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       Jacked, p.33

           Tina Reber
 

  “I’m starting to think your ex is not a very nice person.”

  Understatement. I laughed. “She’s not.”

  “She also seems to go from one emotional extreme to another. Is she… do you know if she’s on drugs?”

  Erin’s astute perceptions amazed me. “She’s ah… she’s actually mildly bipolar. She’s supposed to take meds every day but, well, I’m not her keeper.” I looked over my shoulder for merging traffic.

  “I heard you earlier this morning when you had your argument at your house. Is she doing illegal stuff?”

  “Don’t know, and honestly? I don’t care.”

  Erin cleared her throat. “Was she your first love?”

  I wasn’t prepared for that but my answer came quickly and with absolute assurance. “No.”

  It was hard to make Erin see my sincerity while driving in traffic. The truth was that even though I may have said those three little words to women in the past none of them brought out this side of me before. Just being in Erin’s powerful but unassuming presence made me want to be a better man, though my spinning thoughts were churning my jealousy. “You ever tell some guy that you love him?”

  Erin’s fingers flexed but never released their hold. “Yes. Once.” She stared at our hands on her lap; a weak smile twitched her lips but the sadness there was as plain as day. “He didn’t say it back.”

  Fuck. Guy must have been a total idiot and asshole.

  She scratched a fingernail over her bottom lip and I could see she was trying to rally back to happier thoughts. “And you?”

  If we weren’t doing sixty on a major roadway I would have pulled over and kissed the sadness right off that bottom lip. Then I’d kiss the top one just for good measure. “Nope, never told another dude that I loved him, unless we’re counting family, then I’m probably guilty of saying it a few times.”

  Erin tugged my arm. “That’s not what I meant.”

  At least I gave her a piece of her smile back. “I know.” I put my thoughts to getting us safely into the right lane to turn into the mall instead of her expectant retort. The tire store would be closing in thirty minutes. Her fingers clenched around mine again—a silent urging for me to get back to point—but there was no good way of answering that question.

  No woman ever wants to hear that she might be the third or fourth recipient of “I love you” and I sure as hell wasn’t going to spoil it for her.

  I couldn’t.

  I wouldn’t.

  I gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “Past is the past. You being here should tell you how all that worked out. Let’s just leave it at that, okay?” I pulled her hand to my mouth when she nodded. The simple brush of her skin on my lips sent visions of a dozen beautiful possibilities with her, each one deserving my undivided exploration.

  I cut across the vast mall parking lot to get to the tire store. We were running low on time and I needed to focus on the goal. Erin sifted through her purse and pulled out her wallet.

  “Okay, good,” she muttered to herself.

  I spotted the credit card in her hand. Did she really think that I wouldn’t take care of this? Her lack of faith in me was maddening. “Put it away.” I don’t know why her brows knit together, questioning me. I parked in a spot near the entrance. “You don’t need it.”

  “But I need it to buy new ones.”

  “Erin.” This day had stressed the limits of my patience, and if she thought I’d allow her to pay for the damage, she was crazy.

  Her mouth popped open slightly, no doubt to dispute my intentions, but the glare I gave her needed no explanation. “I know you’re independent and self-reliant but this here,” I waved my hand between us, “changes that.”

  Erin leaned back into her seat and sighed, resigning only so far. “I don’t expect you to pay for the tires, Adam. It’s my car. They’re probably going to be expensive.”

  I took a calming breath, not wanting to argue and needing to choose my words carefully so I didn’t come off as an asshole. “You’re missing the point. You get a flat while going to work, I’ll take you for a new tire or I’ll plug it myself. You have shit damaged on my watch and at my house, that is not yours to fix, it’s mine.”

  “I appreciate that but I’ve never been a user, Adam. I don’t expect you to pay for everything. That’s not how this works. The tires… What happened—it’s not your fault. You’re not responsible. I’m not—”

  I cut her off. “I get that, Doc. It’s easy to see you aren’t a taker and I respect the hell out of that. If you were, believe me, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But it’s my job to make sure you’re safe and protected and that is my responsibility. And I hear ya, but it still doesn’t change things between us or that I want you to put your credit card away.”

