Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual, Sports,
Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Dom was a goalie; it was his job to make sure nothing got through. Then he met Lani.
Thonk. Pahk. Clack.
Dom moved smoothly from shot to shot, deflecting pucks with his blocker pad, his glove, his leg pads, his stick—whatever was in the right place. He ignored the ones that got through. He just gritted his teeth and tried harder to stop the rest. The bars of his facemask disappeared, and his teammates were blurs out by the blue line.
The pucks were sharp black circles that came ripping towards him at all angles and heights. His body dipped and turned, his legs shot out to the sides ... he was a wall.
At last the whistle cut through his thoughts and he realized no more pucks were flying at him. He stripped off his catching glove, flipped up his mask, and guzzled the water from one of the bottles on top of the net. When that was empty, he picked up the next one and squirted the water on his face, savoring the coolness. Some of it dripped into his brown hair, turning it black.
Karl came over and tapped his stick against Dom's leg pads. "Nice job," Karl said. "You were really in the zone." His English was nearly perfect, and his faint Swedish accent was the only hint that he wasn't from the U.S. or Canada.
"Thanks," said Dom, still panting some. "Let's hope I stay that way through tomorrow night." He grabbed his glove and began skating to the bench.
"Just relax," said Karl. Dom rolled his eyes. "Just relax" was Karl's advice for pretty much any situation. Then Karl got a teasing glint in his eye. "Of course, Coach could always pull you and put Steward in."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Dom said dryly. Then he squirted the rest of his water over Karl's head. He succeeded only in making Karl laugh harder.
Lani sipped at her chai and pulled up yet another spreadsheet. The little chair wasn't very comfortable, but then neither was her apartment at the moment. When her roommate, Cherie, had a guy over, it could be very crowded. Cherie was ... affectionate, Lani mused, and sometimes didn't think to, say, go to her own room before things got interesting. So Lani had slipped out to the nearest coffee shop with wireless capability.
It was quiet for a Saturday morning, just as she'd hoped. A couple sat on one of the couches reading the newspaper. A couple of guys—cute guys, she noted—were deep in discussion about something. They were both animated, gesturing and illustrating points with their hands; one had straight brown hair, the other wavy blond. They made an interesting contrast. There were one or two more people like her, hunched over laptops. Unconsciously she straightened her posture.
She eyed the scone she'd bought. It held its place defiantly, daring her to take a bite. Is it really food? she wondered. Or is it merely Styrofoam with flavor? Very little flavor, if she remembered correctly from the last time she'd eaten here. The drinks were decent, but the food was erratic.
Deciding to postpone the battle with the breakfast food, she turned back to her screen. She was busy with schedules and costs when the door banged open and an argument rolled in. She tried to ignore it, but the participants were having none of that.
"I don't care!" shrieked the woman. She waved her hands in the air, inches from the man's face. "I've had it! I told you to leave me alone. I don't want to be with you anymore. I found someone else!"
"Someone with more money!" the man yelled back. "You're nothing but a gold-digger."
"Someone with a bigger dick!" the woman retorted, hands on her hips. "The money's just a plus!"
"Excuse me," said the manager, an older man, as he approached the warring couple. "Perhaps I could ask you to keep your voices down. Surely there's no need for..."
"Back off, gramps," the man said with a glare.
"Please, let's have a seat," the manager suggested, trying once more for calm. Lani felt badly for him; she could see both the man and woman were high or drunk on something. Neither would be amenable to the soft approach.
"I said, 'back off!'" the man yelled, and pushed the older man back. The manager stumbled a few steps and caught himself on the counter, but then slipped and hit his head. Lani watched as one of the staff behind the counter grabbed a cell phone. Someone had some common sense, she was relieved to see. Lani was tempted to go see if the man was all right, but wasn't sure it was a wise move to get past the attacker.
"See? See!" the woman shrieked again. Lani winced. "Someone call the police!" The woman waved her hands frantically. "He assaulted that man! He's a menace! Call the police!"
"Go ahead!" the man shouted, turning on the woman. Despite his having at least eight inches on her, she stood her ground. Lani would have been impressed if they weren't both acting like assholes. "Call the police!" the man continued, his arms now flailing as well. "Do you think I care? Do you think they scare me?"
"You're too stupid to be scared!" the woman yelled.
"At least I'm not a money-hungry whore!" the man shouted back. His face was bright red now, as was the woman's.
Lord, Lani thought, can't I just work in peace? Suddenly the apartment didn't seem like such a bad idea. She could always lock herself in her room. And play loud music. And wear headphones. A quick scan of the other customers convinced her they felt much the same.
"You don't have any money and you never will!" The woman, caught up in the drama, was rapidly working her way up to hysteria. "My mother was right, you're never going to be anything. You're a stupid, idiotic..." words failed her and Lani was relieved. Then the woman found more words and Lani groaned. "You're an idiot," the woman said with a gleam in her eyes, "and your dick doesn't make up for it."
She couldn't stand it any more and walked over to them. "Excuse me," Lani said, "but can you take this somewhere else?" The two looked at her in surprise. "I'm sorry you're having problems, but this isn't the place to fix them, okay? We're just not interested in who wants money or the size of anyone's ... anything."
"Stay out of this," the man ordered in a gruff voice.
"I'd love to," said Lani, "but that can only happen if you leave."
"Don't tell me what to do," the man said with a glare. His tone was threatening, and he outweighed Lani by at least a hundred pounds, but she didn't back down.
"Look," she said, trying one last time for patience, "they've already called the police. Why don't you just go?"
This time it was the woman who turned on Lani. "Who called the police?" she screamed. "You? Who did that!? No one asked for the police! Why can't anyone mind their own damn business in this freakin' town?" She continued in her shrill voice, and Lani tuned her out.
Lani rolled her eyes and shook her head, then turned to go back to her table. She had taken barely one step before someone jerked her arm and she stumbled back.
"She was talking to you," the man growled at her.
Lani yanked her arm back. "Don't touch me," she said in an icy voice.
Dom and Karl let their debate about the two-line pass lapse as they watched the screaming match in front of them.
"Wow, she's a lively one," Karl commented. Dom snorted.
"If you like harpies." Conversation was impossible while the argument was in session. "Come on, let's go," he said.
"I'll wait it out," Karl said. "I'm not wearing my visor and I'd rather not have that woman accidentally scratch my eyes out."
Dom sighed and took a swig of his coffee. When the man pushed the manager, he made to jump up but Karl restrained him. "Don't," said his teammate. He nodded in the direction of the counter. "Someone's already called the police, and they're helping him now."
