TITLE: By My Side
AUTHOR: Theresa Troutman
GENRE: Erotica , Comedy , Romance
RELEASE DATE: January 10th
“Maybe it’s not what you’re running from, but what you’re running toward.”
Alicia travels to an exotic land, with hopes to reinvent herself. She moves to Auckland, New Zealand, to heal and escape her unhappy past in America.
Hunter works in a bar to distract himself from the memory of a tragic past. Playing in a local band and resorting to one night stands are his only means for an escape from his reality.
Brought together by circumstance, an unexpected romance blossoms between these two tortured souls.
Can being by each other’s side bring them the happiness they are desperate to discover? Or will being together break their fragile trust and lead to more heartache?
It was a quiet ride home to Parnell. Both of us seemed to be lost in thought. When we pulled into the drive, Hunter turned off the ignition. I opened the passenger door and got out of the car. Hunter grabbed my bag from the back seat and walked me to my flat. I took the bag from him and fished inside to find my key.
Placing it in the lock, I turned the key and opened the kitchen door. I wasn’t expecting it, but Hunter followed behind me. I turned around to face him, before I could turn on the kitchen light. “I had a great day. Thanks for taking me out on the boat.”
“The pleasure was all mine.”
Flirty Hunter was back! The light from the outside lamppost played across his face, making those gorgeous eyes look sexy and dangerous. His hair fell forward over one eye and instinctively, I pushed the hair back behind his ear. I didn’t want to lose the connection I felt gazing into those eyes.
Reaching up and taking hold of my wrist, he turned my hand over and gently kissed my palm. My body hummed with excitement. Next thing I knew, his other arm snaked around my waist and pulled me to him. The heat of his body warded off the chill of the night air. “Where did you come from, Alicia?” he asked in a low sexy voice.
I knew it was a rhetorical question, but I answered anyway. “America.”
With that, his lips were on mine, his body pushing me against the door frame between the kitchen and living room. The kiss was filled with passion and longing. I’m glad he held me in his arms, because my knees would have given out otherwise. My mind went blank and all I could do was enjoy the sensation of his strong, firm lips crushing against mine. A small whimper escaped my mouth and that only seemed to fuel the fire. His tongue begged for access to my mouth and my lips parted giving him what he wanted. Soon his tongue was dancing with my tongue at a heated frenzied pace. I dropped my handbag and it hit with a thud, its contents spilling on the floor.
The magic spell was broken as Hunter backed away. My hand flew up to cover my mouth, my finger tips touching my swollen lips. “That’s not how just friends kiss,” I murmured, breathless.
His breathing was ragged. Hunter felt it, too. “No, it’s not,” he agreed as he slowly backed toward the kitchen door, his eyes not leaving mine. “Goodnight, Alicia.” Then he was gone.
My knees finally gave out and I slid to the floor, looking at the contents of my spilt purse. What the hell did I get myself into? When I finally got the feeling in my legs back, I stood up and walked over to the kitchen door to lock up for the night.
Outside, Hunter was lying on a lounge chair, pensively staring up at the stars. What did that woman, the one he was going to marry, do to him? With a heavy sigh, I locked the kitchen door and climbed the stairs to go to bed. Stripping off my clothes, I dressed in my plaid lounge pants and pink tank top. Pulling the elastic band from my pony tail, my hair fell free, cascading over my shoulders. One more glance out the window confirmed that Hunter had gone inside the house.
I saw Hunter before he saw me. He was kneeling on the deck, scrubbing the red vinyl seat near the captain’s wheel. My breath hitched. His lean muscles flexed as his arm moved back and forth. He wasn’t wearing a shirt and his tight six-pack glistened in the sun. The baseball cap he was wearing was pulled low over his eyes to shield them from the bright light and the scruff of a beard was evident from his lack of shaving. Silently I stood, my feet planted in place, watching him work.
A few minutes later, he looked up and noticed me. Tossing the scrub brush in the bucket, he stood up straight. The view was even better as he faced me his army green cargo shorts slung low on his hips. I needed a fan or a glass of cold water to cool me off. “Alicia.”
“Hi,” I finally managed to speak. “Do you have time to talk?”
“I’m working tonight,” he said as if looking for a way out of the conversation.
“Not for a few hours,” I reminded him.
“Come on up,” he motioned. “Better take those shoes off first.”
Reaching down to my feet, I removed the black leather pumps and tossed them in my oversized bag. Hunter grabbed my hand and helped me onboard. We stood there looking at one another.
“You look nice today,” he complimented as his gaze traveled from my bare feet up to my black skirt and patterned short-sleeved blouse.
