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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hearts on Fire

Julia is a Houston firefighter and Trevor is the news reporter who loves her. Trevor wants to keep their steamy relationship going by proposing marriage, and plans to do it in the most memorable way he knows how.

 Trevor cursed under his breath as he stumbled out of the news van and into another humid Houston night. His polo shirt stuck to him like a second skin and beads of sweat gathered on his upper lip. This was really going to suck.
Ahead of him by about one-hundred yards, a warehouse was engulfed in flames. Ash fell from the sky like confetti to dot the dirty concrete, along with his brand new military style boots. He rolled his eyes and ran a hand through his hair, unsurprised to find flecks of ash had already fallen within the raven locks.
“Hey, man, you ready?”
Trevor turned to find his cameraman, Nick, already pointing the camera toward the raging fire. If Trevor didn’t hurry up and say his piece there would be nothing left to report. “Yeah. Let’s go.”
In less than a minute he had his game face on and was answering questions from the anchors sitting in the air-conditioned studio across town. The whole clip lasted about two minutes, and then he was turning off the microphone while Nick took a few final shots.
Trevor was standing in the open door of the van putting equipment away when Nick whistled low. “Damn, there she is. Almost makes me wanna set my house on fire.”
Trevor’s pulse sped up and sweat broke out for a different reason than the heat as he turned to see who had gotten Nick’s attention. And there she was, all five feet-three inches of warm-blooded, Texas woman. Her dark brown hair was covered by the HFD helmet and the protective gear hid her curves, but Trevor had spent most nights of the past two years learning every single one. “Damn. I forgot she was on call tonight.”
He scowled at Nick who was still ogling Julia, but Trevor knew it was just to rile him up. “Put your eyes back in their sockets. You know she’s taken.”
Nick laughed and brushed passed him to put the video camera away. “Yeah, yeah. So when are you gonna make an honest woman outta her?”
“None of your damn business. But keep next June open just in case.”
Nick chuckled. “Ready to go?”
“Nah, you go ahead. I’m waiting around for this one to end.”
Trevor stepped back as Nick slid the door shut. After clapping Trevor on the back, Nick climbed into the van and drove off.
The fire was still blazing but seemed to be more in control. Luckily it was the only building on the block in the older industrial area. The firefighters were still hosing it down as the humid night filled with the acrid scent of burnt wood and metal. Trevor made his way to the closest fire truck and sat on the bumper, as out of the way as he could get while still close enough to watch Julia work. She amazed him. When not in uniform the small woman looked quiet and almost shy, but she hid her boisterous personality well. She was the most generous woman he’d ever met, and one of the hardest working. It had taken a while for him to get over the danger she put herself into every time a call went into the station.
Their two year anniversary was only a few hours away. He planned to make this one memorable, and hoped she wouldn’t be too exhausted to celebrate a little early. Now all he had to do was wait and watch as she did the job she loved, even while his heart stayed in his throat the entire time.

Julia knew the moment Trevor arrived on the scene and almost wished he hadn’t been called to report on the warehouse fire. She had always loved her job. Being a firefighter was a calling, a career, and part of her blood. She had been born into a family of firefighters and never thought to be anything else. Finding a man who wasn’t threatened by her career had been a miracle. The fact that he could sit and watch her do the job without freaking out was a revelation. He was one in a million.
Now she fought to concentrate on the task at hand and forget him sitting a few feet away. Two years was the longest relationship she had ever been in and it almost scared her, but being with him felt too right to question. They had clicked from day one and almost always saw eye to eye. She just hoped they could have at least another two years of bliss.
It took another hour to get the blaze down to simmering embers. After a few more minutes, Julia’s team was dismissed back to the station. They rolled their hoses back up and packed it in. She looked around for Trevor but didn’t see him anywhere. As her team climbed into the truck she asked if anyone else had seen him.
“Yeah, he was here, but I saw him jump in a truck and take off,” Scott said.
“You two have a fight?” Oscar asked. “He kinda looked pissed off.”
The others gave her some good-natured ribbing about fighting with her man, and she joked right along with them. But in the back of her mind was a nagging doubt about why Trevor would have left without saying a single word to her. It wasn’t odd for him to be on the scene. It didn’t happen all the time, but had happened before. They both stayed in professional mode until the fire was out, and talked if they had a chance. He knew he couldn’t ride in the fire truck with her, but who had picked him up?
By the time they pulled into the station she had gone from confused, to mad, to worried. She hopped out and did what needed to be done before hitting the shower. Her shift had ended thirty minutes ago, but of course fires paid no attention to schedules. As soon as she was dressed she tried calling Trevor. It went straight to voicemail but she didn’t leave a message. He would see she called. She texted him a simple message to call her.
Dawn peeked over the horizon as she walked out of the station toward her car. She had just thrown her bag into the passenger seat when someone yelled her name.
“Julia!” She turned to find Scott jogging toward her. “We just got a call. Come on. We need you on this one.”
“What? I didn’t hear the alarm. Didn’t day shift just come on?”
He waved away her questions with one hand while grabbing her arm with the other. “Cap says we need you. Your boyfriend called it in.”
“What? Trevor?”
Fear fueled her veins as she pulled away from Scott and ran back into the station. The trucks weren’t even running but one rear bay door was up and the Captain’s large pick-up was raring to go.
“Julia,” the Captain called to her from the driver’s window. “Let’s go.”
She glanced around in confusion even as she ran to his passenger door. As soon as she was inside he put the truck in drive and flipped on his lights and siren. She pulled her seatbelt on as her heart raced. What the hell was going on and how was Trevor involved? He knew fire was nothing to play around with and he’d never seemed like the daring type before. Maybe he had been called to report the fire and noticed the department wasn’t on the scene yet?
They drove for less than fifteen minutes when the Captain pulled onto a dirt road between two heavily forested areas. Julia’s apprehension spiked. Houston had suffered one of the worst droughts in recent history. A forest fire could spread quickly. She looked through the trees as they drove, praying she wouldn’t see smoke. All she saw were green trees and an overabundance of squirrels.
They pulled into a clearing and stopped at the edge of a sheer drop. Julia recognized the area as Spring Creek, though it was barely a trickle of water at the moment. On the other side was a sandy flatland where people often rode their four-wheelers on the weekends. A lone figure stood waiting.
“What the hell is going on?” she asked. “Is that Trevor?”
He was about two-hundred yards away and below them. She walked as close to the edge of the drop as was safe and raised her arms in question. He waved and turned away.
“Yer boy there called me n’ said I needed to git you to the scene of a far,” the captain said.
Julia almost laughed at the familiar sound of his Southern drawl. Now that she could see Trevor with her own two eyes, the fear and tension slowly drained from her body. “Oh yeah? I don’t see a fire.”
She turned to smile at him but he looked passed her. “I do.”
He pointed across the way and she returned her attention to see lines of fire slowly making their way across the sand. Trevor stood a few feet away, but too close for comfort.
“What’s he doing? Trevor!”
Panic was beginning to take hold when the Captain grabbed her shoulders. “Whoa, girl. Hang on n’ look.”
Her pulse was racing as she fought the urge to slide down the embankment and run to Trevor. After a few seconds her brain finally clicked to what was happening. “Oh my god.”
The line of fire finally stopped spreading and Julia’s eyes registered the full pattern. Written in flames in the sand were the words Marry Me. Trevor moved away and lit another match. He dropped it onto the sand and a flaming heart quickly formed with J+T inside of it. Julia clapped her hands over her mouth as tears burned her eyes.
The Captain laughed. “There’s yer fire.”
Commotion behind Trevor drew her attention and she saw the rest of her team walking out of the trees with extinguishers. They all looked up toward her and Trevor spread his arms.
“Well?” he hollered.
“Girl, he’s waitin’ fer yer answer,” the Captain said.
“I don’t have a light,” she replied.
He threw back his head and laughed.
“Oh, all right.” She cupped her hands around her mouth so there would be no doubt on Trevor’s part. Then she hollered out, “YES!”
The men below cheered as Trevor dropped his arms and smiled up at her. He blew her a kiss before turning to accept backslaps from her teammates. She could hardly wait to be in his arms again.
It took a few minutes for the men to put the fires out and clear the scene Trevor had created. She hated to see it go but the Captain confessed Nick had been nearby photographing the whole thing.
“Oh my god. I better not see that on the news tonight,” she said.
He just laughed before leading her back to his truck. She expected to be dropped off somewhere nearby, but they drove all the way back to the station. Two other pick-up trucks arrived right behind them and soon Trevor found her waiting at her car. He approached slowly, looking almost unsure of himself. Julia didn’t want to make a scene in front of the men, but couldn’t stop from falling into Trevor’s arms as soon as he stood close enough.
“I can’t believe you did that,” she said with tears in her voice. “The guys scared the hell out of me when they said you were at the scene of another fire.”
Trevor held her close and kissed her forehead before tilting her chin up with one finger. “I didn’t mean to scare you, baby. I just wanted to do something special, to show you how much you mean to me.”
She sniffed back her tears and smiled up at him. “I love you.”
“I love you too. And I’m going to keep loving you for as long as you let me. You set my heart on fire the moment we met, and I don’t ever want it put out.”
That made her laugh even as a couple of tears slipped free. “That’s so cheesy. Are firefighter puns what I have to look forward to for the rest of our lives?”
He chuckled and planted a soft kiss on her lips. “Oh yeah. I got a million of them. Ready to go home and burn up the sheets?”
She laughed harder. “Are you hot for me?”
“Hotter than hot, baby.”
“Then we better get home before you go up in flames.”
She tried to pull away from his arms but he held tight. “Hang on. One more thing.”
Trevor dropped to one knee and pulled a small black box from his pocket. He popped it open before holding it up to her. Inside rested a beautiful silver ring, with tiny diamonds in a peculiar shape.
“Is that…is that what I think it is?” she asked.
“It’s in the shape of a burning flame.”
“Oh my god.”
She pulled the ring free and slipped it on as he stood. Then she jumped into his arms again. “I love you so damn much. Even with all the silly fire references.”
“You light up my life.”
She was laughing so hard he could barely kiss her.
“Okay, okay,” she said. “Enough already. I’ll need to think of some news reporter puns to say to you.”
He sighed dramatically before kissing her again. “Here’s a newsflash, I can hardly wait.”
She groaned and kissed him to keep him from saying anything else.
“Hey, cool it off over there before we hose you down,” Scott called out.
Trevor and Julia turned to find most of the station watching them.
“Oops. I kinda forgot about them,” she said.
“Me too. We better go.”
“You got it, news man.”
He started humming Great Balls of Fire and she laughed all the way home.

