Falling in deeper, p.18
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       Falling in Deeper, p.18
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         Part #11 of Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black

  He grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him. “Give me a ballpark. Was it over the summer?”

  The idea made his gut grind, his jealousy flare. While he’d been refusing perfectly easy hookups because he couldn’t forget a certain petite pinup girl, had she been “working through her issues” with Axel? Had she been giving the man her pussy?

  “No. Axel has been with Mystery all summer.”

  Right. Good. Stone dialed back on his homicidal thoughts of the other man. “Spring?”

  Lily frowned as if she couldn’t quite remember. She closed her eyes to avoid his gaze. “It was colder, as I recall.”

  “Give me the goddamn truth. I don’t know why you’re hiding this from me, but I’m dying to be inside this sweet cunt, making you mine. I don’t want to hurt you by fucking you too hard. Give. Me. An. Answer.”

  His growl obviously startled her. Stone didn’t want to scare her but he was at the end of his restraint, damn it. He’d done his level best to be gentle and patient, putting his needs on the back burner, and she gave him lies in return? When all he wanted to do was take her thoroughly, stake his claim, and make her feel so damn good.

  “It was just after New Year’s. I was feeling stupidly optimistic and hopeful and . . .” She sighed with defeat, tugging her blouse down.

  It wasn’t the first time he’d noticed the gesture.

  Making a mental note to pursue that soon, he prompted, “And?”

  “And we got through it. Axel . . .” She shook her head. “Let’s not talk about it now. You’ve waited. I want you. I’m sorry. It feels awkward to talk about him when we’re about to . . . you know.”

  “Yeah, I know.” But Stone hated that her last experience—hell, pretty much every experience—had been less than sublimely thrilling. He dragged in a deep breath, forcing himself to find some patience. “We’re going to do more than ‘get through’ this.”

  Lily nodded, her platinum curls caressing her shoulders. But she looked uncertain, as if she were already preparing herself to be somewhere between disappointed and miserable.

  More than anything, Stone wanted to roll on top of her, take charge, show her what it felt like to be well and thoroughly pleasured by a man who didn’t want to be anywhere else or with anyone else. But she wasn’t ready to relinquish that sort of control. If he hadn’t already wanted to slit Canton from throat to testicles, he was certainly itching to now. At the moment, he wasn’t a huge fan of Axel’s either.

  “Do you need me to touch or stroke you first?” she asked shyly.

  Did she think he was having trouble getting hard? He grunted and shoved up from under her, pressing against her pussy to dispel that notion. All she had to do was breathe, and he was ready to take her.

  “Just lift up onto your knees, baby.” He waited until she complied, then urged her down until the head of his cock rested against her sweet, snug opening. “Ease down at a pace you’re comfortable with. You’re in control for now. I’m not going to force or hurry you.”

  As much as allowing her that power might drag him to the brink of insanity, she needed it. Stone knew that as well as he knew his own name.

  Lily sent him a grateful stare, then slowly began to lower herself, easing the swollen head of his cock inside her.

  God, she felt like hot silk. He glided through the tight clasp of her flesh, inch by mind-blowing inch. She started and stopped as she breathed, wincing and readjusting. Then she began coasting down again—and stared as if her world began and ended with him. A fresh bolt of thrill zipped through Stone’s veins. He clasped her closer. Damn, he could get used to seeing that expression on her sweet face. He could come to crave it.

  For now, he gritted his teeth and resisted the urge to clasp her hips and shove his cock high and hard inside her. “That’s good, baby. Keep going.”

  She gave him a shaky nod, along with a cry that sounded like a cross between a gasp and a whimper.

  “Does it hurt?”

  Lily paused, rose again, then wriggled her hips. A groan tore from his chest. He needed inside her so badly, and not being completely submerged in her tight clasp was killing him.

  As he bit back his protest, she began seating him inside her again. Holy fuck, the tingles screaming under his skin and up the length of his dick astounded him. She was still inching her way down, and the feel of her supercharged his bloodstream. Lily wasn’t like anything he’d experienced in his life.

  As her body swallowed up another inch, Stone knew beyond a doubt that he would forever be addicted to her. Making her stay and give him his fix was going to be one uphill fucking battle. It started with making sure he didn’t spook or hurt her now.

  “Does it?” he urged. “Hurt?”

  “No,” she breathed out, tossing her head back as she sank down a bit more.

  Damn, she looked pretty, even with that damn blouse blocking his view of most of her torso. More than anything, he’d love to see her body completely bared to him, all her ivory flesh shimmering in the sunlight.

  Stone gritted his teeth. She was going to make him lose his fucking mind before she was done. Tension knotted in his gut. His balls felt as if they were about to burst. He had to hold his shit together . . . somehow.

  “Want help?”

  She must have heard the strain in his voice. “I’ve got it.”

  Finally, she pushed down on his cock, sucking the last few inches inside her snug, sultry clasp. Sensations soared through him with a spike of heat. She let out a groan. He did the same, and their sounds melded together as perfectly as their bodies.

