Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. This storyline, however, is mine. Please do not copy or reproduce this work without express written authorization
A/N: WOW! I want to thank you SO MUCH for your incredible support of Manhunt! The power of the fandom amazes me. It not only came in First Place in the voting round by a huge margin, it is now the highest rated story on that website - Ever. It is all due to my friends and fans who went above and beyond to get the word out, to the point where I had one reader email me to complain that she was tired of hearing all her favorite authors talking about Manhunt. I didn't know exactly what she meant until I got caught up reading this week, only to see it mentioned time and time again. So, yeah, thanks for that! :) (My apologies again to the aforementioned reader). It is in the hands of the publisher's now, and the 10 finalists will be chosen, based in part on votes and readers comments, on November 16th. I'll keep you posted! Haven't joined the Manhunt yet? Link is on my profile, as well as a link to my Twitter account and my personal blog.
For everyone who voted, subscribed, twittered, et cetera for me -- consider this little bit of lemony goodness a small token of my appreciation.
Thanks to lead69 for beta'ing this for me, and to Nina for honoring me once again with the chance to grace her pages.
"Would you rather have super strength or super speed?"
My best friend, Bella, and I were sitting around drinking Sloe Gin and Squirt. We'd started out playing Monopoly, but as the alcohol made simple math not-so-simple, it had deteriorated into a rather juvenile game of "Would you rather?"
"What, you mean if I had to choose a superpower? Like a comic book hero?" I asked her.
"Yeah," Bella said, taking another sip of her drink. A bead of the pink liquid rested precariously on her lower lip and I resisted the urge to lick it off.
Part of it had to do with the fact that I was a certified 'love drunk.' Get too much liquor in me and I'm head over heels in love with the nearest halfway-decent woman, or women, in the vicinity. Bella, on the other hand, tended to lose her inhibitions when she was drinking. Singing at the top of her lungs. Taking her top off for no other reason than 'she was hot.' Dancing around the room in nothing but her underwear and sex hair. It was why she only drank with me. And why I never drank with her. She trusted me to behave around her, which was hard enough when I was sober, let alone when I'd been drinking.
But tonight was different. Bella had walked in on her boyfriend James with some red-headed tramp bent over their couch. A couch that Bella had scrimped and saved to buy while James was unemployed and trying to 'find himself,' no less. Well, it looked like he found himself crammed three inches up some slut's ass. Yeah, I've stood beside him at the urinal before. If I were him, I would have gone into the stall just to avoid the embarrassment. My pinky finger was bigger than him.
My day wasn't much better. I was passed over for a management position on account of being 'too sensitive.' They felt I was so in-tune with my co-workers that I wouldn't be able to fire one of them if I had to. Horseshit. If anything, my being in-tune with them would make me the perfect person to decide their fate.
"Heellllooo? Speed or strength, Tex. Choose."
"Neither. If I could pick any superpower I wanted, I'd want to be able to manipulate emotions."
"Lame," Bella said, rolling her eyes and chugging the last of her drink, slamming the empty glass on the table with pride before refilling it. I swear this one had more Sloe Gin than Squirt in it. She was going to be hurting tomorrow, but I knew better than to call her on it. "Is it hot in here?"
And there goes the sweatshirt.
Since when does a white wifebeater become an adequate replacement for a bra? Think about something else…think about something else…
"It is not lame. I could calm down suicidal teenagers, stop any argument, end wars. I could even make any woman I wanted fall in love with me. Even the Genie couldn't do that."
Bella got up and started dancing. For all her complaints about it being too hot, her body sure seemed to think it was chilly. Luckily, Bella was too tipsy to notice my ogling. "And who would you make fall in love with you, Tex? Alice?" Bella giggled.
I will never forgive Bella for setting me up with Alice. Not if I lived for a thousand years. Hyperactive stalker pixie on crack. Not five minutes after meeting her, she was spouting garbage about us being soulmates. I've changed my phone number twice without telling her and she still shows up on my doorstep to show me china patterns, swearing she 'saw' us getting married. Psycho.
