Excerpt: Arrested Pleasure by Holli Winters

Arrested Pleasure by Holli Winters
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Arrested Pleasure

Excerpt from Arrested Pleasure.

She quietly walked up to the glass doors, quelling the urge to check inside and see what other changes Sharon had precipitated. Firmly grasping her naughty package between her fingers, she leaned down to lay it on the rug.

The door slid open.

Cassie froze. Expecting Gavin or Sharon, she glanced up, words of greeting on her lips. She’d explain and get out of here before they invited her inside.

Instead of either familiar face, she met a pair of eyes belonging to a man she’d never seen before. A man with a very annoyed expression.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” His words made his displeasure clear.

The hair on the back of Cassie’s neck rose. Clad in jeans and a T-shirt, the stranger stood well over six feet tall. Never mind that he was the most gorgeous piece of hunk she’d seen in a while.

“I—uh—was expecting Gavin to be at work.” She peered past him, hoping Gavin or Sharon would appear to explain who she was. Possibly she’d made a mistake and Gavin was home.

“He’s not here.” He glanced pointedly at the package now lying at their feet. “Is there something I can do for you?” His eyes assessed her as they roved her body.

Oh, yeah, she knew exactly what he wanted to do for her. Or rather to her.

“Is the package for him? I can give this to him when I see him.” The stranger reached down to pick it up, the muscles in his arms flexing and causing Cassie to stare at the strength in them. She bet he could lift her five-foot nine-inch frame easily. She caught a whiff of aftershave. Citrusy and masculine. The beginnings of a five o’clock shadow laced his strong jaw. Her breasts tingled at the vision of his jaw scraping her skin as he suckled her nipples. A trickle of moisture bloomed between her thighs.

She blinked, realizing she’d gotten lost in lust for the man. She could only imagine what he would think of her if he found what was in the package. She snatched the gaily-wrapped bag out of his hands. “I can wait and give this to him another time. It’s not a big deal.”

Straightening up, he cocked an eyebrow at her, obviously curious. His hair was brown with light streaks through the strands, as if he spent a great deal of time outdoors. His eyes were hazel colored, with specks of something that Cassie hadn’t quite figured out.

“You’re one of Gavin’s admirers. Too bad he let you get away.” His wicked smile made it clear he’d take up any offer from her as a replacement.

If she’d met him in any other situation, she’d have returned his flirty grin. But not now. Not with a cock ring in her hand meant for another man.

“No. We—ah—used to be friends. I haven’t seen him in a while and was passing through this area.”

Her eyes met his for a moment, mesmerized by the provocative glint there. She nervously tossed her hair over her left shoulder. Most men would trip over their feet and be pleasant to her. Not this stranger. He gave her the impression of a rogue pirate ready to pitch her over his shoulder and carry her off to ravish her. And if the way her body tingled in reaction to him was any indication, she had a feeling she’d let him.

“Used to be friends?” His gaze bore into hers. “What does that mean? Should I be concerned that you’re up to no good? A bomb, perhaps?”

“Huh? What?” She shook her head and hugged the package closer to her. “No. I just sort of lost contact with him. I knew he’d be at work and I wanted to drop off this . . . um . . . present for him.”

His eyes dropped to the package clutched to her chest. His gaze lingered there for a moment, before dropping lower as he continued to peruse her body. She wore a black mini skirt with a peach silk top. She’d eschewed nylons, her long legs bare except for the high-heeled black sandals on her feet. Even at her height he towered over her by a good five inches.

“Look, I’ll catch him another day.”

His gaze flitted back to her face. “Can I give him a message? Tell him you were here? You are—?”

“No!” She winced at the sharpness in her voice. “I’ll call him and um . . . catch up with him then.”

She turned away, intending to slip the package into her purse unobtrusively as possible and make a quick getaway. He made her nervous with the way he perused her from head to toe and left her body aching in reaction.

“I’ll head out now and—” She started to step off the short flight of steps, but her sandal heel got caught in the carpeted welcome mat. “What the—” She tried to pry her heel away, but began to lose her balance.

“Watch it!” Cassie heard as her body pitched forward. She heard a shriek and realized it was her own. Her arms flayed wildly, but before she fell to the deck, hands slid around her waist. The force of the motion left them both unbalanced and out of control. She closed her eyes, bracing for the hard surface as they tumbled down onto the deck.

