Hi! Hope you enjoyed chapter one of Again. Now here's chapter two.
This excerpt contains adult material. It is intended for readers 18 years of age or older.
AGAIN CHAPTER TWO
Connor took deep breaths as he walked away from Amanda.
“Well, I’m glad she didn’t want to talk,” he muttered to himself. “Suits me just fine.”
He raked his hair again, his agitation not lessening. What was it about that woman that stirred him up? He hated his reaction to her. He didn’t like it one bit.
He scowled at the path ahead as vivid memories of that weekend popped into his head yet again. Since having the shock of his life at seeing Amanda at Zach’s engagement party last night, his mind had suddenly become so good at reliving details…
“Who’s that?” Connor asked his colleague Lucas as he stared at the woman by the door. She was clearly ready to party in a very short, tight-fitting dress that highlighted her impressive cleavage.
“Hey, maybe the guys ordered a stripper for you,” Lucas said excitedly.
“They couldn’t have. I’m sure the hotel won’t allow that.”
“We’re in a private room. I’m sure they won’t care what happens in here, as long as we don’t become a bother to the other guests,” Lucas said. “Oh look! There’s more than one!”
Connor watched with interest as seven attractive women entered the room. His curiosity was answered when one of his buddies told him that the girls had asked to be invited in. They weren’t strippers—just gatecrashers.
“Well, Connor,” Lucas said to him with smug grin, “since this is your farewell party, I’ll let you pick first.”
Connor laughed. “What makes you think any one of those pretty ladies would pick you over me?” he joked.
Lucas faced him fully. “I accept the challenge.”
“What challenge?” he asked, even though he knew full well what Lucas had in mind.
Lucas rubbed his chin as he scrutinised the girls. “Those women seem to be up for anything. How about we ask them to play with us? Then we ask them to decide who gave the better fuck—you or me.”
“Nah,” Connor said, shaking his head.
“Why not? Afraid of a little competition?” Lucas asked, smirking. “You know I won’t give up until I get that title, don’t you?”
“Lucas, you want it, it’s yours. Take it. Please. I don’t want it.”
“No, no, no, Connor. I won’t take it if I haven’t earned it. It’s a matter of pride.”
“Or of ego,” he retorted.
“Come on, man. This should be fun. If the girls find you’re better, you deservedly keep your title. If they have more powerful orgasms with me, I take it off you. Let’s settle this once and for all.”
Connor raised an eyebrow as an idea flashed in his mind. Settling it once and for all sounded good to him. If he allowed himself to lose to Lucas, he’d finally get rid of that title he’d never wanted.
He liked Lucas even though the guy was one of the most juvenile people he'd ever met. What Lucas lacked in emotional maturity, he made up for with skills as a mechanic.
A friendly but strong rivalry had developed between them ever since Lucas had joined the team six months ago. They were both excellent at their jobs and were head to head on who was better. Since Connor had now left the team, Lucas had become the clear successor for chief mechanic.
But there was one thing that Lucas was keen to win off Connor most of all: the title that was bestowed on him in jest by a couple of his co-workers five years ago—Mr. Fuck King. Unfortunately, it had stuck and he couldn’t seem to get rid of it.
“Let me get this clear,” Connor said. “The girls will judge who’s better in bed.”
“Yes,” Lucas confirmed.
“What if the one you sleep with decides she likes you so much that she doesn’t want to sleep with me at all?”
Lucas laughed. “Then I guess I win in that case.”
Connor pretended to think about it. “Okay. You’re on.”
“All right!” Lucas cheered.
They were interrupted by a brunette with short hair and huge boobs. “Hello, boys. What does a girl have to do to get a drink around here?” she asked, batting her long, fake eyelashes.
“Come with me,” Lucas said with a grin, escorting the woman away and winking at Connor.
Connor shook his head. He’d be very glad when Lucas was finally crowned the new Mr. Fuck King.
It was a ridiculous, stupid title, and Connor hated it. It made him sound like a lothario, which he most definitely was not. It just so happened that he was consistently the most popular with the women. Compared with the other guys, he’d had better success in getting himself a date wherever they were in the world. That was all.
It wasn’t that he preferred to indulge in no-strings-attached sex. With his work in Formula One involving constant travelling, he’d found it extremely difficult to develop a committed relationship. Being away all the time, plus having a title like Mr. Fuck King, had made it next to impossible to convince the women he'd been interested in that he was serious about them. Even when his friends had zipped their mouths, his title had already spread in the Formula One circuit, and the girls had invariably heard about it through the grapevine.
Casual-only encounters weren’t his first choice, but for the last seven years, they were what he had to settle for. Well, maybe now that he’d decided to stay put in Australia and set up a car servicing business, it would be easier to date more seriously.
