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Her Best Friend’s Sister

By Meghan O’Brien

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2017 Meghan O’Brien

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Her Best Friend’s Sister

At twelve years old, Claire Barker developed a massive crush on her best friend Sarah’s older sister—the handsome, butch Alex Williams. Now twenty-seven and a successful entrepreneur, Claire’s interest hasn’t waned—despite Alex’s fashion photography career keeping her overseas for months at a time. When Alex moves home unexpectedly, she and Claire end up enjoying a surprise, wine-fueled reunion that alters their relationship forever.

Are Claire’s dreams about to come true, or will real life prove to be more complicated than her fantasies?

Praise for Meghan O’Brien

Camp Rewind

“Romance is on fast forward at Camp Rewind. This is a quick, satisfying read for those longing for the nostalgia of a summer camp romance.”—Publishers Weekly

Camp Rewind, Meghan O’Brien’s latest offering, has the sexiness we’ve come to expect in her fiction, with more of a contemporary romance feel. The sex is hot and varied, as expected, with the overt, enthusiastic consent that is rarely seen elsewhere. More time is spent than usual on just making out, and wow, does that ever pay off when they hit the sheets (or the sleeping bag).”—Curve Magazine

Thirteen Hours

“Meghan O’Brien’s writing style is entertaining. She is creative and her story isn’t the typical romance. It was a lovely little story with the elevator being the highlight of the story. If you want a long and very sexy foreplay then this book is for you.”—The Lesbian Review

“Ms O’Brien has a knack for erotica and she sure isn’t shy in showing it off! Goodness, this was a scorcher. I finished it about 24 hours ago and am still blushing, burning, and wanting.”—Prism Book Alliance

“Meghan O’Brien has given her readers some very steamy scenes in this fast paced novel. Thirteen Hours is definitely a walk on the wild side, which may have you looking twice at those with whom you share an elevator.”—Just About Write

“Boy, if there was ever fiction that a lesbian needs during a bed death rut or simply in need of some juicing up, Thirteen Hours by Meghan O’Brien is the book I’d recommend to my good friends…If you are looking for good ole American instant gratification, simple and not-at all-straight sexy lesbian eroticism, revel in the sexiness that is Thirteen Hours.”—Tilted World

Battle Scars

“As a former US Marine, I usually have a difficult time with books that try to discuss military concepts, philosophy, and events but I didn’t feel that way with this book. Battle Scars is a quick read that drew me right in and didn’t let me go. Both Ray and Carly have had emotionally devastating experiences but this book is about love and hope and dogs. Wonderful, supportive, loving dogs.”—C-Spot Reviews

The Muse

“Entertaining characters, laugh-out-loud moments, plenty of hot sex, all wrapped up in a really fun story. What more could you ask for?”—The Lesbian Review


“I love Meghan’s take on shapeshifters…The story has great pacing and keeps you on the edge of your seat until its heart-pounding end. I can’t wait for [the] sequel.”—BookDyke.com

“I truly enjoy shifter stories but I have never had the pleasure of reading one so well written or so hot. Even for a Bold Strokes Book it was erotic and exotic!”—Prism Book Alliance

O’Brien “knows how to write passion really well, and I do not recommend reading her books in public (unless you want everyone to know exactly what you are reading). Wild is no different. It’s very steamy, and the sex scenes are frequent, and quite erotic to say the least.”—Lesbian Book Review

The Night Off

The Night Off by Meghan O’Brien is an erotic romance that is not for the faint of heart. But if you can handle BDSM that includes hard spanking, humiliation, and anal play, then you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, emotional romance. If you’ve been looking for an erotic romance that is super dirty but has big, big feelings, you won’t find anything better than The Night Off. Meghan O’Brien is the queen of lesbian erotic romance, and this book is an absolute must.”—The Lesbian Review

The Three

“In The Three by Meghan O’Brien, we are treated to first-rate storytelling that features scorching love scenes with three main characters…She hits her stride well in The Three with a well-paced plot that never slows. She excels at giving us an astounding tale that is tightly written and extremely sensual. I highly recommend this unique book.”—Just About Write

Her Best Friend’s Sister

© 2017 By Meghan O’Brien. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN 13: 978-1-62639-862-7

This Electronic book is published by

Bold Strokes Books, Inc.

P.O. Box 249

Valley Falls, NY 12185

First Edition: May 2017

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.


Editor: Shelley Thrasher

Production Design: Stacia Seaman

Cover Design By Melody Pond

By the Author

Infinite Loop

The Three

Thirteen Hours

Battle Scars


The Night Off

The Muse

Delayed Gratification: The Honeymoon

Camp Rewind

Her Best Friend’s Sister


As always, thanks to Shelley Thrasher for her editing expertise. You make that part of the process so very enjoyable, which I appreciate.

Major shout-out to my wife Angie, who conceived of these characters and their history after I told her I would write any short story she desired as one of her birthday gifts. Yes, short story. You can see how that worked out.

To the rest of my family and friends: Thanks for putting up with me, especially when I’m in a writing frenzy. I’m sure it’s not always easy.

And because this always has to happen: 1) Kathleen, apologies for not yet producing a book that you could actually assign to your students; 2) Mom and Dad, please don’t read past this page!

To Angie, for her birthday

Chapter One

Claire Barker slipped backward out of her best friend Sarah’s vacant house, using her foot to prevent the round, orange tabby cat she’d come to feed from following her outside. “Stay, Willow. Your mommy and daddy will be home tomorrow afternoon, all right? You can lodge your complaints then.” The baby-faced cat stared up at her and let loose an open-mouthed scream, apparently unwilling to delay her bitching about the pet-sitting service she’d received. “Sorry, kitty. I’d stay and hang out with you a little longer, but I have a hot date with my hands this evening that I simply can’t miss.” When Willow meowed again as the door swung closed in her face, Claire added, “That’s right. I’ve got an even more needy pussy than you to take care of tonight.”

