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He nodded, pulling onto the road. “Sounds good. Got a place in mind?”
I fussed with the seat belt and dug around in my bag, striving to sound offhand. “Maybe Whataburger… and beer out of your fridge?” I felt his eyes on me but pretended I didn’t for fear of blurting out something far too candid. Something like Forget the food—drive straight to your place and take me to bed.
His hand tightened on the wheel as if he could read the subtext under those words. “All right.”
When we got back to his place, he switched on the lamp in the living room, dropping his keys and sunglasses on the end table while I went to the kitchen, flipped the switch on the dinette’s light, and pulled plates from the cabinet. Boyce took ketchup and beer from the fridge and reached around me to set the bottles on the table, silent. Inches separated us. I felt the heat of him behind me like a furnace and I shivered, wanting to turn into his arms but frozen with confusion over his six days of gallant behavior.
I didn’t want gallant from Boyce. I wanted his rough, commanding hands on me. I wanted the boy who couldn’t pass me in our high school hallway without leering. Who’d noticed any sliver of visible skin that was usually hidden. Who’d loved making me bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing at his outrageous, uncouth outbursts while teachers fumed and well-mannered classmates rolled their eyes.
When his big hands gently grasped my shoulders, my breath hitched.
“Pearl?” His warm breath fanned over my ear. His thumbs hooked under the straps of my tank and caressed a lazy line, back and forth.
A powerful tremor shot through me and he stepped closer, his hands sliding down my arms to press my hands to the table. His body bracketed mine, his boots on either side of my canvas flats, his long legs and arms holding me in place against the table.
Enveloped by him, I slanted my head back onto his chest and closed my eyes, willing him to continue. His hands left mine and stole beneath my top—warm palms on cool skin. They slid up over my rib cage and my lace-covered breasts. Inhaling slowly, the tip of his nose following the line of my pulse, he kissed his way to the base of my throat. He hummed one sound on exhale, low and deep, lips progressing back the way they came, hands tightening on my breasts.
“Perfect,” he murmured, taking my earlobe between his lips and sucking, his tongue stroking.
I was grateful my hands were braced on the table because my knees buckled.
His hands fell to my waist and unfastened my shorts. In two seconds, his fingers slid into me. “Goddamn. So wet.” His words were hoarse, bringing me to the brink.
I pressed my bottom against his hard, denim-swathed length in combination of mute plea and invitation—I wanted him inside me. Just like this, right now.
He pushed my shorts and underwear lower bit by bit, squeezing and worshipping the flesh I’d never celebrated as I did in that moment. “So fucking beautiful. I want to take my time loving you, but—”
My shorts fell to my ankles, panties trailing after, tickling my calves.
“Jesus, Pearl.”
I almost cheered when I heard his zipper lower, felt his skin against my hip.
And then, “Shit—I have to get—”
“I renewed my prescription,” I said. “You can—you don’t have to—” Gah. Why was it so awkward to just say, “I’m on birth control! Carry on!”
But I’d forgotten—this was Boyce. He didn’t need a roadmap.
He raised me to my toes, pressed my elbows to the table with one arm angled across my chest to keep me just above the flat surface, and guided himself into me. His growl of satisfaction, the way he held me and filled me and the fact that he was leaning me over a kitchen table all joined forces to pitch me over the edge. I was convulsing around him by the second thrust.
“That’s my girl,” he rasped, following me.
After that moment, we were like a couple of unsupervised sixteen-year-olds who had just discovered sex. We rushed through dates to give ourselves more time at his place after. No surface was off-limits, no position too contorted to try, even if we ended up laughing like idiots and abandoned two or three attempts as failed experiments, happily finishing in more familiar positions.
Last night, we hadn’t actually made it into the trailer first. We pulled onto the gravel driveway and were kissing before our seat belts were off.
Boyce’s eyes burned when I slid onto the center console and then backward into the back seat. He crawled over after me and with some maneuvering we ended with me astride his lap, my flouncy skirt barely covering my thighs, shirt unbuttoned, front-closure bra open, his hands beneath the skirt, opening his fly and guiding my hips, his mouth alternately kissing and sucking until I came so hard my toes numbed.
As he caught his breath, head resting back against the seat top, he chuckled. “What in the world made you do that? And for the record that is not a complaint.”
I cuddled against his chest. “I’ve never done it in a car before,” I admitted.
He tipped my face up, caressing my cheek. “Well, sweetheart, you just earned the award for best backseat fuck I’ve ever had.” He kissed me. “I can’t clearly remember having done it before, in fact.”
“Good,” I said, my tone prim, as if I’d harrumphed the word.
He laughed and I scowled.
“Let’s go inside and I’ll make up for being a tactless jackass. I’m making you dessert tonight.” He fastened my bra, buttoned my shirt, mostly, and stuffed my underwear into his front pocket. “I bought ice cream. And chocolate syrup. And whipped cream. And cherries. Wait till you see what I got planned for those cherries.”
I blinked, my brain filling in the blanks.
He grinned, fingers stroking up and down my thighs on either side of his. “Um-hmm—that’s right. When I said I’m making you dessert? I meant I’m making you into dessert. And I’m going to enjoy devouring every fucking delicious bit of you.”
I got home late and studied into the wee hours of the night, not caring one whit that I was missing sleep for every extra minute I spent with him. Retraining myself to concentrate in class was difficult but doable. Wiping the smile off my face when I thought about him was impossible. In days, I would be moving away for nine months. I had time enough then to learn to endure long weeks without him.
• • • • • • • • • •
Thursday afternoon the doorbell rang. I was expecting a box of textbooks I’d ordered for fall, and our mail carrier always came in the afternoon, so I didn’t check before opening the door—an action I instantly regretted.