Riding the edge, p.27
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       Riding the Edge, p.27
 

         Part #4 of Wild Riders series by Jaci Burton
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Page 26

  Author: Jaci Burton

  “Her lifestyle isn’t conducive to—”

  “Boy, quit drumming up excuses. You guys had shit for upbringings, and very little love in your lives when you were younger. If it comes to you now, don’t spit in its face. Now get on your bike, go back to Las Vegas, and see if you can find a way to make it work with this woman. ”

  And just like that, it all fell together. Grange was right. “Yes, sir. ”

  The fresh air of campus had done a lot to clear her head. Seeing the colorful trees lining the sidewalks, stopping at a bench to eat lunch and soak up the fall weather all helped keep her mind off Rick. Spending time at the library and working with the counseling office to investigate different schools’ Ph. D. programs kept her busy enough that Rick didn’t creep into her mind until she crawled into bed at night. Only then did his face appear before her, only then did her mind dredge up memories of his hands on her, his mouth on her. Only then did her heart ache from missing him.

  So she spent as much time as possible on campus, and she went to the gym for a couple hours every day, hoping by the time she fell into bed at night she’d be physically and mentally exhausted.

  Her backpack filled with brochures and laden down with her laptop, she took a brisk walk from the library on her way to the administration building, breathing in the crisp air.

  She paused when she heard the revving sounds of a motorcycle approaching behind her, sucked her bottom lip between her teeth, and shook off the moment of melancholy.

  The bike would pass her shortly, and so would the feeling of loss.

  The bike slowed as it approached behind her. She waited for it to turn at the nearby corner.

  Go away. I don’t want to hear you. I don’t want to think about him.

  She heard the bike’s throttle revving as it drew closer, closer. Unable to help herself, she turned, her heart leaping as Rick pulled up alongside her.

  He parked just ahead of her, climbed off his bike, and removed his helmet, shaking out his dark hair.

  He looked so damn good dressed in black leather chaps and matching jacket she wanted to melt right there on the cement walkway. She licked her lips, parched for a taste of him, for his touch.

  “What are you doing here?” she asked as he stepped up to her.

  He didn’t say a word, just pulled her into his arms and kissed her, a kiss filled with longing, with passion, that spoke volumes without him needing to say a word. He wrapped his arms around her, pulled her backpack off her shoulders so he could hold her closer. She moaned, felt like she was home again as she moved into his embrace, as his tongue swept in and found hers. And when he finally broke the kiss, she was out of breath, panting from shock and excitement and wonder.

  “My name is Rick Benetti and I work undercover for the United States government. We’re called the Wild Riders, a special group of operatives. Not many people know who we are, because we work special projects for the government. I was assigned to keep an eye on you because of who your father is. My assignment didn’t include kissing you, touching you, making love to you, or falling in love with you, but I did all of those. ”

  Stunned speechless, Ava could only look at him, and listen, her heart rejoicing at what he said.

  “I can’t tell you how bad I feel about what I said to you that night at the apartment. Part of it was needing to retain my cover. The other part was fear. No one has ever loved me before, Ava. I didn’t know how to handle it and I didn’t handle it well at all. I’m sorry. I hurt you and I know it and I feel like an asshole. If it makes you feel any better, I haven’t slept since I left you. ”

  She smiled. “That does make me feel a little better. ”

  “There’s a hole inside me without you. I hurt when I’m not with you. And I think that’s what love is all about. It means you hurt when you’re not with the person you love. ”

  She let the tears fall down her cheeks. She laid her hand on his chest, felt the strong beat of his heart. “Love is a scary thing. It’s risky. ”

  “I know. I’m afraid. I’ve never told anyone that before in my life. ”

  “I’m afraid too, Rick. But you’re worth the risk. ”

  “So are you. ”

  He pulled her against him again, kissed her breathless again, and when she no longer felt the chill in the air, when she began to sweat under her jacket, she pulled away, licked her lips, and swallowed hard.

  He swept his knuckles against her cheek. “God, I missed you. Can we go to your place, because if I can’t get my dick inside you within the next ten minutes I might push you up against the tree here and fuck you. ”

  She laughed, and her body swelled with arousal at the thought of him taking her right here in front of the administration building. “I might like that. ”

  His eyes flashed heat. “Don’t tempt me. ”

  She’d like to tempt him, but her need for him was as great as his for hers. She grabbed his hand. “Come on. ”

  Fortunately, she lived right down the street from the campus. They hopped on his bike and were there a couple minutes later. Ava fumbled with the keys to the front door, but managed to open it with shaky hands. Rick pushed her inside, shut the door, dropped her backpack, and turned her around, his mouth on hers before she could draw her next breath.

  He pushed her against the wall and pulled her jacket off, lifted her sweater over her head, then reached for her jeans. She did the same, her fingers fumbling as they hurried to strip clothes off. She kicked off her shoes while Rick jerked her jeans down. It would have been comical, this rush to undress, if Rick wasn’t looking at her with a heated gaze of lust and need in his eyes, a look that made her wet, that made her throb.

