More Than Lovers

More Than This, Book 2

Jess Dee

Chapter 1

Sarah Deacon released the breath she’d held in a long whoosh. Relief zipped through her veins. Charlie Hudson was home. He stood in his doorway, eyeing her speculatively.

Just as quickly as she’d released it, her breath hitched again. He might be home, but that didn’t mean there was no one else here.

“Sar,” he greeted.

“Charlie.” She bit her lip. “Are you, um, alone?”

He nodded. A slow nod, accompanied by a sensual smile. “As it happens, I am. Would you like to come in?”

Her belly tightened in anticipation. “I’d love to.” He had no idea how much.

It wasn’t the first time she’d asked the question. It was a key one between the two of them, and after eighteen months of asking, it needed no embellishment.

Charlie stepped back, allowing Sarah into his unit. The layout was identical to hers downstairs, but the furnishings were so different, no one would ever mistake his place for hers.

Charlie’s chocolate brown leather couches faced a huge flat-screen TV embedded in the wall. The wooden floor remained unadorned, with nothing but a glass coffee table set in the center. Stark, modern and nothing like Sarah’s lounge room downstairs, with her plush carpets, upholstered sofas and treasured collection of antiques.

Décor was the last thing on her mind now, although those leather couches would come in handy when her legs collapsed beneath her, as they usually did when Charlie worked his magic.

Already she fingered the hemline of her T-shirt, and the instant she heard the click of the door closing, she drew that hemline up over her breasts and tugged the tee off, turning to face Charlie in her bra.

The purple bra she’d chosen specially to wear tonight, because without a doubt, it was her sexiest.

His blue gaze darkened as it settled on her chest.

“Correct me if I’m wrong…” Charlie’s tongue touched his upper lip, leaving the spot glistening. “But didn’t you have a hot date this evening?”

“I did. And then I didn’t.”

“Ah, right.” Charlie stepped closer and brushed his hand over her arm, leaving a streak of goose bumps in his wake. “And that means what exactly?”

“He fell in love with another woman.” Sarah tried not to let the disappointment mar her tone but must have failed by the frown on Charlie’s face.

“In three days?”

“I know. Go figure.” She arched her neck as Charlie’s fingers trailed from her shoulder to her ear, a slow burn starting in her belly.

God, his touch felt good.

“I’m trying to figure, Sar, but honestly? You’re not making too much sense.” He flicked her red hair over her shoulder, bent forward and nipped her neck.

The second his teeth scraped over her sensitive skin, Sarah forgot to care how sexy her bra was. She wanted it gone. Twisting her arms behind her back, she unclipped the hooks and let the underwear fall to the floor, loving the rush of air against her hot skin.

“He phoned and invited me over to his place,” she explained. “Which I thought was pretty okay for a fourth date.” She arched her back as Charlie wound his arm around her waist, dipping her, pushing her now bare breasts upwards.

He leaned his head down and ran his warm, moist tongue over her nipple. A soft cry filled the air.

Hers.

“Pretty okay,” he agreed. “Explains the purple bra too. Drives me crazy when you wear that thing. Suspect it would drive any guy crazy.” He kissed her other nipple.

Sarah’s breasts tingled beneath the arousing attack, and she arched her back further, encouraging him to keep it up—which he did, in a manner magnificent enough to send chills up her spine.

“So I get to his place, and there’s someone else there. His friend.”

Charlie paused. “So you wore the purple bra for…what’s his name again?”

“Sebastian.”

“For Sebastian and his friend?”

“No. I wore it just for Sebastian. His friend happened to drop in minutes before I arrived.”

“Did the friend get to see the purple bra?” He rubbed his left cheek on one breast then his right cheek on the other. His five o’clock shadow scraped over her skin, making Sarah shiver.

“God, no. The friend was a woman. She wasn’t interested in my bra.”

“I’m interested in your bra.” He nuzzled her breasts then bit down gently on one nipple, taking Sarah’s breath. “More interested when your bra’s on the floor though.” He drew the nipple he’d just bitten between his lips and suckled it.

Sarah felt the action all the way down to her toes. Sebastian might be good-looking, but when it came to physical appeal he couldn’t compete with Charlie, her blond-haired, blue-eyed surfer dude. The man was sex on a stick. One look in his direction was enough to get her panties wet. “You’re getting distracted.”

“You’re distracting me.”

“I get dumped, and all you can think about is my bra?”

“Frankly, I’m thinking way more about your tits.”

“And that should placate me?”

“Tell me what happened with Sebastian and his friend.”

