This man, p.32
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       This Man, p.32

         Part #1 of This Man series by Jodi Ellen Malpas
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Page 32

  Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas

  ‘Oh. ’ She’s back in the game. ‘She just walked in, started screaming and shouting, and lobbed a coffee over the poor bloke. ’

  ‘What did she say?’

  ‘Oh, I can’t remember. She called him a selfish, cheating something or other. ’ she flips casually. Sam has a girlfriend? I’ll have to warn Kate, she seems to like him. ‘Hey, he’s with the guy who hoofed you out of the office. ’

  ‘Yeah, listen, keep that to yourself, okay?’

  She frowns at me. ‘What?’

  ‘I mean the flying coffee. And while we’re at it, not a word to Patrick about the hoofing either. ’

  She shrugs. ‘Whatever. Oh, I love this song. Ava, come on. ’

  I watch as Victoria dances her way back through the crowd, but I can’t move. I can feel his eyes burning into my back. I know I should just walk away, but the magnet affect he has on me sets me turning towards him instead. He has his phone in his hand, and he waves it in the air in a kind of look gesture. I don’t know why I do, but I do. I get my phone from my bag, and not so much to my surprise, Jesse’s name is illuminating my screen. I glance back up, seeing him put his phone to his ear. He wants me to answer it.

  The loud music around me fades out into a dull base, pulsing in my ears, and the hum of laughing and chatting diminishes into a low mumble of sound around me. I’m being swallowed up by his eyes. I’m completely immobilised. My senses are assaulted by the presence of Jesse Ward, the sight of him triggering all the memories of his voice, his smell, his touch. The unforgiving power he holds over me is playing the Devil’s advocate with my intelligence, and my heart is hammering a wild, uneven beat in my ears.

  I watch as he lowers his phone from his ear, shaking his head. He starts towards me. I see Sam look in my direction as Jesse leaves their group, Drew flipping his eyes up too. They both look uneasy at Jesse’s obvious target.

  I momentarily recapture my senses when Sam grabs Jesse’s arm to pull him back, but gets shoved out of the way. The music and activity crashes back into my brain. I plead with my legs to listen to the sensible side of my brain and take me away from here before my stupid side allows me to fall victim to his physical magnetism again. I abandon my drink on the bar and kick my legs into action, bolting through the crowd, knocking people out of the way, as my retreat becomes fraught with the need to make it to the safety of the toilets. No contact and no derailment. Hazardous doesn’t quite cover it. He’s proved tonight exactly why I need to avoid him like the plague.

  I throw the cubicle door shut, fighting to secure the latch as he pushes against the other side, hindering my attempts to keep him away. My adrenalin is pumping. For the briefest of moments, I think I’ve managed to block his access because the resistance on the other side eases, but not enough to for me to get the lock engaged.

  ‘Ava, I’m coming in or you’re coming out. I don’t want to hurt you, but if you don’t stop fighting me, I’ll break the fucking door down. ’ His breathing is heavy.

  Resting my back against the door, I try to get some air into my lungs. I look up around me. I’m cornered. You would think I would be safe in the ladies. I can’t look at him, I’ll cave if he gets is hands on me. I need not to be in this fucking position! How did I get myself in the situation? I jump when the bang of a fist on the door resonates through me.

  ‘God damn it, Ava!’ Bang! ‘Ava, please. ’

  I repeatedly jolt forward under the thumps of Jesse’s fist. I’m screwed. ‘Go away, please!’ I shout.

  His fist collides with the door again. ‘No, fuck. Ava!’

  I just have to leave. He won’t restrain me in such a public place. I need to walk away. Block it out…block him out. There’s silence. I hold my breath. Has he gone? I stand quietly for a few minutes, my eyes darting around the small cubicle, constantly looking up to check he’s not coming over the top. He’s gone. I stupidly relax against the door.

  Within in two seconds flat, I’m thrust forward and he’s in. When I turn around, there’s less than a foot between us, and the first thing I notice is his rapid breathing, his black shirt lifting with the rise and fall of his chest. I stare at his jeans. If I look up at his handsome face, I’m at an instant disadvantage.

  ‘Ava, look at me. ’ he demands harshly. I clap my hands over my ears, lowering myself to the toilet seat. I need to block it all out. ‘Ava, why are you doing this?’ he asks.

  Oh, how long have I got to sit here and block it all out? I start humming in my head as I stare down at the floor. I feel his hands clap around my wrists, pulling my hands away from my ears. His touch heats my skin. Why does he think I’m doing this?

  ‘I don’t want to do this in the toilets of a bar, Ava. ’

  ‘Then don’t. ’ I try to regain possession of my hands but, as usual, he overpowers me. ‘Please, just let me walk away. ’

  He slowly crouches down in front of me, still holding my wrists. ‘Never. ’ he whispers.

  The tears in my eyes spill over, splashing the top of my bare knees. ‘Why are you doing this to me?’

  He clenches my jaw, pulling it up so I have no choice but to look at him. His eyes are glazed. ‘Doing what?’

  Oh, the arsehole. His impudence knows no bounds. I use my free hand to roughly brush the dampness away from my cheeks, suddenly horrified that I am, yet again, crying all over him.

  ‘You persistently pursued me, bombarded me with calls and texts, fucked me into oblivion and threw a wobbly when I re-arranged our meeting. You stormed off four days ago, and I’ve not heard from you since!’ I pull my other hand from his grasp. ‘Now, you turn up, trampling all over my recovery night. ’

  He’s the one to look away now, he’s ashamed. ‘Watch your mouth. ’ he murmurs.

  Watch my mouth? After all that, he tells me to watch my mouth? He’s impossible!

  ‘Fuck off, Jesse. ’ I spit.

