The Matchmaker's Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken

  “On?” Her smile was confident, sexy.

  “Do you have refreshments to offer me? That’s kind of the next unspoken rule—don’t invite them in assuming something will happen. Invite them in for a drink, coffee, late-night movie.”

  “All of the above,” she said with a nod. “How’s that?”

  “Well, then.” I shut off the car. “I accept.”


  The door shut behind us, blanketing the house in silence except for some engine-revving in a car commercial playing on the TV. I tried to even my breathing, but it was damn near impossible.

  Blackness filled the small hallway.

  “Gabs must be sleeping,” I said, mainly to fill the awkwardness with my voice.

  “Serena and Gabs are at a movie,” she whispered back.

  “Oh.” I clenched my eyes shut. I needed to seriously back off.

  Blake dropped the blanket to the floor and turned in one swift movement. Her eyes searched mine.

  I reached for her, needing to just touch her. One last time. Just one last time before I let her go to David . . . Just once before . . .

  But her eyes were so hopeful.

  And she was just so damn sexy.

  More than that.

  I’d gone from being the coach to the damn client . . . wanting so desperately for the girl to notice me that I’d go to any lengths to get her attention.

  Blake’s eyes met mine. She didn’t turn away.

  Life is full of choices. Some good, some bad. I wasn’t sure, in that moment, if I was making a bad choice or the first good choice in a really long time.

  Tension hung in the air while we both continued to stare at one another.

  When my eyes locked in on her mouth, she moved, ever so slightly, toward me, her body giving me the tiniest hint that I wasn’t going insane, that she wanted me just as much as I wanted her.

  Without thinking it through any further, I slammed my mouth against hers, coming up for air only long enough to utter, “Screw David. You’re mine.”

  My hands flew at her dress, tugging the wet material down her legs. She stumbled out of it, her wet body sliding against mine. My fingers fumbled for her hips, and I lifted her into the air while my mouth was still fused with hers, tongues twisting, entwining. I wasn’t sure where she ended and where I began. She let out a loud moan that reverberated through the nearly silent hallway.

  Her hands dug into my back, gripping me tighter, harder. Control long gone, I swept my tongue across her lower lip, then pulled back and glanced at her swollen mouth and attacked it again from a different angle. My dick strained against my jeans as her core rocked hard against me.

  “Damn it.” I stumbled back against the wall with her in my arms, then slowly started taking the stairs one at a time. And with each step, another kiss to her mouth, then one to her neck. Her soft moans were going to be the absolute death of me as I made it to the landing and charged toward her room. The door slammed behind us.

  The room was quiet.

  Except for my heavy breathing.

  And hers.

  Slowly, I slid her down my body, growling in pleasure as the friction from her legs caught on my jeans, making me mindlessly thrust toward her.

  Blake’s eyes zeroed in on my mouth. I licked my lips in anticipation, still tasting her, my body so hot I felt like I was going to explode. When had it ever been like this? When had I ever been so . . . obsessed?

  She reached for me.

  I leaned back and wagged my finger.

  Blake’s eyebrows shot up. “Too fast?”

  I burst out laughing as the warm light from the lamp illuminated her perfection. “Yeah, something like that. As in if we don’t slow down, it’s going to be over way too fast.”

  I couldn’t tell if she was blushing; the room was too dark. But what I could tell? She was mind-numbingly beautiful with her wavy hair sticking to her neck, her perfect, nearly naked body beckoning me to take a little bite wherever I wanted. To mark her as mine.

  “You about ready now?” she teased.

  “Sweet cheeks”—I reached for her hands and tugged her roughly against me—“I’ve been ready since I saw those sexy flip-flops.”

  Laughing, she pulled back, or at least tried, but I started moving my lips across her neck, sucking, licking, just freaking tasting, as if I’d never been with a woman before. And maybe I hadn’t, at least not a woman like Blake. One who drove me insane by just breathing.

