I need you here standalo.., p.1
I Need You Here: Standalone, HEA, Erotica Contemporary Romance, Suspense Romance, BDSM, Dominant Alpha Male, Action & Adventure Romance, page 1
I Need You Here – Need #3
Copyright 2015 by Cynthia P. O’Neill. All rights reserved.
First Print Edition: August 2015
Formatting: Champagne Formats
Editing: Lori Garside
Cover Photo: Eric Battershell Photography
Cover Model: Mat Wolf
Cover Designer: Randy Potvin of RP Designs
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons – living or dead – is entirely coincidental.
Table of Contents
I Need You Too, Need #4
About the Author
I Need You Always
I Need You Now
A Learning Series
Learning to Trust
Learning to Let Go
Learning to Love Again
I Need You Here – Need # 3
The songs can be found out on Spotify:
“Lips Are Movin” by Meghan Trainor
“I Want You to Know” by Zedd with Selena Gomez
“Heartbeat Song” by Kelly Clarkson
“Stronger” (What Doesn’t Kill Us) by Kelly Clarkson
“What is Love” by Haddaway
“Take a Chance on Me” by Erasure
“The Best Thing” by Savage Garden
“Never Gonna Be Alone” by Nickelback
“Along Together” by Fall Out Boy
“Honey, I’m Good” by Andy Grammar
“We’ll be a Dream” by We the Kings featuring Demi Lovato
“Jealous” by Nick Jonas
To the most incredible husband a woman could ever hope to dream of, my husband Craig. You inspire not only my world, but many of the characters I write about. You are my soul mate. Thank you for believing in me!
I’d also like to dedicate this book to the talented individuals who helped in some way, shape, or form, to bring this book to life. And to the readers who keep needing more of the Need Series - without all of you these books would not exist.
I WAS AT MY wits’ end. I’d given my brother, Dane, flack for falling in love at first sight with Marissa; then my cousin, Gianna, for longing for a man with whom she’d had only one perfect night. I should’ve paid more attention, because they both were now living happily with their soulmates, while all my calls and gifts were being refused by the one girl who’d captured my heart and soul.
Earlier that afternoon, I’d called Dane, to see if I could come over to talk to his wife, since the woman I adored was her former college roommate. He and Marissa were out gift shopping for a wedding gift for her brother, Nate’s, upcoming nuptials to my cousin. He’d mentioned they might be a little late getting back and said to go ahead and let myself in.
I was sipping a beer when I heard the commotion. “How much stuff does a little baby need in the first couple of months? This seems like a lot.”
“I’m just following what this book says to buy.” I watched as she pulled the list out of her purse and handed it to him. She placed her hand on the small of her back and waddled toward the kitchen. “Just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean I suddenly know what I should and shouldn’t buy. I’m just as lost as you are, darling.”
She stopped short when she saw me sitting at the bar. “Hey, Rafe. You look like shit. Dawn still not answering your calls?”
It was funny. The normal, shy and sweet Marissa had lost her verbal filter as her pregnancy progressed.
I shook my head. “She’s refusing my phone calls. Hell, she’s refused delivery of the flowers, candy, and every other gift I’ve tried to give her.”
I looked at my sister in-law with pleading eyes. “That’s why I’m here. I don’t know what to do. I need your help since you know her best.”
Marissa came around the bar and sat down next to me. “Pour me a glass of orange juice, and we’ll talk.”
I never realized how much strain having a baby put on the human body. My respect for women was growing by leaps and bounds, especially for my mom. Marissa was mid-way through her seventh month and looked ready to pop at any moment.
I set the glass of orange juice down in front of her and watched her gulp it down. “That hit the spot. The baby and I thank you.”
She turned toward me, obviously confused by Dawn’s recent behavior. “What’s going on with you two? You were all she ever talked about after graduation. I’m guessing you hooked up shortly after that, because her interest in you seemed to spike. I thought for sure you’d be dating after our wedding, but she won’t even allow your name to be said anywhere near her. What the hell happened?”
I raised my arms up and shrugged my shoulders, “That’s just it. I don’t know.” I started picking at the beer label. “I know I’m in love with her. Don’t ask me how, I just do. It doesn’t matter that she lives in Atlanta and I’m here in Orlando. I’ll do anything to make it work. I was smitten the moment I laid eyes on her at your graduation. We exchanged numbers, and talked for hours on end about anything and everything.”
I shook my head and took a deep breath in, really feeling uncomfortable about expressing my feelings to my sister-in-law. “We decided to go out on a couple of dates when she came back for Ashley’s wedding.”
