Authors: Tina Donahue
Why not enjoy it while it lasts?
I don’t know why you’re denying yourself.
Seconds passed as Zach tried to reason it out. Suddenly,
something inside him shifted. Calm—or maybe it was fatigue—told him what he
already knew. He was fucking tired of being lonely.
Toni’s voice returned, her tone seductive, her question
filling his mind.
Why not have some fun?
He breathed deeply as a new stew of emotions whispered
Angel’s off-color remark about a rude customer had Robbie
laughing and snorting.
Looking up from her clipboard, Toni glanced at the guys,
then snuck another peek at the window to Zach’s office. He still hadn’t
Nearly a half-hour ago, she’d caught him leaving, his
expression strained, no different than when he’d been between her legs this
morning, refusing to mount her.
At the time, she’d argued, “Why wait?”
On his feet, he’d draped his torso over hers, the tips of
their noses touching. “Because I said so.”
Another argument rose to her throat, but Zach stole her
words with his commanding kiss, exploring her mouth ravenously. He’d then
captured her wrists, pushing them to the table, deliberately imprisoning them.
Telling her without words he’d do whatever he damn well pleased, on his
schedule, not hers.
A part of Toni wanted to argue. Another part of her really
liked his commanding presence and tone.
Done with their kiss, he’d helped her from the table, the
length of their bodies pressed close.
At the heat and softness of his lips on her throat, she’d
emptied her lungs in a needy moan. Hands on his shoulders, she pushed to her
toes, her mouth on his ear, her voice holding all the carnal promise she felt.
“Tonight I’ll do exactly what you want.”
Oh, he was bad. “Now?” she asked.
He gave her a sexy smile, then refused to hand Toni her
shorts, tucking them beneath his arm, watching as she finished making the
breakfast she’d started.
Although her partial nudity didn’t bother her, it sure as
hell had an effect on him. Several times, Zach caught her arm, stopping her
from going to the fridge or back to the stove so he could run his large hand
over her buttocks. His fingertips traced the tattoo on her right cheek of two
stars, dark blue and entwined.
Toni sensed he wanted to ask her the history behind it and
so much more, especially her past. Thankfully, he did not.
He’d kept things purely sexual, hauling her onto his lap,
directing her to straddle him, her naked cunt kissing his bulge, his worn jeans
soft against the insides of her thighs. Positioned thusly, she’d fed him
breakfast, pausing to lick the crumbs from his bottom lip and a trace of orange
juice from the corner of his mouth.
Too many times they forgot about the food, necking instead.
However, no matter how she yielded and responded or how she
kept begging, then insisting he mount her, he refused to go further.
On the drive to the shop, she’d finally asked, “What are you
going to do with me tonight?”
Bringing his pickup to a stop at one of the few red lights
in town, he’d looked over. Lazily, his attention traveled from her jutting
nipples to the soft swell of her belly and mound, down her bare legs, ending
finally at her toe ring. “Exactly what I want.”
As his gaze lifted to hers, she saw passion blaze in his
Tonight was going to be something, unless he’d had too much
time to think about it and was on the verge of changing his mind.
Toni flipped through the work orders Zach gave her this
morning. All light, girly stuff, as though he didn’t want her to get too tired
before he took her to bed. Or he was suddenly worried she couldn’t handle the
more complicated repairs.
Moving closer to the guys, Toni asked, “Where’d Zach go?”
Face reddened from laughter, Robbie glanced at the shop’s
office, as did Angel. As one, they lifted their shoulders.
“Does he usually do this?” she asked, recalling that he
hadn’t left yesterday. Had he done so today, because he was second guessing his
decision to sleep with her? Wanting a measure of reassurance, she added, “Does
he generally take off, I mean?”
“He probably went to the diner for coffee and one of Em’s
baked goods,” Angel said. “He does that sometimes.” Moving closer, he glanced
at her clipboard. “You have a question? Something I can help you with?”
Maybe. With no customers or gawkers watching them, Toni
asked, “What’s wrong with Zach’s leg?” Was that why he was hot one minute and
pulling away from her the next? Was he concerned his leg would hurt him,
stopping him from performing?
