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Unconscious Hearts, Page 21

Harper Sloan

  I cover my face with my hands. I've watched enough porn while I kept myself entertained over the years that, now that my mind isn't in the throes of ecstasy, I know I just squirted ... all over his face.

  "Ari, look at me."

  I shake my head.

  "Now, Ari."

  Slowly, I drop my hands. My eyes widen, and my mouth parts slightly. I hadn't felt him move, but my God. I hadn't even felt his fingers leave my body. At some point, he did, and now he's kneeling between my legs, giving me the most sensual show.

  "You see what you did to me? Don't you ever fucking cover yourself up like you're embarrassed that your body responds to me. Not fucking ever. You see how hard my cock is for you? Goddamn, baby. You have no clue how hot that was."

  He continues to thrust his erection into his fist, twisting his wrist and grunting softly. His other hand comes up, closing around the rest of him, and I watch while he jerks himself off.

  "That ever happen to you before?"

  I shake my head, not looking away from the carnal sight. He picks up speed, both his hands moving in sync around his length.

  "You see how wet my cock is? That's from you, Ari. Fuck, I'll never grow tired of watching you come alive under my touch, but when I can make you respond like that." He trails off, one of his hands swirling around his tip, inducing a deep vibration from his chest. "Magnificent, baby."

  His harsh breathing picks up speed when his hands do. The muscles of his abs tensing every few thrusts. Good God, I could go again just watching this.

  "Tell me again. Tell me what you like watching me do."

  "I like watching you touch yourself," I breathe, goose bumps firing all over my skin.

  "You like me touching my what?" he continues, pausing and bending slightly so he can drop one of his hands between my legs, not stopping from jerking himself with the other. I jolt off the bed when he glides his hand through my folds. "Drenched," he praises, gathering my wetness and bringing it to his red and angry erection to coat himself with more of me.

  "Your ... your cock."

  "Yeah, baby. Tell me what you want me to do with my cock."

  I gulp, feeling like I really am about to come again. My eyes soak up this sight before me, branding it to my memories.

  "I want you to fill me up."

  "Fuck, yeah, you do."

  "But," I continue, feeling empowered by him, "I want your come on my skin, too."

  Something purely animalistic erupts from his mouth, and he releases himself, falling over me. He's inside me a second later, his mouth dropping to mine before he's even given me all of him. I taste myself, but instead of being grossed out, it just makes me want it more. I pull his head closer and lift my hips, searching ... needing.

  He pushes into me slowly, so painfully slow. Deep and lazy glides of his huge cock keep me on the edge. He lifts his head, bites my bottom lip, and flips us so his back is to the mattress and I'm sitting on top with him impaled deeply.

  "You have to decide where my cock empties now, baby. Where do you want it more? Inside this tight pussy?" He jerks his hips off the bed and hits the deepest part of me. "Or on your skin?" He reaches up, pressing his hand between my breasts, sliding it down my stomach slowly until his thumb presses against my clit.

  Color is high on his cheeks. I've done this to him. I've driven him to this remarkable state. It's stimulating every one of my senses. I don't need any more encouragement. My hands go to his chest, and I take over. He feels so deliciously good inside me, I never want him to leave. His thumb speeds up, pressing against my clit harder. Rolling, gliding, and driving me mad. His other hand lifts to one of my swaying breasts and grabs the heaviness, pinching my nipple between his thumb and finger. I pick up speed, bouncing, rocking, and rolling my hips against him. His enjoyment vibrates from his chest, against my hands, as he stares at me with hunger in his gaze. It only fuels me.

  "You have about ten seconds to figure out where you want it, Ari," he hisses through tight lips. "Fucking hell, your pussy is greedy."

  "Can't. Want. Give it to me, baby." I rock my hips, so close to the edge. "I need ..."

  "I know what you need." He grunts, his hips lifting off the mattress to push himself deep. I scream when a tiny bite of pain joins the pleasure, tipping me over the edge.

