Home > Scandalous 1 (Scandalous #1)(15)

Scandalous 1 (Scandalous #1)(15)
Author: H.M. Ward

His back straightened, “Oh. Oh, God, really? You’ve never… ?” he trailed off, not asking the rest of the question when I glared at him. The only one I ever wanted was him. How could he ask me that? It seemed cruel. “Maybe we shouldn’t...” but before he finished speaking, I dropped the towel.

My voice was steady, “Maybe we should. Paint me, Jack. Make me a Jonathan Gray girl.” I stared straight ahead, feeling his eyes on my bare skin. Controlling my blush, I forced it back. The towel draped over my lap, and I clasped my hands together on top of it, like I was waiting for a bus and walked around nak*d in front of hot guys all the time.

Jack didn’t speak again for a while. He moved quickly and carefully, putting his brushes where he needed them. He went to work dabbing thick cold paint on my torso, along the curve of my waist in long strokes. His eyes darted back and forth as he worked, seeing me without seeing me. I thought I could handle it until his soft brushes were stroking paint onto my lower ribcage.

Without looking at me, Jack asked, “Can you rest your arms on top of your head for a while? I need to make sure your br**sts don’t touch the paint on your chest.”

His words knocked the air out of my lungs. Roughly I sucked in a breath, and he stopped to look up at me. His face was so close. I could smell the ocean in his clean hair. Bits of dark hair seemed to curl as it dried. “Abby,” he breathed, staring at me like he was drinking me in. But he wasn’t. He was waiting. “Lift your arms.” I did as he asked, the towel sliding out of my lap.

Pressing my eyes closed, I concentrated on the frantic pace of my heart. There wasn’t a scrap of clothing on me. Jack could see every inch of me. The soft bristles on my skin fanned out the thick paint, smoothing it. Jack was working the paint differently than he usually did, spreading vibrant colors from my waist toward my neck. When the brush stroked along under my breast, I couldn’t stand it. Fighting the urge to squirm in my chair, I opened my eyes and stared straight ahead. But it didn’t help. Now I could see Jack, his eyes narrow as he concentrated, his brush dipping in cobalt paint, dripping on my lap as he stroked the cold paint across my nak*d body. Stroke by stroke he covered my br**sts, each stroke of blue brighter than the last. When the brush slid over my nipple, I couldn’t hold myself still. I squirmed, a gasp rushing from my lips.

Jack stopped, and gazed at me, “Are you all right? I should have said something. The paint’s cold and the skin’s more sensitive there.” I nodded, too nervous to speak. Jack’s lips, his face was in front of my breast. As he spoke, his warm breath slid over the painted skin, making me shiver. I pressed my eyes closed, trying to ignore the erotic images flashing through my mind—all involving Jack. “Should I stop?” he asked.

Flicking my eyes open, hands still draped over my head, I said, “No. I’m fine.” Jack eyed me for a moment. He must have decided that I was telling the truth. His paintbrush dipped back into three different cans and returned to my breast. Each stroke swept from beneath my breast, passing over my taught n**ples and onto the top of my breast. My eyes were mashed shut like he was torturing me. Grabbing my wrists, I held onto my arms tightly on top of my scalp, digging my nails into my skin so I’d sit still. Jack’s hands were controlling the brushes, spreading out the paint. Soon the cool wet strokes were replaced with soft dry brushes, fanning the paint. I squeezed my thighs tighter, trying to ignore the sensations he was sending through my body.

After the last stroke, I heard his voice and opened my eyes. He stood in front of me, admiring the paint clinging to my nak*d body. His voice was rough, “Damn, Abby, you’re beautiful.” He breathed the last word, like he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

I stared at the dark stubble on his cheeks, the hair that fell into his eyes. Jack was still Jack and I was nearly undone by strokes of his paint brush. “You ready?” he asked.

I nodded, “As ready as I’ll ever be.” My voice was higher than usual, tight. My knees were shaking from holding my thighs together, my arms burned from keeping them above my head for so long.

“You look perfect. Don’t move. Not yet.” He turned his head abruptly, and grabbed a huge crinoline skirt from the other side of the studio. When he came back to the chair, he untied the thing and said, “Stand.”

That was easier said than done. My legs shook as I slid off the stool. My balance was questionable when I wasn’t nak*d with my arms pinned to the top of my head. Jack smiled briefly as I gained my footing. His hand brushed my elbow, steadying me, shooting dark currents through my stomach more intensely than I thought possible.

Leaning forward, Jack opened the huge skirt so that it was a flat panel. He held it by two strings and moved closer to me. Reaching around behind my back, careful not to touch me, he pulled the skirt around my waist. As he tied it, he looked down at me, every curve exposed, his lips inches away. After the bow was tied, I felt a little better. Jack touched the crinoline skirt, holding my h*ps and giving me a little push for the canvas. I moved toward it, my throat tight.

“What are we doing Jack? I can’t lay down on it without putting my arms down.”

“Keep your arms up, Abby. I still have to paint your hair, too. But we’re doing it different this time. I’ll lay you on the canvas. You rest your hands high, away from your body. I’ll fan your hair and paint it while you lay there. Then I’ll shoot you with the overhead camera; then I’ll paint. Okay?” I nodded. “Okay, step over here and face away from me. This is going to be like the trust game, but it’ll feel worse.”

