1/31/2007

Chapter 31

Tessa dropped into her chair, the exhaustion felt bone deep. Normally she would have left the heavy lifting and the unloading for Adam or one of her part-time stockers but the only way she’d been able to keep focused was to keep busy. Even if it meant doing inventory, sorting and stocking that usually took three people.

The sound of a clearing throat had her opening her eyes. “Hey, Nic.”

“So did you avoid me enough today?”

“I just don’t even know what to say.”

“Maybe how many orgasms you had and how many rooms of the house you did it in for starters?”

Laughter broke the first fingers of stress and confusion that had banded around her all day. “I lost count of both.”

Nic perched herself on Tessa’s desk, “Okay seriously? You need to tell me before I kill you.”

Tessa scrubbed her hands over her face. “It’s never been like that, Nic.” She looked up at her friend, “Never…not even close to what I could have named as the best sex of my life. It was out of the stratosphere.”

Nic sighed, her brown eyes softening. “So it was just amazing? Was it because it was him or because of who he is?”

It was a fair question, which was the only reason she didn’t rip a strip of skin off of her hide. And even after the first touch, it had been the man that had wrecked her not the singer. “It’s just him. All him, to be honest. He’s got this way about him that makes me forget he’s anything other than a regular guy. Pieces of him remind me of the man on stage and in the interviews, but then he laughs and I’m...”

Nic placed a hand on her arm. “Oh honey, you’re toast.”

“What?”

“It was like that with my Adam. I just knew. I knew even before he got me into bed and believe me I gave him a merry chase there, girlfriend.”

“That’s the problem. I barely let him chase me. I don’t think my panties have hit the floor so fast since freshmen year at college.”

Nic grinned, “Hussy.”

“Yeah well, I had a few stupid moments in my life but next to this it was child’s play.” She crossed her arms over her stomach, hoping to hold in the fleet of butterflies that had taken up residence. “I did things with him I’d never even contemplate doing in a fantasy.”

Nic’s eyebrow rose, “Really?”

“That’s all you’re getting out of me on that.”

“Dammit! I was hoping to have something to try on Adam tonight.”

Tessa’s phone bounced and buzzed on her desk. She turned it over to see the readout, “Frank? I don’t know a Frank.” She flipped it open, “Hello?”

“Did you guess it was me?”

A low laugh rumbled in her stomach and finally up through the phone. “Oh you are something else.”

Nic stood and mouthed, “Is that him?”

Tessa nodded and covered up the microphone. “Why don’t you head out, I’ll finish closing up.”

“You know I don’t like to leave you alone in here, Tess.”

“Tell her I’ll be there with you,” Jon murmured in her ear. “I need to come and give you a proper goodbye.”

Tessa warmed at the thought of him and whatever version of goodbye she’d earn with his visit.

Nic crossed her arms, “If you could see your face right now...”

Tessa covered the mic again. “Go home, Nic.”

Nic grumbled, “I’m going.”

Just before she slipped out the door, “Hey Nichole!” she called out.

Nic ducked back in. “Yeah?”

“Whipped cream,” was all she said.

Nic’s eyes bulged and she bumped into the door before finally righting herself. “You suck, you know that, right?”

Tessa just smiled, if she only knew. “Good night, Nichole.” She uncovered the phone receiver. “I thought you had left already.”

“And not even called?” he tsked. “Now that would be very rude and very shitty of me to do.”

She smiled and settled back in her chair. “I know you’re really busy.”

“Not too busy to stop by for a few minutes if that’s okay.”

“More than okay.”

She heard a knock at her door.

He opened the door and ducked his head in. “How’s now?” He tucked his phone back in his pocket and stood in the dim light of her office.

His near shoulder length hair curled against the Kenneth Cole jacket he habitually wore when he’d be in public. A lightweight v-neck sweater the same color as hers cuffed around the ends of the sleeves. He finished off the outfit with dark jeans that hugged his powerful thighs and thick soled boots the same rich charcoal as his jacket.

He glanced around the room, instantly at ease with the warm wood paneling that echoed the simple beauty of her store and enjoyed the cozy atmosphere of her space. He leaned down and pressed a quick kiss to her mouth. It felt as natural as if he’d been doing it all his life.

Tessa stood and brushed her fingertips over the cashmere of the jacket and up into his hair. He smelled of sandalwood and that rich spice she was starting to associate with him. He was dressed for going out, for entertaining and she thought sadly…a party. Without thought she rose on her toes and fit her mouth to his and was rewarded with a groan and the sweep of his tongue against hers.

She didn’t want to let him go. Already, a piece of her wanted him in her space, wanted the taste of him wrapped around her so she could keep it close. She dropped back, pulling away to get her bearings, but she sighed deeply when Jon gathered her in again.

“I’m not nearly finished with you,” he murmured and dipped his head again to taste. “It’s only three days,” he said around kisses. “It shouldn’t be too bad,” he said between the light touches to her face and hair.

“Exactly, it’s only three days,” she muttered and they dove into the kiss again.