  I collapse, falling over him, and he wraps his arms around me. He lifts his legs, the position pushing his softening length back in when he starts to fall from my body. I don't need words to know he wasn't ready to leave me, just like I wasn't ready to lose him. His heart pounds against my cheek, my own answering each frantic beat with one of its own. We don't speak, but words aren't needed. That was intense. It was so much bigger than just sex. We connected in every way possible.

  Body ... and heart.

  Our hearts are saying everything words aren't needed for.

  Beat for beat.

  He's filled my emptiness, awakened my heart, and brought magic back to my life.

  I just hope he's falling for me just as deeply as I've fallen for him.

  All the way to my fucking marrow

  I lean back in my chair, rubbing my hands down my face.

  Fuck, I'm tired.

  Tired of the long hours at The Alibi--something I never minded before. Tired of not seeing Ari. Both of us being so fucking busy, our time together had been cut out completely. Real tired of sleeping alone in my bed, too. Fucking sick of it.

  I've been stuck at The Alibi for so damn long, I feel like I've moved in. I haven't even had time to take my girl to lunch, let alone see her. I'm here from lunch until around three in the morning. Four days ago, the stomach bug that hit Barcode hard for almost three weeks found its way here. That nasty shit started almost two months ago, proving how strong of a virus it was when it started moving through my girls.

  As of today, I was still down five dancers and my best bartender on the girls' side. Yesterday, I had to send two of my boys, one manager, and three guys from security home on their side. I've had the cleaning crew in here so many times since that shit started there shouldn't be anything left. I had each dancer restricted to only stage and table routines. Customers didn't give a shit that the back rooms were closed down and they weren't getting lap dances on the floor. I'm about ready to just close the doors for a few days at this point and not because my staff keeps getting sick. They're spreading that shit around each other because they keep fucking in the break rooms, giving me a bigger headache by keeping that shit going. Closing the damn place down wouldn't just make it harder for them to fuck stomach viruses between each other, but it would guarantee me some much-needed solid, uninterrupted time with Ari. Even though I know that shit's spreading because half of my staff is sleeping together--something I'll be addressing at the next staff meeting--I know that's why I haven't gotten it. Hasn't stopped me from being afraid to get near Ari on the off chance I'm carrying the bug around from just being in this place and breathing the air. Irrational, I know, since none of our daily regulars have gotten it, and they've had their faces all in the tits and ass of some dancers' who were the first to get it.

  It's been a week since I had her.

  Five long fucking days since I've seen her.

  And, looking down at my wrist, twelve goddamn hours since I've talked to her.

  My phone rings, and I grab it off the desk, smiling when I see it's the very woman I can't get off my mind.


  "Hey," she says, soft and sweet. "You sound exhausted."

  "I feel exhausted."

  "How were things tonight? Any better? I would have called earlier, but I worried it was another insane night like the last couple for you. I didn't want to pull you away."

  I sigh, rolling the tension in my neck. "I've got enough dancers on both sides that it's not a fucking cluster fuck like it has been the past three nights. So I guess that's better. Next time, though, don't wait to call. Nothing is important enough for you to think a call from you would pull me away. Nothing, Ari."

sp; "Okay, honey." She giggles. "I'm glad things were better today."

  Just like every other time she calls me honey, that word hits me right in the center of my chest. Women have called me terms of endearment before, but it was just words until I heard Ari give me that soft honey for the first time.

  "How's Piper?"

  Ari's sigh comes through the line, and I know she's upset. Another reason I'm fucking tired of being here. I hate knowing she's stressed over Piper, and I can't do shit about it. Ever since that dinner two months ago, she's spent a lot of time crying on my shoulder, worried more each day for her friend. She's been trying, just like I asked, to get Piper to move into her house, but nothing has changed. Piper withdraws more and more each time Ari brings it up. It's breaking my girl's heart, and feeling like I can't fix what's hurting Ari, isn't a pill I've been able to successfully swallow.