He pulled the other nipple into his mouth, making speech almost impossible for Sarah. How could she talk when he treated her to such incredible pleasure? But Charlie deserved an explanation. She’d told him just last night that even though she had been alone when he’d knocked on her door, she wasn’t alone-alone. She’d met Sebastian just a few nights before and really liked him. Which meant her and Charlie’s booty calls were off until further notice.

“He’s in love with her. Didn’t realize it until this last weekend. He didn’t want to mess me around, so he called me over to explain.”

Charlie raised his head again. “The dickhead invited you over to his place, where his friend was waiting, so the two of them, together, could tell you they were in love?” He muttered something under his breath.

“No, he wasn’t expecting her to be there. And she left when I arrived. But he did tell me then that he and I wouldn’t work because he was in love with her.”

Anger flashed in his eyes. “He sounds like an asshole to me.”

She sighed, maybe from dejection or maybe from pleasure as his lips slid over her stomach. “He’s not, you know? And that’s the worst part. He’s a really decent guy. Like marriage-material kind of decent.”

Unlike Charlie, who was more of a jump-my-bones-now kind of a guy. Marriage was the last item on his list of Things-To-Do-Before-I-Die.

Not that she was looking to get married, but a real long-term committed relationship would be nice. And yes, a long-term committed relationship with Charlie was a fantasy she’d sometimes indulged in. But that was all it was. A fantasy. Charlie would never allow it to be anything more.

His hands were on the button of her jeans, tugging at it, pulling down her zip. His fingertips skimming over her belly, and Sarah had a hard time concentrating. Especially with Charlie on his knees.

When Charlie dropped to his knees, strange things happened to Sarah’s lungs. They ceased to function properly.

“You were thinking marriage after only four dates?” Surprise and horror echoed from his voice.

“No, I was thinking he’s the kind of guy I could take home to meet the parents. The kind of guy I could picture myself with long-term.”

Unlike Charlie, who always insisted—with glee in his eyes—that his arm tattoo alone would give her mother an instant heart attack.

Sarah loved Charlie’s tat. A surfer, on his board, just visible through the barrel of a wave. She thought it summed up the essence of the man—he lived chasing the freedom and joy of finding that perfect wave—and didn’t bother arguing with him about her mother’s opinion, since it was irrelevant to him and her.

“Sounds like a saint.”

Sarah heard the sarcasm in his voice, but couldn’t respond. Charlie was drawing her jeans over her hips and down her legs, making good and sure to take her panties with them. The matching purple panties that had more than once dropped Charlie to his knees.

His low whistle of appreciation brought a fresh rush of moisture to her pussy.

“You waxed for him?”

Sarah looked down, half at the slim strip of hair the beautician had left, and half at Charlie’s admiring gaze. “Lasered. For all the good it did me.”

“Forget him, Sar. Laser like this again, and I’ll marry you.”

She laughed. A raspy sound bore from her breathlessness. “You don’t want to marry me, Charlie. You want to fuck me ’til I can’t walk straight.”

“Keep your pussy looking like this, and I’ll happily do both.” He blew a hot breath of air over her mound, making Sarah shiver. “Kick your jeans off. Let me examine your new look more carefully.”

She did as he asked, and he rewarded her by burying his nose just above her clit.

“Smells so good,” he murmured. The appreciation in his voice was audible, and a huge turn-on.

All she could see of his head from this position was his long, blond hair. He tied it back whenever he surfed, but down like this, gorgeous strands of gold glinted through the blond—compliments of his hours spent in the sea and sun.

She loved his hair, loved threading her fingers through it.

“Think it tastes good?”

“Gonna have to check on that.” He planted a soft kiss just above her clit, bringing an ache to Sarah’s pussy. She didn’t want his mouth there, just out of reach. She wanted it farther south, tasting her. Touching her. Thrilling her, as only Charlie knew how to do.

He tapped her leg. “Pop your foot around my shoulder. Let me in. I need to explore.” His ragged breath puffed over her bare skin, exciting her further.

She rested her hands on his hair, lacing her fingers through the thick, tousled strands—so different from Sebastian’s bald head—and hooked one foot over his shoulder.

The first time she’d done it, she’d very nearly lost her balance, but Charlie’s steady hands had held her up. By now she was a veritable expert at propping herself on one leg. Just as Charlie was an expert when it came to exploring as she stood on that one leg.

He drew his tongue over her clit and her eyes closed in pleasure. “Tell me about your marrying man, Sar. Get him out of your system while I lick your sweet cunt.”

“I liked him, Char. Really liked him.” Her heart twisted even as her stomach gave an excited lurch. True to his word, Charlie was licking her cunt. Drawing her lips apart and running his tongue between them, sipping at her juices. “We had so much in common, so much to talk about.” Like her—and unlike Charlie—Sebastian had spent years at uni before finding a good, solid job. Although Sebastian had gone into advertising while she’d stayed on at the campus, choosing to lecture new genetics students and assist her professor with his research project.

