NOTE: Content is intended for adults 18 and older only.
God, she hated conflict, especially the kind between her and Alex. And really, if this whole emotionally draining, nerve-twitching situation was anyone’s fault, it was his. After all, he’d been the one to give her the gift card she’d used to buy the first book. And the second. And the third.
Jessica Meyers sighed disgustedly as she tested the water of her bubble bath. No, none of this was Alex’s doing. It was all hers, and she was going to have to find a way to fix it. Soon, before the confused frustration she saw in her husband’s eyes turned into something irreparable.
It was late, but she needed to unwind. The kids were sound asleep, and Alex, a Maryland State Trooper, was still at work. He probably would be all night, unless the MSP caught a break on the case that had been all over the nightly news. It was quiet for once, and maybe now she could figure out what the hell she was going to do to make things right again.
She lit some aromatherapy candles that matched the scent of her bubble bath, turned off the overhead light and climbed into the claw-foot tub, sighing as the steamy water did its thing on her muscles. She settled back and closed her eyes, breathing deeply, letting the soothing aroma of eucalyptus seep into her pores. Her hands drifted idly over her stomach, back and forth through the thick bubbles.
Alex. She loved that man so much, even more than the day she’d said I do. They’d been through a lot together these past fifteen years, but never once had she been sorry she’d married Alex right out of college. She still wasn’t sorry. She couldn’t imagine ever being sorry. And yet, as much as she loved Alex and their life together, she was restless and itchy, and it had all started with a book.
It had been another Friday night, and she’d been alone in the house. Ten-year-old Kara had been sleeping at her best friend’s house, and seven-year-old Ben had gone on a camping trip. Alex and Jess had planned a much-needed date night, but then Alex called her to say he’d caught a case and would be working late.
Jess was frustrated, but she’d been a cop’s wife long enough to suck it up and not blame Alex for things out of his control. Rather than sit home alone, she drove to the bookstore in Frederick, looking for something new and fun and distracting to read.
She picked up book after book, looking at the covers and reading the backs, but nothing caught her attention. She was kneeling on the floor, surrounded by possible choices, when she found it on the bottom shelf.
The cover drew her attention first. It showcased a hazy photograph of a wrought iron four-poster bed with plush white bed linens, rumpled as if someone had just woken and stepped out of the room. A silky black scarf, tied in a knot like a blindfold, lay at the foot of the bed. Men’s ties were looped around each of the four posts.
Her mouth went bone dry, her mind whirling with images of what might’ve happened in that bed. She flipped the book over to read the back cover copy and got sucked right in. The erotic promise in those words flowed over her like warm honey, and she turned to the first page. Exactly what she’d been looking for. She paid for her book and headed home.
As she read, she found herself shockingly aroused by the words on the page. She’d never read anything like it before, but the visual images she got from the words had her hands trembling, her heart pounding, and her core slick with desire. The woman in the story was bound facedown on the bed, helpless to stop what her boyfriend had planned for her, but she was a willing subject. He knelt beside her on the mattress, one hand fisted in her hair as he swatted at her bottom with his other. In between swats, he dipped his fingers into her moist sheath, using her own fluids like gel to ease his way into the snug depths of her anus. The woman struggled on the bed, her orgasm just outside of her control. He held it out of her reach until she was a writhing mass of need, begging him for mercy. Finally, he let her go over.
After Jess finished the book, she lay in bed, restless, unable to sleep for all the thoughts bouncing through her mind. She was aroused and so damn tempted to make herself come. She needed the release but doubted it would be enough by herself.
And then Alex came home. She stripped him of his clothes before their bedroom door even shut all the way. To say he was stunned was an understatement, but he didn’t complain in the least. He laughed, low and sexy, as he peeled off her nightgown and backed her up against the bed. He rained kisses across her cheeks, then bent to cover her breast with his mouth. She sucked in a shaky breath and squeezed her eyes shut as images from her imagination took over.