Dom glared but sat down. Karl was right; it wouldn't help anyone, especially the team, if he got into a fight and hurt his hands. It was hard, though; he itched to belt the guy. Listening to the yelling, he decided the woman deserved a slap, too. Her voice was going through his brain like shards of ice.
After the woman made her comment on the man's anatomy, Dom sighed and lowered his head on the table, using his arms as pillows. Never insult a guy's size, he thought uselessly. It never helps. Maybe I can sleep until this is over. He was about to close his eyes when Karl nudged him. He raised his head and blinked when the petite woman with the dark hair walked over to the combatants.
"She's brave," Karl said.
"She's nuts," Dom replied. The man was huge, and even the harpy must have had forty pounds on her. He gave her points, though, for trying. She kept her cool and was reasonable; Dom figured she must have known it was useless, but liked her style. When the man grabbed her arm, Dom felt his control slip and stood up, striding over before Karl could stop him.
"Dom—wait—you—oh, hell." Karl sighed and stood, ready to follow and keep his friend out of trouble.
"Don't touch me," Dom heard the woman say. Her voice was cold and matched the dark ice of her eyes.
"I think you'd better do as she says," Dom suggested. His voice was calm and belied his anger.
"Who the hell are you?" the man snarled, his eyes still on Lani. Karl tapped him on the shoulder from the other side and he spun around.
"We're friends of hers," Karl said lightly. He smiled at Lani. "Hi, sweetie, how are you?"
She blinked, but then smiled back. "Fine, thanks. Didn't see you there."
Dom watched with satisfaction as the man's eyes grew wide. Karl was lean, but over six feet tall and well-muscled; Dom was shorter and had broad shoulders. Together, he knew they presented a fairly tough image. So said the PR department, who had forced them into a photo shoot along with Karl's defense partner Bobby. Too bad Bobby isn't here, Dom thought idly. This guy would probably piss himself.
Lani didn't know who these guys were, but the tall one had a devilish grin and a glint in his blue eyes that she couldn't resist. The shorter—but by no means short—one didn't smile, but he had an intensity about him that appealed to her. When the tall one had pretended to be her friend, she had grabbed at the ploy.
The man looked from Karl to Dom, gaping until he heard the police sirens. Finally, Lani thought. She had begun to think they'd never show up.
The man turned to the woman he'd been arguing with and grabbed her hand. "Come on," he growled. Karl's smile never wavered as he stepped aside to let them pass. They were barely out the door before a cop stepped out of his vehicle and in front of them. Whatever he said was enough to send the woman off on another shrill rant.
Lani, Dom and Karl stood and watched while the first cop's partner came around, and then a second police cruiser pulled up. The man who'd been arguing looked panicked, and began shouting over the woman. Two more cops, a man and a woman, got out of the second car and exchanged glances with their colleagues. Lani almost laughed at the efficiency with which the man and woman were quieted, cuffed, and put into the first car. The first two cops drove off, and the second pair came in and began speaking with the manager.
She turned to Karl. "Thanks so much. I guess I didn't think that through very clearly." She held out her hand. "I'm Lani."
"Delighted to meet you," Karl said, kissing her hand with a flourish. She laughed. "I'm Karl. The strong, silent one over here is my friend, Dominic."
"Dom," he corrected, shaking Lani's hand. "Nice to meet you." Her hand felt small and smooth in his; suddenly he was self-conscious of his own large, rough ones.
"Hello, Karl. Hello, Dom," she said with a smile. "Thanks again." She shook her head. "I don't know quite what got into me. I guess I was just frustrated. Can't work at home, can't work here. You'd think people could scream at each other in the privacy of their own homes."
Karl waved his hand dismissively. "Then where would we get our excitement?" he asked. Lani giggled.
"I can live without that kind of excitement," Dom said dryly. He wondered why it bothered him to see Karl flirting with Lani. Karl flirted with pretty much any woman, and had done it plenty of times in Dom's presence. Dom had never minded before.
"So can I," Lani agreed, and Dom felt a small flash of smug satisfaction.
"What's a pretty girl like you doing working on a Saturday?" Karl asked with a wink. Lani laughed out loud. She liked a little flirting, and this guy seemed harmless.
"Have you ever tried getting work done in an office?" she asked. "Impossible. I came here to get some peace and quiet. I'll think twice about that next time."
"Excuse me." The three looked over to see one of the cops approaching. "I was wondering if I could get statements about what happened here." They agreed and took turns answering questions. After they were finished, Lani glanced over at her computer and sighed.
"Well, pardon me, but I should get back to work," she said. "I don't mean to be a broken record, but thanks so much for your help."
"Lani, do you like hockey games?" Karl asked. Dom eyed him suspiciously. If he was working on asking Lani out, his best friend and defenseman might need a talking to.
"Love them," she said, a bit surprised. "I watch on TV whenever I can, but it's been years since I've been to one."
"Tell you what," Karl said, "there's a game tonight and I have two extra tickets. I'll leave them at the will call window. What's your last name?"
"Montgomery," she said automatically. Then, feeling a little abashed, she said, "Look, you don't have to do that. It's really sweet, but..."
"Not a problem," Karl said. "I can't use them and so I'd like to know someone can. If you can't make it, don't worry about it." He ignored the look Dom was giving him.
"All right," Lani said, giving up. "Thanks again." She was about to say something else when someone yelled her name.
"Lani! Lani!" A tall, busty woman with copper-colored hair came charging through the doors and nearly bowled Lani over with a bear hug. Dom couldn't stop his grin when he saw Karl's face. If ever a man had been smitten, it was Karl. He wouldn't have to worry about Karl and Lani after all.
"What happened?" the woman asked. "I saw the cops outside. Was there a robbery or something? Are you okay?" She patted Lani's shoulders as though checking for injury.
"Relax, Deanne," Lani said, laughing. "I'm fine. It was nothing so exciting. Just Romeo and Juliet having a spat. Dee, this is Karl and Dom. They kept me from getting in over my head."
"Oh, thank you so much!" Before either could react, Dee gave Dom and Karl each the sane bear hug she'd given Lani, plus a loud buss on the cheek. They stood there, stunned, as she thanked them again. "I'm so glad you were here! Lani just got into town and she's never lived in the city—"
"Dee," Lani interrupted gently, "they don't need my life story." She was hard put not to laugh at the expressions on the men's faces. Deanne had that effect on people.
"Oh, right, sorry," Dee said. She took a closer look at the men. "You two look familiar. Have we met?"