Charlie gave surf lessons, which, as he told her constantly, did not require a high school certificate. And that was just as well, since Charlie had dropped out of school at sixteen.

Both Sebastian and Sarah loved older music, like the Stones and Simon and Garfunkel and Billy Joel, and both had grown up in the north of Sydney.

Charlie liked heavy metal and hard rock, and he hailed from the western suburbs.

Sarah briefly wondered why she’d just compared Sebastian to Charlie, but it was difficult to follow the thread of her thought while Charlie worked his magic with his gifted mouth.

“I swear, we were a good fit. But, well, in the end, he just liked someone else more. His—”

Charlie swiped his tongue from her slit to her clit and back again, and Sarah forgot what she was saying.

He paused for a second to ask, “His?”

“Hmm?” Heat blossomed from her groin and spread through her entire body.

“You said…” He punctuated his words with a long draw of his tongue over her clit. “He liked someone more. His…?”

It took Sarah a good few seconds to remember who she’d been talking about. Impossible to think at all when Charlie had his tongue on her. Impossible.

Ah, right. Sebastian. “His best friend. He liked his best friend more than he liked me.”

Charlie slipped a finger into her pussy, knuckle deep, making Sarah groan and her knee wobble.

“It’s like I said, Sar. He’s a dickhead. Can’t see when he has perfection in front of him.”

“You think I’m perfect?” She dropped her head back as he slid his finger in all the way. Her nipples tightened into the hardest of beads, and her breath shuddered through her chest.

“’Course I think you’re perfect. Taste perfect too. Even better than usual.”

She laughed huskily. “You just like the Brazilian.”

“Don’t like it. I fucking love it.” And then he said no more as he set about tasting her further. Tasting her completely. Tasting her until shivers turned to shudders and an orgasm slammed through her.

Her eyes slid shut as the world spun out of control, her pussy convulsed beneath his tongue and finger, and bliss took her temporarily to another plane.

Charlie caught her before her knees gave way. Picked her up as though she weighed nothing and carried her over to his leather couch. And that was where she lay, luxuriating in the aftermath of her climax, as Charlie raced to his bathroom, tearing the clothes from his body as he went.

*

Fuck, his hand shook so badly, he couldn’t grab the box of condoms without knocking over his bottle of aftershave. It clanged onto the vanity and fell into the basin. Checking only to see that it hadn’t cracked and spilled, he took the entire box in hand and headed back to the lounge, his dick an iron rod in his boardies.

He’d managed to divest himself of his shirt and thongs, but the unit was small. There’d been no time to lose the shorts. Which was a problem, seeing as they currently held his erection in a death grip, when just fifteen minutes ago they’d fitted comfortably.

Sarah always had this effect on him. If she came anywhere near him, he got a stiffy. Had from the first time he’d met her, the day he moved into the unit upstairs from hers eighteen months ago.

He’d slept with her that night. And at least once a week since then. Except for the times she’d been seeing other guys or he’d been with other women. But none of those relationships had outlasted their booty calls.

Tonight he’d taken one look into her glazed eyes and known her desire was at fever pitch. Known it wouldn’t take much before she came on his tongue.

What would take an effort though was getting her to come on his cock now.

Sarah needed to catch her breath before he could whip her up to fever pitch again. But he had time. He didn’t need to be anywhere, and with Saint Sebastian out of the picture, she didn’t need to be anywhere either.

She lay on the couch with her head on the low arm, her eyes closed and a hand resting on her chest, which heaved unevenly. One knee was bent, her foot perched near her other knee, providing Charlie with an enticing view of her cunt. Her glistening cunt, wet from her juices and his tongue.

She looked supremely fuckable. But then, even fully dressed, she looked supremely fuckable. Her killer curves could not be hidden by clothes. He could even see them beneath the white lab coat she sometimes forgot to take off before leaving the uni. Damn, she looked good in that lab coat, all virginal and innocent, which he knew—from very personal experience—she was not.

Charlie fully suspected the woman could wear a potato sack and he’d find her hot.

“Char?” Her voice was throaty, raspy, like it always sounded after she’d just come.

“Yeah?”

She looked at him through sultry green eyes. “Could you take your shorts off and come over here so I can lick your balls?”

Charlie began to sweat. Seriously, how could a classy woman like her, an academic who looked and acted like an angel, talk like a hooker? It turned the very balls she wanted to lick inside out.

“I could do that, I guess. If you tell me why you wanna lick them.” He took out a condom and tossed the box onto the coffee table.

