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Chapter 1



I chase a shot of tequila with an orange slice and set the empty rind in my glass. The bartender, too busy trying to get his other patrons their first drinks, ignores me, but that’s okay. I have a brand new martini happily waiting for me to kiss the rim while I attempt to forget about all the shit going wrong in my life.

If only it was that easy.

Bertha, the 1992 blue Ford Ranger I’ve had since high school, kicked the bucket. Let me tell you, I was pissed when she stranded me on the side of I-95, but I cried when my mechanic told me the motor blew. 

Midget, my chihuahua, snuck between my legs and darted out the front door only to be hit by a kid who was texting and fucking driving. 

She died Monday.

Grams was diagnosed with breast cancer back in February. She started treatment, but it's not doing any good. Her days are ticking away faster than a hummingbird’s wings flutter. We have a week left, at best.

Oh! Did I mention the reason I moved back to this miserable sauna of a state this year was because my sister, Tamlin, was having a baby?

 Sounds great. Right?

Wrong. She miscarried, and if losing the child wasn’t bad enough, that baby was the only link Tamlin had to her late husband. So, not only did she spiral into a deep depression over loosing her baby, the miscarriage uneearthed some deep-rooted PTSD.

Florida’s been one tragic blow after another and it sucks. 

Don’t even get me started on my parents. Granted, Mom and Dad waiting until I’m twenty-three to get divorced isn’t exactly a shocker. They fought like kindergarteners over the last piece of chocolate in the candy jar whenever they were together. 


Without reason. 

And spitting words of hate wherever they could. 

Although Mom and Dad’s words are nastier than a five-year-olds insults like booger-eater. I chuckle and take a sip of my martini. The thought of Mom screaming that Dad is a booger-eater is comical. 

Still, even though I’ve seen their divorce coming since high school, the realization we will never spend a birthday or Thanksgiving together as a family makes me sad. 

I tip my wide-rimmed glass up and swallow the rest of my martini in one large gulp. It slides down my throat like silk, wrapping its deliciousness around every cell along the way. I set the glass back on the counter and wait for one of the bartenders to make their way down the long line of thirsty patrons to my end of the room again. 

It could be a while. 

When I first got here, I could stretch my arms out and spin in circles without touching anyone. Granted, that was three hours ago, well before the sun had set. Now, if I sneeze, my shoulder will rub against someone’s something. 

“Thirsty?” a deep voice asks.

I look at the man leaning one arm onto the probably sticky mahogany countertop beside me. His dark hair is shaved at the sides, with a short but poofy quiff at the top. 


I smirk, finding that particular word funny.

The man must take my smile as an invitation, because he inches closer, his lips lifting at the corners. Even though his nose is too sharp, and his jaw has that butt-dimple in it, he has a nice mouth. And, although he doesn’t fit the mold I’ve dated since turning seventeen eons ago—the blonde haired, blue eyed, rip your heart out and shatter it with a sledge hammer type—this guy isn’t unattractive. On a scale of zero to ten, with ten being drop my panties and fuck him on the bar with everyone watching, I’d give him a seven. Definitely doable.

“Parched.” I shift, angling myself and the girls towards him. They look extra nice tonight, in a much too small, much too tight push-up bra that makes my decent C-cups look like small Ds. 

Looking good wasn’t the plan. 

Tomorrow is laundry day. If I’m being honest, last Saturday was laundry day, but finding the motivation to do anything besides dance has been hard lately. I have a mountain of clothes beside my dresser, waiting to be washed. I just don’t want to do it.

Walking into my closet four hours ago, I was lucky to find a clean pair of jeans. The V-neck shirt I paired with them was a bonus, and the singular bra in my bearu that I haven’t worn since my freshman year of college was all I needed to make myself semi-decent looking. Actually, I needed underwear too, but my period-panties were not an option. Even I have my limits, and big granny style lines peering through my skin tight jeans crosses them.

“Can I buy you a drink?” he asks, that infectious grin eating away what little resolve I have. My intention tonight wasn’t to find a playmate, but when life gives you lemons… 

I cross my legs at the knees, allowing my ankle to brush up against his boots. Dirty, white dust-covered boots, paired with crisp blue jeans and a black button down shirt. The contrast between dirty and clean is comical, but the ruggedness adds an extra mark to the sexy boxes.

