tagRomanceHog Wild Ch. 04

Hog Wild Ch. 04


"You want to what?"

Holly was incredulous. She was exhausted from a full morning of packing, and now that the movers had transported all her things into a storage facility, she was just settling down in the guest room of Alex's loft when he sprang the idea of using her life story as the plot line of his next book.

"I wouldn't use your exact life story, of course," Alex said, taking a seat on the bed and watching Holly fold clothes and place them in the dresser. "And I'd change all the names and the locations, and you wouldn't have to worry about anyone connecting the book to you."

Holly sighed, unable to believe she was hearing him correctly. "That doesn't matter," she snapped, slamming shut the bottom drawer and pushing herself off the floor. She shook her head at Alex's offer to help her stand. "I would still feel ridiculously exposed, and I don't want my life used as creative fodder just to be put out there for the whole world to judge!"

Alex frowned in exasperation, his patience wearing thin. He tried not to let his frustration show, however; he was learning from experience that fighting with Holly was not the best way to get what he wanted.

He also tried not to let how attractive Holly looked when she was angry distract him from the argument he was trying to make.

"Holly," he began, settling his face into a look of calm and collectedness. "First of all, no one would judge you. How could they," he said loudly, interrupting her as she opened her mouth to retort. "You've done nothing wrong, and if anything they'd be moved by what you've had to go through."

Holly closed her mouth, her lips forming a straight line. Her headache was returning; Alex was being stubborn. Well, I can be stubborn too, she thought, her chin lifting defiantly. "Like I've said, Alex, none of that matters to me." She turned from him and sifted through her suitcase, pretending to be looking for something. "It would be way too personal, and I don't want to have to relive those experiences just so you can have another best seller under your belt."

Alex bit back the sharp retort that sprang to his lips. He tried to be understanding; thinking about it, he realized that he, too, would feel bit violated if someone wanted to exploit his life just to make quick buck.

"I agree with you," he said, catching Holly off guard. She spun around to look at him. "You do?" she asked disbelievingly.

"Yeah," Alex said, running a hand through his hair. "And I want you to know, honestly, that I could care less if the book's a hit or not. I just think you have a story worth telling."

Holly cocked her head, staring at Alex as if she were just seeing him for the first time. He seemed so sincere; and so far he didn't seem like the type who would lie to her. If anything, he was usually as blunt as a battle axe.

"So what's in it for me, then?" she asked. This time it was Alex's turn to look surprised. He hadn't expected her to change her tune so quickly.

"Well," he said, clasping his hands behind his back and pacing next to the bed. "How about this: in exchange for letting me use you as the inspiration for my novel, I pay for the repairs to your bike?"

Holly shook her head vehemently. "Nope, nothing doing," she said, going back to rummaging through the suitcase.

Alex groaned. "Come on, Holly," he wheedled, walking over to her and turning her to face him. "This way it would be a fair exchange, and not me just doing you a favor out of pity." He paused. "Which wasn't the case anyway, but I will never be able to understand where you were coming from on that one," he added.

Holly stared at him, not saying anything as her mind raced. Alex looked hopeful. And, to be honest, it did seem like a square deal -- she'd be giving him something in return.

"You know that if you don't tell them something in the next day or two, they'll just scrap it altogether," Alex said. "Please, Holly," he continued quietly, taking her hands in his and squeezing them. "If you say no, I'll drop it. But please, don't say no."

Holly met his eyes. They were a stormy gray, and he returned her stare so intensely that she found it hard to look away. "Alright," she murmured, finally closing her eyes to break the eye contact. "I'll do it."

Alex smiled hugely, throwing his arms around her. "Thank you!" he breathed into her ear, sending shivers down her spine. His embrace was warm and gentle as he cradled her against his broad chest. Holly felt herself flush as she remained in his arms, realizing that she didn't really want him to let her go.

Alex stared down at the top of Holly's auburn head, feeling his heart speed up and his muscles tense as he continued to hold her. Something else tensed, too, and clearing his throat he finally wrenched himself away from her before she could detect that he had enjoyed the hug a lot more than he was willing to admit.

"Well," he said, rubbing the back of his neck and backing out of the room slowly. "I'll just let you finish unpacking. I'll be in the living room."

He turned and walked out. Holly was left to catch her breath as tingling sensations ran throughout her body. "Why can't I just tell that man 'no'?" she asked herself, shaking her head and sitting down gingerly on the bed.

She suspected it had something to do with the way he looked at her. Yes, she thought. That has to be it.


After she had changed into a comfortable sweatshirt and shorts, Holly limped into the living room. She saw Alex sitting on the couch, a legal pad perched on his knees and a steaming cup of coffee resting on the table.

"Did you take an aspirin?" he called over his shoulder, not even looking at her. Holly stuck her tongue out at the back of his head before saying, "I was just going to." She moved into the kitchen, taking the aspirin bottle out of a cabinet and going to the refrigerator for a bottle of water.

Alex stifled a moan at the sight of Holly's long, alabaster legs. They were shapely and beautiful; the only thing detracting from their loveliness was the ugly bruise that peeking out from underneath the hem of her shorts. He winced at the sight of it, a pang of guilt running through him at the knowledge that he had been the cause of it.

He looked away quickly as Holly came toward the couch. She settled down next to him, carefully propping her legs up on the coffee table. Alex swallowed nervously as he watched her stretch out. Stop it, Grant, his mind warned him. Time for work, never time for play.

"So, what are we going to do first?" Holly asked, regarding Alex with curiosity. "I've never been someone's muse before, so you'll have to give me some direction."

Alex nodded, looking down at the writing pad in his lap and drumming the pen against it. "Right," he said, trying to force his thoughts back onto the task at hand and away from Holly's legs. "Well, uh, I guess you could start assisting me by answering a few questions." He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. "You know, to get me started."

Holly leaned back against the couch cushions, looking apprehensive. "What is it you want to know?" she asked.

"I guess, for starters, when and where you were born," Alex replied, also sitting back and trying to make himself comfortable. His pen hovered above the paper as he stared at her, waiting for her answer.

Holly felt strange under his scrutiny. She'd never been one to enjoy the spotlight, and here she was, being interviewed so her life could be placed under a microscope.

"I was born on April 22, 1985 in Fairfield, New Jersey," she began, trying to calm her nerves. "My parents were Richard and Annie Sullivan, and I was an only child."

Alex dutifully recorded this information. "Please, continue," he said, looking up at her expectantly.

Taking a deep breath, Holly went on. "I had a happy life for the first sixteen years," she said, a dreamy smile coming across her face as she recalled her childhood. "My parents were devoted to each other, and they both loved me. And I loved them, too."

Her eyes closed as her mind drifted back. "My dad used to take me for rides on his Harley," she said. "Those were some of the best times I can remember."

Alex scrawled on the pad, nodding absentmindedly. "So you were a daddy's girl?" he asked.

Holly nodded. "Very much so," she said wistfully. "I mean, I adored both my parents, but my dad and I had a special bond."

"So you said you were sixteen when you lost them," Alex said quietly, looking at Holly cautiously. "Do you want to tell me about it?"

Holly frowned, a lump coming to her throat. "I was at school," she murmured, staring at her hands. "Algebra. The principal came to pull me out of class." She felt tears sting her eyes; it was as if it had all happened yesterday. "We stood in the hallway and he told me my parents had been killed in a head-on collision."

Alex's heart hammered as he listened to the pain in Holly's voice. "I'm so sorry," he said softly, unable to conceal his own emotion.

Holly shook her head. "I was numb for the next week or so," she continued. "I went to live with my Aunt Mindy, and I stayed with her for a year." She swiped hurriedly at her eyes, not wanting to fall apart in front of Alex. "Then I went to stay with my Uncle Vincent, and then I lived with my Aunt Carole until I graduated from high school."

"And you went on to college," Alex said, ignoring the fact that his coffee was growing cold.

"Yeah," Holly affirmed. "I chose to come here, to New York, because it was far away while still being close to home. If that makes any sense," she added, smirking a little.

Alex nodded. "It does," he said. "Did you have to pay for everything yourself?"

Holly sighed. "My relatives had their own children to take care of," she said, staring off into space. "They gave me a bit of pocket money, but I was mostly on my own. I've had just about every job you can think of trying to pay my way through school."

Alex felt a surge of pity and immediately upbraided himself for it. "You're obviously a strong woman," he said, admiration for her catching him by surprise.

Holly shrugged. "I did what I had to do," she said.

They were both silent for a moment. Then Alex asked, "Are you alone here, in New York?"

"Not really," Holly answered. "I have some friends, and my best friend Andrea..."

Her voice drifted off as she shot up suddenly. "Oh God, Andrea!" she cried, looking around the loft frantically. "She's probably worried sick about me, I haven't talked to her in two days!"

Alex stood up as well, concerned about how upset Holly was getting and afraid that she would aggravate her hip. "Sit down," he said sternly.

"Where's your phone?" Holly asked, ignoring the order. Alex frowned, walking over to his desk and picking up the cordless phone. "Here," he said as he handed it to her, feeling irritated as he watched her dial.

Holly's heart was thudding. Andrea Jamison was her best friend in the entire world; they had met when both girls had waitressed at a restaurant not far from the university. Holly thought of Andrea has a sister, and she knew her friend would not be happy with her for the lack of contact.

"Hello?" she heard Andrea say on other end of the line.

"Andie, it's me," Holly said, bracing herself for the response.

She had been right. Andrea was not happy.

"Where the hell have you been?" Andrea fairly shouted. "I've tried calling you, but the operator said your number was disconnected!"

Holly sighed. "I'm so sorry, Andie," she said, turning away from Alex's annoyed glare. "Several things have happened..."

As briefly as possible Holly filled Andrea in on the last two days' events. By the time she was finished, Andrea was so quiet Holly wondered if she'd been hung up on.

"You still there, Andie?" she asked.

"Yes, Hol, I'm still here," Andrea replied, the anger gone from her tone. "Are you alright?"

Holly breathed a sigh of relief. "Yeah, it's just my hip that's hurt, and it'll be healed in no time."

"And you're staying with... what's his name? Alex?"

"Yeah," Holly said.

"And how long have I been trying to get you to come stay with me and my family?"

Holly's stomach dropped. So Andrea was still angry. "I know, Andie, I know, but..."

"This Alex guy has got to be a hottie if you can say yes to him but no to your own best friend."

Holly's eyebrows raised. "What?"

Andrea laughed. "Relax, Hol," she said, and Holly exhaled loudly. "I'm just messing with you. I'm really glad to finally hear from you, and I'm super glad to know you're being taken care of."

Holly smiled. "Thanks, Andie," she said. "And I'm sorry I didn't get in touch sooner. I've just had so much going on."

"That's cool," Andrea replied. "So what's the address? I'm coming to see you."

"Tonight?" Holly asked, casting a glance at Alex and noticing his frown had turned into a full-on glower. "Um, I don't know if that's a good idea, Andie. I'm working."

"Okay, fine," Andrea said, nonplussed. "I'll come tomorrow. Now give me the address."

Holly complied, and wishing Andrea a good night she hung up the phone and walked over to hand it to Alex. "Thanks for letting me use it," she muttered, not knowing why Alex appeared to be so upset with her.

He snatched it out of her hand and placed it rather harshly back in its cradle. "You're welcome," he ground out, not moving from his spot. He folded his arms and glared down at her.

Holly's temper flared. "What's your problem?" she snapped, her own arms folding across her chest.

"You never listen to me," Alex retorted, sounding for all the world like a disgruntled child.

"What the hell are you talking about?" Holly asked, placing her hands on her hips and narrowing her eyes at him.

"I told you to sit down, and you didn't listen," Alex said, mirroring her actions by placing his hands on his hips as well. His eyes were so dark as to be almost black, his ire making him look so menacing that he could easily intimidate anyone.

Anyone, that is, except for Holly.

"Do you realize how ridiculous you sound?" she spat, feeling as though she'd like to smack him one just to make him see reason. "Who made you the boss of me?"

Alex clenched his jaw, a look of utter distaste crossing his face as he stared down at her. "I was trying to look out for you," he growled. "I was worried that you'd make your hip worse! But I guess the fact that I cared about it doesn't matter worth a damn to you, does it?"

Holly's reserve shattered. "You pompous asshole," she countered, punching him in the arm. She then wheeled around and stalked away from him, cringing at the stabbing pain in her hip as she strode into the guest room and slammed the door.

His words had hurt her; he made it seem as though she were ungrateful for his help. That wasn't the case at all -- she just didn't like being told what to do, especially if the words came in the form of commands.

Holly grew even angrier when she realized she was crying. Don't be stupid, she chastised herself. If you let him make you cry, that means he's won.

Wiping her face, Holly pulled her suitcase out from under the bed. "Fuck him," she mumbled, opening the dresser drawers and beginning to repack her belongings. "I'm going to stay with Andie."

Alex may have been a "hottie", but that wasn't enough to make up for his being a jerk.


Alex was rubbing his arm where Holly had hit him. The action had yanked him out of his tantrum, and he'd been unable to say anything as he'd watched Holly stomp away from him.

You're a complete idiot, the voice in his head said mockingly.

Alex felt like banging his head against a wall. He knew he was being childish; in truth, he didn't know what had made him lose his temper like that. What the hell am I doing? he wondered. I'm being such an ass to her, and she doesn't deserve it.

Knowing what he had to do, he marched toward the guest room and lifted his hand to knock. He hesitated, knowing full well that she was going to be hell to deal with. And rightly so, he reminded himself. Deciding it was time to bite the bullet, he finally rapped his knuckles against the door.

"Go away," Holly shouted.

"Please, I need to talk to you," Alex said, resting his forehead against the cool wooden doorway.

There was silence. For a minute Alex thought she was going to ignore him. Just as he was about to turn away in dejection, the door opened a fraction of an inch.

Pushing it open the rest of the way, Alex peered into the room to see Holly throwing things back into her suitcase. "What are you doing?" he asked, taken aback at the sight.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" Holly asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "I'm getting the hell out of here."

Alex's mouth dropped open. "Are you serious?" he said.

Holly whirled around. "You bet your ass I'm serious," she replied, her lips practically spitting venom. "I'm not going to stick around just to be your whipping post."

She went back to packing. Alex watched her hobble back and forth between the dresser and the suitcase, at a loss for words to say. You're a writer, his inner voice cried in disgust. Words are supposed to be your fortė.

"Don't go," he murmured softly.

Holly stopped what she was doing, her back stiffening. "What did you say?" she asked, not turning around to look at him. She felt a sense of dėja vu; he'd asked the same thing of her the first day they'd met.

"I want you to stay," Alex said, a little more loudly. "Don't go."

Holly leaned against the dresser, her shoulders sagging as she lowered her head. For some reason she felt like crying again; she was bone tired, and she just didn't know if she could take anymore fighting with Alex.

Alex moved into the room, his stomach turning as he watched the anger drain from Holly's body only to be replaced by defeat. He hated putting her through this; he hated seeing her suffer simply because he seemed to no longer be capable of decent human interaction.

"I don't get you, Alex."

Holly's words cut through him. He regarded her with trepidation as she turned from the dresser and moved closer to him. "I don't know what makes you tick. I don't know what makes you angry. I don't know a damn thing about why you're the way you are."

She came to a stop in front of him. "I think that, if I'm going to stay," she said quietly, "it's only fair that you let me get to know you, just like you're getting to know me."

Alex nodded, not knowing what to say. Holly looked so vulnerable: her eyes were tired, and there were dark circles beneath them. She was trembling faintly, only noticeable because she was so close to him.

Overwhelmed by the need to kiss her, Alex bent his head and did just that.

Holly jumped. She hadn't been expecting a kiss. It crossed her mind for a split second that she shouldn't let him kiss her.

But then his tongue swept over her lips, and all thoughts were in turn swept from her head.

Her arms came up to wrap around his neck, her fingers threading through his ink black hair as she opened her mouth to accept his kiss more readily. She swallowed his groan as he brought his hands to her waist, pulling her against him tightly. Holly ignored the sting in her hip as she felt her desire pool between her thighs. She moaned as she thrust her tongue into Alex's mouth.

Alex was on fire. His hands were wild as they roamed over Holly's body, over her ribcage and to the undersides of her breasts. They were soft to the touch, and Holly's whimper of satisfaction was muffled by Alex's fevered kisses. He began to move her toward the bed, feeling his heart jump when she didn't protest.

They went down together, Alex on top of Holly and nestled between her thighs. He brought his left hand down to her leg, groaning gutturally as he learned they were as silky and smooth as he'd thought they would be. In response Holly's legs spread apart more widely, her pelvis rising off the bed just slightly to grind into Alex's crotch.

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