Hey there! I am so excited to be part of the Valentine’s Rewind Blog Hop. Twenty+ authors, twenty+ revisits to characters and stories you fell in love with ages ago.
It was so difficult to pick a story of mine to revisit, but in the end, I couldn’t resist a sneak peak at Ellen and Josh from my RITA-finalist novella, TAKE WHAT YOU WANT. In the story, good girl Ellen gets left behind while all her friends head to the tropics for spring break. Deciding she deserves a vacation, too, she decides to take one–from herself and her boring, straight-laced life. All dolled up in clothes she would never be caught dead in, she heads to a bar to find a likely guy for a one-night stand. What she ends up finding is Josh, a fellow student currently at a cross-roads in his life. While she doesn’t recognize him, he sure recognizes her.
A week of mistaken identities, self-discovery, and explosive chemistry ensues.
Here we find them five years later, meeting at a bar for a very special, very steamy night:
(Be sure to keep scrolling all the way to the end for an exclusive giveaway and information on how to enter the mega-giveaway with prizes from the whole blog hop!)
Take What You Want – revisited!
He looked good. Maybe too good.
Ellen paused in the entryway to the bar, letting her gaze rake over the strong lines of Josh’s back, the tousled mess of his hair. God knew where he’d even found that jacket; she hadn’t seen it in years. Not that she was complaining.
For a second, her heart pounded too hard in her chest. From a distance, he looked so damn much like the guy she’d randomly seduced during spring break back their senior year of undergrad. She’d hadn’t known what she was in for at the time. But tonight, she did.
She took a deep breath and let it out long and slow.
Tottering in a pair of heels she was going to burn as soon as this night was over, she made her way to his side of the bar. He must have heard her coming, but his acting skills were superb. He didn’t so much as twitch until she was right on top of him.
“Hi,” she said, breathless.
He made a show of turning slowly. Heat pooled low in her belly when his veneer threatened to crack. The clear green of his eyes flashed dark as he took her in, his full lips parting. His gaze got stuck on her breasts, the deep V of her cleavage in the most ridiculous, trashy top she could find on a surgical resident’s schedule / budget.
He blinked a couple of times, then collected himself. Meeting her eyes, he gave her a smirking, gorgeous grin. “Well, hello there.”
His deep voice still did it for her.
She cleared her throat, gesturing at the empty seat beside him. “Anybody sitting here?”
“You, I hope.”
She kind of wanted to scold him. He hadn’t been nearly so smooth the first night they’d met. Then again, he hadn’t known what the hell she was doing, coming on to him so blatantly.
Left behind by her friends, she’d decided to take a vacation from her life and herself. She’d bought an outfit that had left no mistake as to what she was after, and she’d gone to a random bar and picked a random guy, determined that she wasn’t leaving college without at least one good one-night stand under her belt. She’d happened to pick this guy, and her life had changed, all right.
She’d met the man she’d spend a whirlwind week with, hiding inside the personality of someone a hundred times more confident than she was. She’d learned that maybe she could be that girl, while still being herself. She’d fallen in love.
And now she was here. Dolled up to the nines and about to try some crazy attempt at roleplay with her husband.
Unconsciously, her gaze flicked down to his left hand, splayed out on the bar beside his pint glass. They’d talked about taking off their rings, and she had her own on a chain around her neck, but it still threw her off to see him without his.
Ignoring it the best she could, she slipped into the seat beside him. The bartender was helping someone else, so she sat tight, waiting patiently. The lack of a ring had been one level of vertigo, and now sitting here, rigid, not leaning into him or reaching for his hand was another. Not looking at him or smiling at him or telling him about her day.
It had her off her game, honestly. She’d never casually dated. The one and only time she’d picked someone up, it had been him. Nerves raced through her, along with a funny little tingle of excitement. They’d been together for five years now, and she loved him more than ever. The tingles weren’t gone.
But they hadn’t been quite like this in a while.
Static buzzed between them through the silence and the space. Josh waited until the bartender had come around and fixed her cranberry and vodka for her before holding his glass for her to clink. She did, amused.
“Josh,” he said, pointing to himself.
Yeah. She knew. But she played along. “Ellen.”
“Nice to meet you.”
They each took a few long drinks. The sweet and sour burn coursed through her throat and sat heavy on her tongue. When there was nothing left but ice in her glass, she set it down, and the sound rang out across the room, too loud. The static reached a fever pitch.
His glass hit the bar a second later, and then he was turning to her, leaning in, and God, he smelled so good. “You want to get out of here?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
He slapped a bill down on the counter, and normally she’d be carefully counting the change. They were a chemistry doctoral candidate and a medical resident—they weren’t exactly rolling in it, okay? But tonight she couldn’t bring herself to care.