Nice Smile. Check.

Hard working. Probably, so check.

Toned arms. Check. Legs. Check. And possibly every other part of him. Check.

Big hands. Big feet. Check. Check. I glance down at his jeans and smirk. Check.

“I’ll take a martini. Dirty.”

“Coming right up.” My new friend holds his hand up and the purple haired chick who has avoided me all night makes a bee-line to us. She set her sights on the men in the room hours ago. By the looks of the wad of cash in her back pocket, I’d say it was a strategic move.

“What can I get you, Sunshine?” She smiles brightly and leans against the bartop. The girl is short, and with the way she’s standing, we have a clear view down her shirt. I’m impressed when my new friend’s gaze never strays from her face, not even for a glimmer of a second. Brownie points for you, mister.

“I’ll take a Miller Lite and the lady would like a dirty martini.”

The bartender nods and sets both drinks on the counter a few moments later. I pinch the stem of my glass between my fingers to slide it closer. I take a sip, smiling into the rim because my martini is perfect. Strong enough to make my head swim, but sweet enough that it doesn’t make me want to puke from the taste of alcohol. 

“Do you have a name?” If I’m going home with this man, I need to know what to yell into the pillow. I’ve got a feeling that this guy knows how to please a woman. He’s got this aura to him. One that sends electricity bouncing between us. 

I need a good lay. 

The past few guys I’ve hooked up with were horrible. I know how that sounds, but don’t judge me. I’m young. Stressed. And I need a healthy way to let out my frustrations.

Lately, though, I’ve been in a rut. The last guy I slept with was terrible. I’m talking epically bad. He was into bondage—which could have been fun—but he left me tied up in a hotel room after the fact. To make matters worse, he never found that magic spot. 

The one before that, his whole body shook like he was having a seizure when he came. And he snorted. Fucking snorted! 

The guy before that one wouldn’t have sex in any position besides reverse cowgirl. Not only is that position my least favorite, he took FOREVER to come. My legs were killing me. I could barely walk after, which he of course took as a sign of amazing sex. Not. Even. Close.

The stories get worse and worse. It sucks because I never used to have this problem. The guys in New York, they knew how to dick a girl down. These Florida boys, though… 

I sigh into my glass and take another sip. Moving back to my hometown was the best decision for my family… I think… but the worst decision for my vag.

“I’m heartbroken.” My new friend presses his hands over his chest like a lovesick cartoon character. He’s got big hands. Big fingers. Girl! Hide those dirty thoughts behind your glass before you come across as a deprived cat in heat! “Am I really that forgettable?” 

I smirk and shrug. Maybe if I wasn’t four martinis deep, I’d recognize something about this guy. As I sit, the only thing that rings a bell is my needy vagina, aching for something besides my pink vibrator to touch it.

My new friend chuckles, his head shaking in bemusement. “Damn. And here I thought our rooftop conversations made a lasting impression.”

Rooftop conversations? 

No. It can’t be…I look at the man before me through new eyes. The Carter Rigdon I knew back in high school was pudgy, with a baby face, and this weird haircut that made him look like Rosie O’Donnell’s second cousin.

“Carter? Holy shit! You look great.” I stand, needing to rise onto my tip-toes, even in heels, and wrap my arms around his neck. He’s taller than I remember, his body firm underneath my touch. My head swims in a pool of confusion, lust, and vodka. 

I’ve known Carter since grade school, when his parents moved four houses down from me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that boy would turn into this.

Carter pulls me into him, lighting my body up in ways I never thought possible. His arms wrap around my waist, and I’m swallowed by his frame. When he lets go, I’m hot. Achey. And have officially upped his hotness from a seven to a ten. Watch out people! My vag is on a mission!

“How’ve you been?” he asks, taking the newly open barstool beside me.

I smile and take a large sip of my drink. It’s cold and I need to douse my insides with something before I spontaneously combust. “I’ve been okay. Moved back home last year when shit with the family started going south. Dad had a heart attack back in September. It’s been a rough ride ever since.”

