|Название||Friendship On Fire|
|Автор произведения||Joss Wood|
|Серия||Love in Boston|
Noah pushed his hand into her thick hair and looked down into those amazing eyes, the exact tint of a new moon on the Southern Ocean. Her scent, something sexy but still sweet, drifted off her skin and her wide mouth promised a kiss that was dark and delectable. His stupid heart was trying to climb out of his chest so that it could rest in her hand.
Jules pushed her breasts into his chest and tilted her hips so that her stomach brushed his hard-as-hell erection...
This was Jules, his best friend.
Thought, time, the raucous sounds of the New Year’s party receded and Jules was all that mattered. Jules with her tight nipples and her tilted hips and her silver-blue eyes begging him to kiss her.
He’d make it quick. Just one quick sip, a fast taste. He wouldn’t take it any further. He couldn’t. He wanted to, desperately, but there were reasons why he had no right to place his hand on her spectacular ass, to push his chest into her small but perfect breasts.
One kiss, that’s all he could have, take.
Noah touched his lips to hers and he fell, lost in her taste, in her scent. For the first time in months his grief dissipated, his confusion cleared. As her tongue slid between his teeth, his responsibilities faded, and the decisions he’d been forced to make didn’t matter.
Jules was in his arms and she was kissing him and the world suddenly made sense...
He was about to palm her beautiful breasts, have her wrap her legs around his hips to rock against her core when hands gripped his shoulders, yanked his hair.
Surprised, he stumbled back, fell onto his tailbone to see Morgan and his dad looking down at him, laughing their asses off. His eyes bounced to Jules and tears streaked her face.
“Bastard!” Morgan screamed.
“That’s my boy,” Ethan cooed. “Blood or not, you are my son.”
And Jules? Well, Jules just cried.
Another night, the same recurring dream. Noah Lockwood punched the comforter and the sheets away, unable to bare the constricting fabric against his heated skin. Draping one forearm across bent knees, Noah ran a hand behind his neck. Cursing, he fumbled for the glass of water on the bedside table, grimacing at the handprint his sweat made on the deep black comforter.
Noah swung his legs off the side of the large bed, reached for a pair of boxers on the nearby chair and yanked them on. He looked across the bed and Jenna—a friend he occasionally hooked up with when he was in this particular city—reached over to the side table and flipped on the bedside light. She checked her watch before shoving the covers back, muttered a quick curse and, naked, started to gather her clothes.
“Do you want to talk about it?” she asked.
Hell, no. He rarely opened up to his brothers or his closest friends, so there was no chance he’d talk to an infrequent bed buddy about his dream. Without a long explanation Jenna wouldn’t understand, and since Noah didn’t do explanations, that would never happen. Besides, talking meant examining and facing his fears, confronting guilt and dissecting his past. That would be amusing...in the same way an electric shock to his junk would be nice.
He tried, as much as possible, not to think about the past...
Noah walked over to the French doors that opened to the balcony. Pushing them open, he sucked in the briny air of the cool late-autumn night. Tinges of a new morning peeked through the trees that bordered the side and back edges of the complex.
He loved Cape Town, and enjoyed his visits to the city nestled between the mountains and the sea. It was beautiful, as were Oahu or Cannes or Monaco. But it wasn’t home. He missed Boston with an intensity that sometimes threatened to drop him to his knees. But he couldn’t go back...
The last time he left it nearly killed him and that wasn’t an experience he wanted to repeat.
Noah accepted Jenna’s brief goodbye kiss and walked her to the door. Finally alone, he grabbed a T-shirt from the chair behind him and yanked it over his head and, picking up his phone, walked onto the balcony, then perched lightly on the edge of a sturdy morris chair.
The dream’s sour aftertaste remained and he sucked in long, clean breaths, trying to cleanse his mind. Because his nightmares always made him want to touch base with his brothers, he dialed Eli’s number, knowing he was more likely to answer than Ben.
“Noah, I was just about to call you.” Despite being across the world in Boston, Eli sounded like he was in the next room.
Noah heard the worry in Eli’s voice and his stomach swooped.
“What’s up?” he asked, trying to project confidence. He was the oldest and although he was always absent, his hand was still the one, via phone calls and emails, steering the Lockwood ship. Actually, that wasn’t completely true; Levi buying into the North Shore marina and boatyard using the money he inherited from Ray allowed Noah to take a step back. Eli and Ben were a little hotheaded and prone to making impulsive decisions but Levi wasn’t. Noah was happy to leave the day-to-day decisions in Levi’s capable hands.
“Callie called us earlier—a for-sale sign has gone up at Lockwood.”
“Ethan’s selling the house?” Noah asked.
“No. He’s selling everything. Our childhood home, the land, the country club, the golf course, the buildings. He’s selling the LCC Trust and that includes everything on the estate except for the individually owned houses.”
Noah released a low, bullet-like curse word.
“Rumor has it that he needs cash again.”
“Okay, let me assimilate this. I’ll call you back in a few.”
Noah sucked in his breath and closed his eyes, allowing anger and disappointment to flow through him. Ten years ago he’d taken the man he called Dad, a man he adored and whom he thought loved him, to court. After his mom’s death he discovered that the marriage that he’d thought was so perfect had been pure BS. The only father he’d ever known, the man he placed on a pedestal was, he discovered, a serial cheater and a spendthrift.
Stopping Ethan from liquidating the last of Lockwood family assets, passed down through generations of Lockwoods to his mom—a legacy important enough to his mom for her to persuade both their biological dad and then their stepdad to take her maiden name—meant hiring expensive legal talent.
Noah ran his hand over his eyes, remembering those bleak months between his mother’s death and the court judgment awarding the Lockwood boys the waterfront marina and the East Boston boatyard and Ethan the Lockwood Country Club, which included their house, the club facilities, the shops and the land around it. Ethan was also awarded the contents of the house and the many millions in her bank accounts. All of which, so he’d heard, he’d managed to blow. On wine, women and song.
Fighting for his and his brothers’ inheritance had been tough, but he’d been gutted by the knowledge that everything he knew about his mom and Ethan, the facade of happiness they’d presented to the world, had been a sham. A lie, an illusion. By cheating on his mom and choosing money over them, Ethan had proved that he’d never loved any of them.
Why hadn’t he seen it, realized that his dad was actually a bastard, that every “I love you” and “I’m proud of you” had been a flat-out lie? Faced with proof of his father’s deceit, he’d decided that love was an emotion he couldn’t trust, that marriage was a sham, that people, especially the ones who professed to love him, couldn’t be trusted.
And Morgan’s actions had cemented those conclusions.