Pucked Off (The Pucked Series)(2)

By: Helena Hunting

But I deserved it. I took the best thing in her life away.

My feet feel like they’re made of lead as I walk down the hall to Tash’s room. When I get there, I shove my hands in my pockets and wait for the memories to fade. I need a drink. I need the past to stop haunting me. I need to stop doing this with Tash.

My fist doesn’t feel like it’s attached to my body as I lift it to knock on the door. The click of the lock turning twists the knot of my anxiety tighter. Then the door opens, and there she is.

Tash is wearing a T-shirt. My T-shirt. I don’t think there’s anything on underneath it. Her hair is loose around her shoulders. I know what it feels like between my fingers and on my chest. Her lips curve in a smile that looks more devious than welcoming.

“Hi.”

“Hey.” I jam my hands back in my pockets so I don’t touch her like I want to.

“I’m so glad you decided to come.” She reaches out and skims my forearm. I tense when her fingers wrap around my wrist, tugging my hand free of my pocket.

“I can’t stay long.”

“You always say that.” She pulls me through the door, which closes behind me with a metallic slam.

Tash runs her hands up my chest, inciting the sensation of spiders crawling over my skin. She knows I hate that; I grab her wrists. “Don’t.”

“You’re so jumpy. I’m not going to hurt you, baby. I just wanted to see you. Can I hug you?”

I want to believe her, but we’ve done this so many times in the past year. It’s hard to know when she’s being real and when she’s playing games.

I release her wrists, and she wraps her arms around me, stepping closer until her hard body is pressed up against mine. I try not to tense, but the reaction is as conditioned as the sensation it inspires.

“It’s okay, baby,” she whispers. “Just relax.”

I drop my head and turn my face into her hair. It smells like my shampoo. She does this every time. It’s the little manipulations that make it so much harder to walk away and stay away. She makes me believe she actually cares, and then she finds a way to take it all back again.

“I missed you.” I feel her lips on my neck, moving up my jaw.

I don’t tell her I missed her, too. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t. Or maybe I’m just stupid. It doesn’t matter. When she gets to my mouth, I open for her and accept her tongue. She tastes like vodka. I wonder if she’s drunk. I’ll fuck her either way, because that’s what she called me for, and I never can say no. I ease a hand down her side until I reach the hem of her shirt and palm her bare ass. I promise myself this will be the last time.

She pulls away, that coy, devious smile turning up the corner of her mouth.

“Come. I have something to show you.” She threads her fingers through mine and leads me down the short hall to the bedroom.

And the second we enter the room, I know I’ve been duped.

In the middle of the California king is a redhead. The color is artificial, but Tash knows what I like. She’s wearing pale green satin, which, if her hair were naturally that color, would offset freckles and pale skin. But it’s not real. None of this is. It’s Tash’s way of telling me, once again, that she’s always in control. Of me. Of this thing between us. Of her emotions. Of mine.

“Lance, this is Erin. She’s been dying to meet you,” Tash says. Like this is normal. Like it’s expected when we haven’t seen each other in weeks, or sometimes even months.

My response is gritty, like the pain is coming out through my mouth. “Hi, Erin.”

“Hi.” She bites her lip, eyes darting from me to Tash and back again. Her excitement is as apparent as her uncertainty.

I’m a legend. I’m the one people whisper about, even though half of the rumors aren’t true. I’m the man women with no inhibitions want. And I fucking hate it. But it’s become an expectation.

I tighten my grip on our twined fingers and step behind Tash. Skimming her arm with my free hand, I thread my fingers through the hair at the nape of her neck, twisting it out of the way until I can lower my mouth to her ear. “You want me to fuck your friend?”