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The Way I Hate Him: Chapter 19


Hands in my pockets, I wait in front of the farmhouse screen door for Hattie to answer.

I slept like shit again, but it’s because I anticipated coming over. Since kissing this girl, I feel like I’m losing my goddamn mind. I want to be near her all the time. I think about her constantly, and I’m trying not to look pathetic by begging her to spend every waking moment with me.

She still has work to do at my house, but I think it would be good to switch it up and go to Cassidy’s house. I know that if she came over to my house, I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off her. At least here, I’d feel weird fucking her where Ryland sleeps.

It’s a good cock block.

The door opens, and Hattie’s beautiful smile shines through the screen door. “You’re here,” she says as she opens the screen door and flings her arms around me.

Chuckling, I return the hug and tilt her chin up so I can get a taste of her perfect lips.

“Hey,” I say softly.

She presses the side of her head to my chest and gives me a hug. This. Her hugs. How can her hugs feel like everything I need in life? I can breathe easier. She cares about me. The sky seems bluer when she’s in my arms. She listens with her whole heart. I can actually hear the birds chirping. She’s filled my emptiness with her bright light. And the beating of my heart in my chest reminds me just how fucking alive I am. It’s like the bland, monotonous headspace I’ve been trapped in has evaporated.

All from a hug . . . from her.

Her arms release me, and she brings her hand to mine. Smiling up at me, she says, “Want to go see the room?”

“I do,” I answer.

She brings me into the house, and I scan the floor for any toys that might trip me, but it’s all cleaned up. She leads me up the creaky staircase to the second floor. The house is not very big at all, truly perfect for a small family. We move down the cream hallway, past what I’m assuming is Mac’s room with the pink flower door, past a decently sized bathroom and to the end of the hallway.

The door is already open, so Hattie pulls me in, and I take in the soft, comforting room. This room is Cassidy. With its light colors of creams, blues, and greens, picture frames lining the tall oak dresser, the simplicity of a lone jewelry box and bottle of perfume. Cassidy, like Hattie actually, was light and sweetness. Such a brutal loss to this family, to this world, to lose someone with so much goodness to give. Makes me wonder if there was a way to epitomize her in a song somehow.

The closet door is open, and clothes are separated into piles. “Looks like you’ve done some work,” I say.

“Yes, I have a pile of clothes Aubree has to go through, I set aside a few items for myself, and then that pile over there, the big one, is all donation. Aubree and I set aside a few key pieces for Mac when she gets older, but we’re pretty much done with the clothes.”

“How do you feel about it?” I ask her, understanding that this could be a really tough thing to do.

“Okay. I’ve had my moments here and there, but I think this needs to happen. Ryland’s been sleeping on the couch downstairs in the living room ever since Cassidy passed. I can’t imagine that being comfortable. He keeps his clothes in the downstairs closet. He’s just occupying the space, but this is his home now. I think he deserves a space of his own and hope it will help him settle somehow, if that makes sense.”

“It does,” I say. “He had a house, right?”

Hattie nods. “It was closer to the high school, but he didn’t feel right pulling Mac from the house she knows. He wanted to keep things as normal for her as possible. Although, it was bigger than the farmhouse and it didn’t smell like potatoes.”

I chuckle. “I kind of like the smell.”

“I could do without it.” She picks up a large potato sack and hands it to me. “Help me put the clothes in this.”

“Did you wash this?” I ask as I look into it.

“Yes, of course. I’m not about to donate a bunch of potato-smelling clothes.”

“Just checking.” I hold it open for her and she starts gently placing Cassidy’s clothes in it. She falls silent and just to make sure she’s okay, I say, “Hey, you good?”

She glances up at me, tears in her eyes as she nods. “Yes. This is good.”

“Are you sure you’re ready for this?”

“Yes. It’s just sad is all. But this needs to be done, and I know Aubree and Ryland aren’t going to do it. I think this project was meant for me.”

“I think so too,” I say as she places the last of the one pile in the sack. “Want me to place this in the hallway?”

“That would be great.”

I move the sack of clothes in the hallway, and when I’m back in the bedroom, I find Hattie working on another stack, but I stop her and take a seat on the bed. I pull her on top of my lap and brush a loose strand of hair out of her face when she looks up at me.

“What are you doing?” she asks.

“Letting you know that you don’t have to go through this alone, that I’m here for you. For anything you need. Even if it’s just a hug.”

A small smile tugs on the corner of her mouth. “God, what Cassidy would think if she saw this. You holding me, in her room . . . I don’t think she’d believe it.” She leans in and presses a kiss to my lips, more for comfort than anything. “And thank you. I’m glad you’re here.”

