All My Tomorrows

Chapter One

 

Life is a flashpoint of light. Or a depthless, cylindrical sphere. At its brightest, dreams and aspirations simmer and burn, exploding into sweet reality. At its darkest, despair and hopelessness are consuming forces, stealing beauty and killing souls.

Brittany Donovan stared at the sunflower decals on the wall next to her bed, caught between the light and the darkness. She traced the outline of a decal, the flower a symbol of hope, happiness and faith.

“You’re a strange one.”

Curled up on her small bed in her dorm room, Brittany ignored her roommate’s exasperated comment. Karen would see Brittany as strange, always hidden in her corner in complete darkness. Then again, if not for Karen, Brittany’s side of the cramped dorm room would have only a bed, a lamp and a nightstand. But Karen had decorated the room, placing floral decals on the walls, dressing up their beds with yellow comforters and covering the lone window with a sheer lavender panel. Beneath Karen’s loft bed was the desk they shared. Somehow, she’d managed to fit a chair and two storage poufs in the room as well, stuffing their knick-knacks in each. Two lavender carpet runners laid in a T formation, one leading to the bathroom and the other a pathway between their beds.

“Did you hear me?” Karen asked.

Brittany had heard; she heard Karen every time. Her roommate always covered for Brittany’s repeated refusals to parties and never told anyone how Brittany shied away from looking at herself in the mirror. How she hated the light.

“I’m graduating in the spring, Brit.” Karen sighed. “Your next roommate might not be as understanding as I am.”

Her first roommate hadn’t been very understanding, either. One day, Brittany had been living with a girl who seemed to hate her upon sight, and the next, that girl was moving out, and Karen Anders was moving in.

“We’ve been roomies for a year and a half, girl,” Karen went on. “You haven’t told me much about yourself, but I know the way you behave in private isn’t normal. I ain’t into all that paranormal shit, but a sister has to wonder if vampires exist for real.”

God no. Brittany couldn’t imagine being trapped in her hell for all eternity.

“What? Are you going to sparkle if you go out in the sunlight? Or will you burn up?  Which type are you?”

“Neither. I’m just a human girl with human problems.”

“Are you?”

Surprised she’d spoken aloud, Brittany blinked, forcing awareness of time and place into her brain. “Yes.”

“We all have problems. My dad had a stroke two years ago. Why do you think I go home every other weekend? He can’t talk, can’t walk. He just lies there while my mom and his private nurse care for him. I want him to know how much I love him, so I drive four hours each way twice a month. And I want my mom to have a break, too.”

At one time, Brittany would’ve hugged Karen and said something mundane such as, “everything happens for a reason”. Not now. Maybe never again. She’d never understand the reasons for all that happened to her.

“I’m so sorry.” Her toneless voice matched her motionless body.

Karen slid the chair back. A moment later, sunlight blasted through the room, shadowing the window blind on the wall Brittany faced. The slanted glare hurt her eyes.

“Get up. I want to talk to you.”

Clutching her pillow at the sharpness in Karen’s voice, Brittany tensed.

“Now!”

Karen had never used such a tone with Brittany and it frightened her. Life frightened her.

At the sound of her roommate’s footsteps, Brittany shot up from her bed. Her friend stood inches away, a fierce frown creasing her dark-brown face.

“Irene invited you out tonight, and, as usual, you declined,” Karen said.

“I don’t like crowds.”

“I’m going home for the weekend. You need to get out of here for a minute.”

“I’m not doing anything more than I’ve ever done,” she reminded Karen in a quiet voice. “Why the interest now?”

Karen sat on the bed, picking up Brittany’s heavy braid from where it rested against her shoulder and down to her mid-section. Karen turned it, as though she held one end of a jump rope. “I’ve always had an interest in you. You’re a sweet girl.” She released Brittany’s hair. “You know how the grapevine is, honey. You know someone who knows someone who knows someone, etcetera, etcetera—”

Brittany smiled at Karen’s dry tone. “I know what you mean.”

“Well, girl, I know someone who knows someone who knows someone—”

“Etcetera, etcetera.”

