“Is he alright?” Sienna asked. The boy’s reaction made her heart hurt. She recognized the look in those eyes. She watched as Saint turned, kneeled and gently held the boy’s tiny biceps to stop him from shaking. Saint started to speak to the boy. She couldn’t hear what Saint said, but she saw the boy nod. His wide eyes snapped to hers. Like lightening they flashed back to Saint and the boy surprised them both.
“No!” he yelled.
Sienna jumped as the word exploded from the boy and she reached out as if to stop him, but he ripped his body away from Saint’s hands and he ran off.
She took a step forward as Saint’s gaze followed the boy running away. Saint stood up, turned to face her and she drew up short. Anger poured off him in waves. Was he mad at her?
“What’s wrong?” She took another step back.
He didn’t answer for long seconds and looked out into the dark where they could no longer see the small figure. “I don’t know,” he finally responded and turned back toward her. She sensed some deeper tension in Saint, the tautness of his body, the way his brow creased and the tightness at his mouth drew his jaw together. But in a blink, his stress faded away and he smiled.
Sienna’s breath eased out. He wasn’t mad at her. But what would it matter? She was here to call off the date. He would be mad soon enough.
Saint’s worry for the boy, Sienna could see, lay heavily on his shoulder’s still. “The boy. His name’s Danny.” He paused and took a deep breath. “I’ve watched him slink around, going on about two weeks now. He’s shown up almost every day. This was the first time he came into the garage.” Saint shook his head and looked toward the ground with a frown on his face, then turned his gaze on hers. “Most days he sits in the bleachers.” He pointed out toward the grandstand. Saint ran his fingers through his hair, gripped hard with agitation and expelled a heavy breath.
Her stomach swirled with dismay. Danny had looked beat down, scared out of his mind. His stark and lost, pale blue eyes, for one second, when they’d latched onto hers, the light from the garage had made them shine…in fear, of her? But why?
“Where’s he going? Should we go after him?”
“Home,” he growled the word. “I wish I could go after him. After he’d come around a couple days I was curious. I tracked him back home.” He blew out a breath and he looked right into her eyes. “It’s not a good place to be, Sienna.”
The ominous words spilled Sienna into a dark corner of her past, a time before she’d met Megs.
The dilapidated house she’d considered a home with faded, chipped paint, was a placeholder. A cold, empty box of a room with a mattress that had belonged to someone else, so worn from age she rolled into the middle when she slept. It had been more cage then home. Stale odors of booze and cigarettes were like a second skin; ones she could never peel away.
Sienna rubbed her arms cold from the memory.
The good days were the ones her Dad was passed out on the couch and her Mom had holed up in her room. Though the results of beforehand was her mother curled up on her bed, her body used up, bruised and scarred, the visible proof of abuse mapped on her thin skin.
The day Sienna met Megs was the first time Sienna dared to sneak out. It was the reason she’d raced out of Hampshire’s Stop and Shop. She’d been thinking about where to hide the food so her dad couldn’t find it. She couldn’t be caught or his wrath would have been evident in the days that followed.
“You should have never been born, Sienna!”, “You’re useless, girl.”, “Get me a damn beer, that’s the only thing you’re good for.”, “I could never love someone like you! You’re pathetic, whining and crying all the time.” That was only after he’d kick her for not getting his beer fast enough.
She could hear her mother’s words, “You’re the one who drove your father to drink. For being born. For coming between him and me this is the life we get. The life we deserve. If I’d just gotten rid of you like he told me to, he’d still want me.” She was the reason her father started using his fists on her mother, the reason her mother finally left Sienna with him. She was never good enough.
Sienna was cold to the bone, though she wore an extra layer under her coat. She stared in the direction Danny disappeared. It was so much worse for Sienna, when her mother took off. Even though she said so many hateful things, Sienna was her daughter. She loved her some, right? After all these years the woman still called her occasionally. Sienna’s memories snagged her again. The last time she saw the woman it was in the parking lot of her high school. She waited in her car, but when Sienna approached, her mother took off. “Come back, Mom,” she screamed as her mother’s car got farther and farther away.
