Home > Once in a Lifetime (Lucky Harbor #9)(16)

Once in a Lifetime (Lucky Harbor #9)(16)
Jill Shalvis

But he still didn’t move.

She raised her chin, looking him straight in the eye. “Don’t play hard to get, Ben. It doesn’t suit you.”

His jaw tightened, and she couldn’t help but be a little maliciously pleased at making him as frustrated as she was. “I’ve just said I want you,” she murmured. “So what’s the problem?”

“The problem is—” His eyes dropped to her coat, the one covering her from neck to thigh.


“Shit.” He shoved his fingers through his hair again, the muscles in his arms taut as he stood before her, the image of hot and temperamental, with testosterone and pheromones pouring off of him, and her stomach cramped.

He was going to refuse her.

Reject her. She started to turn away, but he slapped both palms on the wall on either side of her head, caging her in. “I don’t need you,” he said succinctly.

“Already established,” she managed, her body already humming, yearning, aching for him. Her body was a hussy.

Still holding her caged against the wall, his gaze dropped to her mouth. “This changes nothing,” he said. “We do this, we’re over it.”

“So over it.”

He nodded, gaze on her mouth. His own quirked very slightly. “You want me.”

“In spite of yourself,” she said, annoyed all to hell. “Yes.”

He stared down at her for what felt like an eternity. “Lose the coat.”

Chapter 12

Aubrey’s bones liquefied. “What?”

“You heard me,” Ben said, voice so low and rough as to be a growl.

She had no idea what it said about her that she reacted to this with a shudder that was a mere millimeter below orgasm. Not taking her eyes off Ben, she reached up and slowly began to unbutton her coat. There were a lot of buttons. Each one she popped open made his eyes darken further.

After the last one, she let the coat fall. Before it hit the ground, Ben slid a hand on the nape of her neck and drew her in, his mouth closing over hers. Soft, then sure and demanding, and the hunger consumed her, hot and terrifying.

As if he felt the same, he let out one low, mirthless laugh and whispered, “Damn, you drive me insane” against her mouth.

There was a note of dazed frustration to his tone, and Aubrey absolutely knew the feeling. He wasn’t in her future, and yet he tasted better than her wildest fantasies. And God help her, but she wanted more.

Leaning in again, his mouth hovered near hers as his gaze raked down her body, sending sparks racing along every nerve ending. “In those f**k-me boots, you’re as tall as I am,” he said.

“Is that a problem?” she asked.

“Hell, no. I like it. We’re all lined up.” Proving it, he hauled her in against him, one hand sliding up to sink into her hair, the other low on her back, nudging her even closer. She let out a low moan at the contact, and his lips curved in a sinful smile. His mouth should be illegal in all fifty states, but she bet he could do things with it. Things she wanted.


He nipped at her lower lip, and she parted for him, but then he bypassed her mouth, skimming along her jaw. She heard a needy whimper. Hers, of course. Her eyes fluttered closed as he kissed a hot path to her ear and ran the tip of his nose along her lobe. “You sure this is what you want?” he asked.

Was he kidding? She was clutching him, her hands fisted in his shirt, rubbing against him like a cat in heat.


She didn’t know why, but the sound of her name on his lips did something to her. Something sinfully wicked, but more, too. She took a deep breath, wrapped her arms around his neck, and melted into the planes of his hard body. “Yes. This is what I want.”

“I’m not sweet,” he reminded her.

“Or beta,” she said. “But I’m not looking for that kind of man right this very minute.”

“What are you looking for?”

“You. This.”

He traced her spine with his fingertips, leaving a trail of fire that she felt all the way to her toes. Holding her gaze prisoner, he brushed his lips across hers, his hands sliding with purpose from her back southward, until he was cupping a cheek in each hand, rocking her into a most impressive erection. There was a jolt of electricity as he skimmed further south, beneath the hem of her dress.

She arched back as his clever fingers traced the edge of her thong, teasing, stroking up, and then down, and then further, between her legs.

Less clothes. She needed less clothes between them and more full frontal contact. As if reading her mind, he gave a quick yank and her thong tore free and slithered to the floor.

His eyes were black with desire. “Do you have a condom?” he asked.


He scooped her up so that she could wrap her legs around him and carried her there. He set her on the counter and flicked on the light.

“Bottom drawer,” she managed.

He found the box, not commenting on the fact that it hadn’t been opened. In return, she didn’t comment on the fact that he obviously didn’t have a condom on him. She reached out to turn off the light but he put his hand over hers. “On,” he said.

Contrary to what anyone might think, she hadn’t actually done this in a while. She assumed it was like getting back on a bike, but just in case it wasn’t, she wanted room for error. “Ben—”

“On,” he said firmly, and before she could say another word, he pulled off his shirt and she found herself sighing in pleasure at the sight of him, all lean, tough planes delineated with muscle born of years of hard physical labor.

Watching her watch him, he kicked off his work boots and finished stripping with easy, economical movements.

He was hard.


Okay, well, if this was her view, he was right—the light could absolutely stay on.

“We good?” he asked, clearly amused by the fact that he’d just caught her drooling over him.