She gave a throaty chuckle, her pale skin flushing pink with excitement. “As if you don’t already know.”

He shucked the boardies, silently thanking God the pants hadn’t done him permanent damage. “Remind me.”

“Because, Surfer Dude, licking your balls gets me hot. Really hot. Like second-degree-burns hot. And besides.” Her lips curved into a wicked smile. “They taste like sin. Delicious and forbidden.”

His dick sprang free, thumping against his stomach.

“You just gonna lick ’em, Geek Girl?” Charlie made his way over to the arm of the couch where her head rested, surprised he could walk with a stiffy of this size.

Sarah shuffled up until her neck was supported by the arm and her head tipped over the edge.

“Uh-uh. I’m going to feast on them.”

And then her hands were on his legs and she was burrowing her head between his thighs, and true to her promise, licking his balls.

Jesus, fuck.

Her tongue was liquid fire, scalding him where it touched. And it touched everywhere. Left not an inch of his scrotum unexplored. His body lit up from head to toe, alive, alert and attentive. Hungry, starving for more of her feasting mouth. She licked, tickled and nuzzled, and when a fierce groan ripped from his throat, she sucked his left testicle into her mouth, gently yet firmly, and Charlie saw fucking fireworks.

He had to grip the base of his dick and squeeze to force down the urgency to come. Then he had to squeeze even harder when she released his left nut and sucked the right one into her mouth. But when she released that one and nuzzled her way farther back, pushing her tongue between his ass cheeks, he knew he had to stop her. Either they had to change positions or it would be game over before he ever got inside her.

And he wanted inside her.

How could he not? Being inside her was the best part of every week. And after visiting her last night he’d feared he might never have the opportunity to be inside her again. Sarah had been seriously interested in Saint Sebastian. So much so, Charlie hated him without ever laying eyes on the guy.

Shit, Charlie had it bad for Sarah. Really, really bad.

He stepped back from her greedy mouth, grimacing with the effort it took to draw away, and almost changed his mind when her moan of protest echoed through his ears.

“Hush, beautiful. I’m not going far.”

Just as far as onto the couch, on his knees, straddling her chest. She wriggled down and grinned feverishly as he offered her his dick, her green gaze glued to his swollen shaft.

“Suck it, Sar. I wanna see those pink lips swallow me down.”

And then her hands were on his ass, pushing him forward, closer to her mouth. She didn’t bother with niceties. Didn’t stop to swirl her tongue around the tip of his cock as she sometimes did. Didn’t lick him from root to tip, which she knew blew his mind. She just parted her lips, tilted her head, and swallowed him, like he’d ask.

“Ah, fuck.” Forget blowing his mind, he about blew his load the second his cockhead touched the back of her throat.

He had no idea how she did that, how she managed not to choke, but Christ, he was grateful. Grateful and desperate. He had to scrunch his eyes shut and concentrate intensely on not coming. Had to bite down on his cheek hard enough to cause pain, dig his nails into the soft leather of the couch and clench his jaw. His free hand almost crushed the condom, and he made a concerted effort to relax his fingers.

That condom was going to be used. No point destroying it now—no matter how damn good her mouth felt. No matter how incredibly sensual she looked, bobbing her head up and down his dick.

“Sure you don’t wanna marry me, Sar?”

She let him slide from her mouth slowly and gave a low, raspy laugh that reverberated all the way down his spine. “Let me know when marriage moves to the top of your list. Maybe I’ll reconsider then.”

And there it was. The sensational slide of her tongue from the root of his cock to the tip. He had to catch his breath before he could explain. “I’m not just asking because of the Brazilian, you know.”

“I know. It’s because—according to you—I give the best damn head this side of the equator.” She licked him again.

“Both sides of the equator,” he corrected. In truth, the Brazilian and the blow jobs had nothing to do with the real reason he now joked about marriage. Nothing at all. Although they were both an undeniable bonus. “Think you’d ever have given Sebastian a blow job as good as this one?”

“I’ll never know.” She shrugged and swirled that wicked tongue around his cockhead. Beads of pre-come leaked from his shaft, and she moaned softly as she tasted them.

Fuck, chills raced up his spine. “Think he tastes as good as I do?” Charlie knew she loved the taste of his cock. She told him as much often.

“No one tastes as good as you.” And to prove her point she swallowed him whole again, feasting on him.

Now that the urgency had passed, Charlie gave himself over to the feel of her lips around him, to her velvety cheeks stroking his shaft, to the wet heat of her mouth and the tantalizing tease of her tongue. He let one hand sift through her soft curls, the long, red strands a gentle caress over his fingers. He tucked the condom beside him and leaned back, so he could use his other hand to play with the thin strip hair on her mound, so fine it almost didn’t exist.

