“It’s a lost cause, isn’t it?” Gina sighed. It was a slow night at the bar so Raven had stopped by to keep her company. And try and talk her out of her pointless crush on Bellamy, because that was going nowhere. The only other customer was a guy sitting a few seats down, papers scattered in front of him while he sipped his martini.
“That depends,” Raven said, setting down her beer.
“On how invested you want to get in a crush when the guy is in love with someone else.”
“He is, isn’t he?” Gina moaned. She dropped her forehead dramatically on the bar. “It’s hopeless.”
The man down the bar let out a quiet chuckle, and Raven’s radar went up. “Something funny?” she asked. Gina shushed her but Raven raised an eyebrow at him, taking in his sharp cheekbones and long hair. Handsome, but...also maybe a tool.
“You’re talking about Bellamy, right?” the man asked. “The other bartender here?” Gina nodded, holding a hand out at Raven to keep her quiet. “He’s definitely in love with a blonde. Artist, I think.”
“And you know that how?” Gina asked.
He smirked, and okay, maybe he was hot in a dickish sort of way. “I tried to flirt with her once. Bellamy was...displeased.”
Raven snorted. “And you still come back here? Brave.” Bellamy Blake in a bad mood— especially Bellamy Blake in a bad mood because of Clarke— was usually enough to make people to think twice about crossing him again.
“I’m not easily frightened,” the man replied.
Gina turned to the register and squinted at his credit card. “Roan, is it?” He tipped his head in acknowledgment. “How are you so sure?”
He shrugged, a lazy, graceful movement. “I’m good at reading people. And I’ve been in here a lot, and I’ve noticed how you all interact. You, for one, seem to work with Bellamy slightly more often than Miller, I assume because you offer to cover his shifts?” Gina grimaced and nodded. “He’s friendly with you but no more friendly than with Miller— who by the way, is in love with someone named Monty, in case anyone is interested— but when the blonde comes in, he watches her like a hawk. She makes him laugh more than anyone else, but what’s more they fight like they’re married.”
Gina hid her face in her hands. “Ugh, this is the worst.”
“Best of luck to you. But I think you can do better,” Roan said, raising his martini in their direction.
He returned to his work and Raven raised her eyebrows at Gina. “Who is that?” she mouthed.
“Professor up at the college, I think. He does grading here a lot,” Gina whispered. A table came in— four guys, clearly several bars into a crawl— and Gina left to get them settled. When she came back Roan waved her over and they spoke for just a handful of seconds.
“Gift for you,” Gina said with a teasing grin, and set down another beer. Raven stared at her and Gina flicked her eyes back and forth between her and Roan pointedly.
“Really?” Raven called to him. “You send me a drink and not the girl who’s heart you just broke?”
He cocked his head to the side, flashing her a smile. “Her heart’s not broken,” he said with a wink towards Gina. “And besides— I’m not hitting on her.”
Raven recovered as quickly as she could, although her pulse picked up. “Bold move, admitting it like that.”
“I’m a bold man.”
She shot Gina a look and turned to face him. “You realize you’re a complete stranger to me, right?”
“I don’t have to be. Ask me anything.”
“I’m not shouting over three empty stools. Move your ass over.”
Roan shuffled his papers into a folder and slipped them into a satchel before complying. “Roan,” he said, and offered his hand.
His skin was surprisingly rough for a college professor, his grip strong. So far, so good. “Raven,” she replied.
“Like the bird.”
“No, like the garbage truck,” she snarked.
The side of his mouth quirked up. “You suffer no fools, do you?”
“And you talk like you fell out of one of Bellamy’s books. What’s your deal?”
“Political science professor. Mom’s in politics and always insisted I speak eloquently, Dad’s dead. Not really a fan of either, but I don’t have mommy issues, if that’s what you’re thinking. You?” He had a pleasantly low voice, one practically made for growling in your ear during sex.
“Mechanical engineer. Mom’s an alcoholic, never met my dad. No daddy issues, as far as I’m aware,” she said. A smile spread across her face as he looked her up and down. “How old are you, by the way?”
“Does it matter?”
“Let’s call it idle curiosity.”
“Twenty-two,” she said, and watched him freeze with the martini glass halfway to his lips. So he does have a limit. “Kidding. I’m twenty-six,” she said.
Raven fished her license out of her bag and held it out for his inspection. She took the chance to check him out thoroughly— the button-down-with-rolled-up-sleeves look was a little on the nose for a professor, but it worked on him, as did the hair, which by all accounts should have been obnoxious but somehow wasn’t. The shirt also showed off his nicely muscled forearms to great effect, and the way it clung to his shoulders promised that he was nicely muscled...everywhere. His cheekbones were almost too sharp, but again, it worked— it gave him a dangerous look that was definitely hitting all her buttons right now.
It had been a long fucking time since she’d gotten laid, and he was basically offering himself up on a silver platter. He gave her a hungry look and stood. “I’m going to go to the restroom. If you need to do some recon with Gina, now’s your chance,” he smirked.
The second he left Gina materialized in front of her. “So?” Gina prompted.
“What’s your take?”
Gina watched him walk away. “Well, he’s got a great ass.”
“I have eyes. I want info I don’t already have,” Raven urged.
“He’s in here a lot, and I’ve only seen him take one other woman home— he’s definitely had other takers, but she was the only one I’ve seen him leave with. And she came back a few weeks later, so he didn’t, like, murder her or anything. Oh, and he’s a good tipper. Twenty-five percent, usually, and he always orders the top shelf stuff. You going for it?”
“What do I have to lose?” Raven hopped down from the stool and headed towards the hallway in the back.
Roan raised his eyebrows when he left the bathroom and found her waiting. “You’ve made a decision?”
Raven lifted her chin. “You sure you can handle me?”
