Military Monday: Tease Me
June 12, 2017
Semper Fi Marines, Book 1
Later that night, Bran frowned when his phone played Beethoven’s Fifth, alerting him that MJ was calling. He felt oddly deflated that Tess hadn’t called, but he knew she was busy.
“Hello, yourself. How’s the house hunt?” she asked in typical MJ fashion. His father liked to say that MJ was born talking, and that wasn’t far from the truth. She was always half way through a conversation before Bran knew they were having one.
He didn’t know how to answer the question. Now that MJ and Tess started talking back and forth on the phone, he wasn’t sure how to proceed. Part of him knew he needed a place, and the house down the street would be perfect. But there was a bigger part of him that didn’t want to leave Tess’ house.
“Okay, still looking.”
A beat of silence. And that was a bad thing with MJ. “You know you can’t mooch off Tess forever. And besides, she has a personal life.”
“I know that.” Then he realized what she said. “Wait, has she talked to you about that?”
“What, that you’re a mooch? Not in detail.”
“Her personal life. Has she complained to you?”
Then nothing. She just let the silence stretch. She might have been the youngest Johnson, but MJ knew just how to control all of them. And one way was with silence. Even knowing that, he took the bait.
“What do you mean by personal life?”
“Listen, I talked to Jesse, who told me she is gorgeous. Of course, I always knew she would be. She was just one of those girls who needed to grow into her looks. Now, with you there, you could be cramping her style.”
“Cramping her style?”
“Yeah. I mean, if I were her and working on a base with a ton of military men, I know I would probably be busy. Okay, if I hadn’t sworn off military men like I had.”
There was some kind of talking on the other side of the phone.
“Of course, not now, Leo. It’s all about you, the sex god of my dreams.”
Bran was amused and disgusted at the same time. MJ and Leo had a relationship most people would call just about perfect, but then those people didn’t have to hear them be disgusting.
“Could you two not talk about sex while I am on the phone?”
“Better than us having it on the phone while you listen.”
“Ugh, I don’t know how you turned out the way you did.”
“Anyway, back to your living arrangements.”
“I’ve been here a few days. I looked at houses and apartments one day. We hit the beach another day. And, Tess has been working like crazy hours since then.”
“Maybe you drove her away.”
“I didn’t drive her away. Oh my God, you are such a pain in the ass. Stomach flu hit the hospital staff, so she’s helping out.”
The door to the garage opened in the kitchen and he looked over. All of a sudden, he felt the air leave his lungs, and he felt a little off center. Tess was smiling and she looked like she hadn’t had much sleep since he’d seen her that morning, but…damn, she was beautiful.
Every ounce of good sense drained from his head…along with the blood. His body reacted even if his mind hadn’t caught up yet. Heat surged through is his veins and everything he had been fearing seemed to fade away. There was only one thing that mattered now and that was touching Tess.
“I gotta go now, MJ.”
“Wait, I’m not done with you—“
But he hung up the phone. “Hey. You look beat.”
She sighed. “I am. I think I’ll strip down, crawl into bed, and go into a coma sleep.”
His brain sputtered to a stop. Right there, right then, he wanted her. There was no denying it now. His body ached, his head spun. Never in his life had he wanted a particular woman this much. It left him slightly dizzy and confused. Over the last few days, he had denied his need for her so many times, but right then, at that moment, he couldn’t. There was something about Tess that tugged at his heart. It was probably a mistake, but he didn’t think he could stop himself from taking action. He walked over to her and slipped his arm around her waist. In that instant, it just felt right.
She frowned. “Bran?”
“I’ve been thinking about this all day.”
He had been. Since he stopped by for breakfast that morning, he’d been thinking about it. He wanted a taste. Her mouth. Her flesh. Bran wanted to savor every bit of her body.
The moment his mouth touched hers, she shivered. He was enough of a man to admit that it turned him on to know she was vulnerable to him. She moaned against him as he pressed his body to hers.
