Sinful Longing(10)

By: Lauren Blakely

“So does this count if you’re playing for me?”

He nodded. “Of course. I’m like your pinch hitter.”

“When we enter the Xbox tournament, can you just fill in for me when I get in a pickle?”

“If there’s a tournament and you’re holding out on letting me play in it, you’re in big trouble,” he said, his voice deepening on the final words as he attacked bad guys on the screen.

“Hey! Your voice just went all crazy low there,” she said, in her own imitation of a baritone. Alex had been hovering in voice-changing limbo for so long she was sure he was going to set some kind of record. While his friends paraded in and out of the home with Al Greene-esque vocal stylings as they sailed over that cusp of adolescence, Alex was still swinging in between the higher-pitched boy’s voice and the deeper notes of an older teen.

“Mom, my voice is fine,” he said then thrust the controller into her hand, his way of saying any conversation that dared to touch on the horrific topic of puberty was so over they’d need a new word for it.

“Fine, fine,” she said, holding up her hands in surrender. “Forget I said a word about your voice.”

“It’s forgotten.” He yawned. “Try not to get killed before you get back to the safe house.”

“I’ll do my best. See you in the morning, sleepyhead.”

“See you in the morning,” he echoed, and returned to his room.

A few minutes later, she flicked off the game. Late-night encounters like that—random, casual, exceedingly normal—had a way of settling her nerves and calming her heart. Things were back to business as usual with Alex, and she was so damn grateful for that.

The question remained, though—what the hell was she going to do about Colin? Tonight was supposed to rid her dirty dreams of him. But who was she kidding? What woman in her rightful mind would want to ditch that? She made her way to her bedroom, stripping out of her evening dress and completely useless panties. She tossed them in the hamper on top of her roller derby uniform from last night’s game, laughing to herself over the number of pairs of panties he’d melted right off her.

One time at the center, he’d stopped by her office to chit-chat after his volunteer shift and somehow his hands had wound up on her shoulders, and he’d given her one of the best massages she’d ever had, undoing the knots of tension in her shoulders, all while turning her on. Yup, a pair melted that afternoon. A few weeks later, her first kiss with him had pretty much scorched her body and fried all her brain cells. After a movie for the kids in the rec room, he’d stayed behind to help her straighten up, and when they were through disposing of bags of microwave popcorn and washing their hands, she’d turned around to find him behind her at the sink, a hungry look in his dark eyes.

There were no questions. They’d smashed into each other, all sizzle and heat and pent-up desire.

She pulled on a fresh, clean pair of undies, and a soft, faded cotton tee. She headed to her bathroom and scrubbed off all her makeup, staring at the calligraphy T tattooed on her wrist. T for her roller derby name. She dried her face and brushed out her hair.

Okay, the evidence of her evening was gone. She was ready to shed Colin, too. Just molt him off, like a snake’s skin.

And yet, she couldn’t stop thinking about him.

Elle had wanted Colin since the day she’d met him. The initial reaction had been purely chemical. It had been instant and intense, and so damn easy to write off as lust. From his broody eyes, to his dark hair, to the body that was everything she’d dreamt up late at night when spending time with her toys—because she had a drawer full, and the dirty books to go along with them. Fuck romance novels; Elle went straight for the hard stuff. Dirty, filthy short stories that took the edge off her days, helping her sleep peacefully at night, so different from the time when she used to twist and turn under the covers, haunted by memories, by broken vows, and fights. By this time will be different pleas. Then she discovered she could self-medicate with erotica to relieve the tension in her brain and body and send herself to the land of nod, courtesy of a naughty fireman ménage story or a horny, hot professor tale paired with her battery-operated Joy Delivered rabbit.

But soon her late-night fantasies zeroed in on one man. Colin Sloan—tall, tatted, tempting, witty, and forthright. The more she got to know him, the more she liked him, and once they touched…it was a pure rush.

He wasn’t an asshole. He was a very good guy.

Maybe sex with him tonight hadn’t been the worst idea in the world.

As she flopped down on her bed, shoving a hand through her hair, she found herself wondering if she could have it both ways.

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