Ashton Heights Fire, Book 4
The beveled glass doors of the Sovereign Hotel swung back with a whoosh as Erica Shannon shoved them open. Stalking through the breach, she was assailed by noise and light, the typically boisterous ambiance of Friday night revelry at an inner-city Brisbane pub.
She halted in the foyer, taking a moment to catch her breath. Glancing around, she realized no one had noticed her theatrical entrance. The crowd of mostly men stood in groups talking and laughing, drinking beer from brown-tinted bottles and arguing jovially over a game of rugby being played out on a massive plasma screen in the corner. Nobody turned to look at her.
Perhaps her arrival hadn’t been dramatic at all. It simply felt that way because she’d never come to a pub by herself, and her agenda was pounding in her ears like the rush from some illicit drug, amplifying every sound, every smell and every sight.
Or at least that was how Erica imagined the rush from an illegal substance would affect her. She—sensible English teacher, loyal niece, staunch obeyer of road rules—had never done anything taboo in her life, chemical or otherwise.
That was about to change. Tonight.
Heart pounding impetuously in her chest, she weaved her way through the crowd, heading for the area at the back of the establishment that housed the pool tables, dart boards and jukebox. This was the section of the Sovereign where her quarry tended to hang out, as though the tables were permanently reserved for the firefighters of Ashton Heights.
Through the throng, Erica easily spotted the familiar outline of Corey Wachawski’s wide shoulders and the dark swatch of hair on his head. His back was to her, but she knew his eyes were as warm and blue as the summer sky. She’d snagged his gaze once or twice in the past few months—or rather, Corey had caught her staring. If he’d detected the longing in her scrutiny, it had never prompted him to approach her.
Tonight, Erica was not in the mood to be dismissed. She would make a move on him, no matter the potential for embarrassment.
The very thought made her heart rate triple. Her palms grew slippery against the tweed fabric of her skirt. Tweed. Erica would have laughed if her lungs were capable of expelling air. She was the kind of woman who wore tweed and modest button-up blouses, who stayed home most nights rereading her favorite Jane Austen novels instead of venturing out to experience life. Was she out of her mind even to daydream a man like Corey Wachawski—local hero, calendar model, Adonis—would want to take her up on a sexual proposition?
Steeling her resolve, Erica relentlessly pushed forward. After all, she had little left to lose now.
A large hand clapped Corey’s back. The sound of the other man’s laughter moved through Erica like a fast-flowing tide, the sight of his lean, muscle-packed body in a navy-blue T-shirt and faded jeans made something wicked and needy pass through her erogenous zones.
There were photos of him all over the pub walls. Some in which he wore his firefighter’s uniform, in others he was listed as a member of a local football team. One was a framed clipping from the newspaper which detailed his heroics in saving a local man from a fire. And on the ladies’ room wall, his picture from an old Queensland Firefighter’s Charity Calendar was pinned, right beside Corey’s more recent one.
Erica was both exhilarated and terrified to see Griff—whenever she’d heard one of his colleagues call out to him above the usual cacophony of pub noises, they always called him Griff—here as well.
There was nothing to stop her living out her ultimate fantasy.
Nothing except it required her to sexually proposition not just one man, but two. Twenty-eight years old and she’d never so much as initiated a coffee date with a member of the opposite sex.
That’s right, Erica. You haven’t been living at all, and now it could be too late.
The reminder refueled the anger and frustration that had brought her here. She could do this. There were worse things than being embarrassed.
Much worse things.
She wet parched lips with the tip of her tongue as she drew nearer to the back corner. She kept her gaze fixed on Corey Wachawski’s massive shoulders, focusing on them as she drew closer and closer…
Suddenly, her view was obstructed by one of the sharks.
How had she not factored in the sharks? That was how her female colleagues, who often stopped in at the Sovereign on their way home from a hard day at school and who’d recently begun dragging Erica with them, referred to the beautiful, sexily clad women who routinely circled the group of handsome firemen. Hunting them like sharks on the lookout for their next meal.
Not that Griff, for one, seemed to mind being fish food. He’d left the pub with two of those women only a few weeks ago.
It was the event that had made Erica start thinking about threesomes. What was good for the goose had to be allowed for the gander, too. It was only feminist, and her Aunt Claire had raised her to be an independent woman, aware of her rights and willing to fight for them.
That was all well and good, until you had to battle a woman who looked like Miranda Kerr on a good hair day.
Erica’s steps faltered. The very blood seemed to drain out of her as she watched the tall, willowy brunette slide her arms around Corey from behind and whisper something in his ear. Whatever she said made Corey blush. The shark was stunning, flawless in looks and manner. And Erica stood there gasping, as graceful as a flounder that had been washed up on shore.
From the corner of her eye, Erica saw a couple work their way out of a booth in the corner. She made a dash for it, sliding into one of the olive-green vinyl bench seats before anyone else could claim the table. She hoped it looked natural, more natural than turning around and walking straight back out. Like her intent all along had been to find a table to herself and sit quietly.
Without a drink.
Dear Lord, she must look like an idiot.
Perhaps there was something worse than facing your most frightening demons. Being completely and utterly humiliated first.
Corey Wachawski watched as the woman of his dreams took a book out of her large black shoulder bag, opened it to a dog-eared page and began to read. It was a big book, the kind he’d never get through if he had a year to kill, which only reminded Corey how out of his league the pretty redhead with the big brown eyes truly was.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come out with us, Corey?” Madison purred the invitation into his ear while she stroked a fingernail up and down his forearm. “Vibe is the hottest club in the Valley right now. We’re going to have the best time.”
It was clear from her tone that the club wasn’t the only thing offering a good time. It would be easy enough to take Madison up on it, but Corey found girls like her a little intimidating—and a lot scary. He got the feeling if he went home with her he’d wake up naked, tied to a bed and minus the one credit card he owned. “No thanks. I’m going to have an early one tonight.”
Madison stuck out her bottom lip in an exaggerated pout. “They work you boys way too hard.”
Corey wasn’t about to tell her work had nothing to do with his refusal. He simply didn’t want to spend the night with Madison.
The woman he did want to spend some quality time with was sitting across the pub right now with her nose in a book, her sleek red hair sweeping down to conceal her face, as out of reach as the moon. She probably thought he was some kind of man-slut because every time she came in here some random woman slipped him her phone number, or even her panties. Jeez. What did girls think he was going to do with a pink satin G-string?
