Laura Browning 

Teacher. Editor. Author.

Bittersweet

Excerpt

Was it wrong? Anna asked herself that same question. Was it wrong to want something that had turned
out so awful before? Was it wrong to want to know if it would be different now?

She did nothing to stop the kiss. She feared what it might lead to, but she longed to feel his lips on hers
again, the coil of heat building between her thighs before it exploded into full-fledged flame as his firm
mouth covered hers. It didn’t feel wrong. In fact it felt much better than before. She wasn’t scared and
drunk, with a self-image that was lower than low.

“Anna,” he whispered against her lips. His strong arms cradled her and pulled her onto his lap, where he
plundered her mouth at will. She opened to the stroking of his tongue and twined her arms over his broad
shoulders. She felt the lean play of muscles in his back, the tautness of his thighs and the thrust of his
​ erection. He groaned against her and tangled his hand in her thick, short curls.

​Anna felt a tingling in her breasts that matched the ache in her belly. She moaned. She wanted him. Even more than that night, because she now knew what she was missing. It would be much better now. There had been pleasure as well as pain, even then. Now it would be so much better.

But he would know, and oh what a mess that would bring.

​“Stop, Chris.” She tore her mouth away from his and pressed her face against his chest, her whole body shaking with need.

​“Jesus, Anna.” Chris’s voice broke and he buried his face in her curls. Breaths rasped from both of them. As his calmed, he tilted her chin and gazed into her eyes, his expression still hot with desire, but also mixed with confused irritation, at her or himself, she wasn’t sure. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to let things go this far.”

​Becca chose that moment to awaken, her hungry cry splitting the air. Anna slid from Chris’s lap. The telltale tingle in her breasts was a sure sign her milk had let down.

“I--I need to nurse her this time,” she mumbled.

​“Do you want me to leave?”

​Anna glanced back at him and shook her head. “No, it’s all right. It’s not as if you haven’t already seen it.” She blushed. The real fact was she wanted him there, wanted him to see, needed that closeness.

​She sensed more than curiosity from him as she settled Becca, then unbuttoned the top few buttons on her blouse and shrugged it off one shoulder. As soon as she offered her nipple, the baby latched on. Becca stared at her mother, pushing and kneading as she nursed. 

​“It’s beautiful,” he said, his voice gruff. “Your breasts, the way you feed her…beautiful and sexy.”