“I like your apartment,” Slate said after Ashlyn had shown him around. She was giddy with nerves. He’d never been to her place before, even though they’d known each other for over a year.
“Thanks. It’s not super fancy, but I like it,” Ashlyn said.
She’d met Slate when Lexie had started dating Midas. At first, she hadn’t liked him all that much, but the more time she spent hanging out with him and his team, the more he grew on her. He had a tendency to think bad guys were waiting around every corner to pop out and attack not only her, but all of her friends as well…which she couldn’t blame him for, since a lot of bad shit had gone down with Monica, Lexie, Kenna, Carly, and Elodie.
But unlike those ladies, Ashlyn’s current boss or her ex-boyfriend weren’t going to be an issue. She’d moved to Hawaii because of a guy, yes, but Franklin had turned out to be a lazy mooch. She couldn’t see him summoning the energy to bother her for any reason. As for work, Food For All was a dream job. She met a ton of interesting people and wasn’t tied to an office from eight to five every day. And she loved the people she worked with. Lexie was amazing, of course, and Elodie was a genius when it came to creating dishes from the donated food.
While Ashlyn might’ve developed a small crush on Slate over the last year or so, she also never really expected anything to happen between them. She wasn’t the kind of woman that tall, gorgeous, badass Navy SEALs looked twice at. She wasn’t hideous, but she also wasn’t anything special, in her opinion. Her best feature was her long, straight, sleek brown hair. Her eyes were a more boring shade of brown…her face didn’t really boast any standout features.
She was tall at five-ten, but continually struggled to take off the extra fifteen to twenty pounds she carried on her frame. Long, curvy legs, not much ass, a little too much extra padding around her waist…
In short, she wasn’t hideous, but she also wasn’t the kind of woman people turned around to watch as she walked by.
And beyond her ordinary looks, Slate frequently seemed to be annoyed by her.
Despite that, a short while ago, when he’d brought her home from one of the many barbeques his SEAL team had thrown, he’d shocked the shit out of Ashlyn by asking her out. She’d immediately said yes, of course, but with the caveat that she didn’t want anything serious. Slate had agreed…so she’d invited him up to her place to test out their new friends-with-benefits arrangement.
Ashlyn hadn’t been nervous when she’d invited him up, but now, standing in her small apartment with Slate, she suddenly wasn’t so sure. She’d just given him the two-cent tour, which included showing him the extra bedroom she used for doing step aerobics, and which held a hodge-podge of stuff that didn’t fit anywhere else in the apartment; the master bedroom; the small half bath in the hallway; the functional kitchen; the laundry room, which was more like a closet; and now they were standing in her surprisingly spacious living room, which included a tiny balcony she never used, overlooking the parking lot. The living room was what sold her on the apartment. She liked how open it was to the kitchen, and that she didn’t feel hemmed in.
Now, as she stood in that room feeling awkward, Slate walked toward her. Ashlyn couldn’t read the look on his face. He looked…determined. But then again, he always looked that way. He was taller than her by about four inches, his black hair was cut fairly close to his head and, since it was late in the day, he had a five o’clock shadow. His dark brown eyes were pinned on her, and Ashlyn couldn’t look away as he approached.
He put his hands on her shoulders and squeezed gently. “You change your mind?” he asked quietly.
Ashlyn immediately shook her head. “No.”
“Then what’s wrong? You look like you want to bolt.”
She should be used to Slate’s bluntness by now, but somehow he could still surprise her. “I’m just trying to wrap my head around everything. Us. How we went from two people who never really got along to…this.”
Without a word, Slate wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her to the couch. He sat, taking her with him and pulling her against his side. Then he grabbed the remote from the table next to the couch, pulled the square ottoman closer—she
didn’t have a coffee table, preferring the big cushioned ottoman—and clicked on the television.
“Yeah?” he asked, seemingly unconcerned.
“Aren’t we going to…um…you know?”
He nodded. “Oh, yeah, we’re gonna, um, you know, but not while you’re freaking out about it.”
