Blaire didn’t know much about one-night stands, but she knew how they’re supposed to go. A night where inhibitions are thrown out, no names, no attachments, and in the morning you both go your separate ways, never to speak again. At least that’s what was supposed to happen.
Mother nature had other plans.
She established boundaries: No details, no more sex. But Joel was never much for following the rules. With a body built for sex and an appetite to match, one night with him would never be enough. Torn between the case that could make her legal career and a man who thinks of clothes as optional, how long could she stick to the rules?
**Book 1 in the Just This Once Series**
Shut In: 11/9
Shut Out: 11/23
Shut Off: 12/7
My legs felt hot bundled beneath the down comforter that seemed a bit too heavy in the Vegas summer. The air conditioner clicked on, clanking loudly like ice cubes dropping into an empty glass, making the skin of my sweat-dampened neck stark cold from the breeze.
I tried working through the dense fog surrounding my thoughts, but I couldn’t think past my parched throat and the way every muscle felt like it’d been stretched beyond its limits. Glimpses of the night before filtered in while I tried swallowing past the saliva that had settled against the back of my throat. I remembered my coworkers, Kerri and Piper, lining up shots as if it were my 21st birthday and they were busting my alcoholic virginity. I guess in a way I was becoming reacquainted with a version of myself long forgotten.
White noise echoed from somewhere within my house, making my mind feel like soft cheese slipping through a cheese grater—it pulled me from my drunken stupor and back to the present. The haziness of my mind forgotten, I stumbled from the bed. Tilting and whirling like a dreidel, I threw out my right arm to brace myself from crashing into the nightstand. Whoa. I drank way too much if I still can’t stand up straight.
I walked a few steps before I took notice of my lack of pajamas. My black, strapless bra and bikini underwear were a blaring contrast against my ivory-colored skin, which damn near looked fluorescent in the blackened room. There are my pants, I thought, as I stepped over the bundle of jeans that were half turned inside out lying just inside the bedroom door. I looked around at my feet and still hadn’t noticed my shirt, but I wasn’t too bothered by it.
The sound from the TV was what pulled me from that room into the living room. It was a long buzzing sound, hypnotic in its attempt to electrify my eardrums. The sound reminded me of a vacuum, and I just wanted to pull the cord from the wall to fall back into my too-warm sheets and thoughts weighted down by one too many shots of tequila. Except when I stood in front of the TV, I could see the Technicolor swirl of rainbow colors and wide bars running across the top and bottom of the screen. It was some kind of emergency broadcast. I looked across the couch hoping to find the remote, but of course it was nowhere to be seen.
Moving to the front of the couch, I dropped down and started shuffling couch cushions, the tweed of the couch abrading my skin in my rummaging. I finally found the remote and made to turn the channel. It took three or four channel changes to notice that each channel was the same—everyone was broadcasting the same message that seemed to be blurring across the screen.
Three beeps preceded the message: This is an emergency announcement. Please do not leave your homes. Las Vegas and surrounding areas are experiencing a dust storm. Researchers are still looking into causes, but they warn it may be days or weeks before it is safe to leave your homes. Visibility is limited to a few feet. We repeat: Stay in your homes.
After the completion of the first warning, I fell into the couch cushions and listened to three more rounds of the same message. Somewhere around the middle of the third time hearing the warning it finally hit me. I jumped up, ignoring the protests of my stomach, and ran to the front window. I pulled hard on the cord, and the blinds shot up, revealing a window of black. Maybe the message was old because it looked like visibility was zero, as the only thing that could be seen was the mirror of my lone form staring into the darkness.
I stood gazing out as if a cloud would part and suddenly I would see Mr. and Mrs. Bigsby’s garden of purple flowers, or Tamara’s dented mailbox from when Jacob accidentally backed the car into it, or my yellowing lawn, deciding that today would be the perfect day to water the grass. Except all I could see was my living room reflected in the glass.
“What’s going on?”
I froze upon hearing an unfamiliar male voice behind me. I could see the bottom of his bare legs reflected in the glass. I discontinued pulling the blinds shut and ignored the tremor running through me at the sound of another person in my home. A home where I live alone.