He surveyed the room in amusement. It didn’t take long for some of the men—the usual suspects—to flirt with the sexy gatecrashers. Some couples—and a trio—were heating up the room with their antics. Hell, judging by their behaviour, those women must have plans on getting laid before the night ended. Well, they were in the right room. His buddies looked like they couldn’t wait to help the girls with that particular goal.
His gaze landed on one of the gatecrashers—an auburn-haired beauty who stood in one corner, observing the goings-on. She smiled politely at some of the guys who walked past her, while taking little sips of her wine.
He cocked his head, his curiosity piqued. This one didn’t seem to fit in the picture painted by her group of friends. For starters, she was wearing dark skinny jeans, a dressy top and high heels—a classy, casual ensemble, but a far cry from the eye-poppingly revealing outfits her girlfriends wore.
She didn’t seem too shy—if her eye contact with the people she greeted were anything to go by—but he had a feeling she felt a bit out of place. Intrigued, he went to the bar, got another glass, and approached her.
“Hi,” he said.
She turned around, her brown eyes widening and mouth parting.
His effect on her was obvious. He was glad, because she elicited the same response from him. She was even more attractive up close.
“I’m Connor,” he said, extending his hand.
“Hi, Connor. Pleased to meet you. I’m Amanda.”
He was surprised at her firm handshake and confident tone. No, she definitely didn’t seem shy. Just… well… out of place.
“Thanks for coming and making my party more interesting,” he said.
“Oh, this is your party?” she asked, her face the picture of cute surprise.
“Yeah. Most of us here work for that Formula One team,” he explained, gesturing to his team’s logo. “Well, I used to, because yesterday was my last day on the job. This is my farewell party.”
“Oh, right. What work did you do?”
“Wow. I watched the race yesterday. It was great.”
His brows rose. “Did you? Where were you sitting?”
He led Amanda to the nearby couch as she told him how much she’d enjoyed yesterday’s race. Turned out her brother was a fan and a car buff. Before long, they were exchanging stories that revolved around racing, cars, and travel. He was having fun, and he couldn’t take his eyes off her face.
She took another sip of her wine and he noticed that she’d finished it. He looked for the server who was walking around a while ago filling up people’s glasses, but she was nowhere to be found.
“Can I get you another drink?” he asked, reluctant to leave her side but knowing he had to be a good host. She was now one of his guests, after all.
He walked to the bar and shook his head at the sight of Lucas sitting on a chair. The woman who’d approached them earlier was on his lap, her short dress hitched up so high that anyone could almost see her panties. And it looked like she was moving her ass, no doubt against Lucas’ erection.
It was kind of hot to watch, but he had absolutely no interest in that woman. He prayed that Lucas had forgotten about the challenge he’d issued earlier. Lucas could be such an annoying bastard that it wouldn’t surprise him if he went on and on about it for days to come.
Sighing, he ordered two more glasses of wine.
He was hurrying back to Amanda when someone grabbed his arm.
“Hi! You’re Connor right? I heard this is your party,” said the blonde.
“Thanks for having us,” she said.
“Thanks for crashing,” he replied with a polite smile.
Miss Blonde giggled. “You’re funny.” She ran her hand on his arm before letting it stray to his chest. “Shouldn’t the party boy have more fun than his guests?” Miss Blonde asked, tugging at his shirt button.
“I’m having fun,” he said, glancing at Amanda. Good. She was still where he’d left her. “Excuse me, I have to go,” he said to the woman. “You know who could do with some more fun?” He pointed to one of his workmates. “He’s shy, but I’m sure he’d appreciate some attention.”
Miss Blonde eyed the guy he’d pointed out. “Ooh, I love the shy types. It so much fun getting them all worked up,” she said, before walking off.
Connor rolled his eyes, relieved. Another playgirl. He was tired of playing. He’d been sick of it for a while now.
“Here you are, beautiful,” he said to Amanda when he got back to her.
Amanda seemed surprised before her face lit up with a pretty smile.
He settled himself beside her, making sure he was closer this time. Hell, he might not be interested in any of the other women getting it on with his friends, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t affected by the heavy sexual tension in the room. He was getting horny, and there was one woman he particularly wanted to be with tonight.
“So where were we?” he asked, casually draping an arm on the back of the couch.
“We were right here,” she said with an adorable, teasing smile.
They resumed their conversation, and he wasn’t surprised that it had turned flirty. Clearly he had chemistry with Amanda.
Itching to touch her, he reached for a strand of her hair. He was sorely tempted to lean over and kiss her, but he held himself back. Not yet. He didn’t want to do something she wasn’t asking for.
