Dark Hunger


Page 20



He bounded up the stairs, came through the door, all blonde and tan and Godlike. My friends all wanted to date him. Half of them wanted to fuck him. But to me he was like a brother. Except I hadn’t seen him much this past year and he looked nothing like my brother.

“Sam never called?” Liam was a straight shooter. He was dressed in soccer shorts, a v-neck short-sleeve shirt made of the same lightweight material, and he smelled faintly of a mixture of Old Spice, Polo and oranges. My head swam for a moment as he stretched his long legs out, easing onto the bed beside me, a serious look on his face. Blond, curly hair peppered the tanned skin that stretched out for miles in front of me, my eyes trying so hard not to drift up the black, silky shorts that covered his middle. His shirt was the same color and his eyes were a bluish-green, like looking at the ocean as it met the sand dunes in Truro, on Cape Cod, just after a storm.

My pulse needed a minute to recover. My heart was still stuck on Sam. My body, though, knew exactly what it wanted—and recovering wasn’t it.

“Nope.”

“Asshole.” He sat on the bed next to my dress and fingered the hemline.

“Yup.” They were in the fledgling band that Trevor Connor and Joe Ross had put together this year. They had a weird name I couldn’t remember. That meant Liam saw Sam regularly, and my heart soared—not just from Liam’s hot skin so tantalizing on my bed, either.

“Did you talk to him about me?” I tried to keep the hope out of my voice, but failed miserably.

Uncertain how to answer, Liam seemed to struggle with his words. This was not his normal state; the guy was confidence itself on legs. “Sure. Told him he was crazy to give up a chance of tapping you. Fresh virgin meat.” A predatory smile made my knees go weak and a wet warmth spread from my—

Pressing my hands over my heart, I said, “Like words from Shakespeare.”

“I aim to please.”

My laughter came out like normal, at first, and then settled into a strange braying sound of half sobs and half giggle. Liam looked at me with alarm and sat up, his body impossibly big and beautiful, right in front of me where Sam should be.

“Amy?”

Waving my hands in front of my face like I was swatting a bee, I said, “I’m fine! I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not.”

“I’m pretending to be fine! I’m pretending to be fine!”

“That makes two of us.” His face fell, and in his pain I could see the man he would become. It was jarring.

Yet I knew why he winced. “Charlotte, huh?”

He leaned back, folding his hands under his head, and sighed. I swallowed, hard, as the soft cloth of his shirt rode up at the waist, showing a thickening of those golden curls right where it would lead down to—

“I miss her,” he huffed, not quite convinced he should tell me.

“I can imagine,” I squeaked, feeling like an adulteress to the memory of Sam. How stupid! This was Liam. The guy who launched spitballs in my hair on the bus. The one I took baths with when we were kids. The dude who kissed my cheek at our first co-ed party when we played Truth or Dare. The guy who was like a brother to me in a way that my own brother barely was.

And also? I owed no allegiance to Sam or my imagined reality with him. Go away, Sam. Get outta my head.

“Why’d you break up with her?”

He sat up fast, like a wrestler doing quick sit ups, his flat stomach muscled in ways that made me want to reach out and touch him for the pure joy of touching a body that could do that.

“Because.” His voice went cold.

“Gotcha. I’ll shut up about it.”

He stood quickly and walked over to my prom dress. “You would look good in this. Why don’t you go?”

“Where’s your tux?” I joked.

A look of confusion, then a kind of dawning horror, spread across his face. “Aw, Amy, I never even thought about it!” Then pity. “Of course I would have taken you.”

“NO!” I shouted, jumping to my feet. “No, no, no, no, no, that’s not what I meant! I don’t need a pity date.”

“So not a pity date, Amy,” he answered, eyes combing over me, then the dress. “I’d have been honored.”

Tears came in a giant wave then, the power overwhelming me, my stomach clenching in one hard wall of anguish. “Why won’t Sam even talk to me?” I wailed. “Why am I the weirdo stuck at home on prom night?”

And then Liam was holding me, arms wrapped around my sobbing self. His body felt so good, and comforting, and hard. Not like a brother, suddenly.

Like a man.

“I am so sorry,” he crooned into my hair, the vibration of his deep voice making my neck tingle. “At least there are two of us. You’re not the only weirdo.”

I half-laughed, half-sobbed into his shoulder. My hands slid across his back and he held me closer, lips touching my earlobe with the briefest of kisses. Was he...was this...did he want...?

In an instant, he put my questioning to rest by pulling back, his hand at my cheek, soulful eyes taking mine in. “I wish everything were different.”

And then another hug.


“I know you miss Charlotte,” I whispered, faltering as I tried to think of what to say. He stiffened.

Wrong thing.

