Protecting What's His Page 9

He leaned down, and his big hands came to rest on either side of her head, mouth stopping a mere inch away from hers. “I think we have two different definitions of what working for it means.”

“Oh? What’s your definition?”

“Do you want to me to tell you?” He brushed his lips along the underside of her jaw. “Or show you?”

The blistering contact of his mouth on her skin sent shock waves coursing through her system. Since meeting, she and Derek had shared two sexually charged encounters, but this moment marked the first time he’d touched her and the effect was like a drug straight to her brain. Her head fell back, inviting him to kiss her in the sensitive spot again, but he remained still, waiting for her answer.

She lifted her head and looked him in the eye. “Show me.”

His mouth came down on hers, hard and hungry. The initial contact proved so potent, they both had to pause for a shuddering breath. When she slid her hands up to his shoulders and dug her nails in his flesh, he groaned and lifted her against the door. Desperate to get closer, Ginger’s legs came up to circle his waist, and she moaned when Derek pushed against her with his hips, holding her backside in place with rough hands. She broke contact with his mouth, gasping at the hardness pressing against her damp shorts.

“Did you enjoy putting on that little show for me behind the bar?”

One hand left her bottom to travel up, over her hip and rib cage, stopping just under her right breast, eyes piercing hers with a silent question. Oh, God. She nodded, and when his palm slid up and over her breast, squeezing gently, her eyelids fluttered closed at the excess of sensations. She could feel him watching her, weighing her every reaction as he ran his thumb back and forth across her hard nipple. The arousal she’d experienced earlier tonight while Derek watched her work exploded with added intensity. A whimper escaped her lips. A sharp ache pulsed between her thighs.

“I asked you a question. Did you enjoy it?”

Derek’s words deepened the ache beating within her to a painful level. In that moment, she wanted nothing more than for him to whip off her shorts and panties to take her hard and fast against the door. She licked her lips. “Yes.”

His eyes flared. “Was your performance for me alone or every man with a goddamn pair of eyes?”

He expected her to talk when his mouth was moving to her neck, sucking the sensitive spot underneath her ear? Expert lips traced a path down to her collarbone and back up, and he bit the tender area with a low growl.

“Is it all a tease or do you ever let them take you home?”

Ginger rolled her head to the side, begging for his lips to return to her neck. The hand plastered to her ass kneaded relentlessly, keeping her moving against his erection with intensifying friction. If he would just let her move her hips a little, she would come, even with her shorts on, but his hand and hips controlled her every action. She made a sound of frustration.

His breath rasped out harshly against her ear, punctuated by each thrust that pinned her to the shaking door. Knowing she affected him so powerfully in return made her dizzy. When his mouth found hers once more, she bit his lower lip then licked it, meeting his eyes under heavy lids. He responded by devouring her mouth on a loud groan, sucking her tongue until she writhed against him.

When Derek abruptly ceased his calculated torture, Ginger protested, seeking his mouth once more. He resisted.

Levering her against the door, he ran skilled hands down her thighs and hooked his arms under her knees, pulling them up until they almost reached his shoulders. Then his hips pressed in and upward. Hitting her right where she needed it. Ginger’s head fell back against the door.


“Answer me.”

She couldn’t remember the question. Her breath raced through her lips. Release hovered just within her reach. “No! I don’t go home with any of them. Ever.”

Her sincere answer appeared to calm him somewhat, but then he stepped back, dropped her legs and let her slide down his body. They both groaned at the contact. Ginger wanted to cry with frustration and nearly did so, but then the reality of their situation hit her full force. She’d been two seconds from letting a near-stranger screw her in a public hallway. Although this type of reckless behavior was out of character for her, it eerily reminded her of something. Someone.

Her mother.

Bitter anger and shame swept through her. Pushing against Derek’s chest, she let him see the full force of her fury. “And after that performance, what the hell makes you any different from the drunken ass**les at the bar? You’re exactly like them. The only difference is I had the bad fortune of moving next door to you.”

His momentary calm evaporated and he backed her once more against the door, grasping her chin in his hand. “The difference is, you don’t want any of those men to f**k you. But you want me to f**k you very badly. Don’t you, Ginger?”


Laughing darkly, one big hand dropped between her legs. He palmed her mound and squeezed, then ran two seeking fingers along the seam of her shorts where the telltale wetness gave her away. “Liar.”

“I hate you.”

His eyes narrowed dangerously. “Would you like me to prove what a liar you are?”

“No, I’d like you to give me my keys so I can get the hell away from you.”

She snatched the keys from his outstretched hand and unlocked the door. Once inside, she threw the deadbolt and leaned back against the door, breathing heavily through her nose.

A moment later she heard heavy footsteps move down the hall.

Sinking down onto the floor, Ginger quickly realized three things.

One: She’d completely underestimated the effect Derek had on her. He possessed the ability to make her completely forget everything but him. The effect he had on her body. Valerie had forgotten herself one too many times and Ginger wouldn’t follow suit. No way in hell.

Two: He’d somehow stolen the phone numbers from her back pocket without her knowledge.

Three: She needed a vibrator. A powerful one.

Chapter Seven

Derek stared at the files on his laptop screen, unease settling over him. He hadn’t been able to shake the feeling there was more to Ginger leaving Nashville than a neglectful mother, and now that he’d done a little more digging, it appeared his intuition might be right. According to Valerie’s most recent possession charge, she’d been bailed out of jail by an H. Devon. He’d quickly searched the name in the Nashville area.

In addition to a hefty rap sheet of his own, Haywood Devon owned several strip clubs in the Nashville area. Suspicion of drug trafficking and prostitution inside his clubs looked like it kept the Nashville police department on Devon’s doorstep every few weeks.

If Haywood Devon was the type of character Ginger’s mother associated with on a regular basis, he didn’t doubt she’d been afraid of more than a missed meal. Men like Devon didn’t bail anyone out of jail without expecting a favor in return. When those favors didn’t come through, the families of his debtors paid the price.

Two familiar voices drifted up to him from outside the window. Derek closed his laptop and watched Ginger and her sister hop out of their beaten-up, rusted orange pickup truck, and collect the paper grocery bags from its flatbed. Willa yelled something—obscene, no doubt—to Ginger over the back of the truck, and Ginger threw her head back in unrestrained laughter.

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