A loud yelling made the both of them look up. “Goodnight, everyone! Have a fucking fantastic night!”
Connor snickered. One of his buddies was just about to have that kind of night with not one, but two women. Well, he didn’t need two. He only wanted one—the one sitting beside him.
“Connor, I think I’ll head off now,” Amanda said, getting ready to leave.
“Oh, are you sure?” he asked, trying not show his disappointment. That was it? She was leaving and that was that?
“I’m staying in this hotel,” Amanda said.
He stopped breathing. Did that mean what he hoped it meant?
“Do you need someone to walk you?” he asked in a teasing tone, not wanting to appear desperate. “Make sure you get there safely?”
“Maybe it’s best,” Amanda replied, smiling.
He grinned, excited as hell.
“Stop it, idiot,” Connor muttered, jabbing his forehead with a finger to press the stop button of his memory player. He looked around, made sure that no one from the group further up in the vineyard was looking at him, then discreetly adjusted his jeans. Memories of that hot one-night stand with Amanda never failed to make him hard. Achingly hard. Damn it.
He hadn’t been able to get enough of her that night. He’d run out of condoms and had to buy fresh supplies the next day. He’d even asked her out to dinner.
He’d been truly excited about being on a real date with her. There was something about Amanda that had pulled him—and he hadn’t wanted their time to end after one truly incredible night.
He shook his head vigorously. No need to rehash the events of the next night. Amanda didn’t want to talk about it again. Fine, fine, fine.
He waved back to Greg—the third Carmichael brother—who was with six other people, including Ashton Payne, Amanda’s sibling. They were crowded around a grape vine and seemed enthralled by a demonstration being made by one of the vineyard staff.
“Hi, guys,” Connor said as he joined them. “Getting some lessons on grape-growing, are you?”
“Yep,” Greg answered. “These guys are thirsty for information.”
“Sorry to interrupt, but I just want to let you all know that my mum’s organising dinner at six this evening. If you guys are not in a hurry to go back to Sydney, you’re all invited.”
“Cool,” Greg said. “Connor’s mum is an excellent cook. We should all go,” he added to the others.
Everyone voiced their enthusiasm at the plan.
“I have to check with Amanda first, though,” Ash said. “But I’m pretty sure she won’t mind staying for dinner.”
“She’s already knows,” Connor said. “She’s happy to stay.”
“Oh good,” Ash responded. “Hey, maybe I can check out your new car while we’re there, Connor.”
“Absolutely,” he answered with a grin.
He and Ash had bonded last night over wine and car talk. Unbelievably, both of them had bought the same car recently—a top-of-the-line, four-seater Mercedes Benz convertible. It was a pity the same bonding hadn’t happened with Ash’s sister—
He pulled himself out of that thought before he could finish it. He was seriously starting to get the shits with himself. What the hell was wrong with him?
He confirmed everyone’s attendance, then headed back to the hotel, followed by Greg.
“Does Ash know about your thing with Amanda last month?” Greg asked.
“I don’t think so,” he answered. “I’m sure Ash wouldn’t be as friendly towards me if he knew.”
“So you and Amanda will just continue to ignore each other?”
“Well, we’ve agreed not to talk about last month again. We virtually shook hands on being friendly—at least outwardly when we’re around other people.”
“And you’re okay with that?” Greg asked.
“It’s no skin off my teeth. I don’t care.”
“Really?” Greg asked, sounding unconvinced.
“Yes.” He tried to sound certain, and he thought he’d succeeded.
“You know what?” Greg said after a long pause.
“Amanda doesn’t strike me as the kind of girl you told me about. Those girls who crashed your party, you said they were Amanda’s cousin and her cousin’s friends, right?”
“Well, you’ve met Amanda’s real best friends. Are they anything like those wild girls?”
Connor sighed. “No. Not at all.”
“So maybe the Amanda you met in Melbourne isn’t the real Amanda?” Greg said.
Connor frowned. He’d be the first to acknowledge that appearances could be deceiving. He’d been on the receiving end of it for years—like when people, including some of his friends, assumed he was a certified playboy.
Surely he hadn’t misread the situation with Amanda and Lucas. Or had he?
Well, there was no way he’d talk to Lucas about it. He couldn’t trust the man to keep it under wraps or to not make a big deal of it.
So only Amanda could clear things up. But she didn’t want to talk about it. Could he make her?
### end of chapter two ###
In my next post, I'll give you the purchase links to the stores including Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and Smashwords.
Here again are the links to the sites where pre-order is now available:
Just a reminder that Again will be on a special new release price of $2.99 from three days from release date, then it will go up to its regular price of $3.99.
Oh, and by the way, Forever (Time for Love Book 1) is currently on sale for 99cents for a limited time!