and pressed back against me in only a sleek demi-cup bra (also blue, a few shades darker than the dress). “Oh yeah. That’s good. Let’s move things to the bed, but let me undress you slowly as we go, okay?”

She didn’t seem like a masculinity fetishist, so I elected to believe she just really liked my suit. As well she should, because I looked fucking hot in it.

When we stepped away from each other, she shoved the dress off her hips, and oh, hello, blue thong. I licked my lips and stepped forward, walking her back to the bed.

“Like the blue,” I murmured.

“I don’t do lace, but I still like to feel sexy. My favorite thing to wear to business meetings is a conservative suit and fuck-me lingerie underneath.”

“Hot.”

“Oh, I really am.”

Fuck, it was such a turn-on when I was with someone who knew they looked good. I know, I know, culture/patriarchy/insecurities whatever, but Hannah stretched out for me like she couldn’t give a rat’s ass about any of it.

She spread her legs, and I took the invitation, pressing down against her, aligning our bodies, not even a little surprised when she pulled me in with her legs.

“How lovely it is to meet you,” she whispered.

“Back at you.” Now that I had access to all of her skin, I took advantage, kissing a pale shoulder, letting my fingers play along the edges of her bra. She retaliated by sliding one hand down the back of my pants, locking her legs around mine even more so I couldn’t move.

“Did you go commando?”

“I always go commando.”

She thrust up, one finger dipping into my crack. “Oh fuck. That’s just wrong. Or right. I can’t decide.”

There’s such a thing as moving too slowly. At least, when I’m not the one in charge.

I kept sucking on her neck, my nose practically in her hair, while I finally pushed her bra up. One of those sculpted, half-padding affairs, revealing delicious little breasts with hard-as-pebbles nips that begged to be rolled, and licked, and lightly pinched until she moaned.

Hannah writhed, holding me pressed against her with that single finger still teasing my crack. “More, damn it!”

More worked for me. I got a bit rougher and nibbled at her earlobe, making her gasp. Her movements were becoming a little frantic, and I ground down against her as much as I could with her legs wrapped around me like a damn octopus.

“Oh fuck— Yes— More—”

I added a twist to my move, and she arched off the bed.

“I’m coming, Jaq! Coming—”

A woman saying my name while she comes does something terrible to me. Makes me feel stupidly warm and vulnerable. I hid my face in her neck and kept kissing her while she came down again, sternly counseling myself that this was a fucking fling, and none of it meant anything beyond tonight. Because batshit.

“Sorry about the suit,” she said.

“Are you smirking right now? That’s unladylike.”

“Well, we certainly wouldn’t want that.” She released my legs and rolled me, already working on my buttons. “Now that’s done, I can concentrate. I’ve been picturing this moment for hours.”

I do all right, dating-wise, but that’s not to say I take it for granted when a gorgeous woman has been thinking about having sex with me all day.

Since I was clearly not necessary, I let her work, unbuttoning, untucking, spreading my shirt open so she could look at me.

“Ooh, a binder. Will you take it off?”

“Sure. Of course.”

“Some people seem to treat their binder as a second skin, so I never know.”

I shook my head, and she gave me enough room to sit up. Taking off a binder—even a relatively old one—is not something to fuck around with. I contorted my arms and shoulders and head in the right way and pulled it over.

“Oh my god.” Her hands were on my breasts before I’d even managed to drop the binder.

“I only wear that if I think it makes the shirt look better.”

“If I had breasts like yours, I’d never wear a bra at all.” She leaned in to kiss me, pushing me back down again. “Lord.”

She played with my breasts, sucking my nipples, and all the time she kept my hands pinned above my head. “You pro– or anti–ass play?”

The question, coming at the end of a torturous few minutes of teasing my nipples until it was everything I could do not to fuck my breasts into her mouth, surprised me.

“Um. Pro, I guess? It’s not something that’s come up a whole lot.”

Hannah laughed. Wickedly. “Oh, I’m an ass girl. And a pussy girl. And a tit girl.” Then she abandoned my breasts and let go of my wrists in order to push down my trousers, at last. Before I could so much as spread wantonly and beg for her tongue, she added, “Don’t come until I tell you.”

Damn.

Torture was another theme. I made a mental note. Not that we’d ever have sex again, probably, but I always liked to take good notes, even if something wasn’t going to be on the test.

