Chapter One – Chasing Noel

Read Chapter One from CHASING NOEL below:

Book 6

CHAPTER ONE

OCTOBER

 

Noel Snow couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Did one of her friends just dare the man Noel had sworn never to speak to again, one Thomas “TS Scott” to “stop strategizing and go after the woman you’ve been chasing and kiss her senseless?”

Oh, no. Not happening. There was no way she was letting TS anywhere near her, let alone kiss her. All of her friends knew how she felt about him. Why would they think that telling the owner of the Outlaws baseball team to kiss her was a great idea?

It wasn’t like they didn’t know the reason she was mad at him in the first place; he’d given a job she desperately wanted to someone else—after he led her to believe she would get the job.

She and TS kissing? In front of all their friends? Not happening. So what if her heart was racing and she could feel her body respond to the idea with an enthusiastic, yes, please. Nope, not going to happen.

And no one needed to know that she’d like nothing better than to have him kiss her and other naughty things that would make her ninety-five-year-old grandmother blush. And no one, not even her group of girlfriends, knew she’d had TS on her mind since he moved back to Pineville.

And for sure no one needed to know about the dreams she’d been having of TS and her together either. Where after he awards the interior designer position for his luxury condo project to someone else, he gives her the lamest explanation—ever, and she was like “oh, okay” then the dream turns into the hottest sexual experience of her life.

If only she control her dreams. Or her heart. It pounded wildly at the thought of TS’ lips against hers. And other body parts.

Who the heck was she kidding? She wanted him. That fine line between love and hate had never been thinner than today. But she wasn’t ready to forgive. Maybe not ever.

She looked at her girlfriends, Kelsey, Lara, and Caris, who had just moments ago been enjoying their joint baby shower when Blake, Caris’ husband, dropped the challenge.

All eyes remained on Noel. “Um, I don’t think that’s—”

She froze as she watched TS put his drink down and close the distance between them.

“It’s about damn time.”

Cheers echoed Blake’s statement.

Traitors. Every last one of them. Noel took off and headed for her car.

“Noel, wait.”

She ignored TS’s plea and prayed he didn’t follow.

“Blake, that wasn’t fair.”

Noel heard Caris’s words as she rushed past the couple.

Blake added, “No, but they both needed the push. Plus, it’ll be fun to watch the chase.”

Chase? Like she was some prize to be won. Screw that. Noel left the backyard where the shower had taken place and was a couple steps from her car when she heard him call her name again. He was close, too damn close.

She stopped and faced TS. If they were going to have it out, she wanted it over quick, no witnesses. And no kissing. “I said all I wanted to say to you TS when you backpedaled out of the job offer. I don’t have anything left to say except goodbye.”

“I’ve been thinking about you, Noel. A lot.” TS loosened his tie as he moved closer into her personal space. So close that she backed up and bumped into her car. He was so close she could count the freckles on his nose.

He lifted his hands to steady her, but she waved him off. She didn’t know what she’d do if he touched her. She remembered the last time he’d touched her, when they’d walked down the aisle together at two weddings and when they’d danced at the receptions. She remembered how it felt to have those hands on her, his arms around her, and on her lower back just last winter. It had been torture.

Thomas “TS, to his friends” Scott was her enemy. A heart-stopping-frustration-inducing-chiseled-jawline-stubborn-assed, broad-shouldered-hunk-of-a-man in a three-piece suit who she’d had a secret crush on, since forever. Once simply friends because of their shared friend circle, he’d become her enemy when he gave the job, she wanted—she deserved, to someone else.

But he was still her fantasy.

And he was close, too damn close. So close she was able to inhale his scent. The musky, earthy smell was uniquely his and dangerous to her senses. His hazel eyes were mesmerizing, the blues and greens swirling together, and she knew she could quickly become lost in his intense gaze.

“Don’t you want to know why?” TS asked.

She licked her lips and caught his gaze zero in on the movement. She felt a flush creep up her chest and warm her neck. Her eyelids fluttered shut, and images from her dreams, of them together—naked, began playing in her mind. Noel just get in the car.Say you don’t want to know why.

But her hormones wanted to know why. Her heart did too, and then her mind totally rolled over and took a nap.

“Why?” Her whispered tone surprised her.

He flashed a crooked grin, and her pulse rate leaped. That damn crooked, sexy smile of his was her catnip. At that moment, she knew it didn’t matter what his answer was. They’d been dancing around each other for months—ignoring the sparks, the insane chemistry, something was about to give.

Breathless, she waited for his answer. She wasn’t naïve. She knew this unbearable attraction was mutual. Obviously, since he was staring her down like a mountain lion stalking his next meal. And there had been a time when she thought she wanted from him what her girlfriends had found, but reality had burst that bubble long ago. She refused to let history repeat itself; she’d learned from her mother’s pain. And then there was his reputation. He never dated the same woman twice. He was the king of one-night stands.

Now all grown up and wiser, well wiser than her mother had been, she’d take the moments. Moments of joy, accomplishment, and most definitely pleasure. And pleasure was staring her in the face. There was just one little thing they needed to get over. It was big but she wasn’t sure enough time had passed for her.

“You drive me crazy, Noel. Plain and simple. What is it about you that has me thinking about kissing that sassy mouth of yours, night and day, when I should be working? It pisses me off, and I think you feel the same. The need, the heat, and I know you’re pissed off at me too. But dammit, I want you.”

He rubbed the back of his neck and ran his hands through his hair, then placed them on his hips. He reminded her of a gunslinger waiting for his opponent to make a move. “And since I don’t give up easily, here I am, laying it all out. You, me, one night.”