  "I tried again yesterday. I mentioned to her that I'm hardly there these days, and the cats are feeling neglected. I figured since I hadn't brought it up in a few weeks, she would really believe me. She didn't buy it, though. Just like she hasn't bought any other reason I've thought of to get her to move into my house. She still remains firm that she's fine where she is, and it doesn't make sense to move out of the place she shares with the man whose ring is on her finger. I did find out why she's been acting weird. Matt, apparently, has been giving her a hard time about quitting Trend. She admitted that it's put a strain on her but assured me that she has no intention of leaving. I've known that man for over twenty years, and he's never tried to pull us apart like this, Thorn. Never. I need to figure something out soon, though. I'm worried if I can't come up with a reason for her to move into my house and get her away from him soon, he's going to make that divide growing between us snap."

  "Don't give up on her, baby. You'll figure it out." I'll fucking kill that motherfucker if it starts to look like he isn't going to go away quietly. I'm sick of hearing how Piper's suffering, and I really fucking hate how that rubs off on Ari.

  "I hope you're right. Anyway, let's talk about this later. I've been upset about it enough today. Tell me something that will distract me."

  "Okay, baby. How about we talk about how it's been five days since I've had you in my arms? At this point, I'm real fucking close to having the staff start to clear this fucking place out and close the doors for the night. You called just in time to stop me from pissing off a lot of customers. Now that I hear you in my ear, that's all I need to get me through long enough to finish some of this paperwork and pull Devon off the floor. He can keep an eye on things for the rest of the night so I can get the fuck out of here. I have my regular night managers back tomorrow, which means we've got a weekend to ourselves. Meet you at my place in two hours?"

  "God, you have no idea how happy I am that you said that. I was considering working for the first weekend in almost three years if you were going to be tied up over there again just to have something to keep me busy. As it is, I'm so far ahead with everything here, I could probably take all of next week off and still come back with nothing to do."

  "Not a bad idea," I mumble, thinking about what I would need to do around here to get a week of uninterrupted silence.

  "Well, unfortunately, even if I wanted to, I can't this week. Another reason I've been worried about Piper. She asked me this morning if she could have the week off starting Monday. I couldn't tell her no even if I wanted to, not when she hasn't taken a single vacation day in the six years she's been at Trend. She said she needs to be home and show Matt that she can be the attentive fiancee and keep her job here. So I might not have any work to do, but Piper does, and now she won't be here next week."

  I frown, looking across my office. My gut tells me she was right to be worried about this time off. I make a mental note to contact my investigator next week about looking into Matt. I've had him on standby with Ari's ex after a week trailing him didn't tell us shit, might as well give him some work until I decide what to do with Thomas fucking Vale.

  "I'm sure it's nothing, though," she adds, almost like an afterthought meant to convince herself.

  "Keep your finger on her pulse, baby. All you can do until you have more than a gut feeling."

  "I know. That's what I don't like. Anyway, I'll see you at your place in two hours."


  "Yes, honey?"

  "Bring the cats. Once I finally get my hands back on you, there's no way I'm letting go. You'll have the weekend to convince me why you have to work on Monday."

  This time, the breathy sound that she exhales is almost as sweet as hearing her call me honey.

  "Bring the cats. Got it. Crap, hold on." She moves the phone away from her mouth, but I can still hear her talking to Piper about some customer being upset when Piper told her that her bag wasn't authentic, whatever the fuck that means. I don't speak purse. "Baby, I have to go. Apparently, someone is here trying to sell a counterfeit bag. They're mad Piper rejected the sale and asked to speak to me. I'll meet you at your place, but I might be a little later, depending on how long it takes me to deal with this."

  "All right, babe. Don't keep me waiting too long. I need you."

  "Okay, honey. Love you."

  She ends the call, and I can't move. The phone is stuck to my ear. My heart pounding wildly. But, fuck me, it's not because I didn't like what she said. I'm not even sure she realizes she said those two words. Her frazzled tone and rush to get off the phone and deal with her problem at work meant she had her mind on other things, but that slip wouldn't have happened if she didn't feel those two words. No fucking way. I replay her words, each of them wrapping around me tightly, so tightly I feel them dig deep down to the center of me.

