Testing the Limits
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Ruby slung her beach bag over her shoulder and wandered down the paved pathway that led to her parents’ backyard. A trio of butterflies floated past while trees and lush plants overflowed from raised garden beds, creating a shady oasis from the summer sun. She drew in a breath and let it out in a contented sigh. If it hadn’t been for the two storey house looming over her, it would have felt like walking through a tropical rainforest.
She pushed open the side gate and stepped from the enclosed area into the open backyard. Late-afternoon sunshine bathed the in-ground swimming pool and gardens bordering the property in a warm glow. An expanse of decking accommodated a couple of wooden sun lounges at the water’s edge. Ruby dropped her bag beside the nearest one and slipped off her sandals. She pulled her long black hair into a ponytail and secured it with the tie that she kept around her wrist.
Although she’d finished university and moved out of home almost twelve months ago, her new apartment block unfortunately lacked a pool. Since she’d grown up doing laps every day it turned out to be one of the many things she missed about not living here anymore.
She stripped off her t-shirt and dropped it onto the lounge, then shoved her shorts down and added them to the pile. Ruby wandered over to the pool in her bright red bikini, taking time at the edge to indulge in a long stretch.
Her parents weren’t around at the moment and wouldn’t be back for months yet. With both of them having recently retired they’d finally gone on the eighteen-month-long trip around Australia that they’d been planning since Ruby and her older brother Scott were in high school. Scott had moved back home to take care of the house while they were away. Since his job as a cop had him working afternoon shifts this week and the next, Ruby knew she had the place to herself for a while.
Just as she let out a breath and prepared to dive in, the creak of the side gate sounded behind her.
She didn’t have to turn around to know who stood there. If his deep, husky voice hadn’t been a dead giveaway, the fact that no one else ever called her by that name told her it was her brother’s long-time best friend, Liam.
Ruby turned to face him. “Hey. What are you doing here?” Her heart thumped harder at the sight of him. She hid her reaction behind her usual smile and let her gaze slide over him.
His board shorts sat low on his hips and his grey tank top showcased a lean, muscled body. The dimple in his left cheek and his dirty blonde hair unfortunately only added to his charm. She wanted to sigh at the vision then slap herself for being so easily affected by him.
The way his sensual mouth kicked up at one corner made her feel as if he could hear her thoughts. “I’m staying in the spare room while my place is being painted,” he said. “Should be gone by Monday.”
“Really? Scott didn’t say anything.” Ruby had developed a crush on Liam back when she was seventeen, and although he’d never shown the slightest interest in her, she’d figured making a move on him would help open his eyes to her appeal. With the benefit of hindsight and a little maturity she could see now why that idea had been destined for failure.
Six years later her cheeks still grew hot at the memory of him laughing at her inexperienced attempts at seduction. It had been so awkward she would have laughed too if she hadn’t been completely mortified.
Liam smiled as he walked over to her. “I guess he didn’t feel the need to tell you since…you know…you don’t live here anymore.” His gaze dropped to her breasts for a fraction of a second as he bumped his shoulder against hers.
Ruby knew she was in trouble when just that brief flicker of interest could get her pulse racing. “I guess you’re right,” she said.
It amazed her that he had this power over her and had absolutely no idea—or at least appeared to be oblivious. Many times she’d silently admonished herself for being such a wimp about the whole situation. She should have been having fun trying to turn the tables on him but the embarrassment from the last time she’d tried was still too fresh in her memory.
“Here for a swim?” he asked.
“Yep.” She adjusted the tie on her bikini top, not intentionally trying to draw his attention back there but it had that effect on him. “Feel like having your ass kicked over a few laps?”
Liam’s gaze returned to hers. He let out an amused breath as if he knew he’d been caught looking. “Yeah, why not.” He pulled his keys and wallet from his shorts and strolled over to her clothing to drop his belongings beside hers.
Once he’d kicked off his shoes, he grabbed the neckline of his tank top and tugged it over his head. He let it fall from his dangling fingertips then turned to face her. Ruby had to fight not to close her eyes and sigh. He was just too damn appealing.
