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Wild for you, p.10
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       Wild For You, p.10

           J. C. Reed
 
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  I mean, who does that?

  “I had to.” He’s not even denying it.

  “You realize I’ve been forced to drink tea for days?” I shake my head. “Why did you hide it?”

  Cash doesn’t reply. Keeping his back turned to me, I watch him fumble with the huge thing. Come to think of it, I don’t think I would have known how to use it anyway.

  “Cash?” I prompt.

  He turns around. “I didn’t think you would be staying.” He holds up his hand. “And before you decide to say it, I know it was childish of me.”

  “More childish than the fact you’ve been hiding from me? Or that you switch off my water to make me want to pack up?”

  He lets out a short laugh. “Okay. That was really bad. I’ve been a complete ass to you, haven’t I?”

  “I would never call you an ass, Cash.” I take a step toward him, but not close enough to touch him. “You had a hard time. That’s all. But you’re definitely a work in progress.”

  His brows shoot up. “Is that a good or a bad thing?”

  “Depends on how you see it.”

  The smell of coffee fills the air. I expect him to reply, when he closes the distance between us. His hand cups my face, his thumb brushing my cheek.

  For a moment, all I can do is stare at his mouth, wondering whether he’s about to kiss me again.

  Do I want him to kiss me again?

  Hell, yeah!

  Even though he’s my—

  “You have flour all over your face,” Cash says. His voice is so low and husky, he might as well have instructed me to take off my panties, and I wouldn’t be more flustered. My face flushes again.

  I grab a towel from the counter to wipe my face with it when Cash takes it out of my hand and rubs my cheek gently. The gesture is so intimate that I forget to breathe.

  He leans into me, his lips coming dangerously close to mine. The intoxicating scent of his aftershave reaches me. I inch just a little bit closer to him, and my lips part on instinct, wanting him, begging his mouth to conquer mine.

  Our eyes connect, and something ferocious, like a hunger, passes between us.

  “I lied before,” Cash says slowly. “The pain didn’t wake me. I smelled your cake and wanted to know what you were up to. I wanted to see you.”

  “Why?” I croak.

  “Because I needed to tell you how beautiful you looked yesterday.” His tone is casual, but his gaze betrays his insatiable lust for me. His eyes are ablaze, undressing me with every glance, scorching my skin. My body begins to tingle in response. He makes me feel chosen, wanted, as though I’m the only woman for him. No man’s ever had this effect on me.

  I want to satiate his hunger for me, even if only for a night.

  “I didn’t think you would notice,” I whisper.

  “I often miss things, mostly because they don’t matter. You’re not one of them.”

  My throat goes dry. I want to ignore his remark. He’s my patient. I shouldn’t pay attention to the intimate things he says, and yet I want to know what he means by that.

  “What do you—”

  His thumb brushes my cheek gently, the gesture cutting me off. “I notice you, Erin. All the time. How could I not?” His eyes pierce into me, cutting through the layers that have been protecting me for years. “I know what you’ve been trying to do.”

  “What’s that?”

  “You’ve been trying to make me jealous by flirting with my brother. Just so you know, it’s working. I didn’t want you to know last night, but I’m ready to tell you now.”

  “You woke up early to confess that you were jealous?” I shake my head, unsure what to make of it. My patients often mistake gratitude for profound love, but they’re never jealous. “Is that why you were so angry yesterday?”

  “I wasn’t angry,” Cash says. “I was disappointed that you wanted Ryder, and not me. I was ready to fight for you.”

  The thought brings a smile to my face. He can’t possibly mean it, but his stealthy expression betrays his determination. This is not the kind of reaction I ever get from my patients, and it scares the hell out of me.

  “I didn’t hook up with your brother,” I say. “I needed a ride to town to go shopping. Given that you’ve locked your car in the garage, Ryder offered. Where else do you think I got the ingredients for this cake?”

  “The cake was your idea?”