Carter frowns and even that is sexy. Mercy, what is wrong with me tonight? My hormones are off the charts like a preeteen who’s just discovered herself. 

“Damn, that sucks. I’m sorry about your dad.”

“He’s good now.” I twist the stem of my glass between my fingers. I need to pace myself if I’m going to make it through the night. The last thing I need is my stomach to empty itself mid-thrust because I can’t hold my liquor. That’s never happened, but considering the bad luck streak I’ve been on, I don’t want to leave anything to chance tonight. “Grams was moved to hospice though. About three weeks ago.”

“Aves.” Carter pulls me into another hug. He smells like Old Spice shampoo. I’ve always liked the scent. 

“It’s okay. She has cancer, so we knew it could happen.”

Carter drops his arms but takes my hand. The little squeeze he gives shoots a bolt of lightning straight to my vag. Forgive me, Grams! 

I cross my legs because I am not an uncivilized cavewoman. I can control the urge to rip his clothes off. I can! 

“Grams would probably die if she saw how hot you’ve gotten.”

Carter’s lips lift in the corners. He drops my hand and reaches for his beer. No more than five seconds pass between the time his skin leaves mine to when he opens his mouth to speak again, but I feel every pound of my heart and every ounce of nervous adrenaline pumping through my veins. 

Making my intent to fuck known to a stranger is easy. But telling Carter… the guy I never saw myself lusting for, the guy who dried my tears when Jimmy Dumont—my high school boyfriend—cheated on me, the guy who rode his bike to the CVS when I got my first period to get me tampons in the sixth-grade… This takes nerve racking to a new level.

“Avery Andrioli thinks I’m hot.” He smirks.

My cheeks flush an embarrassing shade of red, but I hold his gaze. I’m not the same meek girl in high school who shied away from life. New York hardened me, shaped me into the woman I am today, and this girl knows what she wants. 

I’m not leaving until I get it. 

I lean forward and slide my hand up Carter’s thigh. If he’s surprised by my advance, he hides it well, holding that irritatingly sexy smirk along with my gaze. “I think you and I could have some fun tonight, if you can handle me.”

Carter chuckles and shifts to pull his wallet out of his back pocket. He drops a fifty-dollar-bill on the counter, almost double what our drinks cost.  

He tangles his fingers with mine and leads me outside. Once we’re outside, Carter pins me up against the wall and presses his mouth mine,his tongue moving with expert precision, turning me into a wet mess. 

Carter grips my thighs and lifts me. I wrap my legs around him instinctively, the bulge I speculated about presses against my center through his jeans. I rock my hips, moaning into his mouth while his fingers pull at my roots. 

If I wasn’t so lost in his kiss, I’d be embarrassed at how close I am to coming from a little lap love and lip-locking. Dear God, I hope Carter is as good in bed as he is at kissing.

Carter tugs at my roots again, forcing my lips to leave his. Normally, I can barely brush my hair without it making me wince in pain. My scalp is a wimp. Tender and always unhappy with life, but the way Carter pulls at my hair, wrapping my long auburn strands around his fists, is a good kind of hurt.

“Are you sure? Once we cross this line, Aves, there’s no going back.”

I press my lips to his again for a quick kiss. It doesn’t come close to satisfying the ache taking over my body. “We crossed that line when I felt your dick rub against me through your pants. I want you to fuck me, Carter.”

Carter stands, adjusting himself through his jeans, then extends his hand for me. I take it, feeling like a kid again, all giddy and hot. 

“I took an Uber tonight,” I tell him.

“My car is across the street and I’ve only had one beer.” 

Our fingers link together, not something I usually let happen with a one night stand, but considering our history, I let it slide. He clicks the unlock button on his keyfob as we reach the parking lot. Anxious bees buzz inside me. I’ve had my fair share of hook ups over the years. All of them started off exciting, even those that fell flat. This nervousness is new. Not necessarily bad, just different. 

“Your place or mine?” he asks, opening the door of his Toyota Corolla for me. 