Sienna swayed on her feet, the past blurring with the present, caught by the pain that it caused in her chest. She grabbed onto the only thing in front of her, but Saint must not have noticed her dismay. He kissed her. When she was able to come up for air, she looked up into his face and a cocky smirk made his mouth twitch. She blinked, still dazed and then remembered why she’d come.
Sienna pushed away, or she tried, but Saint’s grip tightened. Crap!
“Saint? She tried to push him away, but he held on tighter. “Saint!” She was able to get him to understand she needed space, but it wasn’t a whole hell of a lot that he gave her. “We can’t do this,” she said in aggravation and crossed her arms, which was difficult because Saint still had his arms cinched tightly around her.
He frowned, then his eyes narrowed. “Stubborn woman.” Saint took her hand, ignored her physical protests and dragged her toward the garage that still blared with light, toward the only bay left open. Okay, so he didn’t exactly drag her. She went willingly, almost, even knowing she shouldn’t.
When she dug her heals in the ground, he just picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. “Put me down, you…you Neanderthal.”
“No.” His voice gave no quarter.
Sienna’s mind was a jumbled mess when he became all alpha male. Maybe if she took the stupid ride, he would leave her alone. On one hand she loved it, the way he carried her, cared for her, like she was precious in some way. Was she? On the other hand, she wanted to kick his ass for being so bossy. Although, in every encounter they’d had so far, he never let her feel like she was less. She sighed, thinking still. He had sent her all those flowers. How he found out Gerber’s were her favorites…it must have been Megs. Megan would just have to stop spilling all Sienna’s secrets. She wanted to be left alone, to wallow in her self-pity. But the notes had been sweet. So, he wasn’t very good with words. She rolled her eyes, but of course Saint couldn’t see it. By the end of the week the notes had made her blush, telling her that he wanted to kiss every inch of her skin, taste her sweet creamy breasts. She was getting hot just thinking of it.
Sienna hit him on the butt. It was all his fault she wanted him so bad, her mind cluttered with sexy images, especially the ones where all of Saints clothes miraculously disappeared. “Mmm.”
“What was that?” he asked and squeezed her derriere.
“Nothing,” she squeaked.
Inside the garage, Saint slid her down, achingly slow. Shit! Her breasts tingled against his hard chest, his grip on her ass made her want to grind her body against his. Her wantonness doubled, so hard to ignore. She stifled a groan. Damn him if her desire to be under him on a soft bed didn’t rear its frustrated head…again. Memory of the orgasm he’d given her in her kitchen made a return performance.
She was so caught up, her breath turned harsh and her blood galloped, she hadn’t realized Saint had set her down and tried to hand her a helmet, and kissed her exposed neck. She melted a little more inside, the zing of temptation he sparked shot straight to all the hot desperate places she wanted him to touch. She was more disgusted with her bodies uncontrollable overtures for the man, she wanted to scream, for wholly different reasons.
“Saint, I’m not doing this.”
“Not taking no for an answer. You’ll love it.”
“No, I won’t!”
Saint smiled, the jerk, and got on a sleek black roadster of some sort and started it up. The rumble of sound made her jump. Sienna glared at him. Arms crossed, she looked out toward her car, tempted to leave. Before she could move he pulled her toward the bike and patted her left leg and handed her a pretty black helmet that was embellished with swirls, feathers and flowers. She stared at it. He tapped the helmet this time.
Reluctant but determined to end things when they got back, she put the helmet on and got on the bike. Sienna wobbled and gripped Saint’s shoulders when he righted the bike and kicked the stand back.
Her scream projected past the visor when he revved the throttle at the same time he yelled, “Hang on tight!” and took off straight out of the garage. Her arms locked around Saint’s waist. Varieties of creative curse words flew from her mouth as he shifted and the bike leapt forward again. Saint just laughed. With it she felt every release and contraction of his muscular stomach. It wasn’t fair.
Each curve he maneuvered became a dance with physics. The vibration of the rawhide seat was a constant pulse against her girly parts. The farther they rode, the more aroused she became.