Karen laughed. “Right. Anyway, news through our grapevine says you were once the captain of your high school cheerleading team. You were gregarious and fun and had a string of boyfriends. I heard your crib was the place to be. You had a fine older brother who had friends just as fine.”

Before Brittany could stop herself, she blurted, “I still have a brother.” And he still had his friends. “I don’t understand your point.”

“At first, I thought they were talking about another Brittany Donovan. The girl they described and you are as different as peanut butter is from jelly. But this morning, I was shown one of your high school yearbooks, and there you were, as plain as day. The captain of the cheerleading squad. In the cafeteria, surrounded by a group of girls and boys. On the stage, receiving yet another award for being on the honor roll—”

“Everyone changes. I decided I didn’t like those things anymore.” They brought too much attention to her and left her too vulnerable.

“If you don’t want to go out with Irene and her friends, then I’ll have Allen check on you. I—”

Brittany jumped to her feet. “I don’t want your boyfriend checking on me. I don’t want him near me unless you’re here.” On the verge of hyperventilating, she held her breath, her pulse thumping in a hard rhythm.

Karen narrowed her light brown eyes. “Is there something about Allen I don’t know? Has he hit on you or something?”

“No! Of course not. He doesn’t notice me.”

“Oh he noticed you, all right.” Karen gave a rueful shake of her head. “And so have his friends. They see you walking all alone on the campus, keeping your eyes averted and shunning everyone.”

“Even worse.” Brittany thought she blended in with the furniture when inside and the landscape when outside. She worked hard at not drawing attention to herself. She’d failed. Just as she had before.

“Is it so bad a man notices you?” Karen lifted a brow in question and laid a fake-nailed finger against her cheek. “Or maybe you like women? That’s cool if you do.”

“I-I’m not a lesbian.”

“If you are, there’s no problem. I have some friends who are, and they’ve noticed you, too. You’re hard not to notice.”

“There’s not much to notice.”

“Uh-huh.”

Karen clambered to her feet and took Brittany by the shoulders. Spinning her around, Karen propelled Brittany toward the yellow-framed mirror on the back of the door. The mirror Brittany took great strides to avoid.

“Not much to notice? For real?” Karen asked.

“Let go of me,” Brittany said in a small voice.

“No. I’m not going to hurt you. I want you to look at yourself and tell me what you see.”

In front of the mirror, Brittany glanced at her reflection then darted her gaze away. Karen took Brittany’s braid in hand again and began loosening it.

“Don’t. Please. I don’t like my hair loose.”

Ignoring all protests, Karen combed her fingers through Brittany’s hair, unbraiding the heavy mass. “I know you’re failing most of your classes. And I know it’s been at least a day since you’ve eaten. Do you know why my dad had a stroke? My sister was raped. You know how we found out? She left a note behind the day she ran away. We haven’t heard from her since. No one knows where she is. If she’s dead or alive. Two weeks after she left, my dad had a massive stroke. I’m not a psychology major but, in you, I see her all over again. I have to go home this weekend but I need to know you’ll be okay. I don’t want to come and find you gone without a trace.”

Freeing herself from Karen’s grip, she stumbled to the chair and sat, staring toward her corner of the room.

“Irene and the others won’t let anything happen to you. But go out with them tonight. Tomorrow let Allen bring you a burger. As long as you open the door so I know you’re fine, he’ll just hand it to you and leave. He won’t say a word to you. I promise.”

“Do the others know?” Brittany disregarded Karen’s plea. “I-I mean, do they suspect what you suspect happened to me?”

“No. Do you want to talk about it?”

She shrugged. “There’s nothing to talk about.” If she didn’t talk about it, maybe, she could pretend it never happened.

“Okay. But you’re going to have to let it out one day if you want to heal.” Karen headed toward the small closet and opened it. Shuffling through the clothes, she snatched a high-necked, long-sleeved dress off the hanger and lifted a brow at Brittany. She threw the dress aside and returned to her search. “Irene will be here in an hour to get you. I want to give Allen a little goodbye fuck so I need you gone, girl.”

