Reckless Kiss: Episode 19

Reckless Kiss: Episode 19

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Episode 19

Normally I loved visiting New York. Seth Butler, my Mantas left fielder, was quickly making me hate it. We were only in town for two days while he shot a shaving commercial, underwear ad, and did a series of interviews. It was supposed to be a lot of standing around and eating at great restaurants. Instead I was bailing him out of a colossally stupid fuckup.

Claudia—the vapid movie star he’d been dating for the last few months—was shooting a movie in the city so they planned to see each other. I’d actually come to enjoy Claudia’s company after spending several more games with her and realizing she wasn’t actually a self-important snob. That was the act she put on to go with her image. In reality she was a very smart, if not slightly angry, woman.

Claudia wasn’t the problem. Nope. It was Shannon. Who’s Shannon you might be asking? Well, I had the same question when Seth called me from the photo shoot frantic that I intercept Claudia and keep her busy for an hour.

Shannon, it turns out, was also dating Seth. Her R&B career was taking off and the two of them had been on a few dates. (When he had time to date all these women I had no idea.)  She’d wound up in the city to meet with her producer and surprised Seth at the shoot.

So now Seth was dealing with Shannon while I treated Claudia to lunch under the guise that the shoot was in the middle of some chaos and we didn’t need to be there yet. It wasn’t the first time I’d juggled lovers for my clients and it wouldn’t be the last, but for some reason this pissed me off. I didn’t know if it was because I’d started to like Claudia and didn’t think she deserved to be treated this way, or if it was because I was disappointed in Seth. Don’t get me wrong; Seth wasn’t a saint. Far from it. He was young and selfish and riding a World Series Championship high. But he’d never been an asshole.

Right now he was crossing the asshole line and that made me angry.

Angry for Claudia and Shannon. Angry for the man I expected Seth to be. Angry for women everywhere.

Underneath the hours of sex I’d enjoyed was respect and a belief that pleasure should always be a mutual experience. One to be celebrated. Everyone—man or woman—should have the right to be vulnerable and fulfill their physical need for intimacy. Right now Seth was violating all of the things I held dear.

“You’re very moody today.” Claudia popped a French fry in her mouth and cocked an eyebrow.

“That’s because I’m angry and I don’t know what to do about it.”

“Why are you angry?” Then she frowned. “That is, if you’re comfortable talking to me about whatever it is.”

See? Underneath the prima donna movie star act she was a well-spoken and kind person. I considered what to say. It wasn’t like I could come right out and say, “Seth is with another woman right now and I’m pissed off that he’s lying to you both.”

So instead I said, “I’m trying to figure out how to tell someone they need to get their act together. But in a way that will get through to them.”

“Ah, good luck with that. Unfortunately most people hear criticism and immediately stop listening. They go on defense.”

Which was exactly why I didn’t know how to deal with Seth. He was a good guy who was going down a bad path. I’d seen it so many times before. Money and fame made people feel invincible. I wanted better for Seth.

“Let’s not talk about my troubles.” I pushed my food away and smiled at Claudia, hoping she’d indulge me. “What’s up with you and Butler?”

Her smile disappeared almost immediately and she sat back. “I’m not sure. Why?”

If I wasn’t mistaken, Claudia had feelings for Seth she was attempting to hide. “In the beginning this was good publicity for you both . . . but it’s been months and you’re still together. I was just wondering if maybe there was more than good optics at play.”

She fidgeted, rearranged her silverware, didn’t make eye contact. “I can see why the two of you get along so well.”

“Oh?” She was right, of course. Well, until this week.

“You’re very similar. Or I’m just that bad of an actress. You both saw right through my image.”

It was seductive to be seen for who you really are. I knew that intimately now. The way Esme understood me, accepted me for who I was, faults and all, was a huge part of why I’d fallen so hard for her.

“You’re a very good actress, Claudia. I think you enjoy our company and that’s why it’s hard to keep up the act. You want to be you.”

“You might be right,” she said very quietly. “I enjoy spending time with Seth. I would enjoy continuing to spend more time with him if I thought that was what he wanted.” She met my gaze. “But I don’t believe that’s the case. I’m not the kind of woman who can open her morning news and see the man she’s dating in the headlines with other women. The longer I’m in the industry the less I’m willing to put up with the crap. The last thing I want is for it to trickle into my personal life too.”

And that’s why I was so angry. Claudia deserved honesty. Seth was about to lose her because he couldn’t be honest with himself, let alone anyone else.

“That’s understandable. Have you talked to him about this?”

She huffed a laugh. “Yep. He changed the subject.” Then she shrugged and sighed. “I know this is the end for us. I hope you won’t judge me for waiting until tomorrow to tell him. I just . . . want one more day.”

