Author: Heartbroken1 PM
Three very different women deal with life, love, and betrayal. cowritten with Forks1 and mommyofbothRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 19 - Words: 74,817 - Reviews: 584 - Favs: 145 - Follows: 164 - Updated: 04-06-09 - Published: 09-24-08 - id: 4557342
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Thanks to my fabulous co-authors for running with this idea and making it awesome! Thank you to our mystery beta for crossing the t's and dotting the i's!
Secrets by Heartbroken1
Chapter One - Hallmark Holiday
The night air was cool and comfortable as I walked across the parking lot, which wasn't unexpected this time of year in Tempe, Arizona. Valentine's Day sucks, I thought bitterly. At least I had a pitiful friend who was dateless too. An early dinner with him before escaping to a pint of Haagen Daas would thankfully appease my mother.
"Hey, Bells!" Jake called as I walked through the doors of the little club.
I waved, fighting the internal cringe as our friends, who were head over heels in love with each other, waved back. Quil and Claire were happily married with their first baby on the way. Embry and Leah had been friends for years and had just recently discovered that they were a match made in heaven.
Jake wrapped me in one of his perfect hugs, kissing me on the forehead. "I'm glad you came," he whispered in my ear.
We'd tried the dating thing once before a few years ago. The sex was fabulous, but that was really the extent of our compatibility. I just didn't feel the same way no matter how badly I wanted to. Jacob was the perfect guy and I saw the way other girls looked at him, but we were really much better friends. Occasionally, we'd still hook up, relieve some tension; although, it was usually my itch that needed scratching.
Casual sex wasn't something that interested me. I was looking for more than that. I wanted forever; a man to love only me, one to cherish the heart that I would freely give to him.
Jake squeezed my hand lightly as he sank back down in his chair. "Can I get you a drink?" he offered, standing again.
"No, I'll get it." I turned on my heel and headed into the group of people standing around the bar, relieved to break away from the lovey-dovey atmosphere that always existed when Claire and Quil were around. This was supposed to be just Jake and me, and now I had to witness firsthand everything that I didn't have -- everything I desperately wanted.
The area around the bar was wall-to-wall people, and as I squeezed my way toward the front, someone inadvertently knocked into me -- hard. I stumbled, grabbing onto a warm body to keep from landing on my ass. Strong arms enveloped me, bracing me against a chest that felt perfect pressed against my breasts.
I chanced a look up into his face, my cheeks burning with embarrassment. "Sorry," I mumbled.
His green eyes were blazing with amusement. His kissable lips pulled into a smirk that could melt an iceberg. "Don't be. I'm not." He brushed his bronze hair away from his forehead with the back of his hand.
My body buzzed with awareness of the close proximity. His every contour accepted every inch of mine as if we were two pieces of a puzzle made to fit perfectly together. His scent filled my lungs with each breath, causing peace to fill my heart.
"I'm Anthony, my friends call me Tony."
"Bella," I replied, pressing my hands reluctantly against the defined muscles of his chest.
"Would you like to dance?" His deep voice purred the invitation.
"Um…" I glanced back at my friends, who were preoccupied with what was happening at their little table.
"Unless you're with someone…? Of course you are." His fingers gently moved a lock of hair from off of my shoulder. "As beautiful as you are, it only makes sense that you would have a boyfriend." He turned to look in the direction of my friends. "Is that him?"
Jacob stood, crossing his arms over his wide chest in a masculine pose, his mouth pulled tight and his eyes fierce. I smiled at him and shook my head, calling him off so to speak. He got the message and sat back down, brooding.
"No, well, yes, I am here with someone."
Tony raised his brows. "If you'll accept my apologies," he said, stepping away.
I caught his muscular forearm, successfully stopping his retreat. "Friends. I'm here with some friends."
"You're single?" he asked as if it were the most unbelievable notion out there.
Nodding, I smiled and winked. "And I'd love to dance." He checked his watch as he led me out on the dance floor and warning bells started ringing inside my head. "Are you single?"
He looked offended, then explained the action away, "I'm a pilot and I have a red-eye tonight."
"Oh, sorry. You just can't be…" My breath rushed from my body as he pulled me roughly into his arms.