✽ ✽ ✽

Fate is a strange, jesting mistress. Or in Brittany’s case, master. By a sheer twist, Karen left Brittany no choice but to accompany Irene and three other girls to a local nightclub. In the two years Brittany had been at college, she’d done nothing but go to her classes and her afternoon job as a lab assistant to one of her female professors. Other than that, she remained in her dorm room.

Which was exactly where she wanted to be now. Back in her dorm, curled in her bed or hidden in the closet, alone with her crippling fear, shame, embarrassment and guilt. Her other emotions had shut down. Not a shred of hate or even love filled her. Emptiness hollowed the depths of her soul.

Unlike the other girls in the car, who were so alive, full of life and happiness. Brittany’s sudden envy surprised her. She felt like a dull penny amidst newly minted silver dimes. While Irene, Angie and Regina wore makeup, heels and short, after-five dresses, Brittany wore a raglan-sleeved maxi dress. Her sole concession was her loose hair.

Pressing into the backseat corner of the Maxima, Brittany listened as conversation swirled around her, snippets zigzagging in and out of her mind.

“I wonder if The Parks will be there…”

“The Parks?  He should be called The Packs with the pecker he has…”

“You so bad…”

Loud laughter and more lurid cracks. Another conversation, their words lost, Brittany’s witty remarks escaping her.

Irene turned into the parking lot of the nightclub and Brittany tensed. Though just after ten, vehicles already crowded the area and it took Irene several minutes before she found a spot to park.

Opening her door, Brittany stepped into the stifling night air. Heavy heat hung in the atmosphere, an inescapable blanket of hell, even though the sun had set hours ago.

“Brittany, have you ever been here?” Regina Davies asked.

Like Brittany, Regina was attending college to become a licensed social worker and they had several classes together. Unlike Brittany, Regina was a straight-A student who wanted to become a social worker.

“This is a real popular hangout,” Regina added.

“I’ve never been.” Brittany stepped into the club behind Angie and Irene. She fished in her purse for the cover charge and frowned. She needed to count every penny, not waste money to get into a place she didn’t want to be.

Who cared if she went stark raving mad?

Guilt replaced her annoyance. Her brother, Bryson, cared. And so did Trey. If she’d told either of them—

Her neck throbbed, the memory of hands around her throat as real as if it were going on now. She stumbled, nausea churning in her belly.

Irene steadied her. Brittany returned the other girl’s encouraging smile with a weak one of her own. Like Karen, Irene was a senior.

“Whatcha drinking?” Irene tossed her hair over her shoulder as they headed down the corridor toward the club’s interior entrance.

Irene’s black dress molded to her generous figure. She’d always been kind and even offered to tutor Brittany, an offer she had yet to either accept or decline. She’d just left the idea out there, hanging with the same precariousness as her entire life.

“I’m having a gin and tonic,” Irene added.

The sounds of a crowd—unintelligible voices, raucous laughter, squeals and shouts—competed with the booming music vibrating through Brittany’s body and shaking the walls and the doors. “Uh—”

“How ‘bout a glass of wine?”

“Okay,” Brittany agreed with a nod.

She opened the door, stepped inside, and then froze. The lavish interior boasted shades of purple and black. Men glanced in their direction and Brittany swallowed, her hands growing cold and clammy. They weren’t looking at her, she remembered; her dramatic, sexy surroundings and the three girls she’d walked in with overshadowed her.

Angie waved, a big grin on her face. “Greg’s here,” she trumpeted, stuffing a twenty-dollar bill into Irene’s hand. “Order me a crown and seven.”

Brittany breathed in deep, not wanting to be there. Or anywhere. Air escaped her lungs in short bursts and nausea churned her insides. Sweat beaded between her breasts, the nervous heat tempered by a layer of icy fear. She swayed.

Regina frowned at her. “You okay?”

Not at all, Brittany thought, miserable. Her vision blurred then cleared, and she pasted a smile on her face. Fainting would draw the worst type of attention. Stealing her resolve, she nodded. At some point, she’d known she’d come unhinged. The moment had arrived. A wild, trapped feeling soared her pulse, the noise pounding through her brains. Irene and Regina started forward, leaving Brittany no choice but to follow their pathway to the bar.

