Dark Hunger


Page 7



“How's that any different from what you do? You just lift yourself into oblivion.”

“No, lifting is different. It builds strength. What you do just saps you.”

“Running centers me, it doesn't sap me!”

Dylan thought about that for a moment. “Aw, what the hell. I'll do five with you. But that's it, man. You are not talking me into doing thirteen.”

“Yeah, well, far be it for me to ask you to say one thing and do another.”

The look on Dylan's face told Mike that the barb had hit its target. “Come on, Mike. Don't be like this!”

“Be like what?” Mike could feel himself stiffening, steel pouring into his body, making him tight, in control, immutable.

“Look,” said Dylan, “we're not competing here. We're not enemies here. We have the same goal, and the goal is to find somebody we can both love. Find somebody – ”

Mike interrupted him “To replace Jill?”

Dylan let out a big breath of air. “I thought that's what we were doing...” he said, shaking his head.

Mike frowned. Where was he going with this?

“But it's not about that any more. It's about moving on. It's not about replacing Jill. It's about – ” Dylan paused, his eyebrows raised, his body relaxing. “It's about Laura. It's not about Jill, not any more.”

Just when he was starting to enjoy his self-righteous anger, Dylan had to go and get all reasonable and introspective. “All right, fair enough.” Mike held his hand out. “Truce?”

Dylan grabbed him and hugged him. “No need for a truce. There was never a battle.”

“Oooo, what kind of pasta is that? Spinach? Basil?” Laura marveled at the spread Mike was putting out for this meal. So much food! You would think they were having dinner for more than the two of them.

“It's green.” He shrugged.

“Hold on! I'm mocked when I don't know what kind of wine the red stuff is, but you get a pass on green pasta?” She mock pouted. “No fair.” Silly and playful, Laura felt giddy. The giddiness drove out the guilt. Sort of. In many ways, this date with Mike was a test. Sleep with Dylan. Sleep with Mike. Sleep with Dylan at work, sleep with Mike tonight in this amazing cabin. Then everything would be fair and balanced.

What are you, Laura? Fox News?

He stirred the pasta, steam floating up in swirls like magic potion from a cauldron, his white cotton button-down tucked nicely into tan business pants. Shirt sleeves rolled up and the top two buttons undone, Mike looked a little too business casual for her. She liked him sporty. Sweaty.

Naked, actually.

What he was wearing now made her think of middle management. Corporate life. A flash of her beige office and her legs wrapped around Dylan's naked ass made her wince.

“You OK?” Mike peered at her, concerned. “Something wrong?”

Shake it off. “No, just – no.”

He bent over the stove, his frame so tall he had to crouch to fit under the hood. It made her feel liliputian. No one – ever – made her feel diminutive, yet somehow Mike mastered it. She liked it.

Liked his cabin, too. How in the hell did a ski instructor afford this? Four bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, a deck bigger than the house she'd grown up in, and a sliding door at the lower level where you could just ski right up, unbuckle your boots and snap off the skis, and come right in. Decorated in knotty pine and colors that screamed “Ski lodge!”, the place was amazing.

All this and an apartment in the city, too? He hadn't invited her there, though. Just here.

Next date.

Why had he just turned the burner off? Laura took a big swig from her glass of Pinot Grigio (she was learning) and Mike grabbed the bottle, filling it instantly.

His grin was saucy, a wolfish look on his face. “Like the wine?”

Gulp. Three big mouthfuls and she finished half the glass. Thoughts of Dylan kept invading. The brush of his fingers on her inner thighs. The rasp of his stubble against her ear. The texture of his ass as it tightened under her steady palms as he thrust –


Gulp. Enough wine and maybe he would quit invading her brain.

Maybe you should quit inviting him.

“Earth to Laura.” Mike. Oh, yeah. Mike. The back of his hand brushed against her cheek, fingers stroking her face, tucking loose hair behind her ear, then trailing lazily down to her collar bone, one palm cupping her breast as he bent down for a kiss.

The touch of his lips on hers made her swoon. Spinning rooms were never really her thing, but the wine hit her as his warm body crushed against hers and she went limp, his strong arms holding her in place as his tongue provided an elegant rough draft of what it was going to do in, oh, about five minutes,

On her clit.

She pulled back, blinked coyly, grabbed the wine bottle from the counter and filled her glass again. This time there was no pretense of gentility; she chugged it like a sorority girl at a kegger, placed the glass down on the granite counter with a click, and grinned like a fool.

“Are you really hungry for something green?” The flooding warmth that covered her was equal parts wine and arousal for what she knew was coming.

Her.

“I'm more in the mood for a pale blond.” His fingers brushed her loose, blonde curls away from her neck. She shivered, his touch like an unwinding sigh. Kisses delivered to her throat, her earlobe, then her mouth made her throat tighten, her legs loosen, and the rest of her melt.

“Or,” he added, one hand traveling up from her hip to her breast, “I'm pretty sure I'd prefer something pink.” They had both dressed more casually, the intent of the evening clear. When Mike had shyly suggested she bring an overnight bag, he didn't need hand puppets, markers and a white board to explain what he expected from the date. Muscular and wiry at the same time, he managed to look like a gentle giant and a lanky teen all at once.

