The Siren, Page 41Tiffany Reisz
Author: Tiffany Reisz
“Nora?” he called out as he dropped his messenger bag by the door and shrugged off his coat. He saw nothing had been moved or altered. His books were all in place, his furniture, his glasses. Curious, Zach moved toward the bedroom and saw his normally closed door standing ajar. He peered around the door half expecting, half hoping to find Nora lying on his bed. But the room sat empty. Still it was clear she’d been in his bedroom. The bed was unmade, the covers pulled back and the imprint of her body still on the sheets. Zach started to inspect the bed, looking for any note she might have left. The moment his hands touched the sheets the phone rang. This time Zach knew it was Nora.
“Somebody’s been sleeping in my bed,” he said as he answered.
“And it was just right. How are you today, Zach?”
“Exhausted. But the excitement of thinking my flat had been broken into did wake me up a bit. You know, if someone caught you in the act, you might have been arrested. ”
“Wouldn’t be the first time. Hope you don’t mind but I masturbated in your bed. ”
Zach coughed in response.
“Three times. I only planned on the one but your sheets smelled so good, just like you. And I couldn’t help but notice that you had my dirty little book by your bed. Can’t imagine why my book gets such a place of honor…can you?”
“I often read in bed. ”
“Don’t be coy, darling. We both know you’ve masturbated to my scenes. Haven’t you?”
Zach considered lying or not answering at all. But what was the point of either? Nora would know. “Yes,” he admitted. “Once. ”
“I’m flattered. Can’t blame you, though. I’m pretty good on the page. Tell me something,” she said, her voice turning to warm honey. “What’s your favorite position?”
“I usually play winger. ”
“Zach, I adore you, but you can’t make soccer jokes during phone sex. It just isn’t done. ”
“We’re having phone sex, are we?”
“Yes, we are. We’ve both worked too hard this week. Playtime. This is an easy game. ”
“No chance I could talk you into a hand or two of whist, could I?”
“Not a chance. I left you a present in your nightstand. ”
Warily, Zach opened the drawer in his night table. Nora had left him a tube of lubricant. Why were people always giving him lube?
“How kind,” he said with a clenched jaw.
“Comfortable? I suggest lying back on your pillows. I wonder if you can guess which pillow I put under my hips when I masturbated. ”
Zach’s heart fluttered at her brash words. He and Grace had been married two years before he could even talk her into performing in front of him. He would have given his right hand to have watched Nora in his bed. Well, maybe his left hand.
Zach ran his subtly trembling hands over his pillows. He flipped one over and saw a small watermark on one that hadn’t been there that morning. Grateful Nora wasn’t there to see him, he lifted the pillow to his face and inhaled. A thousand sensory memories returned with that one breath. The scent was the unmistakable mark of a woman’s arousal, utterly potent and completely erotic.
“My God,” he said and heard Nora giggling at the end of the line.
“Thank you. Comfortable yet?”
Zach kicked off his shoes and propped himself on his pillows as Nora had suggested. “Physically I’m comfortable. In other respects, however…no. Not even remotely. ”
He expected a laugh but none came.
“Zach,” Nora began and her voice sounded oddly solemn. “Listen to me. You don’t have to be uncomfortable. It’s just me. There’s nothing that you can say or do that will shock me. You’ve been inside me, in case you’ve forgotten. We’re both grown-ups who are very attracted to each other. You are an insanely gorgeous, incredibly intelligent man and you have no reason to be embarrassed by this. ”
“Just a bit out of practice,” Zach confessed.
“Practice makes perfect. I’ll go easy on you this time. Asking again, what’s your favorite position?”
“This is the easy version?”
“This is kindergarten, Zach. Now answer me and be honest. ”
Zach exhaled and looked up at the ceiling. Better to just get it out.
“I prefer from behind positions. ”
“Sometimes. My favorite, though, is when she’s on her stomach and her leg is sort of pulled up. ”
“Why do you like it? And don’t skimp on the details. ”
“It’s…” Zach searched for the right word. “It’s intimate without being sentimental. I suppose that sounds like a load of rubbish to you. ”
“No, it makes perfect sense. Missionary position is as vanilla as it gets. But from behind positions are fantastic. Some of my favorites, too. When was the first time you tried it?”
“I was seventeen, I think. I was seeing a university student a few years older than me. ”
“Such a lady-killer. And she was more experienced than you?”
“Vastly. I’d had more than a few wild nights but nothing had prepared me for her. Second time we were together she rolled onto her stomach and made her will known. ”
“I like this girl. ”
“She was a beautiful half-crazy bint named Raine of all things, but I don’t regret the lessons. ”
“Raine is making me wet. What do you remember from the first time, Zach?”
“Ah…” Zach closed his eyes and summoned the memory. It had been years since he’d even thought about her. “I remember having to move her hair off her neck. She had gorgeous dark hair like yours. And I’ll never forget taking a fistful of it and pushing it out of the way so I could kiss her back and shoulders. ”
“Did you bite her?”