He untucked her turtleneck, needing to feel her flesh. He wanted more. He needed more than a few kisses to slake the hunger she brought out in him. Lifting her, he settled her on the edge of the desk. Pushing her knees apart he drew back, resting his head against her forehead. “Tessa,” he muttered darkly.

She threaded her fingers through his hair and dragged his mouth back to hers. She felt his moan along her lips and inside of her where she throbbed most.

He broke away from her again. “Tessa,” he managed to ask again.

“What?”

“I don’t have anything with me.”

Chapter 30

Jon dashed back to his house and juggled his buzzing phone out of his pocket as he pushed open the door, “Hello,” he said distractedly. The security system started beeping at him and he fumbled the phone, dropping it to the floor. “Shit! Just a second,” he called and finally managed to punch in his code.

“For fuck’s sake,” he muttered and picked up his phone that skittered across to the staircase. “Hello?”

“Jon? Everything okay over there?”

A jitter of misplaced guilt boiled in his gut. He'd been thinking about Tessa non-stop for nearly two days. “Hey, Dot, sorry just got me coming in the door.”

“Are you busy?"

He bit back a sigh. "Never too busy for you, you know that." He meant it. No matter how many troubles they had with each other, there's nothing he wouldn't do for the mother of his children.

"I hate to ask, but could you pick up the kids today from school? I have a competition for the Junior League and I’ll never make it to the school on time.”

He shuffled his day in his head; he’d have to get a move on the errands and do his phone calls on the road. “Sure, not a problem.”

“Oh you’re a life saver. Jen took the week off to go visit her family. I should be able to meet you at the house about four o’clock…is that okay?”

“Yeah, that’s fine." He paused a moment, "It works out great actually so I can see the kids for a bit before I leave.”

“Off to Nashville again?” she asked conversationally.

“Yeah, Richie and I have some more work to do. Hey if you have a minute can we talk about Christmas?”

“What about it,” she asked cautiously.

“Would you mind if I took the kids for Christmas Eve? I’ll bring them to the house bright and early on Christmas day, but I kinda want to show them that it’s just as important at my house as it is at yours.”

The other end of the line was silent for a moment. “I don’t know, Jon, we’ve always done the Christmas Eve thing together. Do you think it would confuse Romeo and Jakey?”

He forced himself to take a breath, they’d fought about the kids in the beginning and it just wasn’t worth the mess to start it up again. Taking the kids away from their mother just wouldn’t be something he’d ever do. She was the most stable between the two of them when it came to time and staying in one spot.

He knew she was what was best for their kids, but he wasn’t going to be that Dad that saw them on alternating weekends and one week in the summer. He just couldn’t be that kind of father. “We’re going to be starting some new traditions now, and Christmas is a good place to start.”

“I thought we’d made those decisions before, Jon. We wanted to keep things as simple as possible for them.”

Talking with Tessa had gotten him thinking. He wanted to make things special for the kids here in their home...In his home. “I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I really want Christmas to be important in both of our houses.”

“Let me think about it and we’ll talk about it when I get back home, I have to go. I’ll talk to you later about this, I promise.”

Jon snapped his phone shut and gripped it until he heard the squeak of plastic grinding. They were his kids too, dammit. He took his stairs three at a time and dropped his clothes as he stepped into the shower.

It was lowering to think that a near stranger had him rethinking something as basic as how to deal with his kids on a holiday. He was far too dependent on Dorothea to keep things normal for their children. This would be good for them and for him. He still had time to enjoy his kids and he couldn't lose sight of that because it would be easier to do things her way. He'd never done things the easy way, so why start now?

He soaped up his body, then his hair and ducked under the spray, the scent of his shampoo, which normally didn’t register in his morning routine, brought a swift vision of smooth flesh and bright hair to mind.

And just like that, Tessa crowded his thoughts. Flashes of her in his shower and wrapped around him, had his groin tightening in memory of her touch, her laugh and that silky fall of hair he couldn’t resist.

He wasn’t used to getting wrapped up in thoughts of a woman, especially if he’d been with her in almost every conceivable way through out an evening. What was it about her that stuck with him? And just what was he going to do with himself in Nashville without her for at least three days.

With a roar of disgust he turned the taps on cold and willed his dick to behave. He had so much work to do and so little time to do it. He stumbled out of the shower ten minutes later, completely sure he’d never be warm again in his life.

Chapter 29

“Shhh!” she grabbed her best friend and dragged her inside. “Can we not announce this to the world please?”

Nichole’s dimples faded into a frown. “He didn’t tell you to keep it a secret did he?!”

“What?” Tessa dropped her purse and swore when she noticed her laptop missing. “Dammit, I left it at home. “

“He didn’t swear you to secrecy did he? The cad!”

Tessa blinked. “What are you talking about?”

“I know he must have kissed a few brain cells clear out of your head,” she said conversationally then stopped and ducked to catch her eyes. “Oh my God! Did you sleep with him?” she asked, her brown eyes nearly bulging out of her head.

