A Sneaky Preview of Ghost Hold the upcoming Second Novel in the PSS series by Ripley Patton.
(Please note that this excerpt is subject to editing, revision, and change)
Marcus crossed back to the faucet of the now-full Jacuzzi tub and turned it off. He bent over and turned on the jets, which kicked up a lot more steam and a lot more noise. I was starting to melt inside my own clothes, and he must have been too, because when he turned back to me he was slipping his t-shirt over his head.
“What are you doing?” I asked, my voice coming out a little strangled.
“You and I need to talk,” he said, letting the shirt drop to the floor.
“Yes,” I said, trying not to gawk at his chest and the way the steam swirled into it, his PSS shining back and coloring the mist a soft blue hue. “But can’t we do that with our clothes on?”
I stood there stunned. I had just seen Marcus naked. He’d just stripped to his beautiful bare ass right in front of me as if it were nothing. Yes, we’d been sleeping in a tent together for weeks, and making out, but when one of us changed clothes, the other still looked away. Marcus and I had not gotten naked together. We hadn’t even come close, because I always held back. I couldn’t even bring myself to reach my hands inside his shirt. What if my flesh hand accidentally went into his chest and disrupted his PSS? Even worse, what if my ghost hand reached into him and pulled something horrible out? I was pretty sure either of those scenarios would be a serious buzz kill to our intimacy.
“Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve had a bath?” he said, almost a purr, laying his head back on the edge of the tub and closing his eyes.
“I—no—I haven’t had one for like a month,” I stammered, looking down at the tile floor, completely flustered.
“Olivia,” he said softly, and I looked up to find his eyes boring into me, dewy drops captured on those thick dark lashes. “Come here.”
I crossed obediently to the side of the bath, both relieved and a bit disappointed to find that the burbling of the jets obscured most of what was in it. Except his PSS chest. It glowed and pulsed like some half-submerged, cerulean, underwater treasure.
Marcus put his hand out for mine. The invitation was obvious.
This was crazy. There was no way we were going to be able to talk, coherently, in a bathtub together.
“It’s a big tub,” he said, nodding at the other end, “and I promise to be good.”
Yeah, but it wasn’t just him I was worried about. If I got in the tub with Marcus, I would be in the tub with Marcus. “But I—” I looked down at myself. I had on my sleeping tank with no bra underneath, my sweatpants, and underwear.
“You have no idea how relaxing this is,” he said, slipping his hand back into the water and closing his eyes. Either he was taunting me, or giving me a chance to undress without him watching. Probably both.
“You bastard,” I muttered under my breath. I slipped off my shoes and sweatpants and padding barefoot to the far end of the tub. I was not going in completely naked. I wasn’t that much of a fool. I kept my tank and underwear on and stepped into the hot swirling water. As I slid down into it, jets pounding my butt and back, the wet heat rising up and swallowing all my aches and pains in its pure liquid magic, I couldn’t keep the moan from escaping my lips either.
And I didn’t miss the effect that sound had on my bath mate.
One of his lean, muscular legs brushed mine, trembling. And his eyes widened. And his breath came a little faster across the water, far less relaxed then it had been only a moment before.
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