  Her eyes widened briefly and then narrowed, assessing her options. “Is that your final answer, Cop?”

  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her bend to my will. That and her tease amused me to no end. “Yes.”

  “I take it you usually get your way once you flash that smile.”

  Usually. “Don’t know. Why, is it working?”

  Her answering smile was quite seductive. “Like you have to ask.”

  No, I didn’t. I’d learned a long time ago how to sway life with a bit of charm. All the Trent boys knew the tricks, born with smiles that worked like magic. Where Michael’s techniques were slow and stealthy, Jason’s sway tactics were almost lethal. My little brother could bend the toughest of nails with little effort. Kyle used his charm to separate hundreds of girls from their underwear. I turned mine Erin’s way. “Not really, but it’s still nice to hear. And now that I know it works on you, I’ll be unleashing it quite often.”

  “That’s not fair.”

  Her pout was adorable. “All’s fair in love and war, sweetheart.”

  The moment the “L” word slipped out of my mouth, I froze. I caught Erin shifting slightly in her seat, undoubtedly drawing her own conclusions.

  Shit. Should I do damage control? What would I say? Asshole. Say nothing or you’ll just dig a deeper hole. I shoved the gear shift into park. “Your smile is pretty potent too, you know.”

  My cell started to ring over the system on my dash. Once again, no number was showing.

  “You need to take that?” Erin asked.

  I shut my ringer off and shoved it in my pocket. “They can leave me a message.”

  Squaring Erin away was the only thing on my mind.

  I WAS STILL furiously pissed off by the time I pulled onto my street. I parked at the very edge of my driveway, held the wheel with both hands, and cursed the mounds of snow blocking my way.

  I closed my eyes and turned the stereo up. Every word, every note playing through the speakers wrapped perfectly around renewed thoughts of Adam and the two amazing days we’d spent together this weekend. It was as if I could find bits and pieces of him in each song, but it still wasn’t enough to calm my raging anger.

  Knowing someone was out there with so much contempt in their heart to commit such a violent act as flattening my tires became secondary to the conversation I’d just had with Doctor Sam Wilson in his office.

  I’d waited for him to finish his Monday morning staff meeting before asking to speak with him privately. The second I posed my question about the fellowship, I felt foolish for even asking. I knew the committee wouldn’t be meeting for a few more weeks and yet I allowed that bitch Mandy to poison my mind with her false bravado. Randy had apparently gotten his information from an unreliable source.

  Sam confirmed my suspicions that no decisions had been made and that the likelihood of both of us getting denied for the program was unlikely, though he again did his best to convince me that emergency medicine was where I belonged. This information was the driving force that had me storming down to Radiology. I knew I shouldn’t be reacting emotionally as nothing good ever came from that approach, but the scorned part of me demanded instant retribution.

  Fortunatel
y for one of us, Mandy wasn’t in. Neither was my ex, Randy. The bastard who’d said he’d cover shifts for me so I could attend to my family’s double tragedy decided to take several days of vacation. How convenient. Proof once again that his words weren’t even worth the air that he wasted expelling them.

  All of this emotional upheaval was exhausting. So was the eight inches of crusty snow waiting to be shoveled out of my driveway.

  I retrieved my shovel and started clearing a path, finding the task and chilled air mind-numbing. Each heavy load had me wishing for a snow blower or a strong boyfriend willing to dig me out of this snow-covered world.

  Adam.

  I could still feel his passionate kisses echo on my lips, the feel of his incredible back muscles and ass under my hands as he ground his hips into me over and over again, making me slightly sore in all the right places. After another ten hours on my feet, two hours of lecture and meetings, and now moving heavy snow, I was feeling Adam’s mark deep in my muscles.

