The peer and the puppet, p.24
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       The Peer and the Puppet, p.24

           B. B. Reid

  Barbette snorted and said, “It’s okay, Four.”

  And because I knew my best friend well, I hung up quickly and took Four’s mouth before she could allow more bullshit to spill from her lips. Those sexy, delicious fucking lips.


  It wasn’t long before I was swallowing her moans, my hands full of her slender hips.

  “Ever. Wait.”

  “Hell no. I don’t want to wait anymore.” I kissed her again only for her to push me away.

  “What about what I want?”

  I stared down at her. “You don’t want me?”

  I got my answer when I felt her shiver at the promise of having me. “It’s not that simple,” she raged. “You keep filling my head with possibilities only to take it back whenever you want!”

  “I know, Four.”

  “Don’t do that. Don’t sweet-talk me. It won’t work this time.”

  “I could persuade you other ways,” I offered.

  “That sounds, suspiciously, like you getting your way.”

  “You want me to spell it out? Fine. I want to go down on you, so tell me you want it, too.”

  She looked torn as her teeth sunk into her swollen lips. “No sex?”

  “No sex,” I confirmed. For now.

  She chewed on her lip before saying, “Fine.”

  “Uh-uh. Give me the words.”

  “I—I want it, too.”

  “See? That wasn’t so hard.” I crouched at the edge of the bed and yanked her shorts off. I was eager to get my mouth on her. After her panties joined her shorts on the floor, I drank in the sight of her pussy. I leaned in, but her hand suddenly gripping my hair stopped me from getting my fix.

  “I’d like to remind you that I have a mean right hook.”

  “You threatening me, baby?” I made a mental note to make her come extra hard.

  “You better fucking believe it.”

  I tugged her hips hard, making her fall flat on her back. My tongue flicked her clit, shutting her up.

  “Oh, God,” she shrieked when I did it again. “What was I thinking? This is bad. We’re bad.”

  I ignored her guilt trip and kept right on eating. Sliding a finger inside her, I groaned at how tightly she gripped me and palmed my dick with my free hand. I didn’t want to come in my pants like I was thirteen.

  I couldn’t get enough of this girl.

  I knew she was close to coming when her grip tightened in my hair, and her body jerked.

  Fuck yeah.

  Her hips lifted from the bed when I got my tongue inside her, so I gripped her thighs to hold her down as she rode the wave. Beyond her cries, I heard the faint sound of footsteps in the hall and then her bedroom door opening.

  “Yo, Four! I have the dog fo—”

  It was too late to pretend that nothing was happening. I glanced over my shoulder and found Jamie standing in the open doorway. His shock was evident as he stared at me kneeling between Four’s thighs.

  “Get out!” I barked.

  He came to his senses and jerked the door closed but not before I caught the sly grin on his face.

  “Oh, God,” Four panted. “He saw, didn’t he?”

  “Yeah, he fucking saw.” I stood and crossed the room to lock the door—something I should have done to begin with. When I faced her again, I found one of her pillows shoved between her legs.

  “Well, what do we do?”

  “Why would we do anything?”

  “No one can know we did…things.”

  I laughed. “So, what do you suggest I do? Kill my cousin?”

  “Of course not.” I was still laughing thanks to the look on her face. “This isn’t funny.” I laughed harder. “This is all your fault.”

  “Making you come as hard as you did? Yeah, I’ll take the credit for that.”

  “You have zero modesty.”

  “Noted.” She looked around the room refusing to meet my gaze. “Something on your mind?”

  “I need to get dressed.” When she finally looked at me, there was a determination in her eyes. “Can you please leave?”

  “LEAVE?” HE ECHOED AS HE lifted his sweater.

  My heart raced faster with each inch of skin he unveiled. His muscled abs and chest was truly a sight to behold. I was almost sure the pillow nestled between my thighs was soaked.

  “We’re finished here.”