Then he tickled the bare skin surrounding the strip, and Sarah sighed around his dick.

“Sensitive?” he whispered.

“Mmm.”

So he wasn’t the only one loving her new look.

He let his hand trail down over her hair-free pussy lips, a finger on each side of her cunt, slipping through the smooth, wet folds.

She twisted her hips, bucking beneath him, and her mouth suctioned harder.

Fuck, she felt good. He had nothing against pubic hair. Nothing at all. Especially Sarah’s red pubic hair. But almost free of it, with her cunt all silky and slick, the urge to play with her was stronger than ever.

She was wetter than he expected.

Definitely more sensitive.

He took advantage, skimming his fingers through her folds, softly, gently, never applying too much pressure, never penetrating her.

She twisted harder, moaned louder, and liquid dripped from her cunt, sliding down towards her ass. He’d have taken advantage, but in this position there’d be no way he could reach her puckered hole. Not without pulling away from her mouth—and he wasn’t ready for that just yet. Not when she’d started that whole licking from root to tip thing again.

“Sebastian’s an idiot,” he told her. “What kind of moron chooses another woman over you?”

Sarah sighed heavily, and warm air tickled his dick.

“The kind I really liked.” Another long lick.

Charlie shuddered, partly because her tongue felt like a little piece of heaven, but more because he hated the fact she really liked any other guy.

“He wasn’t good enough for you.”

“Or maybe I wasn’t good enough for him.” She swirled her tongue around his cockhead.

Charlie froze. “Pardon me?”

Sarah dropped her head back on the couch arm with another long sigh. “I said maybe I wasn’t good enough for him.”

Red-hot fury slammed into him. “Do not ever let me hear you say that again, you got it?” He’d gritted his teeth together, making it hard to talk, but fuck, the fact she could undermine herself like that made him want to punch something. Someone. Saint Sebastian.

She looked up at him and there, in the extraordinary depths of her green eyes, was a hurt so transparent Charlie’s heart ached for her.

Sarah brought a hand up and stroked his balls. “It’s not that I’m not good enough for him exactly, it’s that, well, it sometimes feels I’m not good enough for anyone.”

Jesus, she was killing him. Seriously, cutting him up into little pieces. “You can’t honestly believe that, Sar. You’ve got to know you’re the most beautiful, sexiest woman alive.” With a PhD in human genetics, she wasn’t just beautiful, she was a fucking genius. “You bring me to my knees with just a look. Make my day brighter with just a smile. There’s not a man out there who wouldn’t give his right arm to have you at his side.” And if there was, well, the man must either be blind, deaf and dumb or just a dumb fuck like Saint Sebastian.

“Char?” She shifted beneath him.

“Yeah, beautiful?”

“Can you please fuck me now?”

The groan he emitted could not have been suppressed. “You bet I can.” He passed her the condom, watching as she took it, her beautiful skin pale against his tanned arm. “Put it on me.”

She obliged with shaky hands. Her cunt dripped beneath his fingers. As crappy as she might be feeling about herself, his words certainly seemed to have boosted her arousal, which suited him just fine.

“The conversation isn’t over, you know?” Not a chance in hell would she leave his place believing she wasn’t good enough.

She rolled the condom over his shaft. “Put your dick inside me, and we can carry on talking.”

Charlie inched down her body until he knelt between her knees. She spread her legs, wrapping her toned, shapely thighs around his waist and pulled him closer. “Now.”

As if he could ever resist when Sarah was ready. Could ever think clearly enough to put off fucking her. He had an idea, knew it was a good one, but couldn’t focus on it when she waited this impatiently.

Charlie positioned himself and with one roll of his hips plunged into her soaking depths.

“Fu-uck.” Goddamn, she felt amazing. Blow-his-load-in-less-than-a-minute amazing.

Sarah was moving the second he thrust. Twisting her hips, pulling him in deeper, then pulling back, almost releasing his shaft, only to envelop him once again.

A bead of perspiration slid down his spine.

“No one rides me like you do, Sar.” Maybe because he’d given up on other women, hadn’t slept with anyone besides Sarah in months, but more likely because he was head over heels in love with the woman.

“No one fucks me like you do, Char.” She reached blindly for his head and pulled it down until his lips met hers.

For a long while Charlie was incapable of speech. When her tongue met his he lost all ability to make rational conversation. He could only relish the taste of the woman beneath him. Relish the woman wrapped around him. The woman of his fantasies and dreams. The woman he loved.

For a heartbeat he considered telling her. Opening up and confessing his marriage proposals had not been made in jest.

