Riding the edge, p.7
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       Riding the Edge, p.7
 

         Part #4 of Wild Riders series by Jaci Burton
Page 6

  Author: Jaci Burton

  “What? I am not. ”

  Lacey laughed. “Yes, you are. You have to be in charge. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just the way you are and always have been. You like everything orderly and in a way that you can control it. I used to be the same way. And it worked fine for me for a while, but now it doesn’t. After I met Bo I realized how much I was missing—how much life I was missing. Now I want something different. I want this life. Maybe later, I don’t know. And maybe this will give you a chance to experience something unique and new and who knows what will happen to you because of it. It’s a chance to let your hair down a little—get a little messy. Give up a little of your control. You could use it. ”

  Now Ava felt like she was defending her own life and her own choices. “There’s nothing wrong with my life. I’m doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. ”

  “Of course you are. School, more school, and becoming a social worker. You have a flowchart with every step—every day, every month, every year—mapped out so you know exactly where you’re going. No deviations. I know it’s what you’ve wanted forever. But it’s okay to step away from academia now and then and experience a different side of life, Ava. There’s a whole real life out here that’s not in textbooks. ”

  Ava blew out a breath, tried to hold in her irritation. “Of course there is. I know that. ”

  Lacey smiled. “Good. Then let’s just have fun this week. ”

  Lacey made it sound so simple, when Ava knew it wasn’t. Lacey hadn’t just decided to go on vacation, or even sabbatical. She’d tossed everything about her life into the trash to do . . . what exactly? Hang with a biker? Did she even have a job?

  Lacey had planned on becoming a psychologist. She wanted to help people. Her entire life had been focused on her studies. Her goal was her career, her future. Just like Ava’s had always been.

  And then just like that she’d tossed it all away. Years of education, the momentum of undergraduate and graduate school. Lacey was going to be so far behind now. Ava just couldn’t fathom it. Not the Lacey she knew.

  But this Lacey didn’t want to talk about school or what she’d given up. This Lacey only wanted to have fun.

  It was a lifestyle Ava simply couldn’t comprehend. And that’s why she was here, to see if she could figure out what the lure was that would account for Lacey tossing aside her education in favor of a romance with a biker.

  And maybe, just maybe, convince her best friend to turn the corner and come back home—back to school—where she belonged.

  “Hey, baby, how about we ride on outta here?”

  Lacey lifted her head and her whole body perked up as Bo entered the kitchen and rounded the island to put his arms around her.

  “I’m game. Wherever you want to go. ”

  Bo tilted her back in his arms and planted a long, passionate kiss on her lips. Ava turned away at the intimacy and her gaze landed on Rick, who stood next to her, smiling.

  “You ready to ride, Ava?”

  “Sure. ” Not like she had a choice since she couldn’t very well call a taxi to this remote location.

  They climbed on the bikes and headed back into town. One thing about the desert—no matter what time of year it was, it got cold at night—especially in the fall. Ava had no choice but to snuggle up against Rick’s back to keep the chilly wind from penetrating through her jacket. Next time she was definitely dressing warmer.

  Though she doubted there’d be a next time, at least not with Rick. Not after tonight.

  Once they’d returned to the Strip, they pulled into the hotel parking lot and got off their bikes.

  “I need to go get my bag from my car so I can check in,” Ava said.

  Lacey looked to Bo, who had a tight hold on her hand, obviously eager to drag her up to their room.

  “I’ll walk to your car with you,” Rick said. “You two can go on ahead. ”

  “Great. ” Lacey waved to Ava. “See you in the morning. ”

  Nothing like getting dumped by your best friend. “’Night. ”

  Ava pushed the elevator button. “My car’s on another level. You really don’t have to stay with me. ”

  “I’d feel a lot better if you weren’t wandering around in a parking garage at two in the morning by yourself. If that’s okay. ”

  She managed a smile. “Yes, that’s okay. Thank you. ”

  Once on the next level she retrieved her bag from her car and they rode up to the lobby. “Have you already checked in?”

  He nodded. “Earlier today. ”

  “Okay. Well, good night then. ”

  She went to the desk and once she’d checked in, headed to the elevators. Rick was standing there. She cocked her head to the side.

  “Again, I don’t like the idea of you wandering around by yourself. I’ll walk you to your room. ”

  Okay, chivalry definitely wasn’t dead. At least not in Rick’s case. Why did he have to be so freakin’ charming? Especially since it was obvious he didn’t want her? “Thanks. Again. ”

  They rode the elevator up to her floor. Rick grabbed her bag and took the key from her hand, then led her down the hall to her room. He slid the key card in the lock and opened the door for her. She flipped on the light and turned to face him, but Rick walked inside. Ava shrugged and closed the door, followed him while he flipped on the bathroom light as if he were looking for . . . something.

  He pulled the shower curtain aside, then moved out of the bathroom and into the bedroom, checking things out.

  Checking for what, she wasn’t exactly sure. He finally set her bag on the bed and handed her the key.

  “Okay, you’re good to go. ”

  “What were you doing?”

  “You can never be too careful about hotels. I just wanted to make sure you were safe. ”

  She melted just a little bit. “Thank you, Rick. ”

  He seemed to want to linger, as if there was something he wanted to say. Or do.