I felt my breath hitch as I turned to look at the man standing in the archway between my living room and dining room. Clad in only boxer-briefs, he filled up the opening of the space with his wide chest and tall stature. There were only a few inches between the top of his head and the top of the archway, which was easily a foot and a half taller than me. He looked like some Greek statue with his chiseled chest and bulging thighs. His physique could rival an MMA fighter’s, and with that thought, I was suddenly trembling again.
“Who,” I swallowed, my throat once again catching on the bit of saliva that settled against my throat like cement. “Who are you, and what are you doing in my house?” I was impressed that I was able to hold it together long enough to string not one but two full sentences together.
The giant took a few steps toward me before halting mid-step. He raised his hands up, and his foot fell back a step. His short, brown hair looked tousled, but that was the only thing that looked sleepy about him. His eyes were bright like Granny Smith apples, his lips were full, and when he spoke, his mouth spread wide, curving up from his square jaw.
“I know it was good, but I honestly can’t say that I’ve ever fucked a woman so good she got amnesia. I guess there’s a first for everything.” His smile was disarming in that perfectly charming way a man can sometimes look at you and make you want to cream your panties with a flash of gleaming, white teeth. If I weren’t so nervous by his sudden presence, I would be stunned by his casual arrogance and words that made my ears hot with embarrassment.
“I, uh, we…um…” I didn’t even know what to say. My feet shifted with nerves that urged me to press my hands between my legs to assess the contents of my nether region. My body was aching, but I thought it was the usual pains after a night of hard drinking. Upon second thought, however, the pain seemed to be localized to the inside of my thighs and my stomach muscles.
“Does this mean round two is off the table?” he asked with a smirk. He rubbed down his abs absentmindedly while he spoke, and all I could think about was sitting astride him with that view beneath me. What is wrong with me? This man is a stranger in my home, and all I can think about is the impressive body that’s fully displayed for my viewing pleasure?
I shook those thoughts from my mind and concentrated on the PSA that was still filtering from the screen to his right. He followed the path of my vision, and soon we were both fully engulfed in the message. His body dropped down into the corner of the sectional as if it was just another Saturday morning spent in the comfort of his own home.
“I generally like to know the name of the woman whose taste is still on my tongue the next morning, and seeing as how I’ll be a houseguest for oh, I don’t know, possibly the next few weeks, I’m thinking now would be a good time to ask.”
He didn’t turn to look at me as I groaned behind him. This was going to be a long few weeks, and though rude, I made my way back to my bedroom for a brief reprieve so I could gather my thoughts on what the hell happened the night before.
—The Night Before—
Properly sandwiched between Kerri and Piper, I felt Kerri shift forward. The gleaming wood propped up her already well-endowed bust better than any bra could. My eyes bulged as her cleavage sat atop the bar like an empty glass waiting for the bartender to refill. The ends of her shiny black hair dipped between her low-cut blouse, contrasting with the gold sequins that cascaded down the front of her shirt like a gleaming garland on a Christmas tree.
The bartender finished making a drink before he slid back to our end of the bar.
“Ladies,” the bartender said. His ashy blonde hair clung to his lightly bronzed forehead, making him look like a kid barely old enough to drink, let alone bartend.
“Matthew, I think we need something a little stronger for our girl here.” Kerri giggled like she had just told a joke, and the kid’s smile brightened a little more at having been let in on something that even we couldn’t identify.
“Yeah? Are you having some kind of ladies night out?”
“Yeah,” Kerri said, lifting her hand to cover the right side of her mouth, the side closest to me. “My friend needs to get laid. We’re trying to help her.”
“Kerri, I-I’m not that drunk. We can all hear you,” I added, pulling her hand away from her mouth.
Piper scooted in closer, leaning over the front of me to add her two cents.
I knew if I were a little more sober, I’d be beet red with embarrassment and looking for the nearest exit. They had a hard enough time convincing me to come out in the first place.