Yeah, she was good. So damn good…“I didn’t know I was going to be so attracted to you naked,” she admitted.


Yeah, he was right. She was a big fancy liar. She’d known she was attracted to Ben for a very long time. Possibly forever.

“Now you,” he said, reaching for the zipper on her dress.

She held him off. “Maybe we should move to my room.” Which would have more forgiving light than these harsh fluorescents…

In answer, his mouth came down on hers. She opened to him completely, not that he gave her a chance to do anything less. Still kissing her, he shifted to stand between her legs, opening them wider, then wider still. She lost herself in the way he devoured her mouth, so that when her dress fell to her waist, she gasped in surprise. She opened her eyes and looked into his.

“I wish you could see yourself the way I’m seeing you,” he said hoarsely. Her heart clenched because she caught something in his gaze she didn’t often find when people looked at her.

Raw desire.

This worked for her, but there was something else as well, possibly affection—not that she wanted to acknowledge it. Still, it was there, as apparent as the racing of her pulse. Then he leaned down and brushed his lips across hers as his hands stroked her heated flesh.

Her plan had been to infiltrate his defenses, get him naked, and—she hoped—get an orgasm while she was at it.

Stick to the plan, Aubrey.

But…but what if this was his first time since Hannah? She opened her mouth to ask, but he kissed her until she lost her train of thought. He kissed her as though he knew exactly what he was doing. If he was just getting back on the bike, he was having no problems. “Ben?”

He dragged that hot, talented mouth down her throat, along her collarbone, to a breast. She stopped breathing. But when he sucked her nipple into his mouth at the same time he slid a hand between her thighs, she cried out, arching back, giving him full-pass access without even realizing what she was doing.

She completely forgot what she’d wanted to ask him.

He teased her until every thought left her brain, and then he dropped to his knees and ran his hands up the inside of her legs. Holding her in place right where he wanted her, he leaned in and continued the torture with his lips, his tongue, his teeth, groaning his approval when she gasped out his name and slid her fingers into his hair. Her eyes strained to stay open because there was something about seeing him get so turned on by pleasuring her. But her eyes drifted shut in sheer, lustful bliss.

“Watch,” he said, and she tried to, but he did something diabolical in tandem with his tongue and fingers that had her writhing mindlessly into him. He was taking her apart one lick at a time, and she was already quivering, on the edge, toes curled. She knew that she could give herself a somewhat satisfying orgasm in about ten minutes. A man, when she chose one, could usually get her off in about twice that.

But Ben had her shuddering in less than five minutes.

She was still lost in the throes and thinking she’d never had such an erotic experience in her life when he entered her with one hard stroke and reminded her there was more.

So much more…

She opened her eyes to find him watching her, unwavering and intense. She slid her hands up his chest and around his neck, pulling him closer as they moved together.

Unbelievably, she started to tighten around him again, though she tried to hold back. She wasn’t sure why, but before she could think about it, he stroked a thumb over her swollen, wet flesh and she was gone, gone, gone. Her cry of pleasure seemed to push him over the edge. Fisting one hand in her hair, the other on her ass, holding her in place, Ben buried his face in the crook of her neck and came with her.

She didn’t move for a long moment, couldn’t. Ben didn’t, either, and she wondered if he was as stunned as she was by the sheer sexual power they held over each other. When she finally shifted to get up, he tightened his grip on her. Face still pressed against her throat, she felt him just breathe her in. After a few minutes, he gave her a slow, lazy nuzzle, then kissed her with surprising tenderness before raising his head.

She took stock. Her dress was bunched around her waist, her only item of clothing. Well, except for her footwear. “I’m still wearing my boots,” she said inanely.

He smiled. “The memory of how you look, just like this, is going to fuel my dreams for a long time to come.”

She gave him a little nudge. Taking the hint, he disentangled their bodies with care, but she couldn’t control the needy little gasp that escaped her at the loss. He went still for a beat, but she nudged again. Her torn panties were useless, but she managed to twist her dress back into place.

Ben hadn’t made a move to get dressed. He unselfconsciously dealt with the condom disposal and then offered her a hand to help her hop down from the counter.

Life was simple for guys, apparently. No complicated emotions to think about. They could walk around n**ed without worrying what they looked like.

Of course, she thought, Ben didn’t have to worry. He looked…edible.

The bastard.

She bent for his clothes and shoved them at him.

Taking his sweet-ass time, he pulled on his pants and straightened, and she did her best not to stare at him. But she failed. She couldn’t help it; he was just so damn…hot. She let her eyes soak him up, from his still-bare chest to the fact that though his pants were on, they were unbuttoned and riding low, and he was still semihard. He looked…dangerous, she decided. And primed for another round.

Her body was game.

He flashed her a smile. He knew what she was thinking. She turned her back while he finished getting dressed, which made him laugh softly and pull her around to face him again. “Okay?” he asked.

She swallowed her half-hysterical laugh. “Well, let’s see. I just had wild monkey sex with a man I can’t get along with to save my life, in the bathroom above my shop, no less—which, by the way, I don’t even think is locked.” She tossed up her hands. “Why wouldn’t I be okay?”

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