His Own Heaven: The Bennett's Bastards Series, Book Three
“Charlie, what the fuck are we doing here?”
Tobias Bennett’s twin didn’t spare him a glance as he continued filling out the form on the clipboard in his hands. “Speed dating,” he said as if the answer were obvious.
With so many bodies crammed inside, the heat in the pub was stifling. Toby popped another button open at his throat and drew in a steadying breath. “I thought speed dating went the way of the dinosaurs. Isn’t everything online now?”
“It’s making a comeback,” said the kid behind the bar with the overly coiffed hair and excessively groomed beard. Making a show of whatever strange concoction he was pouring into a martini glass, he added, “People have finally figured out they’re less likely to get catfished in person.”
“Fake online profiles luring people into fake online relationships for the purpose of defrauding them,” Charlie said matter-of-factly, handing him the pen. “Sign here.”
Toby frowned at the clipboard. “What am I signing?”
Charlie, always the more dramatic of the pair, groaned like he was the most put-upon man in human existence. “Just sign it.”
With a raised brow and a resigned sigh, Toby scribbled his name on the bottom of the form and handed the clipboard to the kid behind the bar.
“Okay, since you’re first-timers I’ll give you a quick rundown of the rules. One, there is a two drink limit. If you drink more than two drinks you will not be allowed to continue. Two, men stay in one place and the ladies come to you. Each “date”,” the kid said, using honest-to-God air-quotes, “lasts five minutes. At the end of five minutes a bell will chime and the ladies move on to the next “date”. If you hit it off with someone and wish to continue talking, you can either exchange numbers and hook up later, or you can leave the dating pool. If you choose to leave the dating pool, you will not be allowed back in for the rest of the night. Three, harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. Got it?”
Toby and Charlie exchanged a look. “I think we got it,” his twin replied, grinning like an idiot.
“Excellent. Can I get you guys a drink?”
“We don’t drink,” they said together, and walked towards the back of the pub.
“Check out the honeys,” Charlie whispered, a noticeable bounce in his step.
Toby cocked one brow, his gaze slipping sideways to stare at his brother. “What is with you tonight?”
“Besides the fact I can’t remember the last time I had sex?” At Toby’s continuing stare he said, “What? I’ve been busy.”
“And I haven’t? I’ve been working seven days a week since Rebecca quit.”
“Yeah, but you don’t take it home with you, do you? I feel like all I do these days is work,” he said, noticeably irritated. “And when I’m not working I have the girls. So excuse me for being a responsible parent by not having sex with random women when I’m looking after my impressionable teenage daughters.”
Sighing quietly, Toby said, “Fine. I’ll endure an evening of torture so you can get laid.”
Charlie flashed him one of his signature grins, the one that made women trip over their panties and fall at his feet. “You never know, little bro. You might get lucky, too. It’s not like you couldn’t use a good fuck. You’ve been twitchy all week.”
Toby snorted. Twitchy. That was an understatement if ever he’d heard one. He’d jerked off so many times in the past week he was amazed his dick hadn’t fallen off. And since the woman he was lusting after was off limits, maybe finding a partner for the night wasn’t such a bad idea. Fuck. At the very least he could use a distraction from the fantasies that had played on an endless loop in his mind’s eye since Monday afternoon.
But then he scanned the group of women milling about at the rear of the pub and nixed the idea immediately. Some of them looked like contenders—tall women with shapely backsides—until he glanced at their fancy footwear and calculated their actual heights. Without their shoes, he guessed most of them would be lucky if they were anything more than five feet and maybe five inches tall. In other words, they were small. And he knew from experience that even if these women found him attractive enough to go home with, he still wasn’t getting laid. Standing at six feet and eight inches in height and weighing in at 110 kilograms, most smaller women were too afraid to even flirt with him, let alone take their clothes off and let him fuck them.
Especially the way Toby liked to fuck.
Charlie reckoned it had more to do with his attitude than his altitude, but Toby had seen the fear in too many women’s eyes not to recognise it now.
The fear he’d tear them in half, break them somehow.
His twin was a different matter. A different man. Standing only two inches shorter, Charlie was still a big bastard, but he had charm on his side. He knew how to talk to women, how to engage them in conversation and put them at ease with his size. He knew how to make women want him. Try as he might Toby just couldn’t do it. He didn’t know how to flatter and cajole and the Dominant in him didn’t want to.