If someone had told me that in three months time Claudia Siolo’s confession would rip my heart out and put it on a spike I would have laughed. But that’s what happens when you get to know someone—you learn everyone is putting on an act of some kind, and that act is there to protect us from a world that is always trying to attack us. The people we let behind our walls are few and if we choose wrong, they have the sole power to hurt us.

“Trust me, I understand how you feel Claudia. I don’t judge you at all. I’m living day to day too.”

“You are?” She leaned forward and dropped her voice to a whisper. “Do tell.”

Because I wanted Claudia to hear that there were men in the world who cared, who were in her shoes, waiting and hoping the person they cared for could get past their walls, I told her about Esme. I never mentioned her name or any specific details, just our general situation and how I felt towards her.

“It’s scary to love someone who’s been hurt that much,” she murmured. “They’re always in survival mode and you never know if that instinct will cause them to hurt you too.”

She was right of course. Every damn day I was scared of losing Esme. “It’s worth it. All these years I’ve been restless. I felt like I had a purpose but no matter how hard I tried I never felt fulfilled or like I’d accomplished anything. I was always ready to spring into action. I don’t feel that way anymore. I feel peaceful for the first time in my life, like I’ve found my reason. So she can hurt me. I know that if she does it’s because she’s reacting on instinct. That she has no choice. I’ll be the person she can hurt, who will never hurt her back. I’ll take it all . . . as long as I get one more day.”

***

 The only thing I wanted when I got back from New York was to bury my dick inside Esme and stay there. Talking to Claudia fucked with my head and I just wanted to be home.

I walked into our bedroom and found Esme reading a book in bed. I threw down my luggage and tugged off my tie. “Naked. Now.”

Her eyebrows jumped.

“I said,” I rounded the bed and threw back the covers. “Naked. Now.”

“Should I expect you to return from all business trips as a caveman?”

I considered this possibility and decided I liked it. “Yes.” She made me insane in every possible way. Jealous, needy, horny. It was time to stop fighting it. Nothing about us had ever made sense and trying to make heads or tails of it now was pointless. “One, when I see you I want to be in you. Period. I can’t see straight and I can’t think.” My physical reaction had been immediate and reckless from the moment we met. It didn’t seem to be slowing. “Two, when we’re apart that need multiplies by the day.”

She whipped her shirt over head, a gorgeous flush already coloring her chest and neck. “You should know the feeling is mutual.”

I tossed aside my shirt and pants. “Then why did you look uncertain a moment ago?”

She leaned back on her elbows, thrusting her naked breasts up. I took a moment to just look at her. I loved her gorgeous curves and soft skin, but if I was being honest, it was the look in her eyes that really made me hard.

“You surprised me, Leo. I was reading a book and then all of a sudden you were in front of me ripping off your clothes and demanding I get naked. It’s hot as fuck but also shocking.”

I could deal with that answer. “I’m sorry darling but I’m going to have to have you hard and fast at first.” We’d stopped using condoms every time. We tried to use them as often as possible but sometimes . . . I thrust into her bare because I. Had. To. Have. Her. Now.

She was warm and wet but I was a lot. She cried out and arched her back to accommodate me, so I stilled then kissed her deep. Sometimes I thought kissing Esme was almost as good as having sex with Esme. It was always so intimate. There was a gentleness to the way she kissed that shook me.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” she gasped. “More. Now. Please.”

“Fuck. I love it when you beg. Did you touch yourself while I was gone? Like I asked?”

“Yes.”

Fuck me. “Tell me.” I pounded her hard until she replied. Then I slowed to a teasing rhythm.

“I imagined we were in the shower.”

“Were you in the shower while you imagined this?” I pulled back so I could watch her as she described it all. I didn’t want to miss the way her eyes grew dark or her cheeks flushed.

“Yes. After work.”

After a long day and she needed to relieve some stress. “What was I doing to you?”

“You had me against the wall. The water was on my breasts.”

I dipped down to capture her nipple between my teeth. “Did you imagine I was doing this to you?”

She nodded furiously. “Yes. And then . . . and then you speared me. Over and over.”

I saw stars as the image overwhelmed me. That’s when I realized my body had taken over and I was pounding into Esme again. Relentlessly.

I kept pounding. She was close but I couldn’t hold back. I let it all go and unleashed my need for her, wishing I could somehow get a little bit deeper when I spilled inside her.

I collapsed and rolled to the side. “You. Shower. Now.” There was no way I was letting that fantasy go now. I washed her carefully. Slowly. Enjoying every single inch of her skin. And then I pleased her with my fingers and mouth, waiting until she was trembling before I lifted her up against the wall and made her dreams a reality.