“Thank you.” There was an awkward silence hanging in the air, so I plucked up the courage to say what I had traveled here to get off my chest. “Hunter, I’m sorry.”
He tilted his head to one side and raised an eyebrow. “What are you sorry for?”
“The kiss—Sunday night.”
“I’m not sorry we kissed, Alicia.”
Now it was my turn to be confused. “You’re not?”
“Than why have you been missing all week?”
“You noticed, eh?”
“Yes. I…if kissing me brought back some memories of your fiancée, I’m sorry.”
Hunter pushed his hands in his pockets and sighed. “I want to tell you about Emily. I just don’t think there is enough time right now.”
“I’m not going anywhere. Why don’t you stop by my place when you get off work.”
“That won’t be until two-thirty in the morning.”
“I don’t have to work tomorrow. I’ll leave the porch light on.” I said.
“Yeah, maybe,” he said in a non-committal tone of voice.
One minute he wanted to talk and the next minute he clammed up. I was making an effort to communicate with Hunter—find out more about what made him tick. He was either eyeing me up like I was the most delicious dessert on the table or totally ignoring me. That pissed me off. “Hey, you were the one who kissed me first. So much for your theory about men and women being able to maintain a platonic relationship,” I seethed.
“Alicia, I can’t do this now,” he sternly reiterated, as if I were a child.
“Forget it,” I said as I stormed past him heading toward the edge of the boat.
I didn’t move fast enough, however, because Hunter caught my wrist and pulled me back to him. “Why are you so barking mad woman?”
I wasn’t crazy. I was angry; my breath was labored. My eyes would have shot laser beams at him, if only I had that power. “I don’t need a man and I certainly don’t need you!” my wounded pride lashed out at him.
“Oh, I think I’m exactly what you need,” he growled, reaching for the back of my neck with his free hand and pulling me into a passionate kiss.
Taking possession of my mouth like it was his personal property. I bit his bottom lip then sucked on his tongue and a low dangerous groan escaped his mouth. In one fluid movement, he lifted me over his shoulder and took me inside the cabin. My mind was racing with the things I wanted him to do with me. “Put me down right now Hunter Greene!” I warned.
He threw me and I squealed. My body bounced as it landed on the bed. Then he knelt down on the floor and pulled me toward him, until my knees bent over the edge of the mattress and my feet hit the ground. The move caused my skirt to hike up around my waist exposing my black lacy panties.
“God, you are going to be my undoing,” he said in a deep raspy voice. He pulled off his hat and tossed it on the ground, his blond fringe falling in front of his eyes. Hunter began planting light kisses on the inside of my right thigh. Halfway up, he licked my skin and bit me. It was a playful quick nip, but it took me by surprise. I propped myself up on my elbows and continued to watch as he got closer to the one spot I so desperately needed him to touch. When he reached the apex, he kissed my panties. I was so wet and ready I held my breath to see what his next move would be.
Hooking his fingers on the inside of the fabric, he pulled them down my legs and over my feet, discarding them on the floor. My breath hitched as he spread my legs. Then his tongue covered me, laving and sucking my clit, the onslaught was masterful and controlled. Then he added two fingers to the mix and I moaned aloud. It was sensory overload. No man had ever gone down on me like this before and it was exhilarating. The pace of my ragged breaths quickened as my orgasm built to a crescendo accompanied by a string of incoherent moans and sighs escaping my lips, as I fisted the duvet.
Hunter leaned back on his calves, a devilish smile on his face, that was equal parts cocky and cute. I sat up and looked down at him sitting on the floor. I was coming down off my high and trying to regulate my breathing. “Wow.”
He let out a boyish laugh that was warm and wonderful. “You can say that again,” he said, as he took my hand and pulled me onto his lap.
We kissed and I could taste myself on his lips and it was arousing me all over again. “Let me do something for you,” I purred, reaching for the button of his shorts.
We all have a story to tell. A moment in time that changes our lives forever in one way or another. Alicia’s was when she found her husband cheating on her and Hunter’s was when he lost the woman he was supposed to marry. Both of these individuals are now guarding their hearts against further attack. When Alicia finalizes her divorce and moves across the country the last thing she is looking for is man. Hunter having known the pain of losing a loved one certainly isn’t’ looking for a relationship. Yet when these two lay eyes on each other the sparks that fly are undeniable. While they both try to say that they are not looking for a relationship that seems to be exactly what they are going to get. Can these two put aside their past hurts and realize the perfection they can have together?
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Theresa Troutman lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their crazy dog, Niko. She loves reading, theatre and traveling. Her books include: My Secret Summer, A Special Connection and the Love's Great Adventure Series: Life's What You Make It and Love This Life and London Loves.
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