It took too long for her to relax into his back and enjoy the ride. She wanted to forget she shouldn’t be here, forget Layton’s indiscretions which reminded her that she shouldn’t risk her heart again. But she eventually did. She couldn’t help but think a man like Saint could come to love her? Right? Maybe? No, her mind screamed. She quickly built a wall around the thought. Nobody could love her, not where it counted. Not enough to stick around. It was a proven fact that everyone left her. Well, except for Megs. Her friend would never abandon her.
When her mind went back to that notion, the image of Danny sprang to mind. He was a mirror of herself after her mother left. The loss of that small amount of protection was devastating. Something needed to be done to help the boy. Could she intervene?
She felt a tap on her leg and realized they were coming to a stop.
She got off the bike not paying attention and gasped when she looked up. It was spectacular. “What is this place?”
Saint didn’t say a word, grabbed her hand, and once again, pulled her where he wanted her to go. She really needed him to stop doing that.
“Saint!” She yanked her hand from his. “Would you please stop dragging me every which way.” She huffed and crossed her arms before she realized she’d even done it. She began to stomp her foot but stilled just in time. Sienna dropped her hands and smoothed out non-existent wrinkles on her jacket to cover up the petulance. All Saint did in response was kiss the tip of her nose again. She almost snarled at him but also nearly smiled as he wrapped his arm around her. “Frustrating man,” she mumbled.
“Sit with me.” He pointed to a bench that shown the view. It was too beautiful not to enjoy so she didn’t yell or put up a fight. The only problem, she didn’t wind up on the bench. Oh, no! Saint pulled her down onto his lap. She struggled, but her intentions to get up were weak. His heat felt too damn good in the chill that settled over their evening. Of course he had to engage her girly parts again. He pulled her close, his fingers, drawing lazy circles on her shoulder, which happened to be attached to the hand that smoothly moved under the collar of her jacket and shirt to find bare skin. She decided to focus on the view. Well, as much as she could.
They sat for a while the quiet lulling her to relax, but then Saint spoke. “My sister and I used to come here after my parents died. When things weren’t going right or we needed to clear our heads we’d come up here, stare out over the pine trees and just breathe to clear out all the other stuff in our heads.” She could feel him shrug his shoulders. “She’d gather pinecones and stack them up in a pyramid. I don’t know why she did it, but she would always be so focused I’d scare the crap out of her every time I told her it was time to leave.” He chuckled.
“Do you see your sister often?”
“No,” he said and rubbed his face with the hand that wasn’t occupied. “Becky was 18 when she overdosed.”
“I’m so sorry, Saint.” He squeezed her tight and then released her only a little, his hold still comfortably tight, his breath shaky as he let it out.
They sat with only the silence and stars for a long time. She thought of her mother. Sienna knew quite a bit about addiction. She shivered and put thoughts of her past out of her mind and concentrated on the sky.
The stars were a spectacle, millions of them trying to outshine the other. Sienna had always thought stars held a profound truth in their light. Some things outlasted even time. A human saw the light of a star that had perhaps died out eons ago, but its brilliance still lingered, remembered by the geeky astrologer. Remembered. Would someone remember her when her light stopped shining?
“What are you thinking about, sweetheart?”
Sienna sighed when he called her sweetheart. Layton never called her anything other than Sienna. “The stars,” she said and looked into his eyes. “They’re beautiful aren’t they?”
Without a word he leaned into her. “Saint?” she whispered. Slow as molasses he took her lips and she never once thought to back away. It was like she was a positive and he was a negative force that couldn’t help but come together, and God it was good. He sipped, teased, and licked at her mouth. Her need for him only escalated. She wanted to push him away but every time his mouth touched hers another link formed between them, sunk deeper into her skin, grabbed hold, burrowed into that first layer of her shields that he’d started to crack after their first encounter just a few weeks ago.
Sienna closed her eyes when the reach of his stare, while he kissed her, tried to cast more of his web. She didn’t want to deny her body anymore but she would deny her heart if she could help it. With each swipe of his tongue she opened a little more for him until her lips took his. Her tongue forged its way into the depths of his mouth matching desire for desire. When his hand that caressed her collarbone drew her around to face him fully, she turned willingly.