Chapter 2


I turn my key in the deadbolt to unlock the door of apartment six-fourteen. It’s a spacious corner unit, with two master bedrooms and a small study area. I got it for a steal from my cousin, who knew a guy, who knew the owner. It sounded sketchy as fuck when I first heard about it. I expected holes in the walls, or rats, or for someone to have died. When I say it was a steal, I mean it is an ocean front piece of heaven at nine-hundred dollars a month. When I walked in, the place was immaculate. No holes. No rodents. No blood. The jury's still out on the death bit, but I've yet to see any ghosts.

I open the door and flip the switch to turn the light on. Carter walks a few steps past me, so I can re-lock the place. As soon as the deadbolt clicks, my back is pinned against the door. 

Carter’s mouth sweeps across my neck like an inferno. His lips seem unsure of what they want. A vicious kiss here. A love bite there. I whimper, melting into the knee that spreads my legs. 

He takes my wrists and holds them above my head. I instinctively pull back, but his hold is firm. Carter’s mouth finds mine. He kisses me like his last breath depends on it. Eventually he drops my arms and cups my cheeks. 

I have no concept of time. We could have been like this for five hours or five seconds. I’m falling into the heat that burns me from the inside out for a second time. Unable to take it any longer, I press both hands to Carter’s chest and push him back. 

Carter’s teeth rake against my bottom lip, spilling blood. The taste of iron on my tongue turns me on even more. I tug my shirt over my head and unclasp my bra in two flawless movements. 

Carter takes in my body with his eyes, but I don’t give him time to enjoy it. I lunge at him. Our teeth clank together as my mouth finds his again. I can’t get enough, and greedily take everything he has to offer. He cups my ass and lifts me. My legs wrap around his waist. He carries us to the couch then drops me onto the cushions. 

His shirt comes off. 

My pants and shoes are kicked aside. 

I drop to the floor and shift onto my knees while my fingers fumble with the buckle of his belt. It’s one of those square ones, with the slide clasp. Impatient, I loosen the slide of his buckle just enough to tug his pants and boxers off. I gasp, not prepared to see the prettiest penis of my life. Thick. Smooth. Not a vein in sight and a perfectly symmetrical mushroom tip. 

A clear bead of precome slips from its slit. It looks delicious. I grip his shaft at the base and take two-thirds of him in my mouth. Carter moans as I pump him deeper. He hits my gag reflex, making me choke, but I greedily take him again. I want to taste his seed then get him wet enough to ride.

I don’t get my wish. Carter fists my hair and pulls me off my knees. He throws me back onto the couch and kisses me again. I hook my ankles behind his back and arch my hips. Having gone commando, there’s nothing between us but air and wasted time. 

Carter’s hand slips between my legs. He presses on my clit in a circular motion until I gasp. I don’t want to come. Not yet. Not from some fucking friction. I want to feel every inch of his length inside me. I want to scream his name until the neighbors file a sound complaint because if this man can bring me to the brink of ecstasy from his touch, I can only imagine what his dick can do.

I bite Carter’s shoulder as he slides one finger inside me, and then another. He’s not afraid to bring me to the edge of euphoria and I love it. He dips his head, sinks his teeth into my shoulder. My eyes roll back until I see stars. I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. It feels so. Fucking. Good. 

Just as I’m about to come, he stops, leaving me panting on the couch as he sits up. I push onto my forearms and breathlessly ask, “Where are you going?”

Carter smirks and grabs his pants from the pile of discarded clothes. At some point his boots came off. Although I’m not exactly sure when, or how. “Condom.”  

Watching Carter rip the wrapper open and sheath himself. I’m almost sad that I can’t see that pretty penis anymore, but babies aren’t in the equation of life. So, I get over it. I take a breath, mentally preparing myself for his girth. My lips pull into a tight smile. I can’t help it. Carter is ten times better than my vibrator, and a million times better than any other guy I’ve slept with in Florida. 

And we haven’t even had sex yet!

He hovers over me, one leg wedged into the cushion of the couch, the other off the side supporting him. We should probably go to my bed. It would make things easier, but I’m greedy, impatient, and I want him. 