“I look forward to it,” he said and stepped closer to her. He was just tall enough to crowd her against the wall, his head tipped down to make eye contact.
She held out her phone. “What’s your address?”
Roan took it from her and typed it in. “I gave you my number too. Feel free to leave it with Gina, if you’d like. You don’t want a ride?”
“I’m bringing my own car.”
He brought his hand up under her chin and leaned close, like he was about to kiss her. “See you there,” he whispered, and then left without following through.
Roan’s house was a modernist slab of concrete and glass perched atop a hill in one of Arkadia’s ritziest neighborhoods. “I didn’t know college professors made this kind of money,” she said when he let her in. After all, Bellamy didn’t seem to be anticipating making more than minimum wage, ever, and he was five years into his doctorate.
“Family money,” he explained, taking her black leather jacket and hanging it in a closet. “Did you want a tour?”
“A woman on a mission,” he observed.
“You planning on talking me off or are you—” She didn’t get a chance to finish her sentence because he captured her lips with his. He was pure action after that, his tongue tracing the seam of her lips until she let him in, his hands coming to cup her cheeks. Roan walked her back to the wall and pinned her there. He pressed his knee between her legs and moved his lips down her neck while her hands climbed his back. She loosened his buttons, one by one, only stopping when he found a spot on her neck that made her keen. He paid particular attention to that, scraping his teeth along her pulse point until her fingers curled into fists around his lapels.
Raven started to shove his shirt off his shoulders but he caught her wrists and pinned them above her head. “We’ve got plenty of time,” he growled.
“You giving me orders?” she threw back.
Roan let her hands go and stepped back. “Do you want me to?”
The idea held a certain appeal, she had to admit. But not for tonight. “Would you let me boss you around?”
He smiled, a quick flash of teeth. “Gladly.”
“Maybe next time, then.”
He quirked an eyebrow. “Already planning on a repeat?”
Raven had had enough of his arrogance, even though it was definitely, 100% working for her. “Shut up,” she growled, moving closer to kiss him and finish divesting him of his shirt. Her guess in the bar was right; his muscles were unreal in the best possible way. “And where’s your bedroom? I have to be laying down because of this,” she said and gestured to her brace.
“Upstairs,” he said, and took her hand in probably the most surprising turn of events since he interrupted her conversation with Gina at the bar. His thumb swept across the back of her hand as they climbed the stairs, a reassuring caress completely at odds with his actions so far.
Raven took in his room— a low platform bed and a wall of windows with the shades fully drawn— and then he curled his hands under her shirt and tugged it up and over her head. He ran his knuckles down her bare arm and cuffed his hand around the base of her skull to kiss her again. Things slowed after that, their movements a little less frantic and a little more deliberate. Raven trailed her finger down the planes of his chest and across the ridged muscles of his stomach, and he unhooked her bra with a quick twist of his fingers. She nipped at his shoulder and he drew one nipple into his mouth, teasing her with his teeth until her knees threatened to buckle.
Raven sat down to handle her brace and leggings and he shucked off his jeans before kneeling in front of her with a wolfish grin. He was hard— and big— but in no hurry, easing her panties down and urging her to lay back on the bed. Roan positioned her legs over his broad shoulders and placed an unexpectedly sweet kiss to the hollow of her hip before spreading her already wet folds open with his thumbs.
He plunged his tongue into her entrance and her hands went to his long hair, tugging urgently even though she wasn’t sure what she wanted, she just knew she didn’t want him to stop. Ever. “More,” she begged, and he moved to her clit, lashing at it for a few strokes and then easing off. He alternated between fucking her with his tongue and teasing her clit until her eyes rolled back in her head and she stopped being able to form coherent sentences. Her orgasm hit suddenly, rippling through every muscle. She probably pulled his hair a little too hard but she wasn’t sure of anything except the pleasure sparking along her veins.
Roan was rolling a condom on when she came back to herself and moved more fully on the bed. He covered her with his body, kissing her as he settled between the cradle of her hips. She wrapped her arms around his neck and he reached up to grab an extra pillow. He eased it under her hips and her heart did something strange at this gesture, of him realizing her limitations but not drawing attention to them.
But then he was pressing inside of her and she stopped thinking entirely, giving herself over to the way he felt as he entered her. He moved slowly until he was sheathed inside of her and she stopped kissing him to give a breathless nod. Roan hitched her good leg a little higher around his waist and started thrusting, faster and harder and deeper with push. She dug her nails into his shoulders to hold on, his pelvic bone grinding against her clit every time he bottomed out. Heat started coiling in her belly, and when he tipped his head down so he could kiss her neck it unspooled all at once, her second climax softer but longer. Her walls clenched around him and his thrusts lost their rhythm, and then he was groaning in her ear as he let go.
Roan rolled off of her and balled the condom up in some tissues while she searched the floor for her underwear. “Where are you going?” he asked.
“Home,” she said, shooting him a puzzled look. “What, did you think I’d stay and like, wear your shirt tomorrow morning while you made me breakfast?”
He laughed, and she had to admit— she liked the way it sounded. “I’m a terrible cook,” he said, which wasn’t really an answer.
“All the more reason to leave.” She hooked her bra and pulled her leggings back on before turning to her brace. “But this was fun. We should do it again sometime.”
“And how will I get ahold of you? You have my number and my address, but I don’t have either of yours.”
Raven stood, fully dressed. “Then I guess you’ll just have to be surprised,” she grinned. “No, don’t get up. I know my way out, and this way there’s no awkward should-we-kiss moment at the door. Thanks, though. And I will call. Eventually.”
“I’ll be waiting by the phone,” he deadpanned, sprawled naked on his stomach. “And Raven?” he said as she approached his bedroom door. “For the record, I definitely would have kissed you at the door.”
Smiling, she let herself out.