“I’m not freaking out,” Ashlyn protested.
He turned and looked at her while raising one eyebrow.
Ashlyn couldn’t help but chuckle. “Okay, I’m a tad bit nervous, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want you.”
Slate grinned. “That’s good, Ash, because I want you too. But there’s no rush.”
Ashlyn burst out laughing at that.
“What?” Slate asked when she had herself under control.
“I can’t believe the Duncan Stone just said there’s no rush,” Ashlyn teased. “You’re the king of impatience.”
The grin that crossed his face now made Ashlyn’s belly clench. The man was way too damn gorgeous for his own good.
“For stupid shit, I don’t like waiting,” he agreed. “I don’t like to be late anywhere. If there’s a plan, I’d rather just execute it and get it done. But when it comes to intimacy…I’m absolutely not in any hurry. Anticipation is half the fun. And I have to say, babe, I’ve waited for over a year to taste you, to get between those long legs of yours…so I can wait a bit longer.”
Ashlyn shifted in his grasp. Damn, this man was lethal. “I wasn’t sure you even liked me.”
“I liked you. Like you,” he said simply.
And just like that, Ashlyn’s nervousness disappeared. She was horny as hell, and the thought of Slate between her legs like he’d just described made her nipples harden. “You really want to watch TV?” she asked.
Slate didn’t take his attention from her face. “I want to do what you want to do.”
“I don’t want to watch TV.”
“Spell it out, Ash,” he demanded.
She could feel his muscles tensing. Gaze locked with his, she said boldly, “I want you. I have for a very long time. Even though you annoy me sometimes, that doesn’t mean I haven’t imagined you in my bed.”
“Lead the way,” Slate replied in a low, rumbly voice that made Ashlyn’s girl parts tingle.
She smiled and stood up, Slate at her heels, and headed for the hallway that led to her room. She supposed she should still be nervous, but she knew without a doubt that Slate was about to rock her world…in all the ways that counted.
She walked to her bed and turned to face him.
He lifted a hand and ran the backs of his fingers over her cheek. Goose bumps broke out on Ashlyn’s arms. “Nothing serious,” she reminded him. “If we do this, you can’t go all uber protective on me. Well…any more than you already are. We’re just having fun.”
Slate nodded. “I’m perfectly all right with that. I’m not ready to settle down.”
“Do you have a condom?” Ashlyn asked.
That was good, because she didn’t. It had been a while since she’d been with a man, and she definitely wasn’t prepared for Slate to be standing in her bedroom tonight.
“Last chance to change your mind,” he warned in a deep voice.
“I could say the same to you,” Ashlyn said.
“No fucking way.”
“Then strip,” she challenged. She had to admit, she liked this. Liked the freedom of their arrangement. They were two people attracted to each other, who were about to have sex. No declarations or promises of any kind and no pressure.
Without another word, Slate reached for the hem of his T-shirt. He had it up and over his head before Ashlyn blinked.
She stared, awestruck by all the muscles. There was a smattering of hair covering his chest and she wanted to taste the small nipples on his pecs. Her hands moved without her brain telling them to. She flattened her palms on his skin, and he inhaled sharply at her first touch.
Oh, yeah, this was gonna be good.
His hands went to the hem of her own shirt, and she raised her arms, helping him. Her hair cascaded around her shoulders as soon as the material cleared her head. The strands tickled her skin, but she forgot about anything but Slate’s hands as he reached behind her and deftly unhooked the clasp of her bra.
“Beautiful,” he murmured as he bent his head.
Ashlyn groaned and her head fell back when he suckled on one of her nipples. Hard.
When he finally lifted his head, their eyes met—then the race was on to see who could get their clothes off the fastest.
Before Ashlyn knew it, they were on her bed completely naked, and Slate was kissing her as if he’d never get enough.
She scratched her fingernails down his back and tried to pull him closer, which was impossible, as they were already touching from chest to knees. Ashlyn could feel his hard erection against her stomach and lust blossomed inside her. She needed him. Deep. Fucking her hard.
