‘It wouldn’t surprise me. But it’ll probably come with strings attached and a whole host of nasty ramifications.’
‘So I’m going to have to steal it from someone else, then?’
‘What do you mean steal courage? Johanna Walker, you’re one of the bravest, strongest people I’ve ever met, and that’s saying something – I come from Arizona, where about six million people willingly live in torturous heat between May and September.’
‘Cam says he thinks I’m strong, too,’ I murmured disbelievingly.
‘Girl, talk to him. I cannot believe that a man who looks at you in a way that actually makes me think that being in a relationship might be pretty sweet could possibly be in love with someone else.’
I sucked in a deep breath. ‘Okay. I’ll talk to him.’
Olivia smacked me on the back, making me wince. ‘That a girl!’
A few hours later I said goodbye to Uncle Mick and Olivia on Princes Street with plans to meet them for dinner during the week, and then I dropped Cole off at the Omni Centre, where he was meeting up with his friends. Before I left, he grabbed my arm.
‘Jo, you okay?’ he asked, his eyebrows drawn together in concern.
I marvelled that I was now looking my brother in the eye. I wished he wasn’t so tall for his age; it would at least allow me to pretend he wasn’t growing up if he still looked like a wee boy. However, height or no height, nothing could diminish his intuitiveness. It was a part of who he was, it was a part of our relationship – he knew me too well. I shrugged. ‘I’m okay.’
Cole stuck his hands in his jeans, hunching over, his head bowed towards me, his eyes searching mine. ‘Is there something I should know?’
‘I’m just feeling a little off. It’s a girl thing,’ I reassured him with a soft smile. ‘Now go. Hang out with your friends and be immature. Responsible,’ I added hurriedly, ‘but immature.’
He made a face. ‘Do those two go hand in hand?’
‘If your immaturity can lead to consequences, then it’s irresponsible.’
Cole grunted. ‘You should write that shi– stuff down.’
‘I heard the “shit” in there, baby boy, and I’m stealing the last Pop-Tart as punishment.’
‘Harsh, Jo.’ He shook his head, backing off with a smile. ‘Harsh.’
I rolled my eyes and gave him a little wave before I left him there, hoping to use the walk back home to bolster my courage.
By the time I was standing outside Cam’s door I was pretty sure I was ready to call him on his bullshit. Having already texted him to let him know I was on my way, I didn’t bother to knock. ‘It’s me,’ I called as I stepped inside and shut the door.
I followed his voice to the sitting room and was surprised to find that Nate was with him. Even more surprising, the telly wasn’t on. Glancing down at the coffee mugs and the half-eaten sandwiches from the local deli, it was clear that Nate had stopped by for a chat.
My heart thumped.
Uh-oh. That couldn’t be good, right?
‘Hey, Nate.’ I smiled tremulously.
‘Jo. Looking gorgeous as always, babe.’ He grinned at me, dusting the crumbs off his fingers.
I didn’t know how to greet Cam. After our encounter with Blair, he hadn’t touched me. Cam, who didn’t seem to be able to breathe without touching me, hadn’t placed a single fingertip upon me. No handholding, no waist squeezing, no affectionate neck nuzzles. I didn’t think I’d been in his company once since we started dating without him giving me a neck nuzzle.
Not really feeling in the mood to be rejected by his sudden disinclination to touch me, I didn’t go over to him to kiss him like I normally would. I just stood there awkwardly, gazing at him. He didn’t look the least hungover, the lucky bastard. ‘How are you feeling?’
Cameron didn’t answer me right away. In fact, for what felt like the longest moment, he sat there cradling his coffee mug in his hand as his eyes roamed my face, drinking in every single feature. Slowly, a smile stretched his lips, the tenderness in his gaze causing an ache to blossom in my chest. ‘A lot better, baby. A lot better.’
There seemed to be more behind his words than an update on his physical health. I just couldn’t work out what it was.
‘Well, my work here is done.’ Nate clapped his hands on his knees and stood up.
I followed his movements, completely confused. ‘What work?’
‘Oh.’ He shook his head, smirking like he had a secret. ‘Feeding brewery boy over there.’ Still smiling, Nate approached me and pressed a soft kiss to my cheek, his dark eyes glittering happily as he pulled back. ‘Always good to see you, Jo. Catch you later.’
‘ ’Bye,’ I answered quietly, stunned by his affection, confused by his and Cam’s mysterious behaviour, and wondering what the hell I’d walked into.
‘See you, mate,’ Cam called to him, and Nate waved to him, then left us in the quiet emptiness of the flat.
My nose wrinkled in bemusement, I turned back to Cam. ‘What was that all about?’
Cam shook his head, setting his mug down on the coffee table. ‘He just came around for a chat.’ His lips tilted up at the corners. ‘Why are you still over there when I’m over here?’ He curled a finger, beckoning me towards him with a sexy confidence that immediately set off little green flags in all my erogenous zones. The revving of my sexual engines purred in my ears, the flags waving, ready to drop …
I physically shook myself, attempting to remind myself that I came here to talk to him, not to throw myself at him at the first opportunity. Just because Cam was suddenly feeling all nice and affectionate didn’t mean I had to give in to him. I wanted answers about his behaviour yesterday.