Her hand on her belly, she drew in large gulps of air and made her feet move. One step. Two steps. Three steps. A couple more and they reached the perimeter of the bar. Proud of herself, she scanned the area.

The large, circular station dominated the middle of the room and held all types of alcohol. Her gaze roamed over the occupied stools. Light reflected off the bald head of a man dressed in orange and red. His date dwarfed him in height and width. Near them, four single men watched their progression. Lowering her eyelids, Brittany blocked out their stares. Irene and the others were so gregarious, if the stools hadn’t been taken, Brittany was sure they would’ve opted to sit—

She gasped.

Trey?

Chewing her lower lip, she stared in his direction, praying he’d see her and hoping he didn’t. Dressed in black slacks and a white button-down shirt, he was as beautiful as she remembered. Well-muscled and strong-jawed, he was her most ardent dream and her worst nightmare.

He was her brother’s best friend.

Trey lounged against a barstool, engrossed in conversation with the beautiful woman beside him. The woman whispered something in his ear and Trey laughed, his teeth flashing white against his dark complexion. He brushed the underside of his date’s breast with his forearm and the woman melted against him.

A jumble of emotions welled inside Brittany and she stiffened. She needed courage. Karen’s resolve had gotten Brittany here. Nothing but audacity would help her to march over to Trey and send the other woman on her way. Trey was hers. He didn’t do relationships, so Brittany knew his “date” was just a temporary hook-up.

“Here, Brit.”

She jumped as Irene’s voice cut into her glowering musings.

Irene placed a glass of white wine in Brittany’s hand then craned her neck in the direction Brittany stared. “Who are you scoping out with such lust?”

Shame replaced Brittany’s jealousy and her shoulders slumped. She’d lusted before and she’d been hurt.

Trey wouldn’t hurt her though. She’d trust him with her life, her body, her heart. She’d even trust him with her secret if she knew how to explain things without revealing who had hurt her. He might get to her before Trey got to him. And if Trey happened to get to him first?

Brittany shivered at the thought.

“I don’t blame you for peeping him out,” Irene commented. “The dude’s beautiful.”

“N-no. I-I think I’m going to find a table. Do you want me to take your and Regina’s drinks with me?”

“No. I’m on the prowl tonight, sweetie. I have a shitload of condoms and I want to fuck. Go grab us a table and I’ll find you in a little while…after I find a man who’ll follow me home and do me all night.”

Brittany wondered if she’d have such a casual disregard for sex if she hadn’t been introduced to it in such a violent manner. Would she have a boyfriend she’d want to give a little goodbye fuck to, like Karen had given to Allen?

With one last, longing look toward Trey, Brittany scuttled to a corner table, out of sorts and out of place.

Every now and then, she tasted her wine. She rubbed her forehead, sure news of her strange behavior tonight would circulate through the grapevine Karen had spoken of earlier. Her label as a snob—and worse—would be sealed. It didn’t matter, she insisted to herself, bringing her glass to her lips again with trembling fingers. Her labels only made it easier to keep everyone at arm’s length.

Without warning, a man slid onto the chair next to her and she recoiled away, losing her balance. She grabbed the table’s edge. Shadows created by the strobe lights popping against the wall were the only illumination in the isolated corner. Why had she chosen the gloomiest part of the club?  Anything could happen to her.

“It’s me, baby girl.”

Trey gripped her arm and steadied her, his drawl resonating through her, a balm to her heartache. He drank from the bottle he held in his other hand then set his beer on the table.

Trey had found her.

“Trey?” she whispered.

“In the flesh.”

The smile in his voice turned her disbelief at his close proximity into the startling reality he was with her. She’d avoided him after her assault then he’d moved away and she’d fallen into a deeper despair. She stood, then launched herself into his arms and buried her face in the bridge between his neck and shoulder. He hugged her, his easy laughter rumbling through him and pulsating through her body. Safe and warm in his embrace, she held on to him, never wanting to let him go.

“Trey. Oh, Trey.”

Disentangling himself from her arms, he anchored her with his hands at her waist. For a moment, they remained silent, staring at each other. His touch burned through to her belly, tightening her womb. He pulled her close again and kissed her cheek. Close to her lips but still too far away.