Madison finally gave up and left. Corey’s sigh of relief was audible and beside him Griff laughed. “That was piss weak.”
“She isn’t my type.”
Griff remarked with a lopsided smile, “With an ass like that she doesn’t need to be. Besides, you might as well dip your wick somewhere. You won’t do anything about the girls who are your type, either.”
Corey didn’t pretend ignorance. His gaze once again strayed to the corner booth and the woman sitting there. She wore an ordinary grey skirt, black heels and a plain white blouse, the collar trimmed in lace. Her haircut was of the sensible, I’m-not-the-type-to-primp variety, a chin-length bob that framed her high cheekbones and wide brown eyes. She exuded none of the glamour of a woman like Madison yet she fascinated Corey on a level that went beyond appearances. He wanted to get to know her better, had since the first time she’d come in a few months ago.
But the idea of approaching her made his palms sweat, so he’d settled for watching her from across the room, waiting for…something. A sign maybe. Some kind of magic that would make everything click into place.
He offered Griff his excuse. “She’s really into that book.”
“She’s alone. Nobody comes to a noisy pub to read. She’s probably dying for you to go over and talk to her, dickhead.” At Corey’s skeptical look, Griff insisted, “Look, she doesn’t even have a drink. Go buy her one before somebody else does.”
Corey scowled. “Who’s going to buy her a drink?”
“Maybe I will.”
Corey wouldn’t have been more surprised if Griff had punched him in the gut. “You wouldn’t.”
“She’s not your type.”
Griff laughed. “And that means?”
Corey didn’t know how to express what he meant without dissing his friend’s usual taste in women. Eventually he settled for, “She’s delicate.”
Griff raised a brow. “I like delicate. I like soft women. Hell, I just like women. Matter of fact, I’m talking myself into it. I’m going over there.”
“No.” Corey stood at the same time Griff did. They met eye to eye, Griff’s hazel irises twinkling with amusement. Corey figured his own expression was less jovial. His voice came out sounding threatening, which surprised him more than it seemed to surprise Griff. “I mean it, Griff. Don’t you hit on her.”
“What’s to stop me?”
“The guy code,” Corey said. “I saw her first.”
Griff chuckled. “You’ve gotta actually do something about it in order to activate the guy code. Sitting here with your thumb up your ass does not constitute staking a claim, so stand back and start taking notes. I’m about to show you what a move is.”
Griff strode past him with ease. Corey was bigger physically but Griff was more brazen. Corey knew the second Griff introduced himself to the mystery woman his own chances would be all shot to hell. Females usually proved susceptible to Griff’s particular type of brash charm. And if Griff found out her name first, he’d probably insist the guy-code privileges reverted to him or something like that. Griff would find a way to get what he wanted. He always did.
Damn it. It was do-or-die time. Corey had to get over to that booth before Griff or he was going to lose his fantasy woman before he ever caught her.
“White wine and two beers—one light.” Griff flashed the blonde bartender the grin that usually procured good service. “Take your time.”
The woman returned his smile and gave him a quick once-over before moving off to fill his order. Griff returned the compliment, admiring the way the mounds of her ass were accentuated by the tight black pants she wore. Nice, but for some reason she didn’t stir his blood.
What did, however, was something, someone—okay, two someones—he was going to have to stay away from.
Griff slid a glance over to the corner booth. Corey stood beside the table offering his hand to introduce himself. He had finally gotten up the balls to approach Red, and all he’d needed was a mighty shove in that direction. Griff had never intended to make a serious play for his friend’s fantasy woman, but something had to be done. Griff couldn’t go through another night watching those two making hopeless goo-goo eyes at each other.
“There you go.” Griff turned back and took the change the bartender offered. He noticed the little slip of paper with a phone number written on it amongst the coins, and stuffed it all in the front pocket of his jeans. The woman held his gaze with blue eyes that sparkled flirtatiously. “My name’s Michelle, by the way.”
“I’ll be sure to remember it.” Griff winked and took his drinks, mentally putting Michelle in the maybe later column. She was definitely cute, and would no doubt make a fine Miss Right Now. But if things went south she had the power to do all manner of unhygienic things to his drinks, so Griff wasn’t sure he should risk it. Switching his regular watering hole would be a bitch.
As Griff approached the booth, he let his gaze linger on the woman opposite his friend. She had a playboy bunny’s body underneath those drab clothes. The fact that she didn’t go out of her way to accentuate her obvious assets only made her more intriguing, like a wicked tease to Griff’s vivid imagination. She might not be Griff’s usual type, but damn could he have some fun with her.
Corey’s crush, Griff. Corey’s crush.
“Drinks all round,” Griff announced and slid the beverages on the table between them. “White wine’s your poison, isn’t it?”
Red blinked at him, clearly surprised that he knew. Could she guess that Corey wasn’t the only one who’d watched her with no small amount of interest over the past few months? Sure as bears shit in the woods, any guy with a dick was going to notice a rack like that, no matter how well it was concealed by a lace-trimmed blouse. Griff had simply been better at hiding his interest.
Up close she wasn’t merely pretty, as he’d judged her. She was beautiful in a manner that was soft, classic, like a fifties ingénue, with a body made for every modern-day sin Griff could imagine. And there were a lot of those. The way her mouth hung open in surprise had Griff’s mind instantly turning down Bawdy Street. He saw the pink, wet flesh of her tongue resting beyond the plump outline of her lightly glossed lips and was filled with a raw, powerful need to suck it into his mouth.
“This is Erica—Erica Shannon.”
Corey introduced them before Griff could make the hasty retreat he suddenly realized he needed to. She held out her hand, compelling Griff to take it. Her fingers slid into his, brushing against the flesh of his palm. “It’s nice to meet you.”
That whisper of contact electrified him, made him suck in a harsh breath. He swelled in his jeans, imagining that breathy voice rasping naughty nothings in his ear, picturing that lush mouth working its way over his chest and lower.
Oh crap. This has gotta mean trouble.
Griff couldn’t very well walk around the pub in his suddenly uncomfortable condition. He hastily grabbed an unused chair from a table nearby, flipped it around and straddled it so neither Erica nor Corey could guess what had happened. He’d stay for a few minutes—one drink. He’d get himself under control, then he’d skedaddle and leave the lovebirds alone.
“Call me Griff,” he managed to choke out. “Everyone does.”
She blushed and ducked her head, as though she’d just revealed a closely guarded secret. Realization stole through Griff—or was it wishful thinking? Either way he was beginning to wonder if Corey was the only one Erica Shannon had been studying these past few months.