  “Baking a cake for you? Yes. All mine.” I catch his surprised glance and laugh. “Margaret mentioned your fondness for peanut butter cake. As it happens, it’s my favorite, too.”

  He eyes me for a moment, trying to decide whether I might be making this up. It’s in that instant that his expression changes. The want in his eyes disappears, and it’s replaced with something else.

  He’s cagey.

  I can see it in the way he puts some distance—both the physical and emotional kind—by busying himself with the coffee maker.

  I don’t know what I did to earn this change in him, but it sobers me up.

  Silence fills the air as he prepares the coffee and hands me a cup, his expression grim.

  “Why would you be jealous, Cash?” I ask slowly.

  “I’m attracted to you.”

  His honesty hits me hard. I’ve known it all along, but I didn’t think he’d be so open about it.

  “That’s a normal reaction given that—”

  His hard glance silences me instantly. “I don’t give a crap about your textbook experience.”

  “I thought we settled that with a kiss? You said it would be enough,” I say weakly, fearing his answer.

  What if it was enough for him? It sure wasn’t enough for me.

  “I was lying.” He leans against the counter, taking the pressure off his hip. My professional gaze takes in the sudden lines of agony etched on his forehead. But sure as hell, he’s not saying anything about the excruciating pain he must be feeling. “Look, Erin. You can’t blame me. I haven’t been with anyone in a long time. It’s not helping that you’re sexy and beautiful, and…”

  “And?” I prompt, breathlessly.

  “And I plan on doing way more than kissing you. Seeing you with Ryder made me angry because I know my brother. He’d ask you out on a date, and you’d happily go out with him because, let’s face it, he can walk, and I can’t. I know I have no right to be pissed, but hell, I don’t like it. This isn’t me.” He points at his leg. “If only I could walk, you would see me differently, not just as your patient. And I—” He breaks off.

  “And?” I prompt again.

  “And I would have asked you out on a date first.”

  I stare at him, at a loss for words, unsure what to make of him. Of us. I’ve known all along that I’m attracted to him, but I didn’t realize that yes, if he had asked, I would have gone out on a date with him.

  Patient or not.

  Crutches or not.

  “Ryder didn’t ask me out,” I say.

  “Yet.” A vein on his temple begins to throb.

  He’s angry, even more than before. I want to assure him that nothing will ever happen between Ryder and me, but I sense he’s only going to continue drowning in self-pity. That’s the last thing I want.

  But what I want even less is for him to think he has a claim on me.

  “I hope you realize you can’t tell me whom I can or can’t date. I’ve been hired to work with you. What I’m doing in my spare time is none of your business, even if that involves seeking a bit of fun.”

  His brows shoot up and his gaze turns a few degrees colder. “Are you seeking fun?”

  I sigh, ignoring the need to roll my eyes. “No, but that’s not the point. The point is that even if I felt attracted to you, I wouldn’t go out with you.”

  “Because of some therapist-patient rule?”

  “No.” I draw out the word to make sure he gets it. “Because I promised your father and Shannon that I’d look after you. I promised them that I’d make you walk again. I don’t know if I’m going at
this the wrong way. I don’t know what to do to make you realize you are your biggest obstacle, but I know that I can’t force you to start therapy. It has to come from you. You have to want it, so please tell me what to do to help you along.”

  Cash remains silent as he retrieves two forks and sits down at the dining table, motioning me to do the same.

  “Don’t you want to wait until it’s finished?” I ask.

  “No. It’s perfect as it is. I like things better when they’re raw, naked.” Without so much as a glance at me, he hands me the fork. I take it from his outstretched hand and take a seat.

  “Cash.” My tone is soft, my voice shaky. “Just tell me what you want. Tell me how I can help you because I really want to. Tell me what you need me to do. Just don’t make it so hard for me to do my job.”

  I stare at him as he cuts the cake and then takes a bite, chewing slowly. Eventually, he shoots me a sideways glance.

  “This is good.” He takes another bite, then looks up and smiles.

  The kind of smile that makes me forget my anger and frustration and even the reason why I’m here.