"Bitch. If you think it's so lame, what superpower would you choose?" Bella was starting to sweat, turning her dancing into my own private wet t-shirt contest. Her tiny, pink nipples were clear as day and just begging to be sucked.
I'm pretty sure I was starting to drool. I grabbed the Sloe Gin and took a slug straight from the bottle.
"Easy. I'd be able to kill men with a single kiss. Like Poison Ivy," she said, and the venom in her voice made it clear who her first victim would be. Jackass James.
Bella turned her back to me and lifted her hair up while she swayed, showing off the tiny tattoo on the back of her neck of the state of Texas. She'd gotten it the last time the two of us got trashed together, two years ago, the night of our college graduation. My eyes darted between the tattoo that always made me feel like I had branded her as mine and the swell of her ass cheeks peeking out underneath her yoga shorts as she danced. I couldn't take any more. I got up and sidled up behind her, sliding my hands around her hips and pulling her flush against me as our dancing quickly fell into sync.
"That's not a superhero power, Arizona. That's a villain power," I replied, my voice much lower and more seductive than I intended it to be. Bella shivered in response, though, giving me the courage to continue. "And villains are sexy as hell."
Bella pushed her ass up against me, swirling her hips to grind over my erection and snuggle it between her cheeks.
"Oooh," she cooed at me teasingly. "Swagga Jaspa has come out to play, hmm?" It's funny, the only time I ever felt like I had swagger was when Bella called me that. Then it would come out in spades.
"You know it, baby." I ran my hands up and down her sides, my fingertips just barely grazing her plump breasts, then trailing all the way down to tease the skin on her outer thighs just under the seam of her shorts. "So, Ivy, since I won't be kissing you on the lips any time soon, where should I kiss you?" I ran one hand back up her side, jumping to her elbow, up to her shoulder, teasing the crease of her neck before pulling her hair over to one side, once more uncovering her tattoo. "I suppose it will have to be a kiss on the neck," I whispered, my lips brushing over her ear before tracing it with my tongue.
Bella moaned as I licked my way to her tattoo, leaving a snail's trail of saliva in my wake. I blew on the wet skin, making her shiver once more as she raised her arm behind her to bury her fingers in my hair and pull me closer. I wrapped one arm around her waist, pushing her wifebeater up far enough to be able to feel her washboard abs under my hand. The other hand was still caressing her thigh, soft on the surface but firm below. I placed a tender, open mouth kiss directly over her tattoo. I began nibbling and kissing her sweet, taut skin, giving her one sharp bite behind her ear, which only served to make her jump in my arms, rubbing against me in the most delicious way and giving me a beautiful view of her bouncing beauties. My free hand moved inward, so she landed directly on my palm. Holy hell, she was soaked, and I don't think it was sweat.
"Bella," I moaned, pushing the fabric into her, separating her folds with the thin material. I found her clit quickly, rubbing the seam of her shorts into it in a tight circle. I sunk my teeth into her shoulder to keep myself from coming in my pants.
"So Swagga Jaspa's a vampire, hmmm?" I flipped her around to face me and pulled her into me again, the music long since forgotten. One hand grabbed her ass and held her firm, while the other buried itself in her hair and turned her head to the side to I could kiss the side of her neck I'd neglected until now.
We'd been here before. More than once, actually. It was usually about this time that one of us put a stop to things, claiming that we would regret it in the morning, or that our friendship was too important to ruin with sex, or some other equally weak excuse when we both knew the real reason we always backed down. Fear. I think deep down we both knew that it was about much more than sex, that nights like these when we let our guards down and were just us, showed us just how deep our feelings for each other really went, and it scared the shit out of us.
But this time felt different somehow. I took her face in my hands and stared deep into her eyes. This was the point of no return. There was no fear, no hesitation, no drunken haze. They were a clear window to her soul, and they were shining back at me, filled with emotions too strong for words.