Momentary silence followed. She quickly assessed the situation. She hadn’t broken any bones. To her surprise, she’d landed on something soft. Yet hard. She pried an eyelid open.

She lay on top of the strange man. He’d taken the brunt of the fall, protecting her from serious harm. His eyes were closed, and she wondered for a moment if she’d knocked him out cold. She wiggled to check for any damage and to move off him. His body was strong and hard in all the right places. Especially below the waist, she realized as the hardness against her stomach made itself known.

Then she heard a grunt.

“Don’t freaking move, lady, unless you want to pay for the consequences.”

His eyes remained closed as he spoke. Well, at least he didn’t seem to be unconscious.

“Are you alright?” She went to shift the weight of her body off him, but he gripped her arms, forcing her to stay in place. Obviously he wasn’t too far out of it.

Slowly his eyes opened, and Cassie stared wide-eyed into his hazel ones. She couldn’t look away. He stared back at her for a long minute before dropping his gaze to her mouth. His lips were a mere inch or two from hers.

She closed her eyes, welcoming what was coming next. She wanted him to kiss her. One taste, that’s all. She inhaled the scent of his aftershave.

She sensed him leaning closer. Yes.

Just one kiss from . . .

Her eyes popped open from a sudden awareness that she didn’t know his name or his relationship to Gavin. “Let me go,” she muttered as she rolled off him. He released the grip he had on her arms.

Cassie rose unsteadily to her feet. Without glancing at him, she said, “I need to get out of here. I’m already late for a dinner. Tell Gavin I’ll call him in a day or two and”—she gazed down at her hands—”my package! Where is my gift?”

He slowly rose to his feet. “It can’t be too far.”

With a quick perusal around the deck, she finally spotted the clandestine package—now ripped apart.

“Oh, no!” She picked it up and peered inside. The note was still tucked away neatly, but the cock ring was gone. Damn. Maybe it’d fallen between the cracks of the deck?

“Are you looking for this?”

She whipped around at the sound of his voice and cringed when she spotted what he held up in his hand.

The cock ring.

Her face warmed and a flush rushed up her skin at the realization that he now knew what her gift for Gavin was.

She couldn’t meet his eyes. “Er . . . yes.” She held out her hand, hoping he’d hand the ring over, no questions asked. “Just give it to me. I’ll put it back . . . .”

Instead, he grabbed her hand. He jerked her forward, closer to him. Startled, all she could do was stare at him. Once again, they were face to face.

“Just what did you plan on doing with Gavin?” Hazel eyes bored into hers. Accusatory.

What could she say? He held the damning evidence in his hand. “Noth . . . . nothing.” She stammered as he set off alarms inside her brain. His closeness unnerved her. “We used to date, and I’ve been leaving him presents. That’s all. Let me go.” She tried to pull away from him, but he stilled her movements.

“Are you obsessed with him? He’s engaged to Sharon, a nice girl, and I won’t—”

His words sounded angry, and Cassie didn’t have a clue why. Was he related to Sharon? A brother perhaps? Then something he said penetrated.

“Engaged? They’re engaged?” The first she’d heard this news.

“Yes. Engaged. In fact, they’re living together at Sharon’s condo. No way I’ll tell you where. I don’t want to see either of them hurt by the likes of you.”

She absorbed his words. Gavin now lived with Sharon, and they were engaged. Wow, things must be serious. She felt glad for them, but she wished Gavin had the courtesy to mention this in one of their chats. It would’ve saved her the embarrassment of this encounter.

She realized the stranger still watched her closely, those damn eyes of his accusing her of trying to entice Gavin away from Sharon. She lifted her chin and looked him square in the eye. “I’m glad Gavin and Sharon have found each other. I’ll have to tell him the next time I see him.”

“You’re not hell bent on breaking them up with this little toy?” He held up the incriminating evidence. The sunlight glinted off the silvery jewelry.

Mortified that this stranger thought her a home wrecker, she set him straight. “Hell, no. It’s a gag gift. Nothing more.”

His eyes narrowed.

“Believe me, this is noth—”

“Are you involved with Gavin?”

She shook her head. “We were—a long time ago. But not anymore.”

His hold loosened slightly. “Good. Then you won’t mind this.”

“Mind what?” she asked, curious why he seemed to know so much about Gavin and Sharon’s personal life.

He deposited the cock ring in his jeans pocket and lowered his head to hers. “This.”