“Me too.” I connect her hand with mine and say, “You know, before everything went down with Ryland, Cassidy and I were good friends. It was Ryland, Abel, Cassidy, and me. We all hung out together. She’d tag along, and we didn’t mind at all. So honestly, I think she’d be happy about this, about you and me, at least, that would be my hope.”

Hattie’s eyes soften. “I think you’re right. She would. She did suggest you be my friend in her letter to you.” Hattie places her hand on my cheek, and she leans in, lightly kissing me. When she pulls away, she says, “Okay, let’s get this place cleared out. I want to get everything ready so I can paint and set up to surprise Ryland tomorrow.”

“Tell me what to do. I’m yours.”

She hops off my lap. “First, take your shirt off. I prefer to look at my hired help with no clothes on.”

I chuckle and shake my head. “Nice try. I’m not taking anything off. It will only distract you and to hell if I’m doing this alone.”

“It was worth a try.”

I scoop her around her waist and bring her back to my chest. Speaking close to her ear, I say, “Maybe later, though.”

“Something to look forward to.”

I kiss her neck and then release her, but not before she gives me the most sultry stare down of my goddamn life.

“Don’t do that,” I say, pointing my finger at her.

“Do what?” She smirks as she hands me another potato sack.

I open it wide and reply, “Look at me like you would have no problem dropping to your knees right now and sucking my dick.”

“I wouldn’t.” She bats her lashes, and I shake my head.

“Jesus Christ.” I stare up at the ceiling as she puts the clothes into the sack. “You know, I have no problem tossing you over my shoulder and dragging you out to my SUV. I might not fuck you in your sister’s bedroom, but I have no problem fucking you in my car.”

“Mmm, that sounds like fun.”

“Stop it,” I playfully yell at her, causing her to laugh.

“A little testy today, are we?”

“I’m trying to be good, Hattie. You’re making it hard.”

“Making your penis hard?” She smirks when she finishes with another pile.

My nostrils flare at her. “Keep bending over in those spandex shorts, and it’s going to be really hard.”

“Oh really?” She leans over to pick up a shoe off the ground but keeps her eye on me while her ass is directed right at me. “You mean, bending over like this?”

I set the potato sack down and move toward the bedroom door. “I’m out of here.”

Her cute laughter bounces through the room as she grabs my hand and tugs me back. “You’re not going anywhere. Now be a good boy, work hard, and if you’re lucky, I’ll reward you in the end.”

“I’m holding you to that,” I say as I smack her ass. The snap of the sound is exactly what I need to hold me over.

“STORAGE?” I ask Hattie as she sifts through a box from under Cassidy’s bed.

She looks up at the photo albums in my hand. “Are those from our childhood?”

“Yes,” I answer.

Hattie nods. “I’m sure Mac would want to look at them one day. Cassidy put them together. I remember her working hard on them one summer, and she showed our dad, and . . . well, he told her it was a huge waste of time. She didn’t think so, though. And I’m glad she didn’t. Now Mac will get to enjoy her hard work.”

“And you too,” I say as I put the albums in a plastic container.

After sifting through the closet and dividing the clothes up, I told Hattie we should pick up some plastic containers for anything she wants to store in the attic for Mac later on. That way they’ll hold up well over the years. She agreed, and we made the short trip to a Walmart about twenty-five minutes away. We ate sandwiches, listened to some music, her choice—she went with the best of Heart—and then we came back to the house where we’ve been delicately sifting through Cassidy’s memories. And with every new thing we find, Hattie seems to be growing stronger and stronger. I think I expected her to be sad this entire day, but it seems going through everything is therapeutic for her.

“Okay, these are all photos as well. I’m going to put this shoebox with the photo albums.” Hattie hands me the box, and I put it with the albums. “One more shoebox.” She wiggles under the bed and pulls out one last shoebox. She flips the top open once she sits up and then gasps out loud, shutting the shoebox quickly. A smile cracks over her face as she looks up at me.

“What?” I ask.

Still smiling, she turns the shoebox toward me, flips it open, and shows off a box full of sex toys.

“Holy shit,” I say as she closes it. “Wait, was that a picture of Abel?”

“What?” she nearly screams and turns the box toward her. She flips it open and looks around. “I don’t see a picture of him.”

“I know, I was just kidding.”

“Oh my God!” She shuts the box and kicks it across the floor. “You almost made me dig through my sister’s sex toys.”

“Just wanted to see your reaction. It was everything I needed. Thank you.”

“You have issues.”

I just shrug. “So what do you want to do with the box? Feels weird to donate.”

“Feels even weirder to keep!”

I chuckle. “True.”

She quirks her lips to the side. “Is it weird . . . that I have the same vibrator?”

My eyebrows shoot up. “You have a vibrator? I wouldn’t peg you as that kind of girl.”

