Trashed, p.5
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       Trashed, p.5

         Part #2 of Stripped series by Jasinda Wilder
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I have to regain some kind of control over myself, and over the situation. “Well, let me spell it out, then. You’re a famous Hollywood movie star. You got mobbed in the hotel lobby. I’m no one. I’m a trash collector. ” I have to pause to breathe, because his hands are finding the elastic waistband of my underwear and digging under to cup bare flesh and muscle, and my underwear are perilously close to coming off now, baring my core. “I’m a fucking garbage girl. A janitor. And like you said, you’re only here for the weekend, and Adam? I’m not this type of girl. ”

  “What type?” he demands, meeting my eyes in the mirror. “What do you think is happening?”

  I glare at his reflection. “You’re seducing me. And I’m letting you, but I have no fucking clue why. And I don’t know why you’d want this with me. Why you’d bring me up here, when I’m nobody, when I look the way I do and you’re you and—”

  “The way you look? What’s that mean?” He sounds almost angry.

  “It just means I’m not a size two, okay?”

  “And what? You think I somehow missed that fact?”

  I’m stunned for a moment. “Wow. Okay. ” I rip myself out of his arms. “Fuck you. ” I push past him.

  I don’t make two steps before he’s wrapping an arm around me and stopping me, spinning me in place and pulling me hard against him, so my bra is pressed against his chest and my breasts are actually and completely spilling out. And I can feel his cock between us, big, thick, and hard.

  “Stop, Des. ”

  “Let me go. ” I hate being restrained. It triggers a fight-or-flight reflex in me. Violently, if I feel threatened enough.

  “Des, just listen—” His hold on me is inexorable and unbreakable, triggering rage and panic in me.

  “Let me fucking go, now,” I growl, pushing against him with all my strength

  He releases me immediately, and I’m having trouble breathing, memories flashing through me. “Des? It’s okay. It’s okay. Breathe. Breathe. ” He’s got a hand on my back, and I want to both knock it away and beg him to put both hands on my back, to hold me, touch me.

  I force my breathing to slow, and straighten. Fixing my eyes on his, I stab his bare chest with a finger. “Do not ever restrain me like that again. ”

  He holds his hands up, palms out. “I won’t. I swear, I promise. I just—”

  “Damn right you won’t,” I say, and snatch my shirt off the floor. “Because I’m leaving. ”

  “Hold on a goddamned second,” he says, moving in front of me. “You misunderstood me. Deliberately, something tells me. You’re not a size two, and I know that. I see that. I saw that the first time I laid eyes on you. You’re here, Des. I brought you here, on purpose. Because I like you. Because you turn me on. ”

  Page 13

 

  He’s inching closer to me, hands outstretched, daring to reach for me after what just happened. He takes my shirt from me, and he is now standing chest to chest with me, and his eyes are palest green and knowing and kind and fierce and sharp and intelligent.

  “Des. Hear me. I’m a man who speaks the truth, no matter the consequences. So here’s some truth for you. ” His palm fits against my cheek, and his fingers tilt my face up so I’m looking at him, our lips kissing distance apart. “I’m intrigued by you. You’re fascinating. I can’t figure you out, and I like that. You’re not impressed by who I am, and I like that even more. You’re so drop-dead fucking gorgeous that I can’t stand it. You’re so sexy it’s not even right. ”

  I can’t move, can’t breathe. No one has ever called me beautiful before, much less gorgeous or sexy. More frighteningly, he seems to mean it. I want to pull away and run before I give in, but I’m not moving and I’m already giving in.

  He’s not done, though. “And yeah, I’m only here for the weekend. And you’re not no one. You’re you. And I like you—what I’ve seen so far. I promised you I wouldn’t ask you any questions, and I won’t. But I hope you’ll trust me enough to tell me a few things about you on your own. Whatever this is, whatever it is that’s happening between us, I want it. Whether it’s just for tonight or tomorrow too, or something beyond that, I want it. So I’m going to go with it. ” His other hand moves possessively and with intimate familiarity to the small of my back, holding me in place. “You’re scared. I can see that. I don’t know why, and I’m not going to ask because I promised I wouldn’t. But you can tell me the truth, whatever it is. If you really want to leave, I’ll take you back myself, or I’ll get you a carriage back to your dorm. But I don’t want you to leave. I hope you’ll stay. ”

  “Adam…I just—”

  He presses his thumb over my lips to silence me. “So, as much as I’d like to finish stripping you down to skin, I won’t. As much as I’d like to have you naked, right here and right now, I’m going to back away. I’m going to let you get in the shower, and I’m going to give you time to think. Decide what you want, and I’ll go with it. I’m not going to pressure you into anything. You know what I want. I’ve made it clear, I hope. ”

  He takes three backward steps and then stops, leans in and kisses me, hard and fast, and then turns goes into the sitting room, out of sight.