  His head snaps up. ‘Mouth!’

  I look at him in shock, and he scowls at me, his frown line deep on his forehead. I can’t cope with this. I’ve had four days to put my encounters with this man down to experience and rebound fucking. I was well on my way to forgetting him – kind of. Why is he here refreshing it all for me? I knew I should’ve stayed away. I could kick myself.

  I stand up in front of him, leaving him crouching, but he reaches up and clasps behind my bare legs. The fear of his evocative touch is completely warranted. I’m immediately on guard. The heat emanating from his palms is spreading like wild fire through my blood stream, and there is no way to free myself from it. The toilet is behind me and he’s blocking the door.

  ‘Let me go, Jesse. ’ I grate, with all the firmness my quivering vocal cords will allow.

  He looks up at me. ‘No. ’

  ‘You seemed to manage just fine on Tuesday. ’

  He pushes himself up to his feet, sliding his palms up the backs of my legs as he does. It sparks a vicious bang between my legs. ‘I was mad. ’ he says quietly as he looms over me.

  ‘You’re still mad. Did you know I would be here?’ I ask. He stares down at me, but he doesn’t answer. ‘You knew I would be here, didn’t you?’ I push.

  ‘Sam. ’ he offers, completely unashamed.

  ‘Sam?’

  His face is poker straight. ‘He rang Kate. ’

  ‘She never said!’ I cry in despair. The devious cow! I can’t believe she’s done this to me. There will be some seriously strong words exchanged when I get my hands on her.

  ‘I’m going to kiss you now. ’ It’s that tone, and I know I’m doomed. ‘You’re lucky, because if I had you anywhere else, you would be getting a reminder. . . right. . . about. . . now. ’

  I gasp as he takes the one step forward that’s needed to close the gap between us. With the toilet behind me, there’s no retreating space.

  ‘I like your dress,’ he murmurs, stroking my bare arm with his finger tip. ‘It
’s too short, but I like it. ’ He leans down, nuzzling my neck on a groan. My knees buckle. Damn him. And damn me too.

  My eyes close without command, my head turning into his hot breath on my neck, my willpower scattered to the wind, just like that. It’s impossible. He’s impossible.

  I feel him crouch slightly, his arm creeping under my backside, and with one effortless pull, he straightens his legs and lifts me from the floor. I’m secure against his chest and looking down into his eyes.

  Game over. In a tiny toilet cubicle, I’ve absolutely no hope.

  ‘Do you have any idea what you do to me?’ His husky voice breaks as he looks up at me. ‘I’m a fucking mess. ’

  He’s a mess? That’s rich! He releases his grip on me slightly, causing me to slide down his body until our lips meet. He swings me around, pinning me up against the back of the door. I don’t have time to be concerned by our location; I’m too busy searching for the willpower to stop this. His tongue brushes across the seam of my closed lips, tempting them open, and I’m furious with myself for responding. But I should know by now…it’s unavoidable. I open to him like I always do, meeting his tongue with mine, clamping my hands in his hair.

  Groaning deep and low in his throat, he locks his free hand around the base of my neck to hold me in place as he pushes his body further into mine. Our mouths are fused and our tongues colliding, rolling and stabbing together. This is a possessive, demanding kiss, and I’m back to square one. With just one kiss, I’ve surrendered. I’m weak and desperate.

  He breaks away, leaving me panting and feeling the violent rise of his chest pressing against my breast bone. His forehead meets mine and my nostrils are instantly invaded with his minty breath.

  ‘There she is. ’ he pants surely.

  ‘Yes, you got me again. ’

  He smiles slightly, circling his nose with mine. ‘I missed you, baby. ’

  ‘Why did you go then?’

  ‘I’ve no idea. ’ He plants a lingering kiss on my lips and lets me slide down his body.

  I feel the undeniable hard ridge of an arousal as I slip past his groin. He’s being very reasonable, especially considering his current hard condition. I look up at him, finding a dark smile playing at the corners of his lips.

  ‘I should force you to sort this out. ’ He places his hand over his crotch and my eyes widen in shock. Fuck, I probably would as well. He bashes down all of my defences and tramples my rational thinking. He has a frightening effect on me. ‘But I’m not having you on your knees in here. We’ll make friends properly later. ’

  I’m not sure if I’m disappointed or relieved. He opens the door, manoeuvring so I can leave. I walk out to be immediately confronted by two wide eyed women. They start talking about anything and everything, looking anywhere and everywhere, except at me. But then Jesse makes an appearance and they can’t hide their blatant interest. They both stand with their lipsticks half way to their lips, gawking in the reflection of the mirror at the magnificent male who has emerged from the cubicle behind me.

  I turn to Jesse. ‘I need to sort my face out. I’ll see you out there. ’

  ‘You face is perfect as it is. ’ he reassures me softly.

  I can’t help but smile. ‘I won’t be long. ’

  With no regard for the women still gawping at him, he walks over and kisses my forehead, looking at the dumbstruck women in the mirror. ‘Ladies,’ He nods, they swoon, and then he’s gone.

  I shuffle over to the mirror to sort my face out, the silence painful as I re-apply face powder, eye liner and lipstick. In other words, I basically re-do my whole face; it’s a tear stained mess. I do all of this in an uncomfortable silence, as the two women shoot each other questioning glances every so often.

  When I’m done, I wash my hands, smile sweetly and leave, hearing them coo and melt all over the ladies bathroom. I escape and find Jesse waiting for me outside. He holds his hand out on a smile. Of course, I take it, letting him lead me to the bar. I scan the dance floor as he pushes his way through the crowd, making a clear path by holding his spare arm out. I see Kate, Tom and Victoria, all still busting their moves.

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