Right now, though, he was all man. Confident, sensual – and very much in command. She hoped he liked what she had worn, simple J.Jill casual clothes, with a flowing mauve skirt and top that hid her bigger parts but accentuated her face. She didn't need to hide anything, with Mike (and that was the beauty of him), but she also felt unready to run around in crummy workout clothes or flannel jammies. Not yet.

Someday, though. Just not right now, as his hand burned a hot path on her skin, clit at the ready as if at attention and waiting for its next order. His warm sigh and low growl made her woozy. Or maybe that was the wine. At this point, it didn't really matter which it was.

“Hot pink?” she gasped as his hand traveled under her skirt, flirting with her panties, one finger slipping under and – oh!

“Very hot,” he murmured, his lips against the corner of her mouth, her thighs quivering as one hand discovered exactly how wet she was for him, the other wrapped around her back, pinning her to him. She raised the stakes, too, by sliding her hand along his inseam, finding him hard and ready for her. Dinner? What dinner. The pasta could be purple with blue polka dots for all she cared.

He pulled back, hand slipping reluctantly from her thong, his face dark and playful all at once, with a mischievous look his pulled his hand to his lips and licked the tip, eyes locked on hers. Then Mike cocked his head, held his hand out for her to grasp, and nodded toward his bedroom.

“Shall we?”

I thought you'd never ask. “We shall,” she declared, clearing her throat as he twisted and pulled her gently through the doorway, the room obviously decorated by a guy, with thick leather, unfinished wood beams, and a stark, unlived-in look dominating. How long has he had this place? she wondered. It was like he'd just moved in. Too sterile.

A cream comforter with imprints of brown and green bears covered the bed, like something from a B&B that catered to ski people. The backs of her legs grazed it; soft and well worn. Mike reached out for her and, with a neutral, open expression on his face, slid his palms up her sweater, untying the sash where the wraparound stayed together, gently nudging it off her shoulders where it pooled on the floor.

His hands were so warm, his face open and inviting, intent on his actions as if making love in a meditative state. Laura knew that no matter what, one hundred percent of Mike's attention was on her; he was so present it almost hurt, an awareness too deep and painful at times. Right now, though, she reveled in it, like finding the perfect patch of sunshine after a storm.

His hands moved under her t-shirt and slid up. She pulled her arms into position to take it off easily, his sigh the only reward she needed. Eventually, they would find their way into the bed. This dance of unveiling was worth the linger.

Reaching for his buttons, she imitated his actions, his skin softer than she remembered, the flesh tight and muscles hard beneath. As his arms folded and peeled off his shirt she watched a concert of twitches and stretches play out before her, like an artist's rendering of male perfection – but real. His tan skin and long torso were achingly hot, looking up into his face as he bent down to kiss her like cocooning.

Nimble fingers unbuttoned his pants and unzipped him, his sharp inhale seeming to fuel the depth of his kiss, tongue pushing harder against hers and hands pressing her jaw as he tried to get a grip on what seemed like an overpowering urge. Nearly frantic, his hands made quick work of undressing her the rest of the way, leaving Laura completely naked within half a minute, Mike following after. So much for the linger.

The room was so warm that when he pulled her onto the bed, reclining in each others' arms, she didn't need the covers for comfort – but would have preferred them for modesty. You don't need to hide, a voice said. It was Mike's. In her head, though – he couldn't have spoken, actually, because right now he was kissing her belly, his route revealing his intentions as he aimed for her womanhood.

A little sigh, almost a moan, escaped from her mouth, over her teeth and through her lips like a prayer as his hands roamed up her hips, palms and fingers splayed to take in her skin. She loved how he appreciated her body. Not tolerated – appreciated. Enjoyed.

Owned.

Her own hands were eager for more of him on them, fingers brushing against his neck, palms taking in his shoulders as –

Creak. The bedroom door opened slightly, then a footstep. She froze. Was someone else here? Mike seemed to hold his breath suddenly, though his hands continued to caress her.

To her complete mortification, Dylan walked into her line of sight.

Dylan?

She squinted, as if her eyes deceived her. Nude, in Mike's arms – or, rather, with her legs in Mike's face – Laura could have named five other people she'd expect to see walk through that door before she'd have anticipated Dylan.

“What are you doing here?” Laura felt exposed. He just stared at them, Mike nuzzling her belly and pointedly not looking up. Caught. She was caught. She hadn't been exclusive with either guy, so she shouldn't feel guilty, but she did.

And what the hell was Dylan, of all people, doing here right now?

He gestured toward the door. “Uh, your front door was open, and I came here to say hi, and when I saw it ajar I was worried about you can came in to make sure you were OK.” He shot Mike a dark look. “I see you're more than OK.”

Laura choked, not sure what to say, laying naked on the bed with Mike going down on her, like something out of a bad soap opera. A bad, kinky soap opera. “So, uh, I don't know what to say.” Her face burned red with embarrassment.

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