Changing His Mind

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CH.1

“Sorry, Todd. My hands are killing me today. That’s the best I can do. I hope it helps.” Beth clasped her hands in front of her. Feeling a little dizzy, she struggled to sit down on the nearest stool.

Beth had arthritis in her hands and was unfortunately also suffering from a migraine this day, but Todd asked her for a bit of shoulder massage. He had some residual pain from an injury he received during boot camp and was really suffering. She was a good friend who never hesitated to help her friends out. They always seemed to be pulling or tweaking something or other.

“You should have refused me,” he said. His voice sounded rough like he was a little ticked off.

“Oh yeah. Right.” She made no effort to hide her sarcasm.

He glanced swiftly up at her. His black eyebrows pulled together. “I wouldn’t have forced you. You can always say no.”

He stared at her for a long moment, and it was Beth who looked away first, “But thank you, the pain in my shoulder is better.”

He had two fingers pressed against her pulse, and Beth realized he was checking her vitals.

“Really, I’m ok.” She assured him.

“Your pulse is rapid,”

Beth laughed weakly, “what a surprise.”

Todd pretended not to know how much he affected her. Her heart rate was frantic because he was touching her, and he knew it.

He released her and gave her a questioning look.

“It doesn’t matter,” She waved her hand dismissively. “So what are you, a medic or something?”

“I have some training, ya,”

“Is that required in your uh position? I mean, you’re, army right?”

“Yeah,” he agreed. “I’m Army, trained as a medic, but it’s not my specialty.”

He hadn’t stepped back. He still stood too close. Beth looked at him expectantly.

“What?” he asked.

“So the obvious question is, what is your specialty?” she said with a flash of her eyes and a grin.

There is no way he could have missed the suggestion in her tone, but his response was formally polite.

“I’m with Joint Task Force 2. JTF2 is what most people call it,”

Unable to stop herself, Beth reached out and traced her fingers over his T-shirt, where the word ARMY was printed in black that had faded and cracked from washing.

“JTF2?” She glanced up at his face, and her breath caught.

Todd’s eyes were locked on hers. There was no formality there; if anything, the expression on his face was shockingly intimate, as if he knew the direction of Beth’s thoughts. But didn’t he always.

“Yeah, It’s a special unit for certain, uh, military tasks,” he said quietly, “I’m training in Ottawa right now.”

“Oh,” she murmured. Her fingers continued to trail across the letters as her gaze drifted to Todd’s face, lingering on his mouth. Where the rest of his face was dark, hard angles and chiselled planes, his lips were full and rounded. He had a beautiful mouth, made for kissing.

She wondered how he would react if she stood up and pressed her lips against his. She’d had the urge to do just that since she’d watched him sip from his coffee earlier. She actually fantasized about kissing him since their date several months ago and also dreamed about his chocolate skin against her tan skin since the first day they met over 2 years ago.

“That’s good,” she finally managed to say, moistening her lips, “because I am a firm believer in, um, supporting our troops.”

“You’re a dangerous woman,” he said softly, and he cupped her elbows in his big hands and drew her to her feet.

Beth stared up at him, mesmerized. “Why?”

“Because you make me want to do things I have no damned business doing.”

His voice was no more than a husky rasp, scraping gently across Beth’s heightened senses and causing heat to unfurl and blossom between her thighs.

“Like this,” he said and bent his head towards hers.

Her lips were incredibly soft. Todd sensed her surprise. For just an instant, she stood stiff and unresponsive. He also knew the second her resistance melted. She made a soft mewling sound of pleasure, and suddenly her arms were around him, and she was kissing him back, hungrily.

Todd knew that kissing her was a mistake. A huge atomic mistake. He had no business getting involved with Beth. She was his friend; they weren’t supposed to cross those boundaries again. It hadn’t gone very well the first time. Besides, he was leaving for Yugoslavia in two weeks.

He hadn’t planned on kissing her, but then she looked up at him through her thick lashes, and he’d been trapped in the incredible depths of her green eyes. Beth was attractive, but he hadn’t had a genuine appreciation for her until he went away and realized he missed her. Missed her more than a friend should. Because she was around, in the years since their one date, Todd had struggled not to think about her.