Keeping one hand at her waist, he tasted his beer and closed his eyes. “Sit,” he directed, urging her toward her seat.

Once she complied, he looked at her again, his expression inscrutable.

“Why aren’t you out there dancing with your friends and casting your spell over every man who crosses your path?”

“I don’t do that,” she protested, loneliness echoing through her. Trey was near her but still so far away. Unless she demanded he notice her in the way she wanted. She wanted normalcy, friends and fun, laughter and sunshine, not the all-consuming horror she battled. “I don’t like crowds anyway.”

His silence unnerved her. The shadows swallowed his expression.

Nervous, she shifted, grappling with the decisions she faced and the possible consequences. “I’m not a people person.”

“Bullshit. You were the captain of the cheerleading team in high school. Now try again.”

He slid his chair closer, and his scent, his cologne enveloped her.

“I’ve had a long week at school,” she mumbled, not a lie. She’d had a long two years at school. “And I’m tired. I want to go back to the dorm.”

She’d missed him so much and she’d loved him for so long.

Trey slid his finger across her cheek and another tremble hissed through her. “Would you like me to drive you back to your dorm?”

His warm, roughened hands cupped her chin.

“Where’s your date?” she asked.

“Driving to her house, I would imagine.”

A surge of jealousy knocked away more of her hesitation. It wasn’t what he said as much as what he left off. Women fell all over Trey and he basked in their superficial attention. “Where you’ll be driving to in a moment, I suppose?”

“Tsk, tsk.”

A chuckle rumbled from him, the familiarity of it slamming through her. She swallowed. Trey was there. He’d always protected her. If anyone could heal the hurt inside her, he could.

“Do I detect a little green monster?”

She sniffed, and his chuckle turned into full-blown laughter.

“Do you want a ride or not?”

“Yes.”

“Find your crew and tell ‘em you’re rolling with me,” Trey ordered, finishing his beer.

His hand at the small of her back, she threaded through the crowd. His touch heated her blood. When she found Irene dancing with some guy, Brittany beckoned her friend over.

“You don’t mind if I leave with him, do you?”

“I see you got his attention, after all. Good job, Brit! Go have fun with him. Pity you saw him first. I just hope you know what to do with him.”

Trey laughed. “I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

“I’m sure you will.”

Irene’s saucy grin and conspiratorial wink sent heat rushing to Brittany’s cheeks, shyness stealing into her. A moment later, Trey ushered her out of the club.

✽ ✽ ✽

During the thirty-five minute ride, Brittany almost felt like herself again, as if the clock had turned back. She was innocent again, the girl who’d believed in love and life, the people around her and herself. All too soon, their ride ended and by the time Trey pulled his pick-up truck to a stop, she wanted to hold onto him for as long as she could. Hoping to replace her frightening, ugly memories with good, sweet ones, she made a monumental decision. Only Trey had the power to entice her in such a way, even if he did so without his knowledge.

Opening the door to assist her out, Trey grabbed her hand. How could she want him as she did when she felt so dirty and violated?

She had no answer but she didn’t want Trey to leave her. Standing on the running board of the truck, she slipped her arms around his neck. Tension hummed through her, her heart dancing in her chest.

“D-don’t leave,” she whispered then covered his lips with hers.

He started at her chaste kiss. She pressed another one against his mouth before he pulled back and stared at her, his eyes wide and searching.

“What—?”

“My roommate is visiting her parents. Come to my dorm room and spend the night with me.” Her enticing voice sounded like the Brittany who loved life, knew her place in the world and knew her own value.

Sucking in a breath and settling his big hands on her waist, he scrutinized her. His intensity sent flames of desire shooting through her body. Her lips parted, her nipples tightening, aching, her pussy hot and moist. She’d never thought her body would respond to a man’s nearness. Not only was it responding, it was demanding. Demanding Trey sate her desire.

Demanding her to allow Trey to make love to her.

She pressed herself against him, leaned her head against his chest. “Please.”

Trey tucked strands of hair behind her ear, then caressed her scalp, combing his fingers through the length. Not her hair! No—

“Do you have any idea what you’re asking me?” he croaked, interrupting her sudden panic.

