Title: Unspoken Truths
Author Name: Destiny Blaine
Website Address: www.destinyblaine.com
The corner of the club defined cozy almost to the extreme. It invited intimacy with its seclusion from the rest of the crowd and the dim candlelight illuminated romance. Ally knew what would happen once she took a seat in the scantly lit area but her determined legs moved her forward. Defiant feet carried her there. Her body, with full sexual intentions, planned on winning. It spited her every single time when it came to the man walking in front of her.
He toyed with her on the dance floor denying her nothing but once they were seated, she knew what to expect. The game would change. It always did. He would forbid as much as a touch unless he initiated it.
He looked over his shoulder. “Don’t worry baby. I don’t plan to make all of your Tanner does me dreams come true.” He stopped abruptly and flashed a wicked wink. “At least not tonight.”
And just like that. Moment ruined. Leave it to a man.
Ally’s face heated. She felt the madder-than-hell white-hot warmth wash over her. Who the hell did he think he was talking to? She quickly let go of his hand and stormed off in the other direction. Unfortunately, her body felt the sudden loss as soon as they parted.
Making her way for the closest exit, she passed by onlookers, the same men who watched her with lust-filled eyes when she swayed onto the dance floor an hour or so earlier. She moved quickly beyond the bouncers and barmaids only to hit the exit filled with regret. He won again. Tanner always did.
Once outside, she took a deep breath inhaling the undeniable smell of rain. She heard his voice and the slam of the metal door behind her. “Don’t show up at clubs where you know I’ll be if you don’t want to see me!” His laughter filled the air.
Ally wheeled around on a spiked heel. “What the hell did you just say?” She heard him. Oh boy, did she ever. He knew it too. If there was any doubt, he could quickly pick up on it as she marched over to him with anger-boiling-over strides. Those were hard to deny and she made sure she took them quickly.
“Come on baby. Don’t play dumb with me. How many light blue Corvettes do you see in this damn town with a Florida Gators tag? You knew I was here and…”
“And if I did, what of it?” Cutting him off never presented a problem.
He made a solid point. It took balls or blatant stupidity to run around Knoxville, Tennessee with the University of Florida Gators plates on a car. Since he wore ignorance proudly, he really deserved to become an easy mark when she wanted to find him. The car made it uncomplicated. Yes, she saw his convertible and ditto; she stopped because she knew he was inside the club. Old habits don’t die hard. They smother the life out of innocent bystanders. Never mind virgins on the prowl.
The anger facing her was ready to leave her at a disadvantage. It ripped through her. Cut her into small pieces. Tanner Dorsey always boiled her blood.
“What of it? Well, let’s see. You walk into Jake’s, spot me on the dance floor and can’t wait to get out there just so you can shake your pretty little ass in my direction. Oh but yeah Ally, you’re damn straight you knew without a doubt I’d be here and you knew exactly what to do with me when you found me.” The young Mr. Dorsey spent most of his life getting under her skin.
Ally couldn’t help herself. She wished like hell she could but she just couldn’t. She never backed down from a good battle on the Tanner-playing field. “You know,” she paused for effect but to also think of something to say, “I was dancing just fine with…” She stopped again as she tried to think of a random name but she danced onto the hardwood flooring without a partner. She couldn’t pull it off fast enough to make up a non-existent dance partner.
“Oh yeah you were. You got that part right because baby, you always dance just fine. You don’t need a man to show you what that little body of yours can do but in case you forgot, you danced up to me. The only man in the place that can handle that sweet little ass and you found me without any problem.” His face filled with the highest level of sex appeal and with an added wink, set jaw and seductive look, her knees were jelly.
Damn him. Damn him to another century and back. No. To hell…and without a return trip.
“What’s wrong love, cat got that pretty little tongue of yours?” He continued to taunt her.
No it wasn’t a cat. It was more like a ferocious mountain lion.
She was putty in his hands but the asshole still acted like he was fifteen. He had driven her nuts when she was twelve and into complete madness at eighteen. At twenty-two, she was certifiable.
He was still full of himself. Ally couldn’t think of one thing to say to him. Not one, lone word. She huffed and puffed or at least, thought she did before she turned to look for her car. They appeared to be alone in the well lit parking lot. Something she noted when she started walking.
“Looking for someone?” He noticed she surveyed the large area.
“No, not at all. Just checking the place out to be sure there aren’t any witnesses around who will see me when I kill you.” There was a hint of humor in her voice.
Within seconds he had his arm draped around her shoulders and she knew he had already undressed her with his eyes. The playfulness evident in his voice. “I can’t die yet.”
