Her fantasy men, p.3
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       Her Fantasy Men, p.3
 

           Shayla Black
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  trying individually to reach her.”

  Jeremy hesitated. “I still think Rhys’s idea of getting her drunk would be more effective.”

  “I won’t take advantage of her when she’s tipsy.” Tucker’s disapproval blared through the phone.

  “I just want to ask her questions, not tie her to the bed and fuck her all night . . . though that plan has a lot of appeal.”

  “Kelsey and bondage do not belong in the same sentence.”

  Jeremy snorted. “That’s your opinion. Which, by the way, is wrong.”

  “Look, I know the nasty bedroom games you play, but Kelsey is much too sweet to be aroused by that crap.”

  The way Jeremy laughed wasn’t nice. “Then why is she wet at work all day long? And why does she get wetter the more I command her?”

  This argument was going nowhere.

  “Stop, both of you,” Rhys insisted.

  “Let’s give it a week or so,” Tucker suggested. “We could all question her separately to see what we can learn, then touch base again.”

  “We can meet at my office some late afternoon when you’re both available.”

  “Won’t Kelsey be there?” Rhys pointed out.

  Jeremy shot back, “I’ll demand she do something in another room.”

  “Demand?” Tucker clearly didn’t like the sound of that.

  “I’m good both at being her boss and a Dominant. She’ll comply.”

  “She’s not a damn dog.”

  Rhys sighed. “Stop it! We’ll each try to pry the answer out of her separately. We’ll meet up at Jeremy’s office next week and be totally honest about the outcome. I’d still rather see her happily settled with one of us than some loser we don’t know who could hurt her.”

  “All right,” Tucker grumbled.

  Jeremy’s voice was firm. “Agreed.”

  Tucker sighed. “What do we do if, by next week, we still don’t know anything about Kelsey’s feelings?”

  Rhys paused. Jeremy sighed. Together, they said, “We get her drunk.”

  The honeyed bliss of release was gone when Kelsey opened her eyes. The tingling in her arms and legs receded, her heartbeat returning to normal. That electric, so alive feeling slowly dissipated, leaving something jagged and empty in its place.

  Slowly, she opened her eyes. And she was alone. Again.

  Shoving aside her toys, she tore out her earbuds, drew her knees to her chest, and hung her head. How long could she stay in this limbo, desperately wanting three men and having none because she didn’t know what they really felt and was too afraid to upset the status quo? Because she couldn’t risk choosing one and potentially having the other two disappear from her life?

  Tucker she could never live without. He knew her down to her core. He was the first person she thought of when she needed a hug. The only person she’d bared her secrets to had been him. Just as she’d listened in return. His quiet, sexy ways left her breathless. She itched to touch him, discover how much deeper their friendship could be. Doing without Tucker would leave a hole in her heart from which she’d never recover.

  Jeremy . . . She’d been working for him for nearly four years. His absence in her life would kill her. Without him, she feared she’d morph from a confident, independent female back to the spiritual equivalent of wallpaper. Her self-assurance soared under Jeremy’s hot stares. He’d taught her when to crush opponents and when to show compassion. He made her feel vital, vibrant, needed—and like the kind of woman who could inspire the forbidden. He aroused her as no man had, his commanding streak the stuff of her fantasies. They just . . . clicked.

  Rhys often reminded her not to take her life, her job, her problems—or herself—too seriously. He was her positive outlook, her silver lining. He’d taught her that things happened for a reason. Besides preventing her from being too maudlin, he shared her passion for movies with sophomoric humor and was her resident handyman. He was always willing to eat whatever experiment she dished out in the kitchen. And always backed it up with Moose Tracks ice cream. Without him, she’d forget to embrace all her tomorrows and smile gratefully for each new sunrise.

  How was she ever going to choose? But how could she keep denying her feelings—and fearing theirs?

  Kelsey sighed. She’d had this argument with herself a thousand times. And a thousand times reached the same conclusion: She had to keep her love for them to herself.

  Rising slowly, she padded to her bathroom and shut the door. A sumptuous bubble bath might relax her enough to sleep. Of course, she could give herself another orgasm . . . but pleasure without her fantasy men—Tucker, Jeremy, and Rhys—was losing its blush.

  And the depression afterward was getting heavier by the climax.

  She turned the handle on her temperamental bathtub, praying for hot water. And waited. And waited.

  Cold water sloshed over her fingertips. Damn this tub!

  Groaning, Kelsey closed her eyes. Why now? She had three incredible men to try to soak out of her heart.