His fingers spread wide across the small of my back, urging me back into the embrace we'd shared a few moments before. The music was fast, but our movements were slow, sensual. My every cell reacted to him, wanting him, needing him. His phone buzzed in the pocket next to my hip. "Excuse me for just a second. I should probably take that."
The instant our connection was broken, I felt it in my heart, in my soul. I waited at the bar, spinning back and forth anxiously on a stool and watched him pull the phone from his pocket, punch in a number and put it to his ear. He smiled just before he turned his back to me. Time stood still while he was away, but it wasn't long before he was back.
"Everything okay?" I asked.
"Yeah, the guy I'm covering for tonight wanted to make sure we were still on." His hand cradled my cheek. "Where were we?"
About to go back to your place. "I think you owe me a dance."
His fingers drifted slowly from my cheek, down my neck, then tickling their way down my arm before taking me by the hand. "That I do."
Once we were back out on the dance floor, he entwined our hands and held them tight to his chest. We moved in slow motion, our bodies melding together with each movement. His cheek rested against mine. I could feel his excited member hard against my stomach. It was nice to know that he was turned on by being so close to me as I was to him.
The alarm on his watch beeped. "I guess that's my cue."
"Oh," I whispered, disappointed. "Duty calls, I suppose."
"Yes, it does."
This beautiful man -- with his perfect body, gorgeous smile and intoxicating eyes -- might be an axe murderer, but if I let him walk out of my life in this moment, I would never be able to forgive myself.
He pressed his lips to just below my ear, then moved up letting his teeth graze the lobe. "Can I get your number, beautiful Bella?"
Heat flooded my core, moisture soaking the sensible white cotton panties I hadn't planned on anyone seeing. "Um, yeah." My mind wouldn't think of anything but him naked, hovering above me, and the blissful pleasure he was capable of. Suddenly casual sex with this Greek God standing before me sounded like the perfect way to end this lame Hallmark Holiday.
A laugh rumbled low, deep in his chest. "Your number?"
Snap out of it, stupid, I told myself. "I have a card in my purse."
"What kind of work do you do?" he asked as we walked to the table where my friends, especially Jake, were anxiously watching Anthony's every move.
"I'm just a secretary," I said under my breath, then motioned to the group. "Everybody, this is Tony. Tony, this is… well, everybody."
The group smiled and offered cordial greetings, except Jake. He stood and extended his hand. "I'm Jacob." His eyes were intense, boring into Tony, challenging him.
Tony took it all in stride, smiling and accepted Jake's hand. "Anthony. Thanks for letting me spend a little time with your beautiful friend."
The muscles in Jake's jaw flexed. "She's a big girl and can make her own decisions. Thank her, not us."
I quickly dug through my purse, tugged out a card from my wallet and handed it to Tony. "Here, use the cell phone number."
He glanced at the card, then back at me. "'Just a secretary' for Bella Homes?"
"Technically, yes, I'm the Corporate Secretary." I laughed. "It's my Godfather's company. I just…" It was suddenly quite apparent that we weren't alone, when Quil laughed. "We'll talk later. Call me."
My eyes refused to look anywhere except him as he walked over to a couple of guys. They talked for a second, then Tony turned to wave before disappearing out the door. And it seemed that all the air went with him.
"We'll talk later." Jacob's voice was high-pitched, a bad imitation of mine. "Call me." He rolled his eyes. "Good hell, why didn't you just drop to your knees and blow him right there on the dance floor?"
"Shut up, Jake," Leah defended me. "You're just butt hurt because it's not your cock she wants in her mouth."
Blood rushed to my cheeks at her description, but I was grateful for it nonetheless. "Actually…" I took Jacob by the hand. "…I very much want your cock right now."
He jumped to his feet, knocking his chair backward. "I should deny you, let you suffer, but you know me better than that."
"Angry sex with you on Valentine's Day is better than no sex. Besides I'm all ready for you."
Jake tripped over the chair, but caught his balance before any damage was done. Our friends laughed. "Laugh if you will, but I'm gonna get me some." His hand wrapped around my waist and ushered me to the door as he spoke, "It's never been angry sex, Bells, never will be. Even though the only way we're compatible is during those moments while we're making love, I do care about you and always will."