“Did you get along okay?”
“Yeah. I made it a point to take her to the places she wanted to go, trying to fulfill every whim and fantasy.” I felt the tension increase in the back of my neck, so I reached up and tried to rub it away.
“I don’t feel right talking to you about the next part,” I admitted sheepishly.
She laid her hand on my arm. “Honey, your family is part owner of a club that specializes in depravity. I’m getting to the point where nothing much fazes me about sex.”
A smile spread across her face, as though she remembered something funny. “When I was confused about my feelings with Dane, who’d you think I talked to? Dawn. She told me to re-read some of my steamier romances and asked if I was having similar feelings and fantasies as the characters. After reading a few by my favorite authors, I’d realized I’d be
I clapped my hands over my ears and shut my eyes tightly, and snorted, “TMI, sis, TMI! I don’t need to know that much.” Then again, that seemed to be where our problems started. Why hadn’t I seen it before?
I snapped my fingers. “Wait a minute. That’s when this all started. When she was here for Ashley’s wedding we’d gotten close, but she wasn’t ready to take it to the next level, so I didn’t push. But when she came back for yours —”
“What happened, Rafe?” Dane asked as he walked in, overhearing the conversation.
“I think I might have scared her.” I had no clue. I wasn’t really sure what happened. I tried replaying the weekend in my head.
“Elaborate,” they said within seconds of one another.
“I took her back to the condo after you left for your honeymoon. She seemed a bit agitated, so I figured we’d have a drink, talk, and catch up on our lives. Our schedules had conflicted over the last month, so we never had much time to chat; and any time we did, she was extremely moody, like something was bothering her, but she refused to express what it was.”
I took another swig of my beer and stared off into space. “She seemed antsy and unable to sit still. She constantly looked over her shoulder until we got to my place. I was surprised when she made the first move and kissed me. You know how it is. I’m a Dom, and was uncomfortable with her taking the lead, so I used my tie to bind her hands together and took possession of her mouth and her body.
“I asked if she was sure she was ready for what I wanted — we’d talked about having sex and what our preferences were. She claimed she wanted to see what BDSM really entailed and what the lifestyle might be like after reading about it in romance novels.”
Marissa piped up. “Rafe, you didn’t?”
I threw my hands up in frustration. “Hey, don’t go accusing me of any wrong doing, not before you hear me out. The night was completely consensual. I didn’t do anything without continually checking to see what level we were on using the stop light system. She kept telling me she was at green.”
“How intense did it get?” Dane asked, looking confused.
I shrugged my shoulders. “To me, it was very tame. I tied her to the bed, used my hand to pink up her ass a bit, used a lightweight flogger on her stomach and inner thighs, but nothing heavy.” The scene we’d created flashed before me and I got hard just thinking about it, causing me to shift uncomfortably and adjust myself.
“Dawn loved everything that I tried and kept asking for more. When I finally took her, I felt — I felt —” I shook my head because I was at a loss for words. I didn’t know how to describe it. I was glad I wasn’t this tongue tied when I entered into contract and legal negotiations, or our dad would fire my ass.
Marissa’s phone rang, breaking my train of thought. “Hold on, I need to move to another room.”
I grabbed Marissa’s arm as she passed me, and whispered, “If that’s her, could you please convince her to talk to me?” She just held her hand up and walked away.
I got up to follow her, but Dane clamped his hand down on my shoulder. “Hold on, Romeo. Pushing Dawn too hard, too quickly, will only make her run further in the opposite direction. I should know. It took me months to gain Marissa’s trust.”
He pulled out the stool she’d been sitting on and took a seat beside me, smiling. “You had the feeling that night, didn’t you?”
I wasn’t quite sure what he was talking about and looked at him like he’d grown two heads. “Huh?”
He laughed. “Since you can’t put it into words, my guess is you did. It’s different for everyone. For Marissa and me, it felt like our souls linked up in a single, fiery, passionate moment. Our lives became inexorably entwined; not only with each other, but with the world. I became totally obsessed with making her mine. It was a constant echo in my mind … ‘mine’, over and over. It scared the shit out of me at first, but the more time we spent together, the more I realized she was it for me. I knew that I’d never want anyone else.”
I slammed my hand down on the counter. “That’s it! Christ, that’s exactly what it was! Even before that night I knew she was it for me. Having sex just confirmed my need for her. I’ve never been with anyone whose responses had been so intense. I felt like my soul was being sucked from me.”
“Bro, it’s called love.”
I tipped the bottle back to get the last sip of beer, then headed over to the refrigerator to grab two more, handing one to Dane.