  He’s sexy. So damn sexy I want to press my mouth against his and let his tongue resume what we started a few days ago.

  “You like it?” My voice is hoarse, breathless, heavy with want.

  “It’s perfection.” He takes another bite. “Truth be told, I knew what I wanted before I met you, that being getting rid of you. What I want now is something else entirely. I kiss you. That’s all I’ve been able to think about. You, naked in my bed. Touching you, pleasing you.” He rakes his fingers through his hair, his eyes dark, brooding. I try to breathe, but drawing air has become an impossible task, as though there’s not enough oxygen for the both of us.

  “Cash, I—”

  “No, hear me out. I want to get this attraction out of our way. I want to do therapy, but I can’t with all those mixed feelings I’m having about you.”

  “Mixed feelings?” I ask weakly.

  “Some are pretty clear.” He sets down the fork, and his eyes focus on me with an intensity that seems to set every fiber of my being on high alert. “I want to fuck you, Erin.”

  “Right.” I swallow to get rid of the sudden lump in my throat.

  I should be shocked, angry at his honesty. But instead I find myself aroused at the idea of joining him in his bed. I’ve never wanted anyone as much as I want him.

  “I want to kiss you and hear you moan,” Cash continues. “I want your pretty hands on my cock. I want everything you can give. I want to make love to you in every bed, in every room, on every floor. I want to know every part of your body. I can’t do any sort of therapy before I’ve had you.”

  His words turn into images before my eyes. I stare at him, but I don’t see the kitchen around us. I see us naked on a bed, with Cash inside me, touching me, kissing me, making me moan his name.

  Heat gathers between my legs. I press them together, tight, but the motion does nothing to alleviate the growing need settling within my core.

  I want all of this. All of him.

  “You want sex before you participate in any sort of therapy?” I ask incredulously.

  The question is simple.

  The implications involved are not.

  His proposition is wrong on so many levels. It breaks every therapist-patient rule. But instead of declining him, I’m considering it.

  For the first time in my life, I’m considering breaking the rules.

  “I wouldn’t put it like that. It sounds like sexual blackmail when it’s not. It’s an offer to engage in something that we both want. I agree to your therapy if you agree to let me fuck you.”

  “Okay.” I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Here’s what I propose.” My voice sounds alien in my ears, as if a stranger’s speaking. What I’m about to say might come back to bite me in the ass. It might make me feel cheap in my mind, but in my heart, it feels right. “We’ll start off with a one-hour therapy session this morning. Right now. Once done, we’ll see how you feel about it. If after what I’m going to put you through you’ll still want to kiss me, then I’ll let you.”

  His eyes meet mine with a challenging glint. Cash Boyd likes to be rewarded. Who would have thought? “What if I want more?”

  I raise my chin, meeting fierceness with fierceness. “You’ll have to work for it. You’ll have to earn everything you want.”

  My heart thuds harder when he gets up.

  My heart breaks when he stops at the door, hesitating. He’s about to leave, or is he?

  Not turning, he calls over his shoulder, “What are you waiting for? And don’t throw the cake out. I plan on finishing it.”

  As he slips into the hall, a smile spreads across my lips.

  My body rejoices at the thought of getting close to him. It’s half a victory. The question is, for me or for him?

  Either way, Cash Boyd has said yes. I should have kissed him the first time we met. Maybe we would have been off to a better start.

  * * *

  ***

  * * *

  An hour later, I lean back, my body drenched with sweat and nerves. The first therapy session was a success. Maybe not success, per se, but Cash has made some progress…all while groaning and complaining and swearing his way through what I’m sure must have been the most gruesome workout of his life.

  He kept proclaiming how much he hated therapy, and how much he used to love his life before the accident. I let him whine while remaining everything he needed me to be—persistent, annoying, and patient.

  Most importantly, patient. Because if the physical therapist isn’t, the patient usually gives up.

  I timed our session for a little over an hour, giving him time to get into his exercises. Just as I expected from someone with his determination, once he started, he kept going.

