Unraveled, p.34
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       Unraveled, p.34

         Part #3 of Woodlands series by Jen Frederick
Page 35


  “Pendleton," I told the cabbie. Id packed only a carry-on with this dress and one other change of clothing. Bitsy and my dad said theyd ship everything out to me if I needed it. I had some cash to buy some new clothes if I was going to stay longer. Hopefully Id be calling home to send the stuff right away. Even though Id had nightly texts from Gray, seeing me there might be too much for him.

  I just didnt know so Id made a reservation at a nearby hotel. I also had a list of knitting shops that Id make application to and if I didnt get into one of them, then Id try something else. My application to FIDM was sent in and hopefully I could start in the winter semester since it was too late for fall admission. I was going to be in San Diego for a while. If it didnt work out with Gray, then the city would be big enough that I wouldnt have to see him and Id be having an adventure, all on my own.

  The ride to Camp Pendleton wasnt long, and as we stopped at the gate, I paused for a moment, wondering why the heck I thought it was a good idea to come to the base. But the cab had left before I could call it back, and there I was looking at the gate station. Two young Marines manning the gate watched me. Crud. For all my planning, it hadn’t occurred to me until right that moment that I shouldve waited until Gray got off of work, whenever that was. But I didnt even know where he lived. Only that he was stationed here. I had been too chicken to ask Bo or Noah, but that was quickly becoming a more attractive idea. I pulled out my phone when a Marine driving up in a Jeep stopped beside me.

  "You lost, miss?" he questioned.

  I ran a light hand over the side of my lightly curled hair, not wanting to mess it up but feeling agitated. "We both know Im not. "

  "You have a tour planned?"

  A tour? I pulled up the Camp Pendleton website on my phone and checked out the visitor information. A tour could be pre-arranged. "Um, maybe?" Was this guy going to help me out?

  "Who was it with?"

  "Sergeant Grayson Phillips?"

  The Marines eyes widened in recognition. Then he looked me over thoroughly, so thoroughly I felt like I was going through the airport security line again. "Wait here, maam. "



  “THERES A SWEET HONEY OUT at the gate looking for Sergeant Phillips. She looks too good for an enlisted,” Hamilton’s voice called over the radio.

  My heart jumped in my throat but then died because there was no way it was Sam. But it could be Carrie. “Unless she’s part of a tour or has a special dispensation I guess she’ll have to wait until I’m done here. ” It was thirty minutes before quitting time.

  “By that time, some officer will have swooped in. I’ll just go out and keep her company. ” Hamilton cut the line.

  If it was Sam… I told my first sergeant I had to use the john and I jumped into my truck and sped off toward the gate.

  When I got close, my heart nearly leaped out of my mouth. There was Sam, looking like the only fresh water in the desert. It was all I could do not to run to her and be the subject of intense hazing for the rest of my time. But then I realized I gave zero fucks and jumped out of my truck and ran as fast as I could to meet her.

  Those guys whod be making jokes about me being Forrest Gump or the Blade Runner or whatever else wouldnt be tucking that beauty into bed at night.

  "Ive always admired that about you," she said when I reached the gate.

  "My running technique? The knife hands?" I held up my hands perfectly straight and she closed one soft set of fingers around them.

  "No, your amazing stamina. Not even winded. " Her smile, though, took my breath away, and it was naughty enough that the gate guard started choking. I gave him a dirty look, and he saluted me. Dickhead. Id do a surprise check of his gear later. Maybe dock him for not labeling his socks or something.

  I led her away from the gatehouse and up to the truck. It was a huge violation for her to be here but I couldn’t send her away.

  "When are you off duty?" she asked.

  "Two minutes ago. "

  "Seriously. "

  "Two minutes ago. "

  She gave me a look and I relented. “Okay, let me go talk to my CO. He’ll want an introduction but dont spend too long shaking his hand. Hes never touched anything as fine as you and he might break you with his rough handling. ”

  "Im looking forward to some rough handling tonight. "

  Jesus Mary Joseph. Instant boner. "Dont say another word. ”

  I think the smile that broke out may have stretched clear around my face. My jaw ached for days after.

  I took her to Captain Dailey’s office, which was another huge breach but I couldn’t leave her standing at the gate station. He could give me a dozen NJPs but it wouldn’t matter because I was getting out.

  “Sergeant Phillips,” Captain Dailey snapped at me as I was rounding the corner of the hallway with Sam’s soft hand in mine. We both stopped abruptly, the skirt of Sam’s dress swirling around and tangling with my legs. The soft swish of fabric against my pants intensified my feelings of relief and satisfaction. In the future, every inch of us would be entangled. Sam snapped a salute with her wrong hand but hell, who cared. She tried. I was totally right that she’d make a great Marine wife.

  Captain Dailey saluted back because that’s what we did—salute people. Muscle memory couldn’t be denied. We looked foolish, the three of us in some weird triangle, and Sam in a red-and-white polka-dotted dress making everything around her look boring and dull.

  Dailey’s eyes swung toward me, zeroed in on our joined hands and then surprised me. “I hear you have forty-eight hours of leave starting right now, Sergeant. ”

  “What?” I said in shock, not sure I’d heard him correctly.

  “Forty-eight hours. Go,” he barked. I didn’t wait for him to say another word. I cracked off another salute and turned and walked swiftly with Sam toward the exit. The light tapping of her heels against the tiled floor signaled that I was moving too fast for her, but since Dailey had basically told me to go home and nail Sam for the next two days, I wanted that to start now. No, yesterday.

  I tucked Sam into the passenger side of my truck and drove the ten miles to my apartment complex with trembling hands. Sam was silent too. My one-bedroom apartment, while tidy, wasn’t much to look at. I had a sofa, a big screen TV, a small table, two chairs and then the bed in my bedroom. The walls were beige. The sofa was brown. And Sam standing in the middle in the living room looked like a juicy piece of fruit in a shitty basket.

