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Hopeless: Chapter 26


I thought he’d leave. I thought he’d say my name in that one-word scolding way of his. The one that says stop, you’re testing my patience.

But he didn’t.

And now I don’t know what to say back. So I nod, stomach aflutter, words failing me.

I’m scared of you becoming something I can’t live without.

File that away under sentiments I don’t know what to do with.

I ease off on squeezing his hand between my legs and search his face for any sign he might back out. That he might come to his senses and walk away. I don’t want to tie my self-esteem to a man’s response, but if Beau Eaton walks out the door telling me this was a mistake, I don’t know how I’ll look him in the eye again.

“So,” my voice cracks on a suddenly dry throat, “triangle or strip, what’s better?”

The column of his throat works as his arm moves again. On this swipe, his hand moves higher than before, over that dip just above my inner thighs, painfully close to my core. His broad palm slips over my stomach, skirting the boundary as his fingertips trace the lower ridge of my opposite hip bone.

I buck against his hand, all sensation and foreign twinges. I can’t see his hand through the thick layer of bubbles, but, god, I can feel it.

“Neither is better, Bailey. I already told you this. I’m just here to see what you decide.”

“But what do men li—”

“No. Don’t ask yourself that. What do you like?”

He looks incredibly handsome, kneeling beside the tub. I want to drag him in here with me.

“I mean … ” I lick my lips, trying to form words when every cell in my body is ready to explode over the sensation of Beau’s fingers tracing my hip. His eyes on me make me feel exposed, even though soapy white bubbles conceal my entire body. “I don’t know what I like. I usually just trim everything. As I’m sure you noticed the other night.”

His responding chuckle is deep and raspy. It oozes sex and experience. “Bailey, trust me,” he says, palm sliding up and shaping my waist. “That’s not what I noticed.”

“What did you notice?”

He groans, eyes flickering shut for a beat. “The noises you made,” he confesses quietly as his palm slides up over my ribs. “How wet you were.” The edge of his hand skims the lower swell of my breasts as he continues his gentle assault on my senses.

I whimper, fixated on the stern expression of concentration painting every feature of his face.

His big, strong hand slides down the center line of my torso and cups my sex. “The way you shook when you came for me.” His thumb swipes over the trimmed pubic hair. “So, no, Bailey. I didn’t give a fuck about this. I was too busy holding myself back from sliding into you.”

Those fingers don’t make a single move. They’re there, but he doesn’t try anything. We’re in a standoff, eyes locked, panting more than breathing. His lips are so close to mine that I can’t help but drop my gaze to them, remembering the way he kissed me last night.

Soundly. Like he couldn’t control himself enough to stay away. Like I undid him, and he undid me too.

“I know what I want,” I murmur.


He thinks I’m still talking about shaving.

But I’m not.

“I want you to kiss me.” My lips part as I suck in a breath on the heels of my confession and watch raptly as his tongue slides out over his bottom lip.

Then his hand on my center moves to cupping my cheek as he angles my face to his and takes my mouth in a searing kiss. One that has me bowing up out of the water, body yanked toward his by forces outside my control. Giving me exactly what I want, like he could never say no to me.

Cool air hits my nipples as his tongue slides against mine. My hand grips his neck, holding him near, not wanting him to pull away and break this moment between us. As his lips move skillfully against mine, the rasp of his stubble sends chilled gooseflesh out over my hot body.

He smells almost sweet, like limoncello.

He tastes like temptation.

He feels so damn real.

When we slow, he leaves his forehead pressed against mine, his thumb stroking over the bow of my top lip.

“This isn’t helping me decide,” I huff out with a breathless chuckle.

A deep humming sound rumbles in his chest. “Okay, well, let’s take a look. Maybe that will help you decide.”


I don’t get to finish my sentence before Beau stands and swings a leg over the side of the oversized tub. He steps right into the water.

“I already started! There’s hair in here.”

He grins and shakes his head as he tosses his towel to the tile floor, his long, hard cock bobbing between his legs before he sinks into the bubbles. “I lived in a cave for eight days, sugar. I don’t give a fuck about a bit of your hair in the water.”

The massive hands around my waist lift my body effortlessly. He sets me on the tub’s ledge, and with gentle strokes, he removes the bubbles from my skin and hair.