His Dominant side wanted to cut through the bullshit and get on with it, longed to hear the sound of tearing fabric as he ripped a woman’s clothes off. Craved the sight of a soft body bound to his bed and spread open for his pleasure. The cracking of his palm as it connected with a pliant arse, the feel of supple lips wrapped around his hard cock as he thrust deep down a throat. A woman’s screams as her orgasm took hold, and soft panting breaths that tickled his side and chest as he lay beside a lover and held her close after a good, hard fuck. But another quick scan of the dating pool left Toby with no illusions.
He’d be going home alone tonight.
Charlie leaned over, whispered, “Hey, if one of us does get lucky tonight, you wanna share?”
Lips twitching into a grin at his brother’s eagerness, Toby said, “Sure. As long as she’s into it.”
“We’re twins,” Charlie said, shrugging. “They’re always into it.”
He was right. Toby had never understood why, but the twin thing was a definite draw card for certain women, and he and Charlie were usually more than happy to oblige them. But at the age of forty, they were both getting pretty sick and tired of the single life, of nothing but work, work, the occasional one-night-stand, more work….
The thought of sharing a woman relieved Toby’s tension though, took away the mild panic he always felt when he was forced to participate in small talk with random strangers. If Charlie hooked up with someone first, then they could all leave together and the torture would end. Toby didn’t even care if the woman didn’t go for the sharing idea. Not that he’d knock back sex if it was on offer—Charlie wasn’t the only one suffering a chronic case of blue balls—but he was just as happy to go home, read a book and rub one out if it meant not talking to people.
“How long does this go for?” he said.
“One to two hours depending on how many people show up.”
Here’s hoping it’s one, he thought as a tall, slender woman with dirty blonde hair brushed past him. The brief contact sent a jolt of electricity through every nerve in his body, every muscle, every bone. Toby couldn’t move, could only stare, transfixed by the sway of her hips as she sashayed to the rear of the pub.
“Fuck. Me,” Charlie breathed. “Could those jeans get any tighter?”
“Shit.” Toby knew those shapely hips. That colour hair. Those long legs.
That fan-fucking-tastic arse….
“What?” Charlie said, still staring at the woman’s backside.
“I think….” Toby narrowed his gaze and studied the woman again. “I think that’s Lucy Barton.”
“My new office manager. I hired her this week. She starts work on Monday.”
Charlie threw back his head and laughed, the full-bodied sound drawing the attention of pretty much everyone as they walked through the pub, then he stopped and squeezed Toby’s shoulder. “Wait,” he said, dropping his voice. “Is this chick the reason you’ve been so twitchy? I’m thinking she must be, judging by your reaction.” Then, grinning like the pain-in-the-arse he was, he added, “Is she cute?”
Toby shrugged Charlie off and took a step back. Lucy Barton was an employee and was therefore off limits.
The fact she was temptation incarnate was irrelevant.
Gaze glued to Lucy’s arse, he took another step back and shook his head. He needed to remove himself from the situation before he did something stupid like proposition his new hire and get himself slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit.
But what if she says yes? a little voice whispered through his head.
Toby ground his teeth together. No. Not going to happen. Safer to leave. “I’m outta here.”
But before he could retreat any farther, Charlie caught his wrist. Pulling him close, his brother hissed, “Tobias Ulysses Bennett if you don’t take a chance on this woman, I swear to God I will go out of my way to pick her up and fuck her every which way come Sunday.”
Toby’s eyes narrowed on his twin as a sudden possessive need gripped his spine and held on tight, and he peeled away Charlie’s fingers from where they encircled his wrist. “You even look at her funny and I’ll tell Abby what really happened to Mr Poochie.”
Charlie went very still, undoubtedly calculating the pleasure he’d find between Lucy’s thighs and weighing it against the hell his life would become if their little sister discovered the truth about the day her beloved childhood teddy bear disappeared.
“I really hate you right now.”
Toby grinned. “No you don’t.” Then he flicked his gaze towards Lucy again and said, “Mine.”
He didn’t even have to wonder at the unmistakable desire he felt as he sought her out in the crowd. It was the same emotion he’d felt when she’d strode into his office Monday afternoon to interview for the office manager position at Bennett’s Nursery, Gardens and Landscaping. The same emotion he’d been fighting all week.
The one to which he longed to surrender.
In the name of due diligence, he’d done a quick internet search on Sunday afternoon and found nothing outwardly concerning about Miss Barton. No criminal record, no nude selfies and oddly, no social media presence. According to her resume, she was forty-years-old—same as him—and her hobbies included reading, rock climbing, pancake art—whatever the fuck that was—and volunteering at her local animal shelter.
