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|On Dublin Street(On Dublin Street #1)(28) by Samantha Young|
He was silent a moment as he processed this. In fact he was silent so long I knew what he was thinking. And I felt ugly and worthless. I pushed against his chest again. “You can get off me now.”
But he wouldn’t budge. He shook his head, his expression clearing as his eyes returned to mine. “Four years,” he replied quietly. “You hadn’t had sex for four years. Since you came here I’ll bet. What changed?”
“That’s another question.”
Braden’s expression darkened to something so scary I was finally, truly intimidated. I tensed underneath him, holding my breath as his pale eyes fired ice chips at me. “Did someone hurt you, Jocelyn?”
What? Oh my God… I relaxed as I realized what conclusion he’d drawn. “No.” I reached up and soothed a hand across his cheek, hoping it would erase that look in his eyes. “Braden, no. I don’t want to talk about it, okay,” I explained gently. “But no one hurt me. I was wild. And then I stopped being wild. However, I wasn’t lying last night. I’ve been checked and I’m clean. And anyway, I’m sure you’ve been with a lot more women than I’ve been with guys, and I’m not judging you.”
“I’m not judging you, Jocelyn.”
“Oh you were so judging me.”
He sat up, his arm banding around my waist to drag me up with him, and then his other arm came around my waist so I was smooshed up against his hot, na**d chest. My palms fluttered uneasily onto his pecs, my eyes wide as he stared down at me with this intense look in his eyes. “I don’t like to share,” he murmured.
He’d said that before. Something twisted in my chest, a mixture of exaltation and unease. “Braden, I’m not yours.”
His arms tightened. “For the next three months you are. I mean it, Jocelyn. No one else touches you.”
My body completely ignored my mind as it screamed ‘run, run, run!’, and I felt my br**sts swell, and my ni**les harden at that growl of warning. “You’re being an ass,” I told him hoarsely, my eyes betraying me as they dipped to his mouth.
“I wasn’t judging you,” he continued as though I hadn’t said anything, skimming soft, teasing kisses along my jaw to my ear, where his voice rumbled sexily, “In public, you’re Joss Butler. Cool, self-possessed. In bed, you’re Jocelyn Butler—you’re hot, babe. Uncontrolled. Needy. Sweet,” he breathed. “I like that I know that. I don’t like the fact that other men do too.”
Maybe I was just so turned on I forgot who we were and what this was supposed to be, but I found myself in an unusual moment of honesty. I leaned down and kissed his throat, loving the way he arched his neck to let me. My hand slid up his chest, across his shoulder and curled around his neck. I nipped and licked and kissed my way back up to his mouth, and then I pulled back, so ready to have him inside me it wasn’t funny. “They were boys, not men. And just so you know… they never got what you got last night from me. They never got it because they never gave me what you gave me. Not even close.” I brushed my lips across his, and glanced up to meet his eyes, smirking at him. “There. That’s a little more air you can blow into your ego.” My grip tightened around his neck. “But it is the truth.”
I waited for him to say something, anything. Instead the color in his eyes grew dark with desire and I was crushed to him. His lips demanded I open my mouth and I did, allowing the deep, possessive kiss, trying to steal breath from him since he held me so tightly that mine was gone. In less than a minute I was under him. In less than another minute I was na**d, and in less than another he was moving inside me and proving once again that sometimes I really could be needy and sweet.
I strolled into the bedroom, dressed in the tank and shorts again, and I watched as Braden buttoned up his shirt. He grinned at me over his shoulder. “Making sure I’m really going?”
I shrugged, feeling a lot more relaxed now that he’d given me two spectacular orgasms. “We’ll play this by ear.”
His grin deepened. “This is going to be easy if all it takes is sex to change your mind.”
I gave him an exasperated look. “Braden. I’m serious. We’ll play this by ear, and while we’re sleeping with each other, we agree not to be sleeping with other people. But we also agree, no pressing each other for answers to questions we don’t want to answer.”
After a while of just gazing at me, Braden finally nodded. “Agreed.”
“I better get back to my flat, shower, change.” He pressed a quick kiss to my lips, his hand coming to rest on my waist. “I’ll see you tonight.”
I frowned. “No. I’m working tonight.”
“Yeah. Adam, Ellie and I will stop by.”