The very possibility made his physical situation a whole lot worse, but he tried not to get ahead of himself. Erica did not look like the threesome type—and Griff could usually pick the type. He was pretty damn sure Corey had never even thought of doing anything like it—more’s the pity. Straight down the line and unfailingly traditional, that was Corey. Griff’s own preference for multiple-partner playtime was probably coloring his thoughts.
But a few minutes later, Griff looked over to find Erica eyeing him through her lashes, flicking him brief glances even as she appeared enthralled by Corey’s small talk. In those moments Griff saw something fiery and reckless in her eyes, something that hinted at heat beneath the ice, wildness beneath the conservative exterior. That something called to him like a siren song, compelling him to keep turning the wicked ideas around in his head, no matter how he might be twisting things in his mind to suit his own tastes.
No matter how unlikely it was that Corey would agree to share the woman he was infatuated with.
“You know Erica, you haven’t said much about yourself.”
Corey twirled his nearly empty beer glass—his second since he’d sat down with her—between his large hands. It made a swirling sound on the wood that Erica could hear even above the crowd noise and rock music. It was as though she was keenly attuned to everything about him, as though there were a physical connection instead of mere proximity between them. Watching his fingers slide up and down the glass made her picture with stark clarity the way his hands would move over her body.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to stick to small talk when all she wanted to do was beg him to touch her. “My life’s not as interesting as yours.” It was the truth, but not the real reason she hadn’t revealed a lot of personal information. She simply didn’t want to think or talk about herself right now. She wanted to be somebody else, somebody with the world beneath their feet, a whole life to look forward to. A woman who made a hobby out of flirting with men in bars.
In short, she wanted to be anyone but her.
Corey flashed her a smile that was equal parts shy and sexy. “I’m interested.”
Mother superior would leave the convent for that smile. “I told you I’m a teacher.”
Corey nodded. “History and English. Is that why you carry such a big book around with you?”
Erica detected an edge in the question, and she wondered if he thought her the biggest dork in the world. “I’ve always liked to read, my Aunt Claire’s influence.”
His interest in her was obvious, and for once Erica decided to let down her shields a fraction. Whether it was the wine or the warmth of the man across from her, Erica didn’t know. “She died earlier this year. She left me her house and her vast collection of leather-bound originals.”
Aunt Claire had left her other things too, but Erica definitely did not want to discuss the details of that particular legacy.
“I’m sorry.” The softness in his blue eyes told Erica it wasn’t a meaningless platitude. “Were you close?”
“Yes.” Erica’s throat constricted around the word. “She raised me from the time I was twelve, when my mother died.”
“What about your dad?”
Her father hadn’t been able to handle Erica’s needs, the panic attacks and separation anxiety she’d suffered after losing her mother to a long battle with cancer. He’d been tapped out after so many years dealing with his wife’s illness. When he moved to the far north for work, Erica had moved in with Claire, who’d accepted the presence of her sister’s sullen teenage daughter in her life with loving aplomb.
“He thought I was better off with my aunt,” Erica said.
As though he sensed all she’d left unsaid, Griff offered bluntly, “He sounds like a prick.”
Corey sent his friend a censuring look, but Erica smiled faintly. The days when she would have leapt to her father’s defense were long behind her. She’d grown up and learned not to rely on a man to be there when the chips were down. “He lives in the Northern Territory now.” With a whole new family, a less needy one. “We exchange Christmas cards but that’s about it.”
“Oh, Erica.” Tugging on her fingertips, Corey coaxed her hand toward him. He held it turned upward on the tabletop, caressing her sensitive palm with his thumb while he looked into her eyes, more deeply than any man ever had.
Her heart was going to pump right out of her chest if he didn’t stop staring at her like that, like he wanted nothing better than to hold her in his arms and make all the past hurts disappear. It would be so easy to fall for a man like Corey Wachawski.
But she wasn’t here to start a relationship. She was in no position to fall for anyone. Erica extracted her hand because the contact seemed to be more about emotional connection than sexual stimulation, although the latter had certainly had its effect on her body. She shifted in her seat, trying to alleviate the ache. “What about you? Do you get on with your parents?”
Corey allowed her to steer the focus back onto him, even though this time Erica thought he was aware of her ploy. “My mother’s great. Works as a secretary with a real estate company. My dad’s a cop with thirty years on the job. He likes to rib me about becoming a fiery, says I broke his heart.”
“Why didn’t you go into police work?”
Griff chuckled. “He wanted to be in the beefcake calendar.”
“Shut up.” Corey rolled his eyes. “He’s joking. That whole calendar thing’s embarrassing.”
“You see, Red, what you have here is the last of the noble men,” Griff drawled. “He only posed for the firefighter’s calendar to raise money for the kids’ burn unit—not for the chicks.”
“What about you?”
Griff showed her a wide grin. “I did it for both reasons. And for a lark. I figure they were pretty desperate that year to ask a guy with a mug like mine to pose.”
His self-deprecating statement had Erica studying the face in question. He wasn’t handsome in the traditional, breath-stealing sense that Corey was. Griff’s nose was a little crooked, his lips not as sinfully full as his friend’s. But the lively sparkle that danced in his hazel eyes and the bold flash of his easy smile enhanced the appeal of his chiseled features, hard body and confident demeanor.
Corey said, “He’s pretending to be modest. He knows he’s in pretty good shape for an old bloke.”
“Thirty-six is not old, you twenty-two-year-old shithead.”
“Close enough.” Griff smiled. Erica sensed the age difference was an ongoing source of teasing between them. “I could still whip your butt in the gym, no matter how old you are.”
“On the treadmill maybe. Not at the weight bench.”
Erica listened, amused, as they continued their affectionate game of one-upmanship. So this was dick-measuring in action. She’d never had men do it for her benefit. Erica couldn’t help but be a little flattered they might bother to try to impress her. Flattered and aroused.
She wanted them—both of them, like she’d never wanted before. But how on earth was she going to take the next step and make it happen?
“Can I buy you another drink?”
“Maybe a Coke,” Erica replied to Corey’s question. Her throat was suddenly parched.
Corey headed to the bar, leaving Griff and Erica alone. After the relatively easy banter they’d both shared with Corey, the sudden dearth of dialogue was as loud as the Nickelback hit playing in the background. Erica felt the weight of Griff’s stare and the speculation in it.