She stopped short of reaching her car. “Why not? It seems like a viable option.” She looked him up and down. Yep, he still looked lean. Perfect. Good enough to eat. Hell, he deserved to die. She picked up a steady pace again.
He quickly caught up with her again but his demeanor had changed when he spoke. It had seriousness oozing from it. “I’m not ready to die. I haven’t experienced everything…everyone…yet.” He grabbed at her waist and pulled her toward him with rough hands. She could have sworn she heard a thump when she landed against his chest but decided it most likely had been the lump moving to her throat that caught there on impact.
She grunted, or so she thought. Maybe she didn’t but she had the shove down to an art when both of her palms went to his hard upper body to push him away. “You think you’re so funny. Fucking hilarious.”
Comical or not, he was right. She used to feel the same way when it came to him but she’d decided the year before that Tanner wasn’t part of her past, at least beyond little school girl dreams, and he couldn’t be a part of her future. Denied attraction never ended in satisfaction and when she joined the FBI, she sealed her fate. With each passing day, she’d come to accept it.
“Drive me home?” He interrupted her thoughts as they approached her graphite pearl Honda Accord.
“No.” Her answer was flat. She knew he wouldn’t notice.
“Because you can drive yourself.”
* * * *
He was all over opportunity. Always had been. “Yes, I could. You’re exactly right. I could drive myself but look at me; do I look like a man who likes to ride alone?” He bit his lower lip and the dimples he flashed should have landed him in jail. “Besides, if I drove tonight…”his words started to slur on command, “I’d likely catch a DUI.”
Before she could say anything, she watched him walk to the other side of the car determined to get a lift home. “Tanner, I can’t. I don’t have time.”
“You don’t have time to drop me off four buildings down from your own?” He smirked. “Yeah, okay.” His voice clearly held that ‘duh’ tone and a hint of determination.
He ignored her. Again. She knew it before she opened her car door and long before he opened the passenger’s side door. She knew it before he sat down and probably guessed as much when he followed her into the parking lot.
* * * *
They sat quietly in the bucket seats for a few seconds before the keys were placed in the ignition. She leaned over the steering wheel and looked up at the street light with unwarranted interest. “Why do you always do this?”
He was ready to play. “Why do you do this?” He chuckled as he reached across her taking his time to buckle her safety belt before he grabbed his own. “I’m ready when you are baby doll.” He’d been so close when he moved his arm across her waist, all he would have had to do is look up. She felt a pucker form on her lips.
She shot him a condescending look and then shifted the car into reverse. “Yeah, well you may have waited just long enough to miss your chance.” She wasn’t really prepared for what came next. If she had a rewind button designed specifically for a shameless big mouth, she would’ve hit pause first, to gather her thoughts, and then replay or better yet, erase.
He was fast. He reached over and slammed the car into park. Luckily, she’d been in reverse with her foot still on the break. “Ally, I can’t stand a woman who mumbles. What did you say? I don’t think I heard you.”
His eyes danced. She could see them in the moonlight along with the overhead lamp that he switched on for theatrics. He wanted an invitation but he wouldn’t get one. His firm stare didn’t move away and neither did his hand which rested easy on the gear shift. The old Ally would’ve dismissed it with a wave of lofty fingers but the new woman who replaced the has-been had lived a little since the last time she’d been with the man sitting beside her.
Shifting in her seat, she turned to face him. “I said…”
Tanner moved close. “I heard what you said but what I want to know is why?”
His voice lowered. “Why did you come here tonight, Ally?” Thank goodness he was going to let her mumbling words pass. He didn’t look away from her which was okay because it gave her the opportunity to revisit his outer appearance.
So easy to look at, so hard to tolerate. She tried to convince herself that she spotted a gray hair in his head. Maybe he’ll age quickly. Maybe he’ll get a beer gut. Maybe, he’ll lean over here and kiss me until tomorrow. It was always the same thing with her. She would scour over his tall frame with a meticulous eye and try to find a blemish in his perfection before wishing him to a fate that would ruin him for another woman.
It generally ended up, at least at some point, with her wishing him away to a life of impotent possibilities. She’d even gone as far to check out the Viagra site to see what his chances were. Slim. With his sex drive and vibrant health, very slim.
“Ally? Why do you want to stroll into town and straight into Jake’s? It’s not a place for nice girls.”
“Maybe I’m not a nice girl anymore.” Damnation, how she wished that were true.