Tessa snatched the coffee cup out of her hand. “No more for you,” she said and made her way to the front of the store and into the cashbox. She had no idea what to say to her best friend. She would know. She had to know already.

Nic followed her into the small box. “Oh no, first of all give me back my coffee you thief and second you cannot leave me like that. You did sleep with him.”

Tessa dropped her purse outside the door. “What’s with the interrogation?”

Nic held her shoulders square, forcing her to face her. “You look at me right now.”

Tessa tried to blank her features and stared at her friend hoping her eyes wouldn’t betray her. “What?”

“Oh my God! You soo did!”

Tessa dropped her face into her hands. “Dammit, Nic,” she muttered darkly.

“That’s wonderful! I’m so happy for you!” Nic gathered her in for a crushing hug. “I can’t believe it and I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen that ultra hot kiss in the parking lot. I swear it looked like he was going to swallow you whole. He didn’t want to let go of you.”

Tessa pulled back and winced. “Okay now I know you’re lying. No exaggerating woman, I have work to do. I’m running late.” She turned to leave, “Can you do the opening for me, I have to go to my office. We have a huge order coming in at ten and I need to get the back ready. Great thanks,” she opened and closed the door before Nic could answer.

“Don’t think that’s the last of my questions, Tessa Marie Donovan!” she shouted through the door.

Tessa leaned against the door and huffed out a breath. She knew Nic wouldn’t let it go, she just didn’t think she’d have to explain herself so soon. She hefted her purse and her coat dragging them into her office with her. She dropped into her chair and pressed her forehead onto her desk. How the hell was she going to get through the day?

She closed her eyes and a flash of memory had her jerking back in her seat. No, it was best not to go there either. If she thought about those fingers and…her body quaked just at the thought. No, she could not think about that at all or she’d be a babbling idiot for sure.

Work was what she needed. She shifted in her seat the tights she wore felt hot and confining. Her body was still recovering from the…well, assault would be a good word. For the love of George she’d never had that many orgasms in one twenty-four hour period. Hell, it hadn’t even been a full twenty-four, more like twelve hours.

Her body felt used and sore in places she didn’t think could be sore. She crossed her legs and nearly moaned at the tenderness between her thighs. She was fully aware that she was now ruined for all other men. And even if that was the case and he never touched her again, it had been worth it.

He was so much more than the musician he’d been to her before. She’d known he was generous almost to a fault, but to be on the receiving end of that kind of single minded determination still left her shaky.

The shrill ring of her phone jerked her out of the memory. She snatched it off the hook and sighed when the familiar tones of her vendor’s voice system drilled into her ear. She put the phone down, “At least the order will be on time,” she said aloud.

With whatever was left of the resolve that got her out of Jon’s bed that morning, she began her day.

1/30/2007

Chapter 28

Tessa found herself half on, and half off of Jon when the morning sun finally burned through her eyelids. She popped up on the bed and scrambled to find her purse. “Oh my God, what time is it?”

Jon stretched and grabbed his watch off the bedside table then rolled into his pillow. “It’s just seven, babe.”

“Oh,” she sighed and dropped back on the bed. “Thank God.”

Jon snagged her around the waist and dragged her into him, curling around her again. “Good, then you can stay in bed for a bit longer.”

“I do have to go; I have to run home and change. I can’t wear the pirate outfit to work today.”

“When do you have to be there?” he asked, trailing kisses down her neck, letting his fingers slide low on her belly.

“We open at nine,” she managed to say just as his finger slid down inside of her. His morning erection pushed along her bottom and she was the first to reach into the drawer for the stash of condoms. She moved to roll over, but he held her still and instinctively she curled her knee up into her chest and sighed when he sunk into her.

His fingers found her breast, tugging on the still soft pink tip and pleased when it stiffened under his touch he started a soft and sure rhythm. His mouth lowered to her ear, knowing just where to touch her to bring her quickly to pleasure. There was nothing quite so perfect about morning sex with a warm and willing woman and with Tessa it made what could have been an awkward morning easy and so right.

She arched back, curling her fingers into his hair as he thrust into her with a steady and slow pace. She was close, but she needed the friction, the touch…something else to...with an impatient groan she pushed back on him.

He felt her restlessness and answered in kind. He wanted to just empty himself inside of her, but he lowered his fingers to where they were joined. He could feel his cock sliding in and out of her and he bit down against the need to cum. He growled low into her ear when he found her slick clit and pressed down and around until she cried out.

He hoped to God, she was ready to finish because he couldn’t hold back any longer. The pulse of his orgasm drained him more in a quick morning romp than it had in the hours of loving from the night before. He slumped onto his back and managed to loosely circle his arm around her waist as he dragged in a breath.

She heaved in a breath. “Holy shit,” she said on a gasp.

“Oh thank God, you too?”

“Oh man, I don’t want to move.”

“Call in.”

She laughed. “It’s my store.”

“Dammit.”

Tessa laughed and dug deep into her reservoir of responsibility and dragged herself to a seated position. “You are dangerous,” she managed to say as she stumbled out of his bed and into the bathroom, grabbing her clothes on the way.