Erica forced herself to meet his gaze and hold it. “I think one of my students would tell you to take a picture because it would last longer.”
His lips quirked. “Just trying to figure it out.”
“Figure what out?”
“Your angle.” Griff placed his now-empty beer glass on the table and leaned his arms on the back of the turned-around chair he sat on. The change in posture brought his face mere inches from hers. His bald question was softly uttered, deceptively simple. “Do you want me?”
Erica found her mouth flapping open and shut uselessly for several wild thumps of her heart. “I can’t believe you,” she spluttered. “You’re the bluntest person I’ve ever met.”
“I like to know where I stand.” He eyed her steadily for a tension-filled moment. “Are you going to answer?”
“What do you expect me to say?”
“That your nipples are so hard you have to keep crossing your arms to hide them. That you’re so wet you can’t stop squirming in your seat.” The fact he’d noticed her discomfort made the heat in her body rise another few degrees. “Is that all for Corey? Or is there something in it for me?”
Erica glanced toward the bar to see Corey still waiting for the drinks. As though sensing her scrutiny, he turned and met her gaze. His smile was hot with promise, making Erica throb with awareness. Her mind raced with possibilities that Griff made more vivid with his rumbling words. “What do you think? Reckon he’ll be willing to share you?”
“You know him best.” Was that her voice sounding like Marilyn Munroe’s? Was this her, staid, responsible Erica Shannon letting this virtual stranger know her deepest sexual desires? “You tell me.”
“I’m not sure I know how it would sit with Corey.” His soft admission told Erica Griff was rarely unsure of Corey. “Because I see the way he’s looking at you, Red.”
“Like he wants to marry you a week from Sunday.”
A chill raced through her, dampening some of her ardor. Long-term was not an option for her—now or possibly ever. “That’s not going to happen. I can’t have a relationship. But I want…I want…” Damn my proper upbringing anyway. Why can’t I just say it?
“You want my hands on you.” It was a statement, not a question, one that had Erica’s insides puddling to mush while her every erogenous zone went on red alert. “Corey’s hands too. You want us both kissing you, touching you, making you come. You want us both loving you with everything we’ve got. Right?”
He’d outlined exactly what her body had craved for months, the sinful things she’d never really thought she’d have the temerity to admit she longed for. Here he was, offering them to her on a silver platter. Erica badly wanted to accept. More than anything else tonight, she wanted to feel, all the things she’d denied herself out of fear and modesty and her own reticence.
At length, Erica gave a wordless nod, the show of acquiescence making her skin prickle in anticipation. She was actually going to do this. Making the decision felt not unlike leaping off a cliff.
Griff closed his eyes briefly, as if he’d been hanging on her answer. When he opened them again there was devilish intent in their golden irises. “I can make it happen.”
“Make what happen?”
Erica started guiltily when Corey reappeared, then chastised herself. She had nothing to feel guilty about. Corey was not her boyfriend, no matter how strangely familiar he might already seem to her. No matter how surprisingly human he was when she’d expected more arrogance from a man who looked like he did. She was a free woman and had every right to do as she pleased with Griff or any other man here.
“Give Erica a ride home,” Griff replied. “You can both fit in with me.”
“My car’s in the shop,” Corey explained ruefully. “It’s kind of a rust bucket.”
“Kind of?” Griff mocked.
“Griff was going to give me a lift.” Corey ignored his friend’s razzing. “Do you want to come with us?”
Did she want to come with them? She wanted to in every way that word could be interpreted.
Erica had taken the train straight here from work. If she hadn’t, she would have been perfectly willing to lie about it and leave her car here overnight for the convenience of the local car thieves. “Yes,” she said when she at last found her voice. “I’d like that.”
I can make it happen, Griff had said. And he just had.
It was an awkward fit in the front of Griff’s car, but as the Ute didn’t have a backseat there wasn’t much choice. Not that Corey minded. Once Erica was buckled into the middle space and he was wedged in beside her, he saw the benefits of having her so close. Her hair smelled like a spring garden and warmth emanated from her skin. Corey angled his body to the side to give her as much space as possible, and the soft curve of her shoulder pressed lightly into his chest.
Yep, there were definite advantages on his side.
Erica gave Griff her address and he pulled the vehicle out of the car park, having to reach between Erica’s legs for the gearstick. Corey noticed the way Erica stiffened, and winced inwardly. She must think him the classiest guy ever for cramming her in the front seat of a car like a slice of cheese in a club sandwich.
“Erica?” Corey asked after they’d gone a few blocks and the tension in Erica’s body didn’t ease. “Are you comfortable?”
She turned toward him and smiled. Corey recognized irony in the gesture. “Not really.”
“Would you rather sit on my lap?”
She made a tiny whimpering sound. Her face darkened in the dim light emanating from the dashboard instruments. “Do you make that offer to all the girls?”
“No.” He’d sent Madison away, hadn’t he? And thank God he had, or he wouldn’t be here with Erica. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
Erica quirked her brow in disbelief, apparently assuming, as most people did, that he never had to wait for any girl. Corey thought of telling her he hadn’t been with as many women as she seemed to think, that he wasn’t nearly as smooth as he wanted to be. A lot of the time his emotions ran away with him, so he wasn’t good at no-strings, casual sex. That was Griff’s department. Corey didn’t see the point of screwing some random woman whose name he could barely remember. Experiences like that left him cold.
Afraid Erica wouldn’t believe him, he simply tried to be as honest as he could without getting into all that. “Erica, I really like being with you. I’ve seen you come into the Sovereign before and I wanted to meet you every time. I wish I’d done it sooner.”
“You wanted to speak to me?” Her surprise was obvious. “Why didn’t you?”
Corey shrugged. Across the car, Griff coughed into his hand meaningfully.
Erica glanced at Griff. “Pardon me?”
“You’re not exactly the most approachable woman in the world,” Griff said baldly. “You have a ‘don’t touch’ look going on.”
“Jeez, Griff.” Corey groaned.
When Erica spoke her voice bordered on icy. “I see.”
“There it is.” Griff glanced toward her before returning his attention to the road. “The look.”
“Erica.” Corey tried for a soothing tone. “I think you’re a stunner.”
“But you also think I’m frigid, is that it?”
Corey could have sworn there was a smirk in Griff’s voice. “I never said that.”
“You’re just a bit…daunting.” Her eyes narrowed, and Corey hurried to fix the damage. “I mean to me. A bit. Because you seem really smart, and probably date doctors or lawyers, blokes with degrees, instead of guys like me.”
