Branded as trouble, p.16
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       Branded as Trouble, p.16

         Part #6 of Rough Riders series by Lorelei James
 
Page 16

 

  “A slow kiss,” he said, acting like he hadn’t heard her.

  “Five bucks. ”

  He erased the gap between them, forcing her to meet his twinkling eyes. “One slow, deep, wet, kiss, for as long as I want.

  That’s my final offer. ”

  “Do I get to pick where you kiss me, slow and long and deep?”

  “Ornery woman. You’re hell on my intention of bein’ a gentleman. ”

  “If I preferred a gentleman, I’d be dating your cousin Blake. ”

  Shit. That was the wrong thing to say. “I’m sorry, I didn’t—”

  “Think? Yeah, I get that a lot from you. Just forget it. ” He scowled, shoving a hand through his hair. “Let’s just play the damn game and have some damn fun. ”

  For the next ten minutes, India watched him from the corner of her eye. Didn’t seem like he was having fun. At all . He cursed every time the ball landed in the lowly five-point hole, which was a lot.

  She had to do something to make up for her bout of bitchiness.

  She could be fun. Playful.

  As Colt was about to toss the ball, she tickled his left side, from his hip to his ribs. He faced her with a look of utter disbelief, forgetting about the forward motion of the ball. It flew from his hand and bounced off the top of the metal cage, rebounding toward them.

  India yelled, “Duck!” and jerked him down, keeping an eye on the ball as it bounced on the red carpet and narrowly missed smashing his foot.

  “What the hell were you doin’?”

  “Saving you from the run-away ball. ” Why wasn’t he pleased by her quick thinking?

  “You were saving me?” he echoed. “It was your fault that the damn thing got away from me in the first place. Were you hopin’ to distract me so you’d win by default?”

  “No. I was trying to be spontaneous and fun. Jesus. Now do you believe me that I suck at this dating stuff?”

  A beat passed. Colt bestowed that bad boy grin that wreaked havoc on her at the most basic level. “Well, if the datin’ stuff doesn’t work then we can go to plan ‘B’. ”

  “Which is?”

  “Lots and lots of kinky, wild sex. ”

  “Have I mentioned I’m an alternative plan kind of chick?”

  He laughed. “Thought that might spur your interest. Let’s stick with plan ‘A’ for now. Maybe we’d better sit down. ”

  As Colt led her back to the table, they passed a walled-off area she hadn’t noticed. Apparently he hadn’t noticed either because when he did, he almost dislocated her arm dragging her inside the small space. “Holy crap. I haven’t seen one of them in years. ”

  India wasn’t sure what he was gawking at. “What?”

  “The Eight Ball Express. It’s a classic pinball machine. ” He dropped her hand, staring at the machine with reverence. “Just one game. ”

  When Colt plugged the tokens into the slot, his eyes lit up as brightly as the lights on the machine. His concentration through the cachink cachink of the metal ball, the buzzers, the trilling bells and constant flipper action was impressive. But after ten minutes, India was bored. She sighed heavily.

  He glanced at her for all of one second. “Ain’t this great?”

  “Yeah, it’s hard, holding in all my excitement. ”

  The machine beeped some kind of tinny, victorious sound. He punched the air and said, “High score!”

  He grinned in the boyish way that had her returning his smile without hesitation. “I see that. Does that mean you’re finished?”

  Colt latched onto her hips and thrust her in front of him. “Uh-huh. Now it’s your turn. ”

  “But I don’t know how to play. ”

  “I’ll help you. ” Colt guided her fingers to the circular buttons on either side of the machine, snuggling his body behind hers.

  “These are flippers, they keep your ball in play. ” He pressed her fingers and the small mechanical arms moved. “See? Now get ready. ” He pulled back on the silver knob on the right side, which connected to a shiny spring.

  India watched the metal ball travel up the canal and bounce around the posts at the top, before continuing down the middle and out of sight.

  Not a good sign. “Sorry. Told you I was bad at this. ”

  “It’s okay, but next time, hit your flippers. ” Colt released the spring again, sending the next ball to the left side. India continually pushed the buttons.

  He murmured, “Slow down. Not yet. Wait for it. ”

  His husky voice sent a shiver up her spine. She completely forgot what she was doing until the flash of the silver ball caught her eye as it rolled down the center.

  Colt groaned.

  India groaned. “I did it again. ”

  “It’s all right. ” His warm breath fluttered over her neck. “Just takes practice. ” He flicked the ball high, murmuring encouraging comments in her ear.