  I tossed another shovel full of snow while the lingering memories of his presence manifested into my achy thighs. If his actions this weekend were any indication, he’d given me plenty of reassurance that he was into me. Way into me. I couldn’t hide my renewed smile, even though anyone watching me grinning like an idiot probably thought I’d finally lost my mind.

  Maybe I could convince Adam into taking a look at my broken garage door, although my days living here were probably numbered. Surely my cousins would be forced to liquidate all of their parents’ assets once they started divvying up the estate. I dreaded the idea of packing and moving into a new place, as finding a place like this within my budget would be difficult.

  After fifteen minutes of pushing snow, my muscles were starting to revolt. I was halfway up my snow-covered front walkway when Adam’s black truck gunned down the street, grinding to a halt over the salt and cinders behind my parked car.

  He came directly from work to see me? Oh my God, he did!

  I felt like jumping up and down with delight. I kept my abundant giddiness in check but couldn’t keep my happy smile hidden. He made me feel so fucking alive.

  “Hey you,” I called out to him.

  My smile dropped, watching his body move with concerned purpose. He was still in full ATTF uniform, clad all in black down to his scary black gun and attitude. I’d seen enough sides of him to know when he was unhappy and the scowl he was wearing wasn’t budging as he trudged up over the slushy snow.

  He stepped up onto the front landing.

  “Hey. You okay?” I asked, rising up on my toes to give him a kiss hello. I’d had his mouth all over me for the last two days; I figured we were at least at the kissing hello in public stage.

  His lips were rigid and barely gave me a proper greeting, though I did get a short “hey” out of him. I pulled my keys out of my pocket. “I didn’t expect to see you today.”

  Adam held my glass storm door open, gazing down at me. “No?”

  His one word held a bit of a bite. Worry rattled right through me, causing my hand to tremble slightly when I tried to get the key into the lock.

  “Is there a problem?”

  “You’re making me nervous.”

  His chest pressed into my back, his hand covered mine. He held my hand steady and slid the key into place. “You should be,” he whispered ominously.

  I almost fell into my entryway.

  I set my gloves down and saw him out of the corner of my eye, staring me down as he locked my front door.

  I debated taking my coat off. “Are you hungry? I can make some breakfast.”

  Adam stopped in front of me. “Don’t need food right now, Doc.” He snagged my hip. His other hand twisted around my disheveled ponytail, tugging gently to tilt my chin up. “Seems as though I have to refresh your memory,” he grumbled, alternating between giving my eyes and my lips his heated glare.

  Just as I was starting to say I didn’t understand, his mouth cut my words off. I’d definitely misread his look before.

  That wasn’t anger. It was absolute determination. His tongue making its point to clarify.

  Adam backed me into the wall and shrugged his heavy black coat off, never breaking our kiss. Deft hands stripped me right out of mine. My coat slid down the wall, pooling behind my calves.

  “Show me your bedroom, Doc.”

  It was hard to swallow.

  He seized my hips and then one hand slid around to cup my ass. His mouth was unrelenting. “Either you lead or I will carry you.”

  Having a cop in full cop garb following me up my steps was slightly nerve-wracking. He had his gun strapped in its holster on his hip with his array of cop stuff dotting his utility belt. We barely passed the threshold of my bedroom when Adam stopped me, turned me, and grabbed the hem of my top.

  “Scrubs have to go, Doc.” One fast tug and it was up and off. I wanted to reach for the gold badge he had hanging from a chain around his neck, but he wasn’t to be deterred from his mission.

  Adam slid his hand across my neck, dug his fingers into my hair, and seared my lips with a kiss so powerful I forgot how to breathe. I had to grab his arms to keep from falling over.

  “Turn around,” he ordered.

  He held my shoulders back, pressing me to his chest, rasping pinprick tickles from his shadowed beard over my skin.

  Soft nips on my collarbone.

  “Remember my mouth on you?”

  Teeth scraped over my neck.

  “Not liking your short-term memory, Doc.”

