I'll Do Anything, page 1part #1 of Jasper and Finley Series
Published by Wildbloom Press
Copyright © 2014
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, any place, events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Dedicated to my boys, Ayden and Tristan
Table of Contents
Every once in a while, the realization that I've committed myself to just one person makes me break out in hives. I'm not talking marriage or rings or promises of forever; those are concepts that I refuse to even discuss. Simple commitment—dating one person, and one person only—can be enough to send me into a cold sweat.
It doesn't happen every hour of every day, or I wouldn't be in a certified 'relationship' with my best friend and cohort, Jasper Lowe. The crisis strikes at odd times, on weird days, with no apparent rhyme or reason. Suddenly, I've got my back to the wall, fighting off a panic attack, desperate to call Jasper and tell him I can't do it anymore. It's ridiculous, however, because Jasper and I have been best friends since childhood. He knows me better than I know myself. We grew up together, know everything about each other, and moved in together when we ventured forth from our dusty little home town to the striking city of Las Vegas. I lean on him, trust him, and know without a doubt that he always has my best interests at heart. He was the one who taught me how to change spark plugs, fought bullies in my honor, and never failed to bring me Boston Baked Beans on my birthday. Jasper anticipates me, cherishes me, terrorizes me and usually picks up on any freak out sessions before they get totally out of hand. Jasper can talk me down with his casual gestures and laid back ways, reminding me that there's nothing scary about us 'dating' exclusively or living together, which we did long before we accidentally got more personally involved.
Our friendship had been platonic until five months ago, when Fate decided to whack me upside the head with an ironic dose of reality. That person I pestered, badgered, harassed and played pranks on suddenly became my Significant Other. In some ways, Jasper has been my Significant Other for as long as I can remember. That's how it is when you're attached at the hip with another human being. You do everything together, go everywhere with one another, up to and including plans for your future that initially had nothing to do with love and commitment.
What's also ironic is that I was the one who chased Jasper down after he confessed how he felt and asked him to stay. To give me time to get comfortable with commitment.
Now here we were, renting an old house in an old neighborhood, getting by as best we could. It wasn't an enormous house, just a modest one story with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Compared to the tiny studio we'd rented all of last year, it felt like a mansion. We'd upgraded our hand-me-down furniture for something less ragged and more suitable for the earth toned colors on the walls. Except for the retro-red kitchen table with the shiny surface and silver trim. That was one piece of nostalgia I couldn't part with when we moved in on January second.
Today was the fourth and a special day by all counts. To celebrate Jasper's twenty-second birthday, I got up before dawn to make his favorite breakfast of all time: blueberry waffles with scads of whipped cream. Because we've been saving money to open our own mechanic shop, we go light on birthdays and holidays. Instead of lavish parties, we try to do something memorable and fun.
Using a hip, I bumped open our bedroom door, balancing the tray in both hands. Unlike the bedroom in our old studio, this one had more than enough space for a queen bed, a highboy and two nightstands. Nothing overdone or too expensive, but better than what we'd had.
Jasper, sprawled flat on his back with his arms flung wide, snored loud enough to wake the dead.
“Wake up, sleepy-head! Happy birthday!” I shouted, pleased when Jasper jerked beneath the sheets and sat straight up in bed. His hair stood on end, going this way and that, except for the familiar shank of hair that always wound up falling across his forehead. The sun-streaks from summer had faded, leaving the strands more brown than blonde.
“Is that necessary?” he said, grousing while he rubbed sleep from one eye. The white sheets pooled around his naked hips, barely covering everything below and beneath.
“Yes. I made your favorite. Blueberry waffles and tons of whipped cream. Shock of all shocks, I didn't burn the waffles.” Setting the tray on the mattress, I slid onto the surface of the bed and folded my legs beneath me, lotus style. As usual, I wore a pair of his pajama pants. Blue and green plaid, with the elastic loose around my thinner waist. I'd heisted one of his white tee shirts, too, and it hung straight from my shoulders to my thighs. I preferred his clothing to mine most of the time.
For a moment, I allowed myself the luxury of staring at Jasper's bare chest. Built lean and strong, with a swell of muscle along his biceps, skin a light golden color left over from the bronzed gold it turned after an entire season spent outdoors, he looked healthy and handsome. After spending the better part of my life staring at Jasper in only platonic ways, I was sometimes still surprised at how my attraction to him had blossomed in these latter months.
Squinting at me with one eye half shut, Jasper studied my face, yawned, then reached for the plate. “Where's yours?”
“I had regular waffles. You know blueberry aren't my favorite.”
“I would have eaten regular, too. Better than eating alone.” His expression shifted into feigned self pity.
Laughing, I scooped a dollop of whipped cream onto my finger—then flicked it at his face. It landed on his cheek, right next to his nose. I said, “Don't even start with the puppy dog eyes. It doesn't work. Hasn't worked since we were kids.”
“You come here and lick it off,” he said, curling a come-hither finger at me.
