Uninhibited (Unlikely Lovers), page 1
Unlikely Lovers Book 2
by Cheryl Brooks
Unlikely Lovers Book 2
by Cheryl Brooks
Published by Derrymane Press
Copyright 2013. Cheryl Brooks.
Cover design by Dragonfly Press Design
Cover image by Shutterstock
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. To obtain permission to excerpt portions of the text, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Table of Contents
About the Author
Cheryl Brooks Amazon Links
Too much is never enough…
Emily Carmichael sat at the stoplight staring off into space wondering what it would take to make her feel good again. She didn’t feel terrible—nothing as obvious as that—she simply didn’t feel good.
What does good even feel like?
A visit with her sister hadn’t improved her mood, nor had she expected it to. Janice was convinced her husband was cheating on her. The feeling was familiar. Emily’s most recent romance had ended when her boyfriend lost interest—in the form of his erection—during their last sexual encounter. He could’ve at least tried to fantasize about someone else to get through it. But no, he’d turned into a wet noodle just when Emily was beginning to believe he would never finish.
A kinder man wouldn’t even have attempted it. He would’ve explained that he needed to move on rather than leaving Emily feeling depressed, degraded, and convinced she had no sex appeal whatsoever.
Thanks a lot, Chad.
She glanced at the dashboard. Ten-fifteen—too late to do anything now but go home.
As the light changed to green, a flash of neon caught her eye. Not a bar—alcohol was the last thing she needed—but an ice cream parlor, open late, aglow with welcome, and crowded with happy, chattering people.
Brakes screeching, her car lurched through the turn as she headed toward the light.
After finding a parking space, she leaned back in her seat, staring at the throng of ice cream lovers queued up beyond the open door. Although the line was long, every single one of those people looked happy.
Was their mood catching? If she were to stand in that line, would she suddenly become less despondent? Surely no one was there only because they were hungry. They’d come for a treat. The question was, were they all happy before they arrived, or was it the prospect of ice cream that made them feel better? Taking a survey would make her seem strange. Then again, perhaps she was a bit strange, particularly if she thought ice cream happiness was so pervasive it would discover her sitting out there in the parking lot.
Following a quick assessment of her mood—which revealed no change whatsoever—she concluded that she had to go inside or at least get in line.
She’d been searching for the solution to her problem for some time. Depression was such an odd duck. Nothing was really wrong, nor was anything really right. At one time, she’d been passionate about a great many things. Now, she didn’t give a damn about anything.
Chad was easy enough to blame for her current state of lassitude, but she suspected he’d merely been its victim. If she didn’t give a shit about anything, why should he? No doubt he’d been compelled to escape before being dragged down by her despair. Given that she’d deflated his dick, she couldn’t really blame him. She’d left her sister no better than she’d found her, either.
Misery loves company.
Christmas was rapidly approaching, which might explain at least part of her rotten mood. Weren’t suicides more prevalent during the holidays? She’d heard that somewhere, but had never understood the reason until now. Normally, she had tons of ideas for gifts—often buying them months in advance. Not this year. The only blessing of the season thus far was that she didn’t have to buy presents for Chad. Perhaps he’d left because he couldn’t think of anything to get for her and would come back after Christmas.
Her current state made her question the need to buy gifts for anyone, especially someone she didn’t know. She didn’t even recognize the name she’d drawn in the office gift exchange. Mitch. Who the hell was Mitch? She hadn’t a clue who he was—and neither did anyone in her department. Perhaps some stranger had simply dropped his name into the pot while delivering lunch, intending to show up for the party to claim a gift, perhaps not even bothering to draw a name himself.
Such behavior was rather low, and she’d almost decided to get him a lump of coal or a bundle of switches when someone informed her that Mitch was the man who came in after hours and cleaned the office. Small wonder she’d never met him and wouldn’t have known him even if she’d passed him on the street. She certainly had no idea what he might want for Christmas.
Which was a tricky business. She might end up buying aftershave for a man with a full beard, a bottle of scotch for a teetotaler, or a subscription to Playboy for a homosexual. A Swiss Army Knife for someone who— No, anyone could use one of those, even if they already had six of them. Gift cards lacked imagination—aside from the fact that the recipient would know exactly how much she’d seen fit to spend on them.
She simply couldn’t do it this year. The only practical solution was to hire a professional shopper.
At the moment, however, ice cream was the best answer to everything.
