Craving Redemption(9)By: Nicole Jacquelyn
He acted like he hadn’t been just ogling my neck—he was all business as he plopped the helmet back over my hood-covered head and buckled the strap.
I took the time while he was situating the helmet to explain where my Gram lived and asked if he needed directions, but he seemed to know the area pretty well. I wasn’t sure where he was from, but I wasn’t about to ask him if he lived in San Diego. If he did, I would have to decide whether I wanted to try and see him again, and if he didn’t, I would have to deal with the disappointment. I didn’t want to do either.
“Helmet’s still a little big, but that should help a bit,” he told me with a nod before he started messing with his bike. I just stood there like an idiot, wondering if that look he’d given me had meant something. Was he into me? It was a ridiculous question, I knew he was older than me and completely out of my league, but I couldn’t help but feel like he’d been checking me out.
He climbed on to the bike, settling in, and I just stood there staring. He had long hair. How had I missed that before? It wasn’t super long like the guy on the front of Gram’s romance novels, but it was long enough to put in a hair tie at the back of his head. Normally, I would’ve laughed at a guy with long hair, I mean, really? But he worked it. The fact that he didn’t seem to care how long it was, and the ponytail was more of a completely tangled bun than a slick ponytail… it was hot.
His back was slightly toward me, giving me a good glimpse of his broad shoulders and his jeans pulled tight across his thighs in a way that made my heart speed up. Holy shit. I’d never even noticed a guy’s thighs before. They were just a part of someone’s legs, right? No big deal, nothing particularly special about them. But for some reason, looking at this guy’s thighs made my stomach clench.
I was snapped out of my perusal by the clearing of his throat. When I cut my eyes quickly toward his face, I knew he hadn’t missed the way I’d been staring at him. Half of his mouth was pulled up in a grin and his voice was laced with humor as he spoke.
“Well? Climb on.”
I made it onto the bike with little trouble, though I thought for sure I was going to wipe out. I sat with my hands wrapped around his waist and my cheek against his back for most of the ride. I could tell he loved it—the wind and the open highway—because his whole body seemed to relax once we were on the road. He made riding seem so easy, his movements fluid and graceful, and the ride would have made it to the top ten best moments of my life if not for one thing.
I was fucking freezing.
The wind cut through the sweatshirt I was wearing, and at first it didn’t bother me much, but as soon as we were on the freeway, the wind felt like little shards of glass cutting into my skin. My legs, completely uncovered in the shorts I’d thought were so risqué earlier in the night, almost felt sunburned from the cold air. It was miserable.
The first time I shivered, I didn’t think he noticed, but when my teeth began to chatter against his back I felt him tense. His shoulders only tightened for a moment before he dropped one hand off the handlebars and reached down to rub my thigh briskly, running his fingers as high up as he could reach and then back down over my knee to my shin. He did this over and over before switching hands and rubbing the other thigh the same way.
At first, it didn’t seem to matter what he was doing, my legs continued to burn and I counted the seconds until we would make it to Gram’s. But less than five minutes later, I was burning up for an entirely different reason.
When I started to squirm behind him, he paused with his hand on my knee. I was afraid he was going to stop what he was doing, but instead he reached even further back and grabbed my hip, scooting my body toward his until there was no space between us. Once he was sure I was done moving around, his hand found my thigh again, his pinky sliding under the side of my shorts before sweeping down my leg slower than he had before.
He let go of my leg as we took the exit we needed and I shuddered once before getting control of myself. I felt my face heat as I thought of the way I must have looked, practically purring as he warmed up my legs, and I was happy as hell that he couldn’t see me make a complete ass of myself when he was only trying to warm me up.