Her halloween treat, p.17
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       Her Halloween Treat, p.17
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         Part #1 of Men at Work series by Tiffany Reisz
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  cabin.

  “I like your enthusiasm,” he said.

  “Why aren’t you inside me yet?”

  “Are you that horny?”

  “I’m cold. I need your body heat.”

  “I’m touched. Truly.”

  Joey stuck her hands in his pants, her ice cold hands.

  “Now you’re touched,” she said, rubbing his cock. “Truly.”

  “You’re in so much trouble for that.”

  “Good. Getting in trouble warms me up.”

  Chris pulled his wallet from his pocket and dug out the condom he’d thankfully stored in there earlier this week. Joey seemed intent on torturing him so she kissed and sucked lightly on his earlobe while he rolled on the condom. When it was on he grabbed her by the upper arms and pushed her against the wall again. She squealed.

  “What?” he demanded.

  “Cold wall. Cold butt.”

  “Such a big baby,” he said. “Here. This better?” He cupped her ass in his now-warm hands and she sighed with pleasure.

  “So much better. Now what?”

  “Put your arms around my neck, tight.”

  She did as instructed. Being in charge during sex got him off like nothing else. And that Joey liked it? Even loved it? How could he let her get on that plane to Hawaii on Sunday? Unless it was to go back and pack? More wishful thinking...

  He lifted her left leg up and stroked her pussy with the tip of his cock. He kissed her mouth, her neck, her throat, all while rubbing his cock against her. When she started to open up to him he pushed the tip inside. She moved her hips into his, rocking him deeper inside her. Without a word of warning, he lifted her and brought her all the way down onto him. Joey groaned, a gorgeous sound, and wrapped her entire body around him. Both legs, both arms, her chin on his shoulder, her mouth at his ear. With his hands firmly on her ass, he held her to him, rocking his hips into her as he fucked her against the wall. In this position he knew he wouldn’t last very long. Luckily it didn’t seem like Joey would need him to. The way she moved right now, her lower body working against his hard and hungry, was a clear sign she was close to coming already. He pushed into her with strong but controlled thrusts.

  “God, Chris. It feels so good,” Joey said into his ear.

  “You want it?”

  “I want it. All the time.”

  “You can have it all the time. Whenever you want. Just ask for it and it’s yours.”

  “Now?”

  “Now.”

  “Tomorrow?”

  “Every day of your life,” he said, thrusting deep again. She clenched around his cock and he knew she was almost there. With a series of rapid thrusts he pushed her the rest of the way. With a whimper in his ear and her fingernails in his neck, she came all around him. He kept thrusting until he came with a loud groan. The pleasure of it wrecked him, sent him reeling. He set Joey carefully down on her feet but didn’t let her go. He rested his forehead on her shoulder, his hands on her waist.

  “Why do you insist on making me feel so good?” she asked, running her hands up his arms. She laughed a little, the question obviously rhetorical. Chris decided to answer it, anyway.

  “Because I’m in love with you.”

  11

  IF CHRIS HAD told her he was dying, Joey would have been less shocked.

  “What?” She pushed away from him, found her pants and pulled them on as quickly as she could. Chris stood by the wall, facing it as he pulled himself together.

  “You heard me,” was all he said. She watched as he straightened his clothes, ran his hands through his hair that she’d mussed with her own hands during the sex.

  “You’re in love with me?”

  “Is it that big of a surprise?” He turned around and faced her, calm as ever. So infuriatingly calm. He crossed his arms over his chest, leaned against the wall, waited.

  “Well...yeah. I’m leaving on Sunday and you tell me this now?”

  “When should I have told you?”

  “Not now. Not...ever?”

  “You asked.”

  “I was joking.”

  “I wasn’t.”

  “What am I supposed to do with this?” she asked, taking a step back.

  He shrugged his shoulders. “Anything. Nothing.”

  “Anything or nothing. Good choices there.”

  “It’s your choice. I said it. What you want to do with it is up to you.”

  Joey’s hands shook and her heart raced. Panic. What she felt was pure panic. How could he be so fucking calm while she stood here in an absolute panic?

  “You promised me, Chris. You promised me you wouldn’t do this. No, you didn’t promise me. You swore.”

  “I swore on a fucking CD, not the Bible.”

  “I don’t care if you swore on a bowl of oatmeal or a pack of gum or your own grave, you swore to me you wouldn’t make it weird. You swore you wouldn’t ask me to stay.”

  “I didn’t ask you to stay. I told you I loved you.”

  “You made it real fucking weird, though.”

  “You asked me and I answered. I’m in love with you. So what? If you’re not in love with me, I don’t know what the problem is.”

