Riding the edge, p.19
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       Riding the Edge, p.19
 

         Part #4 of Wild Riders series by Jaci Burton
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Page 18

  Author: Jaci Burton

  And dammit, she couldn’t stop thinking about Rick.

  After her massage, she went to search for Lacey, who’d gotten a massage at the same time. They were going to meet up for a late lunch afterward. But she was nowhere to be found. The woman working the front desk at the spa said Lacey had left a message saying she was going up to her room to take a nap.

  Figured. Lacey was always either talking Ava’s ear off or sound asleep.

  She decided to go take a shower, wash the oil off from the massage, and maybe relax and read.

  She grabbed a sandwich on her way up to her room, and after her shower, grabbed it and took a spot out on the balcony. Such an amazing panorama of the town, and off to the right she caught a peek of the ocean and white sand.

  While she ate, she enjoyed the warm air and beautiful view of the waving trees and the colorful town below. Such a mix of colors, and Ava had always enjoyed people watching. She always wondered what people were doing, where they were going.

  Maybe because watching other people go about their lives was so much more interesting than her own. Because here she was, sitting up in her room when she could either be out shopping or at the beach on this beautiful day.

  Hadn’t she learned anything? They had one more day here and she was sitting on a hotel balcony when a once-in-a-lifetime experience was just a short walk away.

  So what was it going to be? Shopping or some time on the beach?

  She and Lacey had shopped yesterday. She’d even haggled with a few of the merchants—it was expected, as Lacey explained.

  She should check out the beach.

  It was time to dig her toes in the sand and live a little. She didn’t need Lacey to hold her hand—or Rick. She could do it by herself.

  She threw on her swimsuit and cover-up, slipped into her sandals, and made her way down the slope toward the water. Dusky-colored rock walls rose up on either side of her. There was no concrete path, just sand, worn from the people who’d come before her. She made her way through the maze of rocks until she found the clearing.

  Breathtaking. Clear blue water, mountains on the other side, and no one was around. She stood and listened to the crashing sound of the waves, watched them ride their way to shore. She kicked off her sandals and moved in a few feet so the water trickled over her toes.

  It was warm, inviting. She dropped to the sand and straightened her legs, clearing her mind.

  This was so much better than sitting in her room.

  She dragged the beach towel out of her bag, pulled off her cover-up, and lay down.

  As soon as she closed her eyes, Rick’s face swam before her. She sighed, giving up the thought of forgetting about him.

  She wished he were here with her, lying on the beach with her, folding her into his arms and kissing her. She missed talking to him, hearing the sound of his voice, his laughter. He seemed to understand her in ways no other man ever had. What man had ever even bothered to listen to her before? And he didn’t agree with everything she said just to get her in bed. He helped her reason things out about Lacey.

  But it went beyond just talking. She missed making love to him, the way he’d awakened her body. Her senses throbbed every time she thought about his kisses, his touch, the way she felt when he was inside her.

  How could a man affect her so deeply after only a few short days? What was so special about him that was different than any other guy she’d known?

  He had seemed so perfect for her. They had seemed to fit so well together. How could she have been so wrong about him? What he’d said to Bo just didn’t fit what she knew about him. Was she that bad a judge of character that she hadn’t been able to see who he really was? Had he played her that well? She was a reasonably intelligent woman who knew how to spot a player. Or at least she thought she was.

  Too much thinking. Thinking that was getting her nowhere. She and Rick were over. Why couldn’t she just let it go?

  “You could tempt a man to sin looking like that. ”

  Ava shot up and grabbed her cover-up, shielding her face from the sun. A silhouette stood in the bright sunlight, a dark shadow she couldn’t make out. She grabbed her bag, then scrambled to her feet, hoping to hell someone else was on this stretch of beach besides her and some stranger. What the hell was she thinking coming out here alone?

  “Ava. ”

  Her whole body went rigid. “Rick?” She fished into her bag for her sunglasses, slid them on. He stood there, barefoot in jeans and a sleeveless muscle shirt, holding his boots in his hand. His dark sunglasses made him look reckless, sexy, like the bad boy she figured him to be. Her legs went weak. “What are you doing here?”

  “I came here to find you, to talk to you. ” He pushed his sunglasses up on his head.

  She should be angry with him—furious, in fact—not falling to his feet in a gush of female libido. “Why?”

  “Because what I said back in Vegas . . . I didn’t want you to hear that. ”

  Her anger rushed to the surface. She preferred that to being so damn glad to see him. “Obviously. ”

  “No, you don’t understand. ” He grabbed her hands and pulled her down to sit in the sand with him. “It wasn’t what I meant, what I felt. ”

  “Why did you say it?”

  “Because that’s what I wanted Bo to think. ”

  She cocked her head to the side. “I don’t understand. ”

  “In order to get back into the Hellraisers I have to prove my worthiness. ”

  “And treating a woman like shit is the way to do it?”

  He rubbed a spot above his brow with his fingertip. “No, but telling him that I cared about you puts me in a bad position. ”

  She didn’t know how to respond to that. Was he saying he cared about her? “Why?”