  She wished.

  But then he took a step back. “I’ll let you get some sleep. ”

  She walked him to the door and opened it.

  “Rick. ”

  He paused, turned around. “Yeah?”

  “Where’s your room?”

  He cocked his head to the left. “Just a few doors down. Room 238. Call me if you need anything. ”

  “Okay. Good night. ”

  He paused, then leaned in and brushed his lips against hers. Soft, easy, and oh she wanted so much more.

  “’Night. ”

  She closed the door and locked it, leaned against the wall and sighed.

  This night could have been a lot different, if only . . .

  If only what? If only she were more like Lacey? More adventurous, less rigid? Wasn’t that what Lacey had suggested?

  She wasn’t that rigid.

  She also hadn’t been the one who had stopped things in the bedroom at Joey’s house. Rick had.

  But why?

  She unpacked her bag and pondered the situation, thinking back to the two of them kissing, how Rick’s mouth had felt on her. She placed her hand on her neck where his mouth had been, shivering at the remembered contact, how it had made her insides dissolve in a puddle of want and need.

  A shower would dissolve any remnants of his touch. She slid under the warm spray and closed her eyes, imagining Rick in the shower with her. His hands soaping her body, cupping her aching breasts and torturing her rigid nipples. She lifted her hands and did just that, which only served to fuel the flames even hotter. She let her hand drift down, over her belly and between her legs, cupping her sex. Her gasp made her eyes shoot open.

  With a sigh of frustration, she finished her shower and dried off, brushed her teeth and slid naked under the covers, figuring it was late enough she’d fall asleep right away.

  No such luck. Not with her body throbbing with the inc
essant need for an orgasm. An orgasm she was denying herself.

  Why, exactly? She’d certainly seen to her own needs before, so why not tonight?

  Because you’d had your chance to be with a rockin’ hot biker guy, and somehow you blew it.

  And that’s what bothered her the most. She didn’t know what she’d done to turn him off so abruptly. Maybe if she found out the answer, she could go to sleep.

  She reached over and flipped on the switch for the lamp on the nightstand, and stared down at the room number she’d hastily scrawled on the pad of paper.

  Room 238. Rick’s room. She picked up the hotel phone, the dial tone screaming in her ear.

  For God’s sake, Ava, it’s three-thirty in the morning. He’s sleeping. What kind of a neurotic idiot are you?

  Apparently a Class A Neurotic Idiot. She dialed his room number, her stomach clenching as it began to ring.

  “Yeah. ”

  He didn’t sound half asleep. “Rick, it’s . . . Ava. ”

  “Is something wrong?”

  “No. I’m fine. Were you sleeping?”

  “No. What’s up?”

  This had to have been the dumbest idea ever. She fumbled for the right words. There really weren’t any, so she might as well just come right out and say it. “Earlier tonight, at Joey’s . . . ”

  “Yeah?”

  “When we were upstairs in the bedroom. Alone. ”

  He didn’t say anything. Ava inhaled a breath of courage. “When we were kissing, and touching . . . you stopped. ”

  “Yes. ”

  “Why?”

  “Because you tensed up when you heard a door close out in the hallway. ”

  She frowned. “I did?”

  “Yeah. I just figured you weren’t really into what we were doing. Or maybe you weren’t . . . ready. I didn’t want to push you into anything you didn’t really want. ”

  That was why he stopped? Because she tensed up and he didn’t want to push her? Wow. Just . . . wow. He really was thoughtful. Or utterly full of shit. She couldn’t tell.

  “I wasn’t tense at all. ”

  “You didn’t want to be in that room with me. ”

  “Yes, I did. I was . . . very much into what we were doing. ”

  “Were you. ”

  He was smiling. She could tell. But was he laughing at her?

  “Yes. ”

  “How much were you into it?”

  Her body flushed with heat. “Uh . . . a lot. ”

  “Tell me, Ava. Did your nipples get hard?”

  Oh, God. She did not have phone conversations like this. Ever. But her nipples puckered. Damn him.

  “Yes. ”

  “Did your pussy get wet?”

  Oh. My. God. She shuddered out a breath. “Yes. ”

  “Are you in bed right now?”

  “Yes. ”

  “What are you wearing?”

  She looked down at her breasts. The sheet had slipped down to her waist, revealing tight, hard nipples.

  “I still have all my clothes on. ”

  He laughed, the rumbling sound touching her nerve endings. “Liar. What are you wearing?”

  His demand, spoken softly, made her want to tell him. “Nothing. ”

  “You’re naked. ”

  “Yes. ” She could barely get the word out. It was like she was standing in the same room with him, showing him.

  She heard a rustling on the other end, wished she knew what he was doing.

  “The thought of you naked makes my dick hard, Ava. ”

  Now it was her turn to rustle. She reached up and slid her thumb over her nipple, then squeezed her eyes shut as the sensation shot between her legs.

  “Does knowing that make you wet?”

  “Yes. ”

  “Does it make you want to touch your pussy?”

  She didn’t want to answer, didn’t want to have this conversation with him. And she didn’t want to hang up.

  “Answer me. ”
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