  Blake was in the sexiest damn lingerie I’d ever seen, and my hands ran down the red lace in appreciation as she deepened the kiss. Her chest heaved, splaying her breasts against my chest. I could feel her nipples harden.

  I was mindless, an animal, consumed by the feel of her.

  Knowing she wanted me as much as I wanted her.

  I released her so I could fully admire the red lingerie, desperate to see what I had already felt.

  Her gaze heated, but then insecurity washed over her features.

  “Oh no you don’t,” I growled, reaching for her again, my mouth angling harshly against hers, my kiss more aggressive than gentle, because, hell, I felt aggressive, like I would die if I couldn’t be inside her.

  “I think I need more rules,” she whispered once our mouths broke free. “So I know what to do.”

  “No more rules.” I traced my finger down the curve of her breast and gave her bra a little tug. “Rules in the bedroom only lead to confusion and lack of orgasms.”

  “How do you figure?”

  Shit, I knew that look: she was starting to think. And thinking was always frowned upon. Thinking meant she was going to be the sane one, the one who said, ‘Let’s just be friends,’ when I really wanted to get her naked and fill her to the hilt again and again, until I was dehydrated or near death.

  “I figure”—I slid my hand down her arm—“because women concentrate way too hard on thinking their way through sex rather than feeling.”

  Her lower lip trembled as I reached behind her back and undid the clasp, my hands skimming over her bare skin, memorizing the smoothness. I pressed a kiss to the place where her shoulder and neck met.

  “Feel,” I whispered, “all you want. And if you say no . . . mean it.”

  “What do you mean?”

  I pulled back and cupped her chin between my fingers. Damn it, now she was making me think, and that also wasn’t a good idea. I’d never been guilty of developing a conscience, until now. “The minute you say no, I’m covering you in as many layers of clothing as I can, and getting as far away from you as physically possible. So don’t say no unless you really mean it, because I won’t be coming back if you change your mind.”

  “Yes,” she whispered.

  “I don’t believe I asked you a question, sweet cheeks.”

  With shaking hands, she touched my sides, then my hips, where my jeans were already hanging painfully low, and then she reached for the button. She made new definitions for torture as she slowly played with the zipper and then said, “I’m saying yes.”

  “You’ll have to be more specific.”

  My dick jumped to full attention as her fingers grazed the front of my jeans.

  Gritting my teeth, I hissed. “You can do better than that.”

  I didn’t expect her to slip a wicked little hand into my jeans and grab me.

  But she did.

  And the small part of my brain that told me this was a bad idea, that it would change things forever, died as she squeezed.

  “Better?” she asked.

  “Don’t stop touching me,” I said through clenched teeth. Her innocence was staggering, but more than that, the innocent way she explored my body was enough to set me off before any sex even took place.

  There was something to be said about being with the right girl.

  Waiting for the right moment.

  She grunted and then pulled her naughty little hand back. “I think you should take off your jeans.”

  “You think?” My eyebr
ows rose.

  She leveled me with a glare, then gave my jeans a damn hard tug. “Take them off.”

  “Did you just boss me around? In your bedroom?” I smirked, enjoying the way her cheeks reddened.

  She reached for me again.

  “Whatever you say,” I groaned. “I’m yours.”

  I slid my jeans off slowly. I wanted to do everything slow, to give her time to change her mind but also to make sure she knew without a shadow of a doubt what she’d be saying no to.

  She sighed loudly. “I’m disappointed.”

  “What?” I had to fight to keep myself from yelling. When had a girl ever said that to me?

  She gave me a teasing smile. “I thought for sure you wore an old-school Speedo.”

  “That’s it.” I grabbed her by the ass and tossed her over my shoulder, marching her over to the bed. “Teasing time’s over . . . at least for you.”

  I flopped her onto her back and crawled up her body, my erection painful, my vision blurring from want.

  Blake licked her lips.

  “Do that again,” I instructed.


