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Hot buttered rum standal.., p.13
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       Hot Buttered Rum: Standalone Romance (Silk Stocking Inn Book 4), p.13

           Tess Oliver

  With a blush warming me all the way to my toes, I spun around and rose up on my hands and knees. I could feel the heat of his gaze on my ass. I was completely exposed to him, and the thought of it thrilled me. Once again, my pussy ached for the kind of satisfaction that would only come with a shuddering orgasm. I’d never come twice in a short span of time, but now I realized it was my lovers who’d been lacking and not me. I was teetering on the brink of pure physical ecstasy again and all the man had done was tease my nipple and demand I get up on my hands and knees.

  With arms and legs that were shaking with the idea of what was still to come, I crawled to the center of the bed and waited obediently, naked ass in the air and unstable limbs beneath me.

  I heard the foil package rip open. My breaths were coming short and fast, only adding to the dizziness that was swarming my head. And I was fairly certain the single glass of wine had nothing to do with it.

  The bed moved as Grayson lowered himself onto the mattress. He positioned himself behind me, and I nearly lost my nerve. In a short moment of panic, I asked myself what the heck I was doing. But then his large hands gripped me firmly, and the tip of his erection teased my pussy. Before he entered me, he reached around between my legs and coaxed my pussy to fill with slick moisture by stroking my clit with the skills of a man who had done this many times before. A low cooing sound followed, and I was in such a state of arousal, I hadn’t realized at first that it had come from me. Handyman in deed, I thought wryly.

  His cock pushed in a few inches, staying out just far enough to make my fingers curl around the sheets in frustration. I pushed my ass higher, letting him know I wanted more of him. He responded with a sweetly stinging slap to my ass.

  I gasped and pulled instinctively forward. His erection pulled free, along with his magical fingers. I nearly collapsed in disappointment.

  “Do you want this or not, darlin’? A little begging will make my cock that much harder for you.”

  I lifted my bottom higher again and spread my thighs wider. “Yes, please, I want this.”

  He pressed the tip of his cock tauntingly against my pussy again, and his hand returned to my clit.

  “Want what?”

  “You,” I nearly screamed it out. “I want you to fuck me. Please!”

  His free hand gripped my hip, and he held me steady as he slid deep inside of me. Tears of release clouded my eyes as our bodies rocked against each other in perfect rhythm. It seemed just when I couldn’t take him in any farther, he thrust deeper, reaching my very core. And, all the while, he deftly strummed my clit, creating a symphony of sensations I’d never felt before.

  My arms could barely support my body, and my thighs shook with fatigue as I moved back to meet him each time. A cry shot from my mouth as my pussy tightened around him.

  “That’s it, beautiful, come hard for me.” His deeply erotic command rained down on my naked back, taking me over the edge.

  “Yes! Grayson, yes!” My body convulsed with the delights of a perfectly breathtaking orgasm. All the while, he filled my body with even more tender sensations as he pumped himself into me. Each time he met my pussy with more vigor and each time my body responded with another wave of pleasure.

  His movements quickened. He pulled his hand free from between my legs and held my hips sternly in place. The headboard tapped the wall, and the bed creaked in protest as he slammed into me again and again. His callused fingertips dug into my flesh. A deep groan rolled up from his chest as he came.

  He lowered himself over me, swept me against him, and we collapsed down onto the mattress in a perfect spoon. We pulled the covers up over us. Completely satiated from the long day and evening’s activities, and the secure warmth of his arms, I fell fast asleep.

  Chapter 9

  A knock on the door was followed by a heavenly fragrance of something I couldn’t quite discern, but I was fairly certain it had originated with a fresh bakery item and hot coffee.

  I pulled the soft, downy quilt up higher over my shoulders, and as I moved the blanket, another scent, just as heavenly but for entirely different reasons wafted off the sheets. I reached behind me, but there was only an empty pillow.

  I sat up quickly and glanced around the room. The nightie and satin robe had been hung neatly over the end rail on the bed, but there was no towel or any other signs of Grayson. The tenderness between my legs made it clear that I hadn’t just imagined the whole thing or the man.