“It's sliding down your cheek. No.”
“How is that any different from when you kiss my skin? It's not, except now it's sweeter. Lick it off.”
“Just eat and stop complaining. There's a napkin on the tray. Wipe the whipped cream off.”
“You want to lean over here and lick it off so bad. I can tell.” He switched from mock threats to taunting. The dollop slipped to a spot just above his jaw.
Of course he was right. I wanted to lick it off. I wanted to do a lot of other things, too, but if I indulged my whims, we wouldn't ever leave the house. And I had plans. Plans that involved a surprise day off of work.
“Eat. Hurry up,” I said, goading him to action.
“You shouldn't deny me on my birthday. It's rude,” Jasper retorted, pulling the plate of pancakes onto his lap. He used the napkin to smear away the whipped cream, staring pointedly at me the whole time. His blue eyes gleamed with mischief.
“I'll lick you later,” I promised with a cheeky grin. He could infer that any way he wanted to. Like a typical man, he suddenly smiled in triumph and picked up the fork. Cutting into the pancakes, he stuffed an overlarge bite into his mouth.
“You really didn't burn the--” Jasper's muffled comment faded as the p
“No, I didn't.” Unfurling from the bed, I scrambled to my feet and padded back out to the living room. Sunlight streaked in through the windows, creating squares of white on the beige carpet. Had I been more of a girly type girl, I might have played hopscotch on the way to the phone. Being the tomboy that I was, I marched straight to the handset. No nonsense, no muss and fuss. Answering at the beginning of the third ring, I said, “Hello?”
“Hello?” I said again, frowning at the floor. No one said anything, yet I could hear the black hiss of an open line. Someone was on the other end. Waiting. Listening. Breathing.
“Look, if this is a prank call--” I grunted when the line clicked and went dead. A moment after that, the dial tone returned. Pulling the handset away from my cheek, I stared at it, then settled it back into the charger.
“Who was that?” Jasper called from the bedroom, once again with a full mouth.
“Wrong number, I guess,” I said, pivoting away from the counter.
“Wasn't someone for a mechanic job?”
“No. And even if it was,” I said on my way to the bedroom, “I wouldn't accept the job. Not today.”
“We always accept the jobs, Fin.” Jasper had eaten at least three quarters of the pancakes by the time I returned.
“Not today,” I insisted. Distracted by the phone call, I didn't see the wad of whipped cream until it hit me on the forehead. Pausing mid-stride, mouth agape, I stared at Jasper. He wore a smug, self-satisfied grin in line with a cat who ate the canary. All he was missing was a feather between his lips.
“Tit for tat,” he retorted.
Turning on a heel, I smeared the cream off my forehead with my fingers and onto his pajama pants. Not all of the cream came off of course, but that didn't matter. I got the bulk of it, the part that would have seeped down through my eyebrows, leaked past my lashes and gotten into my eyes. In the kitchen, I opened the refrigerator. With a quick grab, I snatched up a can of whipped cream and shook it vigorously on the way back to the bedroom.
Jasper was even then stuffing another huge bite of pancakes into his mouth, cheeks bulging. Spying the can, he suddenly dumped the plate on the nightstand and, laughing, dove beneath the sheets.
That wouldn't save him.
Not by a long shot.
A battle cry split the air as I bounced on the bed and yanked the sheets away from his shoulder. Straddling his hips, I shook the can, preparing to douse him head to toe. In the next instant, he shot his hands out to grapple with mine, attempting to wrest the can into his possession. A wild spray of cream arced through the air, landing on the faux leather headboard, his pillow and the far nightstand.
“Premature ejaculation,” Jasper announced with a rumble of distracted laughter.
Humor made me weak. I laughed, too, my arms buckling from the stronger pressure of his. I managed to spray him with a stream before he liberated the can and turned it back on me.
Other girls squealed and screamed. Not me. Not Finley Carson. I took it like the tomboy I was, hands out in front to 'catch' as much whipped cream as I could. Most of it landed on my face, his shirt and in the layers of my sleep-mussed hair. He ditched the can to free his hands up for a smear fight. I squawked when he rubbed the cream into my scalp and retaliated by smearing it all over his bare chest and up his nose.
The next thing I knew we were face to face, breaths panting in and out between our parted lips. I stared at his eyes. He stared at mine. Jasper had these interesting gold flecks scattered through the blue of his iris that I'd never paid much attention to growing up. Now, they fascinated me.
Running his hands up my back, he pulled me closer. Close enough that I could feel the heat of his mouth just before we kissed. The sweet residue of whipped cream added to the masculine taste I'd come to know as distinctively Jasper's. He tangled his tongue with mine, skimming his shirt up my body and over my head. Our mouths parted just long enough to discard the garment before locking together again. Between the apex of my thighs, through the thin barrier of the sheet and the pajama pants, I felt the proof of his arousal. A hard brand I rubbed and rolled my hips against, eliciting a groan he spilled past my lips.
