Appalachian State University, Early Senior Year
Robin Bates paused to tap his head on the wall. This couldn’t go on. Stop stalling and do it. He opened the door and took a deep breath. “Anna, we have to talk.”
The blue lamp on the table glowed. Books and crumpled papers decorated tangled sheets. Her laptop perched at an angle on the pillows. But she was all he could focus upon. Robin’s gaze followed the line of Anna’s bare legs. All but transparent from numerous washings, her favourite blue nightshirt rode high on thighs he’d give his right arm to caress. His body hardened.
Anna whispered in her sleep and shifted. Her thighs parted.
Robin felt actual pain in his groin. Did she wear those cute smiley face panties or the ones with the little bows? What the hell was he thinking? “Jesus, get a grip.” Robin ran a hand through his hair. “I’m supposed to be breaking away from her not perving and imaging sex.”
Yet he couldn’t stop. Moth to her flame his gaze devoured her in the way his hands couldn’t. Her glorious dark golden hair tumbled out of a braid. Waves spilled over sonic screwdrivers and Tardises printed on her pillowcase. One arm was thrown over her head, small slender fingers curled. The slow rise and fall of her chest made him picture her breasts filling his hands. Robin wanted her in a way he’d never wanted anything.
He jerked around as her lashes fluttered. His hands covered his crotch as if that alone could ease the ache. Her southern tone, sweet butter sliding over hot bread, could drive any man insane. When half-asleep her voice became pure sin, honey on skin he could lick and never taste enough. Robin seriously contemplated a shower in ice water from the Antarctica Ocean.
If he turned right now he’d see which panties she wore, big brown eyes drowsy with sleep, and lips parted on a yawn, an unintended seductress. God help me focus on the door.
“Sorry to wake you.” Robin began to recite the periodic table of elements in his head. “I’m grabbing a shower.” And chickening out again. “Go back to sleep.”
Sheets rustling, muttered words, the thump of books and computer placed on the table. “I just took a short nap. I haven’t finished this assignment because you said you’d help me.”
Guilt flooded Robin. “Give me a few minutes. I’ll be back.”
“Are you all right? You’re acting weird.” Her voice whispered behind him. “Did something happen on your date?”
Yeah, something happened. Melody’s sexy and fun. But all I could think about was you. She realized my mind wasn’t on her and caused a freaking scene. “Everything’s fine.”
Anna’s small hand gripped his arm. “Doesn’t seem fine. What’s wrong?”
“Don’t touch me.” Robin pushed past and stalked to his own bed. He ripped off his jacket and tried to ignore her shocked expression. He tossed his cell phone and wallet onto her laptop.
“Sorry I bothered you.” Anna bent her head, long hair falling to cover her face. Her shoulders slumped. “Never mind the assignment. I’ll just ask Professor Randall for an extension.”
“Stop with the guilt.” Hide in anger. “When someone offers help it’s on their schedule not yours. I have a schedule and a life that doesn’t include you.”
Her head snapped up, gaze enflamed whisky brown fire. “I’m well aware of that. We worked the whole separate lives things out after I got stuck with you in my room.”
“You got stuck?” Robin ripped his shirt over his head. “I thought you were happy with your own damn solution. I’ve stayed out of your way.”
“You aren’t ever here. I don’t have a roommate.” Anna waved her arms. Robin nearly sank to his knees at her exposed skin. “The girls call you Playboy Prince of ASU. Those stupid ninnies think you’re God’s gift with your tight jeans, leather jacket, and idiot motorcycle. Did the great Robin Bates finally meet the one woman who could resist his infallible charm in Melody? Aw, poor baby. That explains your bad mood.”
“I’m not in a bad mood.” I’m horny as hell for you, damnit. “We both need to cool off before you say something you regret.”
Anna marched over to poke his bare chest. “You aren’t going to take your rotten mood out on me. It’s not my fault—”
“It is your fault.” He grabbed her arms and shook her. Her hair cascaded around her shoulders as her head wobbled. Appalled at his treatment, Robin released her. Anger not violence. Oh God. She smelled like damned cherry blossoms. He wanted to dive in and see if she tasted as good. Hell. If I don’t get out of here in the next three seconds… “Leave me alone.”
“No.” She stood on tip toe, pressed against him from shoulder to hip. His body ached to be joined with hers. “I won’t.” She wrapped her arms around his neck, warm, vibrant woman. Her mouth settled under his, tender, trembling, parted. He was only human.
Thank God, thank God, thank God. Finally. Why hadn’t she picked a fight a long time ago? Robin pressed against her, hard and thick. He wanted her. Holy Tardis she wanted him. Anna raised her leg and wound it around his. The rough fabric of his jeans rubbed her bare skin with incredible friction. He moaned. Please don’t stop. Please, please, please.
“Anna.” Robin broke their kiss. “That damn well better mean yes.”