"Oh, no," said Karl, his flirting grin back in place. "I'm sure I'd remember someone as unique as yourself." Deanne blushed and started to say something but Karl continued. "I was just telling Lani that I would leave her tickets for the hockey game tonight. Perhaps you could go with her? Do you like hockey?"
"I—sure—I don't—" Deanne couldn't talk, so Lani stepped in.
"That would be great, we'd love to," she told Karl.
"Wonderful," Karl said with a satisfied nod. "Why don't you meet us afterwards? There's a restaurant not far from the stadium called Boorman's."
"Won't we see you during the game?" Deanne asked, puzzled.
Karl gave her a conspiratorial wink. "I'm afraid we'll be entertaining some clients during the game, but we'll be free when it's over."
"Thanks again," Lani said, pulling on Deanne's arm. "I really do need to get my computer and work a bit. Come on, Dee. Can I work at your place?"
"Sure," Dee said absently, still staring at Karl.
"Until tonight, then," Karl said. He kissed Deanne's hand as he had Lani's before they stepped away.
"Bye." Dee followed Lani, casting glances behind her as she did.
Dom watched the women go and then turned to Karl.
"What?" his friend asked, the picture of innocence.
Dom shook his head. "Clients?" he said, arching an eyebrow. Karl just grinned. "Come on." Dom sighed. "Let's go grab some sleep before the game." He headed to the door, Karl on his heels.
Lani began packing her bag while she waited for the computer to shut down. Deanne watched the men leave, then turned to her friend. "I'm sure I recognize them," she said, "at least the tall one, Karl. I just can't remember where."
"Probably at one of the events we've managed," Lani said. "I can never remember all the names and faces." Deanne worked for the same children's charity that Lani did, coordinating events like fund-raisers and the occasional celebrity meeting with a group of kids.
"I don't know." Dee frowned. "It feels more like I've seen a picture or something."
"Well, keep thinking," said Lani as she slid the laptop in. "Maybe it'll come to you before the game." She looked at her friend. "You have anything to wear to a hockey game, Dee?"
"Entertaining clients?" Dom repeated again as he and Karl sat in the locker room. Karl watched with a sort of awe as Dom started strapping on his various pads. He would never have the nerve to play Dom's position, he thought. More than one puck had come out of nowhere at high speed and left bruises on various portions of his anatomy. He had certainly thrown himself in front of more than a few shots; it was part of the job. Dom's job was to get in the way, all the time, and that was just crazy.
The tall, lanky Swede shrugged. "Well, it's true. Sort of." He grinned. He let his mind wander back to Deanne. Lani was very attractive, but Karl had nearly forgotten to breathe when Deanne had come in. That lithe body with the amazing curves ... the caramel-colored skin ... golden eyes and all topped with that lovely burnished-copper hair ... He bit back a wistful sigh.
"Who's got clients?" asked Greg Olshefsky. The team captain took a swig from a water bottle. "One of you guys moonlighting as a gigolo?" Karl blinked and came back to the locker room.
Dom snorted. "Yeah. Make sure there's no OT tonight. Karl has a date." Greg laughed as he sat down to put on his skates.
"What's she look like?" Greg asked. "Or is it a blind date?"
"Must be," said Jim Lorton, Greg's linemate. "Otherwise she'd never agree." Karl glared and Lorton just laughed.
"She's a nicely built red head," Dom said. Greg gave a low whistle.
"You have a date, too." Karl winked at the others. "A petite brunette with guts to spare." He gave everyone a quick summary of the events at the coffee shop.
"Wow, sounds like you found a hot one, Bad Boy," Greg said with a wink. He reached up for his pads. Dom rolled his eyes.
The media had decided that Dominic Baddano required a suitable nickname after he'd been in a fight. Dom rarely fought on the ice, but tensions had been running high in that particular game as each team needed the points to secure playoff positioning. When one of the goons from the other team had taken a cheap shot at his captain, Dom had seen red. He'd flown across the ice, taken the guy down with a flying tackle, and popped him good. From then on, he was "Bad Boy" Baddano and the fight had played on the ESPN highlight reels for days.
"Oh, a double date, how cute," said Bobby, Karl's defense partner. "Who's buying the ice cream sundaes?" He guffawed as he slid on his socks.
"Shut up, Osterman," Dom grumbled. He stuffed one foot into a skate, yanked the laces tight.
"Uh-oh, it's starting," Karl warned in a stage whisper. The other guys around just grinned. As game time approached, Dom got irritable and withdrawn. As the goaltender, he was given a lot of latitude for locker room behavior. Since irritable and withdrawn were pretty mild tics as goalies went, no one minded. Especially since it seemed to mean fewer goals allowed.
"Wow, this place is huge!" Dee took in the all the seats with wide eyes. "They must fit a million people in here."
"Oh, probably around eighteen thousand," Lani said as they walked through the portal.
"I hope there's not a fire or anything," Deanne muttered. Lani laughed and her friend glared. "Fine, when there's a stampede for the exits, you're on your own."
"Holy cow, Dee," Lani said as she looked at the tickets. "These seats ... lower level ... They're not cheap."
"As long as it's near an exit," Dee replied. Lani shook her head and handed their tickets to the usher. He smiled and led them down to the seats. Lani whistled appreciatively.
"I know people who would kill for seats like these," she commented. They were about fifteen rows up, behind the team benches.
"They're comfy," Dee agreed. "So, what's the etiquette here, anyway?"
"Wait until they blow the whistle and stop play before you get up," Lani said. "That's half the battle right there. Don't boo the home team. Don't cheer for the visiting team very loudly, at least not here." She looked around and saw lots people in jerseys for the home team. She hadn't heard that the crowds here were too raucous, but no sense taking chances.
"Which ones are our guys?" Dee wanted to know.
"They'll be wearing the dark shirts—jerseys," Lani told her. "The other guys will be in white."
"Wow, we were just in time," said Dee as the lights went down and the music came up. She frowned and leaned over. "Wish I'd brought some ear plugs!" she shouted at Lani.
Lani grinned and leaned forward in her seat, excited almost despite herself. There was a certain electric quality in an arena when you attended a game, she always found. She wasn't sure quite what it was—everyone getting behind one group of guys, or the music played loud to amp up the crowd—but it never failed to get the blood pumping.
The referees came out for a few pre-game laps to loosen up, and then the announcer introduced the visiting team. There was a healthy chorus of boos. When the home team came out, and the roar of approval sent vibrations through Lani. I need to get to more games, she thought as she clapped. She wondered if Dee would go for a partial-season ticket plan.