  I stand trembling, confused, and half-naked in the doorway of the bathroom, steam billowing around me.

  What do I want?

  Fuck if I know.

  Well, that’s not true. I want Adam to kiss me. I want this dream to be real. I’m still not convinced I’m not going to wake up in my dorm room and have it all be a fever dream. I pinch the inside of my arm, and it hurts, and I’m still in The Musser Suite of the Grand Hotel, with Adam Trenton one room away, waiting for me.

  Wanting me.

  How is that possible?

  But it seems to be true, and I have to decide what I’m going to do about it.

  I peel my clothes off and step into the shower.

  Chapter 4

  It takes every ounce of self-control I possess to remain sitting on the couch, waiting for her. I want to go into the bathroom and watch her. I want to peel my shorts off and step in the shower with her.

  I want to push her up against the tiled shower wall and take her there.

  Instead, I wait until I hear the bathroom door shut, and then I grab her wet clothes off the floor and bring them to the foyer. I use the hotel phone to have the front desk send someone up to take her clothes to be dried. Once the maid has taken the clothes, with an assurance that she’ll have them back in less than half an hour, I have a bottle of Pinot Grigio sent up, along with an order of chips and salsa.

  I change into a pair of gym shorts, not bothering with underwear.

  I’m hopeful, what can I say?

  Minutes pass in taffy-slow increments, and eventually I hear the shower shut off.

  “Hey! Where are my clothes?” Des’s voice rings out.

  I grab a robe from the closet and stand outside the bathroom with it. Des has the door open just enough to poke her head out, and I can see a towel across her chest.

  I hold up the robe. “Housekeeping is drying them for you. ”

  “So I’m your hostage until they’re dry, is that it?” A gleam of humor in her eyes tells me she’s not mad.

  “Exactly. Half an hour, they said. Until then, wear this. ” I hold the robe toward her.

  She pulls the towel more tightly around her torso, and then opens the door. My eyes soak up her beauty. Her hair has been towel dried, but it’s still wet and hangs down over one bare shoulder. God, I want so badly to tug the towel away, but I don’t. Instead, I hold the robe open for her, and she turns away from me, slides one arm through the sleeve, and then the other. My throat closes as she unfastens the towel from beneath her armpits and lets it drop to the floor. And just for a moment, she’s naked and in the same room as me, but then she wraps the robe closed and ties it off and the moment is lost.

  “Feel better?” I ask.

  She nods, and sighs.
“Yeah. A hot shower does a world of good. You’re next?”

  I shrug. “Nah. I’m fine. ” I grip her shoulders gently and turn her to face me. “So. ”

  Her big brown eyes meet mine briefly, but then flicker down over my chest and down to my shorts, and I wonder if she can tell I’m not wearing any underwear.

  “So,” she repeats.

  A knock on the door interrupts this eloquent and fascinating exchange, and I leave her standing in the bedroom to answer it. It’s the wine and chips, and then coming up behind the young man delivering the food is the maid with the clothes, folded and dried and placed discreetly in a white linen bag. I take the tray and set it on the counter, sign the charges to my room with a hefty tip, and then take the clothes.

  When I turn back, Des is leaning a shoulder against the doorway to the steps to the sitting room, pulling a hotel-provided brush through her hair. I hold up the bag with her clothes in one hand, and the bottle of wine in the other.

  “Choose,” I say.

  Her eyes narrow, and she tosses the brush across the room and onto the bed. “Choose?”

  I move up onto the bottom step, looking up at her. “The bag has your clothes in it. Take the bag, put on the clothes, and I’ll get you home. Go your way, I’ll go mine. Or, I open the wine and we see where things go. ”

  Page 14

 

  “That’s a tough choice,” she says, and somehow there’s no irony or sarcasm in it.