Heating Things Up

Trevor cursed under his breath as he stumbled out of the news van and into another humid Houston night. His polo shirt stuck to him like a second skin and beads of sweat gathered on his upper lip. This was really going to suck.
Ahead of him by about one-hundred yards, a warehouse was engulfed in flames. Ash fell from the sky like confetti to dot the dirty concrete, along with his brand new military style boots. He rolled his eyes and ran a hand through his hair, unsurprised to find flecks of ash had already fallen within the raven locks.
“Hey, man, you ready?”
Trevor turned to find his cameraman, Nick, already pointing the camera toward the raging fire. If he didn’t hurry up and say his piece there would be nothing left to report.
“Yeah,” Trevor replied. “Let’s go.”
In less than a minute he had his game face on and was answering questions from the anchors sitting in the air-conditioned studio across town. The whole clip lasted about two minutes, and then he was turning off the microphone while Nick took a few final shots.
Trevor was standing in the open door of the van putting equipment away when Nick whistled low. “Damn, there she is. Almost makes me wanna set my house on fire.”
Trevor’s pulse sped up and sweat broke out for a different reason than the heat as he turned to see who had gotten Nick’s attention. And there she was, all five feet-three inches of warm-blooded, Texas woman. Her dark brown hair was covered by the HFD helmet and the protective gear hid her curves, but Trevor had spent enough nights fantasizing about them to know every single one. “Damn.”
Nick chuckled and clapped Trevor on the shoulder as he walked past to put his camera away. “Ya know, she could prob’ly use a cold drink after a blazer like this one. I’ll bet if you were ‘round the station at quittin’ time she’d let you take her out for one.”
Trevor was shaking his head before Nick even finished. “No way, man. A woman like that is more than I can handle. I like mine uncomplicated and forgetful. As in, they forget I never called them back.”
Nick snorted a laugh before stepping into the van.
Trevor turned his attention back to the lone female firefighter on the scene. Julia wasn’t an anomaly in the city, but she was the only one on duty for the stations that had been called. A full year had passed since they met when Trevor did a story on female firefighters in Houston. She had caught his eye all those months ago and plagued him like a sickness, but he was determined not to get snared by the beautiful woman. He didn’t do long-term relationships, and she had forever written all over her. So, for now he would keep her in the fantasy category and nothing more.

Julia watched the news van pull away as the acrid taste of smoke burned the back of her throat. It wasn’t enough to worry over. She had just removed her mask and instinctively sucked in a lungful of humid air. The warehouse was a complete loss and now they simply watched for hot spots to flare up. Annoyance filled her at how quickly Trevor had jumped in the van to leave. Would it kill the man to say hello? With a shrug she went back to work and pushed him from her thoughts.
Three hours later she pulled into an all-night diner with a sigh of anticipation. The big fires always made her hungry, as she burned off untold calories while working them. Eating alone usually depressed her but tonight she was too tired to care. Not to mention hungry. Her stomach growled its approval as she stepped inside and the distinct smell of bacon filled her nostrils. She took a deep breath and smiled at the waitress behind the counter. Without bothering to look around she slipped onto a stool and picked up a menu.
By the time Julia was ready to order, a glass of ice-water and a set of utensils appeared before her. “Coffee, please, and the breakfast special.”
The waitress nodded her approval and moved away.
Julia picked up the water and gulped half of it down as someone took the seat next to her. A large shape filled her peripheral vision but she didn’t think much of it until he spoke. “Fancy meeting you here.”
She couldn’t hide the surprise from her face as she turned to face Trevor. He just grinned and blatantly looked her over. “As usual, you clean up well.”
“Thanks…I think. I guess you don’t.” She brushed ash off one of his shoulders with a laugh.
“Damn. Thanks. I thought I’d gotten it all before walking in here.”
“I figured you’d be fast asleep by now.”
The waitress set down his water and utensils and he nodded thanks before looking at Julia again. “Nope. Just finished wrapping up the piece for the morning news. Nick dumped me here before taking off to the studio.”
They were in the heart of the city, an area with new residential building going up every week. Julia lived in a loft only two blocks away. “Oh? So you live close, or is he coming back for you?”
“I live a couple of blocks from here in one of the new high-rises.”
“So…that was some fire, huh?”
She hid a grin by taking a sip of water. He never seemed to know what to say to her. All of their conversations had consisted of talking about firefighting.
“Um…yeah. It was really…hot.”
He snorted a laugh and shook his head. “Yeah.”
She set her glass down and turned to fully face him. “Trevor, why can’t you talk to me like I’m a woman, and not just a firefighter?”
Both brows went up in true surprise. “I talk to you like you’re a woman.”
“Bull. What’s my favorite color? My middle name? The last book I read?”
He looked completely dumbfounded for a moment and she almost took pity on him. But then he shrugged and turned to fully face her. “You know I don’t know any of those things. But, have you considered you don’t know those things about me either?”
She opened her mouth to give a sarcastic response, but stopped herself and snapped it shut.   
“Ha,” he said. “Nothing to say to that, huh?”
“Well…okay, you’re right. So tell me.”
“Tell you what?”
She rolled her eyes. “Your favorite color, your middle name, and the last book you read.”
He spun back to face the counter and motioned for the waitress. Julia waited patiently as he placed his breakfast order before facing her again.
“All right. Blue, Marcus, and The Art of War.”
“I see.”
He rolled the finger of one hand toward her with an expectant look on his face. She smiled and gave in. “Purple, Grace, and The Pale Horseman.”
He looked completely surprised again. “Yeah? You like Bernard Cornwell?”
“I love him. You?”
“Yeah, he’s pretty good.”
Her food arrived and she dug in while he talked of the Cornwell books he liked the most. Once his food was set before him they shared a companionable silence as they ate. Their coffees were refilled and the diner slowly came to life. The minutes slipped away as they talked some more and eventually became more friends than acquaintances.
 Finally, Julia covered a yawn with one hand and glanced out the window. “Damn. Is that the sun?”
He turned to look and laughed. “Yup. Looks like we brought in the dawn.”
“I need to get home and get some sleep.”
“Probably not a bad idea.”
He grabbed both checks and before she could protest headed for the cashier. She just smiled as she followed him out the door. “Want a ride home?”
He looked down the street at the light traffic. “It’s not far.”
“Yeah, but you’ll sweat off all the food you just ate before you walk three steps. My car has great air-conditioning.”
He laughed and nodded his agreement. “Okay, you win.”
Julia had a sinking suspicion she knew where he lived as he pointed in the direction of her building. Sure enough, they soon realized they were neighbors.
“How long have you lived here?” he asked.
“About three months. You?”
“Almost a year.”
He followed her up two flights of stairs, but stopped at the landing to the third floor. “I’m up there.”
She watched him motion with his chin and fought the urge to grab his hand.
“Oh. I’m here on two. Do you wanna…have some coffee?”
Never mind the two pots they’d most likely had at the diner. Julia couldn’t silence the urge she had to spend more time in Trevor’s presence. She was exhausted, her muscles were sore, and she needed to pee. But the idea of letting him walk away seemed too final. After the past year of dancing around each other, getting him to even talk to her felt like some sort of miracle. She wasn’t usually this daring with a man she hadn’t actually dated yet, but this one time she wanted to take a chance.
“Um…are you sure?”
She almost laughed at his question because she wasn’t sure at all. But there was no way she’d let him know that. “Yeah, of course.”
He smiled and her heart melted a little. She turned away quickly to hide any tell-tale signs on her face and led the way to her door.

Trevor wanted to kick himself. What the hell was he doing? Warning bells were going off in his head as he watched Julia’s fine rear-end lead him down the hallway. He tried to remember the reasons he had convinced himself getting to know her was a bad idea, but they had all disappeared the moment she smiled at him. Sitting down beside her at the diner had been a momentary lapse in judgment, but he couldn’t regret it. He’d learned over the past couple of hours that she was an amazing woman.
Now he just had to keep his cool. The last thing he wanted was another cup of coffee but he also didn’t want to go home to his lonely loft just yet. No, spending even five more minutes with her would be time well spent.
They walked into her place and he looked around at the finely decorated open space. She had an eye for nice things, but he could tell nothing was over-the-top expensive. If anything, Julia seemed to know what went well on a firefighter’s budget and he admired the feminine touches. Overall, it had a warm, lived-in look.
“Do you want coffee?” she asked.
Her nervousness was palpable and endearing. Now that he was in her place she didn’t seem to know what to do with him. He took pity on her and closed the distance.
“Hey.” He cupped her face in both hands and placed a soft kiss on her pretty, pink lips. “It’s just me. You know me.”
Her breasts rose as she took a deep breath and his attention was momentarily snared. He fought to raise his gaze and noticed moisture in her eyes. Crap.
“Yeah,” she whispered. “I know you. But do you know me?”
He ran his thumbs over her cheeks before letting his hands drop to her waist. Then he slowly pulled her into his arms. He rested his chin on her head and held her. “Yeah, baby, I know you. I’ve been fighting this insane urge I’ve had to know you better for months. But now, fighting it doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore.”
“Why were you fighting it? You had to know I’ve wanted to spend time with you. I never made it a secret.”
He smiled as he remembered the heated looks she’d given him when they crossed paths. It had taken a lot of willpower to ignore those. “I know. I’m just an idiot, I guess. It’s been a while since I’ve really dated a woman seriously. I usually just go out for a good time on the weekends.”
She pulled away and frowned at him. “I’m not a one-night stand kind of girl, Trevor. I thought you knew that.”
“I do.”
“So…what are you doing here?”
He took the time to think about it, knowing this answer would be one of the most important things he ever said to her. “I’m here to start something that will last a hell of a lot longer than one night.”
He took the step separating them and kissed her again. Suddenly, all the reasons he’d told himself to stay away from her no longer mattered. As he pulled her back into his arms he realized she fit against him perfectly, like two pieces of a puzzle. The soft curves he’s been dreaming about melted against his hard planes and calm acceptance filled him. This was right.
“I don’t believe in one-night stands, or taking a guy to bed after only one date.”
“But, I think technically we’ve just spent two days together and it’s no longer night time.”
He glanced out the window at the slowly rising sun. Then he turned back to her with a grin. “I’m off the next couple of days. So, if it’ll help I can just stay in your bed until we know each other better.”
She laughed and left his arms, turning away from him. “Sounds like a plan to me.”
Then she whipped off her shirt and walked away.
“Hot damn, am I glad I was called for that warehouse fire.”
He followed the trail of discarded clothes to her bedroom and prepared to help the firefighter heat things up.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Love in Disguise

This short story was originally published in 2009 by Sapphire Blue publishing. They no longer exist and the story has been extended and re-edited by me. Enjoy!