Hands came out of her shirt and wrapped around her back, drawing her closer. His kiss deepened. The wild scent of him intoxicated her. She moved one leg over his lap, kneeled and sat on his lap crowding him, chest to chest. The zipper of her jeans aligned with his arousal.
“Oh!” she moaned, startled by the instant zing that made her body weep for him. Could this get any better, she asked herself. Oh yes it could. His lips answered her internal plea. They brushed across her chin, skimmed the sensitive spot just behind her ear. He suckled and licked until she moaned aloud. She shivered as he continued down a path straight to the line between her breasts as her bra hugged the swollen mounds. She tried to direct him back to her mouth, but he would have none of that. He grabbed her hips to still her but it caused her sex to jolt.
“Ohh!” They both moaned.
Heat flared at the touch and she rocked with longer strokes. The fevered motion hit her clit, back and forth, back and forth. It would only be more perfect if he had been inside her. He moaned her name and his tongue delved between her aching breasts.
“Please!” She cried, not knowing why she was saying it. “Need more,” she begged. Anything to make the ache between her legs ease. Her will to stay away from him was forgotten. All she wanted was him.
“What do you need, sweetheart?”
“I…I don’t know.” She continued to rub her clit against him and he dove back in with his mouth, his tongue, his hands, everything. Her movements quickened, the beat of her heart seemed to find his as their chest came together and he rocked with her, and suddenly, she couldn’t hold back the scream that joined the climax. She exploded with sinful pleasure. “Oh, God!”
“That’s it Sienna, let go. I’ve got you.”
It was too much. A sob broke from deep inside Sienna with his words. His arms wrapped tighter around her. “Why are you doing this to me. This can’t happen. We can’t happen.” With more strength than she thought she had she pushed away from him and stood up and almost lost her balance. She wobbled but then gained her feet. “Take me back.”
He stared at her for a long moment, like he was seeing the inside of her soul. She wanted to run and hide. Then, with very precise and pointed movements, he ran a finger over his lips, catching the shiny wetness that she had left behind and sucked the finger inside his mouth, tasting her. She almost whimpered but held herself in check. Just barely. He stood and she took a sudden step back, would have fallen, but again, Saint caught her easily.
He didn’t do anything more, just held her with his eyes, and she froze like a frightened child. Her breathing wasn’t easy after the tumultuous ride she’d just taken.
“Take me back.” She bit her lip and pushed him away. He let her go, but it was a slow thing. She wrapped her arms around her middle like it would help hold herself together while her insides sizzled for his heat again. She wouldn’t tell him to take her home instead, make love to her until she only felt him, thought of him, and nothing else. “Please?” She wasn’t past begging either, even if her body agreed that she should go home with him. She knew it would be good, but she had more control than this. Right? Whatever happened between them, she would be left alone in the end. She had to let him go.
He nodded once and she sighed in relief. But that was short lived when he grabbed her and brought them together. He squeezed her close, aligned them from head to toe, their fit perfect. Then his head dipped down fast and his lips took hers hard, like he was staking a claim, marking her in some way. The surprise unbalanced her, especially when he let her go just as suddenly and handed her a helmet. She stared down at it. Once again he protected her, but she didn’t hit him this time. Sienna let him do what he wanted. He got her on the bike and they headed back to the city. She planned to go home, put on her most comfortable pajamas and wallow in a pint of Cherry Garcia, wanting Saint, something she knew would never be hers.
When they arrived, Saint pulled into the garage and she got off the bike, handed him the helmet and tried to smooth out her hair. He took the helmet and put it in a cabinet off to one side. Saint turned around and zeroed in on her with his gaze, but said nothing.
“Well, thanks for the ride.”
Still nothing. She lifted her hand and turned at the same time she waved, when he finally spoke.
“This is good between us Sienna. You know it,” His voice was calm and direct but it did the opposite to her. Her heart started to tremble inside. This time she stayed silent with her back to him frozen to the spot, afraid of what she’d see in his eyes if she turned around. He continued, “That helmet’s yours Sienna.” She shook her head, and swallowed hard. “I’m not giving up on what we’ve started.”