Rather than answering, Angel shot a glance at Robbie, who
looked equally uncomfortable.
“What?” Toni asked. Before either of them could answer, her
heart caught. Had Zach lost his leg somehow? She blurted, “Does he have an artificial
“Oh hell, no,” Robbie said.
Angel cleared his throat and spoke in an even softer voice
than usual, just loud enough for her to hear him over the radio’s noise. “He
almost lost his leg, but the doctors operated like a dozen times and were able
to save it.”
“Oh my god, what happened?”
The young men exchanged another glance. Robbie ran his palm
over his spiky hair and shrugged. “He was in an accident.”
“About two years ago,” Angel added.
“With his wife,” Robbie said.
Toni’s belly knotted. Heat surged to her cheeks, stinging
her skin. This morning, she’d worried he had a girlfriend, fiancée or ex-wife
he still wanted. He’d assured her he wasn’t involved with anyone.
Toni’s voice sounded hollow, faraway as she asked the
obvious. “She didn’t make it?”
“The paramedics did everything they could,” Angel said, “but
it was real bad.”
“They’d just bought this big house outside of town,” Robbie
added. “They were going to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast for Meg to run. Meg
was Zach’s wife. They were fixing it up, moving stuff from their old house to
Angel cut in, “From what we’ve heard, Meg was tired, but
Zach wanted to do one last run with their things. It wasn’t late. Barely seven
o’clock. They were in his pickup when a car ran a red light.”
“The kid driving it was a tourist,” Robbie said, shaking his
head in obvious disgust. “He was texting. Never even saw them. He broadsided
Zach’s pickup at 50 miles an hour, hitting Meg’s side. You’d think it would
have killed the fucker, or at least hurt him, but the piece of dirt walked away
without a scratch. In fact, he ran from the scene. Cops had to go to his mommy
and daddy’s vacation house to arrest him.”
Angel looked from Robbie to her. “Zach’s always blamed
himself, even though it wasn’t his fault. I mean, how can you know something
like that’s gonna happen?”
“Probably why he hasn’t dated much since Meg died,” Robbie
said to Angel, then spoke to Toni. “For the last six months, Em’s been trying
to fix him up with every single woman in town and beyond, but for the most part
he’s just not interested.”
Shaking his head, Angel walked backward to the Honda Civic
he’d been working on. “He’s a guy and he’ll have his fun, I’m sure, but he’s
never going to want any woman like he wanted Meg.”
Shortly after one o’clock, Zach returned.
Toni’s pulse jumped with desire, while her heart continued
to sink at what the guys had told her. For the last few hours, with her mind so
focused on Zach’s love for Meg, she kept making stupid mistakes on the repairs,
misdiagnosing some problems, missing others.
Gently, Angel and Robbie had corrected her, acting as if her
blunders were no big deal.
Even if they weren’t, what had happened to Zach shouldn’t
have affected her so deeply. Sure, Toni’s heart ached for his loss, but it also
confirmed what she’d already known and had tried to forget. Her foolish notions
of having a guy like him protecting and cherishing her were only a fantasy.
Zach was a young, healthy guy who needed sex, not love, especially from a woman
To him, she’d always be a stranger whose past he’d never
know. In a month’s time, she’d be leaving. There wouldn’t be any regrets on his
part, nor could she allow any on hers. She’d have a purely physical
relationship with him, allowing herself some kind of connection, no matter how
When she took off, she’d treasure the memories they’d made,
hoping they’d ease the loneliness that she’d known for too many years.
Her head snapped up at Zach’s voice. Looking over, she saw
him standing in the door to his office.
“Stop whatever you’re doing and come in here,” he said.
Her heart whapped violently against her chest. She stared as
he went into his office, lowering the blinds over the window, then closing
Oh, shit. He had changed his mind about tonight and probably
every other part of their agreement. And why not? She’d practically forced
herself on him this morning, reading more into his momentary lust than she
Quick tears pricked the corners of her eyes. Sorrow
threatened to overwhelm until she shoved it away. If he ordered her to leave,
she’d do so with dignity, taking what little money she’d made. She’d ask for
work at every other place in this town, and if no one hired her, she’d move on
to the next and the next.
