It was a bonus that the guy who jumped for me also happened to be smoking hot and a serious professional in the bedroom.
The smoke alarm finally quieted as I waved a hand in front of my face and made my way over to the counter. He climbed down and pulled me to him for a quick and biting kiss. His fingers brushed over the section of my hair that was shaved off and currently sporting a raised and pink scar from where my head and the rock collided. The other side was wound together in a long, rosy braid that he yanked on the end of as he leaned away from my greedy lips. Initially, the hospital had only buzzed a tiny section, but it was right above my ear and impossible to cover so I took the whole side of my head down in a buzz cut and was rocking a seriously asymmetrical and edgy haircut. The pink was back, bright and vivid, but Quaid seemed to like all of it and didn’t blink an eye at any of the drastic changes.
“How did it go today?” His voice was curious, but also supportive. I knew that if I was bringing bad news in with me he would not only be there to help me through it but also to help me come up with an alternate game plan. One amazing side benefit of dating a man that was as sharp and as smart as Quaid was that he never saw anything as a dead end. All he saw was a way that was blocked for the time being, which meant an alternate route was needed. Because of him, I had finally found my new course and the dead end I was stuck in was no more.
“It went okay. My grades aren’t really good enough to enroll for this semester because of dropping out before. I need to go back to community college and get the basics out of the way and get decent grades for a year, then I should be accepted into the culinary program at the arts institute. I can afford the classes at the community college, no problem, and if I take Asa up on his offer to work in his new bar, I should be able to save up enough money over the next year to pay for at least the first semester of culinary school when I get there. I want to do it all the right way and I think I’m on the right track.”
It was scary to have such serious plans so far out in the future and I’d never been a very good student but I wanted to cook and I wanted to be the best at it that I could. I wanted to not only prove to myself that I could commit to something that mattered to me but I also wanted to prove to my parents and even to Quaid that I wasn’t falling anymore. I was climbing my way up and they didn’t need to worry about me slipping back down like they used to. I could still see rock bottom when I looked down, but after everything I’d been through in the last few months, I knew it wasn’t a place I ever wanted to be again. Rock bottom no longer felt comfortable or necessary.
“Sounds like a plan. Whatever you need holler at me and I’m here for you.” He put his hands on my hips and backed me away from the still-smoky kitchen towards the massive leather couch that took up the entire center of the living room.
I put my hands on his shoulders when my ass hit the back edge of the sofa and parted my legs so he would press himself right into the notch that I swore was designed to fit around him and only him. “You can help me with my math homework … naked.”
He chuckled and bent his tawny head down so that he could brush his lips across mine. The soft caress made me catch my breath and the hitch quickly turned into a sigh as he pressed me back even farther so that my feet were no longer touching the ground and I had to wrap my legs around his lean waist to avoid falling backwards. I curled my hands around his biceps and watched with heavy lidded eyes as he shifted his attention to my combat boots—pulling one off and tossing it over his shoulder, where it landed with a heavy thud.
“Homework won’t get done if either of us is naked. I can’t even boil water when I start thinking about you in my bed, under me, and calling my name. I almost burned the fucking loft down trying to toast bread when my mind wanders and all I can picture is you on your knees in front of me, with that pouty mouth wrapped around my cock. You are the best and worst kind of distraction, so really it’s your fault dinner is in the trash.”
I let out a strangled laugh as he slid his hands under the waistband of the black-and-white leggings I had on underneath the plaid shirtdress I had worn to meet with the advisers at the arts institute. The stretchy fabric was down my legs and thrown over his shoulder within seconds, and the abrasive scrape of his jeans against my inner thighs as he pressed right into my center made me groan and shift against that prominent bulge that was making its presence known.
I lifted my eyebrows at him as he put one hand on the curve of my ass and used the other to slowly start opening the front of my top. “Sorry about dinner.” The dry humor in my tone made him grin at me and the lightness in his expression, the pure, unfiltered happiness that now shone out of him on a regular basis, made me love him harder than I already did. Quaid finding his balance, his place between who he was and who he thought he was meant to be, was a beautiful thing and it inspired me to always try and be the best me I could going forward.
“You can make it up to me by offering to be dessert.” He finally had all the buttons free and pushed the fabric to the side so that I was sitting before him in nothing more than dark red panties and the matching bra.
He hooked a finger under the leg of my lacy underwear and I bit out a gasp as his knuckle brushed delicately across my outer folds. “Are you calling me dessert because I look like candy?” The words were harsh because his finger found its way into the damp cleft that never failed to quiver and tremble for him.
“You’re dessert because you’re sweet, Avett. So very sweet, and you would be that way whether you had cotton-candy-colored hair or not.”
That made my heart swell and my body go liquid and loose around his probing finger. I went to pull him closer so I could kiss the shit out of him for being so sweet himself, but instead I yelped as he suddenly tugged the lace down and off of me right before he lowered himself to his knees in front of me and moved my legs so that they were resting on his wide shoulders. I had to wrap my fingers in his thick, golden hair to keep my balance as he pushed my legs open wider and moved his head to the side so that he could place a sucking kiss on the inside of my thigh. My flesh pebbled in anticipation and I saw his eyes narrow and his nostrils flare as my sex started to glisten in eagerness.
His face was covered in golden scruff, and the rasp of it against my most tender of places had my toes curling and my mouth watering as he traced lazy patterns with the tip of his tongue against my skin.