  His confusing statement pulled me out of my dreamy haze. “What?”

  Hands squeezed both of my breasts, kneading, pinching until my nipples were achingly hard.

  “I’m gonna fuck you until you have no memory of anything else.”

  Sounds perfect. “Want to take a shower first?”

  His tongue marked a spot before his teeth grazed me. “No.”

  Not the answer I was hoping for. “I just worked twelve hours. I’m feeling dirty, Adam.”

  Ten strong fingers rolled down my back and opened my bra, discarding it to the floor. “You’re about to get a whole lot dirtier. We’ll take a shower later.”

  His hands returned to teasing my breasts. God, that feels good.

  “You trust me?”

  Did I?

  “Yes.”

  His right hand drifted away while he placed sensual kisses my shoulder. I heard a snap pop and then something metallic jingled. He had my wrists gripped behind my back and within seconds, before I’d realized what he had done or could properly fight it, I was handcuffed.

  “Adam,” I began to protest, feeling the bite of cold steel.

  He wrapped me in a protective hold. “Shhh, it’s okay. I want you to trust me and this is just another step. I’d never hurt you, Erin. Never.” He kissed my neck then grazed his teeth. “You have nothing to fear.”

  “Am I under arrest?”

  His hands returned to torturing my nipples. “Not under arrest, just being detained for questioning.”

  So apparently my moody cop liked kink. Still, I was unconvinced. “Questioning?”

  He rolled, pinched, and pulled, sending pulsating waves right into my vagina.

  “Yes, but first I need you to know something.”

  It was hard to concentrate. “What?”

  “I’d never hurt you. I’d never put you at risk of getting hurt either. No matter what. Okay?”

  Adam had been super gentle with me the entire weekend, giving me no cause for worry. I had no choice but to give him the benefit of the doubt, so I nodded.

  He pulled harder, ebbing toward a wee bit of pain. It felt even better than what he’d been doing before. “I want to hear your words, Doc. We have to be on the same page here. Do you trust me?”

  He had me so hot and bothered, almost to the point of panting. “Yes. Yes, I trust you.”

  “Good,” he whispered on my neck.

  I was trusting that he wouldn’t give me a hickey.

/>   He pulled away for a moment and I heard the rustle of snaps and clothes and then something heavy thumped onto the floor. Then his warmth returned; his chest pressed up against me.

  His pants rasped over my palms; his erection strained inside.

  “Feel that?”

  Yes. Yes, I most certainly could feel that.

  Adam pulled his zipper down and a moment later I had hot veined hardness brushing over my hands. I tried to wrap my hand around him; I wanted more.

  “I see your memory is coming back,” he hissed, flexing his hips to glide through my fingers.

  “How could I ever forget? You’ve been on my mind all night. It was virtually impossible to think of anything else.”

  Adam’s hand slid up the column of my throat, his teeth nipped at my jaw. “Oh really?” he muttered. “That so?”

  I managed to cup his tightened balls, rolling them around in my fingers, knowing that would make him shudder too.

  “Yes. One of my patients caught me zoning out.”

  He pushed the length of his erection up through my hand, tisking at me in the process. “I was worried you’d forgotten me already.”

  I gripped him harder. “Impossible.”

  “Then why didn’t you answer my calls?”

  My eyes opened. He was a guy who called afterward. This was a major revelation. “You called?”

  Adam’s embrace tightened. “Sent you a text and called you but got your voice mail. Thought you’d call me back.”

  Of all times to go to work without it. “I didn’t have my phone.” He pinched and pulled my nipples, twisting them with just enough pressure to ebb on pleasurably painful.

  God, how I love that.

  “Oh really?”

  I gasped from the sensations, only able to nod. “It’s, oh fuck that feels good. It’s over there, on my nightstand. I… I forgot it last night.”

  I felt his gaze shift as he rolled his cheek over the back of my head.

  It was becoming hard to breathe. “I was so busy thinking of other things that I went to work without it.”

 
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