She gave a startled gasp at her hair and the leftover smudge of makeup ringing her eyes. Finger combing her hair and teeth she felt marginally more human when she opened the door.

He was tugging on jeans and yawning when she returned. “I’m sorry to drag you out of bed.”

“I have to get up anyway. I’ve got tons of things to do before my flight tonight.”

Her gut clenched and she stilled. “You’re leaving?”

Jon turned to her, unsure of his steps here. “I have to go back down to Nashville for a few days with Richie. We’ve got some things to finalize before the holiday.”

Disappointment ran deep, but she choked it back. Of course he had things to do and of course the moment would be over once the morning came. She’d known that, in her head she’d known that. She hoped her smile was natural. “Busy rockstar mode again?”

Instinctively he went to her, cupping her face in his hands. “I’m a busy man, Tessa but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see you again.”

She swallowed back the lump in her throat. “You do?” she asked and cursed herself for the lame hope that had to be shining in her eyes.

He smiled and lowered his mouth to hers for a soft, easy kiss. “I do, very much.”

“I-“ she began then swallowed again and took a breath. “I’d like that.”

He dropped his hand to her waist and let her walk ahead of him and down the stairs. They were quiet as they put on their coats and she checked her purse for her phone. She flipped open her phone and winced when she read the time and the three messages from Nichole. She tucked it back into her purse. She’d deal with that when she got home.

Jon snagged his keys to the BMW and shuffled her outside and into the car. He glanced at the clock and swore. “Sorry, you’re gonna be late if I drive you to your car, why don’t I just drive you to your house then back to the shop.”

Her brain reeled. Logically that was best, but she wasn’t sure she could take him in her house after the utter destruction he caused in her brain the night before and well into the morning. Then add in the intense morning sex, could she really have memories of him in her space?

After a moment, she nodded. “Okay, that sounds like a plan if you don’t mind.”

He settled back into the seat and found a Christmas station on the radio. “Are you heading anywhere for Christmas?”

She was looking out the window and blinked at the sound of his voice. “Christmas?”

He smiled. “Do you go to see family?”

“Oh,” she smiled and shook her head. “No, my parents both died a few years ago, one right after the other. I guess they just couldn’t stand to be apart. I usually celebrate with Nichole and her family.”

“You don’t have any sisters and brothers?”

“I have one sister in England, she and her husband aren’t exactly the, ‘oh my God, we need to get together for the holidays!’ sort.”

Jon frowned. “I can’t imagine that.”

Tessa shrugged. “Eh, I have Nichole and her mom treats me like one of her own.”

Jon sifted his hand through her hair and tucked it behind her ear. “Big, noisy Christmases are what it’s all about.”

She tried not to let the pity in his eyes get to her. It was simply fact, nothing that he needed to feel sorry for her about. “My family has always been low key, even when my folks were alive. We had a nice, quiet Christmas with little to no fuss.” She pointed to a road on the left. “Right here’s my street.”

Jon pulled into her driveway and smiled at the little bungalow she owned. It was a raised ranch, very much in the style of his childhood. Grass, dotted with half melted snow dominated her property with a few out of season stumps of plants. A wreath of gold bows and red holly decorated her front door with an old style lamp hanging from her porch, in a similar style.

She got out of the car before he could open her door for her and she smiled up at him. “I may not have much family, but I love Christmas. Wait until you see the tree inside.”

Jon followed her into the house and laughed at the immense tree in her living room. It took up an entire corner of the room, it was real with a deep green tone that spoke of Evergreen and was covered in what could only be family ornaments and cheerful colored lights.

“The remote is on the chair if you want to watch some TV. I’ll run upstairs and grab a shower and change and I’ll be down in ten minutes.”

Jon laughed, “So does that mean a true ten, or a girl, ten.”

Tessa grabbed a fistful of shirt and dragged him down for a kiss, glad that he was back to teasing after the near pitying look she got in the car when they spoke of family. “True ten, smart guy,” she said and released him, taking the stairs two at a time.

Jon wandered into the kitchen and made himself busy with her coffee machine, pleased to find whole beans in her freezer and a well used grinder on her counter. Within a few minutes he had a pot brewing and a bagel down to toast. He rummaged in her fridge and found cream cheese and had an impromptu breakfast ready for her when she came back down the stairs.

She was jamming earrings into her ears when she came into the room and stopped. “Did you make coffee, you beautiful man?”

He pushed his hair out of his face. Appreciating the line of her skirt and knee high boots with spiked heels he managed to swallow down on his bite of bagel. She wore a dove grey turtleneck sweater and some sort of chunky jewelry to finish the package. She was quick to get ready and didn’t suffer for it either. “I did and a bagel too.”

“It’s official, I’m keeping you,” she said when he offered her a bite. She crunched the mouthful and smiled up at him, wiping the corner of his mouth where some cream cheese dared to stick. She tucked her thumb into her mouth and licked it clean.

His eyes heated. “I’m not sure I’m going to be able to eat around you anymore without sporting a hard on.”