“Uh, don’t you remember? Matt couldn’t find my clit. I had to get off somehow.”

“True,” I say. “Do you have that vibrator here with you?”

She slyly smiles as she stands and carries the sex toy box to the closet, where she puts it on the top shelf. “I do, and I’ve used it.”

“Fuck,” I say softly.

“It’s my favorite thing ever. Gets me off in a minute or less.”

I wet my lips. “I want to see that.”

“Maybe you will.”

I nod toward the closet. “Why did you put the box up there?”

“Oh you know, something fun for Ryland to stumble across later.”

I laugh. “You’re evil.”

“Consider it payback . . . for you.”

“Finding his sister’s sex toys? That might be too much of a punishment.”

“Mmm. Think about it, Hayes. If Ryland hadn’t perpetuated that feud with you, and you’d made a move on me sooner, think about how many times your cock could have been in my mouth by now.”

“Can you not fucking say stuff like that?” I beg as I shift uncomfortably, trying not to think about that perfect mouth on my dick.

“Are you getting hard again?”

“Yes,” I say. “Jesus fuck, Hattie. Everything you do makes me hard.”

“Might want to get that checked out.” She moves to the dresser and starts picking up the picture frames.

“Maybe you should check it out.”

She dismisses me with her hand. “Enough, horn dog. We still have to finish packing these things and then head up to Target and the paint store. Get to work.”

I roll my eyes and grab one of the full bins and take it to the attic.

“UM, why is your shirt off and tucked in the back of your jeans?” Hattie asks as she sits cross-legged in front of a bin that she’s filling with some of Cassidy’s personal effects that she’s saving for Mac.

“Because the attic is hot, and I don’t want to be a sweaty mess since we’ll be going to stores after this.”

“But . . . that’s distracting.”

“Says the girl who’s been purposely bending over right in front of my dick the entire day.”

“That’s different,” she says.


“Because whereas that sexually frustrated you, you without a shirt on sexually frustrates me.”

I tilt my head back and laugh. “Oh, I see how it is. It’s fine for you to torture me, but it’s not allowed when the roles are reversed.”

“Glad you see it that way. Now if you could please put your shirt back on, that would be appreciated.”

“No fucking way,” I say as I take a seat on Cassidy’s bed that has now been stripped of all linens. Hattie plans on washing them at my house. They’re currently in a potato sack in the back of my car.

We’re almost done. I’m impressed with how much we’ve accomplished. There are just a few things here and there, but for the most part, we could paint tomorrow and surprise Ryland.

“What are you looking at?” Hattie asks as she finishes up with the bin she’s working on.

“How much we were able to do. I’m impressed.”

“I don’t think I could have done it without you.”

“Nah, you could have. It just would have taken you longer.”

She pauses in putting a jewelry box in the bin when she says, “No, I think I would have gotten lost in the memories, lost in my emotions.” Her soft gaze connects with mine. “You’ve been my rock, helping me through this. Thank you.”

Aw, hell. How does she do that? Make me like her even more by saying something so simple. Unlike my mom.

“God, I wished I’d never had you, Hayes. You’re so much like your dad. Useless. Why did God give me such a hopeless son?” Thanks for that, Mom.

I was made to feel less than what I am until Mom left. Not that her words after that were much better. Had I not had Gran, had she not intervened, I wouldn’t have turned out half decent as a human. But someone to call me their rock? Never would have expected that.

Not after watching my father leave without a second look back and listening to my mom constantly berate me for not being a good son . . .

It changes a person’s perspective.

“No need to thank me, Hattie. I like being here for you.”

She walks up to me and presses her hands to my chest as she leans in for a kiss. “I’m glad you are.” She releases me and then surveys the room while I survey her matching spandex shorts and tank top set. Hands on her hips, she says, “I think we just need to clear out the nightstands, and that’s it.”

“She would be proud of you,” I say, which draws her attention back to me.

Hattie shakes her head. “No, I don’t . . . I don’t know about that. I mean, the one thing she wanted was for me to finish school, and I didn’t.”

“Yet. You haven’t finished school yet. You lost your sister. It’s not because you weren’t applying yourself. You’re allowed to mourn her.”

“It’s not just that,” she says. “I . . . I was struggling in school as it was before she passed. It’s why my adviser suggested I take a second, because . . .” She bites down on her lip. “I haven’t told anyone this, not even Maggie.”

“Hey, come here.” I tug on her hand and move her onto my lap. My hand goes to her back, holding her in tight as I direct her chin in my direction, forcing her to look at me. “What haven’t you told anyone?”

“I think . . . I think I want to quit school.” I can feel her entire body wince from the confession, and I know I need to tread lightly. School is a hot-button issue for her.

“Okay. Why do you think that?” I ask.