Chapter One

Miranda clenched her teeth and bit back the foul curse sitting on the tip of her tongue. No way would she give Trevor’s ex-girlfriend the satisfaction of knowing how much she’d upset her. So, Felicia was trying to rile her up by arriving on Trevor’s doorstep first thing on a Saturday morning? Miranda decided to be a gracious host and knock the bitch down a peg. She would feel a whole lot better if Trevor simply threw Felicia out the door, but knew better than to expect him to do so.
“Good morning, Felicia. Would you like some coffee?” she asked.
Perfectly sculpted eyebrows shot into Felicia’s hairline, as if she hadn’t known damn well Miranda was in residence. Not only was Miranda’s car sitting beside Trevor’s in the driveway, her things were scattered all over the front hallway from their impatience last night. They had barely made it through the door before Trevor had undressed them both. His usually empty front hallway looked like a closet had exploded in it.
Miranda pasted on an indulgent smile as Trevor finally peeled Felicia off him and gently, but firmly, pushed her away. He stood in nothing but cotton pajama pants, his dark brown hair standing out in all directions. The doorbell had woken both of them but he’d told her to stay put while he answered it. The sound of Felicia’s high-pitched squeal had Miranda almost running to the front of the house. Now she held Trevor’s worried gaze as she assessed the situation she had walked into. His hazel eyes held a hint of anger and annoyance but he hadn’t tossed Felicia out the door. Curiosity almost beat out Miranda’s anger. She wanted to know what Felicia had said to gain entrance but refused to outright ask.
Trevor sauntered over with an apologetic grin and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. To his credit he never shied away from public displays of affection in front of his ex or anyone else.
“Good morning, baby. Sorry if we woke you.”
His deep, sexy rumble slid down her spine and melted her on the spot. If they had been alone she would’ve already been naked. He placed a kiss on her temple as Felicia straightened her skin-tight tank top and lifted her chin defiantly. Miranda couldn’t help placing a possessive hand on his bare chest and caressing it just once.
“Good morning,” Felicia said a little too loudly. “Coffee would be wonderful.”
Miranda kept her smile in place as she nodded and turned in the direction of the kitchen. Joy filtered through her anger when Trevor settled his arm around her waist and walked with her down the short hallway. He had at least a foot on her, so keeping his arm in place as they walked took effort on his part. After six months of being with this wonderful man, she wasn’t about to let him go without a fight. She was just happy to see he appeared to feel the same. They were good together and had a lot in common. She’d never clicked so easily with a man in her life. He seemed to be really happy too…at least he hadn’t voiced any complaints yet.
A single insecurity nagged at the back of her mind, but she pushed it away and concentrated on making coffee. So what if Felicia could pull off outfits with her voluptuous figure that would make Miranda look like an adolescent playing dress-up in her mom’s clothes. Trevor didn’t seem to care and he was the only one she needed to impress. Right?
“Babe, you want eggs and toast?”
Trevor’s deep, sexy voice intruded on her thoughts and Miranda looked up to find him a breath away. Felicia was primly sitting at the kitchen table, watching his every move.
“Um, sure. Sounds good.”
He smiled and kissed her on the mouth. Just a quick touch of his warm lips, but it was enough to send her pulse into overdrive. She always reacted to him instantly no matter how brief the touch.
He winked, as if he knew exactly what he did to her and turned toward the refrigerator. Not one to put up with being ignored, Felicia spoke up into the charged silence.
“Oooh, I just love the way you make eggs, Trevor. Looks like I arrived right on time.”
Miranda slammed the cabinet door, fighting the urge to lob a ceramic mug at Felicia’s head. Trevor glanced at her with a brow raised but Miranda just smiled at him.
“So, Felicia, what brings you by so early on a Saturday morning?” Miranda asked.
The bimbo sat up straighter, as if to look down her nose at Miranda who stood a few feet away. Miranda ignored her and poured the coffee.
“I was in the area and thought I’d drop in for a quick—… er, hello.”
From the corner of her eye, Miranda saw Trevor frown down at the pan in front of him. She was glad he didn’t verbally respond.
“Oh? Well, now that you’ve gotten your hello out of the way—”
“Plus I know Trevor’s always up early on Saturdays for his run.”
Miranda didn’t say anything else as she set a cup of steaming coffee in front of the whore. Her hands were almost trembling with the effort it took not to accidentally spill the hot liquid over Felicia’s sorry excuse for an outfit. Only knowing her large breasts would be more noticeable beneath wet cloth stayed Miranda’s hand.
“Yeah, well, I got a good work-out in last night instead.”
Trevor’s deep voice, with his usual hint of humor, pulled Miranda’s thoughts back from images of Felicia’s scalded skin. She remembered her bra lying on the floor almost directly in front of the door and nearly laughed out loud. Yeah, there was no hiding their impatience last night. Where had her panties landed? She wasn’t even sure. She bit her lip to keep from laughing.
Felicia’s face reddened until she looked as if she was choking, and Miranda had a moment of indecision on whether or not to give her aid. But then the bitch cleared her throat and picked up her coffee cup, clearly at a loss for words after Trevor’s comment.
Miranda returned to the counter to get her own cup of coffee, surprised to find Trevor waiting with a full cup already poured for her. A glance showed it just the right shade of light brown. He knew exactly how she liked it.
“Thank you,” she mumbled.
He pulled her against him and kissed her nose before turning to face Felicia.
“So, you’ve stopped by and said your hello. Now, what do you want, Felicia?” he asked impatiently.
Felicia put her coffee cup down and pouted, thrusting out her chest in a slow movement designed to make men beg. Not only was Trevor not begging, Miranda was happy to note his gaze didn’t appear to drop below Felicia’s chin.
“Like I said, I just wanted to stop by. You’re not happy to see me, Trevor? I thought we were friends.”
His brows shot up in apparent surprise and Miranda didn’t know whether to laugh or pity the stupid bitch. It was Felicia who had ended their relationship almost a year ago. She was the idiot who let this amazing man go. He hadn’t exactly seemed heartbroken when Miranda had met him, but she had never asked for details of the breakup. A couple of his and Felicia’s mutual friends still treated Miranda like an outsider, but for the most part everyone seemed happy for Trevor. His best friend, Alex, certainly seemed to approve of her.
Trevor sighed and ran a hand through his hair, mussing it even more.
“Do you want the truth?” he asked.
Miranda stifled a laugh as Felicia gasped.
“Trevor! You can’t really mean you’re not happy to see me.”
He shook his head and slowly released Miranda to turn back to the food on the stove.
“Take it however you want, Felicia. The truth is I don’t appreciate you showing up like this. You could have at least called first.”
“I didn’t think friends needed an appointment to drop by.”
Trevor grimaced and Miranda sighed. She knew throwing the friend card at him would only make him feel guilty. He was the type of guy who would do anything for his friends and unfortunately Felicia still fell into that category. Apparently they had known each other for years, even before being in a relationship. They were two of a pretty close knit group from their grade school days. Felicia was always quick to remind Trevor of that connection when it suited her.
“Isn’t it a little early for a social call? Even for a friend?” Miranda asked.
She immediately regretted it when Trevor’s hand froze over the pan. Maybe she should have just kept her mouth shut, but this was ridiculous.
Trevor turned the stove off and glanced at her before turning to face Felicia.
“She’s right, Felicia. You’re not someone I would expect on my doorstep at this hour unless there was some kind of emergency. So, what gives?”
He crossed his muscular arms over his chest and glared at the woman. Miranda felt only slightly better at his obvious annoyance.
Felicia pouted again but it had just as little affect as before. Finally, as if sensing she was in a losing battle, she set her coffee cup on the table with a thud.
“Well, I didn’t mean any harm. I just wanted to say hello. I guess I’ll leave now.”
Trevor dropped his arms and nodded before turning back to the pan on the stove.
“That’s probably a good idea. See ya’ later.”
With his back turned he missed the anger that flashed across Felicia’s face. Miranda saw it and immediately put her cup down on the counter. If this bitch was going to get violent Miranda would be more than happy to reciprocate.
Felicia slowly stood and pulled her purse strap over her shoulder. It was a deep burgundy to match the slutty four-inch heels peeking out from beneath her skin-tight jeans.
“Well, if that’s how you feel then I guess I’ll just go.”
Trevor didn’t bother turning around as Felicia stepped away from the table slowly. She kept her gaze on him as if expecting him to try and stop her. After nearly a minute, she finally huffed out a breath and walked out of the kitchen.
“Lock the door on your way out, okay?” he called over his shoulder.
A feminine growl of outraged echoed back and Miranda snorted out a laugh.
“I better go make sure she leaves without breaking anything on the way out,” she said.
Before she could take a step away, Trevor grabbed her around the waist and pulled her into a tight hug.
“I’m so sorry, baby. I swear I’ll make it up to you after breakfast.”
He kissed her on the temple and let her go, turning back to finish preparing their breakfast. Miranda watched him for a second then headed to the front door.
Trevor set two plates of eggs, bacon and toast on his kitchen table and released a sigh of relief. Miranda didn’t seem nearly as upset as she had a right to be. He couldn’t believe Felicia had the nerve to show up on his doorstep, especially with Miranda’s car in his driveway. It just proved how selfish Felicia still was, and made him even happier to be done with her for good.
Like a ray of sunshine, Miranda glided back into the kitchen and his breath caught. She was so beautiful, even wearing nothing but his robe that was at least two sizes too big. Her shoulder-length black hair curled around her heart-shaped face, framing the sun-kissed skin he couldn’t seem to touch enough. Large brown eyes gave her a look of innocence that had captured his attention the first time he saw her.
Her natural grace and generosity shone like a beacon from within, a deep contrast to Felicia’s cold vanity. There was no comparing the two women. He knew he was definitely getting the better end of the deal with Miranda in his life, and just prayed his luck would hold out for the remainder.
She smiled at him as she approached the table but it didn’t reach her eyes. He swallowed hard, fighting the fear of her rejection. If she hadn’t stormed out within the first moment of finding Felicia clinging to him in the front hallway, then there was still hope. There had to be.
He cleared his throat and searched for something to say.
“Do you need more coffee, baby?”
She sat down and looked around the kitchen. He followed her gaze to see her cup on the counter and immediately went for it. He put both their cups on the table, as she pushed Felicia’s cup away with the tip of one finger, and sat down beside her.
“Thank you. This looks delicious,” she said quietly.
She didn’t look up when he set his hand on her knee, so he slid it up a couple of inches and squeezed.
“You’re welcome, beautiful.” She smiled but remained silent as she pushed the food around on her plate. “I’m really sorry about the rude awakening. Felicia knows you stay here on the weekend. There’s no excuse for her showing up like that.”
Miranda glanced at him as if choosing her response carefully and he barely stifled the urge to pull her into his lap.
“I don’t blame you, Trevor. You can’t be responsible for her actions.”
A knot seemed to loosen in his chest and he breathed easier. She seemed about to say more but just flashed another smile at him before taking a bite of her eggs. He felt as if he was missing something important but for the life of him couldn’t tell what. After a few more seconds of watching her, he ate his breakfast.
It took all his concentration to finish his food with Miranda sitting in nothing but his robe, close enough to touch. Her natural beauty was what originally held his attention, but once he got to know her he realized she had so much more to offer. Her intelligence was off the charts and her generosity never ceased to amaze him. True her figure wasn’t in line with the women he normally dated, but being with someone who cared about more than her nails was a refreshing change.
He swallowed the last of his coffee as she slipped her fork from her mouth. Soft, pink lips pouted ever so slightly as she chewed and his cock was immediately at attention. It never took much with her. He sat back and adjusted himself through his well-worn sweats, catching her curious gaze.
“I wasn’t too rough last night, was I?” he asked.
She smiled and shook her head as she lifted her coffee cup to her mouth. He fought a groan as the tip of her tongue peaked out to swipe across her lips.
“No, you were…perfect.”
She still had a hint of hesitation in her voice he didn’t have a clue how to deal with. Well, if his words weren’t enough to reassure her of his desire he would show her instead. Even as the last of Felicia’s overwhelming perfume faded from the kitchen, he couldn’t wait to get his hands on Miranda’s sweet body.
He stood and quickly snatched their empty plates from the table, doing nothing to hide the erection tenting the front of his sweats. Her eyes widened the slightest bit but she said nothing as he took the dirty dishes to the sink. His hands shook as he set them down and he nearly dropped them. A laugh of self-deprecation slipped out. Only Miranda got him riled up this quickly.
“What’s so funny?”
Her soft voice sounded from directly behind him as her warm breath ghosted across his back. She leaned past him to place the coffee cups in the sink. He shivered and turned to pull her into his arms.
“My reaction to you. I’m hard as stone just from watching you eat.”
Her brows shot up, but before she could say a word he leaned in to take advantage of her open mouth.
Heaven. She tasted like coffee, maple-flavored bacon and her own unique essence. The combination made him growl as he tightened his hold. One hand cupped the back of her head while he let the other roam over her enticing backside. She moaned and melted against him in complete surrender. Just the way he liked her.
The edge of the sink was a small discomfort across his waist as he leaned back and held her against him. All of her softest parts cradled the hardest parts of him and he reveled in how perfectly they fit together. No woman had ever felt so right in his arms. Only Miranda.
She pulled back from his kiss to catch her breath and but he wasn’t ready to stop tasting her yet. He moved his attention down her jawline to her sensitive neck and bit lightly. She shivered and he tightened his hold.
He smiled to himself at her reaction, loving how responsive she always was to his touch. A quick tug pulled open the sash of his robe hiding her perfection from his hungry gaze. She didn’t try to stop him, just leaned back to allow the robe to part so he could look his fill.
“You’re so beautiful, babe. I want to taste every inch of you.”
She sighed out a laugh and shrugged out of his robe, letting it fall in a heap at her feet.
“What’s stopping you?”
He raised a brow at the challenge in her voice, despite the playful smirk she wore. He knew he hadn’t mistaken the wariness in her gaze as they ate. Now it was time to take all her concerns away for at least a little while.
Without another word he set to the task of sampling whatever bare skin he could reach without releasing her from his grasp. He nibbled on her earlobe before placing a kiss on her chin. She gasped as he ran the tip of his tongue down her throat to her collarbone. Small bumps immediately rose along her arm and she shivered.
“Cold?” he asked.
“A little.”
He chuckled. “Not for long.”
He tightened his hold on her waist and lifted her from the floor, taking the few steps back to the kitchen table. She laughed and wrapped her arms around his neck.
“The table, Trevor?”
He grinned. “Oh yeah. Why do you think I was so quick to clear it?”
He set her down gently then made quick work of stripping stepping out of his pants. Miranda’s gaze dropped to his jutting cock and she licked her lips. He groaned and stroked himself in one hand.
“Now, none of that,” she teased, sitting up to push his hand away. “That’s mine to play with.”
He chuckled and let her fondle him. “Yeah it is,” he sighed, letting his head drop back.
She urged him closer, until her warm thighs rested against his hips and their most sensitive spots were a breath apart. After six months of being exclusive, they had recently had a heart-to-heart discussion about protection. Tests from their doctors, as well as a shot in the arm from hers, assured both everything was covered. He loved having the freedom to take her anytime, anyplace without that added concern.
She stroked his hard cock from root to tip and then back again before cradling his balls in one soft palm. He groaned as she smiled slyly. It had taken a couple of months before they had sex for the first time, but he had been content to wait. She had been worth it. Now she was as uninhibited around him as any woman he had ever been with, even more than a couple of them. Her obvious trust filled him with pride and made the sex that much better.
She held his sac in one hand while the other rubbed the moisture seeping from his cock all around the head. He allowed it for less than a minute. His arousal quickly reached dangerous heights and he took her by the wrists to stop her play.
“Give me a break here, baby. If I let you handle me too long, this will be over before it begins.”
She smiled and let him move her hands to lay flat beside her thighs as she lay back on the table. He grasped her hips and pulled her to the edge of the table, hiking her legs higher on his hips.
He rubbed the tip of his cock over her curls mixing the moisture of their combined arousal.
“Stop teasing me and get on with it,” she whined.
He chuckled and took his erection in one hand, aiming it right where she wanted.
“Ready?” he asked.
“T-ten minutes ago.”
He tsked in mock reprimand before plunging into her in one steady thrust. They both moaned and remained holding each other for a heartbeat to revel in the sensation. Trevor was the first to move.
“You always feel so fucking good. Like the first time. Every time.”
Miranda’s smile finally reached her eyes and his pulse sped for a different reason. Her beauty never failed to astound him. He pulled back to thrust in again, starting a slow, steady rhythm. She rocked her hips forward to meet his every thrust and within minutes their pants and moans echoed off the kitchen walls.
She grasped his forearms while he held her hips in place. He leaned down to plant a kiss on each tightened nipple and her nails bit into his skin. He didn’t mind a bit. The slight sting egged him on and he thrust a bit harder.
“Oh, Trevor. A…little…more…oh…”
Her inner walls tightened around his erection and he gasped before speeding up.
“Yeah…me too.”
She reached up so her short nails bit into his shoulders but he barely felt the sting. All his concentration centered on plunging into her warmth. She nipped at his chin and he took over her mouth, sliding his tongue over hers before sucking on it. He swallowed the sounds of her heightened arousal and knew she was almost there. He kissed a path down her throat to the top of her small breasts and she leaned back on her elbows. The change in position made him catch his breath before he dove in to suck one pert nipple into his mouth.
“Oh god, Trevor!”
She exploded in his arms, clamping down on his cock and milking his climax right out of him. He groaned and released her nipple to catch his breath as he continued to slowly thrust. She eased back onto the table, feet still crossed at the top of his ass, beautiful breasts heaving in exertion. He watched as her muscles slowly relaxed. His gaze flowed over her like the fine sheen of sweat clinging to her skin. Staying in this exact position until he was ready for round two sounded like a mighty fine idea. Then the phone rang.
He growled in annoyance but she just giggled. “Damn. I think you’ve killed me,” she whispered.
He chuckled and eased out of her with a sigh of regret. “Stay put.”
He walked over to the sink and grabbed a clean washcloth in one hand and the phone in the other. “Hello?”
He sighed as Felicia’s whiny voice filled his ear and cast a wary glance at Miranda. She was still relaxed atop the table with her eyes closed and a sated smile on her face. He placed the washcloth on her thigh and turned away to speak into the phone.
“What do you want, Felicia?”