He turned her toward the bed, his body hard and hot behind her. When he finally stroked inside her, she shuddered, coming apart at the seams. But she couldn’t let loose, not all the way. She felt frozen, until she pictured herself in one of the scenes she’d read earlier, tied facedown to the bed, at her lover’s will. She grabbed at the sheets, forcing herself to be still, pretending to be under Alex’s control. It seemed wrong, but her body didn’t think so, and as Alex came with a shout, she let go.
It was the most explosive lovemaking they’d had in months, but she turned away from him, curling up on her side, silent, tremors shaking her body as he tried to get her to tell him what was wrong. She didn’t even try to explain it to him, because she didn’t know if she could. The guilt eating at her gut had only gotten worse when Alex curled up behind her, his warm, sated body spooning hers, his lips against her hair, whispering words of unconditional love.
Jess jerked back to the present with a start when she heard the garage door, her pulse pounding as she withdrew her trembling hand from between her thighs. She hadn’t expected it, but Alex was home. Thank God. She sighed with relief, the same sigh she breathed each time he came home from a shift, safe and whole.
The door to the bathroom opened. Already clinging to the edge of orgasm from her own touches and vivid memories, Jess picked up a bath pouf and started running it over her raised leg, letting the soap suds slide down to the junction of her thighs. Her breath hitched and she did it several times, pretending not to notice her husband leaning against the door, his arms crossed.
Even though he wore a sexy-as-sin smile on his face, his eyes held a wariness that had grown over the past few months, as if he wasn’t sure what kind of reception he’d get. She hated that she’d put that look in his eyes, and vowed to find a way to fix the mess. But tonight was not the night for her personal demons. Alex looked exhausted, she thought with a pang, as if he needed to be cared for. She dunked the pouf again, picking up more bubbles, and then squeezed it so the water and the suds cascaded over her breasts.
A low rumble came from his chest. “Hi, honey. I’m home.”
She turned her head and smiled lazily at him, even as her body flushed with heat. “So you are. You have too many clothes on. Get naked. There’s plenty of room for both of us in this tub.”
His grin was all male, and it chased some of the tired from his face and most of the tension from his body. She loved the way Alex looked, with his spiky dark hair and clear hazel eyes that were now sparkling with lust.
He pushed himself away from the door and started a very personal strip show. She swallowed hard as he unbuttoned his shirt slowly, torturously, exposing a broad, muscled chest with just the right amount of crisp hair.
She scooped up some bubbles and painted them on her body, drawing one finger through the froth, circling the tip of each aching breast, pinching the already hard nipples.
He pulled his shirt off. “Kids asleep?”
“Yes,” she breathed, groaning aloud as she became more aroused.
“Thank God,” he replied thickly, reaching behind him to lock the door. He never took his eyes off her, which was incredibly sexy. “I like what you’re doing with those bubbles, but save that job for me.” Working quickly, he removed his belt with his strong, sure fingers.
Fingers she wanted on her body, in her body, doing things she’d only read about and fantasized about. Things she wasn’t sure she could ever ask him to do. Things she worried he’d find disgusting, considering what he saw on the job. She shuddered, shoved the insidious thought away, and feasted her eyes on her husband’s body, letting him feel the weight of her yearning as she visually caressed the bulge of his arousal.
“You keep looking at me like that,” he said, his voice rough with desire, “and things are going to be over before they even start.” He unzipped his khaki pants and shoved them down, stepping out of them, pulling his socks off at the same time. He tossed the wadded ball of clothes behind him, toward the hamper in the corner of the bathroom, not bothering to look and see if he’d made the shot.
He hadn’t. Like she cared, though.
“You’re still wearing too much,” she said softly. Even though she loved the way her husband looked right now, clad only in a pair of skin-tight black boxer briefs that left nothing to the imagination, naked would be so much better.
“Workin’ on it.” He skimmed his briefs down his body, giving her a quick flash of his incredibly sexy ass. In less than a second, he sailed them through the air toward the rest of his clothes.
