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The stock shelves rattled and squeaked against the floor when Max backed into them, but they were enough to support his weight. Enough for him and Liz, coincidentally enough, since his arms were currently full of her.

His mouth was fairly preoccupied too, with the way she was nipping his bottom lip and then soothing the bite with her tongue. A groan worked its way out of his throat and his hand clamped down harder on her ass to get her attention.

“What?” Liz peppered kisses over his jaw and down his throat, her hand fisted in the front of his Wild Pony t-shirt. “Something wrong?”

“Just, uh—” Max tried to get the words out but then her teeth were sinking into his pulse point and he lost his entire train of thought. “Jesus, Liz, I’ve only got fifteen minutes.”

“You think I can’t make magic happen in fifteen minutes?”

Was there a right answer to that question? He tried to mull it over but then her hand was completely underneath his t-shirt and her nails ran over his stomach, through the patch of hair leading into his jeans, which threw everything completely off-track. Shit.

“No, that’s—I didn’t say—”

“Max,” Liz laughed against his neck. “I really didn’t think you’d stutter through this. You know, since you’re usually the one trying to talk me into sex in public.”

She had a point there. It wasn’t like it was a thing, it was just… well, okay, maybe it was. Something about the potential danger of being caught, the little thrill of knowing they were exposed and using a public space in a completely inappropriate way, got Max’s blood pumping and his head clouded with need.

But mostly it was about how Liz reduced him to nothing but a shuddering, mindless mess with a few soft words in his ear and the way her body fit against his. He couldn’t be blamed for talking her into some frantic, clothes-on fucking on the roof of the Crashdown when she made him crazy at the drop of a cowboy hat.

“Well, yeah,” he finally agreed. “But I think Maria might kill us both if she walks in on this.”

She wiggled her eyebrows. “Then I guess I’ll just have to be quick.”

Before he had a moment to process, Liz had dropped to her knees in front of him. Oh. Oh, she wanted to do that.

Max sucked in a sharp breath and reached down to brush his hand over her hair. “I thought this was gonna be a mutual thing.”

“Yeah, but you don’t have time for mutual.” She unfastened his jeans and tugged at the layers of fabric between them and yeah, they were definitely doing this. “So you can pay me back later.”

He didn’t even really get a chance to protest before her hand was on his cock, stroking him with the circle of her index finger and thumb. A little kissing up against the shelves was plenty to give him a semi, but a few strokes of Liz’s hand with her wide, pretty eyes locked on his face had Max hard in record time.

“Jesus, Liz,” he groaned when she leaned in and lapped at the head. “Christ.”

This was a bad idea. The Pony wasn’t particularly busy but they were steady enough, and if he’d forgotten to stock napkins behind the bar then Maria could come walking back at any moment. Find him here with his pants around his thighs and Liz working him over with her tongue while he was still technically on the clock. And while public sex sounded great in theory, being fired by his girlfriend’s best friend wasn’t really how he’d planned to get back into the work force.

But then she opened her mouth and pillowed her tongue against her teeth to suck on him and Max did not give a single shit about who might happen to wander back to see.

Gently, he swept her hair up into his hands and held on while she bobbed her head. The wet heat of her mouth surrounded him and sent the rest of his senses into overload, bringing forward the scent of cardboard and spilled beer, the muffled sound of a Counting Crows song, the taste of Liz still lingering on his tongue.

It was always like this. There had never been a moment, not a single one since he was a lust-riddled and lovestruck teenager, that Liz Ortecho hadn’t been able to reduce him to rubble and build him back up all at once. Even now that she was his, it wouldn’t ever stop feeling overwhelming.

And god, she was good with her tongue.

Max shifted her hair to one hand and tugged gently, pulling a moan from the back of Liz’s throat that vibrated up his shaft. Like a domino effect, it forced an echoing moan from his own mouth. The closest set of fluorescents flickered in response, forcing him to grit his teeth and inhale through his nose to try and get a grip before he blew all the power to the bar or something equally mortifying.

Liz hummed like she was laughing, pulling off to lick him again from root to tip. “You need me to stop?”

“No,” he choked out when she took him in deep again. Her hand cupped around his balls, cradling and kneading ever so slightly, and he shuddered. “God, no. Don’t stop.”

“Quiet, Max.” She winked and then wrapped her lips around him again, and it was all Max could do just to hold on while she took him apart.

A dull roaring started in his ears and drowned out everything else, narrowing his focus down to nothing but Liz’s mouth and her firm grip and the way her lashes stood out against her cheeks. His toes curled in his boots and his hips jerked forward involuntarily, chasing more, more, more.

“Liz.” His voice cracked and maybe she didn’t hear him, because she didn’t stop, so he gave her hair another light pull. “Liz, you gotta—”

As it turned out, no, she didn’t, because her hands curled around his thighs and pulled him in while she hollowed out her cheeks, and then he was gone. Any concerns about being quiet slipped out the window as he pumped into her mouth, breathing out her name and cradling the back of her head to hold her there while he rode out the tidal wave.

When he let go, Liz grinned up at him, licking her lips with that self-satisfied look she got whenever she won an argument.

Max took a few more deep breaths and grabbed her elbows to help haul her to her feet. She opened her mouth but he cut her off before she could get any sound out, crushing his mouth to hers in a deep, biting kiss.

“Wow,” she laughed when they broke apart. “You’re welcome.”

He chuckled and pressed his forehead to hers. “Kinda wish I could give you a proper thanks right now.”

“Mm, same. But….” Liz tried to be helpful and pull his clothes back into place, but Max had to take over to tuck himself in properly. “I fully expect a thorough show of gratitude later tonight. I’ll wait up.”

“Sounds like a plan.” He stole another kiss and reluctantly let her go. “I’ll be lucky if I can even work now. My legs are jelly.”

Her lips quirked into a smirk. “Get it together, cowboy. You’ve still got another four hours to go.”

And he was going to spend every single second of it thinking about her laying in bed waiting for him, too. Naked, even, touching herself impatiently, wet all down her thighs because she’d been thinking about it, too…

“Go eat something,” Liz said, breaking into his fantasy. “I’ll see you later.”

He hummed an affirmative and kissed her one last time, just as the door to the backroom swung open.

“Oh, seriously?” Maria’s voice carried through the small space. “Get a room. And not my stock room, either.”

Liz laughed and tugged away, giving him one last playful look before she headed for the door. “I’m outta here anyway. Max needs to get back to work.”

Maria waved at her before tugging a sleeve of napkins off of a shelf. Max took an extra moment to gather himself, which was enough to get him a strange look from his boss. It probably would have been embarrassing if he wasn’t focused so hard on how to make his legs work properly.

“I mean it, Evans,” she said. “No hooking up in my bar. Only I’m allowed to do that.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Max tipped his head with a small grin, finally regaining enough control of himself to take a few steps and get away from the suspicion on Maria’s face.

Okay, so maybe he and Liz would need to find somewhere a little more private to get down to business. But the adrenaline rush was stuck in his head, the thrill of narrowly avoiding being caught, the chatter of bar patrons and the music in the background, and the desperate way Liz had shoved him into the shelves like she couldn’t wait another minute to touch him.

So, maybe the Pony wasn’t the right place. But next time it was his turn to get her off in public, and he already had a few ideas in mind.