“So the way I see it,” she sighed as she settled face down in bed. Naked. “You going out of town makes us both sad and needy, but the up side is that you come home as a caveman and fulfill all my fantasies. Did I get that right?”

She almost—almost—made traveling for work sound manageable again. “Yeah, that about sums it up.”

She snuggled into the pillow and closed her eyes. “Then I guess you can travel sometimes.”

“Sometimes?” I danced my fingers over her ticklish spots and soaked up the sight of her smile.

“Yeah. Sometimes. I missed you.” Her voice took on a very soft, very vulnerable quality that made me sit up and pay attention.

This wasn’t some offhand remark.

It was a confession.

“I missed you so much, Esme.” I ran my hands over her hair and down her back, over and over. “What did you do while I was gone?”

“You mean besides have shower fantasies?” She peeked and me.

“Besides that. What did you do with your time?” Yes I was sex crazed at the moment but I really did want to know everything I missed because . . . well, I craved to know everything about her.

“I mostly worked. I’m so behind at the lab right now. Someone’s been distracting me.”

An unhealthy amount of my pride was pleased to hear she spent her downtime in the lab. “You work too much.”

“Says the man who takes work calls at midnight. And two in the morning. And four. And six.”

“It’s my job. Time zones and late night arrests don’t care that we’re in bed asleep.” I slid down so we were lying side by side. “I love my job. Does it bother you?” What if she hated the travel and the late night calls? What if she demanded I change jobs?

I don’t know why I worried. Esme had never been that kind of girlfriend.

“No Leo.” She yawned. “I love how much you enjoy your work but you have to understand . . . I love my work too. I know it has some long hours and it might seem boring to you, but it excites me. It doesn’t feel like work.”

Now this I could understand because even though being an agent was unconventional and probably pretty odd to most people, it made me feel alive. I loved working with athletes, their personalities and hopes and dreams. I got off on negotiating contracts. And until now, I’d always enjoyed the travel.

“I’m jealous.”

She blinked her sleepy eyes open. “What?”

I shrugged because I felt embarrassed to realize why I wanted to fight her on her work hours. “I’m jealous of your work, I think. You enjoy it. I want all your enjoyment. You spend your time there. I want all your time. It has a part of you that I want all to myself.”

Her lips formed a sexy “o” shape as her eyes softened. “I understand. I’m jealous too.”

That soothed some of my jealousy. “At least we feel the same way.” I went back to stroking her bare skin. “Don’t fall asleep yet. I’m not ready to be apart again.”

Not even for sleep.

She smiled and sighed but didn’t open her eyes, so I nuzzled her neck and placed soft nibbles along the muscle that ran from her neck to her shoulder. Yes, it was incredibly selfish of me to keep her awake when she clearly needed to sleep but . . . not yet.

Not yet.

I need more time.

“What did you want to be when you grew up? What did little Esme dream about?”

“I wanted to be a witch,” she whispered, her voice growing softer and further away with each word. “I wanted magical powers and to find out I was really the daughter of an ancient line of witches and warlocks, that my parents weren’t really my parents. My real parents would come get me, teach me about my powers, and I’d save the world.” She sighed again and this time I knew she was almost asleep. “Silly kid dreams.”

But they weren’t silly at all. I kept brushing her hair until she was in a deep sleep as I told her about mine. “I wanted to be Superman. I wanted to fly and be stronger than anyone on the planet. You were right about me; I do have a hero complex. I dreamt that one day I’d swoop in and save the girl.” I brushed a gentle kiss to her forehead. “I want to be your hero.”

I pulled the covers over us and curled my body as close to hers as I could before I drifted off into a deep sleep filled with Esme, dark alleys, and villains I couldn’t see.


IF YOU HAVEN’T READ:

EPISODE ONEEPISODE TWO | EPISODE THREE | Episode Four | Episode Five | Episode Six | Episode Seven | Episode Eight | Episode Nine | Episode Ten | Episode Eleven | Episode Twelve | Episode Thirteen | Episode Fourteen | Episode 15 | Episode 16 | Episode 17 | Episode 18

Thank you for reading episode 19 of Reckless Kiss! New episodes will release in my newsletter every Tuesday. If you enjoy this story please check out my free book Tease. It has a very similar style, level of heat, and types of characters and I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Some characters from my previous books will be appearing in this serial. If you haven’t already, check out When Lighting Strikes, to read Marie Bancroft Hamilton’s story, Summer Heat, Night Games, and Last Fall to meet more of the Bancroft Sports gang. (But you absolutely do not need to in order to enjoy Reckless Kiss. This book is 100% it’s own story!)