However, now he was. He was looking into Beth’s eyes and kissing her lush, pink lips. That, combined with the sultriness of her voice, and he was powerless to resist her. Any thoughts of pulling away were buried beneath anadolu yakası escort the steamroller of sensations he felt when her tongue made a tentative exploration of his mouth.

His hands, which were still cupping her elbows, slid to her back, and he pressed her more fully against him, amazed at how delicate she felt in his arms. She scarcely came up to his shoulder, and he had to hunch over a little to reach her. But as small as she was, there was no mistaking that she was every inch a woman.

He touched her many times over the years and had been aware of their difference in size and how arousing it was. Although she was tough, playing ball with him and the guys, he was surprised at how fragile she actually felt now, in his arms.

He slid one hand down over the curve of her bottom, and she responded by pressing her hips against him. Her hands were on his head to hold him captive as she slanted her mouth across his. She wasn’t just kissing him; she was devouring him, her soft lips feasting on his. Her tongue performed an erotic dance in his mouth. She made a little noise in the back of her throat, somewhere between a whimper of need and a moan of pleasure, and he was undone. It was the most erotic sound he’d ever heard and caused lust to jackknife through him.

He groaned in defeat, cupping her butt in his hands, lifting her to the edge of the counter. Her legs hooked the back of his thighs. He dragged his mouth from hers enough to look down at her flushed features. Her eyes were clouded with desire as she pulled his head back down to hers.

“Jesus,” he said against her mouth, his voice no more than a ragged whisper. “I could kiss you like this all day,”

He felt her smile, and then she slid her hands beneath the hem of his shirt T-shirt. They were silken soft, and warm against his bare flesh. “So what’s stopping you?”

Her whispered challenge was enough to snap the last of his self-restraint. With a soft growl of capitulation, he captured her face between his hands and fastened his lips over her. She tasted heady and delicious; he hadn’t exaggerated when he said he could kiss her endlessly. Less than twelve hours earlier, sex had been the last thing on his mind. Right now, it was all he could think about.

How long had it been anyway? Too long. At least six months. His most recent sexual encounter had occurred shortly before he left on his last deployment. The woman had been a buddy’s friend, guaranteed to show him a good time without any questions asked or any future expectations. He could remember her name and her face but damned if he could remember what the sex had been like. Just two minutes of kissing Beth had pretty much obliterated any memories of that dispassionate coupling.

She was so responsive, both greedy and giving all at once. Todd focused on the exquisite pleasure of touching her. He was free, at least for the moment, from the excruciating pain in his shoulder, and he intended to enjoy every second. He took his time, tracing the contours of her lips with his tongue and nibbling at the corners of her mouth while alternately letting her give him hot, open-mouthed kisses that caused heat to spiral through him.

Beneath his shirt, Beth’s palms smoothed across his rib cage, around to his stomach, up over his pecks. Todd slid one hand down the length of her back and lowered to cup her buttocks and pull her right to the edge of the counter, where he pressed himself against her centre. Beth made a soft sound of approval and tightened her legs, drawing him closer.

More than anything, Todd wanted to lay Beth back on the narrow countertop, peel her clothes from her body, and pay homage to her curvaceous body and the secrets now hidden from his sight. But he needed to slow down.

Slow down, slow down, no, wait, wait, wait…stop! He yelled to himself inside his head.

He needed to stop. He had no business getting involved with Beth, especially knowing he couldn’t offer her anything more than a superficial relationship. He’d make love to her, at least during the short periods he’d be home, and then disappear again, sometimes for long periods, and he wouldn’t be able to explain why. It was all part of the job description.

Reluctantly he dragged his mouth from hers, and when she would have protested, he pressed her face gently into his shoulder. He breathed in the clean fragrance of her hair, aware they were both panting as if they’d sprinted up several flights of stairs.

Todd sucked in a deep breath, waiting for his heart to regulate itself. He could feel the rapid rise and fall of Beth’s chest against his own. Her hands were still beneath his shirt, and her fingers rubbed slow circles on his skin.

“Why’d you stop?” her voice was muffled against his chest.

Todd gave a huff of disbelieving laughter. “You’re kidding, right? Another five minutes of this, and you’d be naked, with your legs around my neck.”

Beth tipped her head back to look at him. Her eyes still looked a little ataşehir escort stoned, and her lips were moist and ripe from his kissing. She smiled, and Todd felt something in his chest shift.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing. I mean, unless you have something else to do,” Beth let the sentence trail off meaningfully.