Tessa laughed. “Thank you, it was just what I needed," she said and snagged the half eaten bite out of his hand.

Jon picked up the other half and they each fixed a travel mug of coffee, both of them taking it light with a good dose of sugar. Tessa tried hard not to think about the domesticity aspect of the morning ritual and focused on the fact that she just liked being with him.

They were bundled and back out the door and into Jon’s car fast enough that the heat still settled in the car when they backed out of her driveway. They made it to the store with five minutes to spare and Tessa sighed in relief. She leaned over and cupped his face giving him a quick kiss and climbed out of his car.

Jon followed her out of the car and snagged her as she rounded the car. He took the mug from her hand and put it on the roof of his car. “I’m not going to see you for a few days, that kiss ain’t gonna hold me.”

Tessa gripped his forearms as he took her mouth in a deep and hungry kiss. With a groan she went on tip-toe and wrapped her arms around his neck and just let herself enjoy the fall. He kissed her with the freshness of a new touch and yet part of it felt as if they’d been doing it for half of their lives. His tongue tangled with hers for a moment before he nipped his way out of the kiss.

“I want to see you when I get home, Tessa.” He watched her green eyes swim then focus as she pulled herself together.

She pressed her lips together as if to hold in the taste of him. “I want to see you too.”

“I’m not sure when I’m coming back in, depends on the studio and well…the creative process. Sometimes Richie and I get it in one try and sometimes we fight our way through the lyrics.” He dug out his phone. “Can I have your number so I can call you?”

She rattled off her number and tried not to think about the fact that she just gave her number to Jon Bon Jovi. And her stomach did a delicious roll when he took her phone and entered his own number.

“See if you can find it,” he said and snapped her phone shut. His hand lingered along her wrist and he laced his fingers with hers. “I’ll try and stop in before I leave.” Then he dipped to kiss her again, lingering for a moment before he pulled back. “See ya.”

Tessa snagged her coffee off his roof and just stood silently as he got in and waved.

“Oh sweet shit!”

Tessa whirled and saw Nichole standing by her car. She swallowed with a little difficulty and tried for a smile. “Morning,” she said as steadily as possible and unlocked the gate and the front door.

“Morning? That’s all you have to say?”

“Sorry I’m running late?”

“Jon Bon Jovi just kissed you within an inch of your life and you think you can just say Morning!”

Chapter 27

Jon pulled back and shifted Tessa until she faced him. She curled into his arms, soft shudders still wracking her shoulders left him just as moved as the passion that had taken over them a few minutes before. Her soft lips trailed over his chest until she reached the center where she rested her cheek, finally calming.

“Every time is better than the last,” she whispered. She felt wrecked and battered and she was pretty sure the glow of amazing sex was just starting to simmer down. The whys and the hows wanted to surface, to shift around in her brain until she could figure things out, but she was just too tired and sated to let herself go down that road. He was hers tonight and no one had ever made her feel like this before.

His fingers slid into her hair and he massaged the base of her skull. There weren’t enough words to explain how he felt. Part of him knew emotions were too high right now to make any clear headed decisions and a woman like Tessa was too special to let go of. What else that would come to pass, he had no idea, but he wasn’t about to screw things up with her if he could manage it.

She pushed away from him, rolling her forehead along the muscled contours of his upper chest before she finally stood straight. “I feel a little light headed. I think I drank those Cosmos too fast.”

With infinite care, he dressed her. Her eyes followed his every move and when he helped her back into his shirt once more he pressed a kiss to her forehead. “I want you to stay tonight. Will you?”

She nodded slowly. Her fingers were still a little unsteady when she brought them up to his mouth, tracing her forefinger along his lower lip. “You make a woman think dangerous thoughts, Jon.”

He nipped the tip of her finger and smiled. “You’re just as dangerous, babe.” He readied himself and slung an arm around her shoulders. “I think my bed is calling our name.”

She buried her hand under his t-shirt and they bumped their way to the door and the blast of cold air unfuzzed her brain a little. At least enough to shift nerves into her walk and keep her mouth from working properly. She had a million things she wanted to say and yet she couldn’t even begin to put her brain in order enough to say them. Even beyond the amazing sex, she knew in her heart that a connection had been made that would change her.

He opened the front door and keyed the password to lock the house down for the night. She wandered into the vestibule and pressed her cheek along the cool door jam looking at the space where a family gathered. “Where’s your tree?” she asked off hand.

Jon came up behind her and curved his arms around her waist and tucked his chin into her shoulder as if it was the most natural thing he could do in a day. It felt good, he thought. Very right in a way he didn’t think he’d ever find again. “We decorated a tree at Dorothea’s house so I didn’t bother.”

“Aren’t your kids coming here for Christmas too?”

He stood straight and pressed his chin on top of her head, looking at the room for the first time with a stranger’s eyes. “You know, I hadn’t thought about it. I kinda just assumed I’d go over there where the kids were most comfortable.”