“Because I’m not interested in it. I don’t know what the point is. I’m getting a master’s in business, and for what? It’s not like it’s teaching me anything I don’t already know. I hate being away in San Francisco even though Maggie is there. I want to be here, in Almond Bay. I wanted to be closer to Cassidy before we lost her. I felt like Mac was growing by the second, and I was missing every bit of it. I want to be a part of the store. I want to run it. That was the goal, for Cassidy and me to run it together. I see Aubree struggling . . . I just . . . I don’t want to go back to a world where I wasn’t comfortable. Where I wasn’t learning anything of substance. I want to be here. Stay here. Live here.”

“I can understand that,” I say, soothingly running my hand over her back. “This is home.”

She nods. “And the whole time I was lying in Cassidy’s room, staring up at the ceiling, all I could think about was how much I wish I didn’t have to go back to school at the end of the summer.” She shakes her head. “I really don’t want to go back, Hayes.”

“Then don’t,” I say.

“I wish that were the case, but . . . something in the will says I can’t help Aubree until I graduate. Like how can that even be enforced? And I get that school was important to her, especially since she never went, but . . . it’s almost like I’m being punished.” Tears start to cloud her eyes. “You know I helped Cassidy build the store, right? I spent a whole summer laying down flooring, painting, stocking, and baking hundreds and hundreds of cookies. The Almond Store was a product of us both.”

“I know,” I say softly.

“And . . . and she just left it to Aubree. I don’t understand. She left everyone something. She sent you a letter, Abel, Aubree, Ryland . . . but nothing for me. Why?” Tears start falling down her cheeks. “I’ll be honest, Hayes. One reason I’ve gone through everything so carefully in here was because I was looking for something, anything from her that might have been addressed to me but got lost in the mix.” She shakes her head. “Nothing. She was . . . was practically my mother, the one who raised me, loved me, made sure that I understood what love was, yet she left me with nothing.”

“I’m so sorry,” I reply, not sure what else to say, because what is there really to say? Hattie’s right. Cassidy left her nothing, and she’s allowed to have those feelings of discontentment. I know she’s not jealous about not getting anything financially, because Hattie isn’t like that. But sentimentally, I agree with Hattie. Why didn’t she get a letter when everyone else did?

“Ugh, I’m sorry. I was doing so great and then I just lost it on you at the end.”

“Don’t apologize,” I say, forcing her to look me in the eyes. “I’m here to support you for moments like that. And your feelings are valid, Hattie. I wish I could tell you why she didn’t leave you a letter or put restrictions in the will, but I can’t. All I can say is that you doing this, you taking care of your brother and giving him a space to be while he takes care of Mac, this is something Cassidy would be proud of. This is something she’d be smiling about. So focus on that, because you don’t want to cloud your thoughts with the negativity, with questions about something you can’t change. It will drive you crazy. Trust me on this. I’ve been there.”

“You’re right.” She nods. “I’m finally finding some peace with Cassidy’s passing. I don’t want to add anything negative to it.” She sighs. “And she should be proud of this, proud of how I took deep care of her items, the thought that went into how to preserve everything for Mac. She would have loved this, especially since the end goal is to give something to Ryland that he’d never give to himself.”

“He wouldn’t.” I’ve known Ryland long enough to understand that he’d sleep on that couch for the rest of his life if he had to. He’s always put family first, friends first, everyone else first besides himself. It’s time someone put him first. “And hey, the whole college thing, that’s something we can cross when the time is right.”

“We?” she asks, a raise to her brow.

“Yes . . . we,” I reply. “I’m in this for the long run, Hattie. As long as you’ll have me, I’m here.”

She rests her head on my shoulder, and I bring her in even closer. “I knew you had a heart beyond all of the blackness you try to hide behind. Why do you not show it?”

“Afraid of getting hurt,” I admit.

“Why trust me then?” she asks.

Because you have a heart of gold. Because you are such an unexpected wonder in my life.

I want to say many things to Hattie, but perhaps this is the most honest answer I have.

“You haven’t given me a reason not to.”

I kiss the top of her head, and we spend the next few minutes just like that, with her on my lap and me holding her close.

“THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP,” Hattie says as I set down a reusable bag full of food and some toiletries Hattie needed to pick up.

Our last stop of the day was Target where we spent an exorbitant amount of time looking over bedding, curtains, sheets . . . pillows. We went back and forth over table lamps, nightstands, rugs, even an extension cord because there isn’t an outlet close enough to the bed for Ryland to plug his phone in, but Hattie wasn’t sure which one to get. And then of course, she decided he needed an alarm clock that would help him sleep better, not sure how that works, but Jesus Christ, I nearly lost my mind in there.