She loved that part of his body, loved being on her knees in front of him, digging her fingers into the tight muscles as she stroked his penis and sucked him until he couldn’t stand it anymore. And she loved it when he lost his famous control, threading his fingers through her hair, holding her head as he drove into her mouth, faster and faster, until he came, flooding her mouth and her senses at the same time. The salty sweet taste, the musky smell, the contradiction of soft and rough textures—all of it was pure, undiluted Alex. She didn’t feel guilty afterwards, because when she loved him that way, she didn’t need the fantasies from those books.
And it was the fantasies that were slowly driving her insane.
When Alex pulled into the garage after the shift from hell, all he’d been thinking about was sleep.
Tired flew right out the window as he watched his sexy wife playing with the bubbles in the tub. Playing him. She was definitely in one of those turned-on, hell-on-wheels-in-bed moods tonight, but he didn’t mind the game. Not at all. Light from those scented candles she loved so much flickered over her body in the otherwise dark room. Her red curls were piled high on her head in a messy knot, her cheeks flushed pink from the steam, and she had a come-hither look in her gorgeous green eyes.
That was one invitation he wouldn’t refuse.
He stalked over to the tub and crouched next to it, dipping his hand into the water, circling the tip of Jess’s breast, catching her nipple between his thumb and forefinger. He leaned forward and kissed her, and at the same time he pinched her nipple gently. She gasped and he slid his tongue in her mouth, feasting on the taste that was uniquely his Jessica’s, with a twist. “Sneaking the kids’ Easter candy again, babe?”
She flushed prettily. “Guilty.”
He laughed, bumping noses with her. “You’re not the only one. I stopped in the kitchen before I came upstairs. Ben’s bunny is missing a little more of his ears now.”
She flicked some water at him. “You’re worse than I am. I only took some jellybeans.”
He kissed Jess again. “Scoot up.”
When she did, he slid into the tub behind her. He leaned back against the tub’s high walls with a heartfelt groan. The hot water felt great. He slipped his arms around her, tugging her back against his chest. That felt even better—her ass was pressed right against his aching erection. He nipped at her shoulder and cupped her full breasts, reveling in the weight of them, slowly rubbing his thumbs over her hard nipples. Her head dropped back against his shoulder, and she clutched at his arms.
“Want me to stop?” he murmured in her ear.
“I’ll kill you if you do,” she said, the breathy sound of the words adding to his arousal.
“Hmm. What if I do this instead?” He kept one hand working at her breasts, but he slid the other lower, skimming gently over her stomach to her curls, using one fingertip to nudge her clit before sliding that finger deep inside her body. She was so wet and swollen he knew it wouldn’t take long for her to come tonight. He kept up a gentle pace, loving how it made her writhe, which rubbed her body back and forth against his hard, straining cock.
The warmth of the water, the heat and movement of Jess’s body, the potent scent of the candles in the air—all of it put him on the razor’s edge of climax. When she finally went over, he fought against his need to do the same. He cupped her head and pulled her into a deep kiss, covering her mouth with his, swallowing the sounds of her release, a long, sensual orgasm that left her limp against his body, sated, at least for now.
He, on the other hand, was nowhere near done. His heart galloped, his breathing ragged as he held Jess close while she came back to earth.
She kissed the back of his hand and then turned all the way around and settled between his thighs, facing him on her knees. Water sloshed over the edge of the tub, and small waves rippled in the water’s depth, caressing his cock the way he wanted Jess to. He gritted his teeth, not wanting to go over, not yet.
“Hi there.” She leaned up to kiss him, coming half out of the water like a mermaid from the sea. Her long, curly hair had fallen out of its knot and now trailed over her shoulder and tumbled down her back.
He wrapped a finger in one of her curls and tugged lightly. “Hi yourself. This is a nice surprise.”
She tilted her head and reached out, splaying her hand across his chest. “For both of us. I thought you wouldn’t be home until morning.”
“Really? You were already pretty wet when I got here. Playing without me?” he teased, intrigued by the thought. Damned if it didn’t send a lightning bolt of lust straight to his cock.
