What if I told you that I loved you? The words to the song blurred in her brain. Second chances rarely came around. Daryl fidgeted on the doorstep. Meeting her son’s teacher for dinner. Crazy. Sure, she and Austin had been friends since college and still kept in touch, but after her disastrous marriage to Tad...
She didn’t trust herself around men, especially not Austin.
Women wanted Austin and who wouldn’t? Tall, dark, handsome with perpetual five o’clock shadow and completely oblivious to his looks. She pressed her lips tight together. Then there was his voice. The man put Barry White to shame.
She considered heading back to her car when the lock clicked. Her breath clogged in her throat when Austin opened the door. “Hey Daryl. Come on in.” He held the door wide and opened his hand. “Stroganoff started to burn or I’d have answered the door sooner.”
Stepping past him, Daryl caught a whiff of him—spicy cologne combined with a hint of garlic. She giggled. Only Austin could make garlic sexy. Her brain whirled a mile a minute. They’d met for drinks plenty of times over the years, but this felt different.
“I brought wine,” she said and turned. Instead of seeing him across the room, she ran into a solid wall of Austin.
His smile widened. “Fantastic. I wasn’t sure what to pair with the noodles.” He stroked her arm, sending tingles through her being. “You look...stunning.”
“I look like me.” Oh, damn. Way to sound intelligent.
Austin inched closer to her. “And I like you.”
Shimmers fluttered over her skin and every last nerve in her body stood at attention. Diffuse. Yes, she had to diffuse him. He’d said he liked her years ago and walked away. Who’s to say he’d stick around now? She opened her mouth to speak, but no words formed.
“I figured you’d be quiet tonight.” Austin pulled away and escorted her to the dining room. “What does Evan think about this?”
“He’s all for it and thinks Mom,” she hooked her fingers in the air, “hooking up with Mr. Garrett will hoist his grades.”
He wriggled one brow and offered her a glass of wine. “Might come in handy at project time.”
“Yeah?” So many things flooded his words. God help her not to get giddy over a single sentence. “Are you going to help my son because he needs help or because of his mother?”
“I mean...Daryl, I care about you and one date isn’t going to change it.”
“Oh.” She nearly choked on her wine. He couldn’t mean... Her rotten luck. This guy she really liked. She set the glass down and stood. “I’d better...yeah...okay. You know what? I’m leaving.”
Austin’s smile drooped. His voice came out thick. “Why?”
With shaky hands, she pushed her chair back into place. The padded back thumped against the wooden table top. “Because I’m not going to do it again. I’m not going to give my heart to a man and find out he doesn’t care. It hurts too much and it screws up Evan and...”
Austin silenced her rant with a kiss. God he tasted too good, like chocolate and sugar and sin.... Putting both hands on his chest, she pushed him away. “I don’t want your kiss.”
“Yes you do.” His voice dropped an octave and his lips parted.
The low light glittered in his eyes. “Naked. Now.”
God. That voice. She shifted her hips to stifle the heat between her thighs. “No.”
“Should I spank you?”
Yes. No. Damn. “Austin.” She’d never seen him so dominant and holy hell it made her want him more.
“I want to see your beautiful body and I’m not going to wait. Each minute you hold out is another spank.”
Although the idea of being spread across his lap, open for his inspection and whim sounded divine, Daryl slipped the straps of her dress off her shoulders. Better not make him wait. The demi bra did little to capture her modesty and the filmy panties gave all her secrets away. She forced her hands to remain at her sides and not instinctively cover her lingerie-covered assets.
Austin hooked his fingers in the spaghetti straps of her bra, snapping the delicate fabric. He licked his lips and traced a line between her breasts. “Better than my dreams.”
Her breath stuttered. “You—you dreamed about me?”
“Yes, sweet girl.” Austin knelt before her, kissing his way from her breasts down to her stomach. One hand eased her panties down her hips while the other massaged her nipple.
The hand between her legs trailed between her nether lips and slid into her, filling her. Daryl gasped. “Let’s not talk about...oh!”
“From the moment I laid eyes on you. The dick didn’t deserve you.” Austin’s sigh tingled from her head to her toes. “Lay down. I want to feel you around me.”
“On the table?” Oh damn, she sounded goofy.
“Good thinking.” He stood and scooped her into his arms. “I wanted to make love to you on the bed, not my table—not yet, anyway.”
The air swirled around her body as he surged into the bedroom. “I wanted this to be special, but I can’t wait.” In mere moments, he shucked his jeans and ripped the button down shirt from his torso. Buttons pinged around the room as the fabric shredded.
She fell back against the bedding and her mouth watered. The times they’d been to the beach had nothing on the toned Apollo before her. “Oh...wow.”
“Nah.” He withdrew the condom and tore the packet with his teeth. “I’ve waited for this moment for so long.” In one swift motion, he entered her.
Daryl whimpered and her vision blurred. Everything she’d ever wanted cradled her in his arms. Austin nuzzled her neck, moving within her body. His thrusts grew frantic in an instant. She shuddered. At this rate, she’d never be able to hold back either. The orgasm washed over her in tidal wave proportions. She cried out and dug her nails into his back.
“Yes.” Austin’s eyelids drooped shut and a low groan escaped his lips. Still cuddling her, still deep within her, he fluttered kisses over her lips and cheeks. “This changes things, doesn’t it?”
Daryl nodded, not totally believing she’d made love to the man of her dreams.
“Now about what I tried to say in the dining room.” He placed his finger over her lips, quieting her response. “I want more than dates. More than horny teacher and hot parent. I want what we should’ve had ten years ago.”
“Ten years ago, you left me.”
“What if I told you I was in love with you back then? What would you have done?”
“I don’t know.”
“What about now? I love you, Daryl Ann.”
She stared at him, unable to breathe.
His eyes widened. “Yes? Bad? Talk?”
“Austin. I’ve waited so long for those words.”
He turned and rummaged through the night stand. “I bought this after our third date. I messed up back then and let my brain talk me out of what my heart needed. Not gonna do that again. I love you and want you and Evan to be my family. I want to marry you.”
“Evan agreed to this? He wasn’t totally sure about us dating. He said he was but, he’s eight. He changes his mind fast.”
“He gave me a ring from the quarter machine at Dean’s. Said you needed a pretty ring.” His hand trembled as he offered her the diamond.
“Then...yes. Let’s be a family.”
“We’ll do that in the morning. “ He slipped the ring onto her finger and snagged her in an embrace. “I just got you back and there’s a whole lot more loving I want to do.”
About the author: I always dreamed of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line. I tend to write books with titles taken from songs because music is one of my many muses. I earned a BA in education at Kent State university and as well as a Masters in Education from Nova Southeastern University. I've tried my hand at teaching, waitressing, and retail sales, but writing holds my heart. I love NASCAR, romance, books in general, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, and my menagerie of animals. I have ten books under contract and more than my brain can handle percolating. I can't wait to share them with you!