She tore her mouth from his and ordered, “Inside me. Now.”
“Need to make sure you’re ready for me,” he retorted, even as his hips bucked against her.
But Slate didn’t take her word for it. One of his hands snaked between them, and Ashlyn jerked as his fingertip brushed her clit. She knew what he’d find. She’d never been this turned on in her life.
“Soaked,” Slate whispered with a small, somewhat conceited smile.
Ashlyn rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I told you I was ready.”
He didn’t say anything else, just moved his fingers lower. He ever so slowly pushed one inside her, and Ashlyn closed her eyes and groaned. It felt amazing, but she needed more.
Her eyes opened when she felt him moving off her. His finger slid out of her wet folds as he reached for the condom he’d thrown onto the bed when he took off his pants.
“Hurry,” she said as she ran her hands up and down his biceps.
“Now who’s impatient?” he joked.
“Oh my God, you’re seriously gonna be a pain in the ass right now?” she huffed.
Slate chuckled as he rolled the condom over his cock, and Ashlyn realized at that moment that she’d never laughed while having sex before. In the past, she and her partners had been all business. Sex had never been about fun, just satisfaction…which was kind of sad.
But then all thoughts of laughter and fun flew from her mind as Slate notched the head of his cock between her legs.
Ashlyn understood for the first time just how big he was. He wasn’t much longer than most, but he was thicker than anyone she’d ever been with. Looking down, she held her breath as he
inched his way into her body. Her muscles tightened at one point as pain began to overtake the pleasure she’d been feeling only moments earlier.
Slate seemed to realize it. His jaw flexed as he held himself halfway inside her body.
“Give me a second,” Ashlyn whispered as she willed her body to relax and accept him.
The hand that wasn’t holding the base of his cock moved, and he used his thumb to manipulate her clit. Ashlyn bucked, inadvertently taking more of him inside her.
“That’s it, babe. You can take me. You’re so fucking gorgeous. Laid out for me, taking my cock. It’s so goddamn hot.”
She barely registered his words as pleasure swamped through her when he strummed her clit faster. Her fingers tightened on his biceps as he played with her body.
“You ready for more?” he asked.
Ashlyn couldn’t speak if her life depended on it. She was overwhelmed with sensation.
“You’re ready,” Slate decided, the satisfaction easy to hear in his tone. He didn’t stop caressing her clit as he slid all the way inside her.
They both moaned when his balls pressed up against her ass. He grabbed her hips and pulled her in tight, gaining another fraction of an inch inside her body.
“Holy shit, Slate. I…you…damn,” Ashlyn stuttered.
He chuckled, and she felt the reverberations rumble through her from where they were connected.
“I know you aren’t laughing at me,” she said, frowning at him.
“Nope. No way,” Slate said, clearly still amused.
In retaliation, Ashlyn tightened her inner muscles, feeling vindicated when the smile dropped from his face and he gasped.
“If you’re done laughing at me, maybe we can fuck?” she said a little snarkily.
Slate’s gaze met hers, and he rested his elbows on either side of her body. They were plastered together now as he stayed planted inside her as far as he could get.
“You want me to move, Ash?”
“Yes!” she exclaimed.
“You feel amazing,” he told her as he rocked his hips, pulling back, then sinking back inside her.
“So do you,” she told him.
I’m not going to last long,” he warned. “You’re too tight. Too fucking hot. And it’s been too long for me.”
Ashlyn was surprised at that. She didn’t think Slate was a manwhore, but she figured he had to be getting some fairly regularly.
“Need you to get there too,” he begged.
Ashlyn panted, “I will.”
“No, babe. I mean before me. Wanna feel you squeeze my dick.”
His words were raw, and they turned her way the hell on. She nodded.
“Touch yourself,” he ordered.
“Bossy,” she murmured, even as she let go of one of his arms and slid a hand between their bodies.
“You haven’t even seen bossy yet,” he told her.
Ashlyn couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “Please.” She began to stroke her clit. “Your middle name might as well be bossy. You love to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do.”