Guys who barely finished high school and had to take the aptitude test twice before they’d let him become a fiery. Corey figured his verbal fumbling was only highlighting the notion he wasn’t as intelligent as her or the men she was probably used to hanging out with. His heart felt heavy as he finished. “I thought you might tell me to take a walk.”
Her anger seethed in the silence for a few moments during which Corey was certain he’d blown it completely. Why did Griff have to open his big mouth?
Then abruptly, Erica spoke, her words coming out in a staccato rhythm. “The last man I dated was a history professor. His name was Doug. We dated for over two years. We had plenty to talk about, but he was hardly interested in touching me. I want someone who’s interested in touching me.”
Corey was so stunned by the idea that Erica’s ex-boyfriend hadn’t been all over her every minute of every day that he didn’t speak for a moment. Into the silence, Griff’s laugh danced. His voice was warm and raspy. “I think you can stop looking, Red.”
Corey watched in astonishment as Griff reached up and smoothed a hand over Erica’s hair. It was a gesture filled with surprising affection, with tacit apology for his frankness. It was also a liberty taken that Corey was amazed Erica allowed. But she didn’t upbraid Griff or wrench away. Instead she closed her eyes on a sigh, as though his touch contented her, made her…
No way. No way is Griff turning her on.
Corey curled a hand around Erica’s nape. Her skin was supple and soft, the dark discs of her eyes like pools of melted chocolate. Shallow breaths puffed out of her, as though she was excited.
Because of Griff or him?
“Erica.” Corey hardly recognized the steely determination in his voice. “I want to touch you.”
The simple declaration didn’t cover it, not when every muscle in his body strained from the effort of not mauling her where she sat. Corey fought to moderate his actions as he pulled her to him, covering her mouth with his. He had often imagined kissing Erica. In those dreams he’d always seduced her slowly, with patience and skill, turning her into putty and making her plead for more.
As much as he wanted to live up to those intentions, reality wasn’t like that. Whatever finesse he possessed was obliterated by the plush invitation of her open lips, by the intoxicating mix of wine and sweet soda on her tongue. Her kiss drugged him, made him thirst for too much, too fast. He fed on her, devoured her.
She responded with enthusiasm, allowing him to take what he needed. Her keen little moans, the way she grabbed his shirt in frantic fistfuls as though she wanted to rip it off, lit a fire inside Corey. He’d been kissed with gusto before, but never quite like this. It was as though the first touch of his lips had released her from some unseen bondage, ties that kept her deep within herself. Once they got started it seemed like Erica drove the kiss, but it wasn’t about her taking control. It was about her losing it.
It made Corey think she needed protecting. She was different from most other women he met. Erica was shy and soft and sweet, with a passionate center that electrified his senses. Their lips and their bodies fit together like a hand fit a glove. He would take care of her, give her whatever she needed.
Erica would be his. All his.
Her grip on his T-shirt tightened. She dragged the material upward and touched a hand to the bared skin of his torso. Corey’s abs, along with everything else in the vicinity, went as hard as forged iron. “Erica.” He wrenched his mouth away from hers and tried to catch his breath. “Slow down.”
Right, Wachawski. Why? When she moved her touch downward and her fingers brushed his full-blown erection, Corey remembered. He winced and grabbed her wrist to keep her from exploring further. Aware that Griff was so close, Corey lowered his voice to a whisper. “I might come in my pants if you touch me there.”
Erica flagrantly disobeyed him, settling her hand over his fly. Corey closed his eyes on a groan. It was as if her fingers were made to curl around him. He wondered how well they’d fit together everywhere else. Intuitively, he knew. Perfectly.
“Touch me, Corey.”
Corey could have kicked himself for making her ask it in that heartrending voice. He was holding back to keep from making a fool of himself, not because he didn’t want to put his hands all over her. How could she not know that?
Stupid professor dude.
He dipped his head and kissed her again, until she melted against him. Then he gently cupped a breast in his hand and squeezed. She was full and round, a bounty of soft womanly flesh. Through the filmy blouse she wore, her nipple thrust against his palm.
Corey rubbed his hand back and forth until her breath caught. “Is that how you want to be touched?”
Erica’s hand flexed, lightly squeezing his cock. Corey couldn’t prevent his hips from rocking into her grip. The thick denim was the only thing saving him from losing it completely. That’d be great, unloading prematurely while Griff was driving them home. Corey would never hear the end of it.
Glancing across the space that separated them, Corey thought he saw the ghost of a smirk on the other man’s face and knew he was right. He also wondered if Griff’s silence wasn’t a tacit invitation for he and Erica to continue what they were doing as though he wasn’t there.
Corey murmured, “Erica, how far away is your place?”
“I’m not sure.” Erica blinked dazedly and glanced beyond him to the cityscape whizzing by.
“Five more minutes.” Griff’s voice was a thick husk, tinged with impatience rather than the amusement Corey would have expected. He gestured to the car in front. “Ten if this guy doesn’t get a wriggle on.”
Corey wondered if Griff was pissed off at him. “Are we bugging you, Griff?”
Griff flicked a glance his way. In the red-tinged glow from the traffic light, his eyes burned like lava. His jaw was set in a tense line that belied the lopsided grin he offered. “Not bothering me at all.”
Something hot and prickly chased itself over Corey’s already sensitive flesh. Griff was tense, but anger wasn’t the cause. Was it possible…?
Erica settled her face into the curve of Corey’s neck and swirled her tongue over his skin. As the car eased through the suburbs, Corey was now peripherally aware of his friend’s presence. Of his friend’s interest. He wondered if Erica was. If so, it did nothing to subdue her wild responses to his kisses. Neither did she stop him touching her breasts. And if Griff wasn’t forced to concentrate on driving, he’d be able to see everything they were doing to each other.
Sure as anything, he could hear it.
“Corey, I want your hands on my skin.”
God, he wanted that too. Corey wondered if she’d let him undo her blouse. If she’d let him part the fabric and unhook her bra right here in the car with Griff beside them.
The idea didn’t horrify Corey. He could barely speak over the shock constricting his throat. “Now, Erica?”
The ugly sound of grinding gears punctuated Erica’s plea. Griff was always so careful with his precious car that realization hit Corey. He wanted this. Griff wanted Erica too, so much so he was driving like someone on their learner’s permit.
After Griff maneuvered into the correct gear he moved his hand off the shift…and settled it on Erica’s leg.
