The media room was dark, cold, and downright comforting—an atmosphere I’d come to enjoy over the warmth of the sun or the brightness of light. The music pounded out of the speakers overhead.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The bass kept beat in time with the rhythm of my pulse as I knocked back another beer.
I couldn’t get enough alcohol in my system to erase my nightmares in recent days. I tried like a motherfucker to forget everything that had happened, but nothing worked. My dick couldn’t even get hard, and that was equally maddening.
Usually, sex helped to take away my troubles. Being buried inside a woman was always my answer. Not anymore.
Lucas snapped his fingers. “Dude, the doorbell.”
I didn’t know how the hell he could hear anything over the music. I swore my best bud wasn’t human sometimes.
I blinked away my misery, and like a robot, I stood up. “Robot” seemed to be a good word to describe me lately.
Wobbling, I dropped my beer bottle. It bounced off the wooden coffee table with a resounding thud before spilling onto the shag carpeting.
Like I give a fuck.
Lucas grabbed my bicep, or maybe someone else did. After all, a party was going on around me. In addition to the music, booze permeated the air, and I even sniffed weed. I stuck to the booze rather than drugs. Booze made my mind murky, but drugs fried a person’s brain cells.
I growled, listing to one side.
“Couch,” Lucas shouted in my ear.
I winced. “Shut the fuck up.” Between his deep baritone voice and the bass pumping out of the kickass speakers, my head was about to explode.
“Are you sober, man?” I slurred the words.
Lucas was hardly sober when he wasn’t on the football field or in class. Normally, I was the one not getting drunk, but since the plane crash, all bets were off. I had to take away the pain that gripped me by the balls and squeezed so fucking hard that I lost my breath.
As Lucas helped me sit, the room spun, and within a second, I heaved all over the ugly blue rug. If I ever got sober or got out of my funk, I would rip that rug to shreds with my bare hands. Actually, that didn’t sound too bad now that I was wiping the puke from my mouth.
“Man, you’re a mess. I’ll be right back.” He snapped his fingers. “Stay with him.”
The minute my head rested against the leather couch, nausea rose again. I closed my eyes, but the spinning only intensified.
The cushion dipped beside me, and it felt as if I were on a boat in high seas. “Ryker.” The feminine voice sounded like an angel’s.
Oh shit. I was dying.
Her small hands landed on my unshaven jaw.
I swatted at her.
“Hey,” she protested in the same sweet voice.
Normally, I was a cocky bastard, but lately, I was an ornery fuck on and off the football field. I didn’t want to be coddled or hear that old cliché that time healed all wounds, something I’d heard a time or two. In fact, my coach, who was worried about me, had said I needed time. I suspected if I didn’t straighten up, he would bench me.
Don’t give a fuck.
I didn’t even care that classes were starting up in another week or that my first football game was next weekend. Sure, I went to practice every morning and every afternoon. The time leading up to a game was balls to the wall. I worked out in the weight room, pushing myself as hard as I could, sweating out the liquor from the night before. I ran drills like I was on speed. I barked at my teammates for no reason. Dickwad was a nickname that was slowly sticking.
But without football, I would be no one. Honestly, the game, the plays, and the crowd lit me up. They always had.
Coach wanted me to take some time and mourn, but I couldn’t. Keeping my mind drenched in liquor or running and sweating on a football field was my way of coping. I still hadn’t shed a tear. The day I did was the day someone would have to call in a cleanup crew because the tears wouldn’t stop.
“Ryker,” she said again. “Let me help you.”
Oh, man. The girl was still there.
Other voices in the room buzzed like angry bees.
I willed her and the others to go away.
As if my wish was granted, Lucas yelled, “Everyone out.” His voice was commanding and, if I didn’t know him, I would have thought it was fucking scary. In fact, his nickname was Hellion on the field.
I opened my eyes, trying to clear my vision, but the room spun like a washing machine on a high spin cycle. Then I laughed and hiccupped at the same time and laughed harder when I turned my head. The girl at my side had the deepest green eyes that sucked me in and made my cock jerk.
As that word rang free, so did the song “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” I had a thing for The Wizard of Oz. As a kid, I had been obsessed with the movie. While my other friends were into DC comics or Avengers, I was the pussy who wanted anything related to Dorothy. I had a thing for her. I dared not share that with anyone.
I leaned in and narrowed my eyes. Black rimmed her irises, which had specks of gold in them. Emeralds came to mind. Or maybe I was hallucinating.
Footsteps rustled, sounding like a herd of cattle running in fear of getting slaughtered.
“The room reeks of puke,” Lucas said.
Suddenly, the music stopped, but not the damn song going through my head: “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.”
“Red,” Lucas barked. “Out.”
I wrapped my hand around Red’s wrist. “Not her.”
“Your lawyer is here,” Lucas announced. “I’m going to make coffee.”
Red tried to get away. “I should go.” She seemed afraid of me.
Well, I guess she should be. I was well over six feet tall, broad in the chest, with arms built to throw a football, and my hands were bigger than her two put together. Actually, she reminded me of a pixie, tiny and cute.
Lucas touched Red’s shoulder. “Haven, if you’re going to stay, can you watch him for a minute?”
Her eyes went wide, and her expression dripped of fear.
Don’t be frightened, little one. Those words sat on my tongue, but my lips were frozen or numb. I couldn’t tell.
Regardless, I repeated the name Haven in my head a few times… Or was it Heaven?
Heavy footsteps pounded on the stairs.
“Can I have my hand back?” she asked politely.