  Call Rhys or pray for sleep that probably wouldn’t come? Kelsey chewed on a ragged fingernail for a moment, then sighed. No contest.

  She padded across the hall and grabbed her cell phone.

  “Hello?” he answered.

  That was it? No How’s my sexiest neighbor? Or I never thought you’d call, baby. Just hello? Even weirder, Rhys’s voice on the other end sounded stilted. Shaky.

  “You all right?”

  He swallowed. “Great.”

  Sounded more like aliens had overtaken his personality. But if he didn’t want to talk about whatever was bugging him, she wasn’t going to push it. More than once, she’d been down about her hopeless situation with these great men, and Rhys had encouraged her to confide her troubles in him. But she’d remained silent. She couldn’t pry now and expect him to spill if she wasn’t willing to do the same.

  “Is this a bad time? If I’m interrupting something—”

  “Not at all. Just hoping to see you again.”

  God, she’d love to see him too. And that was so dangerous.

  She winced. “Even if it’s to fix my bathtub?”

  “Absolutely. I’ll be right there.”

  Before she could say anything, he ended the call and she heard his knock on her front door. Damn, he must have been walking and talking at the same time. And she was still standing here stark naked.

  Throwing on her cover-up, Kelsey dashed down the hall and opened the door. She caught her breath. Rhys stood there in faded jeans and a tight gray T-shirt that clung to every ripped, rugged muscle. The breeze ruffled his short tawny hair. Those green eyes of his were like lasers, fastening on her face, then drifting down in a hot gaze to the zipper secured just above her cleavage. Like he wanted her. Her nipples peaked.

  Awareness that she wore nothing beneath a thin bit of white terrycloth was sharp as a blade—and just as disconcerting.

  Rhys’s narrowed gaze fastened on her breasts. He gripped the door frame and raised his stare to her face again. She’d never seen this side of him. No teasing or laughter. No flirting. Desire broke across his expression, taut, harsh, unapologetic. Though he didn’t say a word or make a move, his want detonated like a bomb between them. The explosion rocked her.

  She swallowed, shook. Should she let him in? What would happen if she did?

  Nothing. She was strong; she had to be. To give him what she wanted—what they both wanted—would upset the delicate relationships she had with all three men.

  “Come in.” Her legs trembled as she stepped back to admit him.

  He brushed against her as he entered her foyer, and she bit back a gasp at the rush of tingles. A flash of dizzy need assailed her.

  God, this was a thousand times stronger than any orgasm she’d given herself, and he’d barely touched her.

  “Your cheeks are flushed, Kelsey.”

  I’ve been stroking myself and thinking of you.

  Forcing a shaky laugh, she shut the door, enclosing them in
the privacy of her house. “I had a wrestling match with the bathtub and lost. You know how I am when I lose my temper.”

  The corners of his mouth lifted, but it wasn’t exactly a smile. “What’s the problem?”

  As Kelsey retreated down the hall to her room, hoping the little white garment covered her ass completely, she beat back a rising panic. Nothing was different tonight. She could let Rhys in her bedroom—and had a dozen times at least. He would enter, go straight to her bathroom, fix the problem, flirt, then leave. This was same old shit, different day.

  But tonight, he touched his palm to the small of her back, his big body hovering behind her, his chest brushing her back. His scent, like earth and pine, wrapped around her. Kelsey got weak-kneed all over again.

  “Kelsey? The problem?”

  Right. “I need it hot.”

  “I’d love to give it to you as hot as you can stand it,” he murmured in her ear.

  Oh God. His words shivered down her spine. “I meant the water.”

  His expression said that he didn’t believe her. She wasn’t sure she did either.

  As they rounded the corner to her bedroom, Kelsey drew in a nervous breath. Ten minutes. If he was coming on to her, she could be strong and resist him that long.

  “I turned on the water a few minutes ago and . . .” Kelsey risked a glance at him over her shoulder.

  He was staring at her bed, at the rabbit and vibrator she’d accidentally left there.

  Mortification rushed over her in a hot, sickening wave. Oh, please don’t let him guess that I’ve masturbated to thoughts of him . . .

  “Fix the water temperature. Please.” She pushed him toward the bathroom.

  Rhys didn’t budge an inch. Instead, he pulled her closer and braced his hands on her hips. She couldn’t possibly miss his erection against her belly, hot and pressing. She trembled again.

  “Kelsey, baby ...”

  She closed her eyes to avoid his probing stare. “Don’t say a word.”

  “It’s all right. You have needs. I want to fulfill them.”