The only reason I survived was because halfway through, I went and got myself some popcorn and a drink and enjoyed Hattie second-guessing every choice she was making because she needed to make the room perfect.

And in the end, when she went to pay, I handed her my card and said it was on me.

She refused . . . dramatically.

But I won because no way in hell would I allow her to pay, not when I forced her to put a record player in the cart, as well as two of my records which, frankly, I thought was hilarious. Ryland and I haven’t hung out in a while. He needs to catch up on what I’ve been doing.

“You’re welcome,” I say as I slip my shoes off.

She glances down at my feet. “What are you doing?”

“Oh, did you think I was going to head home?” I shake my head and reach into the bag only to pull out a toothbrush. “Forgot to pack myself this, but I’m good to go now.”

“What do you mean you forgot to pack that?”

I walk over to the door that leads to the stairs and hold up a small bag. “My overnight shit.”

“So were you planning on staying here the whole time?” she asks, arms folded.

“I wasn’t planning on letting you out of my sight,” I say. “Not when I’ve slept like shit the past few nights. I need some sleep, and I know you’re the only way I’ll get it.”

“You’re just inviting yourself over?”

“Yup,” I reply. “Problem with that?”

“Maybe I do have a problem with that.” She places her hands on her hips.

“Too damn bad.” I move past her and straight into the bathroom, where I get ready for bed.

She texted Ryland to let him know she’d be staying at the apartment tonight so he doesn’t worry about where she is. Everything we bought for Ryland’s room is stored in my SUV, and we’ve already had dinner, so now . . . now it’s time to relax.

I turn on her shower and wash my body quickly from today’s hard work, and then find a towel under her sink. I dry off, brush my teeth, and then slip on a pair of fresh boxer briefs before exiting her bathroom, where I find her sitting on her bed. A look of disbelief in her eyes as they take me in, starting at my thighs and traveling up the way to my face.

“That was quick.”

“I don’t want to waste any time.” I nod toward the bathroom. “Your turn.”

She stands from the bed and moves past me to the dresser, where she pulls out a few things. “You smell good,” she says. “Did you bring your own body wash?”

“Yeah, thought if I went to bed smelling like you, I’d have a hard dick the whole night, which would negate the fact that I want to sleep tonight.”

She just smirks and slips into the bathroom. I hear the shower turn on as well, and as she’s washing up, I lie across her bed and click on the red notification in my text messages.

Ruben: Haven’t heard from you in a while. Getting nervous.

Love the guy, but also hate him so fucking much.

Hayes: What would it take to get out of this contract with the label?

The bubbles on the text thread appear so fast that it makes me chuckle. I can only imagine he’s been sitting by his phone, waiting for my response.

Ruben: If you’re serious, I can look into it.

Hayes: Is it even an option?

Ruben: Anything is an option. Can I call you?

Hayes: Not at a good place where I can talk.

Ruben: Okay, can you tell me why you want out of the contract?

Hayes: Tired. Worn down. I want to do something for myself. I like staying here, at home.

Ruben: You’ve worked tirelessly for the last year. I’m sure you’re enjoying the break.

Hayes: I am, and I met someone. Not saying I want to give things up for her, but I want to at least take a break from it all so I can just live my life. Enjoy my life. Enjoy the money I’ve made.

Ruben: I can completely understand that. If you want out of the contract, I know there’s a loophole I can work on. But you know they won’t ever sign with you again if you cut out without delivering another album.

Hayes: I know, and I’m okay with that.

Ruben: How about I give you a week to think about it. And then if you tell me you’re ready to cut out, I’ll make it happen. Does that sound okay?

Hayes: I think that’s fair.

Ruben: Good. What’s this change of heart?

Hayes: The girl who was working for me, Hattie? Yeah, we’re seeing each other, and for the first time in a really long time, I feel peaceful.

Ruben: I thought you weren’t allowed to be with her . . .

Hayes: Things changed. Her brother and I have come to an agreement. It’s a long story, but needless to say, we’re dating, and fuck, man, it feels good. I like her so fucking much. When she’s around, it actually feels like I’m able to see the world again.

Ruben: Then you have to work on that relationship. I know I bother you about songs and schedules and sponsorships, but in the end, you’re my friend, and I want you happy. If she makes you happy, then I’ll do whatever I have to so you can keep that happiness.

Hayes: I appreciate it, man. My career isn’t over, but fuck, I’d love the break.

Ruben: Then we’ll give you a break. I’ll check back in, just in case you change your mind.

Hayes: Sounds good, and hey, if you make it out here, you have a place to stay. Might be nice to finally show you around Almond Bay.

Ruben: Only if you make me some of those almond cherry cookies.

Hayes: If you get me out of my contract, I’ll make you enough cookies to fill a bathtub so you can bathe in them.