  In the end, they only ended up half undressed. She still wore her bra, and her socks, and he still had his jeans on, but she managed to unzip him enough to reach for his cock, wrap her fingers around his hot, pulsing heat. He grabbed a condom and sheathed it around his shaft, then dragged her onto the floor, right there on her pristine, perfect rug.

  She couldn’t have thought of a better spot to make love. He pulled her legs apart and plunged inside her, and she gasped at the perfection of it, at the way her body welcomed him.

  “I’ve missed you inside me. This is where you belong. ” She swept her hand across his face.

  “I love you, Ava. ”

  She came almost as soon as he started moving against her, and he lifted his head and smiled at her in such a devastating, purely male way that it moved her to tears.

  “Does coming always make you cry?”

  “Only when you fuck me. Do it again. ”

  He shifted, rolled his hips over her, sliding against her clit as he thrust inside her, and then there were no more words as they had at each other with a primal passion. His fingers dug into her hips, hurt so good. She raked her nails over his arms, his back, needing him with a fierce possessiveness, as if she were marking him as hers forever.

  Perhaps she was—in her own way. He reached underneath her, grabbed her butt to tilt her toward him so he could drive in deeper, then slid his finger down farther, teasing her anus. She gasped, raising her gaze to his, uttering a hoarse “yes” to him as he slid the tip of his finger inside her puckered hole and continued to fuck her.

  “Like that?” he asked, his voice rough with need.

  “Yes. God. Yes. ”

  “You’re mine, Ava. All of you. ”

  “Yes. And you’re mine. ” She scored her nails down his back and he rewarded her by thrusting harder.

  The sensation was incredible. He powered inside her again, his shaft rubbing her clit, his cock inside her pussy, and his finger teasing her anus, and she went off again, this time with such intense spasms she cried out, holding tight to him. He thrust hard, then fell on top of her, shuddering as he came.

  Ava held on to Rick, unable to believe this had really happened. He was here, he’d made lov
e to her—he loved her. She stroked his sweat-soaked back, his hair, touching him in wonder.

  He pulled her up and they finally undressed all the way, took a shower together, and got dressed. Ava fixed them something to eat and, as Rick sat there at her kitchen table drinking coffee, she realized her life was in utter disorder.

  There were towels on the floor in her bathroom, her backpack had spilled all over the living room. God only knows what had happened to the rug there.

  Chaos.

  And she had never been more content in her life.

  Yet there were so many gaps to fill. She grabbed her coffee cup and pulled up a chair next to him at the table.

  “Where do you live?” she asked.

  “Nowhere, really. I work out of Dallas and stay at headquarters there most of the time. But I don’t have a permanent place because I’m on the road a lot. ”

  They were silent for a while as they both drank their coffee.

  “Do you need to stay in Las Vegas to do your doctorate?” he asked.

  Ava realized then that Rick was wondering about her life, her future, and the two of them, the same way she was.

  “Actually, I’ve spent the past few days researching doctorate programs nationwide. There’s a program at one of the schools in Texas that looks very good. ”

  He lifted his head. “Really?”

  She smiled at the light in his eyes. “Yes. Would you mind if I went to school there?”

  He leaned forward and kissed her. “I wouldn’t mind that at all. I figured it was time I moved out of General Lee’s—that’s my superior officer—house. Time to get a place of my own. ”

  “Is that right?”

  “Yeah. Might be nice to have someone to share it with. But you know, I don’t know much about furniture and decorating and all that, so I’d need someone who did. ”

  Ava looked around at all her sparse furnishings. “Well, I have to say I don’t know much about that, either. But I think it’s high time I add some—stuff—into my life. Some color and flair and excitement. I can’t think of anyone I’d like to share that with more than you. ”

  There was a warmth in his gaze—was that love?—that she’d never seen before. It made her heart melt.

  “Could you do that? Could you leave Las Vegas, your family and friends?”

  Without hesitation, she nodded. “I think it’s time I made my own life. ”

  “There are some great programs in Dallas that I think you might like. Programs for social workers. And lots of kids that need help. ”

  “Oh, so now you think social workers might have some value. ”

  “I told you, babe, I think you have something to offer. Look what you did for me. I never believed in love until I met you. ”

  Tears filled her eyes. “I think you underestimate yourself. You’re not the only one who never believed in love, who never felt loved. For the first time in my life, I want to fill a house with warmth and love and I have you to thank for that. ”

  Rick took her hands and pulled her onto his lap. “I guess we can teach each other. ”

  A new life. New opportunities. Scary, but oh so exciting. She wrapped her arms around him. “I’m looking forward to that. ”

  He raised his lips to hers, and at the first brush of his mouth against hers Ava knew it would all work out. All she would ever need was his touch.

 
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