Felicia flinched at Trevor’s uncharacteristic growl but forged ahead with her reason for calling.
“Well, I completely forgot to ask when I was at your house, but I really need a favor.”
He sighed again and she could just imagine his eyes rolling as he glanced at that bitch, Miranda. What the hell did he see in that skinny whore anyway? Miranda didn’t hold a candle to her in the looks department that was for damn sure.
“Look, I can’t help you with whatever it is okay? I gotta go.”
“No wait—”
“I, uh…well it’s about Bruiser.”
He growled again and this time she heard Miranda in the background. God, couldn’t that bitch leave him alone for two seconds? Trevor responded but his voice was muffled as if his hand covered the receiver. Felicia strained to make out their conversation but couldn’t understand a single word.
“What about him?” Trevor  finally asked.
It took a second to realize he was talking to her again, despite his words being crystal clear.
“Him? Oh! Uh…he has surgery in a few weeks and I’ll need help getting him home. You know how heavy he is. There’s no way I’ll be able to lift him from my car while he’s asleep.”
While all of that was true, it was also true she’d had no less than four offers of help already. But this would be the perfect way to get Trevor over to her house. Then once he was in her domain the seduction would really begin. He might be able to fend her off with Miranda in the same room, but just wait ‘til he was here on her turf.
“I can’t make any promises, Felicia. Text me the day and time and I’ll see what I can do, okay? Bye.”
The phone beeped loudly in her ear once he disconnected the call and she clenched her teeth in anger.
“I’ll text you all right, baby. It’ll be whatever time that bitch won’t be around. And then, you’ll be all mine again.”
She hummed happily to herself as she looked up the number to the closest veterinarian.
An hour later she barely suppressed the urge to throw her cell phone against the wall. Trevor’s phone had been off for almost an hour and she had an ugly suspicion of why.
“Argh! That fucking bitch!”
She hated Miranda with every part of her cold, vain heart. That stupid black-haired bimbo had what she wanted and there was no way she would let her get away with it. True a few short months ago she hadn’t wanted Trevor anymore. But that was then and this was now. The CEO she had dumped him for had turned into a world class asshole. Who cared how much money a guy made if he thought you were his own personal punching bag? No, she knew better than to let any guy get away with shoving her just once. That always led to another shove, then a little slap, then before long a punch in the gut.
“Fuck that,” she said aloud to her empty bedroom.
She looked around with a frown at the mess her room, and her life, had become. Whoever said you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone knew what they were talking about. Trevor had a few faults, but overall he was a damn sight better than the losers she’d been seeing the past few months. Unfortunately, by the time she figured that out he had already found Miranda. That stupid bitch.
“Ugh, fuck!”
There was a way to win him back. There just had to be. All she had to do was figure it out and the first step would be to make sure he didn’t forget she was around.
Bruiser barked at her for attention and she grinned as she reached down to pat the top of his head.
“Don’t worry, baby. We’ll get our Trevor back. Just you wait and see. He’ll come crawling back.”

Chapter Two

Three weeks later.
Trevor took deep even breaths to keep calm and refrain from screaming at Felicia. This was such a huge mistake. He had known it from the moment he’d gotten her text and Miranda’s suspicious gaze had only reaffirmed that conviction. But he had said yes anyway because this was for Bruiser. He had grown attached to Felicia’s fifty pound English Bulldog during their relationship. It hadn’t taken long to realize he missed the dog more than her.
“Oh come on, Trev. Just one little drink? I’d like to thank you for helping me.”
Felicia’s smooth as silk voice used to make him sweat in anticipation for whatever she planned to do with her delectable body. He was sweating for the same reason but it was far from pleasant. Miranda was at work and knew he was here. But he had promised to call her the moment he left and the minutes were ticking by.
“I have to go. I took an extended lunch to help you but I can’t be gone the whole day.”
Felicia pouted in a way he used to find sexy. Now it just annoyed the hell out of him and made him want to leave that much faster.
“But, Trev—
“No, Felicia. You asked for my help getting Bruiser into your house and that’s done. Now I’m leaving.”
He turned toward the front door but she sprinted around him and leaned back against it. With one tug the red wraparound dress she was wearing fell open. She immediately shrugged and it puddled to the floor, leaving her in a black lace bra and panty set that was nearly transparent. A few months ago the sight would have dropped him to his knees. Now he simply stopped, crossed his arms over his chest and glared at her.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he asked.
She grinned and ran a hand down between her large breasts to her flat stomach.
“Just reminding you of what I’ve got to offer, baby. I know Halloween isn’t until next week, but I’ve got your treats right here. Want some?”
She cupped her breasts in both hands and squeezed them, offering them up like a sacrifice. He didn’t even drop his gaze.
The complete lack of hesitation in his voice seemed to throw her off guard. Her jaw dropped and she gaped at him a moment.
“You heard me. No. I’ve got everything I want with Miranda. Now you need to back the fuck off before you mess things up for me, Felicia. I’m not even kidding.”
 She pouted again and he had had enough. He closed the distance and grasped her shoulders, moving her away form the door gently but firmly. Her weak arguments barely registered. He had to get out of here and he needed to do it now.
“Goodbye, Felicia.”
He all but ran out the door to the sounds of her protests. Luckily her half-dressed state kept her from following.