Carter aligns himself with my center and pushes inside in one, blissfully painful motion. I gasp his name and something in his eyes shift. The hunger within them softens and he looks… worried. 

“Are you alright?”

I kiss his lips and wrap my legs around him again. Carter finds my answer in my lack of words and starts pumping, but his strides aren’t what I expect them to be. His fingers unapologetically demanded my pleasure. His dick, on the other hand, is acting like my insides are fragile. Slow strokes. Tender pulses. It’s boring. Most disappointingly, he’s nowhere near the fun spot. 

I push Carter off of me and move him onto his back. Even if he doesn’t know how to work his dick, I can ride him how I want him. I climb into his lap and slide down his shaft. I shudder feeling the tip graze against that magic button. I rise onto my knees and sink down on him again. With each movement I bring myself that much closer. Just as I’m about to find my release, Carter grips my hips and changes my stride. I fight a whimper as the pressure dissipates and he takes control.

After a few minutes of me on top, but him moving my body how he pleases, I’m irritated. I want to come. “Fuck me doggy, Carter.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

I crawl off of him and onto my hands and knees. Doggy is foolproof. There’s no way he can fuck this up. He grips my hips and sinks inside. I bite my lip, smiling into the pillow because he found that spot again. One thrust. Two thrusts and he’s still got it. He pumps harder, faster, his balls slapping against my clit. This is more like it. This is the man who kissed me into oblivion. The one who brought me to my knees with his touch. 

“Carter. Carter!” I pant, a breath away from my own release. And then it stops. Gone again like the wind as his stride changes back to that timid, gentle stroke we started with. I’m too mad to fake my noises the last five or so minutes of our sexcapade. 

He pulls out, collapsing on the other end of the couch, breathing heavily. I close my eyes, not wanting to move because if I do, I might just scream at the top of my lungs. Disappointed doesn’t come close to how I feel. I’m frustrated. Angry. And on the brim of tears because I really wanted to come.

But things get worse. 

My front door opens, the deep laugh of Benny—my roommate—halting when he sees the clothes sprawled across the floor and our naked bodies on the couch. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” 


Chapter 3


“I swear to fucking god, Avery, if that man is still here when I open my eyes I will loose my shit.” Benny crosses his arms and closes his eyes. “Five.”

I grab the throw blanket off the floor and cover myself. Benny has seen me naked more times than I can count since moving in, but that doesn’t mean I want him looking at me now. I bite my lip and push my eyebrows together, aiming for a worried look. 

Benny storming in like this probably paints me in a bad light. To be honest, though, I’m grateful he’s here. Sure another five minutes to get some clothes on would have been nice, but now I don’t have to create an excuse as to why Carter should leave. 

If he had been as great in bed as I’d hoped, we would have gone for round two a little later and maybe even round three after the sun came up. Then I would have kissed him goodbye under the guise of having a shift at the hospital, and that would have been that.

However, I do not want another round, let alone another minute, of that pathetic excuse for sex. Benny created my escape, and I’m going to take full advantage of it.

I grab Carter’s shirt off the ground and hand it to him. “You should probably go.”

“Four!” Benny snarls, on cue. 

“Who is he, Avery?” Carter pulls the condom off and wipes himself with his shirt. I almost feel bad for the guy. In his eyes, I’m probably a cheating slut. Carter’s dad cheated on his mom, causing their divorce in the eleventh grade. If he’s anything like the man I used to know, this cuts deep.

“The motherfucking man of the house.” Benny sets his hands on his hips and furrows his brows. “Three.”

I frown and look up at Carter from underneath my long lashes. “Things between Benny and I are complicated. I promise though, it’s not what you think.”

A good person would go into more detail. She would explain that Benny is her gay roommate and that she was trying—and failing—to be celibate. She would also add that he was supposed to be on a romantic weekend getaway with his boyfriend, and the house was hers until Sunday afternoon. Alas, I’m not a good person


“Imma… I’m gonna go.” Carter steps into his boxers and pants. He doesn’t bother with his shoes, instead holding them in one hand and his shirt in the other.

I wave goodbye, not wanting to stand lest it opens the floodgates to hell. That’s what Carter is, a demon cloaked in a sexy body. I was duped.