Unlatching the door, she was about to get out of her car when the horror of actually going into the ice cream shop struck her. She would have to choose between a dozen different flavors and toppings, not to mention the type of cone or the size of the cup. She was within a hairsbreadth of giving up before she began when a voice spoke to her from above.
“Chocolate. You need chocolate.”
When her car door opened wider, she saw that she was being addressed by a man she’d never seen before. Was this Mitch come to tell her what he wanted for Christmas?
“I’ve been waiting for the end of the line to actually make it inside the door, but I don’t think it’s ever going to happen.” He held out a hand. “People keep showing up and getting ahead of me. If we’re going to get any ice cream before they close the store, we’ll have to tough it out with the rest of them.”
Although her brain seemed to be on a ten-second delay, her body ins
“You do intend to go inside, don’t you?” he inquired. “Or are you daunted by the wait?”
“A bit,” she replied. The wait wasn’t the only deterrent. Choices. Too many choices. Nonetheless, she allowed him to escort her toward the door, still wondering if he wasn’t the enigmatic Mitch, there to haunt her like the Ghost of Christmas-Yet-To-Come.
“Been out Christmas shopping and need a break?”
She gazed blankly at the pavement, barely noting that it was still covered with icy patches from last week’s snow. Paying for her inattentiveness by slipping on a slick spot, she would’ve fallen if not for his grip on her hand.
“No,” she replied as she regained her balance.
“No, you haven’t been shopping, or no, you don’t need a break?”
A break? Maybe. All she knew for sure was that she hadn’t been anywhere near a store. “No, I haven’t been shopping.”
“But you need a break.”
Conversation with him was too hard. She shook her head, instead.
She honestly couldn’t tell.
To be annoyed by an intrusion required absorption in some other activity. She shook her head again.
That one required even more thought. In the end, she decided that she would have to care about something in order to be upset by it. At the moment, she didn’t care about anything. “No.”
“Then why are you here?”
“I have absolutely no idea. It just seemed like the thing to do.”
“A spur of the moment decision?”
“Prone to sudden ice cream impulses, then?”
Something in his tone made her look up at him. In another life, she might have noticed that his eyes were twinkling. She couldn’t reply to him, instead posing the only question she seemed capable of asking at the time. “Your name isn’t Mitch, is it?”
“No.” He seemed to consider this for a moment. “Should I have lied? Is my being Mitch important to you?”
“Not really. I have to buy him a gift, and I don’t know him from Adam.”
Still holding her hand, he tucked it beneath his arm as they joined the queue for ice cream. “Is he a homeless person? Someone whose name you pulled off the Christmas tree in the mall?”
“No. I know who he is—he cleans our office—but I’ve never seen him before.”
He seemed puzzled by this. “And you thought I was Mitch because…?”
She shrugged. “No clue. I just thought you might be him.”
“And what to get for Mitch has you completely stymied.” He nodded. “Which is enough to drive anyone to ice cream in the middle of winter.”
Her outlook brightened instantly. This man understood her, despite the fact that she hadn’t been able to figure it out herself. Which brought up another question. “Why are you here?”
“I had an overwhelming craving for a Jamocha Fudge Indulgence, so here I am.”
“Get those often?”
He winced. “Too often.”
Emily didn’t see that as a problem since he wasn’t the least bit fat. Quite skinny, really. “Oh?”
“It’s hard to explain. I get…lonely. And when I get lonely, I need to be where there are lots of other people with odd cravings.”
“You’re lonely, then?”
He hadn’t gotten his ice cream yet—or made it inside the door. Her befuddled brain couldn’t make it out. “How come—”
“I’m with you,” he reminded her. “We’re in line together and might even share a table—if we can get one. No, not lonely anymore.”
He sounded quite cheerful, and his eyes were twinkling again. Slate blue, they would probably seem icy when he was angry, and yet somehow they sparkled. She liked looking at them, even if he was sort of strange, not to mention actually being a stranger. A lonely stranger. An overly chummy, ice cream-seeking stranger. She should be wary of him, but for some reason, she wasn’t. Perhaps it was those twinkling eyes.
“You must not be too choosy,” she said carelessly. “After all, I’m just someone who got lost in the parking lot.”
His bemused smile touched off a wave of warm tingles. “You didn’t seem lost. You seemed...reluctant.”