His mouth covered hers, and at the first touch, shivers of desire coursed throughout her body. Hard lips sought and demanded an immediate response from her.

One that she gave back eagerly. God, she was crazy, but she’d been too long without a man. As he ravished her mouth, he sent spirals of excitement rushing through her veins. A moan escaped. Unable to control her response, she wrapped her arms around his neck. Even if the man hated her, she couldn’t resist his kisses.

He seemed to sense her out of control reaction. “Come on, baby, you want this just as much as I do,” he murmured against her lips.

Unable to speak, she only nodded in agreement. His kisses and words were more persuasive than she cared to admit.

His lips bore down on her mouth, while his hands roamed her back, rubbing gently, but seductively. He caressed her lower back, causing her to arch in response. He pulled her closer to his hard body, making her acutely aware that he was as turned on as she.

Her body on fire, she shuddered as he stoked the flames even further when his hands dipped to her ass, curving his fingers to cup her through the fabric of her skirt. Bodies flushed against each other, she felt every hard angle of him.

Cassie moaned into his mouth. He used that opportunity to slip his tongue between her lips. His kisses grew more intense as he explored the recesses of her mouth. The heady essence of him filled her senses. She could get intoxicated just tasting him.

Through her fogged mind, Cassie became aware the back of her skirt crept upward as he inched the fabric higher and higher until his hand slipped under the hem.

The heated touch of his fingers on her bare ass shocked her. As was her custom, she wore only a teeny black thong under her skirt.

A stranger was touching her intimately.

She jerked, fully intending to pull away.

“No babe, let’s finish this.”

Cassie untangled her tongue and lips from his and stared at him. “No—” She couldn’t let him get this close to her. She didn’t know his name.

“Shh . . .” He placed his free hand onto her lower lip, stroking the delicate skin, while his other hand continued to caress her behind. “Don’t ask questions. Just ride the sensation.” He lowered his head and claimed her mouth again.

In the back of her mind Cassie told herself this was wrong. The only thing she knew about him was Gavin and he were somehow friends. But the heat of her pulsing body was overruling her reservations.

His finger dipped underneath the thong and into the crevice of her ass. Her legs faltered, and she sagged against him as an overwhelming sensation hit her.

Suddenly, he hoisted her higher, bracing her against the wall of the house and spreading her legs wide apart. Surprised by his actions, she reacted by wrapping her legs around his waist, forcing the heat of her desire against the bulge at his crotch.

This only made her more accessible to him, and he took full advantage. He tugged at the miniscule scrap of her cotton thong. His strong hands were not a match for the flimsy material as her panties ripped apart. She shuddered in reaction. God, she loved a man who took control during sex. Lowering her head, she nipped his neck as a rush of air hit her most sensitive area.

Now using both hands, he brazenly explored her nether regions. He dipped his hands under her ass cheeks using his fingers as to spread her apart. She shuddered when he brushed against the wetness that oozed there. He continued to explore while she bit his neck to keep from shouting out. His fingers drifted upward, until he swirled a single digit inside and found her hot button.

“Yes . . . .” She moaned as shivers racked her body.

“You like that?”

Cassie nodded and closed her eyes. She couldn’t respond in either coherent thoughts or words right now. White lights of fiery sparks danced against her eyelids.

His fingers continued to stroke her heat. Wetness built, and she sensed she was about to go off like a volcano.

Without warning, two fingers thrust inside her molten center, causing her body to jerk again. He pulled out slightly, before pushing back in. He appeared bent on tormenting her until she dissolved into a quivering mass.

“Please,” she panted. “Finish . . . .” Cassie gasped the words against his neck.

His chest reverberated as he chuckled. “I told you we’d finish this, babe,” he replied, as his fingers continued to push in and out. He braced her against the hard surface and held her in place. His fingers pinched her clit, sending shockwaves vibrating upward into her body.

“No. Now. Need—” She groaned as she pulsed against his fingers, the sensation of need rushing at her. She tried to fight it, but it slammed into her like an out of control train.

“Don’t hold back. Let it go,” he cajoled her, his fingers thrusting deeper. “Come on, babe, let me take you over.”

His words faded out as the first flash of an orgasm spread throughout her body. The climax hit her so hard she lost all recognition of her surroundings.

In the arms of a stranger she’d just met.

Arrested Pleasure by Holli Winters

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