Tessa held on for dear life as she ended up in the kitchen. “David! Now c’mon, you do see that I’m wearing like four inch heels here, right?”
He looked down. “And I’m still this much taller than you? No wonder Jonny likes you! You make him feel tall.”
Giggling, she nudged him. “Shut up.”
She caught Adam’s gaze and waved him and Nic forward. “David, meet my best friend, Nichole and her husband, Adam.”
Dave shoved a ziti noodle in his mouth with a grin and resumed filling his plate. “Pleasure. It’s nice to have some new blood at these things. We’re so incredibly boring.”
Nic’s dark eyebrow zinged up. “I highly doubt that.”
“No, seriously. We’re boring with a capital b. I’m sorry in advance because you might need some coffee to keep yourselves stimulated.”
Tessa didn’t believe a word coming out of his mouth, especially when his light blue eyes wouldn’t stop twinkling. “There’s no strip poker later is there?”
“That’s an awesome idea! I knew I was going to like you for more than those amazing legs I saw in the paper.” His face split into a wide, grooved grin. “No, seriously, we’re an all right bunch. I just wanted to get you alone to tell you, thanks.”
Tessa lifted a spoonful of pasta salad, halting mid-pour. “For what?” Honestly puzzled. She’d only met the man three minutes ago.
Nic popped an olive into her mouth. “Tess, if the famous musician wants to thank you, you just say you’re welcome.”
Adam snorted and filled his own plate with veggies and a hamburger. He lifted the top bun and sniffed. “Hell, is this Kobe beef?”
“Oh yeah, I need one of those too,” Dave said and snagged one off the tray. “Lottie outdoes herself every time we come to town. You just reap the benefits my friend, reap the benefits.” He squirted a healthy dose of ketchup and mustard on the burger. “Well, since you asked Tessa.” He looked up from his overflowing plate, “I can call you Tessa right?”
“Of course,” she said with a half laugh. How surreal.
“A happy Jonny makes my life easier. A happy Jon is still a perfectionist, but one who just might let me out of the studio every fourteen hours.”
“Not likely,” Jon said from the doorway.
“Damn,” Dave snapped his fingers. “I was afraid of that. Okay, I’m taking my first plate out before the vultures descend.”
Richie followed Jon into the kitchen. “Hi, beautiful,” he swooped down and lifted Tessa off her feet. “Lookin’ deelish, darlin’. You keep this up I’m going to have to fight Jon for you.”
Rolling her eyes she tugged on one of Richie’s dangling hair trinkets. “You couldn’t handle me, stud.”
Letting out a shout of laughter, Richie let his head fall back. “You know, that may be true, darlin’. That may be true. He always was the over achiever.”
Jon grabbed Richie by the shoulders and forcibly moved him over a step. “Is this guy botherin’ you?” he asked and slung his arm around her shoulders.
She laughed as his hand dangled lower until he could snag a fat grape tomato off her plate. Before he could get it, she snagged it with her teeth, nipping his fingers. “Get your own, mooch.”
Jon glanced at Nic, shaking his hand. “You didn’t mention that she doesn’t play well with others.”
“Nah, she just doesn’t share well,” Nic said with a sly grin. “Remember that, buddy.”
Jon laughed. “Well she told me!” He untangled himself from Tessa and grabbed a plate. Sliding behind Nic he said, “I don’t share either, Miss Protector. Don’t worry.”
Nic glanced back at him. “I sure hope not.”
He patted her shoulder. “I’m beyond that stupid shit. Besides, I had to worry about a black belt toting ex-wife. You think I’m stupid enough to let that woman loose on me if I fuck up?”
Nic relaxed visibly. Tessa gave a sigh of relief as her friend’s smile widened and she slowly eased into the crowd taking over the kitchen. Thankfully Nic and Adam had always been on the self-reliant side and introduced themselves to people.
Adam found a kindred spirit in David when they talked of theater. Nic had settled herself in front of the fireplace with Tico talking about art. Tessa found a corner of the couch in the living room with Jon smooshed in the middle between her and Richie.
Jon handed her another glass of Pinot. “Are you trying to get me drunk?”
He sat back and rested his glass on his belly. “Why yes, yes I am.”
She lifted the carelessly expensive crystal glass and tinged it against his. “I think you’re working your way there too, buddy.”
He let his head roll back, flicking a strand of hair at her jaw line, “Gonna take advantage of me?”
Laughing, she took a sip. “I just might.”
“Excellent!” He took another gulp of the golden liquid, his smile happily goofy.
She looked around the room. Half amazed and half comfortable at just how normal all of this was, she smirked.
“Uh oh, she’s smirking.” He elbowed Richie. “Dude, she’s smirking.”
“She’s picturing me naked,” Richie said with a sly grin. “It makes all the ladies smirk and blush baby.”
Jon shook his head. “Nah, she doesn’t want you naked. She’s picturing me naked.”
“What’s she got to picture that for? She’ll be getting you naked in less than an hour. The glory of that is over my friend. It’s all about the unknown.”
Richie’s sneaky laugh was answered with a bubbly one of her own. “I like him naked, thank you very much. The unknown comes in the…Um, never mind.” Blushing, she looked down at her empty glass. “Aww, I’m empty. How’d that happen?”