  Another knock startled me out of my haze. The knock was gentle and feminine. “Yes,” I called. “Is that you, Coco?” I pulled the cover up over my naked breasts. “Come on in.”

  The door opened and Coco poked her head around the edge of it. The age lines had disappeared completely, and she looked fresh-faced enough to do a face cream commercial. She’d replaced the head scarf with a wide-brimmed straw hat. Her hands were full with a silver platter.

  “I thought since you were sleeping late, I’d bring up some coffee.” She placed the tray down on the nightstand. “I made some cranberry scones and freshly churned butter. Thought you might like it with your coffee.”

  “They smell and look delicious.” I glanced across the bed toward the robe. Again, as if she could read my thoughts, Coco picked it up and handed it to me.

  I pulled it on while she poured the coffee from a small silver pot. The rich scent of it drifted toward me.

  I looked around the room. “There’s no clock in here. What time is it?”

  She handed me the cup. She’d added just the right amount of cream, even though I hadn’t mentioned to her how I took my coffee.

  “It’s ten o’clock.” Coco pointed up to her hat. “I’ve been out planting roses.”

  I nearly spilled the coffee. “Ten o’clock? I haven’t slept that late since I was a teenager. That wine must have really done a number on me.”

  Her sparkling, all-knowing gaze swept across the other side of the bed where a deep impression on the pillow left no doubt that someone else had been sleeping next to me. Her mouth tilted and some of those phantom, wizened wrinkles appeared.

  I blushed again for what seemed like the millionth time since I’d arrived. Of course, I wasn’t completely sure I’d ever arrived. It seemed more that my car had been pulled in the direction of the Silk Stocking Inn.

  Coco politely changed the subject. “It’s a perfect day to be outdoors.”

  “Suppose I should drag myself out of this comfy bed then.” My eyes drifted shut as I sipped the coffee. “That is delicious.” I opened my eyes. “I really needed this. I’ll be up and out of here soon. I don’t want to overstay my welcome, and I really need to get back home.”

  Coco spooned a dollop of creamy butter on top of the scone. It melted over the sides, making sure to fill in all the nooks and crannies on its buttery descent. She handed me the plate. “What’s the rush, Jessi? It’s Saturday. No work today. This room is vacant for the rest of the weekend.”

  A hammering sound on the roof startled me.

  Coco glanced up toward the ceiling as if it was see through. “Grayson is working on this side of the house. He got a rather late start this morning.” She winked at me. The first blush hadn’t cooled yet, and something told me it was going to stick around all morning.

  “I’ll let you finish breakfast. There’s a lovely walking path around the house. Lots of birds and butterflies.”

  “I’m sure it’s wonderful, but I only have my work clothes and shoes. And I really should head home.”

  “I’ve left some clothes that I think will fit you on the dresser.”

  My eyes shot toward the mahogany dresser. Clothes were stacked on top and a pair of women’s hiking boots sat on the floor in front of it. “How did you—”

  She raised a smooth dark brow at me, as if she was waiting for me to finish the question. I knew it would
only result in an even more confusing answer.

  I shook my head. “Never mind. I might stay for a walk, but then I’ll be heading home.”

  “That’s fine, Jessi.” She walked out without another word.

  I took a bite of the melt in your mouth scone. Butter dripped down my chin, and I reached for the napkin on the tray. It was made of pure white linen. Someone had embroidered pink lettering on it. It was too beautiful to use on a greasy chin. I wiped the butter with my fingers and looked down at the linen napkin on my palm and read the pink letters. “Silk Stocking Inn.” I could feel embroidered lettering on the back as well. I turned it over and read the stitching. “Consider yourself matched.”

  Chapter 10

  I’d brushed the napkin sentiment off as a gimmick, a form of subliminal advertising. Obviously Coco fancied herself a matchmaker and her lovely inn as a place to meet the perfect man. That was fine, but I was hardly convinced that my future happiness was now within reach and dressed in faded flannel, jeans and steel-toed boots. Even if he was incredible in bed. There was that damn school girl blush again.