He’d liked her before she’d even set foot in his office.
The fact Lucy had also worked as the office manager for a private security firm for the better part of a decade was just the icing on the cake. She had more experience than the other five candidates combined and was a shoo-in for the job. Interviewing her was more of a formality than anything else.
But when she’d entered his office and shot out her hand to shake his like she was executing a military manoeuvre, he’d almost swallowed his tongue. Then he’d almost hired the second most qualified candidate because… holy fuck!
Toby had never met a woman more in need of a good spanking than Lucy Barton. Not because she deserved to be punished, though if push came to shove he was certain he could find something to punish her for—there had to be at least one spelling error on her resume—but because he’d never met a woman so tightly wound and in need of release.
His hands had itched to pull her into his lap and bend her over his knee, to feel the softness of her arse against the callused skin of his palm.
To mark her flesh and make her his.
Dressed in a dark blue suit and high-necked blouse, and with her hair pulled up in a tight knot on the back of her head, the woman had given off a prim school ma’am vibe, completely at odds with the quiet, quirky yet kinda cool woman he’d envisioned when he’d read her resume. Adding to her overall air of stick-up-her-arse-edness was the fact she’d sat ramrod straight in the chair opposite him with her hands folded neatly in her lap and a challenging expression on her face.
His carefully controlled Dominant side had come to life at that challenge, sliding through him like liquid heat, making his cock jerk to life, and he’d had to swallow down a moan at the thought of forgoing the job interview in favour of bending her over his desk, hiking her skirt up her gloriously long legs and fucking her senseless.
Her direct stare, the stubborn jut of her chin and the way she’d tilted her face slightly towards him had practically dared him to say something, anything about the wealth of scars covering the right side of her face and neck.
It had felt like a test. To see what he’d do or say, as though she was used to people making a big deal about them, used to people judging her based on her looks, and she was feeling him out.
He’d smiled at that. At her… not courage exactly, but ballsy-ness. It had felt like she was saying “This is me, take it or leave it”, and dear God had he wanted to take it.
She was chaotically beautiful.
And Toby had thanked his inappropriately timed erection, certain it was the only thing stopping him from vaulting over his desk, fisting his hand in Lucy’s hair and shoving his tongue down her throat.
To distract them both he’d said, “So tell me about pancake art. What’s that all about?”
For a second her eyes had widened, then her whole body had relaxed and an almost-smile had danced at the corners of her very kissable mouth, never lifting her lips too far, never giving him what he’d quickly come to believe would be a prize of incalculable value. Never giving him a true smile, but definitely showing signs of the woman he’d believed her to be before she’d entered the room.
By the time she’d walked out of his office—giving him a delicious view of the nicely rounded arse she’d generously poured into her pencil skirt—he’d made up his mind to win that smile.
And as much as he’d fantasised about all the wicked ways he’d like to make her smile, in reality he’d envisioned leaving her a surprise welcome gift on her desk on Monday morning—a dwarf cactus in a pretty pot, or a flowering bonsai, perhaps. He hadn’t figured on running into her at the Redland Bay pub on speed dating night less than a week after meeting her. But when he remembered his body’s visceral reaction to her presence—both in the office and the pub—he realised Charlie was right. Besides his very own stick-up-his-arse-edness, there really was no reason why he couldn’t fuck Lucy Barton and give her miniature plants.
Charlie grinned at him. “So much for enduring an evening of torture, eh?” he said, pulling Toby from his wandering thoughts.
“Shut up, Charlie.” He craned his neck, trying to see the woman from a different angle, making sure it was actually Lucy he was perving on, but her hair fell down around her in waves that hid her identity from him. He blew out a frustrated breath. Please be her.
“And you never answered my question,” his brother whispered as they listened to the woman in charge give another rundown of the rules. “Is she cute?”
Toby sighed, knowing his brother wouldn’t let it go until he got an answer. “Remember what dad always says about beauty?”
“The most beautiful things in life are often the most useless?”
Toby smacked Charlie up the backside of his head. “No, you twat. A woman’s beauty isn’t seen, it’s discovered.”
“So that’s a no on the cute. Got it.”
Glancing sideways, he caught sight of his brother’s broad grin. Charlie never could resist teasing him, and Toby took the bait every time.
“You’re an arse,” he said, chuckling quietly.
“You love it,” Charlie replied, then leaned closer and whispered, “I guess this means sharing is off the table.”
Lips twitching into a lazy smile, Toby said, “We’ll see.”