But just as quickly he nixed the idea.

He could never let Sarah see him as more than a booty call, wouldn’t let her think of him a serious long-term prospect. He was the wrong guy for her. She needed a brain like herself, a professional with six degrees behind his name. Someone who would help further her academic career.

A full-time surfer, incapable of differentiating between a degree and a diploma, who hadn’t finished high school, would never be right for her.

It wasn’t that she was a snob. Far from it. But she had aspirations to become a professor one day, and he’d overheard her parents speaking in the lobby of their building shortly after meeting her. Overheard them saying that she needed to find someone of her intellectual standing, someone her department would approve of. Someone who would be an equal in every way and aid her in achieving all her goals.

Charlie wasn’t that person. Hell, he still struggled with the idea that cells contained genes. How the heck could something so small hold enough shit to determine every detail about a person?

A surf instructor would never cut it in Sarah’s life. A fantastic fuck once or twice a week was a definite yes. Anything more? Nope. No matter how many hours they’d spent in bed—or out of it—doing incredible things to each other’s bodies, they’d never done any more than that. Never been for a coffee together. Never seen a movie or enjoyed a meal together. Hell, they’d never even spent the night together.

Because once the deed was done—or deeds, as was mostly the case—their lives continued as they always did. Separately.

Charlie ensured he never asked for more, and thankfully, it appeared that for Sarah, sex for the sake of sex was enough.

For Charlie sex for the sake of sex would never be enough. He wanted the world with her. But since the sex was nothing less than sensational, he reckoned he could live with it within the boundaries he’d forced himself to draw.

What he couldn’t live with, however, was Sarah doubting her own worth.

Chapter 2

There were times—like now, for instance—when Sarah thought she needed nothing more than Charlie’s body entwined with hers. Charlie’s mouth on her mouth and his cock embedded inside her. Times when she believed she could spend the rest of her days wrapped in his embrace.

In his arms, she was the sexiest, most beautiful woman in the world. While they were together he made her feel cherished. Which probably explained why she kept coming back for more.

Oh, she was hurting now. Make no mistake. She really had liked Sebastian. Believed almost immediately that given the time, the two of them could have had something good together. His cutting things off so quickly had been a sharp slap in the face. It had instantly brought up feelings of self-doubt and made her feel uncomfortable with herself.

There were two places Sarah unfailingly felt confident. One was at work and the other was with Charlie. Work was her domain, her passion. She never faltered in her objectives or questioned herself or her goals. She knew what she wanted and had established a clear path to help her achieve it.

Charlie was a passion too. Maybe even a physical obsession. Whenever she was with him, she felt happy, felt okay with herself. She also felt ridiculously horny and insatiably aroused.

It was when she was around other men that she began to doubt herself and her ability to hold their attention or keep their interest. The string of failed relationships that preceded Sebastian only reinforced that.

Which was probably why she’d headed straight to Charlie’s place after seeing Sebastian. She’d known he would ease the sting of rejection.

And ease it he did, just like he eased the burn in her belly. The burn that spread like wildfire the second he touched her. Because for all the almost-relationships she’d had, not one of those guys ever made her feel like Charlie did.

He thrust into her again, and she squeezed her inner muscles tight, trapping him.

Charlie stilled, as though sensing her need to hold him there. She was close. She was always close to orgasm by the time Charlie fucked her—he had a knack of working her up just right—but tonight she was closer than usual. She’d almost come with his first thrust. Had fought off the urge only because she craved the intimacy, needed this time with him.

She gave a moan of objection when he broke the kiss, depriving her of his delicious tongue and lips, of the heat of his mouth. His answering groan told her he was as reluctant to draw away as she was to let him go.

“’Kay, Sar…” His breath was ragged, his cheeks flushed. “I’m inside you, harder than a fucking lead pipe and more excited than a teenaged kid.” He panted, as though speech was difficult. “Can you still… Ungh.”

He scrunched his eyes shut and screwed up his nose as she squeezed his cock. It wasn’t intentional. His words made her inner walls clamp down in excitement.

His reaction almost made her purr. A bead of sweat trickled between her breasts and his chest.

“C-can you still tell me you doubt your own worth?”

Ah, true to his word, Charlie hadn’t let the conversation go.

Sarah sighed, partly from frustration, partly because Charlie felt so damn amazing inside her and partly because she hated the question. “You make me feel like a million dollars, Char. You always have. But…but you don’t count.”

Charlie jerked as though she’d slapped him. “Gee, thanks. Just what every guy buried in his lover’s body wants to hear.”

“No, wait,” she gasped. “That’s not what I meant.”

