She swallowed hard. She couldn’t believe the attraction, the desire she felt for C.J. just from his touch. It shocked her speechless, until he started moving toward her as if he might kiss her. She quickly turned away and lifted her sandwich. “It’s a story, C.J. Everyone can make another person smile if they just take the time to do it. It wasn’t a big deal,” she said and took a bite of sandwich even though she felt nervous and excited. This was a mistake. To be friendly with him. To know that he more than likely just wanted to share her with his brothers. Her stomach felt like she was eating rocks instead of food. She placed the sandwich down and then took a sip of her drink. Then C.J. placed his hand on her lower back.
“Why didn’t you show up at Spencer’s last night?” he asked her.
She swallowed hard and tried not to fidget or jump off the bench just because C.J. was touching her again.
“What do you mean? I wasn’t planning on going.”
“Hunter mentioned that he told you he was going. You told him your sister was attending and that they wanted you to go see the band play.”
“I don’t know. I don’t like crowds,” she said and looked away from him.
He scooted closer as he stood up and straddled the bench seat. His knees were touching her legs. He had his hand on her waist and she turned toward him, surprised by his bold behavior and shocked at how she felt being touched by him.
“Don’t be scared of me. God, Caroline, you look as white as a ghost, and as if you think I could hurt you. My gut clenches with concern about you and about your reaction, but damn it, I like you. I want to get to know you and so do my brothers.”
She shook her head and lowered her eyes. “No,” she said and clasped her hands on her lap.
“Look at me, baby.” His tone of voice and his warm breath against her cheek had her looking up at him and those gorgeous blue eyes.
“I don’t know where you’ve been, or who hurt you, or made you mistrust people, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to try real hard to make you smile.”
“Why are you doing this?” she asked him.
He squinted his eyes at her and reached up to caress near the not-so-swollen bump on her forehead. She cringed.
“I just want to be alone,” she whispered.
“I don’t think you do.” He licked his lower lip and scooted closer. He was way bigger than her even sitting on the bench and he smelled really good, too. So when he reached up and cupped her cheek, she froze and stared into his blue eyes.
“Tell me something, Caroline. Be honest. Please,” he said to her and she swallowed hard. She absorbed his firm jaw, the sincerity in his eyes, and also how charismatic he was. He represented her greatest fear, a man with a gun in uniform. A man with large hands that would surely hurt something terrible when they made contact with her body. She shivered and the tears filled her eyes.
“Oh, baby, you’re hurting. Honestly tell me that you don’t like me. That you aren’t interested, even a little in me. Tell me you don’t feel this attraction. That it doesn’t have you the least bit curious to see if it’s something worth taking a risk for.” He used his thumb to gently brush along her cheek and she felt under a spell of sorts.
“It.” She was about to force the words from her lips. That it wasn’t anything and that she didn’t feel anything but then he leaned closer and pressed his lips to her bare shoulder. His lips felt like they singed her skin and she closed her eyes.
He pressed his lips to her cheek and it felt so sweet, so compassionate. She hadn’t even realized a tear leaked from her eye until his thumb pressed it away. That instantly brought her back to reality. Her eyes popped open and C.J. stopped her from taking off.
“Don’t run. I get it now. You don’t even have to tell me anything right now. Someone hurt you, but the past is the past. He can’t hurt you anymore.”
He lifted her cast up and held her fingers, bringing them to his lips. He kissed each one as he held her gaze.
“Friends first, Caroline. You’ll see that I can be trusted. That I’m not like him, and nor are my brothers.”
“I just want to be left alone. Please, C.J. It won’t work. I can’t give you anything.”
He smiled softly. “You just did, whether you realize it or not. You just did by letting me close, by giving in to the power of this attraction and letting go in the magic of our connection. It was raw and it was real, but ultimately, it’s a beginning. Our beginning, Caroline. Let’s finish up lunch and I’ll walk you back. After all, I don’t want to be responsible for you missing out on any other opportunities to do your princess work.”
He winked and then eased back and took a sip of his ice tea. Caroline sat there speechless, wondering what exactly just happened and how the hell she was going to fix it.
“Hey, Caroline, do you know any self-defense moves?” he asked her.
“Me? No, why?”
“Oh I was just thinking that sometimes when people learn some self-defense moves it boosts their confidence and also lessens their own fears. Would you like to learn some?” he asked.
She looked up at Hunter. “Go ahead. I’ll be in in a minute,” he told her and she smiled.
C.J. headed into the living room. He took off his shoes and Caroline followed by slipping off her heels.
“Okay, so what do you do if someone comes charging at you like this?” he asked and stepped toward her. She covered her face, turned sideways, and went stiff.
He caressed her arms. “Not exactly. You should react with a countermove or stance to show that you’re not intimidated.”
“But I probably would be.”
“No, don’t have that attitude. Be assertive and strong. Believe in yourself.”
She nodded. “Okay,” she said and he did it again. Each time he came at her, she did something different but ultimately it was a defensive move.
But as they went over a few more, he couldn’t resist teasing her, slapping her ass, brushing his thumb along her nipple and finally tackling her to the rug.
“C.J.,” she scolded when he had her on her back, her legs straddling him and her wrists above her head. By using one hand to keep her arms in place, he used the other one to tickle her. She screamed and laughed and wiggled so he lowered down over her and suckled her neck, tickling her even more.
“What is going on in here?” Hunter asked and York joined him. He was pulling off his tie and undoing the uniform shirt.
“Help me, Hunter. He isn’t playing fair.”
“Oh really,” C.J. said and then suckled her neck and trailed his mouth deeper to her cleavage. He swirled his tongue into her bra and she gasped. Suddenly they locked gazes. “Feel good?” he whispered, feeling his cock harden. Caroline had to feel it to in this position.
He slowly released her arms, letting his hands slide down from her palms, over her arms that she kept above her head, and to her breasts. He leaned down and kissed her lips and she ran her fingers through his hair. They explored one another’s mouths. They moaned and rocked their hips and then he ran his hand under her skirt along her thigh. He squeezed her ass cheek and shifted over her one thigh before maneuvering his fingers between her legs.
“Open for me, Caroline,” he said against her lips. She was breathing rapidly, her lips full and wet, her eyes holding his. Slowly she opened and he wanted to scream for joy. He pressed fingers under her panties and against her mound.
“C.J.,” she moaned and tilted her head back.
He found her clit and played with it, stroking over it as York joined them on the rug.
“I missed you, baby,” he said to her.
She smiled at him. “I missed you, too,” she said. Her eyes welled up with tears. She looked so beautiful.
“I love coming home to you like this, in my brother’s arms, him exploring your body. Do you like it?” he asked.
“Good,” Hunter said and kissed her lips.
C.J. lifted up and pressed her skirt up higher. He slowly pressed a finger to her cunt and she gasped.
“Easy, baby, nice and slow. I bet you’re really wet. Is she really wet, C.J.?” Hunter asked and York bent down next to her on the other side.
“Oh yeah, very wet.”
“I wonder if her cream is just as sweet as she is?” Hunter asked.
“Oh God, Hunter, please,” she begged and he cupped her cheek and chin and held her gaze.
“Let us love you, baby. Let us take all the fear and the pain away forever.”
A tear rolled from her eye. “I want to. I really want to try.”
“Let go, sweetie. We’ll catch you,” C.J. told her and then he pulled down her panties before he lowered to his belly and explored her pussy with fingers and mouth.