Big badd wolf, p.6
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       Big Badd Wolf, p.6

         Part #7 of Badd Brothers series by Jasinda Wilder
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  "Jesus, Joss."

  I let Lucian hold my arms, because the feel of his hands on me wasn't a bad thing; it grounded me, reminded me that I wasn't there anymore.

  "I identified them. And then they brought me into a room with some Canadian government official, and someone from the US government, since we were on vacation in Canada. They were discussing what to do with me. Deciding my fate, as if I wasn't there and didn't get a fucking vote. Just doing their jobs, I know that now, but then? I was still in shock. But I'd physically seen Mom and Dad's dead bodies, so it had been hammered home that they were dead, they were gone. That I was alone. Uncle Derek never even crossed my mind as an option, I just remember sitting there listening to them talk about foster care and the difficulty in finding a family to take me, given my age. They left, at some point, I don't know why. To discuss my fate in private, maybe. And I was like, no, fuck no, I'm not going into foster care. Fuck that. I knew a kid in my high school who was a foster, and...his stories did not inspire confidence, to say the least." I closed my eyes, inhaled, held it, and let it out slowly. "So...I left. I just walked out of the police station, walked back to the hotel, packed some shit in my backpack, and left. I didn't think about it, I just knew I wasn't going to sit around while some random government dudes decided what happened to me. So I just...I started walking, and I never stopped. Otherwise, I would've just... I would have laid down under a bridge somewhere and just...stopped."

  "I'm glad you kept going."

  I finally met his eyes. "I didn't have a plan. A goal. Nothing. I just...I walked because I didn't know what else to do. I should've tried to get back to the States; I realize that now, but I just...I wasn't thinking. I followed the road away from Yarmouth and walked for...I don't even know long. Hours. All the way to the next village on the coast, don't remember its name. I needed to get away, as far away as possible and as soon as possible--away from the accident, away from the death of my parents--it wasn't a logical decision to run, it was an emotional one. So I bought a bus ticket. And then another bus ticket, and another, and somehow, almost a full day later, ended up in Quebec. I don't even know how I got there. There were a lot of transfers, and I was operating on autopilot or something. I had a lot of cash, since Mom and Dad had left their cash behind when they left to go hiking, and I'd taken it. But that bus trip to Quebec cost me a lot of money, and I realized I couldn't keep taking buses everywhere, especially if I didn't have a plan. I just knew I needed to get away. So I got to Quebec, and just kept walking west."

  "Just because to get as far away from everything as possible?" Lucian said, his voice gentle.

  I nodded without looking at him. "Yeah, pretty much."

  "And now?"

  Something in his voice made me look up, and the mocha of his eyes was warm and kind and gentle and inquisitive and hypnotic. Once I met his gaze, I couldn't look away. He was tall, so much taller than me that I had to tilt my head up to meet his eyes. His chest was bare, and he was clad in only a thin towel cinched around his waist. A mental image of through my mind, and I blushed again. Maybe he noticed, maybe he didn't--my skin is dark enough it can be hard to tell when I'm blushing.

  "And now...what?" I swallowed hard.

  "Now that you're here, what are you going to do? You're as far west as you can go, and you're back in the States. what?"

  Was his face closer than it had been? Were our bodies pressed closer together? Why was my pulse going so haywire? What was happening to me? I don't react this way to anyone, about anything. Ever. Even when I had that crazy crush on Nick Wellesley in tenth grade I wasn't affected by him like this, and we got to what Maria called "second base" before I realized Nick was dating three other girls at the same time as me.

  Wait. He'd asked me a question. What was the question?

  His chest was hard and soft and the same time--the skin was soft and warm, but the muscle underneath was hard as a rock. Wait...why did I know that? Oh, because my palms were both resting on his chest. And his face was closer to mine because either he was leaning down, or because...oh--or because I was up on my tiptoes.

  A tableau, then: his eyes on mine, his hands sliding from my arms down to my waist, my fingertips digging into his pecs, just above his nipples.