Before he knew what was happening, she pulled back shaking her head at him. It took him a second to realize she was trying to disengage from him. There was a split second where he thought about denying her that. Not allowing her to go. Then, his common sense hit him. With much reluctance, he allowed her to step back.
She looked at him strangely, and he didn’t blame her. Even Bran heard the arousal in his voice. It vibrated just beneath the surface and pounded through his veins.
She took another step back. “This isn’t smart.”
“I never said it was.” He stepped towards her, closing the distance.
Tess held out her hand as if to ward him off, but he took it in his and pulled it up to his mouth.
“Bran, you’re not interested in me. You never have been.”
“You’re wrong there.”
She rolled those expressive green eyes of hers, and he hid a smile as he nibbled on her fingers.
“I’m not wrong, Bran. I’ve never been your kind of woman.”
He heard the doubt in her voice and was stunned. This woman had always seemed so confident, so sure of herself. But in this, she seemed…at a loss. She apparently didn’t know how stunning her found her. That she was gorgeous inside and out.
He guessed it was time to reveal that little secret of his.
“Do you remember graduation?”
“Yes, it rained, we had it inside. It was hot as hell.”
“Not high school. Annapolis.”
She frowned in thought, then nodded.
“You were so excited that you came running up to me and hugged me. Do you remember that?”
She sighed. “Of course I do. It wasn’t that long ago. I don’t know what this has to do with the fact that you’re gnawing on my fingers.”
“Then you kissed me. On the mouth. You’d never done that before.”
Anyone watching would have seen a calm woman, but Bran knew better. He was holding her hand and his fingers skimmed over her pulse. It sped up a beat or two. Bran was enough of a competitor to admit he enjoyed that.
She cleared her throat apparently trying to compose herself. “And?”
He nibbled a little longer, taking his time. He knew it was small of him, but he was enjoying her discomfort. “There’s a reason I avoided you for a few months. For a second there, I almost lost it.”
Now she looked very wary. “Bran if you want me to believe—”
Irritated with her, and the fact that he was dying to touch more than just her hand, he interrupted her.
“I am not lying. You kissed me. It lasted a second and the only thing I could think was that I wanted more.”
Her eyes widened and she shook her head.
He nodded. “Thoughts of tearing off your clothes and kissing every inch of your body took over. Then, all the family came up and well, I felt perverted because the rest of the night I wondered what you looked like under your uniform.”
“You ran off with Jimmy and the rest of those idiots that night.”
“And I came back to the hotel without them. I couldn’t get you out of my mind. Then, you were gone and we were both busy. It all hit me when I saw you the other day.”
“It’s true. I want you. And I could tell from that kiss, you want me. Why does it have to be any harder than that?”
“Our families, our…careers.”
“And you date other Marines. Unless there is something wrong with me.”
“There’s nothing wrong with you.”
The way she said it was as if she was irritated with him for it.
“Hey, I won’t push you, but tell me…can you really say you don’t want this?”
He pulled her closer and kissed her again, this time thrusting his tongue inside her mouth. She tasted of minty toothpaste and lust. It was an odd combination, but need poured through him. Then, slowly, she slipped her hands up his arms and behind his neck. It was Tess who pressed her body against his this time, and it was him who shook. She tilted her head to the side and slid her tongue against his.
When he pulled back, they were both breathing heavily.
“So, what do you say, Tess?”
He left it up to her. He knew that for her, it was the right way to go. Tess always had to think things over and if she said she wanted to wait, he would wait. He’d have to take a cold shower for an hour, but he would do it. She lifted her fingers to her lips and touched her mouth. She looked stunned.
Damn, she was going to say to wait. Or, worse, no. That would be ten times worse. But then, in a blink of an eye, she dropped her hand and her lips curved.
“Are you sure?”
She nodded. “Have you ever known me to not say what I mean?”
Then, he let out an oorah as he bent to pick her up. He caught her unawares and she squealed.
“Bran, put me down,” she said wiggling against him.
“I will, when I can put you under me.”
Then he marched into her bedroom.