  “What’s wrong?” she asked as I stood just inside the door staring at her.

  Her face was serene, and she didn’t sound anxious at all even though I couldn’t imagine what it took for her to come here. “I’m upset,” I admitted.

  She looked amused instead of disturbed. “About what?”

  “So many things. ” I stalked toward her. Her eyes widened slightly, the humor dying away. Hot desire licked up my spine at the smoldering look she returned. “I’m mad that I didn’t get to come to you. I’m upset that you got to show off your big gesture before me. ” I circled her, trailing a few fingers over her bared shoulder and across her exposed upper back. “I’m pissed off because I can’t figure out how to lick your pussy and get my dick into you at the same time. ”

  “You have a lot of legitimate concerns,” she said, though her voice was a little thick.

  “Yeah and I’m also pretty torqued that I can’t decide whether I want to bend you over the sofa and push your pretty dress up or rip off your clothes and throw you down on the bed. ”

  “A dilemma of immense proportions. ”

  You have no idea, I thought, my uniform pants so tight that I figured the zipper pull would fly off at any moment.

  “How about I take off my dress now and you can ravish me on the bed and then I’ll put the dress back on and you can take me against the sofa?”

  Stopping in front of her, I drew her face in my hands and soaked in her presence. “Goddamn
, I love you, Samantha Anderson. ”

  “I love you too, Grayson Phillips. ”

  I was striding toward the bedroom with her clutched to my chest before my last name passed her lips. Her dress came off and my clothes too and then we were on each other. I tried to kiss every part of her body at once but had only one mouth. Her body writhed on the bed beneath me as I made my way to her breasts, sucking in one large erect nipple and then the other. Her gasps of pleasure as I sucked and bit and molded her supple flesh with my hands reverberated in my groin.

  “We have a lot of missed sex to make up for,” I informed her, resting my weight on my knees and forearms as I stroked her gently with my still-hard cock. Sliding her legs up my thighs, she hooked her ankles at the base of my spine.

  “Let’s not waste another minute. ”

  It was hard not to collapse on her like a beast, but I managed to hold it together so long as she didn’t touch me.

  “No, baby,” I said, pulling her hand away from my crotch. “You’re going to make me blow too soon. ”

  “It’s been a long time for me too,” she whispered. The words heated my blood almost as powerfully as her touch.

  “Okay, no talking either. ” I lifted her up so that her mouth was even with mine and we kissed. It was like home. Every touch was made with wonder because I could hardly believe she was with me.

  I reached over to grab a condom, but she stopped me. Through her lashes, she peered up and stopped my heart and made all the blood rush to my dick at the same time. “It’s okay. IUD. ”

  I think I trembled like a virgin when I entered her. It was as good as I’d remembered. Or hell, maybe better. All I knew was that my meager vocabulary had no words to describe the experience. The soft clutch of her interior flesh against my lonely sensitive dick made me gasp with pleasure. I felt her everywhere, though, not just on my cock. Her hands were roaming over my shoulders and her sharp press of her heels against my back only served to make me thrust harder and faster. Against my ear I could hear her little pants of desire. I wanted to stay like this forever, wrapped entirely around her, pumping inside of her, loving her.

  I didn’t last long, and I was so lost from my release that I wasn’t even sure she had come until I lay gasping on top of her. Rolling to my side, I felt her shuddering, which signaled she had climaxed. Thank you, I mouthed to whatever higher deity watched over female orgasms.

  “Do you mind if I explain a few things?” I asked, flipping the blankets up over our legs so she wouldn’t get cold. She snuggled close, and I took her silence as a yes. “First off, I want to say that I’m sorry you ever met Ethan Drake. You don’t know how sorry. When I left that afternoon, after the skydiving fuck up, I intended to have a few drinks with Bo and Noah and come back. But one beer turned into whiskeys, which turned into me being too drunk to drive back to see you. ”

  “I know,” she said. “You texted me, and it was all good. ”

  “Ethan Drake was at the house when I got there. Drake had been dishonorably discharged right before his four-year contract was up for cocaine use. He’d been using for a while, but this time he’d gotten caught in the bathroom. That couldn’t be swept under the carpet. He was…” I thought for a minute and was grateful Sam didn’t jump in. I needed to collect my thoughts because what happened was my fault, not Ethan Drake’s.

  “He always had a way with women and was notorious for sleeping around. No one liked him much, which was why his coke use was eventually leaked to superiors. He’d done it plenty of times in the bathroom before so this time he was caught because someone was sick of his shit. ”

  “Maybe one of the members of his platoon reported him?”

  “Yeah, who knows. Did us all a favor. When I saw him, all the shit that happened with Carrie came back and I just got scared. ” I swallowed, but the lump in my throat wouldn’t go down.

  “So you asked him to come over and what?” This time I heard the pain in her voice and I felt gutted.

  “God, baby, no way. I was drunk and spouting off shit to Bo. I had no idea Drake was there. I went into the house, texted you, and passed out. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in a pile of drool and Adam was standing over me telling me that Drake’s at your place. I raced over there and some guy let me in. I pounded on your door but…” I left the rest unsaid.

  “What happened to Ethan?”

  “I went home and beat the shit out of him. Noah and Bo kicked him out. ” I didn’t tell her that Tucker had come and struck me a few times too. “I had no idea he hit you. None. ”

  “Did he tell you that he’d hit me? What he said to me?”

  “No. ” I forced myself not to tense up. “But I can imagine that it wasn’t good. I fucked up, Sam. I didn’t send Drake to you, but I didn’t prevent him from going, and it’s not like I didn’t have second thoughts. But I don’t have those doubts now. ”

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