Her dark eyes followed his movements as he walked back toward her. She took in the relaxed set of escort ataşehir his shoulders, his easy gait, the smile that hovered at his mouth. She’d only had the opportunity to be alone with him for brief moments in the past because Scott had always been around. Ruby wasn’t sure she could handle the temptation and the torture now she had him all to herself.
“Why the frown?” he asked, coming to a stop before her.
She tried her best to shake away the thoughts and rolled her shoulders. “Just mentally preparing for a win, that’s all.”
He flicked her ponytail, the gleam of amusement in his eyes telling her he knew there was something more to it than that. “Well, are you going to get in or just stand there all day posing?”
Ruby tried to glare at him but laughter bubbled up inside her. “There’s only one poser here and we both know it’s not me.”
He grabbed her wrists and held them out to her sides. “Why were you doing that thing with your boobs then?” he asked.
The rising laughter burst from her in a surprised breath. “What thing?”
“Pushing them out to get my attention. You don’t need to do that. Believe me, I already noticed.”
She made a show of trying to tug her hands free, even though the sensation of his fingers tightening on her wrists made her skin tingle with awareness. “I don’t need or want your attention,” she said.
“Really?” His gaze wandered down her body. Ruby held her breath, her heart pounding at his blatant appraisal. She had to keep reminding herself he was only teasing and trying to make a point, but a shiver passed through her and her nipples hardened under the weight of his stare. When his blue eyes met hers again, her breath hitched and her cheeks flooded with heat. “Liar,” he said, smiling. “You’re still into me aren’t you?”
She tried to laugh but it came out more like a choking sound. “No!” Could he see it on her face? She’d always tried to keep it her own little secret. Not even her closest friends knew the depth of her feelings for him.
He tugged her closer. “You can tell me the truth. I won’t make a big deal out of it.”
“It’s been six years. How sad would it make me if I’d been carrying a torch for you all this time?”
“Hmm. Maybe it would make you dedicated…or romantic. I don’t know these things, I’m a guy.”
“Don’t worry; I’m well aware of that fact.” Ruby forced herself to look him straight in the eyes. “I’ve moved on, okay. It was just a silly crush.”
His words sounded casual but she heard an underlying tone there that she’d never noticed before. “Uh huh.”
Their gazes meshed. Her breaths came hard. It gave her a small sense of satisfaction to see that for whatever reason he appeared to be struggling, too. He’d pulled her so close that her hardened nipples brushed against his chest. Ruby gasped at the contact; Liam swore under his breath.
He let go of her wrists and turned away from her. She took in the hard lines of his profile, her pulse racing at the sudden change in mood. “What?” she asked. “What did I do?”
“Nothing.” He shook his head and stared at the ground. Several tense seconds passed where she stood waiting, not knowing how to respond. “I think I just need to cool off.”
While she was still trying to figure out what had happened, he scooped her up in his arms and tossed her into the pool.
Her screech of protest cut through the air as the cool water crashed over her. Ruby held her breath and felt the splash beside her as he followed her in. She pushed to the surface spluttering and swiping the hair from her eyes. “I can’t believe you did that!” She sliced her hand through the water to send the spray into Liam’s face.
Although he appeared more at ease now the strange moment between them had ended, the glint in his eye told her he had retaliation in mind. Before he could make a move she took off, trying to put some distance between them. Several strokes in Liam grabbed her ankle and dragged her back toward him. Ruby let out a laughing scream and kicked to no effect before suddenly finding herself twisted around and pressed against a hard, wet, male body. Hard—oh my God—everywhere.
Her thigh slid between his as they disentangled themselves. She unintentionally rubbed her knee against the bulge in his shorts and a sudden craving hit her hard. Her mouth opened; unfortunately she’d forgotten how to speak. She couldn’t look at him but she couldn’t look away either. “You’re…you’re—”
“Jesus, Ruby. Shut up.”
She heard the reluctant humour in his voice. The water came up to his shoulders but she had to work to keep afloat. “Why’s your cock hard?” she asked. “I mean around me?”
“Please…” He appeared to be struggling between amusement and embarrassment which only made her more curious. “Don’t say that word.”
“What word?” she asked. “Cock?”
He growled and grabbed her elbows, dragging her against him. She’d never seen him look this uncomfortable before. “I swear, kadıköy escort if you say that one more time.”