“I don’t want to talk about Charlotte,” he murmured against my cheek. In a breathtaking split second his lips were on me, and Liam—the same Liam who had teased and tormented and played and cajoled as kids, the one I’d captured fireflies in a jar with, who had gone on camping trips with my family when we were little—was a muscled wall of man above me, hovering over me and doing to my mouth, my body, what Sam was supposed to be doing this very moment.

Sam.

Tears formed at the corner of my eyes and slid down the edge of my face. Liam felt it as he kissed me tenderly, and wiped one away. “Amy, I—should I stop?” He froze, starting to roll off.

Gratitude mixed with frustration and I pulled him back to me.

“No. Don’t stop. Please don’t stop at all. I want this. I want more. I want it all.”

“You’re sure?” No question in his voice—he was confirming.

“I am. What about you?” I asked.

His warm lips and confident hands were my answer as he eased me onto the bed, our bodies resting on top of a pile of peach cloth.

And so Liam took as much as he gave, and it was pure and tender and what I needed.

In the end, I had lost my virginity on prom night, alright.

Except with the last guy I’d ever imagined.

Chapter Five

Sam

Amy’s apartment, after the show

Reaching for her again, my hands cradled her jaw, fingers interlaced in the long hair at the back of her neck, our breath mixing as tongues touched. My hands shifted to her arms, finally settling down and then—

Peace.

Something deep inside me just stopped, as if it could finally rest.

Sanctuary.

This wasn’t about fucking. That I could get nearly any time I wanted after a show. This was about intimacy. The point when you’re with someone, touching them and you realize that you’ve been invited to cross an invisible line and enter a new world. We all build shells around ourselves, and cracking them open to display what’s underneath takes a lot of courage. Sex itself isn’t what I’m talking about; there are degrees of touching and knowing and forging ahead with someone when it comes to being intimate.

Amy trusted me enough to let me touch her again.

It’s all about trust.

My hands roamed over her waist, the curve of her side and hips, the ends of her long hair tickling my palms. God, she smelled so good, and the heat of her lush body felt made solely for me, conjured only for the space between us. Her mouth devoured mine, her boldness making me rock hard as we entwined ourselves on her bed. Months without sex made me more than ready.

A tight band of need clenched every muscle in my body as Amy’s hands found my ass, then roamed up my back. No woman I’d been with had ever been so bold, and it turned everything up a notch. Wanting a willing body in bed was one thing; finding a woman willing to tell me what she wanted so that we could make everything so much better had been a rich fantasy of mine for—well, forever.

Could this really be Amy?

“Amy,” I said, pulling back just enough to look in her eyes, “I don’t get many second chances in life. I feel like I’m living in some sort of surreal moment where it could all be taken away in an instant, like when I open my eyes, or when I blink, as if this is an alternate reality,” I explained, my words feeling empty and stupid.

“No,” she gasped, interrupting me, wrapping those warm arms around my neck. “It’s the past four years that were the alternate reality. This,” she added, punctuating her words with a kiss that shot down my core and back to my brain like being stroked, “this is the life we should be living.”

“And now we are,” I finished for her, so ready to make love to her, to connect and deepen, to serve her for all the rest of time—in whatever reality we could carve out for ourselves. Pumped by desire, it was hard to balance my body’s screaming need to be in her, to give myself to her and to have her do the same, to get hot and sweaty and breathless on her bed with what I also knew—via a thin shred of restraint—needed to be respected.

I’d hurt her so intimately four years ago.

Could I heal her with intimacy now?

If this was her giving me the chance, then maybe I could start to believe in the divine again.

Amy

“Tell me what you want,” Sam said, murmuring in my ear before kissing my neck.

“What I want?” I laughed, my palms meandering down his back. What was left to want?

“I want to know everything about you, Amy. How you want to be kissed, how you want to be touched.” His eyes sought mine, looking up through his eyelashes as his mouth traversed my shoulder and collarbone.

As his lips touched mine again, tongue languid and searching, seeking as much to touch and know me as to communicate his own need, Sam’s words echoed in my head. My inexperience hit me hard, cutting short the yearning touch my hands wanted to continue. Once with Liam, a year with Brent—that was it. Sam must have been with so many people. A drummer in a band? And so hot? Of course he had expectations and comparisons and I—I had just my own wanting of him.

Half naked and all-eager, the full impact hit me just as Sam’s hungry kiss swept me out of my mind. His hands were on me, stroking my breasts and making my nipples ache. His palms were cupping my ass and his erection was at my fingertips, his hard, muscled back was mine to explore with my own hands.

But so much more than that—his words. Who says these things? I’d played out this moment thousands of times in my head over the years. Wondered how it would feel to hear him whisper my name, to be told he wanted me—needed me—craved me like no other woman.

His words were enough.

I didn’t want enough. I wanted so much more, and he offered it to me right now with his mouth, his hands, the hard press of his rigid manhood against my torso, my hand now seeking it out, enjoying the anticipated groan.

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