Suddenly Tessa winced and turned to look up at him. “I’m sorry, it’s none of my business.”

“Oh it’s okay. My kids are more important to me than anything in this world. It’s a new thing with Christmas this year. We’d broken up last year, but kept things together for the kids at least until the end of the year. This will be the first time we’re actually in two separate homes for the holidays.”

She pressed her hands over his resting comfortably over her stomach. “It’s gotta be tough.”

“Yeah, it is, but I’ve been so involved in the new album that I guess I didn’t give it a lot of thought. Dot always took care of everything. I took a lot for granted in that respect.”

She let her hand cup his bristled cheek. The stood in the dim light for a few minutes before Jon turned her in his arms and lowered his mouth for a soft kiss. Without a word he stepped back and took her hand, leading her upstairs again.

Their clothes hit the floor in quiet whispers, their touches were gentle now and the newly stoked fire cast a glow on them as they moved together. Their dance was as natural as breathing and she sighed into his arms, loving deeply into the night without words, only murmurs broke the silence.

He curled around her, holding her close as they finally slept.

1/29/2007

Chapter 26

Tessa let her eyes travel the male domain. Jon’s various movie posters hung proudly on the walls and a full scale pool table dominated the room. Club chairs and touches of leather dotted the walls and the curved shelves that held the cues and made the tiniest of lips along the edge to prevent spills.

Ashtrays dotted the dark shelves and a jukebox filled one corner. She sipped her drink as she let her fingertips touch everything. The leather was surprisingly soft, rich with use and quality. The wood gleamed with obvious care and the plush felt of the pool table again spoke of money, though quietly, it was still apparent that he liked his toys and paid for them in every aspect of his life.

Jon studied her as she took in the room, her curious touch left him hot and itchy causing him to finish of his drink a bit faster than he intended. He’d been aware she was tactile, and enjoyed it when it came to him, but was surprised to find himself turned on when she stroked the deep blue felt of his pool table.

He rounded the bar and made another Cosmo, bringing the shaker with him to refill hers as well. She turned to him, the soft smile splitting her face now devoid of makeup and the soft fall of her copper hair called to him. He topped her off, leaving the shaker on the shelf as he sifted his fingers through her hair. “You look good in my space.”

She caught his wrist and pressed her face into his touch. “I feel really good in your space.”

His hair fuzzed a little as it dried curling up at the ends lying on his shoulders. “You know I like your hair a little long like this. It suits that lean angular face of yours.”

“Trying for a job, Tessa,” he teased.

“Nope, I love my job. It’s just an observation.” She put her drink down and fussed with the stubborn lock of hair that always fell forward. “You know as much as you hate people talking about your hair it’s just one of those things that is almost as trademarked as those amazing teeth of yours.”

His mouth tipped up in a smirk. “I’ve made peace with my hair. I can’t make people stop talking about it so I force myself not to roll my eyes when it’s mentioned.”

“No comment on the teeth?”

“Everyone’s gotta have one vanity.” A delighted laugh was her only answer. He backed her into the pool table and slid his leg between hers. He dipped his head, breathing in his shampoo and soap on her skin when he nuzzled her ear. “Wanna play?”

Tessa shivered. “Pool?” she managed to ask.

“That’s right. Do you play?”

“Not very well,” she lied easily. The chance to have him teach her was far too tempting. He didn’t need to know that she was on a league on Thursday nights through the summer.

He dipped his head again and brushed his lips against hers, flicking his tongue along her lower lip before he deepened the kiss. Tessa felt around for a shelf and put her drink down to wrap herself around him. He tasted of the sweet drink and the intoxicating brand all his own that made her head swim the same way it did the first time she kissed him. Would it always be this way, she wondered?

Jon gripped her hips, rolling his fingers back to the firm cuppable curve of her ass, lifting her against him to feel the hardness trapped in his jeans. “You make me insane,” he muttered into her mouth.

She pulled back a little breathless. “Ditto,” she said and pushed him back. “If you don’t stop that we won’t play the game.”

He caught her to him. “Do you really care about the game?”

She pressed her lips together and closed her eyes. She could do this. She could be in a room with him and not rip his clothes off. She was sure of it. Almost positive, really. She met the deep blue of his eyes. “I want you to teach me.”

Jon nearly busted out of his jeans at the husky tone of her voice. “You are an evil woman and should be locked up. You’re far too dangerous for the men of this world.”

Tessa let her fingers fall to the hard wedge of denim pressing against her belly and curved low to cup him. “There’s nothing dangerous about me, Mr. Bon Jovi, I don’t know where you would get that idea.”

He inched away from her starting with his aching cock and turned to the pool cues. If she wanted to play, then they’d play. And he’d teach her or kill himself trying. He chose two cues with perfect balance and pressed a few buttons on the jukebox as he passed.

Tessa grinned when ACDC came on and her grin split into a full scale smile when they sang of American thighs just as he handed her the cue. “Now who’s the evil one?”

“What? You don’t like ACDC?” He shuffled her to the end of the table and pressed his hand into her back to begin her lesson. “Now, there’s a few different ways you can hold the stick.”