Erica didn’t object when Griff gave her thigh a squeeze. Corey stared at the sight and wondered why he didn’t object, either. When Griff started slowly stroking his hand up and down, Erica caught her breath and glanced over at Griff.
Griff met her gaze. “Sure this is okay?”
Erica nodded, gasped again when Griff trailed his touch higher on her thigh. As Griff steered them through the maze of Friday-night traffic, Corey’s gaze remained fixed on the sight of his friend’s hand massaging Erica’s leg, shifting her skirt upward, exposing the pale column of her thigh. Griff slipped beneath the shroud of grey material.
Erica said, “Oh God.”
Inwardly, Corey echoed the sentiment. Griff was touching Erica’s most intimate place. Stroking her and making her hips rock in helpless response.
Corey wondered why he didn’t stop this, why he wasn’t angry. Erica was shocked but not surprised by Griff’s advances, giving Corey the distinct impression they’d hatched this plot together. He’d wanted to make Erica his, but at some point Corey’s plan had been snatched out from under him. He should be seriously pissed at Griff for intruding on the intimacy he wanted to create with Erica.
Yet he wasn’t. He was too turned on to think, so caught up in the unexpected, dirty beauty of watching Griff finger Erica that objection was the last thing on his mind. Perhaps he was in shock, or so swamped by arousal nothing else could penetrate his lust-fogged mind. All Corey knew was that he wanted to watch Erica come. This way, he’d be free to see every beautiful expression on her face while she lost herself at Griff’s hand.
Jesus. He was thinking threesome and he’d never done anything like it before. Corey knew Griff had—with two women. Had he ever done it in this combination?
Griff’s apparent self-assurance told Corey the answer was most likely yes. But Corey had no clue how something like this was supposed to play out. Suddenly, he felt as unsure as a virgin.
“Number eighteen, right?” Griff asked.
At Erica’s nod, he swung the car to the left, into the driveway of a Queenslander-style house. He had to release Erica to power down the car. Completing the task in record time, Griff unsnapped his seat belt and turned.
In the dim light from the dash instruments Griff had left on, Corey recognized the heated glint of pure lust in his eyes. He reminded Corey of a tiger. The shadows slanted across his face, dissecting the amber coloring of his hair and the topaz glimmer of his eyes. He all but growled, “It’s too bloody late to tell me to stop, Cor. I have to make your girl come now.”
Corey closed his eyes on a groan. Despite what Griff said, it wasn’t too late. Griff would back off if Corey asked him to.
Beside him, Erica squirmed. “Please, Griff.”
Hearing her utter another man’s name like that stung. But lust acted like a buffer, protecting him from the worst of it. Corey wanted to see Griff make Erica come more than he wanted her to himself. He clung to Griff’s words, how he’d referred to Erica as your girl. When this was all over Corey swore he’d make that happen, he’d make Erica his. Somehow.
Right now, she was theirs.
With a minimum of preamble, Griff slipped his hand back beneath Erica’s skirt to touch silken skin. She had one foot on each side of the gearstick already, but her thighs fell apart farther when he traced the edge of her cotton underwear.
She was all sultry heat and yielding softness, the embodiment of feminine temptation. Burying his face in the sweet-smelling curtain of her hair, Griff pushed his finger inside her slick channel and groaned at the ease of his entry. “You’re so wet, Red. Tight and soft, just how I want you.”
Her words were a breathless accusation. “You made me this way.”
Griff chuckled and brushed his lips over Erica’s earlobe. “Corey started it, but you liked knowing I could hear everything that was going on. It made you hotter, didn’t it? It made you all slippery and ready for my touch.”
When she didn’t immediately respond, Griff gave her earlobe a sharp little nip. She gasped and thrust her hips into the steady motion of his hand. “Yes,” she admitted. “It turned me on. I like you being here too.”
Corey emitted a guttural noise. There was helpless arousal in the sound, with an underpinning discontent Griff couldn’t deny. Corey had wanted Erica to himself tonight, but here she was wedged between the two of them because Griff had been—face it—a bit of a selfish prick. He’d made sure he got what he wanted, no matter that it usurped Corey’s plans. The fact that Erica wanted this too didn’t nullify what it cost Corey to give up the alone time with Erica he’d been aching for.
Griff had no intention of stealing Erica out from under his friend, even if she was turning out to be a sexual firecracker, a forceful woman capable of ensuring her needs were met. In other words, much more Griff’s type than he’d realized.
He pushed aside the inkling of regret that surfaced at the idea of giving Erica up after only one night. “Corey.” Griff waited until Corey tore his eyes off Erica’s face to meet his gaze. “It’ll be all right. It’s like a treat for her, both of us wanting her so bad, making her feel good. Just this once.”
“Yeah, I get it.” Despite the words, uncertainty remained in Corey’s expression. He licked his lips in a nervous gesture. “What do I do?”
Oh fuck. A thousand possibilities flitted through Griff’s mind, at least half of them things that were definitely not on the menu. His cock jerked inside his jeans. His heart became a wild, hammering thing in his chest.
All because Corey Wachawski had licked his lips and asked for instructions.
Erica whimpered in disappointment, making Griff realize he’d stilled the motion of his finger. He returned his attention to her, trying to wrestle his unwelcome Corey-related urges back into the lockbox they’d been stuffed in for going on five years now. Firmly reminding himself that they belonged there, always, because Corey’s sexuality was not a malleable thing, the way his was.
“How about it, Red?” His voice was thick, his query slow in coming. Desire seemed to have swollen his tongue. “Do you want Corey to kiss those pretty tits of yours?”
Corey was working at the buttons of her blouse before the word was out of Erica’s mouth. Griff saw the other man’s fingers trembling as he parted Erica’s blouse and shifted her bra cups aside, exposing her breasts. The full globes were just visible in the scant light from the dash instruments, but Griff’s breath caught.
Corey sighed. “Erica, you’re perfect.” Then he bent his head to her.
The soft sucking sounds Corey made as he gave Erica’s breasts their due attention made Griff’s cock buck and weep inside his Levis. “That’s it, Cor, suck those tasty nipples. Make her squirm.” Griff wasn’t even sure Corey heard him because his voice was so raspy. He whispered in Erica’s ear. “You like it, Red? You just about ready to come?”
Her incoherent moan wasn’t clear, but the hot spill of her feminine juice on his fingers screamed yes. She was close to losing it. Hell, Griff was close to losing it himself, merely from the sound and smell of her—of both of them.