  And then he huffed gently, a sound of frustration, or relief, or of him giving in to something he'd been fighting, I wasn't sure which. A huff, and then his mouth was slanting across mine, and his lips were warm and damp and soft and gentle, and my heart was crashing in my chest, and the feel of his body against mine made me dizzy, and his mouth was intoxicating. His kiss was intoxicating. This wasn't Nick, an eager but clumsy boy--this was a man, and god, could he kiss. It swept me away, and I lost myself in it. I heard a soft whimper, a breathy sound from my throat.

  Yes, it was a kiss so potent it literally made me whimper involuntarily.

  And yet, that sound, the whimper, it snapped me out of the hypnosis his kiss had put me in.

  I stumbled backward, fingers on my lips. "Lucian, I--"

  "You are so damn beautiful, Joss." His voice sounded awed.

  I blinked hard, my throat closing, heart still hammering in my chest so hard it hurt, my hands shaking, lungs finally sucking in a full breath. "I can't--we--I...shit."

  I turned and ran into his bedroom and closed the door. I collapsed on the bed, my mind spiraling, emotions running on high-octane, adrenaline crashing through me.

  He kissed me.

  I kissed him.

  Which was it? Does it matter?

  That kiss was the most amazing experience ever. It felt as if, for a few incredible moments, all the worry and stress I had been feeling was lifted from my shoulders, and I felt light and free. Amazing.

  Too amazing.

  I want to kiss him again. I want to kiss him again so badly I have to grip the duvet under my hands to keep from getting up and crashing in on his shower again.

  I fell backward on the bed, laughing into my hands, hysterical.

  I saw his penis...and it was beautiful. I want to see it again. I want to touch it. I want his hands on me.

  Shit, shit, shit, this was bad.

  I can't feel this way about Lucian. He's too much like me, and yet so different. His family is so...much. Overwhelming and amazing and fun and welcoming.

  I belonged. For a few minutes there, I had known what it felt like to be part of a family. More than just that, but part of...something big and complicated and messy. Even with Mom and Dad, it had been neat and orderly and lonely. Dinner was always a quiet affair. I spent a lot of time alone, or with my best friend Maria, before we argued over that idiot Tim Ennis. After that, my life was even more lonely. And then, after Mom and Dad died, I was just...alone all the time.

  So to be surrounded by all those people, who all knew each other and loved each other, making fun and teasing and joking, laughing, drinking together, just...being together...that was something I would never forget.

  But the kiss, though.

  Holy shit.

  My thighs clenched together involuntarily at the memory of his mouth on mine, and the possessive way his hands had moved to encircle my waist.

  I wanted more. Desperately, I wanted more.

  But this was dangerous territory. If I wasn't careful, this could get out of hand very quickly, and I don't think I could handle anything else going wrong in my life. I can't let myself have him. I can't let myself want him. Because there's another problem, another secret I'm not ready or willing to reveal, to him or to anyone.

  But that doesn't stop me from being totally under his spell. I kept seeing his eyes as he closed his for the kiss, kept feeling his lips on mine, his strong hands on my waist, kept seeing that long, thick organ dangling between his thighs.

  Need was an overwhelming drive inside me, and I only knew one way of alleviating the pressure...something I rarely had the privacy or opportunity to indulge in...

  I shouldn't.

  God, I shouldn't.
  But my body was going crazy, my mind whirling. My nipples were hard, my thighs quaking. Heat was pooling. It wouldn't take much, and it had been so long...



  * * *

  I went through the motions of showering on autopilot, but my mind was still stuck on the kiss. How silky her lips had felt, how soft her waist felt in my hands. The way her breasts had crushed against my chest as she lifted up on her tiptoes to kiss me. Her fingers on my chest, short, rounded fingernails digging into my skin.

  Just a kiss, but holy shit--what a kiss.

  I twisted off the water, but didn't get out of the shower right away. I couldn't. How could I leave the bathroom like this? I had a hard-on so vicious it hurt.

  Yet, she was only mere feet away, in my room. Thinking about me? About our kiss? She hadn't been unaffected by it--I heard that moan.

  I stood in the shower, back against the cold wet tile wall, and fisted my cock. Unbidden, an image of Joss filled my mind--the way she'd looked in that brief glimpse I'd gotten of her, naked and soaking wet. A line from a Sam Hunt song popped into my head--hips like honey, so thick and so sweet. Yeah, exactly. Her hips were wide, curving down to strong thighs. Narrower in the waist, and then, god, her breasts. My cock throbbed--her breasts were perfect. Heavy, big and round and teardrop shaped, her lush skin a few shades darker than caramel, wide dark areolae and even darker nipples.