“So I’ve heard,” she said and turned her head, her lips grazing his jaw. “Show me how you like to hold yours.” She was rewarded with a snuffling laugh in her ear and his voice lowering to almost a buzz.

“Well that may be awkward for you; I’ll show you how my Dad taught me. Okay bend forward and make your finger and thumb into an L,” he said and demonstrated around her.

Tessa breathed him in, all her nerve endings on alert when he curled himself around her. She automatically followed his lead and placed her stick in the small bridge her fingers made. She made sure to tip her hips up and snug her bottom into the still bulging placket of his jeans. “Like this?”

“Yes,” he said on a near groan. “Now line up your fingers and use your first finger as a guide to keep the stick straight and to hit the ball with the most power and control.”

She brought the cue back gently, unconsciously twisting the stick like she always did and broke sinking three of the balls, two high and one low.

“Well shit,” he said dropped his forehead into her shoulder.

“Beginners luck?”

“More like a shark.”

“More like I wanted to feel you wrapped around me from the back.”

Jon reached down to the silk shirt along her hips and pushed it up over her rear, letting his middle two fingers ride the dip of her spine as he revealed more of her back. “Why didn’t you just say so?” He adjusted her, so her hips were directly in front of his as he pushed her flush to the table, arching up her ass to feel him fully.

Tessa gasped when she felt the coolness of the room on her back, followed by the heat of his lips. She rolled her hips in a slow grind against his jeans, instantly excited by the hardness she felt. “Is this part of the lesson?”

“I suppose we could practice our stroke,” he said and curled his fingers under her shirt, catching her naked breasts in each hand, tucking them into his palms then bumping his cock against her backside again. God, he always seemed to be on the ready when he even so much as touched her casually. A soft haze skimmed the edges of his brain from the alcohol and her particular brand of scent.

“Practice does make perfect,” she managed and gasped when he released one breast to sneak a hand into her stretchy pants, his fingers dipping into her wetness and coating her until she gasped.

Jon managed to dip one finger, then two inside of her before the skimming haze turned to a red film of lust. She made him insane. He pulled away and dug into his pocket for the stash he’d allowed himself and shucked his jeans and forced himself to calm as he snapped on the condom.

Tessa turned her head and watched him. He was thick and his head purple with strain. The heady sense of power overwhelmed her. To reduce any man to that kind of jerky response, that he wanted to be inside her like that…but the satisfaction was short lived when he jerked her back to him. She gasped, knowing that she was warm and ready for him and there would be no gentleness. That she didn’t want gentleness left her breathless.

He jerked down her black pants to her knees and licked her once along the gleaming slit he couldn’t resist. When she gasped, he pulled back and pushed into her in one long, fluid thrust.

Tessa’s fingers splayed over the royal blue felt and gripped for purchase, pushing polished balls away as he slammed into her. His grip was almost punishing as he drove into her and she felt the flicker of orgasm just beyond her grasp. She turned her head to watch him, his intense face was blocked by the bunched shirt, and with an impatient growl she flipped it over her head. She gasped as the felt abraded her already sensitive nipples and a surprised shout ripped from her as his cock slid out of her and buzzed against her clit, then back inside of her with a swift upstroke that drove her to her tiptoes.

The sweat ran down his back as he continued the grinding stroke on both the heart of her and the plump clit he could even feel through the thin shield of latex. He tore off his shirt and continued to drive into her when he heard the shuddering cry and the resulting fist-like quiver of her sex pulse around him. He heard her name growl out of him distantly as the orgasm punched into him.

1/28/2007

Chapter 25

She enjoyed the weight of him as they surfaced. In fact, she liked it way too much. There was something so incredibly amazing about the feel of him so relaxed against her, and she knew if things didn’t work out, she’d still remember this part. Where he let himself go and enjoyed being in her arms.

She smiled as he pressed his lips into her neck and slowly licked his way to her ear then sucked gently until his lips were only a whisper away.

“Tessa,” he said with a low and husky grumble.

“Yes?”

“You need a shower.”

She scissored her legs around him and flipped him. “That was sooooo not nice to say,” she said while holding him tight with her knees at his hips.

He looked up at her a huge smile splitting his face. “You’ve got some serious power in those thighs, babe.”

“And you’re very rude.”

“Girl, we are covered in Reddi-Wip. We both need a shower.” He hitched his own thighs up and curled forward bringing her with him to an upright position. “You’re still pretty tiny though. I’ve got at least fifty pound on you.”

Tessa’s belly fluttered at the play of muscles along his arms and the tight rippling stomach as she found herself in his lap again. “So are we going to do this power play thing every time I try and pin you.”

“Probably.”

The way he said it; so simply and with such obvious enjoyment gave her a great deal more pleasure than it should. “Well, I’ll restrain myself from kissing that smirk off your face only because we really do need a shower.”

“Wanna kiss me anyway?”

She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and pulled him closer. “I seem to always want to kiss you.”