Ruben: Hard to turn that down.

I smile just as the bathroom door opens. I glance to the side only for my mouth to fall open. Standing in the doorway, one hand hanging on the doorframe, Hattie takes my fucking breath away.

Wearing what I can only assume is a thong, the strings high on her hips, and a cropped tank top, she stares me down with one thing on her mind . . . me. I can see it in her rapturous gaze.

“Jesus fuck,” I mumble as she turns off the bathroom light and struts toward me. “Hattie,” I say just as she straddles my lap.

My hands fall to her backside, and I was right . . . she’s wearing a thong.

“You look hot,” I say as my thumbs slip under her crop top and brush against her breasts. “Please tell me this is what you always wear to bed.”

“When I’m alone, yes.”

“You’re not alone right now,” I say as she moves over my hardening dick.

“You don’t count.” She pushes me back on the bed. I have to dodge the slanted ceiling, but I lie on the soft mattress and look up at her as she straddles my lap. Her hands fall to my chest, and she slowly rocks over my cock.

“Fuck,” I groan as I get a glimpse of the underside of her breasts as her body undulates over mine.

“Mmm, you’re already so hard,” she moans, moving slowly over my cock.

“With you, it takes a second,” I say as I run my hands up her thighs.

She leans down and places a kiss on my jaw, my cheek . . . my lips. I open my mouth for more, but she moves to my neck and then my collarbone.

When her fingers pass over my nipples, I lock my mouth shut from groaning, but when her tongue flicks over them, I can’t hold back. “Fuck, baby.”

“You like that?” she asks, almost surprised.

“I like it all,” I answer, giving her the go-ahead to do more, to take what she wants. To explore.

She continues to rock over me as she plays with my nipples, dragging her tongue over them, up my neck, back to my jaw, teasing me with her lips across mine until she moves back down my neck again, the trail of wetness igniting a deep sense of need inside me—a burning sensation that I know dry-humping will not take care of tonight. I’m going to need more.

More of her.

Whatever she’ll give me, I want it all.

Her kisses land against my heated skin, between my pecs, across my nipples where she sucks on one, and I groan in response. She smirks and then drags her tongue to my stomach, where my breathing halts, and my body stiffens. She swirls her tongue over every one of my abs, and when she reaches the last one and moves down between my legs, I lift just enough to look at her. “Hattie . . .”

But she doesn’t stop. She takes the waistband of my underwear and drags it down, revealing my full erection. Her eyes widen as she watches it stretch up my stomach.

I’m about to tell her she doesn’t have to do anything, but she pulls my briefs all the way off and then pushes my legs open. Her tentative hands run up my thighs and then inward until they almost touch my cock, but don’t. Instead, my dick jolts from the near touch, and I groan.

“Baby, don’t tease me.”

A maniacal smile passes over her lips. “Don’t tease you? What about all the times you teased me?”

“You’re stronger than I am. I won’t be able to take it.”

That makes her laugh right before she drags her fingers under my cock, the backs of her knuckles touching my length. She doesn’t grip me.


“Seriously, Hattie.”

She sits up so her mouth grows close, and my cock twitches in anticipation, precum already on the very tip. That’s how she affects me. That’s how much I want her.

“You have the sexiest cock I’ve ever seen,” she says right before dragging her tongue over the underside, all the way up to the tip.

“Ahhhhh, fuck,” I hiss, my hands gripping the comforter beneath me.

Her hands smooth under my erection again, across my stomach as her tongue flicks across the large vein that extends up my length. “How many women have sucked your cock, Hayes?”

“Hattie,” I say, not wanting to answer that.

“Too many to remember?” She presses light kisses all over my shaft, down to my balls where she gently licks the seam.

Fucking hell, what is she doing to me?

“Answer the question, Hayes. How many?”

“Fuck, I don’t know,” I say, my chest growing tight as she moves her lips back to my tip where she hovers, waiting for me. “Hattie, come on.”

“How many?”

Jesus Christ, does she really want to know?

“Too fucking many,” I say, causing her to smile.

“Good, and this is the only one you’re going to remember.” Then she opens her mouth wide and takes my cock all the way to the back of her throat.

“Holy fuck,” I nearly yell as her teeth drag along the sensitive flesh, adding a whole new sense of pleasure. My stomach contracts, my abs firing off as her mouth works up and down over my length.




One of her hands grips the base while the other fondles my balls, and together, she works my cock with her delicious mouth to the point that I can barely breathe, the sensation of her tongue combined with her sucking has me fucking panting.

“Hattie, wait,” I say as she pumps harder. My legs start to go numb. Fuck, this is happening faster, faster than I care to admit. “Hattie. Stop.” She sucks harder, causing my stomach to bottom out and all of my attention to fall to my cock and the imminent pleasure. “Hattie . . .” I squeeze my eyes shut.