I hesitated just to see what she would do. I was a fucker. I liked to play. I studied her like I was in biology lab, working on dissecting a squid.
She stuck out her bottom lip, and my dick instantly began to harden.
That pouty expression she was sporting was making Mr. Dickwad happy.
Interesting. I hadn’t had a hard dick since before the accident two weeks ago. I’d always thought that the booze had affected me. Maybe there was hope.
I laughed out loud.
As if my laugh scared her, Haven bounced off as though I had some contagious disease.
Way to go, Ryker. You know how to scare off a woman. Just as well. I didn’t need to ruin her life anyway.
Leaning my head against the back of the couch, I closed my eyes, giving in to that merry-go-round feeling. I swallowed several times to tamp down more nausea that wanted out.
I inhaled, and the second round of puke crept up my esophagus. To spit out the bile or swallow? That was the question. The shag rug was already ruined. So it didn’t matter if I soiled it again.
But I didn’t get a chance to puke before the scent of lilacs tickled my nose, pushing down all that acid that was burning a hole in my throat.
I blinked my eyes open at the same time the beautiful redhead placed a cold washcloth on my forehead.
I licked my dry lips, zeroing in on her wide green eyes.
She gave me one of those sad looks, as if to say it was okay and she knew my pain. But no one knew my fucking pain. No one knew how it felt to lose both of my parents, my sister, and my brother in one day.
Haven patted my face as gently as she could, no doubt afraid I was going to bite off her head or maybe puke on her low-cut T-shirt.
I stared at her tits as though they were my next meal. My hands had a mind of their own. The next thing I knew, I was gripping the tiniest waist I’d ever touched. The women I usually dated or fucked weren’t tiny, and that was on purpose.
I liked my women with wide hips and an ass I could grab on to. Lucas always asked me what the draw was. My answer had been and was “Big women own their shit.” At least the girls I’d dated had. “They’ve got meat. They know how to fuck, and they’re confident in their own skin.”
Society was so screwed up, and the media drove the helm by showing skinny girls in ads and commercials. No one said a lady had to be a size two to be pretty or attractive.
My mom was a big woman, and she had been comfortable in her own skin. My old man hadn’t had any complaints either.
I moved a red curl away from Haven’s face. “Sunshine, is it dark outside?”
She flinched, almost falling back on the coffee table. I tried to catch her, or I thought I did, but she righted herself, giggling, a sound that was refreshing and soothing.
“I really don’t bite.” I do bite. I like to bite.
I loved to fucking play when it came to sex until the girl was screaming and wriggling and to the point where she was begging me to get her off. I took foreplay as serious as I took a game of football.
“Giggle again.” I slurred the words.
She angled her head.
I saw two of her and frowned.
I grinned like a lovesick bastard. “Is your name really Haven?”
She was standing in between my legs and primed to drop to her knees to suck my dick.
You’re an asshole. You would definitely scare her off with your dick.
“Yeah.” That one word from her lips sounded musical.
“Do we know each other?” I’d never seen her before. Then again, I hadn’t seen many people since the accident. But she didn’t register as someone I’d seen even before then.
She flicked her head once, knitting her brows, which blended in with the color of her hair.
I touched her lips with the pad of my thumb. She visibly shivered.
Without much thought, I lifted her up and onto my lap.
She sucked in air.
“Has anyone ever told you that you smell like lilacs?”
Shaking her head, she tensed.
“Cat got your tongue?”
On my last word, her tongue snaked out, and if that wasn’t the most ball-busting move I’d ever seen, I didn’t know what was. Suddenly, I was the horniest quarterback south of the Mississippi.
Her eyes grew as big and wide as the lake in town, and that lake was bigger than the state of Rhode Island. Then she lowered her gaze to my crotch. She fixated on my groin as my dick swelled at a rapid rate between her legs. I would probably bust her in two as small as she was.
She flattened her equally tiny hands on my chest and licked her lips as though she wanted me but didn’t want me.
I traced the curve of her perfect size C-cup breasts that seemed a little large for her small stature. I continued down one side of the V in her T-shirt then switched to the other side.
Goose bumps popped to attention on her chest.
So I did it again. I loved when a woman’s body reacted to my touch. With my free hand, I took one of hers and guided it down to my dick.
I never said I was a gentleman. When I wanted something, I took it, particularly when a woman wanted me, and it was clear from the lust in Haven’s eyes that she wanted every inch of me.
She froze, fear overpowering the lust in her eyes.
I fixated on her firm, round breasts that I was salivating to taste. Hell, I wanted to taste more than her breasts.
She gave me a shy look as she rested her hand on my dick.
There you go. Now that was heaven.
I closed my eyes briefly, savoring the feel of her squeezing my rock-hard cock.
I gripped her hips and guided her to move her body. I needed friction. Actually, I needed to fuck her. I was a second away from flipping her on her back when a door slammed nearby.
Haven’s body went rigid.
I couldn’t give a fuck if Lucas saw us.
She scurried to her feet. “I have to go.”
And I have to jack off now.
I sat for the longest time after she left, unable to move, knowing I should get my ass upstairs. But getting up as drunk as I was would be a hurdle I wasn’t ready to take on.
A slap to my arm jarred me awake. I found Lucas grinning at me with his bulky arms crossed over his chest. The wide receiver’s arms were magical on the field.
“What did you do to Haven?” he asked.
“Does it look like I did anything?”
He held out his hand. “You know who she is, right?”
“Can’t say I do.”
“I’ll tell you when you’re sober. Right now, get your ass upstairs, drink coffee, and deal with your lawyer.”
That was the last thing I wanted to do.