Ruby couldn’t stop a wide smile from spreading across her face. She felt like she had the upper hand for the first time ever with him. “Mmm, cock,” she said. If the word came out sounding a little breathy and seductive, it wasn’t her fault. Not really.
The warning look he gave her only made her want to push him further to find out what happened when she went too far. “I don’t get it. You’re not attracted to me so why—”
He scrubbed his hand down his face and sighed. “Scott’s going to kill me.”
“What are you talking about?” The way he looked at her had her stomach lurching in hope and despair all at the same time. His gaze lowered to her mouth, lingering there long enough to have her self-consciously wetting her bottom lip. “Liam?” She drew in a sharp breath, trying not to care too much too soon.
His eyes remained on hers, his expression resigned.
“That’s why you asked if I still had a thing for you—because you’re into me?” Something grew to bursting point inside her, something big and happy that made her feel full and alive. Her heart pounded. Her fingers clenched on his shoulders. “How long?” she asked.
“You big idiot. Why didn’t you say anything? If you had any idea how much I—” Ruby shook her head at the amount of time they’d both wasted. “Why did you say Scott would kill you?”
“He’s my closest friend. I can’t make a move on his little sister.”
“I’m twenty-three! I think I can make my own decisions.”
“He’s a cop.”
“He has a gun.”
Ruby laughed. She couldn’t help herself. This was just too ridiculous for words. “So you’re going to stand back and do nothing? Is that how it goes?”
“Until I think of a better idea.”
“Is this some kind of man-code thing? I thought women were supposed to be the complicated ones?”
“We’re protective of our sisters. If he tried it on with mine I’d be pissed too.”
Ruby let out a whoop of laughter. “She’s married with three kids. I think her husband would be more pissed than you.” Liam looked like he was trying to suppress a smile which only made her want to bring it to the surface more. “You’re telling me that no matter what I say or do, you’re going to stand your ground and not take this any further?”
“Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.”
As far as she was concerned he’d just given her free rein to tease him mercilessly until he cracked under pressure. Ruby couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon, especially since she’d just expected to come here for a quick dip and head home.
“Are we going for that swim?”
She looked up at the sound of his voice, feeling the sudden urge to wrap herself around him and kiss him senseless. She settled for pulling him closer with her fingers curled over his shoulders. “I have a better idea.” Her legs parted, hugging his waist to draw him against her.
“What are you doing?”
“Testing the limits.” Ruby held back a smile and flattened her palm against his shoulder, sliding her hand down to his chest. Her pinkie grazed his nipple and she felt the sharp jolt that went through him. “You’re really going to play hard-to-get?”
He swept his thumb over her temple. “Only until this is all out in the open. I don’t want to sneak around with you.”
Hearing him talk about her in this way made her heart thud. Ruby lifted her hand to comb back his hair, watching the way his eyes closed to soak up the pleasure in her touch. His damp lashes lay in spiky arcs against his skin and his jaw was rough with a day’s worth of stubble. “Please,” she said. She pressed a soft kiss beside his mouth then brushed her lips across his skin to play at his ear. “I’ve been waiting years for you.”
He groaned and rubbed his cheek against hers, his arms coming around her waist to pull her even closer. His erection pressed against her insistently. Ruby sank one hand into his thick hair while the other swept up and down his spine. “I think you should kiss me,” she said.
“I can’t.” His arms tightened around her briefly. “I’m trying not to fuck everything up.”
Ruby smiled and touched her lips to his earlobe. “Just let me seduce you and you can blame it all on me.”
A laughing breath left him. He smoothed his hand over her shoulder. “Nice idea, but that’s not going to happen.”
She figured it wouldn’t take much to get him to change his mind. Ruby pulled back to look at him, enjoying the warmth in his gaze as it travelled over her. Her knee slid between his again, lifting higher until the top of her thigh met the rigid length hidden in his shorts. She rubbed him slowly, watching his expression change from one of amusement to arousal. “You’re so hard,” she said.
He groaned and closed his eyes. Her mouth pressed to his throat and she felt his pulse flutter against her lips. She left a trail of kisses behind as she moved maltepe escort bayan to his strong jawline. She kissed him there and continued on until her mouth hovered over his, their warm breaths intermingling. The taste of him, the feel of him, she couldn’t hold back now she’d had a sample. “I want you inside me, Liam.”
