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Hot buttered rum standal.., p.12
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       Hot Buttered Rum: Standalone Romance (Silk Stocking Inn Book 4), p.12

           Tess Oliver

  His tilted smile returned. “Guess I’ll leave you to your bath then. But if you need anything else, towels, soap retrieved or even your back washed, just whistle. I’ll be across the hall.”

  I nearly made the mistake of sitting straight up again but stopped just before my nipples popped up above the surface. “You’re staying here? At the Silk Stocking Inn?”

  “Free room and board came with the handyman job. Catch you later, Jessi. Maybe next time without the bubbles.” He walked out of the bathroom before I could devise a clever retort.

  I heard the bedroom door shut and sank back down. “Glad he’s gone,” I said to myself.

  But as I lowered the blindfold over my eyes and relaxed back, all I could think about was his big, rough hands washing my back.

  Chapter 7

  No wonder my mom never let me eat dessert first. The cupcakes had destroyed my appetite for dinner. As hungry as I’d been when I arrived at the inn, I could barely take a bite of the fried chicken, a delicious drumstick that was every bit as deliciously prepared as the cupcakes. I picked off a piece of the buttered biscuit on the plate and absently stared into the roaring fire as I pushed the morsel between my lips.

  I thought about the day and how I’d reached a point in my career that was something to celebrate, only I really had no one to celebrate with. My quest for success had, somehow, left me without a lot of close friends. My constant search for the right man had become so tiresome, I’d basically given up on the idea. My lacking social life had allowed me to pour myself into my job. Apparently, it had also left me lonely enough to conjure erotic daydreams about soda delivery men. And, it seemed I was at it once again. The last man to have walked casually into my life, or not so casually since he’d already seen me clad only in soap bubbles, had really done a number on my imagination. He’d walked out wearing that cocky smile and a thin layer of sweat and grit from a day of work, and all I could think about was falling into his massive arms and curling up against his flannel covered chest. Actually, the flannel wasn’t even a necessary part of the fantasy. Bare skin would be just fine too.

  There was a knock at the door. I flew to it, visions of my hunky soap rescuer floating through my head like sugarplums. Or cupcakes, since I really had no idea what a sugarplum was. I smoothed my long, slightly unruly hair back, pinched my cheeks for some color and spread the top of my robe just a little wider to expose some cleavage. Then, with a smile that could have won me a spot on a toothpaste commercial, I opened the door.

  My shoulders dropped a bit, erasing my nicely presented cleavage. The flashy white smile went too. “Coco, it’s you.”

  Her all-knowing grin appeared, assuring me that she, once again, knew what I was thinking. My cheeks warmed in embarrassment.

  “I was just checking to see if you wanted me to take the plates down to the kitchen.”

  “Plates? Oh yes, well, I didn’t quite finish. It’s delicious, but I think the cupcakes sort of wiped out my hunger.”

  Coco followed me inside, and I handed her the plates. As she took them, some of those phantom age lines around her eyes reappeared. But by the time she turned to leave, they were gone. Her posture straightened too. She stopped in the doorway. “I’ve got a nice white wine chilling downstairs. Would you like a glass?”

  “Yes, that sounds wonderful. I’ll follow you down, so you don’t have to make another trip up to my room.” We walked out into the hallway.

  A shower was running behind a bathroom door. Coco inclined her head toward it. “Did Grayson deliver the towels?”

  “Uh, yes, yes he did.”

  “He’s such a doll. And he’s very handy.” She said the last word in such a way that it left no room for interpretation. I wondered just how much work the man was doing around the Silk Stocking Inn. Well, I didn’t need to be part of Coco’s strange, tawdry world. I’d be out of the place at first light.

  I took the wine with a quick thank you, not completely sure why I was suddenly so angry at the woman, but her suggestive comment about Grayson had sparked a bit of jealousy. It was ridiculous, of course, since I had nothing to do with the man, or Coco for that matter. I’d slip out of here at dawn and never look back. Although the cupcakes, dreamy room and bathtub were going to be hard to forget.

