Her halloween treat, p.12
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       Her Halloween Treat, p.12
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         Part #1 of Men at Work series by Tiffany Reisz
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  “You know I did.”

  “How much did you like it?”

  He moved in closer to her.

  “Now don’t do that,” she said. “I already feel kind of bad for using you as my rebound guy. Don’t force me to reuse you.”

  “What if I want to be reused?”

  “Do you?”

  “Who wouldn’t?”

  “Chris, I’m being serious.” She plopped down on the bed and grabbed a pillow to cling to. He crossed his arms over his chest and looked down at her. With the slight gray dust from the demolished fireplace in his hair and his flannel shirt rolled up to his elbows, he looked very manly. And handsome. And sexy. And a lot of other things she shouldn’t think about while trying not to have sex with him.

  “Tell me what’s happening in your brain right now,” he said. His voice was calm as was his demeanor. No pressure. Just curiosity.

  “Tug-of-war.”

  “Tell me more.”

  “I’m worried about being a bad person,” she said.

  “You aren’t a bad person. You’ve never been a bad person. You couldn’t be a bad person if you tried, although...” He paused and raised one finger. “I might like to see you try.”

  She rolled her eyes at him.

  “A bad person uses people for their own ends, right?” she asked.

  “I’m being used today.”

  “By me?”

  “By the hotel. They hired me to do a job. They are using me.”

  “They are paying you.”

  “Payment comes in many forms.”

  “Well, I care about you. You know, since we’re old buddies.”

  “Old pals.”

  “Old friends.”

  “We’re really not that old,” Chris said.

  “True. But we are friends, right?”

  He nodded.

  “I go back to Hawaii on November 1, the day after Dillon’s wedding. I don’t want to spend the next two weeks having sex with you just to leave you and hurt you. And I realize I’m projecting because I know if I spent the next two weeks having sex with you and then went back to work, it would hurt me.”

  “It’s only eleven days until you leave.”

  “Oh, you know what I mean.”

  “I know. But I also know a lot of things hurt.”

  “That’s your answer?”

  “It’s true. A lot of stuff in life hurts. And not all of it’s bad. Didn’t your arms hurt when you hammered that mantel?”

  “Yeah. Felt it all the way down my back.”

  “But you liked it?”

  “Kind of. Is that weird?”

  “Do you work out?”

  “I run.”

  “Does it hurt?”

  “Sometimes.”

  “Do you quit because it hurts?”

  “Not unless I’m injured.”

  “So just because something hurts doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Right?”

  “Are you trying to get me into bed?”

  “Well...you’re already on the bed. Into bed seems like the next logical step.”

  “Did you put a condom back in your toolbox?”

  “No.”

  “No?”

  “I put ten in it.”

  Joey’s eyes widened.

  “You know, just in case you wanted...”

  “I want.”

  He took a step forward.

  She held up her hand. He stopped.

  “I want,” she repeated. “But.”

  “But?”

  But.

  There were a lot of buts.

  But she had a job in Hawaii she’d be going back to soon.

  But she didn’t want to hurt his feelings by fucking him and dumping him.

  But she really didn’t want to get hurt again herself so closely after enduring the worst breakup of her life.

  But her life was at a crossroads right now and complicating it by getting into a short-term relationship with someone wouldn’t make things any easier.

  And yet.

  “Spicy Indian food,” she said.

  “What about it?”

  “I love it. Absolutely love it. And I always eat too much of it when I go to an Indian restaurant and I’m always miserable after. But I never regret eating it.”

  “Did you just compare sleeping with me to eating Indian food?”

  “You said it was okay to do stuff that hurts sometimes. Eating spicy curry does that.”

  “You’re a little weird, Jo.”

  “You compared fucking me to being an astronaut last night.”

  “I didn’t say I wasn’t weird, too. Also I’m going to have sex with you right now.”

  “No, you aren’t. We need to talk about this a little bit more.”

  “I’m hard already. Just FYI. No pressure.”

  “It’ll be a short talk. You have to make me a promise. And you can’t break this promise.”

  “What’s the promise?”

  “You have to promise me you won’t try to make me stay. You won’t try to make us more than just a two-week thing. You won’t force me to make a big drastic decision about the future when I can barely figure out today, okay? If last night is any indicator of how we are together, the next couple of weeks will be fun.”

  “Understatement, but I’m with you so far.”

  “It’ll be fun and we’ll be all horny for each other and me leaving to go back to work will suck. But you have to swear you won’t mess with my head or try to talk me out of it or anything. This breakup with Ben has been hellish, okay? I can’t jump into another serious relationship for a while. I need that six months at least. If we’re going to do this—”

  “We are.”

  “I need you to work with me and not against me. If you can swear you won’t make leaving more difficult than it’s going to be in two weeks, then I’m in.”

  “I can do that. I can make that promise.”

  “Is that your conscience talking or your, you know, sledgehammer?”

  “Can’t tell. They have the same voice, oddly enough. Gets really confusing.”

  “Chris.”

  “Okay, okay,” Chris said. He kicked open his toolbox and dug around in the bottom. “Here it is.”

  He stood up and held something in his hand. Not a tool. Not a box of condoms. It looked like...

  “Is that a CD?” she asked.

  “It is.”

  “I’d forgotten what they looked like.”

  “It’s not just any CD, by the way. This is In Utero, Nirvana’s best album, their last album, and it is signed by Dave Grohl. I waited in the rain for five hours to get this CD signed. I listen to it in its entirety at least once a week.”

  “Are you going to listen to it...now?” she asked, deeply and profoundly confused by what Nirvana had to do with this current discussion.

  “Not unless you want really creepy mood music for the sex. I’m going to swear on it. It will make the promise legally binding. To me, anyway. So you hold it.”

