Back For More
Indy Steele is many things, but a fan of commitment isn’t one of them. Sure she’s been with only one man in damn near forever, but no way is there anything other than lust between them. To prove it, she kicks Reno out of her bed and her life, and watches as he relocates to another state. A lonely year has gone by and Reno is back, determined to take more than she’s willing to give.
Reno Sandovar hasn’t stopped loving Indy, not for a second. He’s waited a long time to get back to her and now he wants what he should have had all along, her love. Her excuses about their age difference age are just that. He’s hell-bent on showing her that no matter what, he’ll always be coming back for more.
“Ain’t this some shit?” Indy Steele braced one hand on her desk and lifted her left foot. She jerked off the offending stiletto and flung the damn thing across the room with a grunt. The broken heel went one way, and the rest banged against the locked office door then fell to the floor. “Good money down the freaking drain.” With the amount of money she’d paid for the damn thing, she’d have expected it to at least last her more than five months, but nope.
She walked around the desk on tiptoes and slumped into her chair. Not a good day. First, she’d been late to the showing of an open house; then the prospective buyers were a no-show without giving her a heads-up, and now her favorite pair of killer heels were toast. To top it off, Ridgefield was in the grasp of a record breaking heat wave.
Someone pounded on the door. “You in there, chicka?” The voice of her best friend, Arden Windham.
Indy grunted, but didn’t speak. She was in no mood for small talk.
“I’m coming in.” Arden knew her too damn well because she didn’t wait for an invite. The door opened, and Arden poked her head in, eyes widening as she stepped into the room. “You okay?”
Indy snorted. “Do I look okay?”
Arden closed the door behind her then came closer, hesitancy in her steps and on her face. The short skirt she wore showed off her legs while the white see-through racer-back tank showed off her pink bra. “Um…” She bit her lip and glanced away. “Did you see him?’
“See who?” Indy leaned forward with a finger at her temple. “Now’s not the time for guessing games, bitch. It’s been a shitty day.” She wanted a cigarette, but she’d given those up a long time ago. A massage. And a goddamn do-over. Yeah, that one would be good. A do-over.
Arden cocked a brow. “So you didn’t see him?” Her voice rose an octave, and Indy narrowed her eyes.
“What’s going on?” Arden didn’t speak, and Indy growled at her. “I’m two seconds away from launching myself from this chair and strangling you.”
Arden grinned, but Indy knew her enough to see it wasn’t one hundred percent real. Something was up. For the first time, she took a mental step back and regarded her friend seriously. “Are you okay? Something going on with you and Cam?” Cam was Arden’s live-in lover, a delicious specimen of sexy maleness. Despite his outward appearance of scars and tattoos, and the sordid past he couldn’t shake, Cam was a good guy. Did she have to rethink her opinion of him?
“We’re fine.” Arden waved a hand. “I was referring to someone else.” She sat atop Indy’s desk and crossed her legs while fiddling with her ponytail. “I saw Reno in town about an hour ago.”
“Reno’s in California.” Indy looked away from her friend’s gaze as her heartbeat escalated. The knuckles on her right hand hurt, and she glanced down. She’d fisted her hand, squeezing the life out of it. “Reno left.” Her voice sounded like sandpaper on wood suddenly, rough and scratchy. “He’s—”
“Here,” Arden said. “In town.” Pity flashed in her dark eyes then disappeared. “I saw him, walked right by him, but he didn’t see me. He was with his mom and—”
“Why is he back?” Indy jumped to her feet. “Why did he come back?”
Okay, she knew the question was stupid. The guy had been born in Ridgefield, and his parents still lived there. Hell, he’d still be there if she hadn’t sent him away. If she hadn’t demanded he go.
“Summer break?” Arden shrugged. “Dunno, but uh, you should know…” Regret filled her gaze as she said, “He brought someone with him. A girlfriend.”
Jesus. That hurt. It shouldn’t. She’d broken his heart. She’d sent him away as he’d begged for a chance, but goddamn if Arden didn’t fuck her over with those words.
“I saw them,” Arden said softly. “Saw them walking down the street, laughing with his mother.” Arden hopped over the desk and walked around to Indy. “Sorry, chicka.” She hugged Indy from behind. “Sorry.”
Indy allowed the embrace for only a second before she pulled away with a shrug. “It’s no big deal.” She cleared her throat. “It doesn’t matter. He’s moved on. I’ve moved on.” Her untouched body laughed at that. One year since anyone had gotten close enough to breathe on her.
Moved on, yeah right.
Arden knew it, too. They hid nothing from each other, but she didn’t call Indy on her lies. She simply sighed and pulled away.
“Now that you’ve moved on, when your paths do cross with your ex and his new main squeeze, I expect you to hike up your big girl panties and smile.” She shifted and cupped Indy’s cheek. “Then you walk away, yeah?”
“He was just a friend with benefits,” Indy said stubbornly. “We weren’t in a relationship.” Stupid words she’d fought hard to burn into her brain, to keep her from falling for him. Nobody bought it, not Reno and not Arden. “Besides, how else would I react when I do see them? You make it sound like I’d go all jealous and possessive.” She scowled.
“Oh, hon.” Arden planted a loud kiss on her forehead. “Rhetorical question, right? Because we both know you’re already thinking of ways to murder that blonde chick and bury the body.”