  “I’m not sure I can explain this well. ”

  “Try. ”

  “I’ve been gone for ten years. I just came back. They want me to be free to work for them, to ride with them. You’re not one of the Hellraisers. ”

  “Oh. So if you hooked up with me, I’d be a hindrance to you doing that. ”

  He nodded. “It’s a shitty excuse, I know. I didn’t expect him to ask me about you. So I shot off that you meant nothing to me, that you were just a fuck. They were just words said to placate him. I didn’t expect you to be there to hear them. ”

  “You didn’t mean them. ”

  “No. I didn’t. ”

  “But you still said them. ”

  “Yes. ”

  “They hurt me. ”

  He looked down at the sand, then swept his gaze back to her. “I know. And I’m sorry. It was thoughtless. I was an asshole. ”

  If she were smart, she wouldn’t believe him. She’d tell him to turn around and head back to Las Vegas. That she wasn’t interested in his explanations or excuses. That they were over. That they never had anything to start with.

  But she did believe him. He’d come all the way to Mexico to explain to her, to apologize. What kind of man did that?

  “If it would make you feel better you could throw sand at me. ”

  She laughed. Damn him. “I can’t believe you’re here. You came all the way here just to see me? You could have called me. ”

  “I could have. But this kind of needed to be handled face-to-face. ”

  “You could have waited until I got back. ”

  He shifted, rubbed his hands together to wipe the sand off. “I didn’t want to wait. Besides, I missed you. ”

  She looked away, stared out at the water. “Don’t say that. ”

  He tipped her chin, forced her gaze back to his. “Why not?”

  Her eyes filled with tears and she hated herself—and him—because of it. She pulled her sunglasses off and looked at him. “I don’t want to care about you, Rick. ”

  He paused, then lifted a strand of her hair and sifted it through
his fingers. “But you do. ”

  She wouldn’t admit it—refused to give him more ammunition to hurt her. Until he leaned in, and before she could object, fit his mouth over hers. The kiss was slow and easy—he wasn’t demanding, it was more like he was testing the waters.

  God, she’d missed his mouth on hers. She sighed and pressed into him, felt weak and ridiculous for giving in so easily. She should have walked away. This man was trouble, was only going to hurt her.

  But he’d come all the way to Mexico to apologize. What man did that?

  Rick.

  So as his lips brushed over hers, seeking, searching, all her resolve melted and she kissed him back, her answer—a resounding yes—to everything.

  She was so easy. She was going to hate herself later for this. But right now he was pulling her onto his lap, onto his strong thighs, and wrapping his arms around her, deepening the kiss until she was heated all over. And it felt so good—so right. She couldn’t muster up any reasonable objections to why she shouldn’t be with him.

  As long as she guarded her heart.

  He dragged his lips across her chin, spreading hot kisses along her throat. She felt the mad beat of her pulse against his lips and tilted her head back, not caring that they were on the beach where anyone could see them. No one knew her here—she was a stranger. Even if someone did see them, it wasn’t like she was ever coming back to this place again. And she didn’t want this moment to end.

  She shifted, rocked against him, riding his cock through the denim of his jeans.

  Rick grinned. “Out here?”

  “Yes. ”

  “I have a better idea. ”

  He put his hands under her buttocks and stood, carrying her over to a secluded cove where the water met the rocks.

  “Your jeans are getting wet,” she said as he rested her back against the cool rock and set her on her feet.

  “I don’t care. ” He planted his lips on hers and she soon forgot all about his jeans, or anything else. All she knew was his hard cock against her sex, splintering her with pleasure that rocked her senses.

  She wanted more of it. She wanted him inside her. Now.

  “Rick, please. ”

  He leaned back, his gaze questioning. “You want to do this upstairs in your room?”

  She shook her head. “No. Here. Now. ”

  His face was as filled with the dark, ravenous need that she felt inside as he dug a condom out of his pocket, then took a quick glance around, making sure they were alone.

  He unzipped his pants and pulled out his cock, and she couldn’t resist wrapping her fingers around it. So hot, thick, pulsing with life.

  “Christ, Ava. You’re going to make me explode. ”

  She liked knowing she had that effect on him. She stroked him while he tore open the condom package. He brushed her hand away, then reached between them to pull the fabric of her bikini aside.

  The first touch of his hand against her bare flesh made her gasp, lift up on her toes to drive against his palm. He rubbed her sex, used her own moisture to lubricate her clit.

  She’d done nothing but think about him, think about how good the sex had been between them. That in itself had been foreplay. And out here in the heat, with the waves crashing against them, she was already so close to orgasm it was embarrassing.

  Rick leaned into her, his gaze hard and direct as he watched her.

  “Come on,” he said, driving his palm against her clit as his finger slipped inside her pussy. “Let me feel you come, Ava. ”

  The touch of his hand against her, the way he looked at her, coupled with their forbidden location, was all too much, ratcheting up her excitement to a frenzied level. She gripped his wrist, held him right where she needed. She moved against him and her climax rushed at her like an overpowering wave. She kept her focus on Rick, letting him see what his touch had done to her.

  His smile was devastating, the darkness in his eyes making her throb inside.

  He jerked her bikini bottom down and placed it on the rock ledge above her head, then lifted her legs, wrapping them around him. Ava held onto his shoulders while he guided her onto his cock.
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