The music still blasted but the applause lessened as the players took their warm up skate. A few slid to stops by the boards and stretched. Lani looked over at Dee, who was staring at the game program in shock. She was about to ask if anything was wrong when the announcer began to introduce the home team's starting line up. Dee grabbed her hand. Lani gave her a questioning look, but her friend only gestured at the jumbo screen.
Lani had only been in town a couple of months and hadn't had a chance to get as familiar as she would have liked with any of the local teams, but she recognized a couple of names from the sports section. Her jaw dropped when the first defenseman was introduced.
"Starting at defense, number twenty-four, Kaaaaaarl Jonnnnnsson!" Lani and Dee stared up at the screen and the picture of the tall blond man they'd met that morning. They were too surprised to even clap. Lani completely missed the second defenseman's introduction.
"And in goal tonight, number thirty-one, Dominic Baaad-danooooo!" Lani blinked at the picture on screen. It was definitely Dom from the coffee shop. There was the straight brown hair and the piercing gray eyes, just as she remembered.
The applause faded and the lights came up on the ice. Dee was practically jumping out of her seat. "I knew it!" she exclaimed. "I knew he looked familiar!"
"How can you tell when they wear helmets?" Lani asked, almost blankly.
"Look, look!" Dee squealed, pointing. Lani followed her gaze down to the ice and saw Karl looking up at them, waving. Another player skated up to him. They watched as Karl said something and gestured, and then the other guy waved, too. Lani couldn't help but laugh and wave back; Dee did the same, bouncing with excitement.
"I wonder why Dom doesn't wave," Dee wondered. She watched as he stood by the team bench, then skated over to his net.
Lani shrugged. Her brother had played goal for his college team, so she knew how temperamental they could be. "He's probably getting his head in the game," she told Dee. "Goalies tend to be a little ... different. I wouldn't want to distract him, anyway." She watched as Dom roughed up the ice in front of his net and loosened his arms by swinging his stick against the posts. This should be an interesting game, she thought.
Karl skated over and tapped Dom's leg pads three times on each side. It was his own odd little superstition, but Dom didn't mind.
"They're here," he said as he straightened up and leaned on the net.
"Okay," said Dom, his mind obviously elsewhere as he stared down the ice at the opposing net. He said quietly, as he always did before a game, "Nothing gets through."
Karl nodded. "Nothing gets through." He skated back to the bench when the siren sounded, then took his place for the opening face off.
The third period started and Lani's stomach had never been so full of butterflies. Butterflies swinging hockey sticks, she thought as she twisted her fingers together. She couldn't remember being so invested in a game—not even when her brother was in goal and his team made it to the NCAA Frozen Four.
You are certifiable, she told herself sternly. You must be, to be so concerned over a guy you've known for all of twenty minutes. She looked over at Dee and decided perhaps she wasn't so bad after all; Dee was positively ashen. Taking pity on her friend, she touched her arm as the ref whistled an icing.
"Dee," she said, and her friend jumped. "It's a hockey game," Lani said with a smile, "not open-heart surgery."
"Oh, I know, but—" Dee waved her hands in a gesture simultaneously confused and excited "—I've just never been to a game before. And I've never known a professional athlete. It's just so ... I don't know. I feel like I'm going to barf." She tugged at her hair. "When Karl hit that guy earlier, I thought I'd faint."
Lani laughed. "Toughen up, kiddo," she said. "It's a hard game. He'll be fine," she assured Dee. "They wear tons of padding and he's in great shape."
"So what was the whistle for this time?" Dee asked. She'd been peppering Lani all night with questions about the rules.
"Icing," Lani told her.
"That's the one ... the one about who gets to the puck first, right?"
"Close enough." Lani had tried her best to explain things, and Dee had picked it up pretty quickly, but a few concepts gave her trouble. Lani figured it would be easier to explain them when they weren't being assaulted with snippets of pop songs at high volume.
Play resumed and they both went silent. Lani's heart climbed into her throat any time the opposing players crossed the blue line, and nearly jumped out with each shot taken. Dom was unflappable, she thought. He had that quality—the elusive "it" that some athletes and celebrities had—that her brother had not. The "it" that separated the pros from the amateurs, and the elite from the very good.
Her heart nearly stopped when Dom, who'd gone to slow the puck down for his defense, was caught out of a position when the puck caromed off the boards at an odd angle. Number 16 in white streaked in, grabbed the puck and took a shot. Dom launched himself towards the crease, leading with his stick, and knocked it aside inches from the goal line. Relief flooded through her as she and Dee both jumped up to cheer.
She glanced up at the clock and saw just over half the period remained to be played. I'll never make it, she thought.
Dom rose from his crouch as the light went on for a television time-out. He dropped his glove on top of the net, grabbed his water bottle and squeezed, drenching himself and catching whatever happened to make it into his mouth. He glanced up at the scoreboard but didn't take anything in besides the time, and even that hardly registered.
Karl skated over, tapped his pads, and swapped him two full bottles for the empties. He said nothing—no one but the coach spoke to Dom during games, especially games like this—and skated back.
Dom stared absently up into the stands, noting the crowd but not seeing individuals. As his gaze traveled up the rows in the lower bowl, a splash of red drew his attention and he recognized the taller woman from the coffee shop. He couldn't see if Lani was there, and was surprised to find himself hoping that she was. Then the couple in front of the red-head—Deanne, he recalled—got up and there she was.
She was leaning forward in her seat and staring up at the scoreboard. For just a moment, Dom was transfixed. He grinned bemusedly when he saw Lani suddenly clap a hand over Deanne's mouth and wondered what had happened. Then the horn sounded. He put on his glove, dropped his mask into place and forgot about everything on the other side of the glass.
"Wow, Lani," said Dee. "Dom's been great. No one on the other team has sc—" She gave a muffled yelp when Lani clamped a hand over her mouth. Further protests were stifled when she saw the steely look in Lani's eyes.
"Don't say it," Lani warned. "I know what you're thinking, but you don't say anything about it until the game's over. Got it? Completely over." Dee nodded. "Okay." Lani removed her hand.
"You are nuts," Dee informed her flatly.
"I'm sorry," Lani said. "I'll explain it later. Lots of superstitions with hockey, and that's one of them."
"Warn me before I mess up another one, okay?" Dee wondered privately if Lani was always like this at hockey games, or just at ones where she knew the players.
"You got it." Lani took a deep breath as the players lined up at the face-off circle. Ten minutes, she told herself. You can make it for ten minutes.
