|Название||Friendship On Fire|
|Автор произведения||Joss Wood|
|Серия||Love in Boston|
Jules looked at the for-sale sign again. She was surprised that the Lockwood boys would let the house go out of their family but, as she well knew, maintaining a residence the size of the houses on this estate cost an arm and a leg and a few internal organs. Jules shoved her fist into the space beneath her rib cage to ease the burn. She’d spent as much time in that house as she had her own, sneaking in and out of Noah’s bedroom. But that was back in the days when they were still friends, before he’d met Morgan and before he’d spoiled everything by kissing her senseless.
It had been a hell of a kiss and that was part of the problem. If it had been a run-of-the-mill, meh kiss, she could brush it aside, but it was still—aargh!—the kiss she measured all other kisses against. Passionate, sweet, tender, hot.
Pity it came courtesy of her onetime best friend and an all-around jerk.
Jules used her key to let herself into the empty house. It was still early, just past eight in the morning, but her siblings would’ve left for work hours ago. Thanks to efficient workmen and an easy client, her Napa Valley project had gone off without a hitch and as a result, she’d finished two weeks early, which was unexpectedly wonderful. Since winning Boston’s Most Exciting Interior Designer award five months ago, she’d been running from one project to another, constantly in demand. For the next few days, maybe a week, she could take it a little easier: sleep later, go home earlier, catch her breath. Chill.
God, she so needed to chill, to de-stress and to rest her overworked mind and body. Despite her business-class seat, she was stiff from her late-night cross-country flight. Jules pulled herself up the wooden stairs, instinctively missing the squeaky floorboards that used to tell a wide-awake parent, or curious sibling, she was taking an unauthorized leave from the house.
Parking her rolling suitcase outside her closed bedroom door, and knowing the house was empty, Jules headed for the family bathroom at the end of the hall, pulling her grubby silk T-shirt from her pants and up and over her head. Opening the door to the bathroom, she tossed the shirt toward the laundry hamper in the corner and stepped into the bathroom.
Hot steam slapped her in the face. A second later she registered the heavy and familiar beat of the powerful shower in the corner of the room. Whipping around and expecting to see Darby or DJ, her mouth fell open at the—God, let’s call it what it was—vision standing in the glass enclosure.
Six feet four inches of tanned skin gliding over defined muscles, hair slicked off an angles-and-planes face, brown eyes flecked with gold. A wide chest, lightly dusted with blond hair and a hard, ridged stomach. Sexy hip muscles that drew the eye down to a thatch of darker hair and a, frankly, impressive package. A package that was growing with every breath he took.
God, Noah was back and he was standing in her shower looking like Michelangelo’s David on a very, very good day.
Jules lifted her eyes to his face and the desire in his gaze caused her breath to hitch and all the moisture in her mouth to disappear. Jules swallowed, willed her feet to move but they remained glued to the tiled floor. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think. All she wanted to do was touch. Since that was out of the question—God, she hadn’t seen him in ten years, she couldn’t just jump him!—she just looked, allowing her eyes to feast.
Noah. God. In her bathroom. Naked.
Without dropping his eyes from hers, Noah switched off the water and pushed his hair off his face. Opening the door to the shower cubicle, he stepped out onto the mat and placed his hands on his narrow hips. Jules dropped her gaze and, yep, much bigger than before. Strong, hard...
Were either of them ever going to speak, to turn away, to break this crazy, passion-saturated atmosphere? What was wrong with them?
Jules was trying to talk her feet into moving when Noah stepped up to her and placed a wet hand on her cheek, his thumb sliding across her lower lip. He smelled of soap and shampoo and hot, aroused male. Lust, as hot and thick as warm molasses, slid into her veins and pooled between her legs. Keeping her hands at her sides, she looked up at Noah, conscious of his erection brushing the bare skin above the waistband of her pants, her nipples stretching the fabric of her lace bra.
Noah just stared at her, the gold flecks in his eyes bright with desire, and then his mouth, that sexy, sexy mouth, dropped onto hers. His hands slid over her bare waist and down her butt, pulling her into his wet, hard body. Jules gasped as his tongue flicked between the seam of her lips and she opened up with no thought of resistance.
It was an exaggerated version of the kiss they’d shared so long ago. This was a kiss on steroids, bold, hotter and wetter than before. Noah’s arms were stronger, his mouth more demanding, his intent clear. His hand moved across her skin with confidence and control, settling on her right breast. He pulled down the cup of her bra, and then her breast was pressed into his palm, skin on skin. She whimpered and Noah growled, his thumb teasing her nipple with rough, sexy strokes.
Jules lifted her hands to touch him, wanting to feel those ridges of his stomach on her fingertips, wrap her hand around his—
Holy crap! What the hell? Jules jerked away from him, lifting her hands up when he stepped toward her, intent on picking up where they left off.
Jules slapped her open hand against his still-wet chest and pushed him back. Furious now, she glared up at him. “What the hell, Lockwood? You do not walk back into my life and start kissing me without a damn word! Did you really think that we would end up naked on the bathroom floor?”
“I’m already naked.” Noah looked down at her flushed chest, her pointed nipples and her wet-from-his-kiss mouth. “And, yeah, it definitely looked and felt like we were heading in that direction.”
Jules opened her mouth to blast him and, flummoxed, couldn’t find the words. “I—You—Crap!”
Noah reached behind her for a towel and slowly, oh, so slowly, wrapped it around his hips. He had the balls to smile and Jules wanted to slap him silly. “So, how much does it suck to know that the attraction hasn’t faded?”
Jules glared at him, muttered a low curse and turned on her heel and walked toward the open door.
Jules took her time turning around. “What?”
Noah grinned, his big arms folded across his chest. “Hi. Good to see you.”
Jules did her goldfish impression again and, shaking her head, headed to her bedroom. Had that really happened? Was she hallucinating? Jules looked down and saw that the fabric of her bra was wet, water droplets covered her shoulders and ran down her stomach.
Nope, she wasn’t dreaming the sexiest dream ever. Noah was back and this was her life.
* * *
So this was her punishment for finishing a project early?
Unfair, Universe. Because all she wanted to do was catch a plane back to Napa Valley and Jules hunted for a reason to return to the project she’d just wrapped up. Jules ran through her mental checklist and, dammit, she’d definitely covered all her bases. The workmanship was exemplary, the client was ecstatic and his check was in the bank. There wasn’t the smallest reason to haul her butt out of this house and fly back to California.
After three months in California she’d desperately wanted to come home, to unpack the boxes stacked against the wall and to catch up with Darby and DJ, her best friends but also her business partners. Darby, her twin, was Winston and Brogan’s architect. Jules was the interior designer, and DJ managed the business end of their design and decor company. She spoke to both of them numerous times a day but she wanted to hug them, to be