My cheeks flame as he takes me in, eyes focused between my legs before dragging up. The weight of his gaze is like a sharp point gliding over my skin. Like if he stares too hard, he might pierce me.

When I glance down, my skin is rosy, taking on a pink hue, and patches of bubbles slide down different parts of my body, melting away as I bare myself to him.

We’ve been swimming naked together every night, so this shouldn’t feel as stripped down as it does. But the lights are on, and he’s looking at me like he’s seeing me for the very first time.

The inexperienced girl in me wants to shy away, but the woman who goes after what she wants opens her legs and revels in the look of intensity on Beau’s face.

“Bailey.” This time, my name is less of an admonishment and more of a plea.

“Triangle or strip? I tried to get the rest, but it was awkward.”

He touches me now, calloused palms sliding up the insides of my thighs. Spreading me. Silver eyes burning like hot coals.

“I can clean it up for you,” he murmurs, removing one hand to take both the bar of soap and the razor.

“You don’t have to—”

“I want to.” He silences me with the finality of that statement. I almost get the sense that it’s more than just wanting to. He needs to.

He wets the bar of soap and rubs it over the mound of my pubic bone and along where the seams of my underwear might go. He’s thorough and … businesslike about it. Which might explain how I’m able to sit here with my legs spread—without combusting entirely—while Beau looks at my pussy really fucking closely.

I’m both relieved by his restraint and aching for his fingers inside me. To feel so full like I did all those nights ago.

But he doesn’t cross that line. He lathers the soap, rubbing it back over the same spots with a wet hand. I feel myself clench and release when he gets dangerously close to where I want him. My arousal is only disguised by the fact that we’re both drenched with lavender soap and bath water right now.

“Are you sure you’re okay with this?” he asks as he places the soap down and dips the razor in the bath.

I gaze back at him, eyes wide, lips parted. His chiseled body kneels between my spread thighs, and the way he handles me is so sure, so caring. How could I be anything but okay with this? “I trust you,” I reply quietly. As the words land, he jolts slightly.

Without saying a word, he dips his head closer and uses his fingers to spread my lips in a way that makes the razor land in flat, even strokes.

My head tips back and my eyes flutter shut. “Fuck,” I murmur as he grips me. The pressure of his fingertips, the scrape of the blade, the knowledge that his face is right there.

When he finishes tidying one side, he methodically moves on to the next. Large, deft fingers spread and manhandle me as he fixes up the spots I failed to reach. I can feel myself leaking, but I ignore it. There’s no way he can tell.

I feel like I could come just from his proximity. But I don’t. I focus on breathing, on not shaking. I focus on willing one of his fingers to slip inside me—for him to cross that line.

For him to be even more impulsive than he’s already been by crawling into this bath with me.

“There,” he announces roughly, voice echoing in the steamy bathroom as he massages the top portion of hair that remains. His jaw is set tight, brow lightly furrowed. “Have you decided what I’m doing up here?”

“Oh, you’re doing that part, are you?”

He doesn’t even pretend to make eye contact with me when he responds, “When I start a job, I finish it.”


“What shape?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even think I care.” All I care about is coming. Based on the way Beau’s eyes are eating me up right now, I don’t think it matters at all.

“Triangle,” he bites out. “If you hate it, you can easily change it to a strip.”

“Or you can.” My voice sounds thick, deep—not my own. I feel like someone else right now. Someone beautiful and powerful, someone sure of herself and what she wants.

And what I want is him.

He swallows and nods, then moves in closer. My hand grips the tiled edge, the sharp corner digging into my palm. The huge diamond on my ring finger sparkles under the light from above.

“Or I can,” he repeats as he glides the razor over the top horizontal line.

“Next time,” I add, making his eyes finally snap up to mine.

“Next time,” he repeats, and it feels like an agreement. It feels like a moment where we both realize this pull between us is stronger than either of us can resist.

Or maybe in this moment, we both realize that neither of us cares to struggle. We’ve both struggled enough already.

His gaze drops along with his head, and he gets to work.

Beau is meticulous, hand moving between us, pressing each leg open wider, and then resting on my lower stomach. His face is close, so close. He looks like an artist painting at an easel or something. It almost makes me laugh, because what else is a girl supposed to do in this situation? Tossed so far out of her realm of experience by the gruff military man.

