Book: Outside The Ropes

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Next: 21: More Than A Little

MY BODY DID CRAZY THINGS SIMPLY STANDING next to him in the elevator. We both faced forward in the full car, not looking at each other; our hands our only connection. When the elevator dinged our arrival, Gage slipped his arm around me and guided me past the strangers.

Anticipation pooled sweetly in my stomach, pressure already building at just the thought of being alone with him.

He opened the door to his suite and was on me before it swung close. He trapped me against the wall by the door with his body, his lips melting into mine.

The lock clicked as he finished closing the door, and then I had his full attention. He lifted me easily, and guided my legs around his waist, walking to the couch in the sitting area.

My legs clenched around him, my center already pulsing, needing. He had just enough hair for me to grip and I did, better angling our kiss so I could dip my tongue into his mouth.

A low rumble vibrated from his chest and the fire in me flared.

He dropped me onto the sofa, and I had to hold back a whimper at the sudden break in contact.

Climbing over me with a hungry glint in his eye, he dipped his head down, licking up my neck. A hot and slow stroke that stole my air.

He growled in my ear. “You want this? You want me?” And sucked my earlobe in-between his lips.

It was impossible for me to answer. But I gripped him to me, my nails pressing into his strong back, and I brought my hips up to meet his.

He pulled back looking into my eyes. “Say it.”

“I want you,” I gasped.

One hand ran through the hair by my face, his other holding himself up. “Do you trust me?” His deep whisper sent a chill through me.

I searched his face, taken off guard. Why was he doing this? I could barely catch my breath as I tightened my arms around him and brought my lips to his.

He pushed me back to the couch, holding my wrists down so I couldn’t touch him.

“I’m doing this. Not you.” He locked me with his eyes. “Do you understand? This isn’t you. This is me.”

The change was dizzying. Every inch of me craved his touch. My hands ached to explore him, but he still held me still. And I couldn’t think; my mind wasn’t working.

He lowered himself on me, easing the ache I felt. But he still trapped my hands, and wasn’t loosening his grip.

“We’re good together.” His lips brushed my ear as he spoke, a heated whisper, and I nodded. This was good.

Picking his head back up, he met my eyes again. “I won’t let you push me away or put an end to us. Give it a chance.”

“Shut up and kiss me,” I pleaded, fear starting to rise.

His eyes dropped to my lips and he licked his own, making me squirm beneath him with need. The hot, heavy length of him pressed against me, his arousal hard against my stomach.

I sucked in a groan when I realized he wasn’t going to listen to me.

“I want to, and I’m going to. But I need you to agree first.”

My heart skipped, but I nodded, not at all sure what I was agreeing to. But needing him to touch me.

His breath quickened, and his sexy smile returned as he let go of my wrists. One hand tangled in my hair, the other gripped my waist.

“I got you. I got us. Just let go and trust me.” He collapsed into me, our lips twisting together and body’s melding.

His hands ran over the smooth, silky, fabric of my shirt, sending shivers through me, and his lips moved to my neck. He lifted himself up, pulling me with him and raised my shirt. I let him slide it off me and pressed myself to him, enjoying his skin on mine.

His lips trailed down my neck to my collarbone, and I moved my hands to the edge of his shorts, letting my fingers dip inside the elastic.

The moment my breast sprung free of the bra, a cold shock hit me, like ice water. I jerked my hands up to keep it in place, knowing what the wide bottom band had been hiding, but I was too late.

Gage stilled on me, the heat gone between us. The look on his face said it all.

I kept one arm across my bra and used the other to push him off me, but he wouldn’t budge.

“What happened?” He asked in a detached whisper. His hand moved over top of mine, the scar underneath.

I thought I shook my head, but I don’t know if I actually moved. “It was a long time ago.”

He pulled himself off of me and my heart sunk. This was it. He no longer wanted me.

I couldn’t decide what was worse, the initial look of disgust or this look of pity.

Scooting myself into sitting, I buckled my bra up before he could see the other scars that trailed to my back.

He wasn’t looking at me anyways. His head was cradled in his hands, his leg bouncing beneath his arm.

I watched him and moved to get my shirt, steady and slow so as not to pull his attention.

His hand sprung out and grabbed my wrist, keeping me seated. “What happened?” he asked again, more demanding.

I shook my head. “I didn’t come here to talk.”

“You were shot. That’s what that is.”

I ripped my arm out of his hold, a wild panic taking control. I stood up to face him. “Yeah. Now make up your mind, you either want me or you don’t. But I’m done talking.” I slid my arms around his neck, desperately trying to get us back to where we were before.

He pulled my arms from him, dropping them in front of me. “What happened?” Anger was clear in his question.

I picked up my shirt and pulled it back on, leaving. I think the worst part of the entire evening was that he didn’t stop me.

***

The next night, Dexter and his friends were drinking in the room, trying to convince me to go out with them.

The familiar comfort of anger took over my sadness, giving me the strength to face the rest of the trip. But I wasn’t up for a high-energy club.

I had spent the day alone again, avoiding any questions from the girls. They got in so late they couldn’t have known what a disaster my night had been.

Aliya was itching to talk to me, I could tell in the way she smiled at me with her eyes wide.

Danny stood up, already swaying on his feet. “Go get your brother and his friends. Then we can get in anywhere without having to worry about our ID’s. They wouldn’t turn away the champ.”

Dexter was relaxed back on a chair, his fingers mindlessly playing with a lock of Leona’s hair. “Already got that covered. They’ll be over in a minute.”

Aliya sat up tall, biting her lip. “You have to come out now. Everyone’s going.”

My jaw clenched and muscles tensed as the door opened and Gage walked in with three of his friends, the same guys from last night.

“Is Silas coming?” Dexter asked.

Gage shook his head. Then his eyes met mine, and I crumpled a little when he looked away less than a second later, continuing his scan of the room.

The toxic swirl of emotions made me feel sick, and I had to look away, staring at the wall opposite of me.

Dexter leaned forward to the coffee table, mixing himself a drink from the bottles arranged there. “Help yourself.” He waved to the guys that entered. “Rea, c’mon girl. One little drink. It’s our last night in AC. And we have important business to take care of.”

I raised an eyebrow. “What’s that?”

He threw his hands up in mock disbelief. “We need to come up with your new name. ‘Make it Rain’ Sommers isn’t working for you. So help me out.” He lifted up a Grey Goose bottle. “We need a brainstorm session.”

Gage’s friends had started helping themselves to the liquor, but Gage sat in a single chair in the corner, and I hated that I knew that. That I couldn’t stop paying attention to him.

Jase took a sip of his drink, raising his eyes to the ceiling. “What about, Rea 'Raging' Sommers.”

“That’s good.” Dexter rubbed his chin and lifted up a cup he poured for me. “C’mon Rea, what do you say?”

“She’s not drinking. Leave it alone,” Gage’s deep voice cut into their playful teasing, and my stomach spasmed.

It rubbed me the wrong way. He wasn’t calling shots on anything about me. He managed to take control last night when I was in his arms. He stole my agreement to trust him and immediately betrayed it.

Walking to Dexter, I took the drink and titled it back until it was empty. Not a fast or impressive feat, since the alcohol seared and I’m sure my face twisted with disgust. But I did it.

The room was quiet for a moment, all eyes on me.

I breathed through the burn. “Let’s get this night started.” I turned to Aliya. “Can I still borrow your dress?”

She hopped up and pulled me into the other room. “This is going to be so much fun!”

It was going to be something, that’s for sure.

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Next: 21: More Than A Little