Steph tipped her head forward, letting her braids fall onto the lounger she’d bribed off the lifeguard. The thought of being at a public pool on her only free afternoon had been depressing, but a well played flirtation had netted her a pretty sweet deal. Of course Tony, Terry…Todd? Whatever his name was, had been looking for company when he’d spilled about the rooftop access. She’d even thought about it for a moment. Tanned and lovely, he’d probably have been a nice diversion for the day. The only problem was she was tired of settling for diversions.
The man looming behind her was the only one she was interested in. She didn’t know if Richie was really oblivious or just trying damn hard to ignore her. She wasn’t sure she was happy with either option. It felt like she’d wanted him her entire life. And each day that she had to pretend she didn’t drove her a little more nuts.
She could feel his eyes on her back. The air was alive with his indecision. Seriously, was he looking for a way to get out of touching her? Sometimes she could feel something between them. Oh, he tried to hide it. Damned if she could figure out what the big deal was. They were two adults—unattached adults to be exact. She was well over the age of consent and she wanted nothing more than to feel his hips between her thighs…to start.
She understood lust and she sure as hell understood sex, but when she was around Richie everything she’d ever experienced before felt like a prelude—like there was something more waiting for her. Something with Richie’s name on it.
The calloused tip of one finger dipped between her shoulder blades and the gentle tug on a stray curl stirred a line of goosebumps up her spine. He lowered himself onto the chair beside her and tucked the curl over her shoulder. Without a word, a pool of lotion followed that same line.
She couldn’t have stopped the groan if she wanted to. His hands, smooth and gentle, kneaded into her skin. He skimmed along the sides of her breasts, pausing for just a moment when she raised her arms higher to give him more access.
When he only continued to the small of her back, she closed her eyes. She wanted him to cup her, to see just how sensitive he made her. Just the slightest touch had her nipples so tight she was tempted to cup them herself to ease the ache. She was even more tempted to take his hands and make him do it.
Did he know what he did to her?
The blasted man hadn’t said a word and she was lying there dying at the thought of his hands on her tits for God’s sake. He’d probably just laugh at her. Richie had his hands on more females than she cared to think about. Her flesh probably meant little to nothing to him.
She went still as his thumbs brushed over the dip of her suit into the high curve of her butt. He teased under the bottom half of her bikini. Knowing Richie, he was worried about a burn line.
What she wanted to do was strip the stupid bottoms off and get onto her knees and beg him to fuck her for God’s sake. She wasn’t sure that would even do it. She’d need hours of good, hard loving at this point. And Richie was the only one could possibly get it done.
Now that she knew just how it felt for him to touch her—even a platonic touch—was going to drive her crazy. She sat up, making sure her back was to him, but the quick hiss of his breath made her feel a little better.
Okay, so maybe he wasn’t totally unaffected. She looked over her shoulder catching a flash of something in his eyes. The quick smile that usually tugged at his lips was missing—in its place was a serious face that she recognized on Jon, not her Richie.
Frustrated, she corrected herself—just Richie.
He wasn’t hers. Not yet, anyway.
“I’d ask you to do my front,” the hot glint in his eyes gave her hope, “but I wouldn’t want to be called a tease.” Nope, definitely not unaffected.
He stood up. “Is that what this is about?” The brutal crack of a knuckle punctuated each word.
She quickly put her top back on, stalking around the chair before she had herself fully tucked back in her top. His eyes were hidden by darkened lenses again, pissing her off all the more. “You’d know it if I was teasing you, Richie Sambora. You couldn’t handle it.”
“Think so? I’ve had a lot of practice seeing through women, baby. You’re still in the minor leagues.” His chin lifted, arrogance and the slicing edge of cruelty colored his voice. “You’re not ready for someone like me.”
The cocky smirk was what did it—at least she was pretty sure that’s what she’d use for blame later. She was more than ready for him. She’d been waiting for him for ten years. Anger and the need to prove herself pushed her into his space.
She snaked her fingers around the back of his neck, dragging him down to her. Surprise had him jerking back a full step. Undeterred, she pressed him into the half wall that enclosed the corner of the roof. Games were for girls and women who didn’t know what they wanted.
This—him—and all the pieces in between were what she’d been waiting for since she was a teenager. She needed to make him see that.
The man was forever in a tanktop, leaving half of his chest open and the heat of his skin distracted her. She’d wanted to know how it felt for so long. Part of her had always wondered why he wore so little, but now she knew. His skin was hot—like a damn furnace.
She wanted to know every inch of him. She flattened herself against his chest, undeterred when he went absolutely still. This is what she needed to get past. Whatever it was that stopped him from touching her, from taking her when she knew in her heart that he wanted this as much as she did. Somehow she would find a way around whatever it was that was holding him back.
The one word held warning and heat all at once. She knew it was there. Her knee slid between his thighs, when the hard line of his cock dug into her she rode the flood of lust. Her fingers curled into his shirt, into the muscle and the slit along the side of his tank shirt.
He grabbed her wrist, pushing her back. She stared up at him. “Why are you making this so hard? I know you want me at least as much as I want you.” Determined, she brought her finger up to the fullest part of his lower lip. “Kiss me.”
She wrenched her wrist free. “Why the hell not? I can feel how much you want me for God’s sake.”
“I’m a man, Steph. It’s a physical response.”
She couldn’t read him behind the damn sunglasses. The first tingle of unease had her stepping back. Pride wouldn’t let her back down. “I know the difference between a man who’s just horny and who wants me, Richie.”
And in that moment, she remembered when he’d walked away from her in New York. Doubt, swift and relentless, bore down on her. She wouldn’t watch him walk away again. She threw him a careless smile and stepped back. “Your loss.” She turned away from him this time.
She’d been so sure of him. It couldn’t be one sided when she felt like this. The quick sting of tears had her settling back on her lounger with her own pair of sunglasses.
“Steph, I didn’t—“
“Save it. You’re obviously not the man I thought you were. A lot has changed in the last few years, I guess.” She rolled onto her stomach, shutting him out. She wasn’t going to embarrass herself anymore. He could go to hell for all she cared.