‘Jo?’ Cam raised an eyebrow. ‘Get over here, babe.’
‘No.’ I jutted my chin out, my eyes narrowed on him. What kind of game was he playing with me? ‘If you want me, come and get me.’
A low growl was the last thing I heard before he moved, at surprising speed for a hungover person. One minute he’d been in the armchair, the next he was on the other side of the room, his body pressing me back on to his work desk. Manhandling me a little roughly, he gripped my thighs, wrapping my legs around his h*ps so he could grind his erection into me. I clung to him, my hands on his waist, my head thrown back in instant pleasure as he nuzzled my neck.
‘Cam,’ I groaned, trying to remember what the point in my visit had been as he thrust his hips, the denim around his hard-on rubbing against the seam between the legs of my own jeans. I panted, wet and needful. What was going … what were we … what?
I felt his tongue on my throat and ground harder against his movements.
His lips peppered kisses up my neck to my ear. ‘I missed you this morning,’ he whispered hoarsely.
‘You did? I thought you’d be too hungover to notice.’ My hands slid up his back to wrap around his neck, my fingers curling in his hair as I angled his head so I could look in his eyes and see if I could discern the truth in them. I took a deep breath, terrified that what I was about to say might conclude with experiencing the abject loss of Cam in my arms. ‘You were off yesterday. After … Blair …’
Cam nodded carefully, running his hands up and down my outer thighs in what appeared to be a reassuring gesture. ‘I was taken aback to see her. I got lost in my thoughts for a while.’
‘You got drunk.’ I smiled weakly. ‘Are you sure everything is okay? That … we’re okay?’
His eyes gentling, Cam grasped my chin in his hand. ‘Baby, we’re more than okay.’ He kissed me, pulling me closer, deeper, and I relaxed into him with a groan. God, I wanted to believe him more than I’d ever wanted to believe anyone in my life.
His tongue teased my lower lip as I felt his fingers on the button of my jeans. I pulled back, anticipation and arousal knocking the rest of the questions I had out of my head. He’d reassured me we were okay. That was enough. I licked my lip where his tongue had just been and held his scorching gaze as he unbuttoned me. After the last button was popped, Cam cradled my h*ps and slid me forward gently so that my ass was hanging precariously off the edge of his desk. His warm fingers slid inside my waistband and I held on to the desk, lifting my h*ps up to give him better access as he eased my jeans down my legs. They came off, along with the red flats I was wearing.
Teasing me, Cam slowly pulled my underwear down my legs and when they were off, he stuffed the knickers in the back pocket of his jeans.
‘You’re such a perv.’
He laughed quietly, watching me as I watched him unzip his jeans. He shoved them and his boxers down to his ankles, his eyes never leaving my flushed face as he slowly stroked his cock.
I squirmed, my legs unconsciously widening.
Cam stepped forward, his jeans rustling around his ankles, and just when I thought he was about to slide inside me, he lowered himself to his knees and pushed my thighs apart, insinuating his face between my legs.
‘Oh, God,’ I groaned, throwing my head back at the electric touch of his tongue on my clit. I grasped his hair, holding on, rocking gently against his mouth as he licked me and spurred me towards cli**x.
And then he sucked on my clit. Hard.
I cried out, coming against his mouth in an explosion of light and heat. My muscles were just relaxing when he stood up, gripped my hips, tilted them upward, and slammed his dick inside me so deep it was almost painful. I gasped, clinging to him as my inner muscles pulsed around him in little aftershocks.
His grip on my skin was bruising, his movements rough, hard and frenetic, but I didn’t care. Already the tension had started to coil inside me again, and my sputtered breaths and cries for more mingled with his animalistic growls and grunts.
I was hot.
I wanted to rip off my T-shirt and his, but that would mean stopping, and nothing could stop me now.
One hand left my hip to grasp the back of my head, and then he crushed his mouth over mine, a panting, gasping slide of lips and tongue … no finesse, just a wild need to mimic with our mouths what his dick was doing to my insides. He tilted my h*ps up more, dislodging my mouth from his as I held on. His eyes were dark with possessiveness as he pounded into me.
I felt like my entire body must be glowing with fiery fractures, as each thrust pushed me towards breaking point.
And finally …
The orgasm came in wave after wave, and I was so caught up in the extraordinary moment I barely even heard Cam’s growled ‘Fuck!’ as he cli**xed, jerking against me as he came hard.
My hand slipped on the desk as my muscles liquefied, and Cam’s arms came around my waist, holding me up as he continued to pant into my shoulder.
It was the roughest sex I’d ever had, a kind of pleasure-pain experience. I didn’t know if my body’s epic response had been to the rough sex or to the possessive, seemingly unearthly need Cam had appeared to be driven by, a need to have me, to claim me. He was always a little like that during sex, but this had been … different.