If he knew she’d dredged up the last vestiges of her courage to proposition him, he wouldn’t question her.

“Yes,” she breathed and kissed him again, shoving aside the memory of her hair being twisted with such menace she thought her scalp was being ripped off.

As she remembered some of the kisses she’d snuck with the quarterback she’d dated years ago, she opened her mouth against Trey’s and outlined his lips with her tongue. He stood still, not returning her kiss, his erection pressing against her belly. The feel of his hard length sent another rush of moist heat to her pussy. Her hands roamed over his arms, his ripped chest, his amazing six-pack, traveling even lower.

Trey grabbed her cold, bloodless hands. His thumbs caressed her palms. “You want me to make love to you?” His voice was low and tense.

“Yes. Make love to me.”

At her admission, he traced the outline of her lips with one long finger.

Sighing, she leaned into his touch, rubbing her cheek against his hand.

“Brittany.” He groaned the last syllable of her name, his nostrils flaring. Bending, he brought his head closer to hers then stopped, waging a battle with himself.

One she refused to allow him to win.

“My date is expecting me at her place. I have to go. Do you know how long…?” With a curse, he halted his words. “I can’t make love to you. It would change our entire relationship.”

“I need you,” she admitted in a quiet voice. She needed him to help her heal and to make her feel alive and secure. “I need to be in your arms.”

Trey released another harsh groan, wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her. His mouth slanted over hers, sure in the movements of his lips and his tongue. He nipped at her lips, coaxing her mouth open and sliding his tongue against hers in a silky caress and a deep exploration. He tasted of the beer he’d drunk and she moaned, her nails digging into the material of his shirt. Keeping her in his arms, he allowed her feet to dangle and walked with her until her back hit the door of his truck. Pushing up her dress, he wrapped her legs around his waist, aligning her groin with his. He rocked his penis against her pussy and she gasped, her panties wet with her need

He suckled her lower lip, his hand going between them and invading her panties. The scent of her desire rose between them and Trey thrust against her, slipping a finger inside her body. Whimpering, she clung to him, another voice—from another time and place—threatening to ruin the moment.

She stiffened and Trey withdrew his hand from her panties, placed a small amount of distance between them.

“This is insanity,” he murmured, leaning down to lick the rim of her ear.

He straightened and she leaned her head against his chest, eyes closed, focusing on her feelings for Trey, overriding her terror and confusion.

The demands of her body to join with Trey’s mattered more than anything just then.

“Come inside,” she whispered.

He seemed to grow harder at her double entendre.

Whore!

She jerked in Trey’s arms, the word screaming through her entire being. He kissed her forehead, breathing hard.

“I need to go.”

“Don’t,” she responded, unsure if she was ready for lovemaking, but knowing she didn’t want Trey to leave her. She forced him back and pressed her body against his once she hit the ground.

His erection lengthened and she almost yanked herself away from him. Maybe her isolation had driven her mad. Or maybe not. Maybe she was just allowing herself a chance to live again and remember what it felt like to love. Trey had always taken care of her.

She burrowed against his chest. “I want you to make love to me.”

Before she lost her nerve, she wrapped her arms around his neck. “I want you so badly. I want to be in your arms, skin-to-skin, our bodies as close as two human beings can be.”

“Damn it,” he growled, taking her mouth in a fierce kiss, his thumbs rubbing the hardened peaks of her nipples.

His passion burned hot and bright, stoking hers, tunneling deep inside her. And when he carried her into her dorm room with his arms around her waist, her feet dangling and his mouth fastened to hers, he kicked the door closed behind them.

“Which bed is yours?” he breathed, nipping at her lips.

“The one in the corner.” Hidden in the shadows.

Reaching the bed in three long strides, Trey laid her on the mattress. He stepped out of his shoes then removed his shirt and undershirt.

Before she processed the beauty of his body, he covered her. Swift and immediate, the sensation of being smothered sent panic through her. She pushed against his chest.