“Hey! Me too!” Jon said and held out his glass. “What are we going to do about that?”
Richie stood and took both of their glasses. “Since the dirty talk isn’t happening yet, I’ll go for refills. Maybe Tessa’s lips will be freer with another glass.”
“Nah, just give her a cell phone.”
“Jon!” Tessa gasped and smacked his arm.
“What? It’s true. There’s no secrets with this group, babe. Outside this group, no one knows Jack. Inside. Everything’s fair game.”
Nic waved from across the room. “I’m glad you said that.” She struggled to her feet. “Tessa is suspiciously silent with any details. Maybe if I get you drunk enough I’ll get them.” She started to sit on the couch next to Jon.
She looked at Jon’s sappy half-drunk face and leaped up. “Oh, no.” Tessa dragged her friend up. “You’re not going to encourage him.”
Jon pouted. “I wouldn’t give out any good details, least of all your prowess with the cell phone camera.”
Tessa leaned forward and slapped a hand over his mouth. “Shut up, Jon.”
“Cell phone camera?” Nic asked with wide dark eyes.
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, Nic. Never mind.”
“I oo,” he tugged her hand away. “I do too, know what I’m talking about. She’s a tease,” he laughed as her hand came back up over his lips. “Tease!” he said with a muffled buzz through her fingers.
She stood up again and pushed Nic onto the couch and pulled Jon up. “Trading spaces,” she gave Nic a look until she slumped back on the couch.
“You know, it’s just not fair that you won’t give up any details, dammit.”
Giving Nic a snort, she turned back to Jon. “Kitchen with you, sir.”
Jon’s fingers slipped around her waist and into the back of her sweater. “I’m not hungry for food anymore.”
Tessa blushed and pushed him into the kitchen. “Just how much of that wine have you had?” She took a deeper look and saw the glassy sheen of just a bit too much good cheer.
Jon shrugged and tugged at the hem of her sweater. Tessa looked around the room and gasped when his fingers slid up and flicked open the front catch of her bra with barely a thought. “Jon!”
“We’re alone.” His thumbs caressed under each breast, his fingertips molding gently around her back.
“Anyone could come-”
Jon cut her off and backed her into the pantry, kicking the door shut with his foot. “Problem solved,” he said and pushed her against the rack at the back of the dimly lit room. Lifting her sweater he nosed against her nipple until it peaked then sucked it into his mouth.
“There’s a household full of,” she gasped as his fingers slid low into the seam of her jeans and cupped her. “That’s not fair.”
“Not feeling fair right now,” he said and rubbed. “Just feeling hot and horny.”
“So I…” she groaned as the insistent pleasure increased. “Um, see.” Her body certainly didn’t give a good goddamn that there were a house full of people. But then again, when it came to Jon, she didn’t have a hell of a lot of control. Fortunately she had a situation that could do the controlling for her. “I can’t do this in the closet, Jon. It’s um…not a good time if you get my drift.” God, she hated when she had her period. How was it that a girl could feel so gross and so horny at the same time?
His blurry blue eyes met hers. “Damn, looks like the jeans stay on,” he said but didn’t stop the friction. “Guess I have to get creative.”
“You have guests,” she gasped.
“Well, technically we have guests, but that’s not the point here.” He pushed up the sweater again and circled her nipple with the tip of his tongue. “The point is, I have this need. It’s got your name on it.”
“I can take care of almost all of your needs a little later. I promise,” she said on a gasp as he blew gently on her tender nipple.
He laughed, and pushed sacks of flour and sugar out of the way so he could lift her onto the counter. He flipped the sweater over her head and opened the dangling cups of her bra. “Ah, there we are. Hello beautiful ladies,” he lifted her breasts, watching her face. “Ahh, sensitive right now?”
She groaned, “Yes.”
He lightly rubbed his thumbs back and forth over the tight tips and sipped along her neck, up behind her ear. “Still?” he asked as he nibbled.
Oh God, he wouldn’t. She gave a strangled cry as he found that spot, the spot he went for every time he wanted a good, hot, hard reaction. Her hips lifted as she rubbed against his thigh, then against the hard length behind his zipper. He hugged her closer, unbuttoning the casual cotton button down he wore until they were flesh to flesh, hair roughened chest to her smooth.
Friction slammed into an embarrassed ache and she hung on as the quick shudders blew through her. His lips latched onto hers, swallowing the whimpers of release as she sagged against him. She hugged him tight, her mouth directly to his ear. “I can’t believe you did that.”
“Watching you get off is like a drug.”
She pressed her forehead into his chest, letting her fingers slip into his shirt, freeing the last two buttons. “It is?”
He nodded as he groaned and shifted away from her. “Sexy as hell, sobering even.”
Tessa lifted her eyes to his, saw the clarity starting to ease into flecks of blue and grey. She halted his retreat with a well placed fingertip into his belted jeans. “Where are you going?”
His grin widened. “Tit for tat?” he asked hopefully.
She hopped off the counter, letting her fingertip trail down the ridge through his jeans. “I see wine makes you greedy.”