Miranda glanced at her cell phone for what had to be the fiftieth time in the past thirty minutes. Surely they were done by now. She had acted like it was all okay. What guy really wanted to deal with a jealous girlfriend? None. So she had been as supportive of this endeavor as possible. After all, it was for that cute little English Bulldog and she would have helped too if she could have taken the time off.  
But now the minutes were rapidly slipping past and Trevor hadn’t called to say he was on his way back to work. He had promised he would and she believed him. So that must mean he was still at Felicia’s house. Miranda fought back all the horrible images of what they might be doing, but it was no use. Jealousy and fear spiked until she was almost sick with it. Why couldn’t she just let this go?
She was two seconds away from giving in and calling him when her office phone rang. She took a deep breath to calm her nerves and answered.
“Good morning, this is Miranda Taylor.”
“Hey beautiful, I think it’s technically afternoon.”
She smiled and released a sigh of relief as Trevor’s deep voice washed over her.
“Oh yeah, I guess it is,” she said weakly.
He chuckled and she could just picture him heading back to work in his gleaming black pick-up truck. “Yeah, sorry it’s so late. Have you had lunch yet?”
She bit her lip and shook her head even though he couldn’t see it.
“No, I was trying to finish up a report and time kind of got away from me. I’ll probably just run downstairs for a sandwich or something.”
“Can you leave now and take your full hour? I’m only two blocks away.”
Her pulse sped up at the thought of seeing him. “Yeah, absolutely. I’ll be down in just a minute.”
“All right, baby. See you soon.”
He hung up and she quickly logged off her computer. She locked her desk drawers and grabbed her purse before heading out of her small office. It took a minute to locate her immediate manager and let him know she was taking a late lunch, but with the weekly report done she was free to go.
As promised, Trevor’s truck sat idling at the curb when she exited the building. She hopped in and quickly looked him over. Not a hair was out of place and his usual polo remained tucked into his neatly pressed slacks. Guilt immediately assailed her for the suspicions that had been nagging her the past hour.
“Hey, baby. Where do you want to eat?” he asked.
“Anywhere is fine. I’ve got an hour.”
He grinned at her and reached across the bench seat with his palm up. She placed her hand in his without hesitation.
This is good. Surely he wouldn’t be able to look me in the eye if anything had happened. I have nothing to worry about.

Trevor’s nerves eased the second Miranda took his hand. She wasn’t angry. Thank god she was so understanding. Had their roles been reversed he honestly couldn’t say he would have been. He wasn’t usually the jealous type. Hell, his months with the overly flirtatious Felicia had proved that time and again. But with Miranda he found himself reacting differently if another guy so much as looked at her. She was his, and for the first time in his life as it applied to another person that truly meant something.
“So…everything go okay with Bruiser?”
He heard everything her simple question didn’t ask and wanted to laugh. Apparently he wasn’t the only one dealing with jealousy. But what about trust?
“Yeah, the surgery went as planned as far as I know. I didn’t get there until it was time to load him up for the ride home. Poor guy was out like a light.”
He glanced over to catch her smile and smiled back.
“That’s good. I’ve always liked dogs. The only reason I don’t have one yet is because I’d hate to leave him home alone all the times I’m gone. It’s just not feasible right now.”
He nodded his understanding as a plan began to form in his mind. “Makes sense. I’ve never really thought about having a pet myself,” he said with a shrug.
He pulled into a Mexican restaurant he knew had quick, friendly service. Miranda said nothing as they left the truck and walked inside. The hostess seated them at a booth, but rather than sitting across the table he nudged Miranda over and sat beside her. She laughed.
“You know, there’s a whole other seat on the other side of this table.”
He grinned and stretched his arm out behind her along the top of the seat. They were in a back corner facing the wall. Painted glass panels separated the booths for added intimacy. No one would be able to see or hear anything from their little private corner.
“Yeah, I noticed that too. But I like this seat better.”
She grinned and one sculpted brow rose in challenge.
“Oh? Well then move out and I’ll switch so you can have it all to yourself.”
“Oh, no. I like it just like this, with you to warm my side.”
The waitress arrived for their drink order before Miranda could respond. As soon as they were alone again she settled against him.
“I guess sitting next to you will be okay. Just make sure you give me room when our food gets here.”
He nodded and glanced over his shoulder to gauge how long the waitress would be with their drinks. Miranda didn’t seem to notice as she perused the menu.
“Hey, baby, did I tell you I think you look totally hot in that skirt suit?”
A pretty crimson flushed her face and she smiled but didn’t look at him. She shrugged slightly and shook her head. “No, you didn’t. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.”
It took a few seconds to decide on his order, then the waitress arrived with their drinks. She was gone from the table in under a minute. He nuzzled Miranda’s neck, placing a kiss just beneath her ear before whispering into it.
“Take off your panties and give them to me.”
She jolted but remained against him, tightly nestled beneath his chin. He could almost hear the argument in her head as she debated whether or not to do as he commanded. It seemed long minutes passed before he heard the soft sound of her heels hitting the floor.