  I finished buttoning the cotton blouse. It fit perfectly as did the khaki shorts and hiking boots. Coco had even left a new pair of panties with the clothes. If there was a contest for hostess of the year, I knew who I’d check off as my top choice. My own mom had nothing on the cupcake baking wonder downstairs.

  I picked up the breakfast tray, now merely a platter for the few leftover scone crumbs, and headed out the door. I passed the spot in the hall where Grayson had trapped me between his wet, hard body and the wall. Instantly, I felt a tickle of heat swirl through me. It had been the most sensual evening of my life. I was sure every other night with a man would pale in comparison. That grim conclusion left me feeling a little empty.

  I could hear the continual activity on the roof, the occasional beat of a determined hammer and the buzz of a table saw, which helped squelch the butterflies I’d been feeling about running into the man again. After all, he’d seen every intimate inch of me. I’d exposed myself to him and let him take full advantage of me. The idea of seeing him sent a mix of emotions through me. Anxiety laced with dread and thrill was probably the most concise way to describe it. Although that was hardly concise at all.

  Coco was rolling out pie dough as I carried the empty tray into her spacious kitchen. “Just put it in the sink.”

  “Do you need some help?” I asked. “It’s been awhile since I baked pie, but when I was younger, I always loved helping my grandmother.” I walked over to the kitchen work island where Coco was rolling dough. Cubes of butter were piled up next to a stack of cinnamon sticks and a basket of apples. I picked up a green apple and the peeler. “Peeling was my job.”


  I slid the peeler over the fruit. “Thank you for the clothes. I will have them cleaned and mail them back to you once I get home.”

  “No worries.” She lifted up the rolled out dough and lowered it over the dish. “It’s for Grayson. He’s been working so hard on the house. I decided to make him an apple pie. He doesn’t have anyone to bake him pies at home.” She wrinkled her nose conspiratorially as if we were sharing a secret.

  I decided it was my opportunity to learn a little about the handsome stranger whose name I’d been crying out in ecstasy the night before. “So, he’s not matched—attached to anyone?”

  She shook her head rather indecisively.

  I laughed. She turned to me. A wide streak of flour crossed her forehead. “What was that laugh about?”

  I concentrated on my task as I answered. “It was nothing. I’m sorry. It’s just that I’ve never met anyone who was so skilled at giving nebulous answers to very simple straightforward questions.”

  It was her turn to laugh. “I suppose that’s true, but my philosophy is that nothing should ever be simple or straightforward. Nebulous is much more fun. Leaves so much more room for interpretation.”

  Just then the backdoor swung open. I didn’t need to turn around to know who had walked inside. The sound of his work boots on the wood floor made my hands tremble. I had to concentrate not to peel my hand instead of the apple. I pretended to be extremely absorbed in my job as he circled around to the front of the work table.

  The scent of fresh cut wood and sweat mingled with the fragrance of cinnamon. “Impossible,” I muttered to myself as I dropped the apple I’d been holding. It bounced off the table and onto the floor, where it continued its escape plan by rolling beneath the stove.

  Coco put her hands on her hips and stared at the stove. “I think that one’s a goner. Good thing I have extra.”

  “Sorry about that.”

  My gaze barely flicked Grayson’s direction, but he had no problem staring unabashedly at me. He even seemed to be taking pleasure in watching me squirm under his unflinching scrutiny.

  Grayson picked up one of the apples. “Interesting. I don’t really picture you as the pie baking type, Jessi.”

  He was taunting me to get my attention. Of course, he already had it. Every inch of me was at full attention with him standing just a few feet away.

  I finally stopped to look at him. Probably a mistake. How on earth could a layer of sweat and a fine film of dirt and sawdust look so damn appealing on someone? His face was more suntanned from being up on the roof. It made his eyes look bluer. Not that they needed it since they were already like deep lakes of azure. And now, it seemed, I was writing poetry in my head about the guy.

