The Boy Next Door (Pt.4)My skin erupted in goose bumps, my heart beating so loud I was sure Ben could hear it. Despite my
Not even half a second passed before he crushed his mouth against mine. His skin was surprisingly soft, but his pressure firm, as he teased my lips apart. When he had an opening, his tongue slid along mine, tentatively at first, then stronger, his long strokes making me dizzy and breathless. He tasted good, like spearmint with a hint of keg beer. The sneaky devil must have popped a breath mint right before he called out to me. Part of me wanted to say, “Confident, much?” but on the other hand, his boldness was HOT.
He closed in against me as our kiss accelerated to a frenzied pace, his body mashing against my curves in ways that made my inner thighs tingle. And, holy shit, was he built. His body had always looked strong, but pressed up against me, the hard planes of his chest and abs became evident, and yowzers, he was cut!
Speaking of hard…his erection thickened as our make-out session progressed. It was so wonderful, felt so wonderful, I felt like I was falling, falling, falling…
And then I was falling. Literally. When Ben had pushed into me, I’d leaned back expecting the brick wall would catch me, but I must have turned while we were kissing and instead of brick, I met the jagged edge of the trellis. The wood splintered with a crack, jabbing into my rib. Next thing I knew, I was on the ground tangled up in rhododendron bushes and broken pieces of wood. So much for the trellis being strong.
“Hey, are you okay?” Ben gave me his hand, helping me out of my mess when I heard it—the sound of the window screeching the rest of the way open above us.
“What’s going on down there?” Derek peered over the pane. “Natalie?”
“Um, hi.” Well, this was awkward.
“Give me a minute and I’ll be down there.”
“No, it’s fine, Derek. You don’t need to…” But he’d already left the window. Dammit. Just what I needed—a potential confrontation with Derek and oh-so-yummy-man-of-my-every-dream Ben Simons.
“Look, Ben.” I had to say something before Derek arrived, explain in some way. “Until this morning, I was sort of, kinda seeing Derek.”
“Sort of, kinda?”
“We were messing around. Secretly. Stupidly.”
“But you’re not now?”
“I’m definitely not now.” I shouldn’t have been with that loser in the first place. “Is that…” slutty, I thought, but said, “bad?”
Ben shrugged. “I guess if you hadn’t been here breaking up with him, I never would have bumped into you. And that would have been quite unfortunate.” He leaned in and I waited expectantly for his kiss.
“What the hell?”
Derek. Somehow his impending arrival had slipped my mind.
“Derek. Long time no see.” Ben nodded to my ex-whatever.
With my messed up hair and Ben’s noticeable hard-on, it was obvious even to dim-witted Derek what exactly had been going on beneath his window. “Ben,” he said tersely. “I didn’t realize you were back in town. Your endless stream of girls isn’t enough, you had to go and steal mine?”
The image of Ben and an endless stream of girls left an uncomfortable knot in my gut, but I filed it away to deal with later and focused on what else Derek had said. “Are you fucking kidding me? You broke up with me. This morning. Did you forget?”
“Wait, he broke up with you?” I hoped the chill in Ben’s tone was my imagination.
“Yes.” I hated admitting it. “No. I mean, it was over regardless of who officially said the words.”
“I didn’t realize you’d immediately run and hump the next thing you ran into.”
“Hey, that is no way to talk to a lady.”
“Lady? Natalie ain’t a lady. She’s tits and mouth—an incredible mouth—but that’s about all—”
A fist interrupted Derek’s speech—Ben’s fist. He socked the asshole right in the jaw.
An entire new wave of tingles spread through my body. I’d never had a guy fight for me before.
“What the fuck was that for?” Derek rubbed at his face. I was a little disappointed to see there was no blood.
“I don’t appreciate you talking that way about my date. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ll be heading back to our party now.” Ben held his hand out to me.
My date. I grinned from ear to ear. But I couldn’t leave without letting on about what I’d overheard. “Marni, Derek? Really?”
Derek’s jaw dropped. Mission accomplished. I laced my fingers in Ben’s and let him lead me toward
“Hey,” I called over my shoulder to a stunned Derek. “You forgot to water the rhododendrons.”
Laurelin Paige is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Mad Men and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Adam Levine. She is represented by Bob Diforio of D4EO Literary Agency.
Her debut NA/contemporary adult crossover FIXED ON YOU is available now.
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