“Don’t talk.” Anna kissed him again. His hands cupped her bottom as he lifted both her legs to wrap around him. Heat and dampness flooded her. Everything she possessed needed him deep inside her. He smelled like soap, fresh air, and pure Robin. Her Robin. She’d loved him almost from the moment they met. Now she could show him. He spun her around and slammed them on her bed, left her breathless.
“You aren’t wearing any.” Robin’s hands roamed her skin. His fingers stroked her inner thighs, made her shiver. “Commando.”
Heat rushed to her cheeks. She’d figured she’d be alone all night again. “I, um, just didn’t—” She cried out as his fingers filled her, sought through her damp folds and into the very heart where she ached most. One finger trailed up until he reached the small button. Her hips jerked as he tugged. She couldn’t just lie here. She needed to touch, to caress, to something. Her fingers fluttered over his skin. “Show me what I should do.”
“Shh.” He feathered her cheeks with kisses. “Just enjoy.”
A master at this, Anna realized as his fingers scissored inside her and his thumb rolled her clit. Her hips arched. Her body ached. Who could have guessed anything felt so good? Anna dug her fingernails into his shoulders then clawed at his back. “I need to you, freaking have to breathe you in. God, Robin, please!” Her mind shattered as something inside burst into flames.
“Anna.” Robin pushed a strand of hair from her forehead with fingers which trembled as much as she. His ocean eyes gazed into hers while a smug smile curved his lips. “Anna.”
Panting, body quaking like the ground under an earthquake, Anna stared up. He’s so proud of himself. Guess he should be, giving me my first orgasm. I need to do something smug. She pushed, caught him off guard, and straddled him. “My turn.”
Robin laughed which caused her tingling body to shiver anew. “Be my guest.”
It took precious moments to yank his jeans and briefs down, for him to kick them to the floor. He was beautiful, all solid muscle and tanned skin. Feast. He hissed and shuddered when her teeth closed around his nipple. Good. Now he understands. Anna nibbled until he hoarsely called her name. She released and panted out the question. “What?”
Robin’s hips thrust up, pushed against her bottom. He cupped her breasts, bare skin over bare skin. Anna shivered, barely able to breathe. He’d pulled off her nightshirt and she hadn’t even noticed. His wonderful magical fingers caressed until her nipples stood taut and her lower body wept. His eyes bored into hers. “Do you want me?”
Anna nodded, unable to speak through the pleasure his whisper caused against her hot skin. When his hand slid down her stomach she bit her lip not to scream. “Now. Please.”
“Wait.” Robin motioned with a shaking hand to floor. “Right front pocket.”
What? Ohhhh. Anna scrambled to retrieve the condom, refused to think it had been meant for another woman, and ripped it open. He’s way bigger than the banana used in sex ed class. Just because I’ve never done this doesn’t mean I can’t. Her hand closed around his erection, heated flesh over steel, lined with throbbing veins. Mmm, he feels so perfect in my hands. What if I squeeze right here? His grunted curse made her lips twist. Maybe I should taste him?
“Anna.” Robin’s entire body shuddered. He tensed when she ran a fingernail over the tip of him, found him damp. “You’re killing me.”
“You seem pretty alive.” Anna clamped her lips around him. Robin jerked straight up, thrusting into her mouth. Earthy, salty, nothing she’d expected. Pure delight filled her, enhanced the need. She sucked and pushed her mouth further down. His eyes all but rolled back in his head. A few more suckles, a couple of licks, and Anna pulled the condom over him. “Thank God in His heaven.” Robin rolled her body under his and with a slow, careful nudge, eased inside her.
Anna wasn’t afraid, didn’t want slow. She wanted to see him explode, to have the same pleasure he’d given her. His fingers caressed, made her squirm and whisper his name over and over as sensation pounded through her blood. Lost again, so lost in him.
“Wrap your arms around my neck, Carolina Girl.”
Only Robin ever called her that. Everything within melted in sweet emotion. Anna took a deep breath, gaze glued to his. “Now?”
“Now.” Robin inched inside a bit more and held still.
Anna arched, impatient, wanting, loving all of him. “Harder. More. Please.”
He slid deep past the last thin barrier. Anna couldn’t help the tiny cry at the small pain which faded under a wave of crushing desire with his thumb on her clit. Robin murmured something she couldn’t understand. Their tender kiss, lips caressing each other belied the heat.
Anna felt each of the veins she’d just licked rubbing her inner walls. Her muscles clenched until nothing mattered except their fusion, his fullness, and her acceptance. She held his gaze even as his fingers worked their incredible magic once more. Only love could bring this sensual, consuming, all pleasurable dance she never wanted to end. I love you. I love you. My Robin.
Her legs wrapped his waist as their bodies pressed heart to heart. His thrusts became more frenzied, more urgent. Anna matched his pace, determined not to succumb to the colors threatening to burst around her. His breaths came in rough bursts of air as sweat dotted his forehead. “Anna, Jesus, you’re so hot and tight, it’s like—”
“Heaven.” Oh damn, she couldn’t hold back, couldn’t stop. His eyes glazed as she squeezed and exploded. Robin shouted her name as his body went rigid.