Bella made the first move, closing her eyes as she lifted up on her tiptoes, her lips puckered and searching for mine. I met her halfway, wrapping my arms tight around her and picking her up slightly as our lips finally touched. I thought the heat from that kiss would sear our lips together forever. I had never felt that level of passion from a kiss before. Bella parted her lips so I could deepen the kiss, and the taste of Sloe Gin and Bella was so delicious a groan bordering on a growl formed deep in my chest as I tried to devour her sweetness.
Bella returned my kiss with equal fervor. She pushed me backwards as we kissed until my back hit the wall, her hands running up and down my chest under my shirt, pushing it up and over my head forcefully. I flipped us around until she was the one pinned. We continued that way, leap frogging and running into walls, shedding each other's clothing until we found ourselves in my bedroom, me in my boxer briefs, her in a very tiny pair of pale pink lace boy shorts. She glistened in the moonlight, her hair a beautiful, tangled mess, her breathing jagged.
I suddenly had a strong desire to slow this down, to worship her. Tomorrow, I wanted to show her how a real man treated a woman, pampering her and showering her with love and affection the way I've always wished I could. But tonight…tonight, I wanted to show her how a real man made love to a woman, pleasuring her in such a way that the only word she could think to let escape her lips was my name.
I kissed her once more before dropping to my knees. Instinctively, Bella took hold of the bedpost. I kissed and licked and tasted everywhere my lips could reach. Everywhere except where she needed it most. I could tell from the way she was rocking her hips, the beautiful little sounds she was making, that I was driving her crazy with need.
"So impatient," I teased her, slowly hooking my thumbs under her panties and pulling them down. It was difficult to keep my movements controlled when all I wanted to do was rip those panties forcefully from her body and bury myself deep inside her. Instead, I stared like a starving man in front of a feast as the only part of her body I'd never seen was revealed to me inch by inch. I leaned forward and brushed my nose against her clit as her panties dropped to her ankles. She smelled so sweet, and I couldn't wait to taste her. I held her steady while she lifted one leg and then the other to remove them, and placed one chaste kiss there, licking a smear of her juices from my lips as I stood and helped her onto the bed before removing the last of my clothing and joining her.
I laid beside her on my side and she did the same, both of us resting our heads in our hand, propped up on our elbow. We said so much in those moments, without ever saying a word. I took her hand in mine and brought it to my lips, kissing each fingertip, then her wrist before entwining our fingers and scooting closer to her. She turned on her back and guided me between her legs, still holding my hand by her head on the pillow. I kissed her again, slower this time. Exploring. Caressing. Loving. I could feel every part of her pressed against every part of me, and it was heaven. I never wanted it to end.
When we broke our kiss for some much needed air, I lowered my lips to her breast, taking her nipple between my lips and teasing it mercilessly, as it had done to me for years. Bella arched her back, pushing and squirming beneath me until her swollen sex brushed up against mine.
Bella brought me back up to her by my hair, kissing me again. "Jasper…" she begged. I lined myself up to her entrance, which was already clenching and grasping at air in anticipation. I checked one last time to make sure this was truly what she wanted, before sinking into her.
I would like to say I slowly stroked her body, that I studied which angles hit her sweet spot, which thrusts brought her the most pleasure. I would be lying, though. The feeling of being surrounded by Bella was too much for me to take, and I lost all control. I pounded into her mercilessly, one hand under her, holding her body arched by the small of her back. It was almost primal, my claiming of her. There were no whispered sweet nothings, no declarations of the love that was undeniably there. There would be time for that later. For now the only sounds were the rhythmic slapping of wet skin and gasps for breath as we rocketed towards our release.
Bella came first, her body squeezing me harder than I could have possibly imagined, forcing me to follow right behind her. I crashed onto the bed so hard we bounced a little on the mattress. Bella curled herself into me and hummed in contentment. Her body was perfectly proportioned to fit against mine. I grabbed the comforter with my toes and tossed it up over us before snuggling deeper underneath them, wrapping my arms tightly around Bella. As I drifted off to sleep, I realized for the first time in a long time, my reality was better than any dream. All because of a kiss on the neck.
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