  It really is a hard choice for her, for reasons I can’t fathom. She stands on the top step, looking down at me, and I can’t read her eyes. She reaches out with one hand and touches the linen, and then the chilled glass of the bottle.

  “If I stay, what will happen?” She moves her gaze to mine, and waits.

  She expects the truth, so I give it to her. “If you tell me you want to stay, I’m going to take that robe off of you and I’m going to lay you down on the bed over there, and I’m going to kiss and touch every beautiful inch of your body. I’m going to make you come over and over and over, until you can’t stand it anymore. And then, when you can’t possibly come again, I’m going to put my cock inside you and make you come again. ” Her eyes go wide, her mouth falls open, and she stops breathing. I ascend the steps until I’m face to face with her, and she’s backing away and I’m following her. Her palms go flat on my bare chest, as if to push me away, but she doesn’t. “That’s where I’ll start. We’ll drink some wine, eat some chips and salsa, and then I’ll ravage you over and over and over until you beg me to stop. ”

  “Holy shit. ” It was a breath, a curse, a prayer. I’m not sure which.

  “Is that what you want, Des?” I set the bag on the floor, and then put the bottle on a little table just inside the doorway. She watches my every move, her hands toying with the knotted belt of the robe.

  “I…I don’t know,” she says.

  I move toward her, taking a deep breath to swell my chest, my arms swinging, my eyes fixed on her brown, inscrutable gaze. “You don’t know?”

  “You talk like that, and yeah, I want that, but—”

  “Do you want me to take you home?”

  “No. ” Her voice is small, and she’s looking up at me from beneath thick black lashes. “Yes. I don’t know. ”

  “Des. ” I take the knot in my fingers, work it loose, but don’t untie the belt. “Do you want to stay?”

  Her breath catches, and I can see her pulse beating in her throat. Her fingers touch the backs of my hands, but she’s not stopping me as I slowly untie the belt. Her arms go across her torso then, keeping the robe closed.

  “I don’t know. ” Her voice is barely above a whisper, and she’s not looking at me.

  “You don’t want to leave, but you’re not sure you want to stay?” I ask.

  She nods. “Right. ”

  “You’re really testing my resolve to not ask you any questions about yourself right now, you know that?” I take the edges of the robe and hold them closed, and close in so my lips brush hers. “I’ll be gentle, Des. I’ll go slow. You want to stop, at any moment, and I’ll stop. ”

  “Am I a conquest?” she blurts.

  I’m taken aback. “What? Are you a conquest?”

  “Are you doing this to prove you can? Is this just because I’m here, and you’re horny? Is this what you do? Seduce random girls? What is this, Adam? Tell me the truth. ” She grips my hands in hers, keeping her robe closed, holding tightly to my hands as if I’m all that’s keeping her upright.

  “No, Des. That’s not what this is. ” I pause to gather my thoughts. “I haven’t been with anyone in months, and before that I was in a relationship for almost two years. ” I hope she doesn’t push that line of questions, because it’s not something I want to rehash. Not now, not ever.

  I can see the curiosity in her eyes, but she doesn’t ask the question. Instead, she frowns and asks, “So why me?”

  I shake my head and shrug. “Because you’re beautiful. You’re secretive and mysterious and sexy. ” I gather her thick damp black hair in my hand. “Because the moment I saw this hair of yours, I wanted to bury my hands in it. Because the first time I saw your big brown eyes and those lush lips, I wanted to know you. Kiss you. Find out who you are, get to know you. ”

  “Lush lips?” she breathes, as if disbelieving.

  I brush my lips across hers, lightly, teasingly. “The lushest. ” I kiss her cheekbone, and she turns her face to the side, giving me access to her neck, so I kiss her there too. “I’m intrigued by you. I don’t know what this is any more than you do, Des. The last thing I have time for right now is to get involved in anything, but I can’t seem to stop myself. ”

  Her fingers release mine, release her robe, and she grasps at me, clutches at my chest. I move closer, press our bodies together, and she sighs, a desperate exhale. Her fingers scrape over my chest, curl and dig into my pectoral muscles, and now she turns her face and tilts it to look up at me, and all I can see is her eyes, wide and the color of liquid chocolate and so deep, fathomless, so expressive and yet giving away nothing of what she’s thinking.