Carter walks past Benny as he counts, “One.”

I fall backward on the couch and cover my face with my arms. My front door slams, the deadbolt clicking in place. I should have heard Benny’s key turn. I should have heard the slide of metal across the strike plate. Instead, I was too in my head, pissed that Carter managed to fuck up doggystyle, and seeing red.

“I leave you alone for one weekend, and you climb onto the first pretty boy you see.” Benny huffs and sits on top of my outstretched legs. I peek under my arm to see him wrinkle his nose. “This place smells like sex.”

“Not because of me.” I grip the edge of the blanket, to keep myself covered, and sit up. Benny pushes off my legs, so I can fold them under me. My thighs ache. Apparently, I need some more leg days at the gym.

“Girl.” Benny smacks my thigh and stands. “You look like you need a glass of wine.”

“Or a bottle.” 

He crosses the living room to the kitchen and pulls out a box from the other night. With two glasses in hand, he carries it all to the couch. He hands me the long stemmed glass while he keeps the tumbler for himself. I prefer to cradle my cup between my fingers instead of gripping it. 

“What happened?” With our glasses half full, he twists and sets what’s left of the box on the end table behind him.

“I don’t know!” I take a sip of my drink, remembering how Carter’s kiss almost gave me an out-of-body experience. And then there’s his hands. Those fat fingers, sliding in and out of me. I shudder in delight, but, just like before, all tingling is sucked away with the knowledge of how horribly that perfect penis performed. “He was amazing, until his penis got involved. He went from a varsity player to little league, which sounds crazy because that man is far from little. I didn’t even come doggystyle.”

“Damn, that’s rough.” Benny sips his wine, then purses his lips. “Baby Cakes, I hate to say it, but you’re cursed.”

I groan and drop my head against the cushion. Why does the god of penises hate me? I’ve been a good girl. Giving head more than getting. Never complaining when the guy slips and pokes the back door. I just smile and remind them that’s an out hole, not an in. What horrors have I committed to deserve a never ending string of bad dick? “It feels that way.”

“There’s only one thing to do.” Benny takes my glass and sets it, along with his, beside the wine bottle. The look he gives me when his gaze finds mine again makes me wince. I know what he’s going to say. “No more sex.”

“Benny.” I groan. Bad sex is better than no sex. People do stupid things when they’ve got pent up juices. I’m a nurse. I can’t risk stupid.

“I’m serious this time, Baby Cakes. Six months with no dick, real or robotic, and your vag will be so happy to meet one again, even the worst sex will seem up to par.” 

I open my mouth to speak but Benny cuts me off. 

“I’m talking, dicks, dildos, fingers, vibrators, none of it. If it can get you off, it can get lost.”

“You’re trying to kill me.” I stand in protest and hold the blanket close to my body. 

Six months of celibacy sounds like torture. The longest I’ve gone since losing my virginity was three months. Back in New York, I would keep a guy around until feelings became a problem. They would last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before that plague hit us. And no matter how much I liked them, I cut ties before hitting the one year mark—anniversaries are recipes for disaster. I also made sure I was alone for the holidays. Even the stupid ones like St. Patrick’s Day because those are recipes for feelings too.


Because I don’t date. But just because I don’t like strings doesn’t mean I don’t like orgasms. In fact, sex is my favorite form of cardio. I’ll take thirty minutes of hard loving over a Zumba class any day.

Benny yanks at my blanket. I let it fall and cross my arms, leaving me fully exposed in the hallway.

“Your ass is getting flat.” 

My ass is perfect. A natural round most girls work hours for. I’ve had my bubble-butt since I was ten. It popped up before my boobs and, in my opinion, is my best asset. “Bite me.”

“Eh.” Benny wrinkles his nose again. “If I could get past the musky taste of vagina, I might. There’s no question you’re hot. But I’ll take the taste of dick any day over pussy.”

I roll my eyes and head towards the bathroom. I need a shower. Condoms, while a necessary evil in life for most, have a specific smell. One I personally can’t stand, but I’d rather a few minutes of stinky vag than an STD. 

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