He did wait. In fact, that was all he did. Held dead still, not moving, not looking at her, not even talking. And Charlie liked to talk during sex, about anything and everything. Which made his silence echo like thunder.

Sarah scrambled to explain. “I mean I could never doubt you think I’m good enough. It’s like I said, you always make me feel like a million dollars whenever we do this. But things are different with you. We’re about sex, that’s it. It’s like I don’t need to prove anything to you, ever. Don’t need to make a good impression.”

He nodded his agreement, but the tension didn’t leave his body. He wouldn’t look at her.

Frustration rippled through her. “Shit, I’m not saying this right. Look, this isn’t about you. It’s about me and how socially inept I am.”

That got a response from him. He turned his head to glare at her. “Socially inept? What the fuck?”

“I am. Seriously, Char, can’t you tell by how badly I just insulted you without intending to? I don’t possess the social graces everyone else seemed to grow up knowing. I’m an academic geek.” Yeah, as if she needed to tell him that. He called her “Geek Girl” affectionately.

Sarah rolled her hips. Enough with the keeping still business. She needed him to move. Needed him to fuck her.

His response was instantaneous. Charlie pulled out and surged back in.

That was all it took to start a new rhythm, and as Charlie made delicious love to her, Sarah continued her explanation. “I love burying my head in my books or… Oh, God! That’s good! Do it again.”

Charlie did, and it took a few seconds for Sarah to remember what she’d been saying. “Or…or cooking up a research project for my students.” She shut her eyes, loving the pressure in her pussy every time he surged into her and the pleasure every time he pulled out. “I can talk molecular genetics ’til the cows come home. Just the mention of DNA and RNA and enzymes gets me excited.” Not as excited as Charlie got her, mind you. “But regular conversation is beyond me. I can’t discuss the weather or rugby or latest fashion trends without boring myself to tears. I can only imagine how men perceive me.” No wonder Sebastian had chosen his friend over her.

“First off, you can discuss anything with me—and you have—without once boring me. And secondly, they’d perceive you as I do. A gorgeous, sexy woman with a brilliant mind.”

“You’re biased.”

“I’m not, and I can prove it.”

She chuckled. “Yeah, how?”

“Apart from that piece of paper you have hanging on your wall, telling the world you’ve earned your PhD in human molecular genetics, you mean?”

She couldn’t help the sense of pride that crept into her. “Yep, Surfer Dude, apart from that.”

Again, Charlie stilled, and Sarah nearly growled in frustration.

“I bet you I could find three men who would not only think you’re gorgeous, sensual, brilliant and interesting, but would all love you as much as I do.”

Sarah grinned at him. “You love me?” Yeah, right, as if Charlie would ever love her. Love was connected to commitment and commitment was not his style.

“You’re twisting my words, Geek Girl…and avoiding the bet in the process.”

“You’re frustrating the hell out of me by not moving that beautiful cock of yours.” She tried to rock beneath him, but he shifted slightly, pinning her in place.

“I’ll move if you take the bet.”

“Seriously?” She stared into his gorgeous blue eyes, got lost in their startling color. “You want to turn this into a bet?”

“Yep. I bet I can find three men who find you hot and interesting and would never doubt your worth.”

“You’ll lose, you realize?” She laughed as she said it, but the sound lacked heart. She truly believed her words.

His eyes blazed. “I’m not a gambling man. I never take bets unless I know I can win them.”

“Okay, so let’s say we do bet. What are the stakes if you win?”

“Duh, that’s easy. You have your pick of three men who are all hot for you. You can date any one of them. Maybe even marry one.”

“Sounds like a win for me, not you.” Then she laughed with delight. “Wait. Are you trying to get me hitched?”

He shrugged. “You mentioned marriage earlier. Not me. Oh, and it’s a win for me, because I’d be proved right, and it just so happens, I love being right.”

“Okay, smartass, and if you lose? If none of the guys like me?” Which she expected to happen, because seriously, who liked a woman who went into ecstatic raptures while discussing the chemical structure of nucleic acid or the use of genetic research to develop possible new chemotherapeutic agents?

“See, that’s the tricky part. If I lose, it means you won’t marry any of the guys…in which case you have to keep visiting me for sex. And let’s face it, that’s more of a win for me than a loss.” He pulled out of her and thrust back in, reminding her that sex with Charlie was a win for both of them. “However the bet pans out, I win.”

“D-do that again.” Shivers of pleasure raced through her.

“Take the bet.”

“Don’t wanna take the bet.” Not if it meant three guys wouldn’t find her good enough. Being dumped by one man left her miserable. Three would likely kill her. “Just want you to fuck me.”

