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Good Girl Complex: Chapter 22

MACKENZIE

Fifteen minutes later, I’m standing at Cooper’s front door. I think I knew when I left the dinner table where I was going to end up. I knew—when I walked away from Cooper yesterday, when I spent hours spinning his words over in my head, remembering our hungry kisses—that if I found my way back here again, it would be with a purpose.

When he opens the door, I almost lose my nerve. He’s wearing a T-shirt and ripped jeans. Hair damp as if he just showered. His looks, his body, his tattoos are pure temptation. I hate that he doesn’t have to do anything, say anything, to get me all sideways and messed up. It isn’t fair.

“Hey.” I swallow against the sudden onset of dry mouth.

He stares me down hard without a word. I expected anger. Maybe to be chased off with a warning not to show my face in these parts again.

This is worse.

“Look, I came to apologize.”

“That right?” Cooper takes up the whole doorway, strong arms braced on either side.

“I was out of line,” I say remorsefully. “I never should have insinuated you have herpes. Perpetuating the stigma of STDs and slut-shaming is wrong, and I’m sorry.”

Though he tries his best to hide it, Cooper can’t entirely smother the smirk that pulls at the corner of his mouth. He drops his arms.

“Fine, come in.”

He leads me through the empty house to the lit back deck that looks out onto the bay. Neither of us is quite sure how to start, so we both lean against the railing, pretending to watch the waves through the darkness.

“I’ve never slapped anyone before,” I confess, because it’s my responsibility to break the ice, and for some reason this is harder than I expected.

“You’re pretty good at it,” he says dryly. “Fucking hurt.”

“If it makes you feel any better, my hand was still sore when I woke up today. You have a hard face.”

“It does make me feel better,” he says with a smile in his voice. “A little.”

“I am sorry. I way overreacted and totally lost it. I felt terrible about it. I still feel terrible.”

Cooper shrugs. “Don’t sweat it. I’ve had worse.”

Part of me wants him to lash out. Tell me I’m a brat and a spoiled bitch. But he’s so cool and calm. Unreadable, giving nothing away, which makes all of this nearly impossible. Because for everything I learn about Cooper, I don’t know him at all. Sometimes I think we have a connection, then I get to thinking about it until I convince myself I’ve concocted the entire thing in my head. As if every time we meet, I’m waking up from a dream and I don’t remember what’s real.

“Want to ask me where I was tonight?” I don’t know why I say it except that I want him to know and coming right out with it seems … presumptuous?

He cocks an eyebrow.

“Well, first off, I walked out on my parents.”

“Is the building still standing?” he asks, not even trying to hide his amusement.

“Uncertain. I sort of ran off in the middle of dinner.” I pause. “Know what else I did?”

“What’s that?”

“I broke up with my boyfriend.”

This gets his attention. He turns to put his back against the railing and folds his arms, attentive.

Cooper chuckles, shaking his head. “There, now it makes sense. You’re on the lam and you figured, where better to hide out? No chance anyone will come looking for you here. Am I right?”

“Something like that,” I answer sheepishly. That wasn’t the explicit thought in mind when I gave the cab driver Cooper’s address, but it was certainly an unconscious instinct.

“So how long do you plan on lying low? Not to be a dick about it, but I’m not running a hotel here, princess.”

“Touché.”

Silence engulfs us, louder than the crashing of the waves against the shore.

This morning, I woke up sweating. As I blinked against the sun, the final frames of Cooper holding me against the wall—my legs wrapped around his hips, his hands burning across my skin—evaporated with the morning dew on my windowsill. What do I do with that? These are new feelings for me. I’ve never been this wound up over a guy. And yeah, okay, he’s shown some interest too, but if he doesn’t make the next move, I don’t know what any of this means.

“Part of me wishes we never met,” he finally says, shadows playing across his face from the deck lights.

“Why’s that?” I mean, besides the obvious, I guess. I have been a major pain in the ass to him and probably way more trouble than it’s worth.

“Because this is gonna get messy.” Arms at his sides, he closes the small space between us until he’s got me pinned against the railing with only his eyes.

Something in his expression shifts, and like a subliminal signal to my system, I’m suddenly alert.

“What’s going—”

Before I can finish the thought, his lips are on mine.

Caging me against the rail, Cooper kisses me deeply. Urgently. This whole time, for weeks, we’ve held our breath until this moment. Relief. As his hands find my hips and press me into the splintered wood, I forget myself, consumed by lust. I kiss him back like a starved woman, moaning when he parts my legs with his and I feel his erection.

