The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Love In The Morning

Day Ten! To be honest, I'm rather surprised at my level of commitment to this mini series of short stories. I think Arren probably beats me on the surprise level...

Partial Recall © Billy London 

Arren, wrapped tightly in a warm cocoon of sleep, became slowly aware that someone else was in the bed with her. A spring popped up into her side, forcing her to sit up. Oh yeah. Not her bed. Her bed was a memory foamed wonder. Duke really needed a new mattress. That same spring popped into her bottom at a really crucial moment last night. He appreciated. The tenderness in her right cheek told her she wouldn’t appreciate it as much as he did when she had a proper look.
Valentine’s Day was a bitch. Had to be said. She’d had an idea that being single on the day would make her do something reckless. Although from the foil packets scattered around the room, it couldn’t have been that reckless. All the singletons from the office had walked from their desks to the company’s local pub, decorated with tacky hearts and plump cheeked Cupids in celebration. For a while now, her more gossipy colleague had been telling her that Duke had a soft spot for her. Arren didn’t believe in crapping on her own doorstep. Interoffice romances were a no no. But last night, she’d caught his eye and the smile he sent her… The If you want it, come get it smile, that smile had challenged her and her body told her to go and get. Oh well. She could always ask for a transfer. Maybe to Japan.
Duke finally moved, rolling onto his back and rubbed a fist over his eyes. She waited for him to realise she was sitting there. When he did, he smiled at her. The man had his own code in smiles. His morning one said I’m glad you didn’t leave while I was asleep.
“Didn’t want you to think you’re a slut,” she murmured.
“What was that?” he asked.
“I said I thought I heard a mutt. A dog… Outside. Morning.”
“Hi, Arren.”
Hokidoke and that was enough awkwardness for a lifetime. “I’m going to go.”
“Why?” He asked through a huge yawn, resting a hand over his bare chest. It’d felt glorious to brush her palms over the breadth of those muscles and follow with her mouth.
She hadn’t seen him like that at all. Even when her colleague battered on about how much he liked her. Arren thought he liked everyone. His affability made it easy for him to land clients. They enjoyed his company and it was one step from liking him to trusting him with their money. And truthfully, like any girl she’d seen a tall, buff, quite pretty man and appreciated his beauty. From afar. When she’d met Duke, he’d just been poached from another broker, she’d been in love with someone else and that was the end of it. Or at least she’d thought so.
Last night, quite determined to get being alone out of her head, she’d seen Duke, interrupted whatever hustle he was on with a girl she didn’t know and thrown herself at him. In front of most of the people she worked with, she cupped his face and said, “This is happening. Now.” Everything after blended into one intense pulse of pure pleasure. Instinct told her, just before that fateful kiss, he would make her feel everything she’d been missing and more. How right had she been! For a start she felt every cell of her body that shouldn’t have been bent the way Duke had coaxed her to bend. All that yoga and none of the reward.
God. She wanted to go somewhere for the sackcloth and ashes treatment. Avoid him having to kick her out or remind her that it was a mistake, not the start of a beautiful relationship. Him now asking why she wanted to bugger off was a little bit silly.
“It’s raining,” he nodded to the huge windows in his bedroom. For a moment, she watched the pitter-patter of water against the double glazed glass.
“It’s London, it’s always raining.” She answered. Duke leaned across her and placed his head on her lap. He felt warm and heavy on her thighs, his hair brushing over her stomach. Now she definitely couldn’t move. A combination of his weight and the lust crawling steadily through her veins. 
“You’re cuddly. And you kept me up last night so really, you should stay where you are.”
Fair enough. She wriggled down beneath the covers until Duke’s head lay on her chest. The cocoon slowly enveloped her once more and within a few minutes she was fast asleep again until a persistent buzzing noise disturbed her. The weight of Duke had disappeared and she was in the middle of his king size alone. Sitting up once, she hunted for her bag and saw it, half open and her mobile bouncing across the carpet. A carpet she’d happily kneeled on to let Duke slide off her knickers. Ho. I’m a massive ho.
Arren could manage this, if she was clean. Covering her nipples and her crotch with her hands, she tiptoed in the direction of the bathroom and showered all of the naughtiness away. Most of it. Duke’s touch seemed tattooed all over her skin. It took her a moment’s hesitation before using his electric toothbrush. The things her tongue had done a few hours before, it wasn’t a stretch.
Duke was noticeably absent from the bedroom when she tiptoed back. Still. Massaging the bruise on her butt with hand cream, she took notice of her angrily buzzing phone. Who was calling her again? Snatching it up, she answered without looking at the number. “I’m fine. I had sex. It was very protected and I’ve had the cobwebs cleared, alright?”
“I assumed that,” her flatmate said wryly. “We’re supposed to go for the introduction to silent films at the Barbican today. Joe said you’d be too worn out to do it.”
“Why does Joe have a say in anything?” She asked sulkily. Her flatmate’s boyfriend thought way too much of himself.
“He’s a commentator. Everything gets an opinion. I guess you’re not coming?”
Duke came into the room with a tray and a grin. “No,” she said slowly. “I think I’m going to stay where I am.”
She ended the call and tucked her phone back into her bag. “What’s all this?”
“Erm... Bacon and chip butties and tea and water with lime and salt. It’ll help.”
“You know I wasn’t drunk last night.”
He raised his eyebrows. “You do that sober?”
She flopped back onto the bed and patted the space next to her. “Duke my love, you have no idea. It’s probably why I’m on my own.”
He picked up a roll and sat next to her, his feet on top of the duvet and crossed at the ankle. The scent lingering on his skin was clean, like fresh laundry. “Trust me, that’s the last reason why you are.” He took a huge bite of the roll, licking ketchup from the corner of his lip. That was uncommonly sexy... “Wrong bloke is all.”
“Yeah. Most likely reason being you were too good for him.”
Arren moved the tray to the floor, picked up her buttie and cuddled up to Duke. His heartbeat pounded against her eardrum. The sound was oddly comforting. As if the uneven beat was just for her. “If I get ketchup on you,” she said, smiling at how strange her voice sounded next to his ribcage, “don’t mind me if I lick it off.”
He kissed the top of her head. “You really don’t understand men, do you?”
“Nah. Not even a little bit.”

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