Fuck, hold off, man.

Don’t fucking come. Don’t you dare fucking come.

Shit . . . just as my balls start to tighten almost to the point of no return, she releases my straining length from her mouth and scoots away from the bed where she stands. In absolute agony, I watch as she smirks and runs the back of her hand over her mouth.

My head flops back on the mattress, my cock dangerously jolting on my stomach as a painful, “Motherfucker,” slips past my lips.

Christ, talk about edging. I’ve never been brought that close only for the woman to stop. But Hattie, she literally has me by the goddamn balls.

When I get enough strength to sit up on my elbows and watch my swollen cock seek relief, I catch Hattie in front of me, a heated smile on her lips as she lifts her shirt over her head and drops it to the floor. Then she runs her hands under the string of her thong and pushes it down until she’s completely naked, revealing her sexy, bare body.

“Jesus,” I say as she moves toward me again, but this time, she doesn’t get control. She had her chance and nearly made me weep as a grown-ass man. It’s my goddamn turn. The moment she’s close enough, I pull her onto the bed, and I move on top of her, my wet, aching cock resting on her thigh. “Is that your payback for all the times I never gave you what you wanted?”

She nods.

“Call us even then,” I say right before I bring my mouth to hers and dive my tongue against hers, possessively claiming her.

She’ll be marked as mine tonight. I might remember the way she sucked my cock until the very fucking day that I die, but tonight, nothing will ever compare to what she’s about to experience.

I pin her wrists above her head with one hand. She gasps as I run my other hand down her side and palm her breast, squeezing it hard.

“God . . .” she moans, her teeth falling over her bottom lip.

My fingers come together, and I pinch her nipple, letting it roll between my forefinger and thumb, the sensitive nub causing her to jut her hips up and her head to thrash to the side. I love how responsive she is. It’s such a turn-on. And it’s not fake, either. There is nothing fake about her. Her reactions are genuine, and I know that because when I pull away to look down at her, I see that beautiful blush on her cheeks, staining them red.

“This pussy is fucking mine tonight,” I say as I bring my mouth to her jaw, where I drag my tongue along the slender bone. “I want you bare. I want to see my cum dripping down your leg.” She swallows hard. I bring my mouth to her ear and whisper, “Do you give me permission?”

She nods.

“No, baby, I need to hear it. Tell me what you want.”

“I . . .” She gulps. “I want you to fill me with your cum.”

“Mmm.” I drag my nose over her cheek. “Good fucking girl.”

Keeping her hands pinned above her head, I kick her legs farther apart with my knee, making room for my body. I grip my cock and bring it to her slit, where I slide it along her slick opening.

“Fuck, you’re so wet, baby.”

I run my tip along her clit, and she bucks up in response, so I do it again, the slickness of her pussy creating this euphoric effect to swallow me whole. I get lost in the feeling of gliding my cock over her to the point that I let go and just use my hips to pump along her arousal.

“Hayes, I don’t . . . I don’t want to come like this. I want you inside me.”

“Are you close?” I ask, surprised.

She nods. “Very.” So I lift, leaving my drenched cock to rest on her thigh again as I catch my breath. She groans in aggravation as I don’t do anything. I just let her sit there, pleasure hanging on the edge. “Hayes,” she complains. “Please.”

“You want this cock?”


“Then let that greedy pussy take it,” I say as I move to her entrance and slowly slide in.

“Oh my God!” she shouts, and I pause because I don’t want to hurt her.

Because she’s so fucking tight.

Because she’s so tense. I can’t move any farther in.

“Jesus,” I mutter as I feel a bead of sweat break out on my lower back. “Hattie, relax.”

“I . . . I can’t. You’re too big.”

“Baby,” I say, my teeth clenched as I try not to black out from how tight she’s squeezing half of my cock. “Deep breaths.” She doesn’t even try, so I release her hands, and they immediately come to my chest, where she braces herself, and then I bring my mouth to hers. Instead of demanding her tongue and roughly taking what I want, I slow down and gently run my tongue along her lips, parting them and then offering her a more sensual kiss, a kiss that shows her I’m here at this moment with her and there’s nothing she needs to be tense about.

After a few kisses, our mouths lightly gliding against each other, her hand floats up the back of my neck into my hair and her body relaxes, and the vise-like grip her pussy has on my cock eases, allowing me to breathe as I move an inch farther. This time, she doesn’t tense.

I continue to make out with her, now twisting my tongue against hers, kneading her breast.

She moans into my mouth, and I take that moment to move another inch, and then another . . . and another. Her legs open wider for me, wrapping around and digging her heels into my back. Still not fully inserted, I dive my tongue into her mouth, and her legs spread a little wider, giving me the rest of the room I need.