Kerri and Piper were already friends when I first started working at Henderson & Fitz Legal six months ago. We bonded over our obsession with soy lattes and bad reality shows. They knew I was relatively new to Vegas and hassled me endlessly about joining them for a night out on the town. They wanted to do it up Vegas-style and teased me, saying for someone in my mid-twenties, I sure acted like I was pushing forty—which was probably a bit closer to Kerri’s age.
Piper was in her mid-thirties. The quieter of the two, she was newly single and getting her groove back with the help of Kerri. I, on the other hand, had to have had a groove to get it back.
I hadn’t been in a long-term relationship since Chase in college, and that went up in smoke the moment I caught him in bed with some girl from his econ class—you know, the friend he swore up and down that that’s all she was. Well the joke was on me ‘cause I fell for it. I wasn’t scorned by the experience. It just so happened that I never really found anyone that I was comfortable enough with to think of as more than a friend, and now that I was at a new firm, I spent much more of my time trying to get ahead.
“Shhh, shhh.” Piper pressed her finger to her lips to silence. I didn’t know who she was shushing, but that one finger couldn’t contain the spit that sprayed past her lips. “We’ll have three shots. Make it a double for this one,” she said, clutching my shoulder. I think she was doing it more to hold herself up than in a gesture of solidarity.
“Maybe we should dance or eat. We’ve only been here an hour and my head feels sloshy.” My head seesawed from left to right as I talked to them, confirming the drunk feeling that had pervaded my body and mind. I usually didn’t drink like this. In fact, the last time I got even remotely drunk was actually on my 21st birthday.
Kerri continued looking at the bartender—young enough to be her son—who was making our drinks. I caught him giving her a cocky wink before he placed the shots in front of us.
“To a memorable night,” Kerri said, raising her glass like an offering. The contents sloshed over the rim and down her forearm, but she didn’t seem affected by her drunken display. Piper and I raised our glasses, not nearly as enthusiastically, before bringing the chilled rims to our lips and tossing back the contents. I watched Kerri pound back her drink before licking the drops from her forearm like the cat that got the cream. The burn of the alcohol wasn’t as strong as I had anticipated, and my stomach basked in the afterglow of alcoholic decadence.
Piper grabbed my hand, bouncing her way through the throngs of other sloshed patrons working off a long workweek. Kerri followed close behind, and soon we were dancing in a semi-circle to the sound of music that had the contents of my stomach rising and falling like bars on a synthesizer.
I always loved how alcohol made me feel less self-conscious about dancing in public. I was actually able to cut loose and spend more time looking at the people I was dancing with or alongside, versus staring at my feet and checking to see if my bottom half was moving to the beat. Kerri stuck to a simple two-step while Piper moved around in circles, reminding me of those old ribbon-dancer commercials. She looked almost childlike in her joy.
We danced like that through a few songs before I interrupted them with my need for a glass of water. They followed me back to the bar, and we weren’t there for two minutes before Kerri was shouting over the music, “Fuck me sideways. Piper, would you look at that.” She pointed to a man standing on the other end of the bar. He was slouched over the bar top with a tumbler placed between outstretched forearms that made my knees weak with their apparent strength. Following the line of his body, I could see that he was extremely tall, and his button-down shirt looked like if he flexed too hard the buttons would pop, pebbling across the counter and floor like M&M’s bursting from the package.
He wasn’t a man I would typically go for. He was a little too tall, a little too muscular, and maybe a little too handsome. He was someone to gawk at on the cover of magazines, someone to press you so deep into your mattress he would leave an outline of your body. It’s awful to think, especially from someone who considers herself to be a feminist, but he was someone to objectify. Maybe that was why I found it hard to look away. This man was like one of those white tigers or albino lions; they’re so rare and majestic that you can’t help but be enthralled by their beauty.
Glancing around at the people nearest him, I noticed he didn’t seem to pay any attention to the various women and men who were ogling him in obvious fascination.
“Jesus, isn’t he something,” Piper said as her tongue missed the straw of her water. I couldn’t help but laugh when I thought about it. We were just another group of onlookers swept up in some magic spell this man seemed to be casting on anyone with a pair of functioning eyes.