The metallic noise of Corey’s zipper being lowered rent the claustrophobic space of his car’s interior. Griff squeezed his eyes shut, as though that could somehow lessen the impact of the knowledge that Erica was blindly reaching into Corey’s open jeans and fondling his cock.
“Erica, I can wait.”
“No,” Griff found himself saying. He nipped at the tender flesh of Erica’s earlobe and touched his thumb to the swollen nub of her clit. “Do it, Red. Take Corey’s hard cock out and stroke it. Get him off while I’m finger-fucking this tight, juicy cunt of yours. I want to see you both come.”
Corey offered a weak protest, but Erica followed Griff’s commands without question. Griff heard the telltale sound of her hand working on the stiff flesh of Corey’s hard-on. It mingled with Corey’s groan of delight as he all but fell back against the passenger door and let her pleasure him.
Griff kept nipping at Erica’s throat, kept thrusting into her with his finger and circling her clit with his thumb. He didn’t look at what she was doing to Corey. He couldn’t look and maintain any semblance of restraint.
Christ, he thought he could have an uncomplicated three-way with these two without wishing it could be more. Without wishing Erica wasn’t the only one making Corey come. Without wishing Corey was the type to let him go that far.
Apparently not. Damn it all, he wanted Corey too.
Griff tried to tune out those desires, rasping into Erica’s ear. “How does that feel? Good?”
She nodded. “Yes. So good.”
Her obvious need egged him on. “How about Corey’s dick? How does it feel to hold him in your hand?”
“Oh, he’s so…”
Shit. He so did not need to know that.
“Erica.” Her name was a tortured moan on Corey’s lips. “I’m going to lose it if you don’t stop.”
“Don’t stop, Red,” Griff said. “Make him come. Now.”
Corey stared at him, his expression tense. His lips were parted, his breath falling out in rapid pants. “Erica.” Corey spoke her name but didn’t take his eyes off Griff. “I can’t stop, I’m going to come.”
Griff swallowed a curse, helpless to do anything but watch as Corey arched his hips, blowing all over Erica’s proper-looking skirt and blouse. He almost lost it himself but held back with all he had in him, concentrating instead on adding pressure to Erica’s clit, shafting her as deep as he could with his finger. He tongued the shell of her ear and murmured, “Your turn, gorgeous. Come for us now.”
A sob choked out of her and she convulsed around him. She tried to slam her legs together but couldn’t because of the gearstick, so Griff kept the pressure on to help her ride it out, talking her through it with gently cooed words until her writhing body sagged against the seat, spent.
“Erica, I am so sorry.”
Regret and embarrassment mingled in Corey’s apology, but Erica’s response was nothing but dreamy awe. “Don’t be. Nothing like that’s ever happened to me before.”
Griff withdrew from Erica’s body, turning away, as the two of them kissed. He ran a hand through his hair, only to realize it was shaking. The need for air had him yanking on the door handle and all but stumbling into the darkness.
The suburban street was quiet. A half-moon formed a white semi-circle in the black sky, a smattering of stars twinkled like shattered glass. Griff stared up at the universe, willing his heart to slow and his body to cool.
He should not have started this. He was at risk of repeating past mistakes, and Griff really wanted to be too smart for that. Yet right now he felt as stupid as he had years ago when he’d first realized his lovers, Anna and Jack, saw him as an add-on to their life, not an integral part of it.
Griff turned to find Erica studying him, her dark eyes fathomless in the moonlight. Her lips were swollen and still wet from Corey’s kisses, which only reminded Griff he hadn’t even tasted them. Kisses weren’t for him, because he wasn’t part of the main couple. He was the third wheel—again—which granted him access only to what was left over.
Which, he reminded himself, could amount to a hell of a good time.
Having a good time here, that’s all.
Griff reached up to trail his knuckles over Erica’s cheek. “How are you holding up there, cute stuff?”
She lowered her head, a show of discomfiture. “I didn’t even say thank you.”
“Jesus, you never have to thank a guy for that.” He wondered if her limp-dick professor had made her think she was some kind of tedious responsibility, and figured he’d smack the guy’s face with relish should the two of them ever meet.
Corey emerged from the dark to stand behind Erica. He slid his arm around her waist and drew her back against him. As though she were his, and only his.
Dale Griffin, you need to get back in your car and drive away, as fast as you can.
Griff didn’t listen to the sensible inner voice but instead did the least sensible thing possible. He stepped forward and took Erica’s face in his hands, drawing her mouth to his.
Sealing his lips over hers had a predictable effect on his libido. His cock stretched even more painfully, his blood pumped with renewed impatience through his veins. Less predictable was the way her soft lips and luxurious sigh made his gut clench. There was a vulnerability in her kiss that contradicted the boldness with which she threaded her fingers through his hair and offered herself. The sweetness of her belied the wanton way she arched into him, pressing her breasts to his chest.
Her blouse was still open from their activities in the car. Griff could feel the heat of her flesh permeating the fabric of his shirt. He also felt Corey holding her more tightly to him, brushing his lips over her temple as Griff played with her mouth.
It would be so easy to lift his head and pull Corey in too. To kiss that fucking sexy mouth of his while one of them—both of them—reached up and caressed the body between them, toying and teasing and tweaking until all three of them were reckless with lust once more.
Griff wrenched his mouth away from Erica’s before he did something really stupid. Her aloof veneer had been completely stripped away, leaving an expression of raw need and tender fragility. That expression caught him in the chest and held tight. Corey’s girl had a powerful effect on him, not all of it sexual. He should leave. But he couldn’t, no matter what he risked by staying.
“Let’s get you inside, Red,” he said, “Before I do something nasty to you on the hood of this car.”
* * * *
Erica’s bathroom was redolent with the aroma of lavender. When Griff turned on the shower taps, steam billowed out of the long, narrow stall like sweet-scented smoke. It wrapped around the three of them, shrouding them in a sultry mist.
Griff threaded his fingers through Erica’s hair and gently tipped her head back so he could place a trail of wet kisses along her throat. “Corey made you all sticky, didn’t he, gorgeous? We’re going to wash you off now.”
Corey felt his cheeks heat at Griff’s words. If he’d made her “sticky” it was at least half Griff’s fault. He’d egged Erica on. And he’d stared at Corey the whole time, with such a searing, hot expression that Corey had been unable to temper his response. He’d come, forcefully, without ever tearing his gaze from his best friend’s.