He stared down at her, hardly able to believe what she was offering.

“Are you propositioning me?” His voice sounded strangled.

Beth tucked a loose piece of hair behind her ear and sat up straighter. Her voice sounded a bit indignant.

“What if I am?”

Unable to stop himself, Todd started to laugh. The day kept getting better and better. In fact, it was turning out to be freaking unforgettable. Just when he decided to go all Dudley Do-right, fate threw temptation squarely in his face.

A frown hitched between Beth’s eyebrows as she watched him struggle to compose himself. After a moment, he stopped laughing, but his shoulders still shook with the aftershocks.

“You find it hard to believe that I find you attractive and that I want to be with you?” The heat in her eyes had dropped several degrees. He’d pissed her off, which hadn’t been his intention, but he couldn’t believe she was actually suggesting they finish what they had started.

“Beth,” he said, “I find it freaking unbelievable.”

He saw the steely glint that entered Beth’s eyes, and it should have been his cue to beat feet out of there, but he was a glutton for punishment and had to see how she’d react.

“Well,” she said softly, “maybe I should prove to you just how bad I want you.”

Before Todd could guess her intent, she crunched his T-shirt in her hands and pushed it up over his stomach, following it up with her hands.

“Mmm,” she said approvingly, “feels good, right?” Then she leaned forward and very delicately traced the outline of his nipple with her tongue.

Todd’s reaction was instantaneous as his dick leaped to attention and strained against the fabric of his pants.

“Yes, and,” he said, catching hold of her hands and tugging them away. “I think you’ve made your point.”

They stood in silence as his rejection sunk in. Todd turned away from her, covertly adjusting himself to a less conspicuous degree before he stepped away from the table, telling himself he was the biggest ass on the face of the planet.

Any other red-blooded male would have graciously taken what she’d so sweetly offered. He turned just in time to see Beth scoot off the edge of the counter, her skirt shimmying up to reveal her soft inner thighs as they met her sheer panties accentuating her clearly shaved mons. He nearly groaned aloud at his own idiocy. Right now, he could have those gorgeous legs wrapped around his waist as he drove himself into her welcoming heat.

“Well, Sergeant Washington, I guess we’re through then.” Her voice was very professional. His eyes followed the gentle swing of her hips as she glided to the door.

“So, Game on for tonight then?” he said with hopeful anticipation in his tone.

“I don’t know,” she said as she wrinkled her nose. “I wouldn’t want to be the seventh wheel. You need to touch base with the guys, and I think I’ll just be in the way.”

He knew he blew it. Damn. He felt an ache in his chest as he predicted how his remaining time would go before he headed back to Ottawa and then deployment. He also knew the guys would ream him out for making Beth feel like she wasn’t welcome. She wouldn’t play because of feeling like she was intruding, and they would lose the game because she was a kick-ass receiver.

He never thought being home would be so different. He never thought he would still want her so bad. And that she would want him back this time. Why did doing the right thing feel like shit?

CH.2

So it turns out Beth did show up to the game against the Tech guys, and they won. Now they were all back at Shawn’s. Beth had gone out to the garage for a smoke, and Todd, of course, followed. They were cordial and having a conversation about the game and certain plays. Beth explained how she felt she really gave Dillon from Tool and Dye, a run for his money. Not only did he could catch her but, he could tackle her too. She laughed at the thought, and Todd laughed at her.

“He totally would’ve got you down. And probably enjoyed it too. Too much for his own health, in my opinion.” Todd was throwing shade in jealousy of Beth.

“First of all, Bullshit, he would’ve got me down. Second what the hell is that supposed to mean; ‘He would’ve enjoyed it too much for his own health’?” Beth was annoyed.

“I mean, I would’ve had to step in.”

“Todd, it’s a freaken game and excuse me, but I don’t need anyone stepping in for my honour or some such thing,” Beth was steaming.

“I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, and if you remember, you wanted me to join this fucking team in the first place. You seemed to believe that I could play and take care of things myself, or was it only ümraniye escort so you could get off somehow?” She was shaking as she tried to smoke.

“Oh, no, that’s right, you don’t want me. You’ve made that very clear. You like to look at me and control shit, plus dictate who can or cannot tackle me, but you don’t actually want me.”