Ten turned into twenty with stoppages, but when it was over, Lani and Dee were shouting themselves hoarse along with the rest of the crowd. The home team won, three-zip, and Dom was awarded first star of the game. Karl was the third star with a goal and an assist.
"That was amazing," Dee said as she all but floated down the escalator. Lani idly thought about wrapping something around her wrist to make sure she didn't get too far. "Lani, we need to do this again. Seriously. I'm going to learn all the rules—all of them. Plus the numbers of all the players."
Lani laughed. "No need to rush, Dee. It's a long season. We'll get more tickets, and I'll help you learn all the rules." Dee would learn, Lani knew. Whenever Dee got into something, she jumped in with both feet, reading whatever she could find. Lani was willing to bet that within a month, Dee would be able to reel off every Stanley Cup winner since the creation of the NHL. Two months, and she could recite the losers as well.
Lani hadn't realized just how serious Dee was about the tickets until her friend dragged her to a sales window. Before she knew it, they both had a partial season plan. The seats were higher up, but that was fine. Lani preferred the distance; it let her see the plays develop. She'd always sat high for her brother's games.
"Ready for the restaurant?" Lani asked as they stepped out. It was the end of November and very cold, but there was no wind so they decided to walk.
After they were seated, Dee seemed to get a case of nerves. Her hands weren't still and she fidgeted with her clothes. "These pants make my butt look big, don't they?" she asked. "I knew I should have worn the other ones, the blue ones."
Lani rolled her eyes and sighed. "Dee, you're fine. You also have many fine attributes aside from your derriere. And, let me point out, you're sitting on it, so it isn't like anyone has the opportunity to look at the moment." She was nervous, too, but focusing on Dee distracted her.
"So," said Dee, "I can say it now, right? Dom got a shut out." She beamed.
"Yes," agreed Lani, "you can say that now. You just can't during a game. You'll jinx the goalie."
"How can I do that?" Dee demanded. "It's not like he could hear me."
"The hockey gods can," Lani said. "They don't like people to count on something before it's done." She sipped her wine.
Dee stared at her as though she had three heads. "You are kidding me. What is in that wine?"
"I was at a ball game once," Lani said, "a baseball game. The pitcher had a perfect game going—no one had been on base." Dee listened raptly. "Someone in front of me, round about the fourth inning, told his son about the perfect game. Another guy leans in, says you shouldn't say that until it's over."
"No way." Dee's eyes were wide despite her skepticism.
"Way," said Lani, taking another drink. "Game's perfect until the eighth inning. The pitcher gets the first out. Next batter comes up, hits into right field but the fielder gets it, makes the play. But the next one..." Lani shook her head. "Batter steps in, hits the first pitch down the middle. No more perfect game, not even a no-hitter."
Dee was silent, then shook her head. "You can't seriously be telling me you think that some random guy in the stands cost the pitcher a perfect game."
Lani raised an eyebrow. "The guy said it, then later, there's a hit." She shrugged. "That's sports for you."
"You are completely crazy," Dee said.
"About which one of us?" The women looked up to see Karl and Dom. Lani smiled a greeting, but Dee jumped up from the table.
"Oh, wow!" She hugged and kissed each of them again before they knew what hit them. "That was fantastic! I had so much fun! You were both terrific!"
"Dee," Lani said, "let them sit down." Dom flashed a grin at Lani and took the seat next to her. Karl took the open chair by Dee.
"I take it she enjoyed herself?" Dom said. Dee and Karl had immediately fallen into conversation. More accurately, Lani thought, Dee had and Karl was amused enough to listen.
"More than I expected," Lani said. She studied him as the men ordered drinks. His hair was brushed back and still damp, and she quelled an urge to ruffle it.
"What?" Dom said. Her dark, unblinking stare made him wonder if he had spinach in his teeth.
"He said you would be 'entertaining clients' during the game," Lani said. She raised an eyebrow, but Dom saw the corners of her mouth twitch.
"Yes, well," he said, "Karl has a way with words. And he wasn't entirely inaccurate," he pointed out.
"True enough." Lani grinned and Dom loved the way it lit up her face. "Although I doubt the other team sees it that way."
"Well, we do have to keep the home crowd happy," Dom said. The drinks came and food was ordered.
"You made lots of them happy," Lani said. "It was so loud at the end I couldn't hear my own voice. You were terrific out there."
"Thanks," said Dom. He never knew quite what to say when people complimented him like that. It was just his job, he thought. He simply went out and did his job, which was to prevent little frozen black circles from getting past him and into the net. It wasn't a terribly important job, but he was good at it.
"My brother played for a while, through college," Lani said. "So I know a little about what goalies go through. He was always hyper before games. How about you?"
"He's completely irritable," Karl spoke up. Dom glared but Karl ignored him. "But it's okay," Karl went on, "because it seems the angrier he is, the more pucks he stops."
"Whatever works," said Lani, and clinked her glass against Dom's. "That's what my brother always said."
"What's he do now?" Dom asked.
"He's an assistant coach with a minor league team," she said. She studied Dom again.
"You keep doing that," he said, "and I keep feeling like I'm on a microscope slide."
"Sorry." Lani blushed. Dom smiled on the inside as she averted her eyes and took a sip of her wine. "I don't mean to. I was just thinking ... oh, never mind."
"What? Tell me." Dom leaned forward, genuinely curious. It was interesting to see Lani a bit unsettled like this. She'd been so calm at the coffee shop, had caught on to Karl without missing a beat, and although surprised when offered the tickets, she'd easily composed herself. He liked her like this, when he could see her eyes darting around, her fingers tapping the table as she sorted her thoughts.
"No, it's silly." She shook her head and Dom had the unexpected urge to run his fingers through that wavy black hair. He stilled it, for the moment.
"Oh, come on," he said lightly. He nodded his head at Dee and Karl. "They're practically on another planet. Your secret's safe with me."
"All right," Lani said. She looked at him, then away, and then her eyes stayed on him. "I was just thinking during the game—I forget exactly when—that you have whatever my brother didn't have. I mean ... oh, damn, I don't know how to say this."
"You're doing fine," Dom said. He patted her hand and almost jumped at the shock that raced up his arm.
"You've got something special, Dom," she said seriously. "I saw you move out there. Some people would call it being in the zone, or something like that, and it's true. Even with your mask on, I could see the intensity. You weren't going to let anything through, at least not easily." She grabbed her wine glass and took a huge gulp. "Okay, you can forget I said that. Little heavy for this time of night."
Dom sat back and tilted his head, this time studying her. Lani squirmed, feeling like a specimen herself. His eyes were as intense as she remembered from the morning.