  My mind had been so preoccupied, I hadn’t realized that I’d drained the wine glass before I’d even reached the top of the stairs. Oddly enough, I was already feeling a little tipsy from it. It was probably just the extraordinary day catching up to me.

  I reached the landing and made a bee-line for my bedroom door.

  My determined path was interrupted as the bathroom door flew open and a soapy steam seeped out into the dark hallway. I stopped short as I found myself directly in front of a half-naked handyman.

  My eyes shifted downward and lingered along the dark line of hair that bisected Grayson’s taut abdomen and disappeared beneath the edge of the towel he had wrapped low around his hips.

  “Bubbles, we meet again. How was the bath?” His dark eyes looked navy blue under the dim hall light. He stared straight down the gap in my robe. I made a show of being offended. But I was hardly that. What I really wanted to do was slide the silky robe right off my shoulders to show off the skimpy nightie beneath.

  “The bath was lovely, and now, if you’ll excuse me—” I tried to sidestep him, but he mirrored my step with his own.

  “I see the long soak didn’t wash away any of the uptightness.” Water dripped off the ends of his dark hair, and the beads of liquid rolled over his muscular shoulders and chest.

  “I’m not the least bit uptight.” I lifted the empty wine glass. “I just don’t want to keep you. You’re leaving a puddle of water on Coco’s hallway floor.”

  He glanced down. I was certain he was going to check for water on the floor, instead his gaze stopped at the thin ribbon tied around my waist, holding together the panels of my satin robe.

  “You’ve got me curious, Bubbles,” he said as he stepped close enough for me to see every dark beard stubble on his strong jaw.

  “The name is Jessi. Jessica, actually.” I stepped back. “And exactly what are you so curious about?”

  He glanced at the glass in my hand and then took another step toward me. I backed up and found myself pressed against the wall. I peered up at him as he moved closer, near enough that I could smell the soap on his freshly washed skin.

  He lifted his hand and dragged his fingers along my forearm. “I was just curious how that wine might taste on those amazing lips of yours.”

  The glass slipped from my fingers, but before it crashed to the floor, Grayson snatched it from midair.

  “Nice reflexes,” I said, my voice suddenly sounding nothing like my usual confident tone. He set the glass down on the small wooden table behind him.

  “Thanks. I have a reputation for moving fast.”

  More sexual innuendo and instead of taking it as my cue to duck out from between the man and the wall, I stayed there, glued against the wallpaper as if someone had put the paste on the wrong side.

  He lifted his hand and leaned his impressive forearm against the wall behind me, moving his body so that it was just an inch from mine. Heat radiated off his half-naked form. The warmth seemed to find its way beneath my robe and nightie. A swirl of it curled around my thighs and between my legs.

  “Something tells me, Jessi, that under the right circumstances and with the right person, you’d be less uptight. Hell, you might even have some fun.”

  “I have fun. I have fun all of the damn time,” I protested lamely.

  “Yeah? Prove it.” Before I knew what was happening, his hand reached up and tugged at the frail ribbon around my robe. The panels parted as he leaned forward and pressed his mouth against mine. His tongue teased me, demanding me to part my lips. I complied.

His kiss deepened. It sent a shiver of pleasure through me, reducing me to putty in his hands. Any tension or inhibitions I’d felt earlier flowed from my body, and I melted into his arms. And they weren’t just any arms. They felt powerful, secure, even protective as they folded around me.

  Grayson lifted his mouth from mine and lowered his kisses to my neck. My head lulled back as he dragged his mouth along my throat to the swell of my breast. He pushed the top of my nightgown down with his chin, his rough beard stubble scraping deliciously against my skin.

  He dropped his arms with a groan, grabbed my hand possessively and led me along the hallway like a shiftless kite on the end of a string. My head was light from the wine and his kisses. My feet fell, one in front of the other, trailing behind him until we ended up at my door. Grayson turned to me and pulled me into his arms as the door pushed open. His mouth devoured mine as he spun me around and backed me toward the bed. My robe fell to the ground with one push of his hand.