He raised up on his arms, removing most of his weight. Her fear evaporated. Bending down, still braced on his arms, he kissed her again, his tongue inside her mouth. With utmost care, he slid one of his arms beneath her head and lay partially atop her. Still kissing her, he inched her dress up by slow degrees, baring her calves, her knees, her thighs. His fingertips trailed a blaze of desire along her skin.

“Trey,” Brittany whispered, licking her lips, wet and swollen from his mouth.

Hooking two fingers in the waistband of her panties, he slid them down her legs, skimming his hand along her skin, alighting her sensitive nerve endings. She buried her face in the crook of his neck and trembled against him. Spreading her legs, he caressed the seam of her femininity then opened her tender lips. She groaned, pressing against his probing fingers and arching her back. Instead of inserting a finger, he massaged her folds, circling her clit until she thought she might go mad. The heat of his mouth closed around her breast and he drew in the tip, suckling her nipple. She still wore her clothes but exquisite sensation exploded through her.

His breathing harsh, he brushed his lips against hers. “Raise up. I want to see you nude.”

She lifted herself and Trey pulled her dress over her head then unfastened her bra. Heat flushed her body. She was bare, exposed and vulnerable.

Trey bent his head and licked her pebbled nipple. Pleasure shot through her, her thoughts scattering. He drew her breast into his mouth and she cried out. His tongue traveled along the underside of her breast to her ribcage and down to her belly. He pushed her legs apart and her terror and tension returned.

Not pausing, he kissed the inside of her thigh and sensation built inside her. He pressed his nose against her pussy a moment before he tasted her.

“Oh god!” she cried, her hips jerking upward.

Trailing his tongue along her seam, he pulled back and pinioned her on the bed. “Trust me,” he whispered, blowing on her and spreading her with his fingers. He lowered his head again and licked her folds then circled her clit with his tongue, teasing and torturing her.

Clutching the sheets, she moaned, so wet she heard as much as felt each move of his tongue.

He raised his head, his eyes blazing with passionate intent, his lips glistening with her juices. Flipping her onto her belly, he turned her upside down. He lay back, clutching her waist, and pulled her to his mouth.

“Ride my face,” he demanded and settled her pussy against his mouth.

Trey’s tongue brushed against her and she moaned. Shutting her eyes, she settled her thighs on either side of his face and moved her hips. Trey rested his hands on her backside, rocking her back and forth in a fast rhythm. Unable to hold back as her release washed through her, she cried his name until it became a refrain. He suckled her nub and she shook her head from side to side, abandoning everything to her pleasure, grinding.

When it was over, she collapsed at his side, breathing hard. He righted her so they lay face-to-face again, Trey kissed her, his mouth musky with her taste.

He caressed her, his hands traveling the same path as his tongue. His thumb massaged her clit, teased her pubic hair, before he slipped a finger inside her.

“Hell yeah!” he uttered, masculine and satisfied. He drew in a sharp breath and closed his eyes. “You’re good and ready for my cock.”

As he murmured those words, he inserted a second finger into her, his thumb still caressing her special spot. He covered her nipple with his mouth and suckled.

“Trey,” Brittany moaned, clutching his shoulders.

“I want you so bad, baby girl.” Rolling over and settling between her legs, he ground his erection against her.

Brittany gasped; her body so sensitive the material of his pants sent a shiver through her. “T-take the rest of your clothes off,” she urged in a soft, quiet voice.

Weight on his elbows, Trey stilled. “I’m out of condoms and had intended to stop at a store to pick some up, but I didn’t get the chance, so I don’t have any protection with me,” he murmured, sounding as if he were in pain. He rested his cheek on the crown of her head and sighed. “I can’t make love to you bare. As much as I want to.”

“Can’t you pull out?”

Bracing his weight on his elbows, he stared at her, his eyes narrowed. Heat crept into her cheeks at the jealous speculation in Trey’s gaze.

He rolled over and stared at the ceiling. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to once I’m inside your tight little cunt. I want you too badly.”

“Oh.”

Strained laughter rumbled through him and he pulled her against him. “All you can say is ‘oh’?”

She sank into the bliss of being in his arms. “I-I don’t know what else to say.”

He glanced down at her and bent his head, kissing her again before pulling away.