  “I don’t think so.” His eyes were low and his gaze serene as if he were the one who came hard enough to see stars. “We’re just getting started.”

  “You promised no sex.”

  “We’re not having sex.” Ignoring my discarded panties, he scooped my shorts from the floor and tossed them to me.

  I quickly pulled them on while he dropped onto my bed. My shorts barely cleared my hips when he pulled me down onto his chest.

  “Then what is this? What are we doing?”

  “We’re finding out why this feels right…and then we’ll have sex.”

  “You’re so sure.”

  “I can still taste you, princess. I’m sure.”

  I dropped my head on his chest to hide my blush. “Don’t blame me when you’re disappointed,” I mumbled.

  He chuckled and palmed my ass. “Deal.” The silence that followed lasted so long that I thought he’d fallen asleep. “Tell me something I don’t know about you.”

  I lifted my head to look into his eyes, but there was no trace of humor. “You’re serious, aren’t you? We’re really going to have pillow talk?”

  His eyebrows lifted. “We could do other things.”

  “Talking’s good,” I quickly answered. I laid my head back on his chest and felt it vibrate beneath me as he chuckled. “I collect helmets, usually the rare and expensive kind.”

  “How many do you have?”

  “Twelve and counting.”

  “And what makes them rare?”

  “Nothing. I just fall in love with the unusual and pay more money than they’re worth.”

  “Why not just have them made?”

  I purred and stretched as he stroked the base of my spine.

  “I’m not that creative. Besides, some that I’ve bid on were signed or owned by pros.”

  “I’m assuming you keep them hidden in the boxes you never bothered to unpack?”

  I groaned at the reminder of my weekend task. Not only was I was growing sick of living out of my suitcase but it also didn’t seem as if Rosalyn and Thomas were breaking it off anytime soon. They’ve now been dating for two years, so at this point, I was just living in denial. “I’m unpacking this weekend, but I don’t mind showing them off now.”

  His hand paused on my lower back. “Is this a trick to get me to help you unpack?”

  “Nonsense. I wouldn’t want you to break a nail.”

  I squealed when he rolled on top of me and settled between my legs. We were bold to carry on this way with Rosalyn and Thomas in the house, but I couldn’t bring myself to care when he took my hand and laid it over his erection. “So there’s no confusion.”

  I slid my palm down his erection and up again. “You think this makes you a man?”

  “I think it helps.” He grinned, and then he was on his feet, pulling me from the bed. I didn’t have any of the boxes marked, so it took Ever some lifting—at his insistence.

  When we found the box, he took that nifty blade of his and cut through the tape. Ever wielding a blade was almost taboo, and watching him handle it made me crave to let him handle me.

  I lifted the first helmet from the box and removed the protective wrapping. It was an open-faced helmet with red and white stripes from ear to ear. As far as looks went, it was pretty plain, but there was a rumor that it had once belonged to Vincent Valentino before his champion days.

  “This is Four.”


  “I named them in the order I got them.”

  “Inventive,” he remarked sarcastically while taking the helmet from my hands to inspect. “I like it.” I was caught o
ff guard when he slipped the helmet over my head. “I never thought I’d have a thing for a biker chick.”

  “You have a thing for me?”

  “I think I do.” He pulled me close by my helmet straps. “You have a problem with that?”

  I couldn’t answer him without making a fool of myself, so I did the next best thing and decided to kiss him. Unfortunately, I still managed to fuck up when my helmet crashed into his forehead.

  “Damn,” he groaned while holding his head. “I guess you do.”

  “Oh, no.” I hid my face with my hands as best I could with the helmet still on. “That went wrong.”

  “I’ll fucking say.” He forced my hands from my face and then carefully lifted the helmet from my head. “Now try that again.”

  “Are you sure? I don’t think your head can take much more trauma.”

  “I played football, remember? I’ve taken harder hits from guys twice your size.”

  With that said, I stood on the tips of my toes and pressed my lips against his. When I tried to back off, he growled and backed me into the wall.