Returning to my water, I resisted the urge to turn my full body to face him as my friends had done. Kerri bumped my shoulder, putting more strength in the movement than I think she intended, but enough to get my attention either way. When I turned my head, she simply nodded in his direction and said, “Honey, if you weren’t looking, I’d honestly think you were gay. Although I must say, that right there is probably more man than you could handle. You have to ease yourself in before you take on that mountain. Climb a few slopes first.”
I guess it was safe to say that my trying too hard not to look affected by him was blatant, and my friend wasn’t going to let me off that easily.
“I need the bathroom,” I said, looking around for a hidden hallway that typically concealed the bathrooms in places like those. I spotted a darkened area with a sign for the restrooms posted on a half-wall littered with other ads for various clubs and deejays.
The trip to the restroom was slightly sobering, but that was nothing compared to what awaited me when I stepped outside of the bathroom.
The man from the bar.
He was just a few steps from the partition, facing the entrance to the hallway as if he was waiting on someone. When I was a mere few feet from him, his face broke out into a remembering smile, leaving me stunned in its wake.
I glanced around, checking over my shoulder. I always hated that feeling that someone was looking or smiling at you, only to turn around and find that they weren’t looking at you at all. Except, when I turned around, there was no one directly facing him, which led me to believe that that smile was without a doubt intended for me. This mountain god is looking at me. Like he knows me.
“I saw you earlier, you know.” He tossed his words out as though they were something to say in passing, not to open a line of communication, but what did I know? I was drunk, and he was gorgeous. Under ordinary circumstances, I’d be scurrying back to the bar, urging my friends that I’d had my fun and it was time to go, but my mind was working slower, incapable of processing what was happening. All I could do was cycle through the deep rasp of his words and acknowledge how even the hairs on my arms were affected by him.
“You were dancing, with your friends…” He moved closer, his large hands gripping the sides of my waist. His fingers, long and thick, stretched across the dip in my back until they almost met in the middle above my ass. My breath hitched, as his face dropped down next to my jaw so he could speak directly in my ear. “Are you here celebrating something?”
“So if I steal you away, I won’t be ruining someone’s birthday or anniversary, will I?”
His face feathered against my jaw, his smooth skin gliding across mine like warm honey dripping from a butter knife. His breath tunneled into my ear, sending shivers to my core. He captured my earlobe between his lips, and the intense eroticism of the moment did more for my racing thoughts than the soft lips and suede tongue that grounded me within that very moment. I’d never had a man so blatantly demonstrate his desire for me.
The fact that I didn’t know his name was barely a passing thought as his lips suckled my ear. He followed up with a lick to my throat, and it was like we were two mammals drawn in by some animal magnetism that was bigger than us—the desire to mate that was suppressed in humans still existed between us.
A gust of wind pulled up between us, and I noticed that he’d stepped back. He broke away from me yet intertwined his fingers with mine as he led me to the front of the bar. It wasn’t until I was nearly upon my friends’ location at the bar that I tugged against his stronghold, which was leading me to the exit.
“Wait. My friends,” I said releasing my hand from his. He took a step to the side and waited patiently as I took in the shocked expressions on both Kerri’s and Piper’s faces.
“Holy shit,” Piper whispered.
“You’ve got balls, honey, I’ll tell you that.”
I looked from Piper to Kerri, and it suddenly hit me: I was about to exit with a man I didn’t know. But he was just the kind of man this kind of thing would happen with. He looked too remarkable, too suave, like this wasn’t his first time doing something so reckless. It was definitely mine.
He must have noticed something on my face when he looked back at me because he nodded subtly, and before I knew it, he was pulling something from his wallet and handing it over to Kerri. Kerri took a quick look at the thin piece of paper that easily fit in her palm and gave me a slight push toward the man who stood with his palm held out for me to take. Something about their exchange made me feel like I was an escort and Kerri was my madam.
I didn’t need any other push, and soon I was sitting in the passenger seat of his sports car. The make and model of the car slipped my mind as all I seemed to take in was how I could feel the timbre of his voice vibrate through my seat—thrumming between my legs—as he asked where I lived. I must have told him my address because soon we were both buckled in and fast on our way to my place, twenty minutes west of the strip.