“Then don’t stop yourself on my account,” he said enjoying her. Even with the little battles of power between them, she had such a fun spirit he couldn’t help but smile and flirt even when it wasn’t necessary. She made him happy and that was something he didn’t want to analyze, he just wanted to enjoy it.

She settled into the kiss, her lips knew just what to do to please him, to draw him into the kiss and when his tongue sought entrance she was more than happy to oblige. She’d always enjoyed kissing and her self imposed celibacy only made that more obvious as she moved her mouth over his. His fingers slowly inched up her back and into her hair and she sighed. The man knew just what to do to make her insane.

He drew back and smiled up at her. “I honestly don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed an evening more.”

Tessa nuzzled his nose and pressed her cheek to his. “You know…I know how passé it is to bring old lovers into the bedroom with you…but I have to tell you, even after being with a man for over a year, I was never as comfortable as I am with you.”

His grin turned into a soft smile. “You know, I think that’s one compliment I’ll take gladly.” He licked his lips. “I gotta say…I’m absolutely parched. I think you dehydrated me, woman.”

“Well, there was quite a bit of fluid loss going on in this bed,” she said and laughed. She rolled off him and the bed and snagged the water bottles she left at the door. “I did think ahead though.”

He took the water bottle gratefully. “I do appreciate a woman with a good mind.”

“Good thing,” she said and took a large gulp of water. She didn’t mind that it was room temperature, could even drink more deeply because of it. She almost bobbled hers when she caught a glance at Jon tipping his head back and finishing off the bottle of water. His throat worked with each gulp leaving her thirst far from quenched. “You really gotta stop doing stuff like that,” she muttered.

He dragged his hand across his mouth and capped the bottle tossing it into his garbage. “What do you mean?”

She swallowed, “Never mind.”

He nipped at her neck, just under her jaw and walked to the bathroom. “I’ll be in the shower when you get yourself put together.”

“When I-“ she began and shot her cap at him. But the fit of laughter wouldn’t be stopped the when the white cap pinged off his taught buttock. She doubled over and dug deep for composure, only to start again when he shot her a look over his shoulder then shook his head and kept walking.

She ran after him and grabbed the same cheek then the other and dragged him in for a kiss. “I’m sorry,” she said between snorts of laughter.

“Were you aiming?”

She nodded and said, “Nope.”

He curled his arm around her neck and dragged her into the spray and the laughed their way through a soaping and a rather heated shampoo session that almost ended in another wet dash to the bed.

Jon managed to restrain himself and instead enjoyed bundling her into one of his super sized towels and backing her into his bedroom. “I’m wide awake, how about you?”

Tessa found her arms wrapped around his neck again. She was tempted to step back, not wanting to look as clingy as she felt but thought again when his hand rested on the small of her back. “I’m so not tired. I think wired would be a great word actually.”

“Wanna go hit the bar?” She raised a brow in response and he dropped a quick kiss on her lips. “My bar.”

“Oh,” she said and felt her stomach pitch. As a fan, she’d heard about his bar, even had seen pictures but to go there and see, to touch. “I really do. I think I’d like one of those famous Cosmos I’ve read about, too.”

He grinned, “My specialty.”

“I think my clothes have seen better days though.”

He stepped back and opened his armoire. “I’m sure I can find something for you in here.” He rummaged until he settled on a silky grey t-shirt. “How about your pants?”

“They’re fine,” she said and flicked them out to get the worst of the wrinkles out.

“I prefer you without, but we do have to leave the house.” He tossed her the shirt and pulled one out for himself. The T-shirt was old and faded and exactly what he wanted to wear for the rest of the evening. Well, until he got her naked again anyway.

Neither one of them had a love for shoes and laughed when they grudgingly put shoes on against the cold of the night. They dashed to the other building on his property, both of them tripping over half laced shoes. He quickly unlocked the door and they fell inside laughter still teasing around them like a scent.

She’s never let herself have this much fun with a man. Adam and Nichole were her closest friends, and she didn’t think she’d ever felt this comfortable around Adam. She grinned when he rounded the bar and started pulling down glasses and bottles. She hopped on the barstool and spun herself in front of him. “Oh bartender, I do believe I need myself an adult beverage.”

He started pouring various liquids into a tall silver cup without measuring. She watched, fascinated as his fingers flipped the bottles and the cords of muscle and tendons worked in his forearms. Was there anything he did that wasn’t sexy? She shook her head as he capped it with a glass and twirled it.

“Now you’re just showing off,” she said with a smile.

He cocked a brow at her. “Me?”

Dropping her head into her propped hands she swayed in her seat. “Yeah you.”

He twirled it high and caught it behind his back. “That was showing off.”

She folded her arms on the bar and laughed. “That was definitely showing off.”

He pulled two frosty martini glasses in front of them and poured a pair of perfectly raspberry colored drinks. He pushed one in front of her and took his own in hand. “To a perfect evening.”

She clinked her glass with his and took a sip. “Oh that’s good. You can’t taste the alcohol.”

He smirked. “Just the way I like to ply a woman.”

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