With deft but subtle motions, Jasper eased the pajama pants down, rolling me backwards until my spine met the covers. It allowed him to straighten my legs and slide the pants completely away. He parted my legs with a sleek twist of his pelvis and I opened willingly. Because I knew he liked it, I scraped my nails down his back when he thrust inside with unapologetic intensity.
Arching, growling, he swooped in for another kiss, one large hand cupping and kneading a breast until I squirmed. He knew just how much pressure to use on the nipple before pleasure turned to pain. The expert strokes he built me up with consisted of alternating slaps and slow penetration. Jasper explored my mouth in time to the pace of his lovemaking, bringing me close to the edge of an orgasm before easing away, driving me a little insane. To hear his snarls and rumbled praise, I drove him a little bit insane, too.
Cruising my palms over the hard muscles of his back, I nipped his lip and cried out when his thrusts switched to a steady pound that knocked our bodies together in all the right ways. Faster, harder, longer. We made eye contact in the heat of it and that was as electrifying as my rush toward climax.
“I love you, Fin. Do you hear me?” he rasped, the words jarring past his lips.
If I'd known then that it would be the last time I heard those words from his mouth before disaster struck, I would have told him I loved him back.
The pleasant ache our union left behind lasted well into the afternoon. As part of Jasper's birthday present, we drove through Red Rock Canyon, a thirteen mile excursion with views of natural rock walls and sandstone peaks. Scenic and peaceful, we cruised the highway and stopped to take pictures against the reddish desert backdrop. We even paused to hike up one of the shorter trails, vacant of tourists, and sat on a semi-flat rock to appreciate the vista. The air was crisp and fresh this early in January, the temperature hovering in the low fifties. Small burros infested the area, and we were set upon by a handful of inquisitive beasts who nosed around our bodies for treats. We knew better than to feed them, but that didn't prevent us from stealing a pet or two along a velvety muzzle. I snapped another few pictures of Jasper reclining like a king into a natural rock niche before we continued our journey.
After the canyon, I took Jasper to a well known chocolate factory where we toured the facility and indulged in sample after sample of chocolatey delights. It wasn't Boston Baked Beans, I joked, but it would do.
In the early evening, after another impromptu round of sex and showers, we changed into comfortable clothes for the last surprise of the day. Like me, Jasper chose a faded pair of denim and nondescript cotton coupled with lace up boots. When we decided on casual, we meant really casual. No suits or ties or high heels, thank you very much.
As I watched Jasper straighten his pant leg once he'd tied off the laces, the creeping nervousness about commitment and longevity faded. The sensation had come on strong after our shower, set off by God knows what, but the mundane task of dressing and bantering eased my mind.
“...because if you'd just tell me what we're doing—why are you looking at me like that?” Jasper asked.
Blinking out of my reverie, I said, “Like what?”
“Like that.” Jasper pointed at my face, like that would help me understand better.
I understood well enough anyway. “I don't know what you're talking about.” Deny, deny, distract.
He snorted. “Are you getting skitchy again?”
Skitchy was his term for the pre-freakout nerves I sometimes displayed. “Actually, I was thinking that this isn't so bad. It's been a good day, you know? Relaxing and fun and we didn't have to spend a ton of money or rent tuxedos and dresses to do it.” That wasn't the entire truth, but it was honest.
That time, I snorted. So unladylike. “Haven't you had enough yet?”
“Do you even have to ask that question?” He led the way through the house. Outside, he tugged his keys from a pocket.
I followed, taking in the rather nice view that was Jasper's backside. “There's always a first time.”
“Who are you kidding?” Jasper laughed, unlocking the driver's side door. “I'm surprised you haven't dragged me back inside yet.”
Flipping a length of my hair over my shoulder, I rounded the front of the Camaro and waited by the passenger door for Jasper to unlock it from the inside. “I'm a pristine virgin flower, Jasper, how dare you say such a thing.”
Guffawing, he slid into the seat and immediately leaned over to snap up the lock. When I was inside and buckled, he said, “For the record, you don't do uppity well.”
“And you don't do gentlemanly well. I was expecting you to open my door for me.” Not by a long shot, but I was amused and continued to play our banter game.
“What, and have you pass out cold in the driveway?” Jasper started the engine and pulled onto the street.
“You never know. I might like it.”
After a loud scoff, Jasper added, “You'd take to proper etiquette like a duck in a mud pit.”
“All right then,” he said, throwing down a challenge. “Let's go out tomorrow night. Formal wear, classy nightclub, black tie--”
“....you in a dress with sequins and sparkles and five inch heels--”
“No.” I looked sideways, eyes widening when he started to grin. I knew what was coming. The 'dare' word, the one that never failed to get me into trouble. “And if you even think of daring me right now, you won't get sex for a month.” That should fix him.
“Yeah, that's what I thought, Miss you never know, I might like it.” He smirked in triumph.
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