  “This is so fucking unfair, Chris.”

  Chris laughed, and for the first time since laying eyes on him a week ago, Joey regretted coming home.

  “Fair? What does fairness have to do with it?”

  “You’re trying to keep me from going back home.”

  “I’m not trying to make you do anything. I don’t want you to leave, but I’m not making you stay,” he said.

  “I never figured you for the manipulative type, Chris. I have to say this is pretty fucking disappointing.”

  “Well...welcome to my world. I tell you I love you. You get mad and accuse me of manipulating you. Disappointing is a damn good word for it.”

  “I have a home and a job in another state.”

  “You can have a home and a job in this state if you wanted it.”

  “You can have a home and a job in another state,” she said. “Why don’t you quit your job and move to Hawaii if you think it’s so easy.”

  “Is that an invitation?”

  “No. It is not. You know you wouldn’t do it. You know you wouldn’t uproot your entire world to be with me.” She shoved her feet back into her shoes, angry, flustered, scared.

  “I do? You sure about that?”

  “I’m sure about that.”

  “Try me.”

  “I’m not trying anything,” she said. “I’m not even having this conversation with you.”

  “Why not? What are you afraid of?”

  She raised her hand and pointed at him. “Nothing. I’m not afraid of anything.”

  “Are you afraid of falling in love with me? If you are, you don’t have to be. I’m not Ben. You won’t be my backup plan. You won’t be a dirty secret. I’m not a liar like he is.”

  “You are a liar. You swore you wouldn’t do this to me and here you are—doing it.”

  “Good pain,” he said. “Remember? We agreed on that. We both knew this would end up hurting us and we decided to do it, anyway. I knew you were using me as your rebound guy. You knew I was in love with you in high school. We’ve been together day and night for almost two weeks. You can’t be surprised by this, can you? Are you?”

  “You’re hurting me, Chris.”

  “I’m loving you. Right now. This second. I love you. And I’m sorry it hurts you but guess what? It hurts me, too.”

  “You don’t look hurt.” No, he didn’t look hurt at all. He looked fine. Just fucking fine. Meanwhile she wanted to scream or cry or kiss him or slap him and she hated that he could be calm in a moment like this when she couldn’t.

  “What does hurt look like?”

  “Like this.” She turned her back on him and walked out of the cabin, slamming the beautiful red door behind her.

  She should have known.

  She should have known this would hap
pen.

  In fact, she had known it would happen. That’s why she told Chris a week ago at the lodge they were playing with fire. That’s why she’d made him swear he wouldn’t make it harder for her. How stupid was he to think telling her he loved her wouldn’t make it harder?

  It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be great sex and friendship and then she’d leave and they’d sigh a little wistfully and they’d both get on with their lives. Chris was one of those guys who always seemed okay. Anything that happened to him was just water off a duck’s back. Quiet, strong, hardworking, resilient. Fine. Chris was fine. He was always fine. He’d fought off high school bullies without breaking a sweat. When mocked at school for being best friends with the supposedly only gay kid in school, he’d shrugged it off without a word. She trusted Chris, which is why it had been so easy to let herself believe she could sleep with him for a couple weeks and walk away with no permanent damage to either of them. A few tears, a few regrets, sure. But Chris was in love with her and he told her that knowing it would make her the bad guy when she walked away.

  Fine, then. She’d be the bad guy.

  She trudged down the path back toward the cabin. The muddy path wanted to slow her down but she wouldn’t let it.

  Men. Fucking men. They were allowed to be married to their jobs, married to their careers, but God forbid a woman picked her job over the man in her life. God forbid she says, “Nope, my job’s more important than you are.” Oh, no. That’s not what women were allowed to do. A guy tells her he loves her and she’s supposed to drop everything, run into his arms and say, “Thank you for making my life worth living with your love. I was just over here doing nothing but running the marketing department of a successful airline while living in a tropical paradise, but now that I know you love me, I can stop wasting my time with that whole stupid life and career thing. By the way, how many babies can I have for you and how do you want your eggs cooked every morning, Master?”

  And how dare Chris accuse her of being scared. Her? Scared? She was the one who went to college across a fucking ocean. He lived with his parents after high school graduation. She wasn’t afraid of anything except maybe killing Chris the next time she saw him, which would hopefully be never. Chris was supposed to be her date for Dillon’s wedding.

  Well, forget that. She’d rather skip the wedding than see him again.

  Afraid?

  Her?