Todd, still looking straight ahead, spoke softly, “Are you done? Do you feel better now?”

“Sorta, thanks for asking,” Beth said without any of the previous anger.

“What I meant was I overheard him making some not-so-nice comments about you playing with an all-male team. He was disrespectful, and it actually sent off warning bells to me because his comments were violent in nature. I just meant I had your back, sweetie,”

“Oh, well, Thank you, but you don’t have to worry about me. I can take care of myself,” Beth’s head dropped as she felt shame for blowing up at him.

Todd turned his head to look at Beth, and she found herself unable to look away or even think of something to say to lighten the mood.

“Beth,”

He took a step towards her. Beth backed up until she felt the wall behind her, and still, he kept coming until mere inches separated them. A deep breath would bring her breasts into complete contact with his chest.

He braced his hands against the wall on either side of her head, imprisoning her. A muscle worked convulsively in his lean cheek, and his eyes were fathomless.

He made no move to touch her, just studied her, feature by feature. He was so close that she could see his pulse throbbing, solid and steady, at the base of his neck. Transfixed by that disturbance, her fingers travelled upward to cover the shallow hollow of her own throat. Could he see how his nearness affected her? She wondered. Todd was trying to be intimidating, but Beth wasn’t afraid of him, just aroused.

“Beth,” he repeated, softer this time, “Look at you. Do you really think you could stop a man intent on having you? Especially someone built like me. Do you really think you could deny my advances?

“No, maybe not you specifically,” she finally managed to say, her voice sounding small and strangled. “But I’ll manage. I’ve been doing fine in your absence.”

“I’m sure you have. But you’ve been failing against me since I’ve been home,”

“Ya, well, that’s because you’ve been playing games. You’ve been teasing me for some kind of demented pleasure. I don’t care if you think I’m not strong. You and I are different. It’s not the same as a random dude. Besides, clearly, I want to be close to you, intimate with you. I’ve told you that I desire you, and you’re choosing not to follow through. That’s on you,” Beth said, proud of her assertiveness.

She pulled another smoke out and lit it, forcing herself to stay put even though what she wanted to do was run and hide inside and forget all of this. Beth was, however painful, getting used to his rejection. She told herself that it was enough. She couldn’t keep doing this.

Todd said nothing and stood there in silence. He was wrestling with his thoughts of wanting her long-term and his commitment to his job. A life that he couldn’t get out of at this point. His current life is not conducive to a relationship, at least not with someone he actually cared for.

But damn, she was eating away at his resolve. As she finished her cigarette and turned to go inside, he grabbed her wrist and held her in place.

“Wait, Beth. Please,” he said as he tossed his smoke to the ground.

“What, Todd? What?” Beth was visibly irritated.

He reached with his hand, cupped the back of her neck, and pulled her to him for a kiss. She didn’t fight. Hot and sweet, his mouth was avid on hers, tempting her to taste, then deeper still. Satisfaction had nothing to do with it. Every stroke, every touch, every brush of his lips made her crave more. The rhythm of his kiss was the rhythm of sex, and she found herself moving against him without realizing it. He was pure strength in her arms. The soft murmur he made in her throat had the blood roaring in her ears. This was what she wanted, not just the mouth and the body but the person. It was all wound together inextricably in a vortex of desire that pulled her in.

The wind was whipping. The rain heavy, but for Beth, there was only Todd, intense and fragrant. He pulled her into a private world of sensuality and desire where only the physical dominated. Her anger and frustration from before had transformed into arousal and need.

His hands roved over her body, feeling the shape of it, moulding her against him. It made her dizzy and wet, and it sent her pulse rocketing. She shivered at his touch as he slid his hand into her jacket and under her shirt. If he would just touch her skin, she told herself, it would be enough. If he would only feel the solid firmness of her nipples, she could stop.

She gave a soft groan at his touch, turning so he could access her more easily. This was what she needed, the heat of his hands on her. She guided his fingers to the clasp of her bra. A flood of arousal flowed through her as the soft friction of his fingers brushed against her sensitive skin. He squeezed her nipple, and a thousand nerve endings exploded, sending bolts of desire through to the centre of her. The heat of his hands wasn’t enough. She needed more.

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