I almost don’t recognize myself.

After he shaves my pubic hair into a symmetrical triangle with military precision, he scoops up water, washing away all traces of soap and hair.

The pads of his fingers trail delicately over my slit, and I shiver. A moan tears from my lips, loud enough to hear over the swish and trickle of water. My head tips back and I try to hide my embarrassment behind closed eyelids.

I swear he growls. My legs try to clamp shut in response, but he catches them first.

“If I leave this bathroom right now, what are you going to do?”

Heat lashes at my cheeks, spilling down over my chest. My breasts are full, my nipples peaked almost painfully.

“Tell me, Bailey. I wanna hear it. I can see you. You’re making a mess on the edge of my tub. If I get up and walk out right now, what am I gonna hear you doing from the other side of that door?”

My mind races. A little part of me wants to clam up on him right now. Tap out. This water feels too deep for someone who hasn’t spent much time swimming.

But I’m a survivor. And I want this.

“Probably play with myself until I come with your name on my lips,” I admit in a hushed tone.

His hands move up to my inner thighs, one on each side, then his thumbs press up over my outer lips.

He’s teasing me.

I arch my spine, teasing right back.

“Seems unfair that you get to play with this pretty pussy when I’m the one who’s been down on his knees doing all the hard work.”

One thumb goes higher, brushing over my clit.

I cry out.

“Don’t you think that seems unfair, Bailey?”

Another swipe.

“Yes!” My voice is a desperate whine.

“Ask me to play with your pussy. Let me hear it.”

I lick my lips, glaring down at him through lust-filled eyes. And then I raise him one. “Please play with my pussy.”

“Fuck, Bailey,” is all he gets out before he buries his head between my legs and his tongue spears into me.

One of my hands flies back to prop up my needy body, while the other shoots to his hair. I brace for what has to be the most overwhelming wave of pleasure I’ve ever been hit with. Maybe it’s the past five minutes of anticipation, maybe it’s that no one has ever used their mouth on me.

Maybe it’s him.

Whatever it is, it makes my vision go black and my brain shut down. It makes my legs spread impossibly wider, and my hips grind forward against him.

“You’re fucking delicious,” he rasps, then slings my legs over his shoulders.

My whimpers turn to moans when his tongue moves up, teeth grazing my clit before he sucks on it. And my moans turn to cries when he adds one finger—and then two—stretching me so carefully. He soothes the bite of his intrusion with the overwhelming pleasure of his tongue.

“Beau. Beau. Beau.” I chant his name as he pushes me higher.

He shoves his fingers into me hard, shaking my body with the force of it while sucking me all at once, and I scream his name. A rush of heat flows from me, disintegrating my bones in the process.

My orgasm rocks my very foundation. Beau stays between my legs as I come back down, softly licking and sucking and telling me how pretty I am, and that makes my addiction to him even more obsessive.

Cool air rushes in when he pulls his head back, and I open my eyes just in time to see him lick his lips. He looks pleased with himself. He’s got that devilish smirk on his glistening face, and that cocky glint in his eye.

“New rule, Bailey.” He points at my left hand, slung over the edge of the tub, and then between my legs. “So long as you’re wearing that ring, this pussy is mine.”

My heart thunders at how base he sounds, staking a claim to my body.

“Next time you find yourself thinking you’re going to pull that box of toys out and play with it all by yourself, you’re going to offer it to me first.”

I straighten slightly, trying to appear less boneless than I feel as I nod back at him. I’m buzzing with excitement as my tongue darts out over my lips. “Okay.”

He pushes to stand above me, and my eyes bug at what’s pointing straight at me from between his legs. He regards me carefully, completely ignoring his raging erection, something I find challenging to do.

I itch to touch it. I wonder how it would feel in my mouth. I want him to tell me in painstaking detail how he wants me to suck it.

“You’re fucking perfect. You know that?” Then he leans down, kisses me tenderly, and brushes a thumb over my bottom lip, making me taste the lingering remains of my orgasm.

My eyes catch on his, and the sincerity there stuns me silent.

So silent that I watch him step out of the tub, replace his towel around his waist, and leave me there without another word.


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