“I told her I thought I was falling for her that night and wanted to start dating exclusively. She seemed fine, at first. Then, the next morning, I woke up … and poof — she was gone. She’s avoided me ever since.”
I held my breath and waited for my brother to impart some kind of wisdom, but he had nothing. “I wish I knew what to tell you, but I don’t.”
We sat there in silence, until I heard footsteps and looked up to see Marissa looking perplexed.
Dane asked, “Everything all right, sweetheart?”
She shook her head. “No.” She glanced in my direction. “That was Dawn. Something’s definitely wrong. She was crying, but wouldn’t tell me anything, except that she needed to get away from work and Atlanta for a while. She asked if she could stay with us, at least through Gianna’s wedding and my baby shower — maybe longer.”
I walked over and grabbed both of her hands, begging for an answer. “Please, tell me she’s coming, that I’ll get a chance to talk with her?” I felt desperate.
Marissa nodded and gave my brother a questioning look. “She offered to help around our house in exchange for room and board. Something’s off … seriously off. She’s never sounded so desperate to get away from anywhere as she did today.”
Her eyes landed on me. “She doesn’t want you to know she’s in town, but I feel that would be a big mistake. It’s obvious you care about her. You’ve been pining away for her the past several months.”
She laughed a bit. “You’ve pissed off most of the women in our sales department. They’d hoped, since Dane was off the market, that they’d have a chance to land you. However, they’ve been complaining that you’ve made it clear you’re not interested in the least. My God, the whining when you made it clear you wouldn’t even join them for coffee — well, if I didn’t understand their disappointment I’d laugh.”
I had no clue anyone was even interested in me. “The only one I want is Dawn. She’s it for me. My bachelor card has been punched and put back on the shelf, if she’ll ever talk to me. I need her, Marissa.”
To emphasize my point I grabbed the area above my heart. “If I had her here in front of me, I’d tell her, ‘I. Need. You. Here!’ My heart feels completely destroyed without her. What can I do to win her back?”
I hated sounding desperate, but I needed to explore every option — find the problem, then hope we can start fresh. Use our reconciliation to start afresh, and build a foundation from there. I’d always taken life so seriously, focused solely on work or who’d be my latest hook-up, until I met her. I had never cared about relationships, only my next conquest. Meeting her made me see things that I’d been blind to previously. I’d never given any thought to settling down or finding anyone. I had never needed anything or anyone, but I needed Dawn.
Dane came up behind Marissa and draped his arm across her shoulders. “I hope you told her she’s welcome here anytime.”
I needed to know. “When will she arrive?”
My brother put his hand on my shoulder, making me focus on what he was about to say. “Give her some space. Let’s let Dawn settle in, get comfortable, and see if she’ll open up to Marissa. She might not talk to anyone if she finds out you know she’s in town; especially since she wanted to go unnoticed. It sounds like she’s dealing with some issues and feels backed into a corner. The last thing she needs is for you to make her feel claustrophobic. That might drive her away permanently.”
I didn’t like it one bit, but
“I’ll catch you later. I need to drop off some paperwork to Dad.”
They both wished me good-bye, reminded me that relationships take time, and if it’s meant to be, it would happen. We’d seen that first hand with Nate and Gianna.
I was halfway out the door when I remembered our mom wanted to know if they were coming to the family dinner tomorrow night. I’d only taken two steps back in the house when I heard Dane say, “I hope she’s not bringing trouble right to our doorstep. We don’t need you or our baby in any danger.”
Marissa countered. “She’s my best friend, Dane. I’m the only one she can turn to. She needs our help. We have to help her hide.”
I didn’t know what kind of trouble Dawn was in, or whom she was running from, but something was definitely wrong. I’d do whatever it took to keep her safe, even if it meant protecting her with my life!
“YOU DON’T FUCKING OWN me!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. I cocked my arm to slap Liam across the face, hoping to break the tight grip he had on my arm.
He squeezed harder and he backed me up against the wall. “I own everything about you, bitch. I went out on a limb to get you hired, make you my assistant, and provide you all of this!” Liam screamed at me. “For all intents and purposes, you are MINE, Dawn!”
I’d been so naïve, a fool really, to believe all my dreams had come true — and then some. I’d learned the hard way, that when it seems too good to be true, it usually is. I’d made a huge error in judgment leaving Orlando to take my dream job, offering me a salary I never could have imagined possible, with the promise of quick advancement. I’d been stupid to think that I’d have everything I’d ever wanted. My dream had become my nightmare.
“I’m not yours. You don’t own me.” I argued.
by Cynthia P. O'Neill have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes