tagNovels and NovellasThe Retreat Ch. 04

The Retreat Ch. 04


Jess slept amazingly well and woke up feeling refreshed. The first faint rays of dawn shone through her window. She lingered in bed with a satisfied smile as she relived every moment of her encounter with Nick in the sauna. Whether it was because she had loved him for so long or because he was simply a fabulous lover, she had never experienced such gratifying sex.

Hours later, her body was still thrumming with delight. She ran her hands over her slightly sore nipples. Beneath her fingers, the outer lips of her pussy were still deliciously tender. She wanted to wake up feeling this way every morning for the rest of her life. The only way this morning could feel more perfect would be to have Nick lying beside her.

The household was quiet, and Jess showered quickly before padding silently to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. As she waited, she leaned against the counter and closed her eyes, mentally reviewing her decision to actively pursue Nick. She knew she was opening herself to the possibility of being hurt, but wasn't that what loving someone meant? If she wasn't willing to give freely of her love, how could she expect Nick to do the same? Regardless of the outcome, she was tired of feeling empty, lonely and sad. She was willing to take the chance, but she wasn't sure the best way to proceed. Should she question Nick about the past? Should she temporarily ignore it concentrate on interesting him in a future?

Hearing soft footsteps, Jess opened her eyes in time to see her mother enter the kitchen. Leslie stopped short, obviously surprised to see Jess already up and dressed.

"Jess! What are you doing up so early? I expected you to sleep in this morning."

Jess smiled. "Morning, Mom. I guess it's all this fresh air. I slept like a baby. What about you? Did you sleep well?"

Leslie nodded absently, still surveying her daughters face for any signs that something might be wrong. "Uh huh, thanks. But I do need my coffee if I'm going to wake up properly."

She got two mugs down from the cupboard and poured them each a steaming cup. She added a dollop of cream to Jess's mug before handing it to her and they sat down at the small table in the kitchen. Leslie took a sip and sighed with appreciation before looking at Jess with a smile.

"So? What do you think of Cameron?"

Jess laughed softly, reaching to touch her mother's hand. "I think he's great, Mom. You were right. I should have met him long before now. He seems to make you very happy."

Leslie nodded with a radiant smile. "He does. No one is more surprised than me. I really didn't think I wanted to fall in love again after Jim died." Her eyes clouded briefly with remembered pain, but she swallowed hard and continued. "In fact, at first I tried to discourage Cameron, but he was so stubborn. He wouldn't take no for an answer, and after just a few dates, I knew."

"I really am happy for you, Mom. If anyone deserves to enjoy life, it's you!"

They squeezed each other's hands and their eyes met in silent communication. Finally, Leslie patted Jess's hand and drew a deep breath for courage.

"I hope you really feel that way, Jess. Cameron has asked me to marry him, and I said yes."

Jess's eyes opened wide with momentary surprise before she smiled. "That's wonderful, Mom, truly! Does Justine know?"

Leslie nodded. "I told her when I saw them just before Christmas. Are you honestly okay with this, Jess? You don't feel like I'm abandoning your father?"

Jess drew in a deep breath and let it out on a sigh, shaking her head slowly. "I would have felt like that a few weeks ago, but something Justine said to me made a lot of sense. The more I thought about it, I realized Dad wouldn't want you to go through the rest of your life lonely. He would want you to be happy, and so do I."

Leslie's eyes filled with tears, and she blinked them away. "Thank you, Jess. That means the world to me."

Again, Jess squeezed her mother's hand affectionately. "So when's the wedding?"

"I'm not sure. We haven't set a date yet."

"Well, let me know if I can help with any arrangements."

"We aren't planning anything big or fancy, maybe just a small ceremony with you kids and a few friends."

Jess nodded, feeling a sharp pang of envy. Her mother knew her well enough to read the pain in her daughter's eyes.

"What's the matter, honey?"

Jess laughed briefly, but it sounded hollow even to her own ears. "Nothing really. I was just thinking how ironic it is that you will be getting married a second time, and I'm beginning to wonder whether I'll be single for life."

Leslie caught her eye and held it. "Forgive me for being nosy, but I got the feeling that there was something going on between you and Nick. Do you feel like talking about it?"

Jess bit her bottom lip, hesitating briefly before heaving a deep sigh. "Do you remember the guy I told you about in college?"

"The one who broke your heart?" her mother asked. When Jess nodded, comprehension dawned and Leslie gasped. "That was Nick?"

Jess nodded her head, fiddling with her coffee cup. "The funny thing is that I never understood what happened between us. Nick seemed like he was falling in love with me too, then he just turned cold and ended our relationship with no warning at all. It's haunted me all these years." She frowned as she slowly shook her head. "He said some things yesterday that made me think that something else happened, that there was some kind of misunderstanding between us. He thinks that I somehow deceived him."

Leslie raised her brows and leaned back in her chair. "He told you that?"

Jess nodded. "And there's something else." Jess blushed lightly, remembering their lovemaking. "I still love him, Mom. I never got over what happened. I think he still has feelings for me too. I can't help but wonder if there's some chance that we could work things out." She met her mother's gaze, waiting for her reaction.

Leslie stood and hugged her daughter's head against her waist. "Oh sweetheart, I had no idea you felt this way."

Jess leaned her head back to look at her mother's face. "I do. What do you think, Mom? What should I do?"

Leslie frowned, her eyes full of concern. "I don't want to see you get hurt all over again, honey. I remember how devastated you were before."

Jess gripped her forearms and firmed her jaw. "I was a shy teenager then. I'm stronger now. I know what I want and how I feel."

"Do you think their might be a future for the two of you?" she asked softly.

"Oh," Jess groaned, "I'm not sure of that at all, but I'm hopeful. I know one thing for certain. I've never felt this way about any other man. If this was just a crush, I would have gotten over Nick a long time ago. I don't know whether Nick returns any of my feelings, but I feel like I have to find out."

Leslie searched her face, recognizing the determination in Jess's expression. Leslie finally released a troubled sigh and hugged her close again, dropping a kiss onto the top of her daughter's head.

"Then I think you should follow your heart, sweetheart. Nothing good ever comes if you aren't willing to take a chance."

Jess squeezed her around the waist and laughed softly. "You always said that."

"Well, it's true," Leslie said, dropping back into her chair.

A long silence passed with them lost in their own thoughts. A germ of an idea began to form in Leslie's mind, and her lips curved into a sly grin. Jess eyed her warily.

"What are you thinking, Mom? You've got that gleam in your eye that tells me you're plotting something."

Leslie kept her in suspense a moment longer before answering in a conspiratorial whisper. "I'm thinking that what you and Nick need is some time alone. I'm thinking that I don't really want to plan a wedding, even a small one." She let a long moment pass before grinning even wider than before. "I'm thinking that it would be fun to run off to Vegas today and get married."

"Today?" Jess exclaimed, her mouth dropping open.

"Today!" Leslie said firmly. "Of course, you and Nick might as well enjoy the cabin for the full week. You both deserve a vacation."

Their gazes locked for several moments before Jess's mouth curved into a matching grin. "You know Mom, that sounds like an excellent idea!"

Leslie gave a delighted laugh. "I think so too!" She rose and gave her daughter another hug. "Just remember, Jess. You didn't know anything about this, okay?"

Jess grinned and winked at her mother. "Right! In fact, I think I'll go back to bed for a couple more hours of sleep. It really is much too early to be up."

She kissed her mother's cheek and hugged her tightly. Jess held her at arm's length and they shared a smile.

"Be happy, Mom."

"You too, honey. You too!"


Nick slept much later than usual. He didn't feel rested. Although he was physically relieved after making love to Jess, his emotions felt raw. He had tossed and turned all night, floating through a series of troubled dreams about Jess. He woke up reaching for her, groaning when he realized she wasn't beside him.

He rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. By the light coming through his window, he judged it to be ten or eleven o'clock. He dreaded facing her. After his hateful remark, she would be furious at him. Even though he had intended to distance her from him, Nick wasn't looking forward to Jess's anger.

He showered and dressed in a pair of old jeans, a tee shirt and a sweater. He donned a thick pair of wool socks and headed for the kitchen. He wasn't prepared for the sight that greeted him as he entered the living room.

Jess sat curled in a chair before the fire. She was reading a book, and the flames gilded her auburn hair with dancing highlights. She looked feminine and beautiful, and Nick felt an instant jolt of desire at the sight of her. Sensing his presence, she looked up, and the radiance of her smile stunned him.

"Good morning," she said softly. "Did you sleep well?"

Nick barely managed to keep his mouth from dropping open. He had expected anger, scorn, or hostility from her. Cheerful warmth was definitely not the reaction he thought he would encounter.

"Morning," he muttered, turning for the kitchen. "Are Dad and Leslie out for a hike, or are they still in bed?"

"I don't know," Jess said, laying her book aside to follow him. "I haven't heard a peep from them this morning."

Nick wished she didn't look so damned sexy in her leggings and oversized sweater. He reached for a cup and cocked a brow at her in question.

"Do you want some coffee?"

"I've already had two cups, thanks. That's my max for the morning."

Nick grunted and poured himself a cup. He leaned back against the counter, sipping as he assessed her warily. In the face of her sweetness, he felt like the worst kind of heel for insulting her. He took several long sips of coffee and cleared his throat.

"About last night," he noticed her heightened attention, "I uh," he cleared his throat again and looked down into his mug, "I shouldn't have said what I did. I'm sorry."

Jess's breath caught in her throat. In the face of his contrition, she was even more certain that he felt something for her, something deeper than he wanted to admit.

"It's okay, Nick. I don't regret what happened between us."

Nick looked at her sharply, searching for any sign of dishonesty or anger. All he saw was sincerity in her steady gaze. He swallowed another sip of coffee and peered into his mug. There was still another matter that had been nagging at him.

"I didn't use anything." He looked up to judge her reaction, and when she merely continued to return his intense stare, he grimaced. "I didn't plan what happened."

Jess gave him a tiny smile. "I know," she said softly, "neither did I."

He hated to ask, but he had to know. "Are you protected? Are you on the pill or something?"

"No," she said simply, waiting to see how he would react to that bit of news.

Nick nearly reeled from the wave of turbulent emotions that swept over him. He had never wanted to get a woman pregnant, and he had always taken precautions to avoid that from happening. How ironic that he had let his guard down with the one woman who could bring him to his knees. Heaven help him if Jess ended up pregnant. He knew he would never be able to walk away from her if she was carrying his child. Jess continued to watch him, and her serene expression puzzled him.

"Aren't you the least bit worried?" he asked with a frown.

"No," she repeated. Her lips curved into a wistful smile. "In fact, I've always wanted children."

Nick's frown turned into a scowl. "Then why aren't you married with a whole tribe of kids? I thought that was your plan."

"That was my plan," Jess said with a shrug. "It just didn't work out."

Nick watched her for another moment before turning away to refill his cup. "Well, it isn't my plan." He gulped down a sip before leaning back against the counter and pinning her with a piercing frown. "I don't have any plans to get married in the near future. I don't intend to turn my world upside down because of a one-night fling."

"I wouldn't ask you to," Jess said softly.

She came to stand directly in front of him and reached up to brush a wayward lock of his dark hair off his forehead. When his brows came together in a deepening frown, she smoothed them with her fingers before rising on her toes to kiss him softly on the mouth.

Any rational thoughts Nick had fled when he tasted her mouth. She was soft and warm and willing. When she sank against him, he set his cup aside and gripped her hips. He slanted his mouth over hers and feasted, releasing a muffled groan of pleasure when she clasped her arms around his neck.

It shouldn't feel so right to hold her, but it did. He shouldn't be kissing her, but God help him, he couldn't resist. He kneaded her bottom and angled her hips so she would feel the hard ridge of his erection cradled against her belly. When she uttered a soft cry of longing, he broke off the kiss, breathing raggedly as he probed her gaze.

"What game are you playing, Jess?"

"I'm not playing a game. I want you, that's all. Don't you want me?"

He pulled her hips even tighter against his own and thrust lightly. "You know damned good and well that I want you." he growled. "However, I didn't plan on engaging in a sexual relationship during my vacation."

"Well, can't you change your mind?" she asked, wriggling even closer to brush her breasts against his chest. She stretched up to reach his ear, and her breath was hot against his neck as she whispered in a sexy, seductive voice. "I want to feel you inside me, Nick. I want you to take me again. Please," she moaned, trailing kisses along his neck.

Nick gave a frustrated groan and held her away from him, giving her a light shake. "Didn't you hear me? I didn't pack any condoms!"

Jess returned his glare with a grin. "I heard you, Nick." She wriggled loose and framed his face for an incendiary kiss, full of sweet temptation. "I'm willing to face the consequences if something comes of this, and I won't expect anything from you."

Her fingers slid down to his jeans and she quickly unfastened his fly. She slipped her hand into his underwear and gripped his throbbing cock, stroking him in her searing palm as she suckled the pulse at the base of his neck.

"Please, Nick. I need you," she moaned.

Her hand was wreaking havoc on Nick's self-control. She alternated her strokes, sometimes gripping him, sometimes softly stroking him. She slipped her other hand inside his underwear and lightly caressed his balls as she kissed his mouth. Nick's heart was pounding against his ribs. It was all he could do to wrench his mouth free of hers, and even then, she continued to torture him with pleasure as precum oozed steadily from the tip of his cock.

"This is insane!" Nick whispered fiercely. "You're insane!"

He wanted to scream that she was making him insane too! Nick glanced toward the hall, remembering that their parents could interrupt them at any minute. He gripped her wrists in his hands and held them still.

"You're playing with fire, Jess. You'd better stop before you get burned."

Jess met his eye for a long moment before she gripped his cock in her fist and squeezed firmly. She raised a challenging brow. Nick's control snapped. He growled low in his throat and gripped her head in his hands as he plundered her mouth. He didn't care about anything else at that moment, other than shoving himself as deep inside her as possible.

He broke off from the kiss and seized her wrist, ignoring the fact that his erection was protruding obscenely from the fly of his jeans. Without a word, he stalked down the hall, pulling her in his wake until they reached his bedroom. He thrust her inside and pinned her against the door, crushing her mouth with his own. Jess gripped his waist and incited him to take, pillage, ravish, and he did so greedily.

Nick broke contact with her mouth to impatiently yank her sweater over her head and fling it to the floor. He paused for a moment to savor the sight of her naked from the waist up except for her sexy pink bra. Then he seized her breasts, cruising over the lacy cups to press their fullness together and squeeze and shape her hardened nipples. He growled his appreciation before suckling one impudent bud into his mouth, biting down on the tip and laving it through the sheer lace brassiere.

Jess gasped and arched her back, thrusting her breast into his mouth. He suckled ravenously, enjoying the sound of her panting moans and whimpering pleas. Without releasing her nipple, he grasped the waistband of her leggings and panties and yanked them down over her hips. She eagerly stepped out of them as he switched to her other breast.

Jess was lost to the sensation of Nick's hot tongue lashing her nipple when he found her pussy with his fingers. She moaned with delight, wrapping her calf around his legs to open herself to him. She mewled with delight as he probed her, reaching high inside her to coax even more fluid from her snug passage.

Nick groaned, feeling her inner muscles clench around his fingers. She was incredibly hot, wet and tight, and he luxuriated in her slick heat.

"Take your bra off," he ordered in a low growl.

Jess opened the front clasp and let her bra fall to the floor. Her breasts quivered, the nipples pouting enticingly as she drew in quick, ragged breaths. She stood motionless as Nick devoured her with his eyes while he continued to probe her with deep strokes of his broad fingers. The only sounds were their panting breaths and the sloshing of his fingers inside her. When his eyes met hers, she shivered with awareness from the heat in his gaze.

"This is your last chance, Jess. Are you sure you're willing to accept the consequences?"

Jess held his gaze and nodded. "Please, Nick. I need you inside me now."

The urgency in her voice reached him, and Nick kissed her fiercely. He grasped her waist and lifted her, and Jess wrapped her legs around his waist. He impaled her onto his aching cock, pressing slowly into her pussy stretched to accommodate him. He didn't stop until he bottomed out in her depths. They groaned with mutual satisfaction.

Nick pressed his weight against her to hold Jess steady as he withdrew and thrust again, deeper than before. Jess moaned her approval. She could feel the rough fabric of his jeans abrading her inner thighs, and the wool of his sweater scratched her sensitive nipples. The fact that he was fully clothed while she was entirely naked in his arms made her feel wanton and wild. With each thrust, he claimed her as his. Every deep stroke made her more aware of how much he enjoyed sinking into her. She encouraged him to wallow in her wetness, to languish in her heat.

"That's it, baby," she whispered, clutching his shoulders. "Fuck me! Fuck me hard!"

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