At the time it hadn’t seemed like a monumental thing. Now, as Erica helped Griff out of his T-shirt, Corey’s heart thundered in his chest. Anticipation dried his mouth as Griff’s golden skin was revealed, inch by inch—his ripped abs, his taut chest, and the armband tattoo that encircled his left biceps.
Erica trailed her fingernails over it, clearly fascinated. Griff smiled. “Not the kind of girl who dates guys with tattoos, are you, Red?”
“No,” Erica admitted, almost bitterly. “I’m the boring, cautious type.”
“Not from where I’m standing.” Griff reached up and tweaked her nipple through the thin silk of her bra to make his point. “Nothing boring about you. Right, Cor?”
Griff turned Erica in his arms so her back was pressed to his chest. Then he unhooked her bra and let it fall to the tiled floor. In the scant light of the car, Erica had taken Corey’s breath away. Now, he thought he might have a heart attack. “You’re very exciting, Erica,” he croaked.
“He’s been eyeing you from across that pub for months, trying to find a way to talk to you. You’ve got her now, mate,” Griff pointed out. “So come and play with her.”
Heat scorched Corey’s face as he realized he stood in the doorway like a dolt, doing nothing to participate. In one hurried motion, he hauled his shirt over his head and strode toward Erica. Griff held her out to him like a gift, and Corey took her into his arms, kissing her lush mouth, eating up her excited little moans like each one was a sweet, long-hungered-for morsel. Her breasts skimmed his chest, their taut crests scraping his skin in a delicious friction that made his jeans way too tight.
He was going to blow prematurely—again—if he wasn’t careful.
Erica gasped into Corey’s mouth when Griff parted the zipper of her skirt, causing the garment to go the way of her blouse and bra. Corey slid his grip downward and cupped her ass through the dainty panties she wore, bringing her into closer contact with his raging erection.
“God, what an ass,” Griff rumbled. “Strip those panties off her.”
Corey’s excitement spiked, his fingers working immediately to do Griff’s bidding. He took Griff’s orders all the time. Griff was a senior firefighter, above Corey’s pay grade and miles beyond him in work experience. Griff had never given him instructions in a personal setting before, but following them felt entirely natural and somehow strangely thrilling at the same time.
Being told what to do by Griff was hot.
“Oh yeah.” Griff ran his hands over Erica’s bared ass cheeks, his fingers brushing against Corey’s in the process. Corey’s pulse leapt. His arms were full of warm, willing woman, and the sinuous movement of her feminine body aroused him unbearably. But there was something else going on, something blazing in the air between him and Griff that added an edge to his desire, that nudged a boundary Corey wanted to push wider even as the thought of it scared him.
What the hell was happening?
“Get her in the shower. She’s going to run out of hot water at this rate.”
Griff’s easy humor dispelled some of the tension. Corey chuckled as he guided Erica into the stall, hanging back long enough to step out of his jeans before following her in. “I don’t know about you,” he began when he had her in his arms again. He lowered his voice so only she could hear him above the patter of water on tile. “But I’m a little nervous.”
The laugh Erica released tremored. “Me too.”
“I won’t hurt you.” It was an easy assurance to give—he meant it with every fiber in him. “Neither will Griff. He’s a good guy.”
She smiled softly. “I know.”
Corey smiled too, delighted that she’d seen past Griff’s sometimes-brusque exterior to the decent man beneath. It made his emotions open more to her, strengthened the kinship he felt already existed between them. “You’re a special woman, you know that, Erica?”
From the way she almost blanched at his praise and ducked her head, Corey figured she had no idea. Heck, it didn’t make any logical sense that he was so sure of it. But somehow he was.
He wanted to make her sure of it too.
When Griff stepped into the shower with them, he dropped a couple of foil packets into the soap dish. Then he plucked a bottle of shower gel from where it rested on a glass shelf and squirted a generous amount over Erica’s back.
“I can tell you’ve never done anything like this before, Erica.” It was the first time Griff had called her by her Christian name, and his voice gentled as he spoke it. He rubbed the shower gel in slow circles over her shoulders until it lathered and made her skin slick and fragrant. “So we’ll take it slow. We’ll be gentle—if you want it rough you’ll have to tell us, okay?”
He waited until Erica nodded, surprise in her eyes. Corey doubted she’d ever asked for anything rough in her life.
“And we’ll make it easy on you. I’m going to tell Corey what to do to you.” Against Erica’s soft stomach, Corey’s hardness jerked. “All you have to worry about is enjoying everything. Okay?”
“You can trust me. Corey too. You know that, don’t you?”
Corey was gratified by Erica’s unequivocal nod. That trust was important to him.
“Get down on your knees, Cor,” Griff told him in that gravelly, lust-thickened voice. “I want to watch you eat Erica’s tasty-looking cunt.”
God. Like before, Corey didn’t hesitate. He eased Erica back against the tiled wall, out of the direct line of the shower spray. Then he lowered before her.
Using both thumbs, Corey gently parted her lips and ran his tongue along the inner edge of them, narrowly avoiding her most sensitive place. Erica writhed against the slippery tiles at her back, thrusting her pussy at Corey’s face. Corey kept teasing her with his tongue, knowing her eventual release would be more intense if he took his time. She’d already climaxed in the car, and he wanted the second time to be equally as good.
“That’s it, Cor. Like that.”
Griff was standing beside Erica, playing with her eager tits, his gaze alternating between watching her and fixing on Corey, on what he was doing between Erica’s legs.
And there, right beside Corey’s head, was Griff’s cock. It was long and large, the smooth skin covering it flushed red with arousal. His balls were full and tight. Griff was the only person who hadn’t come yet, and it was obvious he badly needed to.
Corey was fascinated, excited and…tempted. By what?
Griff’s cock. He was tempted to transfer his tongue from Erica’s pussy to the throbbing head of Griff’s hard-on and taste it, tease it, please it. Until Griff lost control for once in his life.
Corey’s gaze slammed into Griff’s as the impact of his thoughts hit full force. He was wondering what it would be like to give his best friend a blow job. Griff’s eyes were knowing, tortured, as if he sensed Corey’s state of mind.
As if he wanted the same thing and was tormented by his inability to ask for it.
“She needs to come.” Griff could just as easily have been talking about himself. “Suck her clit. Don’t stop until she screams your name.”
Turning away from those other, confusing urges, Corey bent his head to Erica again, taking her sweet bud into his mouth.
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