  Fuck, fuck, fuck--no.

  I'm not jerking off to her. I'll never be able to look at her in the eyes if I do that.

  I released myself and breathed forcefully for a few seconds, and then roughly jerked on my clothing; even with tight boxer-briefs and jeans, it was obvious I had a hard-on, but I wasn't hiding in the damn bathroom. I exited, but then cursed when I realized my stupid hairbrush was in my room--living with so many people for so long had taught me to keep all of my belongings confined to my personal space.

  One thing I wasn't used to was sharing my space, so I didn't think twice about going into my room, forgetting momentarily that Joss was in there.

  I twisted the knob and pushed the door open, took two steps in before I happened to glance at the bed.

  And stopped, literally, midstep. My jaw dropped, and any chance I had of getting rid of the hard-on was erased instantly.

  Joss was on my bed, one hand shoved under the waistband of the yoga pants, moving vigorously. She had the hoodie shoved up, baring her breasts, and she had two fingers pincered around a nipple, rolling it. Her hips were gyrating, and she was biting her lip to muffle the moans she was making...which had disguised the sound of my entry.

  She hadn't noticed me.

  Her eyes were closed, a rictus of ecstasy turning her beautiful face into a mask of erotic release as she fingered herself.

  Shit, I should leave.

  But I was paralyzed in place by the image of her, like that--thrashing, hips flying, moaning, breasts bared, pinching her own nipple.

  I forced my eyes closed, backing up a step. Another. My shoulder blades hit the doorpost, and I couldn't keep my eyes closed anymore.

  God, I was a piece of shit, and I knew it, but I couldn't look away.

  Right then, as my eyes flew open, Joss came. Her moan flew out past her teeth, and she tensed, hips flexed upward, fingers moving inside her pants, and then she was undulating crazily against her fingers and groaning past clenched teeth. Flopping back down to the bed, she gasped breathlessly, withdrawing her hand and lowering the hem of the hoodie.

  Her eyes flicked open and immediately fixed on me. "You--you saw."

  I'm never speechless; I never stumble on my words...except right then. "I--uh. My hairbrush, and you"

  I squeezed my eyes shut and breathed slowly, counting to ten; this usually calmed me, centered me, but in that moment, all it did was let visions of an orgasming Joss fill my libido-flooded mind.

  "I'm sorry, Joss. I should've left--I shouldn't have watched. But I--shit. I'm sorry." I spun around on my heel and left, inadvertently slamming the door behind me.

  I made it down to the studio and slumped onto the couch they keep there. I put my head in my hands, trying to get myself under control. My erection throbbed, aching painfully. There was no hope for control, no hope of getting it to go away--erotic visions of Joss danced in my skull, teasing me.

  "FUCK!" I shot to my feet, pacing away, fruitlessly adjusting myself in an attempt to alleviate the aching pressure behind my zipper.

  I heard a step, stopped in my tracks and turned to find Joss in the stairwell, watching me through the open door, the hood drawn up over her dreadlocks. "Lucian?"

  I jerked my hand away from my cock as if burned, shoved my hands in my back pockets. "Hey."

  She took a step toward me. "Hey. So, about what you just saw--"

  I held up my hands to stop her. "Joss, I am so sorry I walked in on you, more so for not walking back out like I should've." I wiped my face and turned away. "I'm a piece of shit for watching you like that."

  "No," she murmured. "Don't say that. You're not."

  I laughed bitterly. "I kind of am. That was a dick move."

  "We're both guilty of staring longer than we should have, then. So let's call it even."

  I shook my head. "Not quite. Slightly different situations. You caught me getting into the shower, I caught you..." I trailed off.



  She took a step closer to me. "What's going on, Lucian? Between us, I mean. What is this?"

  I let out a breath. "No fucking clue."

  She shoved her hands into the pouch pocket of the hoodie. "But you feel it, too."

  I nodded. "Yeah."