"No," he said, "I don't think I'll forget that."
They stayed at the restaurant a while longer, then split up to go home. Karl, obviously infatuated with Deanne, offered to see her home. Dee hadn't hesitated to accept.
"Looks like it's you and me, kid," Dom said to Lani as he helped her on with her coat. They stepped outside and Lani shivered at the cold. The wind was still light, but the temperature had dropped. She pulled on her gloves and wished she'd brought a hat and scarf.
"It is too damn cold here," she said. Dom laughed and slipped an arm around her shoulders. Her stomach jumped but she managed not to gasp. No need to act like a teenager, she thought irritably. We're both adults, I don't need to blush.
"This is nothing," he told her as they started down the street. "Parts of Canada where I'm from, people would be wearing shorts and walking barefoot in weather like this."
She laughed. "No wonder Americans think Canadians are nutty."
"Do they really?"
"Well, we didn't come up with a game involving sticks being swung at people while they're on razor sharp blades on frozen water."
Dom scoffed. "Don't blame your lack of imagination on us." Lani laughed, suddenly let out a muffled scream and nearly knocked Dom over as she tried to scramble to the side.
"What's wrong?" he asked, startled. Lani was breathing so hard he wondered if she would hyperventilate. "Lani, come on, calm down." He ran his hands up and down her arms to soothe her.
"S-s-sorry," she said. Her teeth were chattering and she concentrated on stopping them. "I saw ... I saw a rat." Gradually, her breathing settled. "Sorry," she said again, with a rueful grin, "I'm just terrified of rats. You'd think I'd get used to them, but..."
"No problem," he assured her. He felt slightly guilty for thinking she was cute when she panicked like that. It didn't seem right that he'd enjoyed the way she'd pressed up against him when trying to get away from the rat. He kept his arm around her shoulders.
"So what parts of Canada are you from?" she asked to distract herself as they walked again. Her heart was still pounding. Ugly little bastards, she thought. She'd been having a perfectly wonderful evening, then the fat furry thing had to show up.
Dom shrugged. He didn't like to talk about such things, so he just said, "Here and there. We moved around a bit." He flashed her a smile. "The cold parts," he said. She smiled and they walked a few minutes more.
"I can get off here," Lani said, stopping near a hotel and gesturing at the line of cabs. "Thanks for the game, the walk ... everything. I had a great time."
"Oh." Dom stood for a moment, lost for words. It was late, and he was tired, but he wanted to stay with her longer. Lani made him feel ... happy? he wondered. Something about her had a calming, soothing effect, and he wasn't quite ready for it to end. He searched for a solution, found it when a car whooshed by and honked a horn.
"Let's take a cab together," he said. "My treat."
"No, that's okay." She shook her head. "You probably need to get back and sleep and have practice or something and—"
"Please." Struck by the force of his gaze, Lani nodded.
They talked quietly in the cab, breaking only for Lani to give the occasional direction to the driver. When the cab pulled up in front of the apartment building, Lani was surprised to see Dom step out of the car and pay the driver. She had expected him to continue on to his place. I'd invite him up, she thought, but I don't think I want to subject him to Cherie.
"It was nice of you to see me home," she said, feeling slightly awkward, "but you don't have to stay. I'll be fine from here."
Dom smiled. "You can't get rid of me that easily."
Lani blinked. "I wasn't trying ... I mean..." then she gave up and laughed again. Dom couldn't help feeling pleased that he'd done it. He found he loved making her laugh. "Okay, sure," she said.
She pressed the button to call the elevator. She tried not to feel self-conscious as Dom studied her again while they waited, but could feel her cheeks flushing. The doors opened and they stepped in. "So, I wanted—" she began, but got no further as Dom pressed her against the back wall with a hungry kiss.
Dom had wanted to kiss her since she'd stumbled over her words in the restaurant. He'd hardly taken his eyes off of her after that. He'd been entranced by the dark hair that matched her eyes, the shape of her mouth as she talked and laughed, and when she'd gone with Dee to the ladies' room, Karl had accused him of ogling her body. Karl had been correct, but Dom had smacked him on the back of the head anyway, on general principles.
Now he wondered how he'd managed to wait so long. Her lips were supple and he held back a groan with difficulty as he pressed his own against her. One hand held her close around the waist and the other traveled almost independently to bury in her silky hair. Her skin smelled lightly of coconut and vanilla, making him think of tropical islands he'd never been to. He teased her lips with the tip of his tongue, and when they opened for him, he thought he might never leave those islands.
Intense. I should have known it would be intense, was the last coherent thought Lani had before Dom's kiss blasted her ability to think. She wrapped her arms around his neck as much to stay upright as to feel him against her. He seemed to want some control, and so she let him take it, sighing lightly when his tongue found hers. His arms felt so strong as they held her in place; he made her feel safe.
They broke the kiss quickly when the elevator chimed and stopped, but apparently whoever had called for it had opted for the stairs. Dom turned to her with a smile, which she returned.
"You're blushing," he told her. She narrowed her eyes.
"It's your fault," she said. He laughed and took her hand.
"It certainly is," he agreed, then pulled her close. "So, is that a penalty?" he asked, eyes glinting.
"I think maybe we'll just stop play and start again in a minute," she teased.
"Okay," he decided. He was about to move in for another kiss when the elevator chimed again for Lani's floor.
"I have to warn you," she said as the elevator stopped, "my roommate is ... let's say she entertains a lot. Not clients," she said quickly and Dom grinned, "but she's got a lot of friends." The doors opened and they walked down the hall.
"She sounds ... friendly." Dom winked.
"A little too friendly, sometimes." Lani sighed. "Or at least, I wish she would take her friendships to places a little more private. That's why I was at the coffee shop this morning. Cherie had a friend over and ... oh, let's just say I felt like the proverbial third wheel." She thought about that. "No, like an involuntary Peeping Tom."
Dom chuckled. "I didn't know you could do that kind of thing involuntarily."
Lani rolled her eyes. "Cherie can make a person do all kinds of things they didn't think they could. Believe me." They were at the apartment door. "Dom, I'd like to invite you in," she began.
"I accept," he said immediately.
"But," she continued, raising an eyebrow, and he feigned disappointment, "I have no idea what I'll find when I open the door. It may not be for the faint of heart."
"Lani," he said, leaning against the wall, "I spent over two hours tonight having frozen rubber coming at me at nearly one hundred miles per hour. I don't think your roommate can scare me."
