By: Allie Juliette Mousseau

Smoothly, my hands and fingers work over the black tribal tattoos inked on both of his highly defined arms. His biceps clench as I reach them.

“Relax …” I barely get the word out.

“I can’t,” he says breathily. Sexily.

His forearms are beautiful, thick with corded muscle. I’ve always been an arm girl. I don’t know what it is about arms, but they turn me on more than any other body part—except for maybe eyes—and these are the finest arms I’ve ever touched.

The tats continue over both his hands and I follow them to the ends of his strong fingers. I rub each one before I flow back up to his swollen shoulders.

As I knead down and into his left ribs, I trail over the quote etched in ink there: I Am My Brother’s Keeper. I wonder at the meaning behind it.

On his right side, in cursive script, is the quote, “Do the thing you fear the most.” I read it out loud.

“Mark Twain,” he informs me.

I consider the script on his leg about fear, and I wonder what he’s striving to conquer. And if he’s beat it yet.

Moving down, my hands cup his hip. His body now glistens with the sheen of the sweet almond oil I’ve rubbed into him. I consider myself a medical paraprofessional, but my next move doesn’t feel professional at all. It feels animal and hungry. My fingertips dig into the muscles of his ass.

He moans and my eyes fall closed. I don’t speak, and I try desperately not to think as I knead and press and push. I fail. The slickness growing between my legs is reminding me that I’m human and I’m a woman. I’ve never had this reaction with a client before. But I’ve never had Josh North as a client before.

“Sweetheart, you’re killing me,” he exclaims, and I feel his hips pushing against the mattress. That can’t be easy with the fractures in his back.

I’m sure he has a hard-on, and I feel a small smile tug at the corners of my lips in satisfaction over the fact that I’m the one who gave it to him.

“I apologize,” he says. “I was given strict orders to be on my best behavior with you, but you rubbing there is not going to be conducive to that end result.”

“Your gluteus maximus is a connective muscle that needs to be included in your healing.” Oh my God, I’m dying!

The oxygen empties from his body as he strives to relax into my grip. The words that he just said finally seem to make it to the language sensors in my brain.

“Best behavior?” I pull down the curve of his ass to drift down his legs.

I love your artwork, Josh, I think in my head, as if I spoke the words out loud and as if he and I were close, intimate friends. I wonder how many of the stories in the articles about him that I devoured last night in those magazines Ay brought home are fiction. They made him out to be an indifferent, unattached and unapologetic bachelor who’s been seen in the most exclusive venues with the most popular starlets and models.

“Yeah, I … um …” he starts to say before switching gears. “Wait a minute, you said something yesterday, about Emerson and Eleanor Roosevelt, when I rudely checked out on you.”

“Nothing rude about it. I’m glad to have relaxed you so much.”

“Yeah, well you’re doing anything but now.”

“Excuse me?”

“Nothing. Did you study philosophy?” he attempts to recover.

“Only a little, but I really enjoyed it,” I confess. “Did you?”

“I majored in philosophy,” he says matter-of-factly.

My hands stop as I try to compute that one.

“University of Minnesota.” He chuckles at my mute response. “No one ever believes me.”

“I believe you. I’m just surprised,” I admit.

“Did you study philosophy?” he asks again.

“I probably would’ve taken more classes on it if I’d gone to a four year university. Taking care of Charlie and studying was a real strain on both of us. Massage in the medical community has strong career potential and didn’t take four years.” I pause to think for just a second. “You’ve made some interesting career choices for a philosopher.”

“I guess I have,” he says lightly.

Fighting, fear, philosophy, I muse to myself. And just like that, Josh becomes a puzzle I’d like to solve.

Chapter Three



“I’m not sharing my room with this motherfucker for anything!” Liam shouts, pointing at me. “I don’t care if he is your blood! He’s a douchebag!”

“Look who’s calling who a douchebag!” I lunge at him, and we roll across the floor in the bedroom that we’re forced to co-exist in.

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