Doing what she needed to survive. What she’d grown used to
and expected since she was fifteen.
Engaged in their work, Robbie and Angel didn’t bother to
look up as Toni walked past. They seemed unaware anything was wrong.
It wasn’t. She’d get through this and whatever else came her
As she reached the jamb, Zach looked up, his eyes meeting
hers. “Close the door.”
Her stomach knotted. He didn’t want an audience to whatever
he intended to say. Without comment, and certainly without a futile plea to let
their arrangement stand, she eased the door closed, making certain her
movements were gentle, not harsh.
“Lock it,” he said.
Head turned, she did as he’d ordered, then faced him, her
body tense, braced for the worst.
He moved into her so fast, Toni stepped back instinctively,
her hip hitting the side of a cabinet. Briefly, the metal rattled. Wrapping one
arm around her waist, Zach pulled her into his solid length. His other hand
went to the back of her head, keeping it still as his mouth imprisoned hers.
Surprise stole all of her breath. Yearning took over,
defeating what little defense she’d built against him. A moan whimpered from
the base of her throat. With her knees sagged against his and her arms wrapped
around his torso, she held on for dear life, wanting him as she had no other
His tongue filled her so well, his firm embrace was so
welcomed, the room spun. She moaned again.
Abandoning her mouth, Zach pressed his lips to her ear and
whispered, “Quiet. Do you want the guys to hear?”
Breathless with arousal, she could barely manage words. “I
don’t fucking care.”
Subdued laughter vibrated his chest.
Toni tried to quiet him with her kiss. Zach wasn’t having
it. Stepping back, he turned her around to face the cabinet and the shop’s
He’d closed those blinds too. No more than a sliver of space
remained between them and the door frame for someone to peer inside. Unless
they came in.
She whispered, “Did you lock the front door?”
“Not ‘til closing. I’ve a business to run.”
Toni nearly laughed at his ludicrous comment given what he
was doing. Her head snapped down at him unzipping the front of her overalls,
sneaking his hand inside, straight past her tank top and bra to settle his
fingers on her naked nipple.
A mew caught in the back of her throat. Her knees bumped the
cabinet, rattling the metal. Head tilted to the side, she bit her lower lip,
trying not to cry out her pleasure as Zach suckled her neck.
Where in the hell had he been for the last couple of hours?
What had caused such a change in him from when he’d left?
Arm tightened around her waist, he pulled her even closer,
grinding his erection into her buttocks. She blew out a breath.
“Quiet,” he ordered again, cradling the side of her face in
his hand, turning it to him so he could capture her mouth once more.
He kissed her greedily, without finesse, his lust telling
Toni he couldn’t help himself. Her thoughts rejoiced, while the truth nagged.
He’d loved Meg, a depth of emotion he’d never give her.
Ignoring sorrow, she told herself it was okay. At least he
wanted her. A few minutes ago, it was more than she’d hoped for. With her head
against his shoulder, eyes closed, she allowed him what he willed, what she
desired. Hunger for him pulsed through Toni, forcing the air from her lungs,
dampening her channel.
He squeezed her breast firmly, not painfully, finished his
kiss and pressed his lips to her ear. “Someone’s coming to the door.”
Eyes snapping open, she tried to look, but could not as Zach
turned her around quickly, zipped up her overalls and swatted her butt. “Back
Not moving, she stared at him.
With hooded eyes and a voice laced with danger, he asked,
“You want more?”
Oh yeah. A lot more. He awakened a desire in her not only to
be pleasured, but to be taken, dominated, something she’d allowed no other man.
Zach was different. She trusted him not to hurt her. “Later,” she murmured.
“Whatever punishment you decide.”
Surprise swept across his features. “You mean like spanking?
You like to be spanked?”
Only if he was the one doing it. She ran her finger down his
fly. “I like a strong man who takes charge and teaches me how to obey in bed.”
The thought made her toes curl.
Toni heard the danger in his voice and matched it with her