  Stone gripped her thighs, willing her to move her hips and stroke them both to ecstasy. “Baby . . .”

  “Yeah,” she promised as if she understood, then raised herself to his tip before she lowered down in a slow, torturous slide.

  “Shit.” He blew out a breath as the tingles screamed across his skin.

  Every instinct inside him roared that he should roll her over and pound her deep until she couldn’t remember her own damn name, much less a tragedy she’d witnessed years ago. Stone knew that wasn’t possible, so he checked himself and let her set the pace.

  Experimentally and excruciatingly, Lily wriggled her way up his shaft, then glided down again, inflicting maximum damage to his self-control.

  “Does that feel okay?” she asked hesitantly.

  Okay? “Oh, Jesus, baby. You’re killing me.”

  But for all the torment of her slow slide, experiencing every nuance of each sensation made Stone marvel. He was finally inside this woman he wanted more than his next damn sunrise. Now he was filling her up, knew exactly what she felt like closing around him. Lily was finally, truly his. Possession was nine-tenths of the law, so he intended to possess her well and often.

  She gave him a hesitant smile and picked up the pace just enough to deliver a new level of torture. Every glide of her walls dragged over his cock, giving him more friction than his unhinged brain could handle.

  When she leaned forward and dug her nails into his shoulders, her shirt gaped, exposing the delicate mounds of her breasts and the berry-sweet nipples topping them. And whatever train of thought he’d had fucking evaporated.

  Lily picked up speed and steam, tossing back her head and breathing hard. She clamped him with her thighs and the walls of her cunt. He reached under that blouse he wanted to rip away and clutched her hips, finally giving over to the need to pull her into every stroke as he shoved up deeper. He surged faster, harder inside her. Lily cried out, her cheeks flushing, her body writhing in graceful abandon.

  With a hiss, Stone decided to shove her closer to ecstasy.

  He worked one hand down to the plump flesh of her mound and settled his thumb over her clit. Slick, hard, ripe. Fuck, yes.

  At his touch, she turned frenzied, thrashing on top of him, slamming him deeper inside her stroke after stroke. Stone held on for dear life. The need swelled and jerked and hacked at his self-control.

  Her nails dug deeper. Her breat
hing turned uneven. She fixed her stare on his digits as her cunt clamped down and every stroke became labored. She lost her rhythm entirely. Her eyes turned slightly wide and panicked. “Stone!”

  Relief and primal need took over as he lifted her by the hips and slammed her down on his cock while he arched up, hitting some sensitive spot inside her that had her keening out in a wailing cry of pleasure, spasming around him in quick, tight pulses.

  With a growl, he gritted his teeth. He needed to see her. All of her.

  Stone didn’t ask permission, didn’t wait, just tore her blouse open. Buttons pinged, fabric parted, and he clapped eyes on her flat belly. His brain registered the uneven skin and slightly silver stripes low on her belly with shock.

  Then nothing mattered. The need to be one with Lily and mark her as his hit hard. He didn’t have time to argue, so he braced himself by clasping her wrists in an unyielding grip and anchoring them at her sides as he surged inside her, one animal stroke after another until the dam inside him unleashed the torrent of cataclysmic need. The spike of ecstasy had him shouting, gripping at her, going deeper than ever, and coming as if he hadn’t taken care of himself barely an hour ago. Hell, as if he hadn’t come in months.

  The rush seemed to go on forever, and his body jerked uncontrollably as he emptied himself utterly inside her. Even after his body had ceased shuddering with pleasure, he couldn’t get control, couldn’t regulate his breathing. Forget blowing her mind. What they’d just shared had been right, meant to be. Stone felt that certainty in every cell of his body. She’d changed his fucking life.

  Before he could catch his breath and hold her close, tell her how much she amazed him and assure her that what he’d seen on her belly made no difference to him, she scrambled for the sides of her tattered shirt and tugged them back together, stabbing him with an accusing glare as she wrenched free. “Damn you!”

  Stone reached for her again, but Lily dashed out of the bedroom and across the hall. The door slammed. He heard the snick of the lock and her fist pounding the hard surface with a cry.

  He stared in shock, in regret. Damn. She hadn’t been ready for him to see all of her and he’d fucked up. Not the first time. It probably wouldn’t be the last either. The question was, could he repair the damage his curiosity had done to her trust? Or would she insist they were done?

  * * *

  SHAKING, Lily started the tub. As the water heated, she paced the little bathroom. Maybe Stone hadn’t seen or noticed. Maybe he didn’t know what those marks on her belly meant.

  When she marched back toward the sink, the mirror overhead reflected her from head to hips. Even at a distance, she could see those silvery paths up her lower belly that neither cocoa butter nor time had totally erased.

  Out of the corner of her eyes, she caught sight of steam rising from the tub. She whirled away and plugged up the drain with an old-fashioned stopper and held in a shocked sob.

  Why had he done that?

  What was he thinking now?

  What would he say when she had the courage to leave the bathroom?