  Before I could give in, however, someone knocked on the door. We stared at each other with wide eyes.

  “It could be Jamie,” I whispered.

  Ever’s expression was doubtful.

  “Four?” Dread filled me when I recognized Rosalyn’s voice. “I know you’re in there, so open up. We need to talk about dinner.”

  “Oh, God. What do we do?”

  I was actually relieved when he smirked. “Let her in.”

  “She can’t find you in here. She’ll freak.”

  “I’ll hide in your bathroom.”

  “Oh…right. I hadn’t thought of that.”

  He smiled and nudged me toward the door before disappearing inside the en suite. For some reason, I tiptoed around the room and wondered if Ever’s heart was pounding as hard as mine. I doubted it. He seemed much too casual about being caught for my liking.

  Glancing over my shoulder one last time, I opened the door. “Now’s not a good time, Rosalyn. I’m doing homework.”

  “This won’t take long,” she said firmly before pushing her way inside. I closed the door, leaned against it, and waited. “How could you talk to me the way you did?”

  “I’m sorry,” I said, which was partially true. I’d meant what I said, but I hadn’t imagined it coming out the way it did. “I shouldn’t have told you how I felt in front of them.”

  “What do you mean how you felt? How could you be so ungrateful?”

  “You mean you’re still pretending you moved us here for me?”

  “You were in trouble, Four.”

  “It was an isolated incident. You knew no one was after me. You just saw an opportunity and took it.” Would she stay if she knew we were living with one of them? There was only one way to find out, but I realized when the words lodged in my throat that my heart would never allow me to betray Ever. Even if he didn’t feel the same.

  “How could you think so little of me? We moved here because I couldn’t chance losing you, too.”

  “You wouldn’t need those pills if I weren’t around.”

  “That’s not—that’s not true. The pills wouldn’t be enough if you weren’t around.”

  “That may true now, but we both know without them, you’d feel differently. You couldn’t even give me a name.”

  “Four is your name.”

  “It’s a goddamn number!”

  She clutched her chest. “Do not speak to me this way. What has gotten into you?”

  I snuck a quick glance toward the bathroom but didn’t respond. When her eyes started glistening, however, the words, “I’m sorry,” flew from my lips. I couldn’t stand to see Rosalyn cry. I couldn’t bear hurting her even when she wrecked me every single fucking day.

  “I need your blessing to be happy, Four.”

  “Since when?”

  “Thomas is different than the others.”

  Except, after my father, her relationships crashed and burned, and good men disappeared in the cloud of smoke because of her issues with trust. She played a convincing victim, though.

  There was probably some truth to her claim. Rosalyn wasn’t a gold digger. She’d fallen for men without two cents to rub together and even less ambition. Thomas was definitely the wealthiest of all her former beaus, but money wasn’t what captivated her. Rosalyn was truly a romantic. She was in love with being in love. Finer things were just a bonus.

  I peeked again at the bathroom door.

  “If you made an effort to know him, you’d see.”

  I shuddered. No…never that. Thomas was a nice guy but getting attached was a huge mistake. It was already too late to turn back with Ever.

  “I want you to be happy, Rosalyn. You have my blessing.”

  I felt like a coward when she cupped my cheek, and grateful tears fell down her own. I wanted out of Blackwood Keep, and I’d let no one convince me otherwise.

  Rosalyn hugged me. These came few and far in between. The sensation was foreign, yet I fought against the urge to hold her as she held me. I won the battle and held myself rigidly in her arms.

  Another moment, and she released me. Her gaze traveled over my shoulder, and my heart dropped to my stomach when she said, “He really is a cutie.”

  “What?” I quickly glanced behind me, and my heart rate slowed when I found Jay D in the middle of a stretch. His mouth expanded as wide as it could before he settled his head on his tiny paw, and his blue eyes drifted shut. “Oh…yeah, he is.” I didn’t dare look toward the bathroom door before facing Rosalyn. “Well, I should probably get started on this homework if I want to keep him around.”