“You know I’ll have to shoot the shit out of Bryson if he ever finds out about this.”

To say her brother would be furious to learn Trey had made love to her was an understatement. She’d caused enough damage in her life. She didn’t want to damage Trey and Bryson’s friendship as well. Sitting up, she groaned, her body sensitive. The sheet pressing against her sent tingles through her and tightened her belly and her nipples.

“Fuck it all,” Trey growled, brushing her wealth of hair over her shoulders to suck her nipple. His fingers found her core again and he lifted his head to kiss her, sweeping his tongue into her mouth once more.

Brittany clasped his shoulders and fell back upon the pillows, bringing him down with her.

His lips traveled down the column of her throat and lower over her breasts, trailing across her belly to the top of her mound. He pressed featherlight kisses to the inside of her thighs and she canted her hips, wanting his mouth on her again. She arched her back and cried out at the fast swipe of his tongue. Her release slammed through her in shattering waves, sending her soaring to another plane. Screaming his name and jerking against him, she didn’t recognize the sound of her own voice.

He rose up, big and beautiful and hard, and brought his lips down on her again, suckling her tongue, overwhelming her senses. Digging her nails into his back, she rocked against him.

Trey tore his lips from hers. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” He bounded from the bed with panther-like grace and agility.

Drawing in deep drafts of air, she stared at the fine lines of Trey’s back. As he yanked on his T-shirt, the muscles in his arms and shoulders flexed.

“Trey?” Brittany whispered, uncertain of him, of her feelings, of the entire situation.

She lifted herself on her elbows as Trey grabbed his shirt and jerked into it.

“Trey?”

He paused in his movements, bent his head and rubbed the back of his neck. “I have to go.”

“Aren’t—?” She stopped and swallowed. “A-aren’t you going to look at me?”

“Motherfucker,” he mumbled. He turned around and his nostrils flared, his erection straining against his pants. “Fucking hell.”  He started forward then stopped. “When was your last period?”

The question caught her off-guard and she blinked. “Oh. Um. A-about twelve or thirteen days ago.”

“Great,” he snarled. “Fucking great. I don’t want a wife. I don’t want children and if I don’t stop looking at you, if I don’t get the fuck out of here, I’m a minute away from risking one if not the other.”

Trey not wanting children or a wife wasn’t news. Just as his father had been, Trey was a police officer. When he was twelve, his dad had been killed in the line of duty. The day his dad died, something in Trey died too.

“You don’t know what you do to me.”

Widening her eyes, she studied him, shocked at the torture in his voice.

“Don’t leave,” she whispered, afraid she wouldn’t see him again for another two years. Or longer.

“I have to leave tonight. But I’ll come back tomorrow evening with protection and spend the night with you if you want.”

She’d wanted this with Trey since forever. She’d suffered mental and physical abuse because of her desire for Trey.

“Yes. I want it.” She closed her eyes, ugly, dirty words echoing in her head. But what she shared with Trey wasn’t either of those things. Sex between them was perfect and beautiful, just as she’d always dreamed. “I want you.”

Trey stood there a moment longer. Then he nodded. “Is seven all right?”

“Perfect.”

Trey turned away from her and a portent of more hurt and heartache stole her contentment.

“Do you promise you’re coming back tomorrow?”

“I promise. Give me your cell number and I’ll call you when I’m on the way.”

She started to rise but Trey’s abrupt advance froze her in place. She thought he was going to push her down on the bed and use her body with mind-numbing violence.

His hand came down on her shoulder and she jumped. Trey narrowed his eyes and searched her face, as if he were trying to work out a puzzle in his head.

“Put your damn dress on,” he gritted but instead of waiting for her to do the task, he placed it over her head. He took each of her arms and slipped them into the sleeves then adjusted the skirt so she was covered. “Fuck it all, but this is even worse. Seeing you in the dress and knowing you don’t have anything on underneath.” He paced away from her. “Give me the number so I can get the fuck out of here.”

Once she gave him her number, she hugged him, laying her head against his chest. Wrapping her in a tight embrace, he glided his fingers through her hair then kissed the top of her head.

“Until tomorrow night, baby girl.”