  She took the CD from him feeling both moved and amused by his sincerity.

  Chris placed his right hand on the CD and raised his left hand.

  “Go on,” he said. “I’ll make the oath.”

  “Do you solemnly swear that you will not try to stop me from returning to Hawaii on November 1?”

  “I solemnly swear that I will not attempt to stop you from returning to Hawaii on November 1. Wait. What day of the week is that?”

  “Sunday.”

  “Then I definitely won’t stop you from going back. That’s football day.”

  “Good. Go Seahawks. One more—do you solemnly swear you won’t make it harder for me to leave than it’s already going to be?”

  “I solemnly swear I won’t make it harder for you to leave than it’s already going to be.”

  “Do you swear on this signed copy of In Utero that you, Chris Steffensen, will not make it weird for us?”

  “I solemnly swear that I will not make it weird
except in the good way. Now can I please put my cock inside any and every part of you that you will allow me to get inside?”

  “Yes. But no butt stuff today. I’m still jet-lagged.”

  “I have no idea what jet lag has to do with your asshole and—I’ll be honest—I don’t want to know.”

  “You really don’t.”

  “Sex now?”

  “Can I be on top this time?”

  “If you insist,” he said with a put-upon sigh. Despite the sigh she saw the twinkle of amusement in his eyes.

  “Should we, uh, get a room?”

  “We have a room. I’m working alone.”

  “You won’t get in trouble?”

  “I don’t charge by the hour. Plus I’m actually staying here tonight while I work. Easier than commuting from Portland every day.”

  “So we’ll make this your lunch break, right?”

  “Right,” he said. “My favorite meal of the day.”

  8

  JOEY CUPPED THE side of his face to deepen the kiss. He moved forward, rolling her onto her back.

  “So we’re really doing this?” she asked as he rubbed her breasts over her shirt. “We’re going to sleep together until I go back to Hawaii?”

  “I would like that.”

  He said it so simply, those four words. I would like that. But she heard more than the words in his tone. She heard longing, a lovely sound. He wanted her. How nice of him. No denying she wanted him, too. How could she not? She had eyes to see his handsome face and ears to hear the warm masculine timbre of his voice when he spoke. She had a nose to smell the clean scent of his boring guy soap and hands to feel the strength of his body as she touched him and held him. And she had lips and a tongue to taste him. Delicious, yes. That was the word for him. She’d be a glutton in the next weeks, trying to get her fill of him before leaving. And yes, it would hurt when she went back to Hawaii but it would be a better pain because it was an honest pain. They’d talked about it, consented to it, agreed to take on the pain together. And it was a pain she’d chosen, not the kind of pain Ben had forced on her with his lies. A good pain. The sort of pain one earns and feels a little proud of. She’d have sex with this beautiful man until she left, and in compensation for the pain of leaving him, she would take two weeks of beautiful memories with her of a man who helped her trade a bad pain for a good pain.

  Chris slipped a hand under her shirt and she arched her back to let him unhook her bra. As soon as he did he pushed her shirt and bra up together and licked her nipples one at a time. They hardened against his hot tongue and inside his mouth. She breathed heavily but softly, aware that people might be in the rooms on either side. Hammering and drilling were normal sounds to come from a room under construction, not moaning and groaning. As Chris sucked her breasts, she went to work on his buttons, opening them quickly, eager to undress him.

  When she was a kid, she’d had romantic fantasies about this hotel. How could she not with all the cute teenage snowboarders running around the place and the older men in their twenties and thirties with their skis and their beautiful girlfriends in designer ski gear. She’d wanted to be one of those girlfriends in her white boots and white snow pants, white jacket and blond hair in perfect twin braids peaking out from under a white hat. They’d come into the lodge together, rosy cheeked from exertion, laughing and sweaty, looking like the very picture of luxurious adulthood. And those couples got to stay in the big rooms at Timber Ridge, the ones with king-size beds and stone fireplaces with turn-down service and bottles of wine and no adult supervision because they were adults and could do anything they wanted alone in hotel rooms.

  Even sex.

  Joey ached to be an adult back in high school, ached to be one of those beautiful pampered girlfriends. The thought of getting a hotel room in a ski lodge with a hot guy and being old enough that no one could tell them what to do in that hotel room had been the number-one dream of her entire freshman year of high school. And now it was coming true.

  If only for a couple weeks.

  If only.

  Nothing to do but enjoy it while it lasted.

  In her teenage fantasies, she hadn’t imagined sleeping with the guy who actually worked at the hotel but her teenage fantasies were pretty vague on where the money for the expensive room came from. A real man with gainful employment was much sexier than a fantasy dude who might be hiding massive credit card debt.

  Joey ran her fingers through Chris’s hair as he kissed her nipples. She laughed as a chunk of fireplace mortar came out in her hand.

  “What?” He raised his head to meet her eyes.

  “I found something.” She held out the chunk. He shook his head and dust flew off his hair.

  “I should take a shower.”

  “I like how dirty you are.”

  He raised his eyebrow.

  “Do you?”

  “Very much so.”

  “You know, I usually don’t do what I did last night,” he said, and for a second he looked almost embarrassed, adorably embarrassed.

  “Do what? Have great sex?”

  “No, I do that whenever I can. But...I was a little more real with you than I usually am the first time I sleep with somebody.”

  “You mean like when you held me down by my wrists and you whipped your cock out and told me to suck it and all that?”

  “That’s kind of what I mean, yeah. I usually hold off on that for a while. If it was too much I can tone it down.”

  “Why didn’t you hold off on it with me?”

  “I don’t know. I guess I just felt comfortable with you. But if it made you uncomfortable—”

 
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