She had to be out of her mind. Stripping off her panties in a public restaurant! A thrill shot through her even as apprehension settled on her shoulders. But really what was the harm? They had just placed their orders so the waitress would be away for at least fifteen minutes. No one could see them and with her knee-length skirt no one would know. She bit her lip to stifle a laugh as she slowly inched her skirt upwards.
Beside her, Trevor stiffened and as she leaned forward to slide her panties over her knees she glanced at his crotch. Yup, the slacks were definitely straining where they hadn’t been before. That thought shot another thrill through her with a sense of feminine power. She loved getting such an immediate reaction out of him. Within heartbeats her panties were off and her skirt back in place. She held the crumpled silk in one fist and finally looked up at her lover.
Trevor’s eyes had darkened and he was breathing harder than before. He looked into her eyes before gently grabbing her chin and placing a hard kiss on her mouth.
“You are so fucking sexy,” he whispered.
Replying would have required breath she simply didn’t have in her lungs, so she just smiled instead.
He took the panties from her and looked at them for a few seconds before slipping them into his pants pocket.
“And just what do you plan to do with those?” she asked.
He grinned and sipped his soda before answering.
“When I get back to my office I’m going to put them in the top right hand drawer that stays locked at all times. Then the next time I’m missing you I can take them out and feel like you’re right there with me.”
She snorted out a laugh but quickly covered her mouth with one hand. He just grinned.
“Um…I really think a photograph would have been easier,” she said.
“I beg to differ. Just watching you take them off made my whole day.”
She shook her head and sipped her tea as he watched in a haze of fascination. How could this one woman make even the simplest tasks look sexy?
“You’re crazy,” she said, but the humor in her voice took the sting out of the words.
“Crazy about you.”
She put her drink down and turned so she was facing him, her shoulder pressed against his. “Yeah? I’m pretty crazy about you too. I hate for you to have to walk out of here like this.”
She settled her small hand against his erection and it leapt in anticipation. She giggled.
“Someone might notice me taking care of it,” he whispered.
She bit her lip and glanced around his shoulder. “If we had the time…”
He groaned at the image that simple sentence evoked. “Oh believe me, if we had the time I would be doing all sorts of things to you under this table.”
She giggled again, gave his cock a soft squeeze, and turned to face front just as the waitress arrived with their food.
 “Next time we’re going to the Italian place down the road,” he said once the waitress was gone again.
Miranda frowned as she swallowed a bite of food. “The one that’s always packed?”
“Yup. They have a couple of hidden tables and though their service is good it is very, very slow.”
She smiled and ate another bite.
By the time they finished eating his erection had subsided enough for him to walk out of the restaurant. He took her back to work but made her promise to follow him home at the end of the day. He had spent the past couple of nights at her place even though it was further from town. It was the only way to be sure Felicia wouldn’t show up. Thoughts of her intruded on his peace as he headed back to work. He knew he needed to do something about her. He didn’t want to be an asshole, but she was really getting on his nerves. All it would take was one more intrusion and he would put his foot down once and for all. If she couldn’t handle being just friends, then he didn’t need her in his life at all. He wasn’t willing to risk his relationship with Miranda. He just prayed Miranda realized that too.
 * * * * *
The following week passed slowly and though Felicia barely made an appearance, she called Trevor multiple times a day. He couldn’t change his phone number because of work but Miranda wished he would be more firm when that conniving whore called. There was always some ridiculous reason Felicia just had to talk to him right away. She always called at the worst times, interrupting their lovemaking on more than one occasion.
“You know…” Miranda said cautiously, ”you could just turn your phone off for a couple of hours. I mean…not all night of course. Maybe just an hour or two?”
She was cradled against Trevor’s chest, both of them still trying to catch their breath after an amazing bout of sex. His brow wrinkled in a slight frown and she grimaced in anticipation of an angry reply.
“I shouldn’t have to. I just wish that bitch would get the fucking hint already.”
She relaxed the slightest bit, seeing his anger wasn’t directed at her suggestion.
“Well, have you told her you’ve had enough?”
He sighed and wrapped his free arm around her waist, hugging her more tightly to him. It did her heart good to see how well they fit together.
“Yeah, pretty much,” he said quietly.
She suspected that really meant no. Trevor was such a nice guy at heart. He would never intentionally hurt someone he considered a friend. For whatever reason, Felicia was still in that category.
“But I don’t want to talk about her anymore,” he said, before rolling on top of her.
He kissed her mouth with intense concentration that sped her pulse into overdrive. Then he moved down her chin to her throat. The amount of time he spent on her breasts was almost nonexistent but she ignored it as usual. How could she find fault in his lovemaking when he always made her feel so good?
Ugly thoughts and fears tried to intrude. She pushed them away, shutting her eyes tight and turning her head away as if that would help. Trevor didn’t notice. He was already moving further down her body. He made love to her slowly, sweetly, but the pain in her heart never fully went away. Insecurities like this had never been a problem before and she realized it was because no other guy had ever meant so much. That realization scared the hell out of her as well as knowing she would have to do something about it soon. Halloween was in two days. That’s when she would get her answer.
* * * * *
Annoyance filled Felicia at what was really a hopeless situation. Trevor had all but told her to fuck off. Actually he’d pretty much said that when she’d trapped him in her house after bringing Bruiser home from surgery. But she couldn’t let that deter her. He was too good to let go of so easily. He was steadily moving up the corporate ladder and had friends in high places. He was an all around nice guy and damn he looked good in a pair of jeans. Basically he was the whole package and she just had to get him back.
“One way or another, bitch. That man is mine.”
She picked up the sheer black dress she planned to wear tonight. It was Halloween and her first treat of the evening would be finding Trevor ready and willing.
“If this dress doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will,” she whispered.
An hour later she was at his closed office door, listening intently for any sound from inside. His truck was in the parking garage even though it was past quitting time. Luckily, she hadn’t encountered anyone else on the floor and his harpy secretary was already gone.
After satisfying herself that he was alone inside, she turned the knob slowly and quietly entered the room. His dark head was bent over a stack of paperwork on his desk. His cell phone was close at hand but luckily he wasn’t on it. A glance showed they were alone in the room, just as she had hoped. She shut the door with a click and immediately locked it behind her.
“Felicia? What are you doing here?”
She smiled and dropped her purse onto the floor as she sashayed to his desk, swinging her hips as seductively as she knew how. He frowned as his gaze roamed over her barely there dress.
“Happy Halloween, baby. I’m your treat,” she said.
Trevor stood slowly and leaned his fists on top of his desk. He didn’t look at all happy to see her.
“I’m trying to finish up here so I can meet Miranda at Alex’s new club. Again, what are you doing here?”
She pouted and put her hands on her hips, thrusting her breasts forward. The top of her dress barely covered her nipples, she had made double sure of that in the car mirror, but he didn’t seem to notice.
“I just told you, Trevor, I’m your treat. Sweet as candy, baby. I’m giving you a second chance. I know you didn’t have time the other day, so I came to you instead. Ready for me?”
He straightened with a sigh and ran both hands through his hair. It was his annoyed look and one she had seen often during their relationship.
“No, Felicia, I’m not. I don’t want you anymore than you wanted me almost a year ago when you called it quits. I don’t want to have a fling. I don’t want to fuck you in my office. I just want you to leave, okay?”
Anger surged through her in a torrent of aggravation and humiliation. How could he say no to all this? She stomped one high-heeled foot on his plush carpet and glared at him.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me! What does she have that I don’t, huh Trevor? Tell me that. What can that prissy little girl give you that I, a real woman, can’t?”
True anger slowly overtook his expression and for the first time fear lifted its little head in the back of her mind. She dropped her hands from her hips and took a step back as he slowly walked around his desk.
“Now, I’ve told you before not to talk about her. I’ve told you I didn’t mind still being friends. I tried to be patient with you and blow off your constant flirting and annoying harassment. But you’ve gone too fucking far this time, Felicia. I don’t think being friends is such a good idea after all.”
“B-but, Trevor—”
He grasped her arm just above her elbow, not quite hurting but too hard for her to pull away. “Now, I want you to walk right back out this door and don’t come back. And I want you to stay away from my apartment too. Got it?”
“Oh come on. You can’t really mean that.”
“I do, and I’m dead serious, Felicia. Don’t come by. Don’t call me. Hell, I don’t even want you asking our mutual friends about me.”
He had paraded her out of his office and straight to the elevators, even stopping to pluck her purse from his office floor. He punched the button with such force she vaguely wondered if he’d hurt his finger. Never had she seen him so angry. Not even when she’d broken up with him.
“But I thought we were friends,” she whined.
He laughed without a hint of humor in his voice. “Yeah? Is that what you thought? Well, friends don’t act like you’ve been acting, and I don’t need friends like you. You’re just lucky Miranda trusts me and has been so damn patient about your antics. If you show up at my place again, I’m calling the cops.”
The elevator door slid open and he shoved her inside. She teetered on her heels and spun around just as he threw in her purse. He reached in to punch the first floor button and gave her one last warning.
“I’m not joking, Felicia. The next time you show up, I’ll have a restraining order issued.”
The elevator doors slid shut on his fuming glare and she could barely catch her breath. How had it gone so terribly wrong? She had no idea but his message was loud and clear. He truly didn’t want her anymore. She didn’t stop trembling until she reached her car.
* * * * *
Miranda took a deep breath as the taxi pulled up to the curb. Apprehension filled her as thoughts of the night ahead played through her mind. This could be a disaster. If Trevor fell for her ruse she would know the truth and accept the painful consequences. If not…well, she just hoped he wouldn’t be too angry at her deception. Sweat beaded at the small of her back and she straightened her shoulders with effort. She had to do this for her own piece of mind.
They’d been together seven months and she could no longer ignore her nagging suspicions that Trevor might want more than she had to offer. Felicia kept showing up and though he seemed annoyed, he still tolerated her with calm politeness. Miranda hadn’t been the jealous sort before and didn’t like that she was turning into one now. It just proved her feelings for him were more serious than any other guy she’d ever dated, even if he did seem to overlook her breasts whenever they had sex. She had tried to ignore that one nagging doubt, but just couldn’t do it anymore.
She adjusted her mask and corset then paid the driver before stepping carefully out of the car. Her short black leather dress barely covered her ass where a glued on tail completed her costume. Luckily living in south Texas usually meant warm Halloweens. Tonight was no exception to that rule. The damp heat frizzed out her carefully coifed hair and threatened her water-proof mascara. She knew it wasn’t the humidity alone making her sweat. Her piece of mind was riding on this little experiment.
She eyed the dance club warily, and fought the urge to tug down her dress as she passed the line and walked straight to the roped off entrance. A heady beat pulsed over the sidewalk and through the soles of her boots. Normally the music would relax her as she got into the rhythm, but tonight her nervousness took center stage. There was a lot riding on this little stunt. She hadn’t decided on exactly what she would do if Trevor proved her right, but breast enhancements were one idea she’d considered. The other was one she didn’t want to consider. Dumping him would completely shatter her heart.
The doorman eyed her up and down, barely looking at her invitation before letting her into the exclusive club. Her lips twitched and she fought back a snort at his reaction. Trevor’s best friend, Alex, was a co-owner of the new club, and had made Trevor promise to attend the big Halloween bash. Miranda had agreed but told Trevor to meet her here. This would be a test of sorts. She just hoped she could handle the results.
Once through the ornate double glass doors, the three-inch heels of her thigh-high, black leather boots sank into the plush, blood-red carpet leading through another set of double doors and into the club’s main room. Upbeat dance music washed over Miranda, as she took in the scene before her of an ancient Roman bathhouse. Alex had spared no expense when setting this scene of decadence. Large pools of steaming, scented water sat in various spots around the spacious room. Marble benches with velvet cushioned tops ran around each pool holding people in all types of costumes. Hanging low from the ceiling were electric lights made to look like brass pans of live flame. Miranda smiled in appreciation and stepped further into the room.
She kept one hand on her hip as the other flipped the hip-length blonde tresses of her wig over her shoulder. She looked like a cross between Cat Woman and Barbie, exactly as she’d hoped. A month in the planning, this costume would get the truth out of Trevor whether he wanted to give it or not. She suspected he wasn’t ready for marriage and she was okay with that. He was only a year older than she and they were both career minded people. If he would just be honest with her about his preferences, she was willing to stay with him for the long haul. However, she refused to be with a man she couldn’t trust.
The memory of Felicia in Trevor’s arms came to mind and Miranda stumbled. She caught herself on a nearby marble column and took a deep breath. Trevor had claimed not to want his ex-girlfriend anymore. However, Felicia’s persistent presence in their lives was putting a strain on their relationship. The annoying woman made it obvious she still wanted Trevor, calling at all hours and showing up unannounced. He had laughed off Miranda’s concerns, but Felicia was so physically different from her, Miranda couldn’t help but feel intimidated.
She looked up as a red-horned devil chased a sinfully voluptuous angel past her, making her grin at their antics and relax a bit. Everyone was decked out for Halloween and the midnight costume contest. Her costume consisted entirely of a skintight black leather dress, but the corset beneath was made especially to enhance her assets. She’d paid a lot for the proper look and now had the appearance of a C-cup rather than an A. The plan was to find Trevor, flirt like crazy and see if he took the bait. She trusted him not to cheat on her, but if he couldn’t hide his interest she would know something had to change. 
The room was filled with people dancing and talking over drinks, sitting on benches and standing around the heated pools. Trevor would still be in his business suit, looking sexier than any man in costume. Miranda took a deep breath for courage and walked down the four steps to the dance floor. Somewhere in the crowd was the man she’d fallen in love with. She just hoped his feelings for her were deep enough to overcome Felicia’s persistence.
The deep bass vibrated through the floor and worked its way up her spine as she headed for one of the bars set all around the room. She weaved between the gyrating, sweaty bodies and made it to the end of the main bar to order a shot. Trevor and Alex both stood over six feet. Finding them shouldn’t be a problem even in this crowd. She scanned the scene until she spotted them at the other end of the bar, deep in conversation.
Her pulse sped at the sight of Trevor, so handsome in his well-tailored business suit. His short black hair was disheveled as if he’d run his fingers through it a few times, and he casually held a bottle of beer in one hand. The other hand gestured wildly as he spoke to Alex, and Miranda smiled at the familiar action. He was always so passionate when he spoke, she loved to sit and listen to him no matter the subject. She was definitely in love and vaguely wondered if he had any clue. Taking her drink in one hand, she clutched her small purse in the other and made her way to the men.
She paused just before reaching them, considering for the millionth time if she should go through with this. But then thoughts of Felicia crossed her mind again and she knew she had to for her own peace of mind. She threw back the drink clutched in her hand and set the empty glass down before making her move.

Chapter Three

Alex seemed to notice her first as a wide grin spread across his face and he turned his attention away from Trevor. She froze, her breath catching as she wondered if he recognized her, but then he eyed her up and down so blatantly her fear instantly dissolved. He’d been friends with Trevor since grade school. There was no way Alex would ogle her knowing she was Trevor’s woman.
“Hey there, beautiful. I thought Cat Woman wore pants, but I sure as hell like your choice better.”
His compliment warmed her and she smiled up at Alex as Trevor turned. It wasn’t Alex’s fault she was dressed like a bimbo, but she wished he hadn’t reacted to it. A glance at Trevor’s face showed no recognition as he looked at her. She thrust out her enhanced breasts and flipped the blonde locks back over her shoulder, gauging his reaction. He took in her costume, but his gaze didn’t linger on any part of her anatomy. After a small nod of acknowledgment to her presence, he turned his attention to the crowd on the dance floor. Miranda fought the urge to throw her arms around Trevor and looked back at Alex, flashing a grin as she looked him over.
“Thanks. And who are you supposed to be?”
She’d deepened her voice as much as she could without sounding ridiculous, praying the music was too loud for either man to recognize it. That seemed to work as Trevor continued to ignore her. Alex laughed and stepped closer, coming between them.
“Tonight I’m a businessman, sweetheart. In real life I’m just a slacker who plays video games all day.”
Miranda bit back a laugh, knowing how far from the truth that was. No one worked harder than Alex and Trevor. She opened her mouth to reply when a red blur breezed past her and straight into Alex’s arms.
Everyone froze for a moment as Alex found himself with an armful of inebriated woman. Miranda nearly burst into laughter at the scene of his ex-girlfriend, Patty, crawling all over him.
“Uh, Patty, hello.” He sent Miranda an apologetic look and tried to pry Patty off him.
She almost felt sorry for him but knew they’d been having problems. Patty was nice enough, but her parents walked all over her. Trevor had stated more than once his frustration of how that affected Alex.
Miranda just grinned and stepped closer to Trevor. “No worries, Mr. Businessman.  I’ll just talk to your friend here.”
Before Trevor could protest, she grabbed his arm and tugged him toward the dance floor. He seemed about to resist until Patty burst into tears. Both men flinched, and Trevor looked like a deer caught in headlights. He waved a hand at Alex, who looked completely overwhelmed, before stepping away from the bar. Miranda held onto his arm as they weaved through the packed dance floor.
“Do you dance?”
Trevor looked down at her, then pointedly at her hand on his arm, before gently prying it loose. “Yes, but only with my girlfriend. She should be here any minute.”
Elation filled her and Miranda’s heart sped up at his show of loyalty. She fought the temptation to reveal herself.
“Well, you can talk to me until she gets here.”
Trevor sent her a look of annoyance as he stepped past her. She followed him as he made his way through the crowd to the foyer at the front of the club. The moment they stepped through the double doors, the music died down to a tolerable level. Miranda cleared her throat and hooked her arm through his. Trevor flinched and looked down at her, seemingly surprised to see her still beside him.
“Look, I’m sorry about Alex, but I really am waiting for someone.” The smile she beamed at him was genuine and made him frown. “Do I know you?”
Miranda bit her lip and prayed the contacts she’d paid too much for were working as Trevor stared intently into her eyes.
“Not yet, honey, but you will before the night is over.”
She pressed against his side, blatantly rubbing her larger breasts against his arm. His look of curiosity turned into anger as he pried her from his side. He stepped away and straightened his suit jacket, never once letting his gaze drop below her shoulders.
“All right, that’s enough. Look, lady, there are plenty of other men here who will be interested in what you’re offering. I’m not one of them. Now I’m going outside to wait for my girlfriend. Why don’t you go find someone else to dance with?”
Before she could respond, he abruptly turned away and stormed out of the club. As she watched his back relief filled her, but she knew another battle faced her when she told him the truth. She swallowed down her apprehension and headed for the restroom.