Blonde. “She’s blonde?”
Arden nodded. “So blonde. Young, too. ”
“Then they fit.” Her voice caught. “Someone who looks like him, someone his own age.”
Arden rolled her eyes. “Really, bitch?” She held out her forearm under Indy’s nose. “Have you seen me and Cam? Do we look even remotely alike?”
No. Arden and Cam were a beautiful couple, but they didn’t have that other thing hanging over their heads. “You and Cam, you’re peers. You don’t have a huge age gap between you.” The words stuck in her throat.
“Christ, will you get over it already?” Arden gripped her chin. “He was twenty when you guys started. A grown-ass man. He knew his own mind.”
Indy shrugged away her hold. She couldn’t get over it. She shouldn’t have given in to that attraction, but she had, and now she had to live with it.
“What’s done is done.” She met Arden’s gaze. “So he’s back.” She forced a smile. “I can say hi, I can smile. I can.”
“Good.” Arden patted her cheek. “Good.” She stood and straightened her clothes. “I gotta go. Cam is waiting for me.” She regarded Indy steadily. “I’m here, you know this, whenever you feel like talking or bitching or screaming. I got your back. Anytime.”
Indy smiled. “I know.” She held the smile in place as she watched her friend walk out the office and close the door with a soft click. Then she pulled off her other shoe and pelted it at the wall.
Reno Sandovar looked on as his mother and Jenna made dinner. He’d known those two would get along, which was one of the reasons he’d agreed to bring her with him on his weeklong trip to Ridgefield. When that week was up, they’d be on their way to New York where he’d spend some time exploring the city and all it had to offer, before reuniting Jenna with Steven, Reno’s good friend and Jenna’s soon-to-be baby daddy. Since Reno had nothing going on at the time, no plans other than what he wished would happen, and since the chances of him getting what he wanted were nil, he had taken Steven and Jenna up on their offer to spend the summer in New York with them, but only if he visited his family first.
So here they were. Jenna and his mom got along from the instant they meant. Reno breathed a sigh of relief. Jenna was good people. She and Steven would make great parents, but Reno couldn’t help but be envious of their life. The hollow in his stomach grew and grew the longer he stayed in Ridgefield. The itch to call the one phone number he should have long deleted from his phone was strong.
Indy was still around, he knew that.
She remained local, long after she’d fucked his head and heart up, and kicked him out. It sucked that he couldn’t forget her. No matter whom he kissed, no matter whom he took to bed, he couldn’t forget Indy Steele.
If he knew her at all, and he liked to think he did, she’d love that. Even though she’d broken them up and damn near demanded he take the research position with one of his mentors in California, she’d love to know the first girl he slept with after Indy had punched him in the nose because he called her by another woman’s name. Indy would love to know he’d allowed no one to touch him the way she had, that that part of him always belonged to her.
As would his heart.
And his fucking mind.
He didn’t want to see her, but he would. He didn’t want to still care, but he did. She’d probably long moved on, found someone else to take his place. Now, Reno had to prepare himself to not break when they did meet up. Ridgefield was a small place. Everyone knew everyone.
Hell, Indy likely already knew he was home.
“You okay, son?”
Reno jerked his gaze to his father where he sat on the couch. “Yeah.” He cleared his throat. “Yeah, I’m good.” Feminine laughter rang out, and he looked back into the kitchen. Jenna and his mother stood talking while cooking.
“I like her,” his dad said softly. “Nice gal.”
“Yes.” Reno nodded. “She’s great.” They’d had their own thing going for a minute, he and Jenna, but that lasted only one night before she met Steven and the two became a couple. Reno hadn’t minded one bit. Jenna had known he was hung up on someone back home, so she’d expected nothing but a good time. They were friends now, good friends, but for some reason, Reno regretted bringing her home with him.
He wished Jenna wasn’t around.
He hadn’t seen Indy. He had no idea if she still cared.
This isn’t a relationship, Reno. We’re simply fucking around, having fun.
She’d said those words only minutes after fucking him with that dark strap-on they both favored. He’d seen the look in her eyes, the fear and something else, something like she was trying desperately to make the words she spoke be true.
She’d kept him at a distance, throwing their age difference in his face, using it like some sort of invisible barrier between them. Only twelve years separated them, but she made it seem like decades. When he’d knocked down that excuse she’d changed tactics, blaming their obvious different races for her reticence.
Nobody but Indy cared about their age difference. Nobody but Indy had a problem with their skin color. She’d been the one to sabotage them before anything real ever happened. Before they could develop what they had besides the explosive sex.
His sphincter clenched. She’d had him on his hands and knees, and in the two years he’d lost count of how many times she’d made him lose control and beg for more. She’d introduced him to ass play, and he’d quickly learned to love getting pegged, but once he left, he couldn’t see himself giving up control to anybody else.
He was hers. No matter the time or distance, that hadn’t changed. He didn’t see it ever changing. Now, all he had to do was survive a week of being in the same town with her, of being close, but never close enough.
“Dinner’s ready,” his mother called. “Boys, set the table.”
Reno did as ordered alongside his dad, a very familiar thing he hadn’t realized he’d missed until that moment. He and his dad would set the table after his mother cooked, and then they’d gather ’round, say grace, and dig in. He missed that.
He missed Ridgefield more than he realized, and it might or might not be because of Indy Steele.