  “Lick your lips. While I lick you.” I winked and lowered my line of sight so she’d get the idea of exactly where I was going to lick her. “Trust me.”

  I could still make out the blush on her cheeks in the dark. Damn, I wanted her response to always be one of wide-eyed innocence.

  “What do you mean when you—?”

  I ignored her embarrassed protests. They died across my lips as I worked her into a heated frenzy that had her reaching for my hair and tugging it so hard that I growled. My mouth trailed up and down her neck, then lower, and finally, I got the first taste of her—the first real taste. Her hips bucked.

  “What are you doing?”

  “I should think that would be obvious.” I pressed my hands against her hips to keep her from somehow giving me a black eye. “I’m making love to you—with my mouth.”

  Another moan from Blake as her body writhed, and then her hands were tugging against my head so hard I started chuckle against her, which of course made her moan louder.

  “Of course you’d be demanding in bed,” I muttered after she floated off into orgasmland. I moved up the bed and eyed her with amusement. “Are you still saying yes?”

  “What was that?” Her eyes were glazed, her lips swollen. God, I could just devour her—in fact, I was planning on doing that very thing as soon as she was ready.

  “Oh, that?” I winked, then kissed her sensuously across the mouth, still tasting her, not wanting the taste to go away, afraid that after tonight it would. “That was round one.”

  “How many rounds are there?” Her eyes were hopeful.

  “For you?” I pulled back. “As many as you can handle. And then . . . more.”



  “I want to make you feel that way.”

  “You do.” And that was the truth. I was nursing an erection, a.k.a. blue balls of steel, and she did make me feel that way, just by allowing me to pleasure her, to bring her to the brink of madness.

  Blake leaned up on her elbows, then reached for me. “I want you to feel that way . . . right now.”

  “Blake . . .” I wanted sex. I always wanted sex. From her? I wanted endless hours of sex. But . . . somewhere along the way, I’d completely fallen for more than just the promise of filling her tight body. I wanted more. I craved something beyond the physical, and it was scaring the shit out of me.

  Because she should say no to me. I didn’t deserve her. Maybe that was it—I knew I didn’t deserve her.

  “Now.” She tugged me against her, and my body bucked in response. I nearly impaled her by accident, something that had never happened to me before.

  I settled between her thighs, every part of me throbbing, aching.

  “Blake . . .”

  She was grabbing for me, touching me everywhere, driving me insane as she kissed along my neck.

  I hovered over her, positioning myself, alternating between wanting to fill her to the hilt, and wanting to back off and lock her in the bathroom. “You have to be sure.”

  “Please.” She bit down on my lip. “It’s you, I want you.” Her hands tugged my hair as she pulled my head down, capturing my lips between hers. Damn, she was a fast learner, considering she hadn’t been able to kiss a few weeks ago. “Ian . . .”

  “I hate David,” I admitted. Why the hell was I saying his name in bed?

  “Okay.” She kissed me again and again and again.

  I lost myself in her kisses.

  I allowed it.

  Our mouths fused together as I bruised her lips over and over. The sensation of her nails running up and down my back was the purest ecstasy. I reached between our bodies, pressing my palm against her core.

  Blake let out a little moan.

  I jerked back and looked into her eyes. “Rule number nine.”

  Hazily, she stared back at me. “I thought you said rules in bed prevented orgasms?”

  “Rules,” I said, my voice husky as I racked my brain for a way to ask her about condoms. I’d never been in a situation like this before, and it’s not like I was still in high school and had my very first condom purchase just hanging out in my wallet.

  Blake was so wet, ready for me.

  “Blake, I need . . .” Swallowing my absolute need to be already inside her, I cleared my throat and tried again. “Condom?”

  With a lazy smile, she pointed to the nightstand. “I didn’t presume, I mean, ever, but this used to be Gabs’s room, and—”

  “Stop”—I jerked open the drawer—“right there.”

  She giggled as I ripped open the wrapper and covered my length. Eyes wide, she reached for me, but I batted her hand away.