  “I’m not mysterious. ”

  I laugh. “Yes you are. ”

  She shakes her head without breaking our locked gazes. “There’s just…a lot I don’t like to talk about. ”

  “Fair enough. ”

  My hands are on her back, resting lightly. I leave them there, and I shift forward, slant my mouth across hers. I taste her breath; feel the shaking in her body. But she’s pressing closer, her magnificent tits crushed between us, and I’m losing the fight to keep her clothed. I can’t hold back anymore.

  “I have to see you. ” I whisper it, my lips moving against hers.

  Her lips move on mine, and she lifts up on her toes, deepening the kiss. I groan at the taste of her lips, the feel of her body against mine, and then her tongue slips between my teeth to slide against my tongue, and I’m lost. I’m gone.

  I reach up and curl my fingers into the thick collar of the robe, just beneath her chin. She’s on her tiptoes, so tall I don’t have to bend at all to match our mouths. The last of my will is shredded by the way she grinds her tongue against mine, and I slowly pull my hands apart as I slide them down the center of her torso. The robe opens, revealing tan skin and inner side boob. She gasps into my mouth and her fingers claw into my shoulders. I’m this close to having the robe off of her, to having all of her gorgeous body bare to me.

  “No. ” She grasps the edges of the robe and pulls them back together, jerks backward, out of my reach. “Adam, I—I can’t. I can’t. ” She’s gasping, her eyes wide and wavering back and forth.

  Page 15

 

  I hold up my hands in surrender. “Des, it’s okay, I’m sorry, I—”

  When my hands go up, she stumbles away from me, as if scared of me, of my hands, and her eyes are wet with tears. “Don’t! Don’t touch me, don’t—please


  “Des? What’s wrong? What did I do?” I’m totally baffled. I barely touched her, and as soon as she said the word “no” I had my hands off. This is an extreme reaction to a simple situation, and I don’t know how to handle it, what to do, or what caused it.

  She hits the end of the bed with her knees, sits down, and then scrambles away from me, and she’s sobbing, and I’m totally helpless.

  * * *

  This is a panic attack.

  I’ve only had one before this, and that was the last time I let a man touch me. It was a guy from a two hundred-level psychology class, someone I’d been in several classes with. He was a nice, attractive guy, easy to talk to, easy to look at. We had coffee after class one evening and then a few drinks and then we were in his car and we were kissing. Then his hands were under my shirt, and I wasn’t sure I liked it but I let him grope my boobs anyway, just to see how it would feel.

  But then he got greedy and tried to undo my pants and I freaked. He stopped right away and apologized, and I could tell he didn’t know why I was freaking, but I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t see, dizzy and lungs aching. Eventually I managed to get it under control and the guy took me home, confused and frustrated and still nice as ever.

  That was a year ago.

  This panic attack is wracking and unending, terrifying in its intensity. I’m crying, and the more I cry the more I can’t breathe, and the more I can’t breathe the worse my terror gets, which in turn only worsens my weeping. It’s a cycle I don’t know how to break.

  I hear Adam saying my name, but that’s somewhere outside myself, and all I can grasp are the tears and the need to breathe and the terror. And somehow the tears come harder and faster and I can’t breathe. I’m choking and rolling away from him and crawling up the bed to curl into a ball near the pillows, sobs wracking me.

  The bed dips with a heavy weight, and I feel something warm drape over me. A blanket. He’s covering me. He wraps the blanket over me, and then slips his hands under me and lifts me like I’m a child, weightless. He settles on the bed with me, my head against his chest, and I can hear his heart beating steadily, a little fast, his breathing even and easy, and his arms are around me and his lips are at my ear, and he’s murmuring something rhythmic and soothing.

  I focus on his heartbeat, focus on his breathing, and try to match my breathing to his, try to will my heart to beat in time with his. Slowly my terror recedes and the hyperventilating lessens to ragged gasps. His hands rest on my shoulder and my hip; I’m curled on his lap like a child. I hear his voice now, and realized he’s singing some pop song, the kind of song you hear on the radio a dozen times every day but never really know the title or artist, just the hook and chorus. His voice is low, quiet, and melodic.

  I’m still crying, but quietly now.

  I have to stop this. I have to calm myself. I move off him into a sitting position. Breathing deeply and slowly, I slow my heartbeat back to normal, and I wipe at my eyes with the heels of my palms.

 
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