And just like that, her blood cooled, and the typical hum of desire she felt around him vanished. The reason they were at odds, pissed off at each other, reared its ugly head. The job she wanted. The position he made it sound like she would get when she interviewed for the position of interior designer for his luxury condominium community on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

He told her he loved her designs and the fact she was all about local flair, design and sourcing materials from the Northwest was essential to him. In the end, he chose a celebrity designer who wanted to bring the French Alps to Idaho. TS had fallen for the glitz and glam of aligning himself with Henri what’s his name. Well, maybe he should make out with the French guy.

But most of all, she hated that she’d got her hopes up. Hopes of branching out into more significant projects, hope for a project she could add to her portfolio and take it with her to other, broader markets in the Northwest. She had wanted to leave Pineville for a few years now, but on her terms and after she’d achieved more of a name for herself in the industry. Yet all she ended up doing was wasting precious time believing in a job that had never been hers to begin with. TS had done what no other man had done since her father walked out on her family all those years ago. He’d made her feel like a fool for putting her faith in someone who had no intention of returning it.

She hated that her body betrayed her every time she saw TS; whenever she was forced to be around him thanks to their friends. It was maddening and a bit heartbreaking since in one form or another, she’d been in love with him since middle school, and that just made this moment suck all the more.

He wanted her in his bed, and he was arrogant enough to think she’d eventually end up there. He knew how to push her buttons, she’d give him that, but sex was easy. And she was afraid—afraid it wouldn’t be enough. She’d want more.

Noel shook her head. The longer she remained silent, the more leverage he achieved. She opened her mouth to tell him to take a hike. But before she could he placed both hands on either side of her trapping her between him and her car. He leaned in until they were chest to breast. And she let him.

“Don’t say no. I can see the wheels turning. Don’t hold one business decision over my head as an excuse to turn down what I’m offering. What, I think, we’ve both wanted for a long time.” TS put his mouth next to Noel’s ear and whispered, “If I thought we could get away with it, I’d take you right here. Tell me you want me too. If not here, then come home with me.”

His whispered words excited her. His breath against her ear created a shock of electricity that traveled to her middle and settled hot and heavy. The wickedness he promised was so damn close to one of her fantasies she thought one taste wouldn’t hurt.

Maybe just one kiss.

Then she could walk away. Prove to him, to them both that she was the stronger one. That his decision hadn’t broken her.

She’d burned for him every time they were within feet of each other. And dammit she wanted to burn now, if only for a moment, then she’d walk away.

All she had to do was lift her chin and turn her head and offer him her lips. But she didn’t. She placed her hands on his head and greedily took what she wanted. His lips soft, firm and their warmth fed her need.

TS’ low growl vibrated against her breastbone as she pressed in closer. She wanted this; every moment seared into her memory.

Breath mingling, she opened her mouth and sucked in his tongue. Twin moans erupted as they took turns devouring each other. Her hands outlined his chest, then rested on his shoulders. She gripped tight as TS slowed the kiss, sipping then licking her swollen lips.

His hand kneaded her breast, caressing her heated flesh through her blouse. She sucked in a breath as he flicked a thumb over her hard, sensitive nipple. A rush of warmth filled her at his touch. She deepened the kiss and pressed herself into his erection and groaned.

Too much. Not enough.

In the back of her mind, she knew she needed to end this now, before she did something even more stupid, like letting him take her against her car, in front of Luke and Lara’s house.

It took everything she had, but she loosened her grip on his shoulders and pulled back. “Wait, wait. We need to stop.”

She straightened and gave him a soft push back. The only sound between them were their heavy breaths. She couldn’t look at him. Not yet. She fixed her rumpled clothes and twisted her hands in front of her.

She cleared her throat, “That’s all I can give, TS.” When she found the courage to look him in the eye, she inwardly groaned. His eyelids were heavy with desire and his lips as swollen as hers felt.

“I… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. I’m not a tease, TS, but I can’t. I can’t do this. And I can’t go home with you—sleep with you.”

Confusion clouded his gaze for a moment before it was replaced by anger. “Don’t tell me this is your way of getting back at me for giving Henri the job, Noel. Is it?”

She shook her head, “Of course not. It’s just. It’s… it doesn’t matter. It was a great kiss, but that’s it, that’s all that can be between us. I’m not built to have sex for the sake of sex, and our situation is complicated.” She snorted and let out a sharp laugh, “We share the same friends. We run into each other all the time, and we’re godparents to Mari…”

“And you’re still mad at me.” TS moved away from her.

Far enough that she no longer felt his heat. She missed it.

He no longer looked at her, focusing his gaze in the distance. “I’ll take your word that you’re not playing games with me, Noel. After all I don’t really have a choice, do I? But it doesn’t change how I feel about you. So, if you ever change your mind and want a good hard fuck, give me a call.”

He didn’t go back to the party. Back to their friends and the celebration they both ditched because of this stupid attraction neither one wanted. Good damn hormones or pheromones or whatever the hell it was about him, that drew them together.

She watched as he strode to his car, and like a scene from a cheesy rom-com movie, he peeled out and roared down the road.

She deserved his anger. She shouldn’t have kissed him, and was equally mad at herself, but she’d made the right move.

She rubbed her chest and stood for a while, replaying what had just happened; the explosion of passion had almost—almost convinced her to say yes to anything he wanted.

She drove home slowly; to the only male she let into her life, her heart; her cat Thaddeus. Her beloved Bengal was as unique as he was predictable. All he wanted was food, a place to sleep in the sun, and a good belly rub from time to time.

The same could be said about TS, minus the predictable part. She hadn’t seen this coming.

Maybe it was time to reconsider moving soon rather than later.

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