  Right now, she wanted that too, so badly, she could nearly taste him. He’d be salty and musky and so damn male . . .

  “It’s complicated.”

  “It doesn’t have to be. I’d never hurt you. I just want to take care of you every way you’ll let me.”

  Oh God, oh God, oh God. She had to stop this now, and she knew one way to scare Rhys off in a heartbeat. He hated clingy women. Three had attached themselves to him at last month’s community barbecue. He’d cut them all off cold.

  “It wouldn’t be right for either of us. I’m twenty-eight, Rhys. I want to get married, start having children. You’re a few years younger and—”

  “Let’s do it.”

  Kelsey’s jaw dropped. “Y-you want to get married?”

  “To you? Absolutely. I think about you . . . Damn. It’s constant. So is my desire.” He caressed her cheek. “And my love.”

  She blinked, drew in a shaking breath, clutched his thick biceps for support. Was he trying to say that he didn’t just want her, but . . . loved her. “Truly?”

  A smile crept up his lips as his hand drifted to her shoulder. “I know we usually share laughs. But I’m serious. If I thought for a second that you’d marry me, I’d be on one knee with ring in hand, begging you.”

  Her shaky breathing nearly became hyperventilating. Oh my God. “We’re friends, Rhys.”

  “We could be a whole lot more.”

  “I had no idea you felt that strongly.”

  “You’re it for me, Kelsey.”

  “How can you know that? I mean, we’ve never—um ...” His revelations were so startling, she couldn’t form a coherent sentence.

  “Kissed? Had sex?” He arched a golden brow. “We can solve that right now.”

  The bed was in her peripheral vision. They could be on it—together—in the next few minutes. She could have Rhys as her lover, have one of her fantasies fulfilled.

  Temptation crashed through her. Her stomach knotted tight. Even the thought made her wet. In the past, he’d subtly suggested that he’d like to sleep with her, wrapped it in a flirtatious joke or double entendre. She’d blown him off. Nothing veiled about his words tonight.

  If she turned him down now, would she be doing the right thing? Or would she regret it?

  “You’re thinking too hard. I want you; you want me. I love you.”

  He looked at her expectantly, those green eyes shining with honesty. He loved her. Really, truly loved her. Kelsey couldn’t lie to him. The moment was too sincere, too raw, for anything else. “I love you too.”

  “Ah, baby…” He beamed and wrapped his arms around her. “Let’s start there. The rest we’ll worry about later.”

  She shouldn’t. Kelsey knew that. This would change her relationship with Rhys—and Tucker and Jeremy.

  But when Rhys leaned in and settled his mouth over hers in a hungry press, she was gone.

  He was like embracing a mountain, big, fresh, powerful, undeniable—a force all his own. At the insistent urging of his lips, she opened to let him inside. The sweep of him against her tongue was a big burst of taste and sensation. Crisp and clean, he filled her with a flash of sensation that swept her with heat and want.

  Kelsey threw her arms around his shoulders and lost herself in his touch. He cupped the back of her head, lavishing one heart-stopping kiss after another on her until she was breathless and achy.

  Toys had nothing compared to this man, and Kelsey feared that, after tonight, she’d never be satisfied with them again.

  “Baby,” he breathed against her lips. “You don’t know how long I’ve wanted . . . waited.”

  “Yes, I do.” More than he could possibly imagine.

  “Do you think about me when you touch yourself?”

  His low voice rasped in her ear, then he pressed his mouth to her throat, her collarbone, the swell of her breast above the cover-up. One of his hands made its way up the back of her thigh to cup her bare ass. Under that kind of assault, Kelsey couldn’t be anything but honest.

  “I have.”

  “Jesus,” he muttered under his breath. “You don’t do for yourself anymore. You come to me. Understand?”

  It wasn’t that simple, and she tried to find the words to explain, but he yanked the zipper of her cover-up down to her abdomen and pushed it away from her breasts.

  “Fuck,” he whispered. “You’re gorgeous, baby.”

  Kelsey had to resist an instinctive urge to cover her breasts. “They’re big.”

  “Yeah,” he said, as if that were the most wonderful fact ever.

  Then he cupped one, his thumb brushing her nipple. It was already hard, but his touch pinged reckless pleasure all through her body. She gasped at the electric sensation and felt her sex gush again.

  Rhys’s mouth covered hers once more, now devouring, heat-seeking, yearning. She melted like a wax on a long-lit candle as he cupped her other breast, rolling the nipple, pinching. Her sex clenched with need.

 
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