“Right now, you should be getting yourself off,” he shot back.
Ashlyn couldn’t help but grin at him.
Slate shook his head. “Fuck, you’re gonna be the death of me. Faster, Ash. I want to see and feel your orgasm. Next time I’ll be better, and I’ll get you off with my mouth and hands before I get inside your soaking-wet body. I couldn’t wait this time. Didn’t help that you practically ignited as soon as I touched you.”
Ashlyn couldn’t even feel embarrassed by that. She was wet from the second he touched her. Hell, even before that, just talking on the couch. Slate turned her on as no man ever had before. She grinned wider.
“You always gonna be this hot for me?” he asked.
“Good. Get there, babe. Now.”
“Yes, sir,” she teased and moved her fingers faster over her clit. She didn’t have a lot of room, but the feel of Slate inside her body as she masturbated was more than enough to ramp her desire into overdrive.
Slate lifted himself up enough so he could watch what she was doing, and began to lazily push in and out of her body.
“So damn hot,” he mumbled. His gaze locked on where their bodies met.
That was all it took for Ashlyn to explode. As the first wave of her orgasm went through her, Slate slammed inside her body. He did it again and again, prolonging her pleasure. Ashlyn had never felt anything quite like this moment. It was almost overwhelming.
It didn’t take long for Slate to grunt, press himself as far inside her as he could get, then hold still, his muscles tensing as he came. The veins in his neck stood out as he threw his head back and groaned.
Ashlyn squirmed under him, wanting more. Needing more.
Slate seemed to sense that she wasn’t done, because as soon as he recovered, he leaned back to sit on his heels and hauled her ass onto his lap. He was still inside her, holding her against him with one hand while the other began to roughly stroke her clit.
“Slate!” she exclaimed, trying to squirm away from his touch.
“Give me another,” he ordered.
“Too sensitive,” she croaked, even as she thrust into his touch.
“You’re not done. Again,” he said.
“Oh, God!” Ashlyn moaned, feeling another orgasm welling inside her.
“My horny girl,” Slate said with pride. “This is gonna work out just fine.”
Ashlyn wanted to respond but was concentrating too hard on breathing.
“Gonna eat this pussy next time,” Slate went on as he stared at her. “Seeing my cock inside you is hot as fuck. I can feel you all around me. I was too fast this time, but I’ll make up for it later.”
Slate was a dirty talker. She’d had no idea, and Ashlyn couldn’t believe it was turning her on as much as it was.
“Stop fucking around,” he said gruffly. “Come, Ash. That’s it. Almost there. Fuck, you have no idea how good it feels when you squeeze my dick.”
Ashlyn flew. She arched her back and let out a strangled scream as she came again. It was even more intense this time. Her internal walls clenched hard, still stuffed full with Slate’s cock. Her muscles twitched and she couldn’t do anything but lie in his arms and tremble.
When the extreme pleasure passed, Ashlyn saw the satisfied smile on Slate’s face before he pulled out, making them both grunt in displeasure. He manhandled her up the mattress so her
head was lying on the pillow. He covered her with the sheet and gently ran his hand over her sweaty forehead.
“Feel good?” he asked.
“Fishing for compliments?” she teased.
“Nope. I know the answer, just wanted to hear you say it,” he retorted.
Ashlyn chuckled. “Right, I’ll give you this one. Yes, I feel good. Fucking fantastic, in fact.”
“Good. I need to get rid of this condom.”
Ashlyn nodded, but her eyes closed. She was exhausted. Probably because she hadn’t had an orgasm that intense in years. Maybe ever. And Slate had just given her two. She vaguely felt him leaving the bed and then heard water running in her small bathroom.
It wasn’t until she felt the bed shifting once more that she opened her eyes. Slate was sitting next to her, fully dressed.
She supposed some women would take offense to the man they’d just had sex with leaving so soon afterward, but she and Slate were only casually dating. And she was kind of relieved he was heading home. She liked her space and didn’t want to deal with an awkward morning after. “You going?” she asked sleepily.