“I’ll fuck you if you take the bet.” Charlie leaned in and nipped her neck. “In fact, beautiful, I’ll fuck you twice if you do.”

She grinned. “You’d fuck me twice anyway. I’m not leaving here until you’ve made me come at least twice more. And I’m happy to wait as long as it takes.”

“Jesus,” Charlie moaned. “Take the bet. You’re killing me. My balls are turning blue.”

“I’d lick them no matter what color they were.”

“Sarah.” Charlie growled, squeezing his eyes shut as a bead of sweat formed on his brow. “Take the fucking bet.”

She was beginning to perspire herself, desperate for Charlie to move inside her again.

Had they been doing anything but having sex when he made the proposition, she’d have turned him down flat. But as it stood, he had her between a rock and a hard place. She was aroused and needed to come, and he was the only one who could make that happen.

If she didn’t take the bet, he wouldn’t move. Charlie could be a stubborn ox that way. She needed him to move. Needed it badly.

“Fine,” she finally agreed. “You’re on.”

“Thank fucking God.” Charlie half-shouted the words. And then he was moving again, pulling out of her and surging back in, his thrusts powerful, breathtaking.

“But you have to know the only reason I’m agreeing to…this is that…losing won’t be a complete debacle if…you’re still around to comfort me with sex after.” It became increasingly more difficult to talk. How could she form words when exquisite sensations careened through her body?

“You won’t need the comfort,” he panted. “Don’t know a man alive who wouldn’t see you as the perfect woman.”

“You charmer, you.” She began the climb to orgasm, rising up to meet his thrusts, increasing the pace, pushing him harder, taking him deeper. Every sweep of his cock pressed her further into her lustful, needy haze, taking her closer to the edge.

“Not charming. Just calling it like I see it.”

Sometimes Charlie rubbed her clit while he fucked her. Sometimes she needed that extra something to propel her over. Today she needed nothing more than the wild ride he provided. His fixed belief in her and in her worth was enough to bring her endless pleasure. His skilled lovemaking and thick cock drove her beyond the edge of reason.

Sarah didn’t attempt to answer him. Couldn’t if she tried. Her voice was lost to ecstasy. She came, convulsing around his pounding cock, her back arched in bliss, her thighs locked around his waist. She threw her arms above her head and let the orgasm sweep through her and the waves of rapture carry her away.

She’d have lost herself to the heady release had Charlie’s groan of satisfaction not grounded her beneath him, transporting her back to that pivotal point of pleasure. That area deep inside that clenched around Charlie’s shuddering dick as he too came.

And as their joint gratification wove its magic around her, Sarah briefly wondered why she even needed to meet another man if Charlie could do this to her.

* * * *

Sarah stared at her phone in surprise. It vibrated beside her on the lab bench, flashing the name “Charlie” across its screen.

Charlie never phoned.

He was a knock-on-the-door kind of guy.

“Hey, you,” she answered, setting her pipette down and marking a result on the page in front of her.

“Just a heads-up, beautiful. I’ve organized your first date. He’ll phone you tonight.”

She dropped the pen. “You have? He will?” Well, shoot. “Um, I’d kind of hoped you’d forgotten about the bet.”

“Not on your life, Geek Girl. I promised you three dates, and I will deliver three dates. Get used to it.”

“Do I have to?” Ugh. Really?

“Uh-huh. You have to. And your first date is a nice guy. I think you’ll like him.”

Sarah pushed her reading glasses up the bridge of her nose and glanced around the lab, hoping no one was listening to her conversation.

No one was.

“Yeah, um, think you could give me a bit more information? Nice guy’s a good start, but I’d like a few more facts.”

“I can, and I will, just not now. I have a lesson about to start and my wet suit’s not on. Give me a sec.”

Silence filtered through the phone, followed by a whistle of wind and something that sounded like a wave crashing in the background. She could only assume Charlie was at Bondi Beach, pulling on his gear while they spoke.

“I’m back. Sorry ’bout that.” The rasp of a zip being done up or pulled down followed his words. “Tell you what. I’ll drop in later. About seven. Give you all the details you’ll need then.”

Sarah’s jaw dropped. Had she heard him properly? “I’m sorry, you’ll what?”

“Pop by your place and give you the details in person. Easier than trying to speak through this wind.”

“O-okay.” What the…? Charlie never warned her when he dropped in. He just came over when the mood felt right. “I’ll be there.” If she’d had plans for the night, she’d have cancelled them.

“Cool. And, Sar?”

“Hmmm?” She picked the pen up again and balanced it dreamily on three fingers, her mind already on the evening ahead, her body tightening in anticipation.

Charlie never came over just to talk.

His voice dropped to a whisper. “Be naked when you open the door.”

~

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