  Coco reached over and took the apple from my hand. I looked at it. I hadn’t realized that I was still peeling it. Only peeling wasn’t really a good description for it. Decimating was closer. I’d taken it nearly down to its core.

  “Jessi, why don’t you take that walk, and I’ll finish the pies.”

  I wiped my hands on the dishtowel. “Probably a good idea.” I walked confidently past Grayson’s gaze but was feeling anything but self-assured. This, I reminded myself, was what happened when I let down my usual guard. Last night, I’d crumpled, I’d given into my urges convinced it would be no big deal. Now I was dealing with the consequences. I just wasn’t sure how to define the consequences. It should have been embarrassment and shame, but instead, I was feeling something much deeper, something akin to regret. I’d thrown caution and propriety to the wind, and somehow it had left my heart vulnerable, a heart I’d worked hard to protect from unnecessary things like love.

  I could feel Grayson’s gaze still on me as I hurried out the back door.

  “Just take the path along the honeysuckle bushes,” Coco called as the screen door snapped shut behind me.

  Chapter 11

  My feet landed on the backyard lawn, which seemed to stretch on endlessly. I glanced around. The fog had lifted, leaving behind a bright blue sky that was dotted with just the right amount of white puffy clouds to make it look as if it belonged in a storybook. None of the scenic surrounding landscape made sense. One turn down an unfamiliar alley could not have taken me this far from the city. And yet, I couldn’t see the outline of buildings or hear the sound of traffic. I was standing in a perfectly bucolic setting.

  I decided to take a detour from my walk and rounded the side of the house. I strode past the ladder and an array of tools, including a tool belt that I briefly imagined slung around Grayson’s naked hips like the towel. I shook the disconcerting image from my mind and headed toward the front yard.

  A sudden scary thought occurred to me. My borrowed boots hit the ground hard, and I picked up my pace as my heart raced ahead. I stopped and released a sigh of relief. My car was still sitting right where I’d parked it.

  I turned back toward the house and the walking path. Now assured that my car was parked just out front, ready to take me back home, I felt relaxed enough to take a stroll. Then I would head in, pack up and drive away from this strange place for good

  Just as my mind went to the notion of leaving the Silk Stocking Inn and never looking back, Grayson walked out of the back door. Leaving here meant never seeing him again, another thought that should have brought me relief. But it didn’t.

  Grayson leaned against the side of the house, next to his ladder, and watched me as he ate an apple. I tried to pretend that I hardly noticed him standing there, but his cocksure grin only grew behind the apple. He clearly knew that I was completely flustered by his presence. Unfortunately, my presence didn’t seem to rattle him in the least.

  “Come on, Jessica, you’re a damn woman executive in a mostly male world,” I muttered quietly to myself. “Toughen up.” I lifted my shoulders and even added a little tilt to my chin. I marched confidently past him but stumbled the second he spoke.

  “I like this casual look even better than that prim and proper business suit you were wearing when you first arrived.”

  I stopped and faced him. “You didn’t see me arrive.”

  He pointed straight up to the roof and smiled. “Best vantage point on the property.”

  He tossed the apple core into the shrubs and walked toward me. My instinct told me to back up, but I ignored my gut feeling and stood my ground, chin still lifted but confidence definitely taking a hit. Especially as he closed the gap between us.

  “Although I confess—” His voice had dropped lower, and he spoke with just enough grit in his tone to cause my knees to weaken. He looked down at the hiking boots and then dragged his dark blue gaze up the length of me, stopping decisively on my lips. “—those bossy high heels you were wearing have been giving me some damn dirty daydreams.” Unexpectedly, he reached up to my face. “And that blush is pretty unforgettable too.”

  My haughty chin lift collapsed, and the school girl nerves returned. I couldn’t think of one other man in my life who could knock me off balance so quickly. I was still trying to decide if it bothered me or if I liked the idea that he was so darn skilled at it. I needed to shore up my defenses, or I’d end up leaving here without my heart.

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