“Ruby.” He clasped her face in his hands, resting his forehead against hers. “I want you so much I can’t fucking breathe.”
A bolt of heat shot straight through her. She gasped as a feeling of wildness tore through her. “You can’t expect me to leave you alone after that.” She held onto his shoulder, slipping her other hand behind her to tug on the tie that held her bikini top in place. Once she’d loosened the bow Ruby pulled the soaked material over her head and tossed it behind her onto the pool ledge.
She should have felt self-consciousness being half-naked in front of him but she was too turned on to care. Her arms wrapped around his neck, her bare breasts flattening against his chest as she crushed her mouth to his. He didn’t put up a fight. He held her tightly and kissed her back, his lips warm and wet, his fingers clutching her to him. She moaned at his touch, caught up in the sensations charging through her.
His tongue probed gently at first, becoming bolder with each passing second. She clenched her thighs around him and immersed herself in his strength, his heat. His hands lowered to her ass, gripping her buttocks to support her weight.
They continued exploring each other’s mouths for long, luxurious moments until Liam finally dipped his hand beneath her and worked his thumb inside the elastic leg of her bikini bottoms. Ruby held her breath, her heart racing with anticipation.
His thumb found her clit and she gasped at the contact. He smiled against her mouth, rubbing her in firm circles while he kept up his deep, lazy kisses.
Ruby shuddered as desire built inside her. She always got so worked up around him that it wouldn’t take long to push her over the edge. She clasped his shoulders and held on as he massaged her clit. His free hand moved to the tie on her bikini bottoms. Ruby took the hint and helped out by loosening the one on the other side. He whipped the material from her and droplets of water rained down on them as he flung it over her shoulder.
She pulled her mouth from his and took a couple of panting breaths. She gave him a quick once over, her stomach dipping at the intensity in his expression. Liam sank his fingers inside her, delving deep and drawing back again while he worked her clit with his thumb.
“Ohhh.” Ruby’s teeth bit into her lower lip. The pleasure from his touch left her breathless.
His mouth lifted on one side, his gaze warm and intimate as it roamed over her. Her hips jerked to meet the thrust of his fingers, her breasts mashed against his chest. Desire rose inside her until she couldn’t take any more.
Then it all came to a stop.
She cried out in protest and made a grab for him. Liam chuckled as he planted a kiss on her mouth and gripped her hips. He walked further down the pool with her until the water just reached his waist, then lifted her onto the side and left her sitting there. She would have felt rejected if it hadn’t been for the way he looked at her.
He worked on the button at the waistband of his shorts, curving his other hand around the back of her neck and pulling her to him for a long kiss. His tongue swept over hers, his lips caressing and arousing. When he’d pushed her to the point that she wanted to beg for more, he broke the connection and whispered against her mouth, “Finish yourself off for me.”
Lust and love collided inside her as she stared at him. Her stomach quivered at the thought. She’d pleasured herself before but never with an audience. Ruby glanced down at her body, taking in her hardened nipples, the goosebumps dotting her skin, the way her stomach tightened with each harsh breath that left her. Her legs were slightly parted, her calves dangling in the water—and Liam stood there drinking in the sight as if he never wanted to look away.
“I haven’t done this before,” she said. “I mean…not in front of anyone.” She wanted to do it though, just for him. She sent him an imploring look as she parted her knees. “If you laugh…” Any indication that he found her efforts amusing would have her clamping her legs shut again.
“Ruby, the last thing I want to do is laugh.” He pushed his shorts down and stepped out of them. Unfortunately she couldn’t get a clear view of what they revealed because his lower half was still mostly hidden by the water. He threw his shorts onto the deck where they landed with a wet slop. Ruby gave him a small smile, taking comfort in the fact they were both naked now.
He rested his palms on her knees and urged them further apart. Liam leaned in to press his lips to hers, kissing her in such a slow, sensual way that she moaned deep in her throat. Her fingers slipped between her thighs and began teasing her pussy. The first caress made her sigh; the second caused her to moan. He touched the back of her hand and let out a deep breath through his nose. His palm slid up her thigh, travelling further over damp skin until he cupped her breast.
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