Trevor nervously paced back and forth along the sidewalk in front of Alex’s club. Annoyance curled his lip and he felt nearly sick from the blond’s touch. Never before had a beautiful woman filled him with such dread. She was everything he used to look for in a woman¾before Miranda. Now all he could think of was getting away from her as quickly as possible. He kept imagining Miranda walking in and finding him with the blond clinging to his arm. The Cat Woman was just what Miranda thought he still wanted, but nothing was further from the truth. Miranda was perfection to him. Her soft skin, infectious laugh and uncanny intelligence coalesced into the woman that had starred in every one of his fantasies since they’d met. He closed his eyes and ran a hand over his face as he fought memories of the previous night spent in her bed. The last thing he needed was to get an erection while standing out in public. 
He glanced at his watch and his concern elevated. Miranda had gotten off work hours ago and though she had to go home to change, she should’ve arrived already. He pulled out his cell phone and hit speed dial for her number. She was first on the list, just as she was first in his life. He took a deep breath as that thought settled inside his mind. His chest tightened with the knowledge he was in love with her. A few months ago he might have thought he wasn’t ready to stay committed to one woman for the rest of his life, but now his heart knew better. He was more than ready and Miranda was his woman.
 On the third ring his pulse began to race as panic tried to take hold. Various scenes of her hurt or stranded somewhere played inside his mind. He was about to hang up when she finally answered. “Hello?”
The same beat he felt thrumming through the sidewalk played in the background.
“Miranda, are you at the club?”
“Um…yeah. I am.”
Her slight hesitation had alarm bells ringing in his mind. He tried to detect any hint of jealousy in her voice, and huffed out in frustration as he wondered if she still worried over Felicia. He bit back the urge to yell at her for not fully trusting him, deciding to deal with the matter at hand.
“Where are you? I was getting worried.”
“I’m, uh…I’m in the restroom. I’ll be done in a minute.”
“Okay, baby. I’ll be just outside the door waiting for you.”
He hung up and made his way back into the club, hurrying to the ladies’ room entrance. A couple of other men in costume lounged outside the wide doorway waiting for their dates. Trevor looked around warily, praying the blond wasn’t still around ready to pounce on him, but she was nowhere in sight. 
Deep cushioned sofas lined the wall outside the ladies’ lounge. He took a seat and tried to relax, but the sound of Miranda’s voice kept echoing through his mind. Her unfounded insecurity the past few weeks worried him and he prayed she hadn’t seen him with the blond. He knew Felicia’s frequent visits had been a problem, but he’d finally told her to stay away in no uncertain terms. Trying to remain friends after their break-up had been a mistake. He just hoped Felicia took his warning to heart because he had had enough. More than enough really. If the tables had been turned, he would’ve already beat the hell out of any guy hanging around Miranda that way. Luckily she had been understanding about it.
A few minutes passed as he sat contemplating Miranda’s insecurities and when they had begun. The memory of Felicia throwing herself at him made his temperature rise in anger. The bitch had wanted everyone but him until she saw how happy he was with Miranda. Felicia had tried to say she wanted him back but he’d turned her down flat. Miranda was all he needed, all he wanted.
He ran a hand through his hair impatiently and considered calling her again when she finally stepped through the doorway. She was a vision in a tight black leather dress that ended a couple of inches before her thigh-high boots took over. He licked his lips, thinking about that small patch of bared skin and what it tasted like. Her black hair rested loosely on her shoulders and her eyes looked a little red. He shot to his feet as she approached and took her face in his hands.
“What’s wrong, babe? Have you been crying?” Her lower lip quivered for a moment and he immediately pulled her into his arms. Concern filled him, though he had no clue what could’ve upset her. Completely at a loss, he held her tightly to his chest. “Tell me.  What happened?  What’s wrong?”
She drew in a deep breath and tried to move away, pushing lightly against his chest. He resisted as her warm breath blew across his throat, sending a chill down his spine. Whatever happened he wouldn’t let her go easily. He was determined to discover the problem and fix it. 
She finally stopped pushing at his chest and settled against him. “I’m sorry, Trevor. I don’t want you to think I don’t trust you because I do. I just had to know for sure.”
He closed his eyes and groaned, despairing in the thought of her still thinking he wanted someone else. She’d seen him with the blond. That was the only explanation. “Babe, I don’t know what you thought you saw, but I’m yours, only yours.”
Her breath hitched and she pushed against him again. This time he loosened his grip enough to look down at her face.
“I-It’s nothing you did. It’s me. I was testing you and I just don’t want you to be angry.”
He frowned, completely confused, before suddenly noticing the blond wig and cat half-mask in her hand. An eerie calm settled over him as suspicion reared its ugly head. A slow anger burned in his gut. He released her and took a step back, eyeing her up and down until her full costume became clear, along with the enhanced cleavage. His gaze came back to her face where her concern and nervousness were obvious. 
She’d tested him with her disguise. 
The blond Cat Woman was his lovely Miranda and now that he’d passed her test she was worried he’d be angry about it. He shook his head, disbelief warring with the evidence before his eyes. He barked out a humorless laugh before running his hands through his hair.
“What…why….” He was speechless as he tried to make sense of her actions.  Miranda watched him, chewing on her lip in a telling show of nervousness. He looked at her red-rimmed eyes.
“Contacts?” She simply nodded. “Did you honestly think that was what I wanted?”
Miranda shrugged and a tear slipped down her cheek. “I don’t know,” she whispered.
He almost didn’t hear her over the sounds in the club, but read her lips just the same. She was miserable and completely ready to take his wrath. The sight of her in tears dissolved most of his immediate anger and all he wanted was her in his arms.
“Come here.”
He pulled her back into his arms and held her tightly as she sniffled against his chest. His ire settled down to mere annoyance as he held her. He tried to dissipate the slight tremors still wracking her slender frame by running his hands over her back. She sighed and clenched his jacket in her small fists. 
“I-I’m so sorry.”
He took a deep breath and calmed his fiery emotions before answering. In seven months he’d had more fun with Miranda than he could remember ever having with any other woman. Her little test annoyed the hell out of him, but now that it was out of the way maybe they could work through this misunderstanding. He knew their relationship was worth it.
“Babe, we need to have a talk about your sudden insecurities. Let’s go to my place and I’ll prove how much I want you, just the way you are. Okay?”
She nodded against him and he squeezed her tighter before turning her around and guiding her to the door. 
They rode to his apartment in silence. He considered what to say to her as she fidgeted beside him. She was the most important part of his life and he couldn’t imagine letting her go. Now how to let her know that?
They held hands walking up the path to his door and he let her precede him inside. As he stepped through, he stopped to take a look around his bachelor pad as if seeing it for the first time. The walls were bare with no photos to cover them or the mantle above his fireplace. The plain white decor contrasted starkly with his black leather sofa and entertainment center. He tended to work long days, and for the past few months had spent most nights at Miranda’s house. It was a rare thing having her in his place on a weeknight. 
He closed the door, surprised it didn’t echo in the lonely space, and made a monumental decision. Miranda belonged to him just as he belonged to her. It was time to take the next logical step. By the time he walked into the living room, she was sitting on his sofa appearing patient enough to wait all evening. He removed his jacket and unbuttoned his cuffs before walking over to sit beside her.
“Trevor, I didn’t mean to make you angry, but I understand why you are.”
He removed his shoes and socks before going to his knees before her. She gasped and confusion stole across her face as he reached up to unzip one of her boots. His gut clenched at the vulnerability in her eyes, but words didn’t come easy to him. He was a man of action and right now he just wanted to show her how he felt.
“Damn, babe. These are the sexiest things I’ve ever seen you wear.”
She licked her lips and one corner lifted in a slight, uncertain smile. “I’m glad you like them.”
He chuckled and slipped her dress up to her hips before pushing her knees apart. He pulled her to the edge of the sofa and leaned in until his erection was pressed intimately against her warm center. Her face flushed and her breath labored. He grinned, loving the way she responded to him so quickly.
“Like is too tame a word for how I feel about these boots…and you.”
Her eyes widened but he ignored her reaction and unzipped the other boot, pulling both from her feet and setting them aside before returning to his upright position. Her black silk panties were damp and warm against his hard cock, his slacks no barrier. He groaned as the evidence of her arousal made him harder. 
“What do you mean, Trevor?”
He hated the caution in her voice and pressed a hard kiss to her mouth to quell the bolt of fear shooting up his spine. Confidence had never been a problem before, but now he found himself worried about her reactions. Taking a deep breath, he quickly considered his words and looked into her eyes.
“I’ve fallen in love with you, Miranda. Every inch of you, babe, head to toe, inside and out. I love it all and there isn’t a single thing I would change.”
“What about my breasts?”
He knew his surprise was obvious as he stared dumfounded for a moment. “Your breasts? What about them?”
She shrugged and slouched a bit, as if trying to hide the topic of conversation. “I know they’re small and you seem to prefer—”
“Wait a minute,” he interrupted angrily. “Just stop right there. I know where this conversation is headed and you can just stop. I love your breasts, Miranda. I love everything about your body. How can you think I don’t?”
“Well…I’ve seen your ex-girlfriends.” He released a frustrated sigh and ran a hand down his face as she went on. “And you barely touch them.”
She looked surprised by his raised voice, but he was shocked by her accusation.
“My breasts. Whenever we make love…you barely touch them.”
He opened his mouth to argue as images played through his mind. Surely she was mistaken. But as he went over their actions of that morning, and the night before, and the morning before that, he realized she was right.
It wasn’t anything intentional on his part. But, the truth was her breasts were smaller than any other woman he had ever dated. When he made love to her, he just didn’t focus on them as much because he was busy touching and kissing every part of her. He closed his mouth and his eyes, hanging his head in shame. How could he have made her feel so self-conscious for so long and not even realize it?
He opened his eyes and looked up to find her watching him warily. The hint of pain in her gaze broke his heart and he wanted to kick his own ass.
“I swear, Miranda, I never meant to ignore your beautiful breasts. I think you’re perfect, babe. Every inch of you. And I want every inch of you just as you are. I love every inch of you”