With one more deep, sultry kiss, I press my cock to the hilt, bottoming out. Both of us moan together. “Fuck, feels so good, Hattie.”

She brings my mouth to hers and continues to kiss me, her mouth going wild now, moving rapidly over mine. She gets lost in the kiss. She relaxes when she’s in charge of something else. So I let her control our lips while driving the friction between us.

I pulse my hips in and out of her, slow at first, barely moving, but as she becomes more aggressive with her mouth, I drive harder inside her, to the point that our mouths separate, and we both gasp for air as my hips drive in and out.

In and out.

In and fucking out . . .

“Oh God,” she says, her back arching, her breath growing heavy.

Hands on her hips, I sit back on my heels and bring our connection with me, guiding her up and down. I stare down at the way my cock slips into her wet pussy, the narrow space I have to work with so fucking amazing that my fingers and toes start to tingle with my impending orgasm.

“I want . . . your . . . mouth . . .” she pants. I pull her up so our chests meet, her hard nipples rubbing against my pecs as she bounces up and down over my cock, barely escaping the angled ceilings.

Her fingers tangle into my hair, and her mouth connects with mine as I move her over my cock, this new angle rocking my goddamn world as she sinks farther and farther every time she rises.

“Fuck, Hattie. I’m close,” I say before biting on her lower lip and then soothing it with my tongue.

Her fingers claw into my skull, her hips moving faster as her mouth pulls away from mine. Her head falls to my shoulders, her breath erratic as we both work to the point of no return. She assists in moving up and down, I help her by gripping her hips and together, we fuck each other.

We fuck hard.

She bites into my shoulder.

I reach up and tug on her hair.

She claws into my back.

I pinch her nipple.

“Ahhh, Hayes!” she says as her head falls back, exposing her neck. I take advantage, and I bite down on the sensitive flesh. “Oh God,” she says, her body tensing around mine. “Oh fuck, Hayes. Oh God, I’m . . . I’m . . .”

She screams out a feral sound as her entire body convulses over mine, her pussy squeezing my cock so tight with the orgasm that rips through her that I don’t have a second to even think about it. My orgasm hits me hard, and I yell out her name as I come inside her violently, both of our bodies shuddering.

“Fuck . . . me,” I cry out as my dick continues to twitch inside her because her pussy won’t stop squeezing me. “Baby,” I say gently as I lay her down on the bed and hover over her, still connected. “Jesus, are you okay?”

Sleepily, she nods. “I’m more than okay.” When her dreamy eyes open and she looks up at me, I feel this twinge of protection cover me in an instant.

This is my girl.

I just claimed her.

Marked her.

Let everyone know around us that she is not to be fucked with.

I slowly ease out of her and then place a kiss on her forehead before helping her up. I hop off the bed and then scoop her up in my arms.

“What are you doing?” She chuckles.

“Carrying you to the bathroom so you can take care of things.”

“I can walk.”

“Not with the amount of cum I just shot in you.” It has been a while since I’ve come inside a woman. A while for me, anyway. At least I know I’m clean. I never would have taken her bare had I not been recently tested.

Her cheeks flush, and it’s the cutest fucking thing. I kiss the tip of her nose and set her down in the bathroom, where I grab a washcloth for myself and then give her some privacy.

After I clean myself up, I go back to the bed where I scoot in close to the ceiling, this bed not big enough for two people, but big enough if I plan on having Hattie plastered to my body the whole night, and I do.

Resting on my back, I push my hand through my hair. What just happened?

Hattie fucking Rowley just rocked my goddamn world.

And now I don’t think I’ll ever recover. This is it for me. I’ve reached the pinnacle. Nothing and no one will ever be better than her. That’s a shocking revelation because I’m still getting to know this girl, but fuck, I don’t ever want her to leave my life. Not when she made me . . . hell, she made me feel again.

She’s made me realize what a heartbeat feels like again.

A pulse.

She’s made me breathe.

Lifted my chin.

Opened my eyes to the world around me when I’d done nothing but kept my head down since the moment my mom abandoned me.

The bathroom door opens, and I turn my head to catch Hattie walking toward me, her perky tits on full display, her body marked by my mouth, my scruff, my hands, and the first thing that pops into my head is the word: mine.

She’s all fucking mine.

I lift the covers for her, and she slips into the bed. I wrap my arm around her waist and pull her into my chest where I place a kiss on her shoulder.

“Everything good?” I ask.

“Everything’s perfect,” she answers.

“I wasn’t too rough?” I press a kiss to her neck.

“No, I loved it. Everything. I loved everything.”

“Good,” I say as I nibble up her neck because you’re not getting any sleep tonight.


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