“Because I’m nak*d, covered in paint, and holding my arms over my head? Or because you’re going to drop me?” I grinned. He couldn’t see me, and I suddenly felt a little more confident.

“Wise ass,” there was laughter in his voice.

“We should do this with you when I’m done. I’ll catch you, Jack. I totally promise.”

To my surprise, he said, “Anything you want, Abby.” He cleared his throat, his tone changing again. “Keep your hands over your head, and lean back. I’ll catch you before you hit the floor.”

Nodding, I fully intended to do it. This was the easiest part of the whole thing, but I stood there unable to move. Every time I thought I could lean back, I froze and didn’t move. Finally Jack asked, “How the hell did you let me paint you if you don’t trust me?”

I shrugged, “I’m mental, Jack. You know that. I sucked at this game when I was little.”

His voice was deep, alluring, “You’re not little anymore, Abby. Fall. Do it. I’ll catch you.” His voice was firm, commanding. It did something to me. I closed my eyes and leaned back. My body tensed as I fought the natural instinct to curl into a ball and try to stop the fall. I didn’t flare out my hands to stop me, they stayed clung to my head. The air rushed by, making the paint feel colder when Jack’s warm hands caught my shoulders and slowly lowered me to the floor.

He smiled softly at me, upside-down, “I’ll always catch you, Abby.” He didn’t say anything else. The focused expression overtook his features again. He worked, stroking out my hair, covering it in paint, and painting the surrounding canvas. His eyes slid over my body several times when he was done with my hair, arms folded, a finger tapping his lips. Every breath I took made my chest expand and my heart beat harder. Jack tapped, and I couldn’t move. After a moment, he grabbed more paint and started painting the skirt I was wearing. The paint soaked in making it heavier. His fingers wrapped around my ankle, moving my legs farther apart.

“Jack,” I breathed his name without meaning to, my eyes closed, skin still tingling where he touched me.

I heard him jump to his feet as he said, “Stay like that. Don’t move.” Within seconds I heard the shutter of the camera snapping away. Then he was back, standing over the canvas, looking down at me. “Abby.” I opened my eyes, glancing at him without turning my head. I flushed. He smiled, not commenting on it. “Can you do this?” He moved his hand, pointing at mine, asking me to copy him. I did as directed, smearing the paint beneath my arm. I moved my head from side to side, dragging my hair, making it look like a tangle of tendrils on the fabric. Finally he said, “Roll over very slowly. Don’t press your side to the canvas. Just try to flip over like a pancake the best you can.”

I arched an eyebrow at him. “Pancakes don’t wear floor-length tutus. I don’t know if I can, Jack. I don’t want to mess it up.”

“You can’t mess it up, Abby. Flip.” He sounded certain.

“And my arms? You still want them above my head?”

He nodded, serious. His eyes were on me, moving across my body, taking in each and every curve covered in paint. “I want the impression of your br**sts, your stomach, and your waist.” His finger was tapping his lip, that perfectly pink lip.

Tearing my gaze from him, I did as he asked. I attempted to flip over onto my stomach. The sensation of the paint sliding made the landing feel different than I thought. I expected it to feel like a belly flop, which would have stung my stomach and br**sts, but this felt different. The paint slid as my weight came down, pressing my figure into the canvas.

My body let out a huff of air, paint covered hair trailing behind me, sticking to my back as I flipped. The skirt was huge and half twisted, half folded under me. “Oh, Jack, I’m sorry. The skirt...” I was about to apologize, but I felt his hands under my arms pulling me backwards, away from the canvas like a stamp. My back was to his front, as he lifted me. The skirt sounded like a million shopping bags crinkling at the same time. He twisted me toward him.

Eyes dark, he pressed his body against mine, getting paint all over his shirt. “The painting is perfect because you are perfect. Abby...” his voice hitched in his throat. His arms were wrapped around my waist, his lips next to my ear, silent.

My heart was racing in my chest. Jack held onto me, nak*d and covered in paint. Before my bubble could swell any bigger, it burst. Jack’s arms loosened, releasing me. He nodded toward the shower and said, “Better change.”


After the shower, I put on a pair of Jack’s sweats and laid on the couch in the studio. Jack continued to work as I drifted off to sleep. A strange feeling spread over me before that night was over. I didn’t know if it was dread or elation, but somewhere in my gut I knew it was both.

I woke up the next morning to the scent of coffee and Jack’s painting hung on the wall. He stood in front of it, freshly dressed, dark jeans hugging his narrow hips, shirtless. His feet were bare as well. Laying on my side, I stared at what I’d done. It was so different from his other paintings. The oranges and blues were bright, passionate. There was nothing muted about it. Turning, Jack saw my eyes, and smiled.

He walked toward me, with a cup of coffee in his hand, “Good morning,” he said, handing it to me. I sat up, reddish brown hair pressed to the side of my face.

He looked stunning. I forced my eyes to his face and smiled shyly, “Good morning Jack.” I jumped in the shower and put on another pair of his sweats. When I came out, Jack was standing there, waiting for me.

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