“I was.” She peered up at him, studying his face. He wasn’t devastatingly handsome, yet he was comfortable to look at, his expressions changing enough with each emotion to hold her interest. “So, you’re lonely, and I’m reluctant.”
“But not anymore,” he reiterated. “I got you out of your car, so you can’t be reluctant any longer. And you’re here with me, so I’m not lonely.”
Emily nodded. “There’s a country song in that.”
“It even rhymes. Now that you’re here with me, I’m not lo-o-one-lee…We could be songwriters together—although the fact that I’m tone deaf might be a bit of a deterrent.”
If that one line was any indication, he couldn’t sing, either. “So if I were to burst into song right now, you wouldn’t realize how bad a singer I am?”
His smile broadened to a grin. “I’d be completely oblivious. Isn’t that great?”
Emily was still trying to work out why being tone deaf and oblivious was something to be happy about when he took a step forward, getting a little too close for comfort.
He pointed behind her. “Line’s moving.”
Although a glance over her shoulder confirmed that statement, they were still six people from the door and there were at least ten more lined up inside the store. “This is gonna take forever.”
“Probably,” he agreed. “But it’s worth it.”
There were three people behind the counter, which was fortunate considering they had to mush all the ingredients together before serving it and then move over to work the cash register. Waiting in line should’ve allowed Emily enough time to decide what she wanted. Unfortunately, in her current state, that decision could take hours. Her new friend had said she needed chocolate, which was a given in almost any situation, but Emily had never dreamed so many different versions of chocolate existed. Milk, mint, mocha, dark, fudge…
“Overwhelming, isn’t it?” His lips were right next to her ear. “I can never decide until I’m right there, staring the girl in the eyes, and she asks me what I want.”
“Do you even bother to look, or does it come to you out of the blue?”
“Oh, I look,” he replied. “I just don’t make a decision. It has to be spontaneous.” His emphasis on the word gave it a connotation that went beyond mere timing, bordering on mystical. “If you think about it too much, it loses its effect.”
“And that effect would be...?”
“Orgasmic.” He stretched out the word as well as his arms in an expansive gesture, as though the ice cream orgasm would encompass the entire planet.
“Orgasmic, huh?” Emily hadn’t had a climactic response to anything in such a long time she wasn’t sure she’d recognize one if it hit her right between the thighs. Her only hope was that he would notice what was happening and keep her informed. “Chocolate is supposed to have that effect. It’s never seemed that way to me, though.”
“Maybe your regular orgasms are better than anyone else’s,” he suggested. “Chocolate might have a hard time measuring up.”
All this talk made her wish she’d ignored her impulse and kept driving. She could be home now, snug and warm in her little house, not standing out in the cold with a man who could climax from eating ice cream. She gave him a weak smile then gazed longingly at her car, wrapping her jacket more tightly around herself.
Why would anyone with any sense at all be doing thi
“Are you cold?” Unzipping his coat, he held it open. “Leather is a whole lot better than fleece for blocking the wind. Want to share it with me?”
Emily stood gaping at him for a long moment until she realized what he was actually offering to share.
She’d almost forgotten what that felt like. The millions of reasons for walking away were suddenly outweighed by the need to feel, to touch…
Turning around, she took a step backward into his arms and was immediately enveloped in warmth so profound it stole her breath.
“Isn’t that better? Now we can stand here, pretending to be sweethearts, and I won’t be lonely and you won’t be cold.”
She couldn’t vouch for his loneliness, but he was right about one thing. She wasn’t cold anymore. She felt…
Standing there in his embrace with his body pressed up against her back had triggered an endorphin rush similar to taking a bite of a chocolate cheesecake. She took a moment to savor the feeling before some inner demon prompted her to ask, “Are you pretending to be my sweetheart to make someone else jealous?”
“No, should I be?”
“Not necessarily,” she replied. “But it is a possibility.”
“I really hate being alone,” he explained. “Unfortunately, I’ve been alone for a long time now.”
His deep inhalation pressed his chest against her back, followed by a warm sigh that tickled her neck. “I tend to run people off because I need them so much. They get annoyed after a while.”
She could understand that. He’d already done enough space invading to drive some women right up the wall. “So you eliminate loneliness by plucking strange women out of their cars late at night and pretending to be sweethearts with them?”
“I’ve never done this before. You seemed...understanding.”
How a totally neutral expression could have been mistaken for an understanding one escaped her. “Understanding? I was just sitting out there in my car. How understanding is that?”