“Tell me now,” he mutters, running his mouth down my neck. “Are you going to tell me to stop?”

I should consider the question. The future implications. All the ways I’m completely unprepared for what happens when I wake up tomorrow and survey the damage of tonight.

But I don’t.

“No,” I answer. “Don’t stop.”

Unleashed, Cooper doesn’t hesitate. He yanks down the front of my dress just enough to expose my breasts. When he wraps his lips around one budded nipple, the rush of excitement, the adrenaline syringe through my chest, is overwhelming. I’m a different person with him. Unbridled. I grab his hand and push it down until he finds his way under my dress. Then his fingers are pulling away my bikini underwear, sliding across my clit, entering me.

“Ah fuck,” he whispers against the feverish skin of my neck. “So wet.”

Two fingers move inside me, while his thumb tends to the bundle of nerves that’s pulsing with excitement. I hold on to his broad shoulders, biting my lip so hard I taste blood, until my legs are shaking through an orgasm.

“Mmm, that’s my girl.” A grin appears as he bends to kiss my lips, swallowing my gasped breaths.

His words send a thrill shooting through me. His girl. I know he doesn’t mean it that way, just a turn of phrase, but the idea of being his, being entirely owned by him tonight, triggers a fresh wave of desire.

I hurry to undo the front of his jeans and pull him out, stroking. His answering groan is music to my ears. His hands slide down to squeeze my ass, dark eyes glittering with heat.

“Let’s go inside,” I urge.

“I’ve got a condom in my pocket.” His voice is hoarse as I hold him throbbing in my hand.

“Really, why?”

“Let’s not ask those questions.”

Fair. Until an hour ago I had a boyfriend. Whatever Cooper was getting up to, or about to get up to, is none of my business.

He tears open the condom and slips it on, then hoists one of my legs up around his hip. Suddenly I’m sitting on the ledge of the railing, clinging to him as he slowly, achingly enters me. If he let me go right now, I’d topple over the rail. But I trust him. I submit completely, trusting his steady grip, welcoming the thick, hard length of him inside me.

“You feel so good, Mac.” He’s kissing me again. Thrusting deep, making me mindless with need.

A warm breeze sweeps through my hair. I don’t care that at any moment we could be caught. That I don’t even know if his brother is home. That someone might be watching us from among the silhouettes that circle the house. I don’t care about anything but the foreign sensations coursing through my body, this feeling of fullness, rightness. When Cooper’s fingers tangle in my hair and tug my head back to kiss my throat, nothing distracts me from his long, deep thrusts and the wild, carnal need that drives us both.

“You gonna come again?” he whispers in my ear.

“Maybe.”

“Try.”

He withdraws until only his tip remains in me, then plunges back in. Hard, purposeful. Keeping one strong arm wrapped around me, he brings his other hand between my legs and swipes his fingers over my clit. I gasp with pleasure.

“Oh, keep doing that,” I plead.

His husky chuckle tickles my mouth as he bends his head to kiss me. His hips continue moving, but slower now, teasing, coaxing me back to the edge. Under his deliberate worshiping of my body, it doesn’t take long for the pleasure to rise again, to tighten and knot and then burst in a blinding rush.

“Yes,” he hisses, and his tempo speeds up. He thrusts into me with abandon until he’s groaning from his own release, shuddering, panting out unsteady breaths.

I swallow, inhaling deeply to try to regulate my erratic heartbeat. “That was…” I have no words.

He grunts unintelligibly, also at a loss. “It was … yeah.”

Laughing weakly, we disentangle from each other. I clumsily slide off the railing. Fix my dress. Cooper takes my hand, leading me inside.

After a shower, I borrow some clothes from him, and we take Daisy out on a walk along the moonlit beach. My fingers are still a little numb, my legs heavy. He was everything I expected and better. Raw, zealous.

Now, I’m struck by how not awkward it is. I’d never been with anyone except Preston, so I didn’t know what to expect after a … I don’t know what this is. A hookup? A tryst? Something we won’t really talk about in the morning? Somehow, I don’t care. For now, we’re good.

Walking back toward the house, Cooper teases Daisy with a long reed.

“So you wanna spend the night?” he asks me.

“Yeah, okay.”

Starting now, I’m not overthinking it. Clean slate. Starting from scratch.

It’s time I get to enjoy myself.


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