Her breath hitched and her chin quivered. He suspected she was going to cry even before the first tear leaked out. Her emotional side wasn’t one many people got to see, but she’d shared every aspect of herself with him and he could do no less. This time her tears didn’t bother him, especially when they were tears of joy.
“Oh, Trevor, I love you, too. I love you so much.”
She threw her arms around his neck and peppered kisses all over his face and neck. His arousal spiked as her lips roamed his skin, and lust blinded him to everything but her. Sweat beaded on his forehead and he fought to breathe through the passion pumping through his veins for this one perfect woman. 
He pulled the tight dress over her body as her lithe fingers worked on the buttons of his shirt. Within heartbeats they faced each other naked and panting as excitement coursed through them. She ran her fingers over his chest and back, as if she couldn’t get enough of touching him with her soft hands. 
Trevor used his tongue to mark a trail from one of her hardened nipples to the other, groaning at the salty sweetness of her skin. When she shivered beneath him, he did it again. Long moments passed as he gave her breasts the full attention they deserved. She was a quivering mass by the time he decided to move on.  
“Mmm, you taste so good, baby,” he murmured against her skin as he nipped at the undersides of her breasts. 
She gasped when he continued to nibble down her torso. Each bite seemed to excite her more than the last as she moaned and thrashed beneath him. By the time he reached the apex of her thighs, she was whimpering and tugging on his hair. He chuckled at her show of impatience and swiped his tongue through her neatly trimmed curls. He loved the anticipation and need so obvious in her expression, and the way her moans became more desperate as her arousal heightened. Her musk was his new favorite scent and he buried his nose in the heart of her to inhale the heady fragrance. 
She arched her back, pushing against his mouth. “Oh.”
He pulled back to look at her face. “What do you want, baby? Tell me what you need.”
She met his gaze and his need reflected back. “You, Trevor. Just you.”
He growled in satisfaction at her surrender and gently kissed her belly before moving back down to her glistening curls. He used two fingers to gently hold her open for his feasting. 
She cried out as he thrust his tongue inside, her grip tightening in his hair.  He had to hold her hips still for his exploration, as he swirled his tongue around her clit before suckling it between his teeth.
She screamed while her orgasm took over, her muscles clenching around his tongue. He licked and sucked her sweet juices until she begged him to stop. He picked his shirt off the floor and wiped his face before tossing it somewhere in the room. Within seconds he was poised at her still quivering entrance, ready to fill her and erase all doubts of his lust.
“Look at me, Miranda. Watch me. You’re mine. Tell me you’re mine.”
She lifted her lids slowly and her intense green gaze met his. “Yes. Yours. All yours.”
Elation coursed through him and he thrust into her in one smooth motion, filling her as he moaned in approval. He slid in and out of her snug warmth. All other thoughts fled, her satisfaction foremost in his mind as he sped them both to climax. 
She whimpered and held onto him tightly, her embrace filling an emptiness he’d long ago learned to ignore. No other woman had ever felt this good or meant so much. This was more than sex. His chest tightened and he choked down a shudder of awareness.  He wasn’t fucking Miranda, he was making love to her, and he planned to make love to her every night.
That thought spurred him on as he kissed her, keeping her head tilted to suit him with his fingers in her hair. The other gripped her hip to keep her angled for his penetration. He’d wanted to make her come again, to feel her slick juices washing down his cock. But, he was too far gone already and within seconds his balls tightened, the need to climax shooting up his spine. With a roar he came hard, still thrusting inside her sweet, soft body. He shuddered and stars danced before his eyes as he fought to catch his breath. 
She was wrapped around his body, continually stroking his back as her labored breathing slowly evened out. A contented sigh escaped her swollen lips and he placed a soft kiss on her temple. He opened his mouth, not quite sure what to actually say, when a sharp knock sounded on the front door. They both turned their attention that way.
“Who could that be at this hour?” she asked.
With a slight shrug he eased her from his arms onto the sofa, though leaving her warmth was the last thing he wanted to do.
“Whoever it is better be damn important or I’m kicking their ass.”
She giggled as he pulled on his jeans. He headed out of the living room and down a short hallway for the front door while pulling up his zipper, anticipating the moment he could pull it back down again. Another knock spurred him to unlock the door and turn the knob without bothering to look through the peep-hole.
“Who in the hell—”
“Trevor, baby!”
A very drunk Felicia fell through the doorway and right into his arms. He struggled to hold her up as she tottered on hot pink, four-inch heels that looked ridiculous with her skin-tight, barely there black dress. Her red hair lay in tangled curls around her flushed face and the scent of smoke and alcohol poured off her in waves. Trevor grimaced in disgust as he tried to untangle her arms from his.
“What the fuck?”
“Oh, Trevor, baby, I’ve been looking for you all night.”
“Felicia, what are you doing here? I thought I made it clear you aren’t welcome here anymore. I wasn’t joking about the restraining order.”
She laughed and swatted a hand at his chest as he finally pulled away from her and took a step back. The motion nearly sent her toppling but she caught herself against the door.
“You silly man. I know you still want me. We’ve known each other too long for you to be with someone else.”
He sighed and ran a hand down his face, shaking his head warily.
“No, I don’t. That’s what I told you at my office and that’s what I said on the phone. I thought we could remain friends since we have known each other for so long, but I see I was wrong. I’m deeply involved with Miranda and you really need to leave.”
Felicia scowled and tried to peer around his much larger frame. He took a step forward intent on pushing her out the door, when a man he didn’t recognize stepped through. He grabbed Felicia’s elbow and kept her from falling against Trevor again.
“Felicia, we need to go.” He looked up at Trevor with a grimace and shook his head. “Sorry about this, man. She asked me to bring her by a friend’s place. I didn’t know she meant her ex. She’s so drunk I’m not sure she even knows her address right now.”
Trevor raised a brow in question as he eyed the man up and down. “Who are you?”
Despite his anger, he couldn’t in good conscience let some stranger take Felicia away when she was in this state.
“Name’s Josh. We work together at the bank. She’s safe with me, I promise. I’ll let her sleep it off in my guest room.”
“Let me see your ID and then you can go.”
Josh released Felicia, who fell back against the door with a dazed look on her face, and removed his wallet without hesitation. Trevor glanced at the guy’s credentials knowing he didn’t even have to do that much. Felicia had gotten herself into this situation. Anything that happened while she was this drunk was her own damn fault.
“All right. Be careful…and thanks.”
He handed Josh back his ID after making a mental note of his last name and address.
Any real concern Trevor might have felt for Felicia was squashed by the knowledge that Miranda was waiting for him in the next room. He glanced back at Felicia who had wrapped herself around her co-worker. Josh didn’t appear to mind, so Trevor decided to leave them to it and remained silent as they stumbled away from his door. He closed it with a sigh and locked it quickly, hoping they didn’t wake any of his neighbors.
A slight sound had him turning around to find Miranda at the end of the short hallway, watching him. She wore nothing but one of his shirts and her long, sexy legs beckoned. He swallowed hard and licked his lips. “Hey, babe. Sorry about that.”
She bit her lip and glanced at the closed door behind him. “You really told Felicia to stay away…for me?”
He took the few steps to her and pulled her against his chest, nuzzling his face in her hair and inhaling her unique fragrance.
“Yes, I did. I told her I didn’t want anyone but you, and to leave me the hell alone.”
She shivered against him and he hoped it was in anticipation. “Think she’ll listen?”
He chuckled and pulled back to look down at her. “Maybe, maybe not. Though I did threaten to file a restraining order against her.”
They both laughed a little at that, knowing he would never follow through with it.
“It doesn’t matter because I want you not her, and nothing she can say or do will change that. I love you, Miranda.”
She smiled up at him. “I love you, too, Trevor.”
He grinned and his pulse sped up at hearing her say the words so easily. 
“Are you sure?” he asked. “’Cause, that didn’t’ sound completely convincing.”
She giggled and leaned against his chest. “Yes, very much.”
He took a deep breath and pushed away his nervousness. This was as good a time as any to take the next step in their relationship.
“Good. Then let me move in with you.”
Her head jerked up, eyes widened as surprise flowed across her face, but not horror as he’d feared. Then a bright smile spread across her lips and she hugged him.  “Okay.”
It was Trevor’s turn to frown at her simple answer, wondering if he should worry at her lack of emotion. He’d expected near-hysterical weeping again at the least.
“Well, if you’re sure…”
She giggled and kissed his chest before snuggling against him. “If you’re sure I don’t need a boob job, or any other kind of enhancement, to keep up with the likes of Felicia then I’m sure about living with you.”
He growled in a resurgence of anger over her view of her body, and swung her up into his arms. “You can’t tell me you still doubt how I feel about you.”
She grinned up at him and shook her head. “No, honey, not at all.”
“Good. Of course, I don’t mind proving it to you again.”
She laughed. “You’re ready again?”
He grinned and rubbed the bulge in his jeans against her hip. “For you, always.”
She opened her mouth to reply just as a high-pitched whine sounded from his kitchen.
“Oh damn! I completely forgot,” he said before releasing her.
“What was that?”
Rather than answer, he just grinned and took her by the hand to lead her into the kitchen. Sitting on the floor beside his refrigerator was a small animal carrier. A tiny pink tongue stuck out of one hole briefly before the whining began again.
“Oh my god, Trevor! You got a dog?”
Miranda knelt to open the carrier and a tiny ball of fur leapt into her outstretched arms.
“Yup,” Trevor replied. “Actually I got her for you. I haven’t named her yet though.”
This time when Miranda looked at him there was moisture in her eyes. He wanted to roll his but just smiled and shook his head.
“She’s beautiful. I’ve always wanted a Yorkie. Where did you get her?”
“A friend of Alex’s who works at a shelter called me after I told her to be on the look-out for something small and friendly. Apparently her previous owner passed away a couple of days ago and there was no next of kin.”
“Aww, poor baby. Well then she must already have a name.”
He shrugged and looked around for the paperwork he had hastily set aside the previous evening. He had rushed to bring the dog home before heading to the club. He found it sitting on his kitchen counter next to an open bag of dog food and a leash.
“Says here she’s registered as Candy.”
Miranda laughed and stood to join him with Candy still in her arms. “Candy? Well isn’t that appropriate for the season.”
She kissed him on mouth just as Candy leaned over to lick his chin. He laughed and put his arms around them both.
“Yeah, I’d say so. Happy Halloween, baby. I hope it’s one of many we get to celebrate together.”
“Me too, Trevor. As well as Christmas and birthdays and every other holiday there is.”
“Definitely,” he said before kissing her senseless with Candy yipping happily between them.