  He didn’t know the meaning of the word if he thought that. Just because he’d said he loved her? Why would she be afraid of him loving her? Oh, maybe because the man she’d been in love with for the past two years had lied to her the entire time they were together, had betrayed her so deeply she wasn’t sure she’d ever find the bottom of the wound he’d left in her pride and her heart. Maybe because Chris was everything she’d ever wanted and never realized it until she came back here and if she were going to have what she’d wanted she’d have to give up everything she had.

  Joey stopped and leaned against a tree. She’d been walking so fast and so hard she was out of breath. One second, that’s all she needed. Maybe a minute. She was fine. Only needed to breathe. Joey breathed and breathed.

  And then she cried. No. Not this. She didn’t want to start crying again. If she started crying again she might not stop. But she couldn’t stop. It all came out. Big heavy sobs. Deep belly weeping. Gasping for air. Holding her stomach. Pain in her ribs. A stitch in her side. Fat tears by turns hot and cold on her face. A terrible bitter taste in her mouth.

  Fucking men... Was she not even a human being to them? Was she just a toy for Ben to play with while in Hawaii? Was she still fourteen to Chris? Where did they get off kicking her heart around like a soccer ball? She didn’t do that to them. She didn’t make Ben choose between LA and Hawaii. She didn’t rat him out to his wife. She didn’t tell Chris if he really loved her he’d move to Hawaii to be with her. And how dare he even pretend he would if she asked him to? He didn’t get to do that. Chris didn’t get to play Mr. Wonderful while she was forced into the role of The One Who Got Away just because he decided to dump a declaration of love on her ten days after a breakup and three days before she left town. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. And it wasn’t like Chris.

  Now, Ben would do something like that. And he had, too. He’d forced her into being The Other Woman without her knowledge or permission. She’d be the butt of awful office gossip at work if and when it got out that a) she and Ben had dated, and b) he was married. She hadn’t chosen that, either.

  Joey pushed away from the tree and headed down the path again. She wasn’t going to spend the entire day weeping in the forest like some kind of Disney princess waiting on woodland creatures to gather around her. With her luck she’d end up being “comforted” by a black bear or a mountain lion.

  As she walked up the path she made a decision. No more playing house with Chris. They were fools to think they could sleep together, hang out together, work together, play together and then just say “Later!” at the airport and go their separate ways without it hurting the both of them. Joey couldn’t even rip off a Band-Aid without losing a little skin. To say goodbye to Chris would take off more than one layer of her heart and it was an open wound already.

  So...it was over. Completely over. She could spend today and tomorrow miserable, then she’d put on a happy face for the wedding, leave on Sunday and that was that. The next few months would be hellish, of course, but she’d known that before leaving LA. When she got to work Monday morning, there was a very good chance Ben would be there, in her office, waiting to hash it out with her. And she would simply hand him a box of the stuff he’d left at her apartment and say goodbye. If he tried anything, anything at all, she would call HR and tell them everything. This would, of course, get her and Ben fired but that wouldn’t be the end of the world. Her boyfriend of two years was married. She’d discovered this by coming face-to-face with his wife. She’d met the greatest guy in the world while on the rebound and she had to leave him on Sunday. Why shouldn’t she also get fired? When it rains it pours and nobody knew that better than somebody born and raised in the Pacific Northwest.

  But staying here was out of the question.

  Staying meant Ben won. And the sort of man who would cheat on his wife and lie to his girlfriend didn’t get to win. There had to be consequences even if they were just seeing her at work every day and knowing she had the power to get him fired anytime she wanted. That’s what a man like Ben deserved. A cheater. A liar. A coward. And if he were here she’d tell him that to his face.

  Joey left the main path and strode up the cobblestone walkway to the cabin. She went in the back door and kicked off her muddy shoes. They hit the wall with a thud. Another thud followed, but it hadn’t come from her shoes.

  Someone knocked on the door, paused and knocked again.

  Joey sighed. Chris must know a shortcut back to the cabin. She didn’t want to talk to him yet, but she couldn’t keep him out of the cabin. He’d left some stuff in the bathroom. And now that she’d blown off a little steam she could probably talk to him without yelling or crying. Or if not talk to him at least she should give him his toothbrush back.

  She took a deep breath, wiped the tears off her face and opened the door.

  Joey’s heart dropped down her body, into the floor and landed at the center of the earth.

  “Hey, Jo.”

  She couldn’t believe her eyes. She didn’t want to believe them. But she had to believe them because there he was, right there, right on the porch of the cabin.

  Joey lifted her chin and met Ben’s eyes.

  “What the hell are you doing here?”

  12

  “NICE WAY TO say hi,” Ben said.

  “That’s exactly what you said to me when I came to visit you.
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