She flushed, and something uncomfortable skittered across her face. She ducked her head, hiding her eyes from him. “From the hot bath.”
Not wanting to ruin the mood, he let it go. Talking about sex was always hard for Jess, but something told him there was more to her embarrassment than just him talking dirty. This wasn’t the first time she had distanced herself from him during sex, and one of these days, he was going to have to figure out what was going on in her head, why she seemed so flustered lately, because it was driving him nuts.
“It doesn’t matter either way, babe.” He stifled the frustration that seemed to be his constant companion these days and ran his knuckles gently down Jess’s cheek. “I’m just glad you’re awake and I get to spend some quality time with my gorgeous wife.”
He’d deal with the questions some other day, though, because now Jess had her hands on his thighs. She slid them forward until her fingers nestled in the crook of his legs, close to his cock and balls, but she didn’t touch them. And oh, how he wanted that. His muscles bunched and flexed as she rubbed her thumbs closer and closer.
“Babe, you’re killing me here.” He closed his eyes and dropped his head back against the edge of the tub. “Touch me. Please.”
“Touch you how?” Jess’s voice was like velvet, her softly uttered words uncharacteristically bold. And totally at odds with the uneasiness he’d seen in her eyes just a minute earlier. “Tell me what you want me to do.”
His eyes flew open, and in the dim light, he saw raw desire on his wife’s face. Damned if that didn’t turn him on too. Whatever was going on with Jess, whatever she wouldn’t—or felt she couldn’t—share with him, it definitely added a spark to their sex life. He liked it. A lot. All except for the emotional distance, but he shoved that thought away for now.
He kept his eyes locked on hers as his heart threatened to gallop out of his chest. He had to clear his throat twice to get his voice to work. “Get your hand all soapy, and wrap it around my cock. I want to feel your fingers on me, stroking me, touching my balls.”
Her eyes lit up. “Like this?”
Steam rose around them, but he wasn’t sure if it was from the water or from the heat they generated together. Her slick, soapy hand stroked tightly up and down his erection, and she slid her thumb over the head each time she reached the tip. Her fingers cupping his balls were gentle, caressing that sensitive spot underneath them. She scraped there with her fingernail, and his body jerked in response.
It felt like hell, and it felt like heaven. “Stop,” he groaned. “Or I’m going to come like this.”
She didn’t listen.
As she worked him with her tight fist, she slid her other hand under his balls, pressing against the tight hole there, sparking the nerve endings to life. She’d never done that to him before, but damn, it felt good. He wanted her to do it again. Later, when he had more control over his body. His balls drew up, and he knew he was going to lose it, right there, without being inside her, if he didn’t do something fast. And he didn’t want to come alone.
He tugged Jess up his body, draping her legs on either side of this, and urged her down onto his pulsing cock. As good as her warm, soapy hand had felt, it was nothing like the heat and tightness of her pussy. He held her hips steady, thrusting up until he was fully enveloped in her body.
“Alex,” she cried out as he pressed deep, closing her eyes and biting her lip.
“Ride me.” He didn’t care how needy he sounded. He could feel the ripples inside her body, urging him toward release. He slid his hands into her hair, pulling her down for a kiss as she rocked back and forth on his body, her movements drawing him closer and closer to the fire.
She went over first, and he tightened his hands in her hair, deepening the kiss, swallowing
the ragged sound she made as her orgasm flashed over. She shredded his restraint, and he followed her almost immediately, holding her close as wave after wave of pleasure overtook him.
They lay together in the tub, breathing heavily, and he stroked a hand up and down her smooth back. He didn’t know how long they lay there like that, entwined, his softening cock still inside the grip of her body. This was the first time in a long while she seemed content to stay connected to him, to rest in their intimate embrace, and he felt even more tension leave his body.
“A husband could get used to coming home to this every night,” he murmured in her ear, and he felt her smile against his neck.
“So could a wife,” she said with a satisfied sigh.
Text Copyright © 2012 by Jodie Griffin
Cover Art Copyright © 2012 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.