  Whoa. Tandem pinball had serious benefits. Colt did a little hip wiggle, positioning his hard body firmly into her backside and a blast of pure sexual heat rocketed through her. She closed her eyes to savor the moment.

  Colt’s disgruntled snort forced her eyes back open.

  “What?”

  “The key to this game is concentration. I know you can do it.

  I’ve seen you with a tattoo gun. Focus. ” His hands tightened over hers on the flippers.

  She imagined his warm, rough palms sliding up her arms and across her chest. First he’d squeeze her breasts, then pluck her nipples between his fingertips. He’d keep smoothing those wicked hands down her stomach until they landed on her hips. His fingers would meet in the center of her body; one quick tug and the top button on her jeans would pop open—

  “Are you even watchin’? Because you didn’t use your flippers once—”

  She spun around so quickly he staggered, grabbing onto her shoulders for balance. “Actually, I wasn’t paying attention. It’s distracting when you’re pressed against me. ”

  “Sorry. ”

  “Don’t be. I liked it. A lot. ”

  The scant space between them crackled with energy. Neither spoke, neither broke eye contact. Several long seconds passed before Colt lowered his mouth to hers.

  India’s head buzzed while his lips moved back and forth.

  Lightly. He kept the kiss soft, sensual. Rough thumbs caressed her cheekbones before his fingers tunneled into her hair.

  He canted her head to his liking. Teased her with soft lips and sharp nips of his teeth and warm breath, sweet there-and-gone kisses. His hands began traveling down her body. He slicked the very tip of his tongue across the seam of her lips and her mouth opened to him.

  India boldly thrust her tongue in further, hoping for a stronger, more complete flavor. He tasted faintly of root beer and toothpaste; with an underlying hint of spice she’d associated as uniquely his.

  Colt gripped her hips and pressed his pelvis closer as he maneuvered her against the pinball machine.

  A sharp pain jabbed her spine. “Ouch. ”

  “Hang on,” he muttered against her throat, hoisting her on top of the pinball machine. Urging her knees open, he positioned himself between her thighs and clamped his mouth over hers with renewed fervor.

  Lights flashed, bells clanged and India knew it wasn’t from the arcade games. His cunning hands and hot mouth unleashed a steel ball of desire and it broke free to ricochet wildly in her blood. She wanted the heat bubbling under her skin to ignite his. She let her head fall back as he trailed openmouthed kisses down her neck.

  His hot breath scorched her. He yanked her shirt down, exposing more skin to run his tongue and his teeth over without impediments.

  She shivered and squeezed her thighs tightly, trying to line up the wet, aching part of herself with his cock.

  He circled his arousal against her, finding the perfect friction, and took the next kiss down to where s
he felt it in the very depths of her soul.

  “Hey!” A gravelly voice barked. “I warned you kids once about messing around in here. ”

  India opened her eyes and focused on Colt. She’d never seen such hunger on a man’s face. Hunger for her.

  The intruder shuffled closer and said, “Well, hell, you two aren’t exactly kids. ”

  “We’re aware of that. ” Colt kept his gaze on India as he helped her slide off the machine.

  She stood next to him on wobbly legs.

  “You oughta act better than this. It’s those damn teenagers I usually hafta worry about. ” The man’s jowls shook. “Found a used condom behind that pinball machine. Had to close the place down to clean every horizontal surface. ”

  He glared at the pinball machine behind India, looking like he expected her to pull out a bottle of Windex, a roll of paper towels and wipe her butt prints off the machine. His bulk shifted as he waited for an explanation for their behavior.

  But India shot the man a flinty eyed stare. “So, we got carried away. I swear we weren’t to the condom stage…”

  Yet.

  The unspoken word hung in the sexually charged air.

  The fat man snarled, “Get out. ”

  Two weeks would kill him. Hell, they hadn’t passed the two-hour mark without mauling each other. In public. Getting kicked out of an arcade for lewd behavior. For Christsake, they were adults!

  Yeah. He sucked at this dating stuff as much as India did.

  Which reinforced his determination to see it through. To the end.

  Twelve days. Two hundred and eighty eight hours.

  Not that Colt was keeping track.

  They returned to the table as their pizza arrived. For the next hour, the conversation wasn’t different than the other times they’d gone out as friends.

  With the exception they were holding hands.

  With the exception they were making googly eyes at each other and lacing their banter with sexual innuendos.

  With the exception Colt’s cock was as hard as a hockey stick.

  Nah. That wasn’t anything new.

  On the way back to Sundance, India scooted next to him on the bench seat. She fiddled with the radio. The temperature. The position of the air vents.
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