  Lily grabbed her ponytail holder off the counter and shoved her tresses up in a haphazard bun around her crown, then sank into the tub, curling her knees to her chest and rocking.

  She had no idea what to do.

  Behind her the click of the lock sounded, followed by the squeak of the hinges as the door opened.

  Shrieking, she jerked her gaze over her shoulder, keeping her knees pressed to her chest. “How did you get in? I locked that door.”

  “That’s the downside of being involved with an ex-con, baby. I still know how to get into shit I shouldn’t. I’m sorry I upset you. Tell me what’s going on.”

  She sent him a rapid shake of her head. “Go. I need a few minutes to myself.”

  Stone peered at her with narrowed eyes and perched himself on the edge of the tub. “I don’t think you do. See, when I give you ‘time,’ you tend to burrow back behind your defenses and think you need to handle everything yourself. You convict yourself of terrible ‘crimes’ you have almost no fault in, and close yourself off from everyone who wants to help you.”

  “You don’t understand. That’s not—”

  “True? Yeah, it is. This time, we’re going to try dealing with your feelings my way. Head-on.” He looked as if he had to hold down his temper. “When did you have a baby?”

  His words were like a fist to the stomach. With their impact, her belly button sank back into her spine. Her shoulders rolled forward. She couldn’t breathe. “Don’t.”

  “I thought we were in this together and that you’d told me the truth about everything.”

  The damn tears that wouldn’t fall welled in her eyes again. “Everything about Canton. Everything that’s important to stopping him.”

  “I’ve been as deep inside your head and body as a man can go, Lily. I have been straight up with you every moment of every day we’ve been together. I have put my life on pause to protect you. Doesn’t that, anywhere in your head, entitle me to hear the whole goddamn truth?”

  With every word, his volume increased. When he finished, he stood, stared, waited. She wanted to lash out at his anger, but he merely looked hurt.

  Lily shook her head. She couldn’t talk to him about this. She couldn’t talk to anyone. She never had. The pain cut too deep. Telling him would only carve another notch in her soul.

  He clenched his fists. “I’m fucking in love with you. Does that mean anything? Will you try to give me a chance to help you?”

  His admission only made her ache more. Lily didn’t know what to say. Stone couldn’t love her. She was a mirage of vintage style and shy flirtation. The girl underneath was distraught and messed up and wouldn’t be good for anyone.

  “Whatever you’re feeling will pass,” she managed to choke out.

  That only pissed him off more. He took hold of her arms, lifting her out of the tub. Water sloshed around her as he displaced it with one yank of her body. She dripped and gleamed. But with sunlight streaming in, there was no way she could hide the stretch marks shooting from her lower belly, ending a couple of inches below her navel. He zeroed in on them. His jaw clenched; then he fused their gazes together, willing her to understand.

  “It fucking won’t. You might have a hundred ways to fool yourself, but I don’t bother with that shit. I know better. You’re it for me, and what we just did in that bed together proved it. I’m smitten. Gone. And I can’t stand it that you don’t trust me enough with the truth.”

  Lily gasped. He wasn’t upset that she’d given birth, just that he believed she lacked faith in him? “That’s not the problem.”

  “Then tell me what is.”

  “Talking about what happened, it’s . . . agony.” She turned her face away. God, she really couldn’t look at him and think about all the lives she’d destroyed. And she didn’t want his to be next.

  “I want to know you. I want to hear everything about you. I know it hurts, but if you purge it, it might get easier. Tell me.”

  She’d been so judgmental when they’d first met. He was an ex-con. Dangerous. Not good for her. So no matter how she’d wanted him, Lily had shut Stone out. Now that she knew the man? She’d never known one better. Certainly not her sperm donor of a father. Thorpe was a great guy . . . but unyielding and remote. She suspected that he only bent and smiled for Callie. Axel had moved mountains to help her. He cared, but he couldn’t fake love—nor would she want him to. He’d been a good mentor. Though they hadn’t shared anything real or deep, even he knew this truth. There’d been no way to avoid it.

  After all she’d been through with Stone in the past few days, didn’t he deserve to know, too?

  With a sigh, Lily nodded. “Give me a chance to get dressed, and I’ll tell you.”

  “You don’t need to cover up your boobs to explain what’s bothering you. I’m naked, too. Let’s do this together.”

  She paused. He was right. What good would hiding behind clothes do? He
wasn’t trying to shield himself. Maybe having a naked body while she bared her soul would help her finally feel as if she’d really purged this part of her sadness.

  Drawing in a calming breath, she focused on the facts. She could start her story with those. “When I was fifteen, the cutest guy in school showed interest in me. He played football. I was a cheerleader. We went to homecoming together and held hands in the hall. It sounds so cliché now. When we’d been dating a few months, he started pressuring me to have sex and told me that if I didn’t, he knew plenty of girls who would.”

  “He sounds like a self-centered, immature little bastard.”

  “Completely. But I couldn’t imagine losing my boyfriend
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