  “That’s it for today, Cash.” I release my grip on his leg, removing the pressure on his knee pushed toward his chest. “I don’t want you to overexert yourself.”

  Sweat is running down his face as he peers at me, ready to argue.

  His muscles are hard from the effort, his skin is gleaming. For the last two hours, I’ve been trying to keep my professional cool and not roam my hands over his sculpted body. It’s worked so far, but my restraint is running thin.

  “One more time,” Cash says urgently, his grip on my forearm stopping me from getting up from the floor.

  I shake my head grimly. The bending exercises, with me working against him, might not look like much, but his joints aren’t ready for more. “You think you can keep going because you think you can do it all in one day. But trust me, you need to stop now before you injure yourself further.”

  “Have you tried this?”

  I smile gently. “Yes, but I wasn’t in your condition.”

  “Then you know this is barely more than a stretching exercise. Reserve your bullshit for someone else, and help me get to the real stuff.”

  The pain in his voice is palpable. It’s hurting him like hell; it didn’t in the past. He’s ignoring the surge of adrenaline and the warning burn in his joints. I can’t blame him for wanting to be normal again, but I sure won’t let him do more harm than good to himself.

  “You’ll get stronger with each session. It’s going to be hard at first, but you’ll get where you want to be. Just give it a few weeks.”

  “A few weeks?” he shouts. “I don’t have that much time.”

  I’m actually being optimistic. The truth is that it can take longer. But that’s not the point.

  I sit down, cross-legged, and regard him coolly. “Then you shouldn’t have waited this long.”

  “I want it to be over this week.”

  “That’s not realistic, Cash. You know that.” I proceed to stand and pack up my gear, ready to ignore the sudden outburst he’s about to have. They all have one, eventually. “It’s not easy for me to see you in pain, but you can’t rush your recovery. The human body is an amazing thing, but you
need to give it time.”

  “I don’t have time,” Cash mumbles.

  I shoot him a sideways glance. He’s restraining his temper, I can tell from his set jaw and the thunderous look in his eyes.

  Just like my patients, I’m always tempted to let them go a little bit further, push themselves just a bit harder.

  But experience has taught me, this isn’t the way.

  “Fine. If you don’t want to help me, I’ll do it on my own.”

  Cash struggles to get up. Before I can stop myself, I climb onto his lap, straddling him. It’s a desperate attempt to make him listen, but one that backfires instantly.

  His eyes cloud over and his arms reach around my waist, pulling me down on him. My breath hitches in my throat. My whole body reacts to his strength and need for me.

  My hips grind into his, my core coming dangerously close to his hardness. I don’t know when that part happened, but I can feel it through the thin fabric of his workout shorts. His hand settles at the nape of my neck, forcing my head down.

  Our mouths connect, eager to explore, hungry for each other.

  I close my eyes and relish the sensation of his strong grip on me. His kiss is soft but demanding, carrying the promise of more to come—if I only let him.

  Fuck!

  I can’t let him.

  Pressing my hands against his chest, I pull back with all my might. He releases me, albeit unwillingly. The lust in his eyes is evident, scorching, making me doubt my decision.

  I want him; he wants me. What’s the harm, right?

  “Erin.” His fingers begin to stroke my neck, drawing circles on my skin. “Don’t tell me this was a pity kiss.”

  The idea is so ridiculous, I find myself laughing.

  “Well?” Cash prompts. “Pity or no pity?”

  “Absolutely not. Pity couldn’t be further from the truth.”

  He cocks his eyebrows.

  “I don’t want you to give up. But I can’t let you go too far,” I say. “If kissing you is what it takes to make you listen to me, then, by all means, let’s engage in plenty of it.”

  “That’s all? You kiss all your patients to make them listen?”

  His hips grind into me. He’s so big and hard, I find myself getting wet at the idea of doing it right here, right now. For once in my life, I want to forget about the consequences and just enjoy what I want.

 
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