Her lips, her tongue, her fingers. I rode the line of too much and she kept me there, three fingers deep, sucking my clit, taking breaks to use her tongue like a precision drill directly on the nerves that most wanted an orgasm.

I couldn’t help pleading. I didn’t even know I was doing it until I heard my own voice panting, “Please, please, please.”

“Since you asked so sweetly.” She looked up at me, licking her lips as I shuddered. “Hold that knee back, sugar. Yeah, like that.”

I registered her fingers withdrawing, but only vaguely. Until I felt them again. At my ass.

I’m not a total novice, but what I’d done before was more “sexy fingertip” not so much “finger pushed in to the hilt.” Or “finger fucking in to the hilt, then out, then in, then out, then two fingers.” That was a little new.

And her eyes held mine, watching as I took it in. I breathed and relaxed as much as I could, caught between her gaze and her fingers. Any brief burn was lost in the rest of the sensations, and I couldn’t stop myself from bucking into her hands.

She lowered her head while the thumb of her other hand began flicking my clit. It was far too much, and it was glorious, all the sexual circuits in my body connecting and lighting up like Times Square at Christmas. I couldn’t control the way I was trembling as her lips sucked in my labia and her fingers relentlessly fucked my ass, urging my body higher and higher.

She pulled away just long enough to say, “You can come now,” then got right back to it. Burying her face in my pussy, her tongue finally where I needed it, impaling me, thumb playing my clit in quick little circles.

Some orgasms are localized; this one was a full-body affair. I held myself open for her, nails digging into the skin behind my knees, and every muscle in my body went rigid while she continued to fuck me. I shook like a live wire, and Hannah held me down, held me up, held me and fucked me until I was nothing but a fucking twitching mass of nerves.

Then she climbed over me, got in my face, and frigged herself to another orgasm while I watched. One hand went behind her, the other to her clit, and oh god, was she fucking her own ass right now?

“Oh, ooh, fuck yes, fuck yes—”

I managed to get my hands to her thighs in time to feel the orgasm rip through her, all that muscle going hard under my palms, but that was it.

“Good god, woman. You could have shared. Maybe I wanted a piece of that.”

She grinned down at me, hair falling all over the fucking place. “I thought for sure I’d fucked you unconscious.”

“Not quite. Almost, but not quite.” I stroked her sides. “Let me guess—you don’t cuddle.”

“Harsh. I cuddle. But only after I wash up. Bring you a cloth?”

“Definitely. I could—”

“No, no, I’ll get it.”

Hotels are great. In a hotel, no one’s ever going to fault you for tossing your dirty washcloth on the ground so you can sooner get to spooning the woman who nearly came in your face.

My phone alarm, set early that morning, would go off at five thirty. A glance at the clock informed me it was a little after midnight.

“That was good,” she murmured, settling in, pushing herself back against me. “I guess you’re considering this a one-off?”

Yes. The answer is yes. Because batshit and histrionic and nasty divorce.

“I thought you were considering it a one-off,” I said, to stall.

She sighed, tugging my arm tighter. “I could be. I probably should be. But sex that good isn’t something I take lightly.”

“Me neither.” That was probably revealing more than I wanted to be, but it was true. Good sex was putting it mildly. Good sex meant I was physically satisfied; tonight had an edge of something a lot deeper than that.

“If we don’t do phone numbers before you leave, you can get mine from the happy brides.” She yawned. “I can’t believe you have school in the morning. Ha.”

“But they pay me now, don’t forget.”

“There’s not enough money in the world to get me back in a classroom.” She yawned again. “Good night, dapper Jaq.”

I didn’t have a clever endearment, so I brushed her hair out of the way and kissed the back of her neck. “Good night.”

She shivered.

Sleeping with someone and having excellent sex with them are two totally different things. I tried not to take it as some kind of sign that Hannah and I did both very well.

from Lena May Books

[O]riginal and thought provoking while at the same time sexy and fun.

from The Reading Wolf

[H]eartfelt. The writing was brilliant and the plot was great.

from Inked Rainbow Reads

[A] good read and was well written and flowed well.

from Publishers Weekly

[A] sweet and spicy romance.

from Booklist

[An] entertaining and simmering read.

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