  Love you.

  "Jesus," I breathe, rubbing my chest.

  Love you.

  "Fuck." I know what that burn is now. Crystal clear, I understand what my body has been telling me.

  Love you.

  Her words envelop me whole, squeezing tight.

  So unbelievably tight.

  I feel them dig deeper, winding from that burn in my chest and throughout my body--constricting the air in my lungs as they seize. That sensation produces wave upon wave of warmth as those two words settle all the way to my fucking marrow, latching on to every inch they pass on the way--bonding, mending, and Christ ... I feel my own tattered pieces of the past, the same kind that Ari spoke about having inside of her months ago, start reaching out for that warmth, begging to be healed.

  Love you.

  I toss the phone and start packing up my shit. I'm not fucking sitting around here after that. After I get her in my arms, I'll try to focus on what work I have left over the weekend. Way fucking after.

  If I thought I knew what it was like to need her in my arms before those two words came through the phone, that need is absolutely immeasurable now.

  Not a shadow left in the sky

  My hand lowers. The death grip I have on my phone is making my fingers smart. My heart feels like it's just completely stopped.

  Okay, Ari. Maybe he didn't hear you. And if he did, just tell him you were talking to Piper or something. There's really no reason to panic over it. Oh, my God, but there is. I just told the man I've been dating for a little over four months that I loved him. The same man who has never been in a relationship and basically avoided ever being in one his whole forty-one years. I should have waited for him to say it first!

  "He's totally going to freak out," I whisper to my empty office.

  Or maybe--the tiny voice of hopeful reason chirps in my mind--I shouldn't underestimate someone who's given me no reason to assume he doesn't feel the same love for me that I do for him. Over the past four months--not counting the two weeks after that morning I ran from him--he's shown me on more than one occasion just how deeply he feels for me.

  "There's nothing I can do about it now," I grumble.

  Not only that, but there's no sense in being upset about a truthful slip of the tongue.

  I do love him

  So much it overwhelms me at times.

  If he can't handle it, then maybe what we have isn't what I feel.

  I stand from my desk, rubbing my sweaty hands down the form-fitting sheath dress I wore today. Business. Let's focus on that. I'll worry about whatever comes from my "love you" later when I get to Thorn's house.

  I step out of my office, feeling a whole hell of a lot calmer than I did a moment ago. I walk toward the front counter, grinning at the expression on Piper's face. She's annoyed and not even trying to conceal it from the woman standing in front of her. Now, I normally would care, but this woman must be the one trying to sell a counterfeit bag, and that isn't the kind of customer I care about losing their business over.

  "Sorry about the delay," I tell them both, walking around the counter and stepping next to Piper, smiling sweetly at the woman. "Hi, my name is Ari Daniels. I understand you wanted to speak to the owner, and that's me. How can I help you?"

  "You can start by telling me why this one told me you can't accept my bag! I've had it for less than a week, and there's nothing wrong with it. It's brand new!"

  I nod, letting her assume I'm listening. I can already tell she is going to be a headache. At least Piper was at the counter when she came in. If it was one of the other girls, I wouldn't have been able to have the upper hand when I walked up. Piper, though, she knows her stuff, and if she says it's not real, then it isn't. Of course, I confirmed that for myself in the brief glance I got of the bag when I stepped up to the counter. I cross my fingers, hoping I can get her out of Trend before she makes a scene. I hate when they cause a scene. At least there aren't any other customers in here at the moment. A rare break that will cushion any fit this woman may pitch.

  "How about I take a look? That way I can better assess why my associate felt we couldn't accept your item. Here," I say, pulling one of our policy notecards from the side of the register and sliding it across the glass to the woman. "If you wouldn't mind, this is our policy on how we base our decisions for buying. It outlines the things we look for that could potentially reject a sale. That way, when I'm done, maybe we can compare notes and see what we can come up with."

  She grumbles under her breath but takes the card anyway.