"That's what the last guy said," Lani told him. It was hard to get that sentence out with Dom lounging there, staring down at her with those mischievous but intense eyes. She inserted and turned the key, praying there wouldn't be a repeat of the weekend where she'd walked in on Cherie and one of her "friends" in a compromising position on the coffee table.
"Hey, Lani!" Cherie called when she opened the door. Lani groaned inwardly; Cherie was drunk, she could tell by her voice. This can not end well, Lani thought. "Who do you have there?" Cherie strolled towards the door, hips and wine bottle swaying. Her clothing left little to the imagination, and Cherie had a body that men liked to imagine.
"A friend," Lani told her.
"Then come join the party!" Cherie giggled and pulled Lani in. Dom followed. "Hey, handsome," Cherie said, wrinkling her nose. Dom supposed that was supposed to look cute; instead it made her look like she'd tasted a lemon.
"Hi." Now he understood why Lani had been reluctant to have him come in. He couldn't blame her, and began to wonder if he could get Lani to come to his place. He didn't like the idea of her being here, although he wasn't sure he could give a coherent reason why.
Cherie was about to say something else when a man came over to her. He was shorter than Dom, and was starting to go bald, which didn't prevent him from trying to camouflage it. The man whispered in Cherie's ear and she let out an ear-splitting bray when he finished. "That's an idea!" she said, tossing her head back and laughing again. Dom winced.
Lani thought that was bad enough, but when another guy came in from the kitchen wearing only leopard print briefs, she nearly died of embarrassment. It was one thing, she thought, to have a roommate who liked to sleep around. Lani didn't even mind how open Cherie was, so long as Lani could find space and time to herself. This, though—this was too much. She had to get Dom out of here so she could be mortified in peace. God, he's going to think I live in a brothel, she thought miserably.
"Look, Dom," she said, taking his arm and tugging him toward the door, "I'm really sorry about this. I had no idea. You should go. It was nice of you to get me home but..." she gestured helplessly toward Cherie and the men, hoping desperately no one else was hiding in the kitchen.
"But?" he prompted. He couldn't help but be amused at the whole situation.
"But I'm incredibly embarrassed and you don't want to stay here," she said in a rush.
"You don't either," he observed.
"No," she sighed, "but it's where I live." She looked over and turned to fully face Dom when she saw both men's hands roaming over Cherie's barely clothed body. "I'll just go in my room, lock the door and pretend I live in a nice big house out in the country or something. Alone." A squeak and a laugh made her wince.
"On second thought, I think I'll go to a hotel."
"Come to my place, Lani." Dom shook his head before she could protest. "It's late, and you don't want to be here. I live alone and my place is quiet. Why don't you get what you need and come with me?" Lani felt herself wilting under his gaze. "Please." He traced a finger over her cheek; she was a goner.
"Okay," she said. "Just wait here and I won't be long..." She bit her lip, then zipped into her room.
You're nuts, completely nuts, she thought furiously as she threw a change of underwear and clothes into a bag. She continued berating herself as she grabbed a toothbrush. You hardly know him. He could be a pervert. A gorgeous pervert who kisses like a dream, but a pervert none the less. She zipped up the bag, compromised by telling herself she could always change her mind about the hotel, and went back out.
Dom was at the end of the hallway, near the door, leaning on the wall as he'd done earlier. That was just not fair, she told herself, that he could just stand there and look so handsome.
"Ready?" he asked.
"Oh, yeah," she said, risking a look behind her. "Oh, geez." She turned back and covered her eyes, hoping the image she'd seen wasn't permanently recorded in her brain.
"Don't worry about it." Dom opened the door. "Think of it as the after-dinner show."
Lani snorted. "That kind of show would bring up my dinner, thanks."
Dom had called a cab while she had packed, and it was waiting for them when they got downstairs.
"Thank you, so much," she said. The air felt cleaner, even in the cab. "I've walked in on her before and could ignore it, but that ... that was too much."
"The balding guy certainly was," Dom commented and Lani couldn't stop a giggle. They drove for a bit, and as they were going through the business district, Lani sat up.
"Why don't you have the cab drop me at one of the hotels, Dom?" she asked. "It was sweet of you to offer your place, but I know you must be busy and—"
"No, thanks." He had expected something like this. Lani was the type of person who didn't want to put anyone else out. He'd seen that when she'd tried to take the subway, and even at her own place. Instead of yelling at Cherie, or asking to go with Dom, she'd tried to get him out and to go somewhere on her own.
"But—" she started and he just shook his head again.
"Please, Lani," he said. "I'd like you to come back with me. I like being with you and I'd like to keep doing it a little longer." He indulged his earlier urge and ran his fingers through her hair.
Lani sighed and sat back. "That's just not fair."
"What?" Dom asked curiously.
"How can I resist when you say things like that?" He grinned.
"Then it's working."
Dom had a quiet, neat apartment. There was very little decoration, and a bare minimum of furniture. That was all Lani could observe before Dom took her coat, removed his own, and then pulled her into another searing kiss.
He couldn't remember at what point on the ride to his place he'd discovered he'd wanted her so much. After she had given up on going to a hotel, they'd both relaxed. There wasn't much conversation, but he hadn't minded, especially when she'd laid her head on his shoulder. He'd liked her there, she fit so comfortably against him.
It must have been that, he decided as his tongue dove into her mouth, greedy for another taste. He found it, more of that coconut and vanilla that he'd discovered earlier. Her body had rested against his in the cab, the warmth seeping through his coat and driving him crazy. Here in his apartment, he wasn't sure he could stop unless he felt her skin against his own.
Lani tried to sort her thoughts, but thinking at all was difficult with Dom's arms around her and his lips furiously moving against hers. God, he feels good, she thought as her arms linked firmly behind his neck. She wasn't usually like this; maybe it was old-fashioned, but she tended to stick with a peck on the cheek after a first date. Dom was different.
Different how, she wasn't exactly sure, but he was. Different enough that she didn't care that he was pulling her with him, keeping her close as he sank back onto the couch. Different enough that even with her body laying over his, she wanted to feel more of it. She wanted to get through all the layers and find him.
"I don't ... I don't do this," she said breathlessly. His lips moved to trace her jaw and he tugged her hair gently so she would expose her neck.
"Do what?" he asked as he pressed his lips to her pulse. He smiled darkly as she trembled.
"This," she struggled to say. "I'm not ... not like that." It was the most wonderful frustration not to be able to think clearly.
"I know," he said, moving his head back so that those eyes focused on hers again. He took her face in his hands, stroked her cheeks with his thumbs. "I know you're not like that. You can tell me to stop any time. I hope you don't." He pulled her lips to his and she felt something inside her crumble to dust.