The rest seemed to be a jumbled mess, events made hazy by lust and alcohol. He parked in my driveway and I remember fumbling for the door handle, and being pleasantly surprised when he strode around the car to open the door for me. He even opened the house door when my keys slipped through my palms and dropped to the pavement at my feet. Everything after that sort of blurred together.
“I’ve never been mountain climbing,” I confessed between panting breaths as I straddled his naked body. I remember falling into a fit of giggles, lost in the confusion of my statement. It didn’t matter though because soon our lips, our bodies were moving in a blur that had my body on fire. A heavy throb pulsed between my legs, ratcheting up my desire for the man who made my heart race with just a look.
The sheets surrounding us only expounded the heat simmering between our tightly pressed bodies. Hands gripped the globes of my ass and pulled them apart, drawing awareness to the wetness pooling at my core.
“Say you want me to fuck you,” I remembered him saying. He pinched my nipples and the torturous bliss shot down my body, making my clit throb harder for relief. His length pressed hard against my slit, nudging at my entrance.
Time slowed down in the moments that I sat there astride his lap with hands that tortured as he touched me everywhere. I’d never felt so needy, so desperate, so consumed.
“Open your eyes,” he grumbled. Those green eyes were sobering, staring at me as if he knew I needed this, and he didn’t want me to miss a moment of what was happening between us. His eyes seemed to hypnotize every nerve in my body—the chorus of excitement vibrated through my core, whispering my need into every closed-off part of my heart.
I’d never had anyone look at me like that before.
I couldn’t tell whether those eyes were building me up or breaking me down. Giving me courage or stealing a piece of me.
His fingers traced the outside of my mouth, dipping between my lips. I licked against the submerged fingers, tasting the salt and whiskey still lingering on his thick digits. I watched his mouth move. He was speaking, but all I could focus on was the path those same fingers traveled.
“Or, I could take you here.” His finger dipped in my depths, shocking me with its blunt intrusion. My body jerked with his abrasive entry. His chest shook with suppressed laughter, and his smile quickly morphed into a smirk as he brought that one finger back up to his lips.
I remembered staring into his eyes as his other hand dropped between the cheeks of my ass, stopping just before he reached that forbidden, elusive area. Words froze in my throat. I just didn’t know if they were to encourage him to press forward or to slow things down. Suddenly with his hand right there it felt like things were moving faster than my mind could process.
His eyes sparked with a lust that overwhelmed me with its brilliance. Even drunk, I could tell he was a man that either saw boundaries and didn’t care or saw them and purposefully trespassed—I didn’t know which was scarier, but there was still something thrilling in the way he unapologetically touched me. As if the touch of my skin compelled him to press harder, go farther, test the invisible boundaries set by two strangers.
I didn’t pick up on everything he said, but the things I heard sent my mind into a tailspin of carnal delight.
“Would you like my thick cock to fuck you here…I promise you’ll like everything I do to you. Don’t hide from me.”
He worked into me slowly, his eyes never straying, never blinking. I clenched down on him, my body greedily pulling him in farther, but his movements didn’t speed up.
His hips worked like a bow of a ship breaking through clambering waves.
My feverish hands clawed at his back.
Skin slid across sweat-soaked skin.
Expletives and panting.
“Come. Come for me, pretty bird.”
Stars burst behind my eyes, swirling against the darkness that threatened to pull me under. His hands found the middle of my back and his shouts followed mine, announcing his own release.
Cee Smith is a lover of the written word. Since first learning how to string a sentence together, she’s been putting pen to paper and hasn’t looked back. Though she’s no longer obsessed with blood and gore, the dark side still calls to her, often finding refuge in her current writings. Her addiction to reading is what finally inspired her to take a chance at publishing.
A California native, currently residing in North Carolina with her husband. She loves salacious stories, true love and forbidden romances—the more angst the better. Other than reading and writing, some of her other obsessions are peanut butter (don’t get her started), Michael Fassbender, and watching tv.
She loves talking about the creative process and what books she’s reading, so feel free to shoot her a line. Or if you just want to say hi that’s fine too. She swears she’ll respond.