They just held each other, wrapped tight, his body still inside hers. His heart thudded against hers. I love you Robin so much. Now everything is perfect. We’ll be together as a couple not just as friends. His breath evened out, become a normal rhythm. The soft sounds he made only when he slept filled the quiet air. Anna didn’t want to move, couldn’t even if she’d wanted. So she smiled and slept.
The vibration woke her. A cell phone drummed, its hum echoed by whatever it lay on. Anna reached toward the nightstand, eyes half-blind from sleep. Robin laid half against the wall and half over her in the narrow bed. She giggled when his arms tightened at her movements. Anna just avoided poking him in the nose with her elbow. They really needed a bigger bed. She grabbed the blasted loud phone. Its text light flashed.
Supposed to meet for a ride on your bike. Or another on you. Call me. Kassie.
Anna’s heart shattered. So it was Melody last night and Kassie today. How stupid to think making love with Robin would change anything. He’d never change. She’d heard him say, “Nothing better than riding with the wind in your face, utter freedom from any nagging female.” countless times. Breath hurt her lungs. He wanted friendship with sex now and then. Anna wanted commitment, a relationship. She had a choice to make. Fast.
Decision made, she dropped the phone. “Hi. There’s something we need to talk about.”
“Like spending the rest of the day here?” Robin winked, his gaze sliding down her body. “Or we need a bigger bed?”
Anna yanked the sheet over her naked breasts. She tried to smile. Her heart felt like jagged pieces of broken glass. “We can’t let this happen again. This, um, sex stuff.”
“Sex stuff?” Robin gaped and sat up. “You mean last night?”
“Yeah.” Miserable but determined Anna shook off the crushing disappointment. Pretend to be just like him, calm, cool, collected, always moving on. “I don’t ever want to do anything to jeopardize our friendship. It means the world to me.”
“You don’t want me.” His gaze searched hers. “After what we shared?”
She shoved all the emotion down somewhere dark. Don’t break, keep up the pretense. It’s all for the best. “We just got carried away. Meaningless sex will mess up our friendship.”
“Meaningless sex?” He jumped up to tug on his jeans. Anna swallowed hard at the gorgeous curve of his naked ass. “You think it meant nothing?”
“There’s emotion sure. I love you as my best friend. I always will.” And then some. “Can’t we put this night behind us and stay the way we were? Please?”
Thunk! One shoe hit the floor. Thud went the other. “Just friends, no sex?”
Anna kept her gaze averted. If he searched her eyes, he’d see she didn’t mean a word. Then he’d run fast to the first woman he met. “It’s all I can give you. Please stay my friend.”
“Fine. Friends.” He laughed, though not with his typical lightness and humor. “I’m going to grab some breakfast, maybe take a ride. Want to join me, Friend?”
With Kassie? Anna bit the words back. “No thanks. I’m kind of tired.” Plus she needed a good long cry. They could only be friends. Everything went back as it was before last night.
“Later then Carolina Girl.” The door slammed.
Anna curled in a ball in rumpled sheets which smelled like Robin. What was wrong with her? She got what she wanted, didn’t she? This was the right thing to do. She could keep living with him as her best friend. She couldn’t live without him in her life. So this was the only way.
Crash! The door hit the wall, startled a yelp from her. Her heart thundered. Robin plopped on the bed, sighed, and then spoke. “You’re right. No more sex. Just friends.”
Don’t say I’m right. Say you want more. Say you only need me.
“We’re best buds.” He grinned, happy-go-lucky Robin again. She was in pieces and he was the same as ever. “Your friendship means a lot. You’re right not to mess with it.”
Anna nodded and forced a smile. Wheels in motion too late to go back now. “Thanks. Go have your ride. Then maybe you could help me with stats. Please?”
He laughed. “I’ll skip the ride. We’ll tackle it over waffles in the café. Deal?”
“Sure as long as there’s mocha coffee.” Anna bit her inner lip not to ask about Kassie. They stared at each other, gazes fused. He showed none of the passion from last night. If he could move on, so could she. “I’ll shower and meet you there in twenty minutes.”
“You got it.” Robin stood and rummaged about for clean clothes. “Don’t forget your scientific calculator, laptop, and loads of paper.” This time he gently closed the door.
Anna pushed aside the sheet. His scent clung and triggered the memory of his body over and inside hers. Wash him off. That was the first step. “I have to forget. I focus on classes, taking the teaching exams, and graduating. I have my best friend. That’s what matters most.”
Besides, what choice did she have? None. Anna gathered things for the shower. She caught a glimpse of her face in the mirror. Ugh. Talk about awful bed head. She looked the same, no magical transformation in becoming a woman. Now she just had to act normal.
She steeled her shoulders, tossed her hair, and headed out. She’d better get moving or she’d never make breakfast. She began to hum the Doctor Who theme. Allons-y.