  She stared up at me. "You asked, before, what I was going to do now." She ducked her head, dropping her eyes to her bare feet. "When I was passing through Winnipeg, I happened to wander into this little bookstore. It was cold, and I was looking for somewhere to sleep for the night, and was just kind of killing time. This bookstore was just this tiny little place, maybe half a dozen shelves, mostly used sci-fi, westerns, and mystery paperbacks. The owner was this middle-aged black guy, and he had a tiny espresso machine in the back, and if you asked, he'd make you a latte or Americano or whatever. And it just...I don't know. I felt them there. My mom and dad, I mean. I sat on the floor between two shelves and cried because I missed them so much. And the owner helped me to a chair and made me coffee and got me talking about Mom and Dad, how they owned a little place like his, and how I missed them so much. And he...he said something so simple and so profound it just...changed me. 'So open your own place.' Like it was the most obvious thing in the world."

  "That's what you're doing next?"

  She nodded. "That's my dream. I sat in that little bookstore, sipping coffee out of a chipped mug, the smell of books everywhere, and I had this vision of opening a place like Mom and Dad owned. Nothing big, nothing fancy. Local books, bestsellers, whatever I like. A nice espresso machine, maybe some baked goods. Somewhere you can go and sit and sip and read, where students can do homework and writers can write and locals congregate. That's what Mom and Dad's place was, and I had this vision of me, in my own place like that."

  "What's stopping you?"

  She shook her head, sniffling, dreadlocks moving in serpentine waves. "I don't know. Everything. Life. Being homeless. Being broke. Not having a high school diploma. Where do I even start? I don't know. But that's my dream, and I'll get there someday. For Mom and Dad."

  "What would you call it?"

  She smiled, hesitating over her answer. "I would call it home."

  "I meant--"

  She looked away with a shrug. "I know. And I have no idea--I haven't thought about it."

  I frowned at her. "Bullshit."

  She fiddled with a dreadlock, and then glanced at me. "The Garden."

  I laughed. "Really?"

  She sniffled again. "Mom and Dad fought over the name for months when they opened their place, and that's what Dad wa
nted to call it. Mom thought it was silly, and insisted on the more pedestrian Pete's Cafe, which Dad always hated. But Mom insisted, and Dad could never tell her no, so that's what they called it. But Dad always told me one day he'd get her to change it to The Garden."

  "Why that?"

  "He said it was because a bookstore is really a garden of sorts. Each book is a seed, for ideas and thoughts and dreams, and I always thought it sounded like a cool, unique, even romantic name for a bookstore."

  "I like it."

  "Really? You don't think it's stupid?"

  I shook my head. "No, not at all."

  She looked up at me again, and her gaze was hesitant. "About the kiss..." She shifted her feet, shoved her hands in the hoodie pocket again. "I'm not sure I'm ready for that."

  I felt the sting of rejection, even though I knew it was stupid--she was a girl with a dream, a wanderer, and I knew better than anyone that when she was ready to leave, there would be no stopping her, certainly not me, or a kiss, or even the hint of attraction, or whatever it was between us.

  "Ready for what?" I stepped toward her. "It was just a kiss."

  Her gaze dropped down to my zipper; my erection was subsiding, but it was still very much obvious that I was, or at least had been, aroused as hell. "Not just a kiss."

  I passed a hand through my damp hair. "Joss, come on. It doesn't have to be a big deal."

  "We kissed, and then you caught me masturbating because of it, and unless I'm mistaken, you either did or wanted to do the same thing."

  "I didn't," I admitted. "It didn't feel...I don't know."

  "But I did." She laughed bitterly. "Now I feel even more like shit."

  "Joss--Jesus. It's not like that. I'm sorry I walked in on you...I should have realized you'd be in there and I should've knocked."

  "That's not what I'm pissed off about, you idiot!" She barked another bitter laugh and turned away, pacing the room. "We had this kiss, this moment, and yeah, it was crazy hot--and then you caught me jilling off while thinking about you, and that fucking kiss. And now you tell me you didn't jack off when clearly the kiss was just as hot for you, because that goddamn python in your pants makes it pretty damn obvious. But you didn't jack off because it didn't feel right or whatever, and I did because I'm fucking weak."

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