“Constantly,” Zach confessed. “And I remember bracing myself with my arms over her. My hands were on either side of her and she reached her hand out and wrapped her fingers around mine. I think that’s when it became my favorite. ” He closed his eyes and remembered how often he’d taken Grace like that. She did the same thing, taking his hand while he was thrusting into her. When Raine had done it, it aroused him. When Grace did it, he was undone.
“Understandably. As a woman it’s very erotic to be taken like that. You feel, oh, what’s the word? Used, I guess. Used in a good way. From behind positions are fairly dominant. I think you have a Dom streak in you, Zach. ”
“It didn’t feel like dominance. Just intimate. I mean…I can’t begin to fathom what I mean. ”
“Yes, you do. Tell me. ” Nora’s voice was even softer now, coaxing him to close his eyes. He wondered if she was in her bedroom and what she was doing to put that purr in her voice. He didn’t want to ask, but he did want to imagine.
“The whispering,” he said.
“The whispering? What whispering?”
“In that position, his, my mouth is at her ear. It’s perfect for whispering…things. ”
“So he does like dirty talk after all. What do you say when you’re on top of a woman and inside her?”
“Nora,” he protested. “I can’t just—”
“Yes, you can. Tell me. Close your eyes and pretend it’s me underneath you. Pretend your chest is pressed to my shoulders. Pretend your hands are locked over my wrists. Pretend your mouth is at my ear. Pretend you’re moving inside me. Is that such a horrible thought?”
“No, it’s amazing,” Zach said, suddenly breathless.
“Tell me, Zach. Tell me what you’d say. Whisper it in my ear…”
Zach took a deep breath, and remembered he was allowed to trust Nora and to trust himself. It was so damned hard to do, but he wanted to trust her, needed to trust her.
He rolled onto his side, unbuttoned his pants and whispered.
On Friday morning Zach was st
uck in a staff meeting and finding it hard to concentrate for two reasons. Reason number one—the phone call from Grace that had left his heart aching. Reason number two—the phone call from Nora last night that had left his body aching.
“And as most of you know,” J. P. said, “in two weeks our Zach Easton will be going west to take over as chief managing editor at the L. A. offices. I’m sure all of you will miss his sunny presence. To quote the old Irish blessing, may the fog rise up to meet you or something like that. ” A gentle murmur of laughter rippled through the room. Only that pompous arse Thomas Finley wasn’t laughing, merely smirking as usual.
Thomas he would not miss. But he would miss his assistant, Mary, and J. P. Of course it was Nora’s presence in his life he’d miss more than anything from his time in New York. She had become the embodiment of the city to him—reckless and wild, fascinating and beautiful, dark and dangerous, so spoiled and so very generous.
“So two weeks from now,” J. P. continued, “in the conference room we’ll have a going away party for Easton. I suggested all of us go out to the Four Seasons but someone vetoed that suggestion so blame Easton for his half-assed fare-thee-well. ” A smattering of playful boos were thrown Zach’s way.
The meeting concluded and the staff started filing out. Mary gave him a hug on the way out and said, “Take me to California with you,” in a stage whisper in his ear. J. P. , standing next to Zach, mouthed, “Not a chance” at her, and Mary departed wearing a faux pout on her face.
There were friendly shoulder pats and a few hearty handshakes from his fellow editors. Zach turned to ask J. P. something when he heard a smug laugh behind him.
“How’s Nora’s book coming, Zach?” Thomas Finley asked in his unctuous tone. “Coming hard and coming often?”
“The work is progressing very well, Thomas,” Zach replied, ignoring Thomas’s childish insinuations. “Thank you for asking. ”
“Cracking the whip, are you?” he asked with a sneer. “Oh, wait, that’s her job. ”
“Finley, that’s enough,” J. P. said, pointing an angry finger on his way out of the conference room. “Our writers deserve our respect. ”
“Respect her?” Thomas snorted as soon as J. P. was gone. “If I paid her to put her boot on my back then maybe I’d respect her. ”
Zach stuffed his papers in his messenger bag.
“I see Mary was right,” Zach said calmly.
“Right about what?” Finley demanded, his face reddening.
“About your professional jealousy. I’m sorry if you thought the position in L. A. should have been yours. The fact that you responded to my promotion with juvenile pranks is proof that you barely deserve this job, much less the chief managing editor position. Publishing is for adults, Thomas. It would help if you acted like one. ”
“Zach, the only reason you got offered that job in L. A. was pure pity. J. P. got wind your wife was dumping you. After all, none of my writers have ever had to sleep their way to a six-figure advance. ”
“None of your writers have ever earned a six-figure advance. And Nora will earn her advance like every other writer I’ve ever worked with—by writing her heart out. Nora and I are not sleeping together. The position is mine because I’m better at this job than you are. And this conversation,” Zach said emphatically, trying to shove past Thomas who stepped in front of the door to bar his way, “is over. ”
“Not sleeping together? Really?” Thomas feigned shock. “Let me guess, she’s out of your price range. ”
“You’re a child, Thomas. ”
“And she’s a prostitute, Easton. ”
Zach blanched and opened his mouth to protest but something stopped him.