She began to kiss him back more forcefully, but he still had control. She let him keep it, as he seemed to need it. Not to control her, she realized, but more to control himself. So she let him lead, unafraid. It was an odd sensation to feel so safe with someone she hardly knew, but she did. For once, she would trust her instincts and simply let her feelings guide her.
His hands wandered down her back and she sighed at their strength. Dom heard the sound and it drove him just slightly mad; he found the hem of her sweater and jerked it up so that he could feel her bare skin. It felt like satin, as he had imagined it would. Now that he had made the contact, he slowed his hands and let them move lazily over her.
"Oh, wow..." Lani rested her forehead on his shoulder. His hands were hard, strong, and wonderfully warm. She could only think that she wanted them all over her body, and not just on her back. "Someone must have spiked my drink," she said with a half laugh. "This is just so unlike me..."
"I think it's very like you, when you're with me," Dom said. He slid his hands further up, letting his thumbs trace circles over her ribs and grinning smugly when she shivered again. Then she shifted her head and brushed her lips over the curve of his neck and it was his turn to tremble slightly.
"Two can play," she teased him.
"I only play to win." He threaded his hand into her dark hair and kissed her long and hard. "Tell me now if you want to stop," he said, his voice rough, "because I'm about to move to another playing field."
"Don't stop." Lani said it without thinking.
"Good." Dom sat up and crushed her against him while he kissed her again. He could feel all of her curves, all of her heat pressed against him. He wanted more.
He stood up, slid one arm down behind her knees and lifted. He laughed when she protested she was too heavy. "Lani, you're a feather. I bench press at least twice what you weigh." He silenced the next protest with a kiss, then carefully carried her to his bedroom.
"See, now," he said, laying her on the bed and moving over her. "Isn't this much better than hiding with an iPod while your roommate gets it on in the other room?"
"You could have joined her," Lani pointed out with a smile, sliding her own hands down over his chest. She tugged his shirt out of his waistband. "Tonight it looked like the more, the merrier."
Dom took her hands in his, pinned them near her shoulders and locked his eyes on hers. "I didn't want your roommate," he said. "I only want you." Her eyes widened for a moment as he captured her lips again, then gave herself over to the satisfaction of knowing she was desired.
She ran her hands along Dom's back, savoring the smooth muscles that rippled under her hands. He growled, sat up on his knees and nearly tore his shirt off. He pulled her up and had her sweater off in one swift movement. Gently, he pushed on her shoulders so that she lay back again, let his fingers run lightly over the golden skin. "You are so beautiful," he said, running his fingers along the lace edge of her bra.
Lani couldn't talk. His eyes and his words held her spellbound. She ran her hands up his arms to his shoulders and tugged him down so she could kiss him again. His kisses, she decided, were instantly addictive. He tasted slightly of the wine from earlier, and something darker that drew her in.
"I need more," he said and easily slid his hand behind her to undo her bra clasp. She didn't even have time to blush as he removed her bra and then lowered his mouth to a breast. He kissed and teased with his tongue and his teeth until she was arching off the bed, one hand unconsciously wound through his hair.
"More," he said again, and this time moved his hands to slide her slacks off. Lani was gasping as he dragged his fingers along her legs, teasing her by slowing down as he moved closer to her center. She wanted desperately for him to touch her, or to be able to touch him, but he had her half-pinned with her body and seemed content to have her there.
"Dom, please," she whispered, amazed she could even form a word. He teased her a few moments more until she couldn't stand it and grabbed his wrist to move his hand up. They both groaned as he touched her, she in relief and he at the heat. She released his hand as he slid his fingers into the wetness, stroking and thrusting to drive her to a peak.
"Let me," he heard her say. He was so lost in the feel and scent of her that he hadn't heard her the first time. "Please, let me touch you." Her hands wandered aimlessly along his sides and over his back and he hissed out a breath.
Dom shook his head, brushing his lips against hers. "Next time," he promised, pressing his lips to hers, and then to her neck and shoulder. "Go on," he said, "I've got you." He whispered more to her and was rewarded when she cried out softly and shook beneath him. His hand moved steadily, keeping her on the edge until she tumbled over. At last he stopped and simply held her, letting her calm down.
He stared at her face, loving the way she bit her bottom lip, which was slightly swollen. Her eyes were mostly closed, and he wanted her to open them so he could fall into their warm darkness.
When she opened them, there was desire more than warmth. "Now, Dom. I need you know." She rubbed her leg against his and arched her hips. With a shuddering breath, he reached into a drawer and found a condom. Resenting the time it took to slide it on, he turned back to her and gave her another passionate kiss. Then he laid back and pulled her over him.
"I need to see you," he said by way of explanation. She nodded and moved slightly, gasping when he thrust smoothly inside her. "Oh, God, Lani." He kept her still for a moment with hands on her hips. "Don't move, it'll be over too soon." This was a feeling he didn't want to end; his hands on her smooth skin, her slick heat enveloping him, and that tropical scent of coconuts over everything.
She had to move, she just had to. Lani flexed her fingers on his shoulders and rocked her hips just a little. His fingers tightened on her hips but she couldn't stop. He felt too good, she felt too good with him inside her to stay still. At last he gave what might have been a muffled curse and began moving to meet her. She stifled a cry as she came once more, tightening her body around him and eliciting a growl.
He slid his hands up to her breasts, cupping them and teasing the nipples with his thumbs. So soft, so smooth, he thought. He grabbed her shoulders and pulled her down so he could kiss her again, his arm like a steel band around her back so she couldn't get away. He thrust harder and faster despite his efforts to move more slowly. When she gasped and tensed as she came again, he couldn't stop himself from joining her. He felt a coiling in his body that built until it exploded as he crushed her to him, breathing her name over and over.
After a few minutes, he reluctantly allowed her to move so he could get up and dispose of the condom, then returned to the bed, wrapping her in his arms.
"Wow," Lani said quietly.
"Wow good, or wow bad?" he asked, lightly stroking her hair. When she shivered, he pulled the comforter over them and snuggled her close.
"Wow incredible," she answered, amazed at how easy it was to be with him, as if she'd been meant to.
"You're welcome." He dropped a kiss on her forehead and laughed when she smacked him playfully on the arm.
"And you?" she asked, looking up.
"Wow incredible," he said softly, touching her cheek. She closed her eyes but opened them again when he said, "You'll stay here, right?"
"Right here," she agreed, taking his hand in hers.