I thought I’d put up a snippet from The Chase Brothers: CHASED for today’s theme – Summer. Marc and Liv are still at the brand new stage when he invites her to a picnic under the stars…
CHASE BROTHERS: CHASED by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2008, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Samhain Publishing
The Pumphouse was packed to the gills, which only agitated Marc more than he already was. He kept looking toward the front and seeing Liv there, laughing with his sisters-in-law.
He also kept seeing various men stop by the table to flirt with her. Oh how he hated that. Everywhere she went she turned heads with that smile. And the bright red, very small top and the white pants she wore that night only highlighted the pale beauty of her skin and the darkness of her hair, which she’d changed again; this time it stood up in a sort of spiky disarray. A bit rock and roll. One of her shoes, a high heeled slide, dangled from her toes as she slowly kicked her foot back and forth under the table.
“You look like a lovesick puppy. I’d be snickering that a woman finally turned the tables on you but I feel too sorry for you. What’s the next step in Plan Woo?” Matt clapped him on the shoulder.
“Picnic. I’ve got the stuff out in my truck. I want to take her out to the lake under the stars. Good heavens, look at Frank Gillchrist. He’s making a damned fool out of himself with her. Practically taking up residence in the front of her shirt.”
“Go on. Get out of here. You’re miserable and you’re going to start a fight with someone if you don’t just make your move already.” Shane took his shot and bumped Marc hip to hip.
“If it brings you any comfort, she’s been sneaking looks back here for the last hour.” Matt smirked.
“Some. Okay, I’m gone. Wish me luck.” Marc put his cue back on the wall and headed toward her booth, single mindedly ignoring the women who put themselves in his path.
She looked up at him with a tentative smile. “Hey there, Marc Chase.”
“You and me, picnic under the stars. What do you say?” He held out a hand.
A moment passed and he wanted to kick himself for putting it that way until she grabbed her purse and took his hand. “All right then.”
Well, that was pleasant. If only she let him have his way in everything. Maggie looked up at him through her lashes, a smile playing on her lips. Retribution lay just beyond the encouragement. If he damaged Liv, Maggie would kick his ass. And then Cassie would have a go.
Marc smiled at Maggie and blew her a kiss and, as he didn’t play favorites with his gorgeous sisters-in-law, he sent one Cassie’s way as well. “See y’all later.” Placing Liv’s hand in the crook of his arm, he escorted her out and to his truck.
“What is it with you boys and these trucks? I mean, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you all were overcompensating for other things that weren’t so big.”
Surprised, Marc snorted a laugh. “How do you know better, Miz Liv? You been peeking into the men’s locker room?”
Opening the passenger door for her, he watched appreciatively as she scrambled up into the seat.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Liv replied with a smug smirk, making him laugh again. Damn he liked her attitude.
He jogged around to the driver’s side and got in. As they drove away from the center of town, he snuck a look at her. He’d like to know, hell yes. But he’d show her himself and he hoped like hell it would be soon or his cock would fall off from disuse.
Liv sat in the giant truck, watching the skies darken into evening. She should not be there with this man. A picnic under the stars alone was a very bad idea. Alone with him was a bad idea but when he’d stalked over and got all bossy, it made her weaken inside. Something about it when he took charge made her all gooey.
He’d looked commanding in those snug jeans and the cowboy boots. His brothers didn’t wear boots very often but he did and she thought it was sexy. His shirt flowed over the muscles of his upper body like a caress. Not tight, that would have been tacky, but the material definitely showcased his strength.
She didn’t like to be bossed around and she hadn’t met a man who could ably take charge of her in the bedroom. She managed her life quite well and was happy being an independent woman. That didn’t mean a very in charge, dominant man wasn’t the most delicious fantasy she had. And an unfulfilled one too.
He pulled down a long road toward the lake and parked. “Those are some pretty shoes so I won’t make you walk too far. It’s just down the path. I saw this little spot when I came out to row the other day. Shane and Cassie’s place is just across the way.”
Rowing must be why his upper body looked so damned good. “Well, it’s working for you. Maybe I’ll give it a try sometime. I’ve only used the machine but it seems like it’d be fun.”
“It is. The water is nice and if you come out early enough, it’s quiet and beautiful and the water is smooth as glass. Hang on a sec.”
He got out and grabbed the ice chest from the bed of the truck and met her around on her side where, he was pleased to see, she’d waited for him.
Instead of waiting for her to get out, he banded her waist with his arm and pulled her down, sliding her body against his until her toes touched the ground.
“Mmm, you feel good,” he murmured, nuzzling the hollow of her throat instead of kissing those lips. He’d wanted to but he’d save it. Savor it. “Come on.”
She took his hand and they walked down a path to a grassy slope that led to the shoreline. He spread a blanket down and she kicked off her shoes before sitting.