  I debated the necessity of my statement when she flinched.

  “I’ll leave you to it.”

  The sound of her heels quickly faded, so I shut the door and forced all the air from my lungs. I wasn’t sure how much time passed before the bathroom door slowly opened. Ever stood on the threshold, his face a blank canvas.

  “Your mom’s missing a few marbles.”

  I didn’t respond.

  “Four?” He took a step closer.

  My stomach tightened, and my next heartbeat came slower than the last. I watched through blurred vision as thick eyebrows bunched just before his gaze dropped to my chest.

  His eyes flashed with anger when they met mine. “Breathe.”

  The deep-timbered command sounded far away.

  “Damn it, Four! I’m going to spank your ass for this.”

  A ghost of a smile lifted my lips as my body fell and everything went black.

  Opening my eyes took some time, but the reward was a beautiful sight. Tanned skin over hard planes with dusky peaks…my gaze traveled from chest to throat until I met Ever’s unflinching stare.

  “Don’t ever do something as remarkably stupid as that again.”

  I tried to sit up, but he tightened his arms and rolled on top of me.

  “How many times have you done that?”

  I averted my gaze. “It wasn’t my first time.”

  “Make it your last,” he bit out.

  “It’s not a big deal,” I said despite my pounding headache. “I did it a lot when I was really young. The day I found out my grandparents died was the last time.” The grief and hopelessness had been so overwhelming that I had been willing to do anything to escape if only for a moment.

  The anger left his eyes, but the determination was still there.

  “Promise me.”


  Satisfied, he kissed my shoulder a couple more times and then settled beside me while leaning over to stare into my eyes. He actually looked afraid for me.

  “You do realize you’re worried about a person whose existence is debatable, don’t you?”

  “A name means nothing. You decide who you are, and then you show the rest of the world.”

  I had trouble meeting his gaze. He was always so sure of his place in the world
and I envied that. “What if I can’t convince them?”

  “Fuck ’em.”

  “You make it sound so simple.”

  “If your name bothers you so much, why don’t you change it?”

  “Rosalyn would stop taking her pills.” My life had been reduced to keeping her sane.

  He settled on his side, and when I turned to face him, he rested his hand on my hip. “How did you get into racing?”

  “Benny West.”

  Ever’s brows bunched. “The NASCAR driver?”

  “The very one…he’s my father.”

  “Wow.” His dazzling grin made it hard to catch my breath. “Think you can get me an autograph?”

  “I’ve never met him.” His smile fell as he winced. “The closest I ever got was watching his races on TV. I knew from the first that racing was what I was meant to do.”

  “And the bikes?”

  I told him all about Gruff, and he barely blinked the entire time I spoke about my life in Cherry.

  “Your mother really wanted you to quit because of calluses?”

  “Yup, and she would have succeeded if not for Gruff.”

  “I’d like to meet him one day.”

  “He won’t like you. Your hands are as soft as a newborn baby’s ass.”

  “If I had your hands, I’d have carpet burns on my dick.”

  I gawked. “Did you just admit to masturbating?”

  “You didn’t know? I’ve done it at least twice a day since you moved in.”

  I slapped his chest and snorted, but when he didn’t laugh, I met his gaze. “Really?” I squealed when I saw his serious expression.

  “You’re sexy without effort, and it drives me crazy.”

  “Who says I don’t try?” He eyed my hair before giving me a pointed look. “You can’t help but be a jerk, can you?”

  He laughed, and I enjoyed the sound with my pout firmly in place.

  “I guess there’s only room for one of us to be pretty in this relationship.”

  His laughter died immediately, and I felt as if I’d swallowed my tongue. “Relationship?”

  “Uh…I meant—”

  “I don’t mind being your boyfriend,” he said all too seriously. The need in his honey-rich eyes made me want to be his girlfriend, but that could never happen.

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