The hand he placed at the base of her spine shot lighting through her skin. It was the first time he’d touched her all night, and she leaned into it, dizzy with the heat of contact. Following along, she let herself be herded out the door and down the street, but instead of turning toward their apartment, he kept on going straight. Her mind raced, a hundred questions bubbling to her lips.
She couldn’t keep then in anymore when they ended up in front of a hotel.
“You—” She swallowed hard. How to phrase this without ruining the game? “You’re staying here?”
“Just in town for the night.”
“Oh.” Oh. Jesus.
This wasn’t just a fake one-night stand. This was a fake one-night stand with no chance of ever seeing each other again, away from the clutter of their books and laundry and the fucking cat who liked to paw at their bedroom door when they left her on the other side of it.
Clearly, the man was a genius.
He must have checked in at some point before he’d headed to meet her, so they bypassed the front desk and headed straight toward the elevator. The instant the doors slid closed, he was on her. Her back slammed up against the wall, and she scrabbled, tangling one hand in his hair and wrapping her other arm around his shoulders, using it to lever herself up. With a little hop, she got her legs around his waist. He swore against her mouth and rocked himself into her, the hard line of his cock pressing just right against the center of her, and she groaned.
And it didn’t matter that she’d kissed this man a thousand times. There was something new to the way his mouth took hers, a searching quality to the slick glide of his tongue. Like they’d never done this before—and yet they still got to keep all the things they knew. The hundred different quirks of bodies and hands and lips. The way he moaned at the scratch of her nails against his scalp, the hot wave of need that shot through her when he rolled his hips just so—
The elevator dinged, and the doors swept open. He pulled away from her mouth, and she chased after him.
“No, no.” She fought to pull him back, and he let himself be moved, falling back into the kiss, scraping her tongue with his teeth.
The doors started to close again. Without letting her go, he flailed one hand out to the side, shoving it between the closing doors until they stuttered to a stop.
“My room is like three feet down the hall,” he said.
A hint of a growl built up in his throat. “Don’t tempt me, woman.”
Oh, fuck, how hot would that be? To shove her skirt up and pull her panties to the side. He could have himself out of his jeans in a minute and be up inside her, bare and hot and hard, filling her so good right here in this elevator.
Apparently she really was on vacation today. From her brain and her common sense if nothing else. “Do it. Right here. Do it now.”
In what must have been an exercise of sheer will, he hauled her away from the wall. He staggered beneath her weight for a second, but he managed to get them out into the hall and halfway down it. In front of one door as nondescript and anonymous as any of the others, he pressed her against the wall again, kissing her sloppy and wet. She slipped her hand into his back pocket, fumbling for his wallet. When she found it, she plucked the room key out and pressed it into his hand.
He got the door open somehow or other, slamming it behind them and shoving her into it. She gasped, dropping her head back to thunk against the wood. He had her pinned so completely, his hips digging into hers, their chests flush. Tightening her legs around him, she ground herself against his cock through all their clothes, and she wanted them gone, wanted him now, in her and on her and fucking her through this door.
She wanted to be the bold, free, sexual person he had helped to turn her into.
She dug her nails into the back of his neck. “Want to ride you.”
Their mouths didn’t separate their entire way over to the bed. He sat down on the edge of it, but the instant she got her knees under her, she pushed him back. They managed to get themselves situated in the center of the mattress, him on his back and her hovering over him. She dragged herself along the long line of him, fire rolling through her pussy, and then he got his hand in the fabric of her top. He tugged it down until something tore, but she didn’t care, because her breast was out, exposed. He grabbed her hips and hauled her higher on his body, and then the wet heat of his mouth closed over her nipple. She choked, burying her face against the bedspread at the sharp spark of pleasure, and then he bit down.
She couldn’t take it anymore.
Tearing away, she rose to her knees, scooting back until she could get her hand on his fly. She yanked it down, reached into his boxers. The hard flesh of his cock fit so perfectly in her hand. He groaned at the first rough stroke of her palm, shifting his hips into her fist. Fluid beaded up at his tip. She ran her thumb through it, then brought that bit of slickness to her mouth, slipping it between her lips and sucking off his taste.
His head fell back against the bed. “Don’t tease me.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.”
Reaching down, she did just what she’d imagined in the elevator. She shoved her skirt up and her underwear to the side. She took one second to run her fingers over her own flesh. They slid so easily, her pussy soaked and needy, her clit zinging at the brush of pressure.
With an impatient grunt, he batted her hand away. He curled his own fist around his cock, lifting it, rubbing it over the sensitive insides of her thighs and along the length of her opening. For a long minute, she let him, resisting the thrumming need to sink down over him and get that perfect fullness, that completion of him inside her.
But then he squeezed her hip and smirked. “Come on, gorgeous. Sit on my cock.”
She laughed out loud. It was the last thing she would’ve expected to come out of his mouth. He could talk dirty with the best of them, but that—
It was perfect, honestly.