He moved closer so she could breathe him in and a hand went to her knee before he began to crawl with steady fingers toward her thigh. “I might just want to find out.” The twinkle in his eye disappeared. Instead, he peered up with a certain element of darkness about him. Hooded eyes watched the rise and fall of a heavy chest.
Her breathing became interrupted just by his touch. She knew her eyes gave away everything but more than anything else, fear lingered. A broken heart wasn’t something she could stand one more time.
His lips moved to her collarbone but they didn’t meet skin. Heated words were mumbled with a raspy call to uninhibited pleasures. His mouth strategically plotted to deliver but refused to give while words stung just a little more. “Baby, you still aren’t ready for me. That I can promise you but what I want to know is why you want to play where the big boys entertain the naughtiest of girls?” He moved away from her slowly taking a smooth hand from her leg.
“I don’t know why. Okay? It was a mistake. I know Jake’s isn’t a place for me, at least according to you. I got that. Okay? Now, please just get out.” Hot, raw emotion ate at her gut. She was on fire from his touch, heated by the moisture forming in her eyes, never mind the puddle of slick heat forming between her legs.
She continued as if she had to justify her reasons. “If I thought you were too drunk to drive, I’d do the right thing and give you a ride home but you haven’t had anything to drink in the last hour or so because we’ve danced for that long. Besides that, I know you and you never drink more than you can handle.”
He moved close to her. Playing her for all she was worth and then some. “I’ll make a deal with you. If you’ll take me home, see me to the door and kiss me good-night, I’ll never tell Darren and David I saw you here.”
Her daring eyes locked with his and she wanted to scream as soon as he tossed out the names of her brothers. She also wanted to kick his ass and she wanted to do it slow too. Slow and easy.
He moved away from her and settled into his seat leaning his head back. “I would, and honestly?” Moving up a little, he turned his neck and glanced to the side. “I’d enjoy watching them scold you.” He closed his eyes and pretended to relax. “Hell, I’d even offer to spank you just so I can know the feel of your bare ass on my palm. Maybe now that you’re old enough, they’d even let me.”
A sigh fell dramatically into the wind while she threw the gear shift into reverse and drove him home without another word but the smack-smack sound of him spanking her ass offered appeal. She could almost hear it and what she would give just to feel it.
It was safe to say, she’d lost her ever-lovin mind.
* * * *
Fifteen minutes later and they pulled into his complex. She didn’t bother to put the car into park. It didn’t matter; the arrogant ass in the passenger’s seat did it for her.
“So you’re here. Safe and sound.” Her words found a deliberate coolness.
“It appears I am but you won’t be if I have to go straight up those stairs and tattle to your brothers. You know, just so they won’t worry about you.”
Now she was pissed. “Tanner, have you failed to notice that I am not a child anymore? Have you? Have you forgotten that…?”
“Oh, don’t think I haven’t noticed that you aren’t a child anymore.” He moved closer to her. “What I want to know is why are you back in town? Last I heard you were working as a DEA agent or something.”
Yeah. Or something. The something presented the problem.
Tanner winked before he grabbed the door handle. “Come on, walk me to the door.”
She jumped out of the car and did as she was told. She always did as she was told. If her brothers weren’t telling her what to do when she was growing up, Tanner offered to do it for them and it hadn’t gotten any better once she found a career with the FBI. At the moment she just wished like hell she hadn’t chosen a career in law enforcement. More than anything else, she wished that Tanner didn’t deliberately get under her skin.
She approached the building somewhat cautiously. He kept his eyes on her. “You look really good Ally. A sight for sore eyes and all that.” He was never one to make small talk. At least, not with her.
“Thanks.” She fired back the note of appreciation.
“How long has it been?” He stopped on the last step before moving forward with a nod.
She knew what he meant. “It’s been over a year.”
“I thought you weren’t coming back here,” he challenged her. She knew he would. He had to be curious about why she would bother. There wasn’t anything left for her in Knoxville. He made that clear to her when she left. He told her with finality that she would never be in his heart or…in his bed.
“I didn’t plan on it.” Her foot hit the last step and she let out a long sigh. How many times had she walked up these steps to find her brothers? How many times had her parents sent her to fetch them knowing that they were mixed up with Tanner and his business?
The lights were on and the lingering and familiar noise of football games drifted outside. “Which one is here?” She should’ve known both her brothers would be at Tanner’s place. They always hung out there and the reason for it waited on the other side of the door.
He moved closer to her with a mischievous whisper and a twinkle in his eye. “Which one do you want to see first?” He put the key in the door and turned pushing the door back to showcase the familiar sight.