"Thanks, Jake. I love you, too."
"Promise me one thing," he said as he tugged the car door open. I nodded. "Be careful with this one. There's just something about him." He shook his head. "I can't place it, but…"
I leaned up on my tiptoes and kissed him. "Thanks, Jake."
His erection pressed against my stomach and I rubbed against it, well aware of what I was doing to him. "Shit," he growled, "Let's do this."
A laugh bubbled out of my throat and I slid into the passenger seat. He closed the door and hurried around to the driver's side. My car would be safe in the parking lot, and it wasn't like he wouldn't be around in the morning.
In only a matter of minutes, Jacob pulled his car into the garage of the home we shared. It was hard to find a roommate that you were compatible with and Jake was perfect. He cleaned up after himself, mowed the lawn, took out the garbage, and was great when I needed an orgasm. Thanks to Jake, I'd been able to get rid of all my battery-operated relief.
Jake was at my door, opening it before I'd even realized he was out of the car. He held out his hand to me.
I laughed. "How very gentlemanly of you. You don't need to waste your talents on me, Jake. I'm a sure thing."
"Sure thing or not, I'm always a gentleman." As soon as my hand was in his, he hoisted me up onto his shoulder, laughing when I screamed. "Shh! You're going to wake the neighbors," he chuckled.
"I plan on waking the neighbors anyway."
His hand landed on my butt with a whap. "You always do."
He carried me straight to his room, leaving the lights off as we made our way through the house. He stopped and carefully set me back on my feet before opening the door. Twinkly lights were hanging from the bed posts of his king-sized four-poster bed. Red rose petals were spread across what looked like brand-new white satin sheets.
I gasped. "Jake, is this…for me?"
His lips grazed the sensitive skin just below my ear, the spot that always made me crumble into his arms. "Every girl deserves to be pampered on Valentine's Day."
"What if I hadn't…?"
A warm chuckle rumbled in his chest right under my ear. "I would have just picked up some skank and pampered her instead."
I attempted a laugh, but tears were burning in my eyes. The thoughtfulness of this sweet man, the one I just couldn't see as more than a friend, touched my heart. "Can you give me a minute? I have something for you, too."
His dark brows raised. "I'll be right here."
Across the hall, in my room, I quickly undressed and redressed in Jacob's favorite red negligee. I splashed some water on my face and applied a little makeup where it was needed. If I couldn't have Tony on this night for lovers, then I would eagerly accept the earth shattering orgasms that came with a night in Jacob's bed.
Guilt boiled in my gut and I fought it down with some cold water and a swig of mouthwash. It wasn't fair to use Jake for just sex, especially sex I wanted to be having with another man, but stopping the heat that was building wasn't exactly an option either. Jacob had a way of making me always feel so special. The way his hands caressed my skin, with such love, always sent me over the edge quickly.
The ringing on my cell phone caused my heart to jump, and the fact that it was muffled made me panic a bit. I raced back toward Jake's bedroom, knowing it must have fallen out of my pocket.
"Hello?" Jacob's deep voice asked. He was laying on the bed confidently naked. He casually crossed his ankles and smiled at me. "Bella's sex slave speaking."
"Jacob," I screamed, bursting through the door and launching myself across the bed at him. "What if it's my mother?"
"Renee, is that you? Hello, Renee?" His lips pulled into a delicious teasing smile. "Renee, I'm about to slip my dick into your daughter's…"
"Damn you, Jake." I snatched the phone away from him. "Hello?"
He laughed, wrapping his arms around me to stop my flailing. "They hung up when I said hello. They didn't hear any of the last part. Besides, it wasn't your parents' number."
My thoughts instantly went to Tony. What if he had been the mysterious caller? What if he'd heard more than just hello?
"Come back to me, Bells," Jacob whispered in my ear just before he slid his hands under my nightie.
Was it strange that, lying here in Jacob's arms, like I'd done hundreds of times over the years, I felt like I was cheating on a man I'd only danced with in a bar? A heart-stoppingly handsome man who could be anybody, a sinner or a saint. I prayed it wouldn't be long before I found out which.