  He took hold of my wrists and lifted them out to my sides. He followed this rather bold move by staring hungrily at my body, a body now covered only by a papery thin, nearly transparent nightie. The lacy hem of the sheer garment landed at the top of my thighs.

  Grayson lifted my arms higher to reveal my lacy panties.

  “Those need to come off,” he said with complete confidence as if he knew damn well I wouldn’t say no. With the urgent need I was feeling to have him touch every inch of me, I had no intention of it.

  With some effort, I pulled my hand free and moved to push down my panties. He stopped my progress and shook his head.

  “I said they needed to come off. But they’re coming off my way.” If anyone else, and, particularly, any other man had spoken to me in such a commanding tone, I would have bristled. Instead, moisture pooled in my panties. I was nearly overwhelmed with the desire to have him strip me naked. He seemed to read my thoughts.

  Grayson reached forward and took hold of the edge of my panties. One good tug and the thin lacy strap holding them on my hips was shredded. The remnants of my expensive silk panties fell to the floor in a flimsy white pile of shiny fabric and lace.

  I reached up and ran my fingers across his chin. “Those were my only pair of panties.”

  “Good. Then I won’t have to deal with any more obstacles.” His mouth returned to mine.

  Lost in his kiss, I fumbled blindly for the edge of his towel. My fingers curled around it and I gave it a sharp tug. The towel fell on the floor next to my panties. The tip of his cock brushed against my belly, and I sucked in a breath.

  My mind was working in overdrive to convince me this was wrong. Wild sex with a complete stranger in the middle of a strange place, a place that had, no less, popped up out of an unexplained fog, had to be high on the random acts of insanity list. Still, I couldn’t seem to stop myself.

  Grayson’s tongue stroked my lips. He groaned against my mouth as my fingers curled around his thick erection.

  “Damn,” I uttered on a shocked whisper. I didn’t need to look down at the cock in my hand to know it was enormous.

  An arrogant grin tilted his mouth as his dark blue eyes glittered down at me. “I’ll take that ‘damn’ as a sign that you approve.”

  A warm, embarrassed blush started at my face and traveled down my neck and breasts.

  His smiled broadened as he gazed down at me. “And I’ll take that beautiful pink blush as a second sign.”

  I ran my hand from the base of his cock to the moist tip. He closed his eyes and grunted with frustration as he reached down and took hold of my wrist. “Hey, bossy lady, it’s time to relinquish control. If you keep stroking me like that with those beautiful, hard nipples pressed against that paper thin shift and those lush lips of yours still wet and ready for my mouth, then I’m going to spill my seed right here on the hardwood floor.

  His voice grew ragged and hoarse as he spoke. The sound of it was rough, raw and completely intoxicating. I wanted nothing more than to give up control. I released my hold on him.

  I was in a place that I would probably never return to and standing with a man who I’d probably never see again after tonight, it made for the perfect one night stand. I’d throw all reason and caution to the wind or, in this case, to the impenetrable fog that had me trapped here. I’d have that fun he’d teased me about.

  “For tonight,” I whispered, “I’m yours. Completely. No bossy lady in this room tonight.”

  He lowered his mouth to my ear and ran his tongue around the lobe. My entire body trembled with ticklish delight. He kept his mouth next to my ear. “Say the part about being mine again. It makes me rock hard to hear it from those amazing fucking lips of yours.”

  He straightened and gazed at me with his deep blue eyes in a way that nearly pitched me right over the edge of an orgasm.

  I lifted my mouth to his. “Tonight, Grayson, I’m yours . . . completely.”

  A low feral sound rolled up from his chest. He reached for my hand and led me to the foot of the bed. He turned me around. His body pressed up against mine. His erection pressed teasingly against my bottom as he reached down and took hold of both my hands. None-too-gently, he placed my hands on the wrought iron at the foot of the bed.

  He stepped back and kissed the back of my neck and shoulders. I moved to turn around into his arms, but he covered my hands with his to keep me in place. “Stay put, darlin’. You’re mine completely. Completely.” He lowered his mouth to my ear again. “I’m in charge.”