  “If it’s your first time,” I whispered, ignoring her confused look and slowly inching myself into her, “make it count. And focus on me, only me.”

  With clenched teeth, I pushed forward.

  She let out a little gasp and nearly fell off the bed. Her eyes fluttered closed and then opened again. “If protection’s rule nine, what’s rule number ten?”

  Slowly, I started to move. “Never forget it’s me who makes you feel this way.”

  “That’s a rule?”

  “My new rule.” I arched back and then slammed forward again. “You’re mine, Blake, you hear me? Mine.”

  “Yes.” She gasped, pulling my head down, her lips meeting mine with desperation. “Yes.”


  I wish I could say that I was a gentleman, that I let her sleep it off and then very tenderly drew her bath and asked, “Where does it hurt?”

  Instead, I’d officially lost my damn mind.

  And made love to her three more times before finally collapsing halfway on top of her.

  I was in such a deep state of exhaustion that I’m sure if the world had somehow ended between five and six a.m. and the only way to save it was to join forces against the zombies with Channing Tatum, I would have said, “Pass,” yawned, and turned on my side to get a few more minutes of sleep.

  Hours later, the sun was starting to seep into the room. I stretched across the bed and felt an empty cold spot beside me.

  Another first.

  I jerked up and came face-to-face with a very pissed-off best friend, who was holding a pillow above her head as a look of pure hate crossed her features.

  “Gabs.” I held up my hands. “Were you going to suffocate me?”

  “Thought about it,” she said through clenched teeth. “For at least ten minutes.”

  “Shit.” I rubbed my eyes, my voice hoarse from sleep. “Are you telling me you hovered over me with a killer pillow and contemplated murdering me for a whole ten-minute period?”

  “Yes.” She didn’t look apologetic. Her eyes were wild; her auburn hair was pulled back into a baseball cap. She looked like she’d just returned from her morning run.

  I glanced down at
her pink Nike Frees. “Cool shoes. Those new?”

  “Don’t!” Her nostrils flared. “Don’t you dare change the subject.”

  “Ah, yes.” I sighed. “My impending death. Well, get it over with.”

  “How could you!”

  “How could I . . . live? Breathe? Well, it’s simple. I’m sure our mutual best friend, Lex, could explain the mechanics behind the human body if you’re so inclined.”

  “Ian.” Gabi slammed the pillow into my face.


  Every time I tried to get a word in, she slammed me again.

  “Stop!” I tackled her against the bed and tossed the pillow to the side, only then realizing that I was still naked.

  “NO!!!!!” Gabi shouted so loud my eardrum nearly burst and fell out of my ear.

  “Oh, please!” I hurried to cover myself. “Like you’ve never seen a penis!”

  “It’s yours!” She pointed.

  My lower appendage had the good sense to be mortified that it was getting yelled and pointed at.

  “Gabs . . .” Once I was safely covered, I tried again. “Why are you pissed?”

  “My roommate!”

  “You do realize Lex screwed Serena within twenty-four hours of her moving in, right?”

  “But that’s Lex! He’s a horrible human being!”

  “I’m sure he’ll be happy to know you approve.”

  “Blake’s a friend.” Gabi sighed. “And now it’s going to be awkward. Not to mention she’s your freaking client! What the hell were you thinking?”


  “She’s not easy!” she shouted.

  “Let me finish.” I leveled her with a glare. “I was thinking, easy, I really like her, I care for her, David’s a freaking douche, and I’d rather die than let him even touch her. And if you must know, I was also thinking, ‘Damn, she’s hot. Hell, I want her—’”

  “You mean you aren’t bailing?”

  I frowned. “Do I look like I’m jumping out the window and making an excuse about my sick dog right now?”

  “You don’t have a dog.”

  “Even so, if I regretted last night, which I don’t, I’d be in a hell of a hurry to make sure old Fido made it after that Honda hit him overnight.”

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