He stared at her for a moment, then nodded. “This is gonna work.”
Ashlyn couldn’t help but roll her eyes once more. She felt as if she’d rolled them more tonight than she had in a decade. But Slate just seemed to bring it out in her. “Yeah, it is,” she agreed.
“I’ll last longer next time,” he told her.
“You’ve said that already. Do you hear me complaining?” she asked.
“Nope. But it’s a pride thing,” he said with a shrug.
“Whatever,” Ashlyn said.
“You need to get up and lock the door behind me.”
“Just lock the knob when you go,” she told him.
“No. You need to get up and put the deadbolt and chain on.”
“Slate, I’m comfortable. And warm. And you just gave me two orgasms. I’m not moving from this bed.”
He stood up, and Ashlyn closed her eyes and snuggled down into her covers. But a second later she screeched as Slate picked her up, blankets and all.
“Slate!” she protested, even as she threw her arm around his neck to hold on.
He didn’t respond, just carried her through her apartment toward the front door. He put her down on her feet, and Ashlyn grabbed the blanket to keep it from falling and leaving her butt-ass naked in her foyer. Yes, she and Slate had just fucked, but now that he was dressed and leaving, she wasn’t all that psyched about being naked in front of him.
“Lock the door behind me,” he ordered.
“God, you’re annoying,” Ashlyn complained.
“Anyone could kick in the door with just the knob locked,” he said without raising his voice. “I’m sure Senior Chief Petty Officer Albertson taught you that.”
Ashlyn couldn’t help but chuckle. She and her friends had been going to self-defense lessons with Elizabeth, but the guys couldn’t call her that. They always used her full name and rank out of respect.
“Fine,” she grumbled, knowing Slate was right, but still not liking that she was no longer in bed, enjoying her post-orgasm high.
“You want to do something next weekend?” Slate asked.
Ashlyn nodded. “Sure. I don’t think the girls have anything planned.”
“You need anything this week, don’t hesitate to let me know,” Slate ordered.
Then he surprised her by palming the back of her neck and pulling her close. Ashlyn stumbled a bit, trying to keep hold of the blanket while bracing herself against his chest with the other hand.
His gaze was intense as he looked at her. “I’ll follow your lead as to what you want to tell the others about us.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know as well as I do the second Elodie and the others hear that we’re dating, they’re gonna get ideas. Hell, even my team will. So if you want to keep this on the down low for a while, I’m all right with that.”
Ashlyn swallowed hard. “You want to keep us a secret?”
She blinked at his immediate answer.
He went on. “I don’t give a shit if the others know we’re goin’ out. Our relationship is none of their business regardless. But the
last thing I want is you being stressed out if you get the third degree from the women. We know that we’re just having a good time, but I don’t want you being anxious if they give you grief about our choices.”
Ashlyn relaxed. “I can handle them. Can you handle the guys?”
She shrugged. “Then I’m okay with telling them. Besides…I might want some sex advice. Will it bother you if I talk to them about us?”
Slate grinned. “First, you don’t need any sex advice, babe. With how hot you blazed for me, I’m probably gonna need tips on keeping you satisfied.”
Ashlyn knew she was blushing, but he continued before embarrassment could take over.
“Second, I don’t care if you talk to your girls about what we do in the bedroom, but you also shouldn’t feel awkward about discussing anything regarding our relationship or sex with me.”
“Okay,” Ashlyn told him. “Slate?”
“Right here, babe.”
“I…when we decide that we’re done…I don’t want anything to hurt our friendship. Or make things awkward for the others.”
“When this runs its course, we’ll be good,” Slate said. “I give you my word.”
Ashlyn knew it wasn’t that easy, but she was still feeling too damn blissed out after her orgasms to worry about the future of their relationship right this moment. “Okay.”
“Okay. You might want to take a bath tonight,” Slate said.
“A bath,” he repeated. “You were really tight. And I wasn’t exactly gentle. A bath might ease some of the soreness you could feel tomorrow. ...