He joined her, sitting next to her instead of across from her. With a small smile, he unloaded the cooler, placing the food out in front of them.
“Wow. Impressive. Did you make all this?” Liv swept her hand, indicating the array of goodies.
“Hell no. I wish. This is from that new deli that opened up on Elm and Fourth. Roasted vegetables, fresh feta cheese, fruit of all kinds, I got the bread from the bakery, it’s some sort of flatbread the guy said. Turkey, olives and oh…” he pulled out a white bakery box, “…cupcakes. Two of them. Butter cream frosting. Because if you can’t splurge, life isn’t worth living.”
“Cupcakes?” Liv sighed dreamily. “I love cupcakes. My goodness, you’re perfect. And you got to me just before the food came so I’m starving.”
Insanely pleased she’d liked such a small gesture, he grinned as he pulled out some bottled water. “I have wine too if you’d prefer. But when I kiss you, and I will, I want you to be clearheaded.”
“Awfully sure of yourself.”
He nodded, making himself a sandwich. “I am. Because I want you so much it makes my skin itch. And because I know you want me too.”
Her only reply was an intake of breath. He let her hide from answering. For now.
They ate in companionable silence as the night deepened. It was clear and warm and the stars and three quarter moon gave off plenty of light.
She took a sip of water, nervous. What an effect he had on her! No man had ever made her speechless, not even Matt and she had loved him. But this man pushed every button and she wasn’t sure why or how. Six months ago he’d been a pretty face she liked to see every few weeks here and there around town and all the sudden she thought of him all the time. Imagined his hands on her, his mouth, wondered about how the heat of his naked skin would feel against hers.
In truth, she should be running back to that truck of his. But her body and libido had firmly refused to comply with her brain and she decided to ride it out, see where things went.
He shifted beside her and her heart kicked in her chest.
“Liv,” he said softly and it was as if another woman’s hands screwed the top of the water on and placed the bottle aside. She turned to face him and couldn’t stop a gasp when she found him so very close.
“There you are.” He smiled lazily. “You’re damned sexy I don’t quite know where to start. But I figure the lips are the best first step.”
Surely, he moved, closing the last few inches between them. Warm, lush lips covered hers. His hand slid up her back, fingertips teasing her spine and then to her neck and into her hair. He cradled her head, holding her just how he wanted as he deepened the kiss from slow exploration to hungry plunder.
His tongue feathered the seam of her lips and flowed inside when she opened to him. Warm and sinuous, his tongue slid along hers. He wasn’t aggressive, but Marc Chase knew what he was about and he kissed her without hesitation. He took what he wanted and gave back in spades.
Liv wasn’t shy sexually, she believed very strongly that women had to be in charge of themselves and their pleasure and to demand it if necessary from a partner. But Marc needed no guidance on that score. No wonder the women on his arm always looked happy.
He guided her back to the blanket, his upper body settling against hers. His teeth nipped her bottom lip in short succession, once, twice and then again, his tongue laved the sting away.
She slid her hands under his shirt, exploring the miles of hot, hard muscle there, loving the flex and bunch as she touched him.
This was dangerous. Marc wasn’t some jovial hunk like Brody had been. This was happening at his pace although he wasn’t forcing anything, he was firmly in charge. She normally held the sexual upper hand in the relationship. Damn, perhaps that was why Brody cheated and Matt walked away. Okay, that wasn’t something to think on at that moment.
Marc broke the kiss, looking into her face. “You okay? You with me?”
Breathless, she nodded and grabbed his hair, pulling his mouth back to her own.
Marc had to hold his lower body away from hers. If he touched her with his cock she might run away. No, gauging by the way she kissed back, she wouldn’t run. But he wanted to fuck her right then, press himself deep into her body and ride her until she begged him to let her come.
And it wasn’t time for that just yet. They’d make love, he had no doubt of that. But not out there. He wanted to explore her first. Take his time and make it good. He couldn’t do that where they were even if the idea of being caught didn’t turn him right on.
Her lips were sweet. Made for him. She was incredibly responsive to his touch, returning his kiss with abandon. And she knew her way around a kiss. This was not some young woman waiting for him to make all the moves. Olivia was not just sexy, she was a woman who enjoyed sex, that much was obvious in her response.
He’d never actually been with a woman he could truly loose all his sexual energies with. The thought that he might be able to with Liv was alluring.
Her hands moved to the waist of his jeans and then to his fly. Sweet baby Jesus. He groaned when she grasped his cock, sliding her thumb through the slickness at the head.
“Holy shit. Liv wait.” He didn’t want her to stop but they couldn’t go at it out there.
“Why?” She looked up at him, her face colored by moonlight, a smile tipping one corner of that luscious, kiss-swollen mouth.
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