Kissing his smile from his face, she put her hand between her legs. Spread herself open. And then slid down.
“Fuck.” It never got any less amazing. He filled her just right. Planting a hand to either side of his head, she braced her arms, sliding a fraction of an inch up before settling down again, grinding her clit against his body as he bottomed out. Pleasure zipped through her, that tell-tale warmth already gathering.
“That’s right,” he said, coaxing her along. Gripping her by the hips, he helped her move over him, bending his knees to push up into her, meeting her every fall with a thrust of his own.
The temptation was there to take this to its conclusion the way they usually did—good old weeknight sex where they each raced to get the other off first using all the tips and tricks that came with a long-term partnership.
But that wasn’t what this was about.
So she nudged his hands away and moved. As if she had no idea what would make him tick, she varied her pace and the angle, and he seemed to catch on. While she rode him, he got his hands on her breasts, tweaking and tugging. Playing.
It’d been a long time since they had done that.
Her eyes about rolled back in her skull at one particularly savage twist. “Yes, God—”
“You like that, huh?”
He keep it up, working both her breasts at once, and it was too much. Shifting her weight, she settled into a rhythm that ground her clit against him with every stroke. Fast and hard—faster than she normally would, but it was good. Different and yet the same, and all too soon, he was panting beneath her, mouth open, close.
She snuck a hand between their bodies, and the tiny bit of extra pressure on her clit was all she needed. Clenching her eyes shut tight, she slammed herself up and down on him a half dozen more times and then—
She came screaming around him, pulsing hard, the edge of it too sharp, and her nipples were going to hurt when they were through, but it was good. It was so good.
The instant she fluttered her eyes open again, his hands were on her hips. She shrieked as he flipped them over, but then somehow she was on her back, legs spread wide, his cock still buried deep. For a relentless minute, he hammered into her, and it drove the breath from her, it was too much, but before she could get too overwhelmed, he took one final stroke. Slamming deep, his whole body clenched, the tendons on his neck standing out as he pulsed, everything going warm and wet.
He collapsed down over her, and then they were still.
It took them a couple of minutes to get their breath back. The first sign that he was getting there was the warmth of his thumb at her side, gently rubbing at the sliver of skin between her skirt and her top where it had gotten rucked up a bit. He always did something sweet like that, some little display of tenderness, especially after taking her hard.
Then his hand retreated, and when he pulled away, there was mischief on his face again. Pulling out, he slapped her thigh. “Thanks, sweetheart.”
So that’s how they were playing it. Fine. “Thanks yourself.”
In the bathroom, she cleaned herself up the best she could. She frowned as she tried to piece together the tattered remains of her top from where he’d ripped it, but it looked like a total loss. If she were really going to walk of shame it out of here, that would be a problem.
As it was…
He was sitting on the edge of the bed when she came out, scrolling idly on his phone. “Want me to call you a cab?” he asked.
Fortunately, he’d taken off his jacket while she’d been in the other room. She walked over and plucked it off the chair, slipping her arms into its sleeves, soaking in its warmth and his scent.
“I’m taking this, just so you know.”
“I think you got a pretty good deal for it.” With that, she came to stand before him. He tilted his head up and she ducked hers down, giving him a kiss that was supposed to be quick and casual but probably missed by a mile. “Have a nice life.”
She let herself out, somehow making it to the elevator before she had to put her hands over her face and squeal.
* * *
The door to their apartment creaked open just as Ellen was turning off the light. She listened to Josh moving around, washing up for bed. By the time he padded into their bedroom, she was pretty close to drifting off. She startled when he slid in behind her.
“Sorry.” He pressed an apologetic kiss to the back of her neck. “Seem to have lost my jacket.”
A little thrill curled her toes. She turned into him, seeking his lips. “You should be more careful with your things.”
“Eh. Think I got a pretty good deal for it.” He captured her mouth with his, pulling her into a slow, lazy kiss. When he pulled away, he stroked his knuckles down her face. The ring on his finger glinted in the moonlight. “Sorry I got home so late. You have a good night?”
She’d had an amazing night. “Yeah, actually. What did you get up to?”
“Not much. Just a drink with an old friend.”
She hesitated. “Someone you think you’ll want to see again?”
Grinning, he kissed her again. “Anytime she’s up for it.”
She smiled. She’d have to think of something even better for their next time.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Ellen and Josh’s future.
In addition, everyone who comments here on this post will be automatically entered to win a signed paperback of my March 1 release, CONFESSIONS IN THE DARK. (Signed paperback is available for US only – international winner will receive a digital copy instead.)
Thanks for joining us for #ValentinesRewind! ♥
** UPDATE February 16, 2016 – This contest is now closed! The winner, as selected by random number, is Amber Ag! I’ll be in touch via email with details about the prize. Thanks to everyone who entered! **