  His deep authoritative tone sent a frisson through me that was a mix of uncertainty and anticipation. At the same time, I’d never wanted anyone this badly. All I could think about was him taking rough hold of my hips and pushing his oversized erection deep inside of me.

  My wet pussy clenched at the mere thought of him standing behind me naked and ready. Part of me was still convinced none of this was real. But the part of me who didn’t give a damn whether it was fantasy or reality was begging for release.

  Grayson pushed his foot between my feet and nudged them apart. I felt him kneel down behind me. The earlier blush had returned as I thought about him eye level with my naked bottom. His fingers pushed the sheer nightie up above my ass, and before I could catch my breath at being so exposed, his mouth pressed against my naked ass.

  He kissed me and bit me lightly. I giggled in response.

  “You are fucking edible, darlin’.” Strong hands curled around my hips and he pulled my bottom out farther, exposing even more of me.

  It started with a light kiss against the wet folds of my pussy. That light touch sent a pulsating need through me. I reacted by pushing myself harder against his mouth. He responded by sliding his tongue along my clit.

  My fingers tightened around the footboard railing. “God, yes,” I pleaded softly. “Please. Grayson.”

  He answered my plea with his tongue. He was skilled and knew just the amount of pressure I needed to make my clit throb. Callused fingers reached up and spread my pussy wide. His hand slid around to my clit as his tongue dove deep inside of me.

  I’d barely managed to catch my breath and grow steady on my feet when my pussy and entire body shattered into a glorious orgasm. I held firmly to the bed, almost unable to stay on my feet as Grayson continued to run his tongue against my most intimate parts.

  I was still reeling from it all when he straightened behind me. The heat radiating off his naked body was nothing compared to the burning hot words he growled in my ear. “Hands and knees, darlin’, I’m not finished with you yet.”

  My body was warm with the flush of what had just happened and the scintillating prospect of what was still to come. For a quick second, I grappled with the notion that I would regret this night, but it faded quickly as Grayson gripped my wrist and led me to the bedside.

  “Do you have—”

h an almost predatory grin, his hungry gaze remained fixed on me as he reached into the nightstand and pulled out not one but an entire handful of condoms.

  My mouth dropped open as he showered the pillow with foil packages.

  “Coco certainly is a well-prepared hostess, isn’t she? But how did you know—”

  His mouth covered mine before I could finish my obvious question. I could analyze the whole damn thing, or I could continue on with the same wild abandon I’d exhibited moments ago when I’d let a virtual stranger press his mouth against my pussy and bring me quickly to climax. I was going with the latter. I could deal with puzzling things out tomorrow. Tonight, I wanted this, and I wanted Grayson, stranger or not.

  Chapter 8

  “Darlin’, hands and knees now,” Grayson repeated just sternly enough to send a tremor of excitement through me.

  He waved his hand over the bed. I sat on it. I started scooting on my bottom to the center, but he grabbed my ankle to stop me. As handsome as he was smiling, he was dangerously breathtaking when he was serious. His perfectly chiseled jaw twitched under the beard stubble. But it wasn’t anger that was making the muscle in his face flicker. It was pure determination. He wanted me fiercely, and it sent a rush of heat through my body that I could only describe as pure delight.

  Grayson moved so swiftly, I hardly noticed him reach for the hem of my nightgown. He had it up and off of me before I could protest. Not that I had any plans of it.

  He reached forward and teased my hardened nipple between his thumb and forefinger. I bit my lip at the feel of it, a sensation that was exquisitely close to pain, but clung tenuously to pleasure. He had complete control of me with just those two fingers.

  His blue eyes darkened as the stained glass ceiling lamp cast a warm glow over the bed. “You’ve got a short memory, darlin’. I said hands and knees.” He leaned forward and took that same tender nipple lightly between his teeth. I sucked in a breath, unsure of what might happen next. He tugged the nipple a bit before releasing it.

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