“No, you won’t.” I shook my head. Not after last time. And truthfully I needed some space from him.
Braden’s brow furrowed. “Why not?”
“I’ll be working. No distractions.”
“You working with Craig?”
I grimaced. “Yes.”
His grip on my waist tightened. “He kisses you and-”
“You’ll knock his teeth out.” I nodded, rolling my eyes. “Yeah, yeah, I already got the macho Scotsman memo. Nothing will happen. I promise. But you’re not coming tonight.”
“Fine.” He shrugged in overly casual agreement. “Then I’ll be here when you get back.”
Okay, I almost nodded my agreement before my brain went, wait! No! No, no, no! “No!” I replied a little more loudly than I meant to.
Braden did not look amused. “Not even twenty four hours in and this arrangement is already exhausting the f**k out of me.”
“Well you’ve given me four orgasms. That oughta take it out of a guy.” I grinned saucily.
My deflection didn’t work. “I’ll be here, tonight.”
“Braden, seriously don’t. This is all really new. I need some space.”
“Babe.” He leaned down and pressed a tender kiss to my forehead and I relaxed. See, he could be agreeable and willing to compromise sometimes. “We’ve only got three months. There’s no time for space.”
“I’ll be tired after my shift.”
“Not in the morning, you won’t be.”
“Then come over in the morning.”
With a weary sigh, Braden nodded. “Fine.” He pulled me to him, lifting me off my feet so he could give me a searing, wet kiss he knew I wouldn’t forget in a hurry. And once he’d settled me back on my dazed feet, he left the apartment without even a goodbye.
“Do you think I’m nuts?” I made a face, bracing myself for Dr. Pritchard’s answer.
“Because you’ve agreed to make yourself sexually available to Braden?”
“Joss, you’re a grown woman. These decisions are yours to make. Do you think you’re nuts?” She smiled softly as she asked.
I laughed humorlessly, as I thought about Braden and everything he made me feel. “I think it’s the best way to deal with the attraction between us. This way it doesn’t become a huge mess that concludes with me having to move out. Neither of us wants a relationship. We’re both consenting adults. We both know the rules. I would never agree to anything more, so it works out well. We use each other until we get bored. No hard feelings. No mess. No moving.”
“But you could have just walked away from Dublin Street. Put Braden out of your life for good rather than come to this agreement with him. Why didn’t you?”
I frowned, thinking that was obvious. “Because of Ellie. She’s my friend.”
Dr. Pritchard nodded carefully, taking this in. “So you’re willing to explore something with a man who you previously said scared you because of how he made you feel, and you’re willing to do this because of your friendship with his sister?”
“So you’re willing to care about Ellie… but not about Braden?”
Wait. No. What? “That’s not…” I trailed off, feeling my chest tighten. “Ellie’s a friend. That doesn’t mean anything. I like her. I don’t want to lose her, but that doesn’t mean anything.”
Dr. Pritchard sighed, for once looking a little irritated. “You know, Joss, this process will go a lot smoother if you stop lying to yourself.”
I took a deep breath, focusing on opening my lungs up. “Okay.” I nodded. “I care about her. She’s a good friend and a good person.”
“And yet, you tell yourself all the time that you care about no one. That you will never care enough to get close.”
“It’s not like she’s my family,” I bit out, desperate to make my point, make her see how I saw things. “It’s not the same thing.”
She cocked her head to the side in the way I hated. “Are you sure about that? I think from everything you’ve told me, Ellie treats you like family.”
“You’re twisting what I said.” I shook my head, feeling that familiar headache. “I care about people. I never said I didn’t. I care about Rhian and James, and yeah I care about Ellie.”
“So why won’t you let yourself care about Braden?”
I looked at my feet. “It’s just sex,” I muttered.
“But there’s no guarantee that’s true, Joss,” Dr. Pritchard answered quietly. “No one can predict how you’ll feel about Braden by the time the three months are up. Or how he’ll feel about you. And considering you’ve told me that your feelings for Braden scare you, I suggest you think on that carefully.”
“The way I felt for him sexually scared me. It’s intense. But I can deal with it. It’s just sex,” I repeated stubbornly, and somewhere deep down, buried under all my steel, there was a voice telling me I was willingly sticking my head in the sand.