“Wow, talk about impeccable timing. Away for nine months, and I managed to come home just in time to hear something like that.”

Claire whirled around at the thrillingly familiar voice behind her, dissolving into a fierce blush at the sight of Sarah’s older sister, Alex, standing there in the driveway, breathtaking as ever. An internationally renowned fashion photographer, Alex had spent most of the past decade hopping the globe on various assignments, only occasionally coming home to Northern California to spend time with family and unwind. The visits had become less frequent over the past three years, right around the time Claire’s business venture with Sarah had really taken off. After Sarah had used a fraction of her share of their second-year, multi-million-dollar earnings to purchase this beautiful new house near their favorite stretch of vineyards, she’d offered to let Alex move into the granny unit out back so her beloved big sister would have a permanent space to occupy during her brief stopovers home.

Naturally, Claire had been thrilled when Alex accepted the offer. She’d nursed a massive crush on Sarah’s sister since the tender age of twelve, when she’d first met the exotic, magical, masculine seventeen-year-old girl who always treated Claire like a real person instead of her much-younger sibling’s best friend. Some of Claire’s very first masturbatory fantasies had featured Alex in the starring role, usually as the dashing, experienced, older butch lesbian who was almost certainly the most perfect sexual mentor imaginable. Not much had changed in that regard, as there was at least a fifty percent chance that Alex’s name would’ve been on Claire’s lips when she made herself come tonight. Sarah’s big-shot sister was Claire’s ultimate sexual fantasy and the unrequited love of her life.

Which was precisely why it was so humiliating for Alex—of all people—to have overheard her big plans to spend Saturday night diddling herself. Even as she yearned for the earth to open up and swallow her where she stood, Claire offered a weak wave and an awkward, “Hi, Alex.”

Tall, broad-shouldered, and utterly, breathtakingly handsome, Alex pulled off her sunglasses and shot Claire an easy smile. She still had the same kind blue eyes Claire remembered from childhood. Alex’s jet-setting lifestyle hadn’t seemed to change her all that much, even if her clothes were more expensive and her taste in women seemed to surpass any fantasy Claire could ever hope to fulfill. A hardcore engineering and computer geek since birth, Claire was a stereotypical nerd in glasses who struggled to speak eloquently when she was nervous, which was pretty much all the time when Alex was around. Meanwhile, Alex spent the majority of her time surrounded by glamorous women who’d made beauty their profession and, according to the occasional snapshots she texted to Sarah, left a trail of unrealistically pretty ex-lovers wherever she went.

Despite the disparity in their stations, at least as Claire perceived them, Alex gazed at her like she was sincerely happy about this reunion, offering a playful wink along with a gentle nod. “Hey there, Claire-Claire.”

The flames in Claire’s cheeks burned hotter at the sound of the childhood nickname only Alex had ever used. “Sorry, I…” Claire gestured vaguely at the door behind her, then to her car, which was parked beside a sporty blue convertible that had to belong to Alex. “Sarah and Marcus are out of town for the week and asked me to feed Willow.”

Alex’s lips twitched. “Yeah. I kind of figured that out.”

Unsure how to tiptoe past the elephant in the driveway, Claire sighed. “I really wish you hadn’t heard the other part.”

“Well, I probably should’ve announced myself sooner. I was just…enjoying the show.” Alex flashed her customary grin that still turned Claire’s knees to jelly. “Anyway, don’t be embarrassed. Some of my favorite dates have been with my hand. Cheap, easy, and a happy ending is all but guaranteed. Only a fool wouldn’t occasionally indulge in such luxury.”

Alex had never been shy when it came to talking about sex, which was almost certainly one reason Claire found her so intriguing. Claire wasn’t actually all that shy about sex either, unless she had to discuss it out loud. After scrambling for a response that would sound both casual and at least mildly alluring, she finally blurted, “It’s sweet of you to assume that it’s only an occasional indulgence.” Cringing after she replayed the words in her head, Claire sighed and stared down at her feet. “Anyway…change of plans. This seems like an ideal time to go home, crawl under my bed, and never come out.”

Alex’s sweet laughter gave Claire enough courage to tear her attention away from the ratty old sneakers she’d been unfortunate enough to wear today, a beloved pair she should have replaced at least six weeks ago. Eyes twinkling, Alex held up an oversized brown bag Claire hadn’t noticed before that moment, upon which was emblazoned the colorful logo of a local vegetarian-only, fast-food drive-through. “Listen, you’re not the only one caught in an embarrassing situation here. I decided to stop at that new veggie joint and couldn’t decide what I wanted to try off the menu first. So I ordered a garden burger and fries, and a bean burrito, and a personal pizza. I’d planned to sample a little of everything while trying not to eat myself sick. Which means you caught me getting ready to spend my Saturday night snarfing enough food for three people. Alone.”

Claire managed a reluctant chuckle. “Look at us: lust and gluttony.”

“Which are, coincidentally, my two favorite sins of the deadly seven.” Alex wiggled the fast-food bag back and forth in an enticing manner. “Would you be willing to postpone lust for a bit to spare me from gluttony? I really could use some help eating all this food.”

Still embarrassed, Claire opened her mouth intending to refuse, her go-to instinct, but instead she said, “Okay.”

A grin stretched slowly across Alex’s face. “Yeah?” She seemed surprised yet genuinely pleased. “Sarah said your new app is selling like crazy. And that the math-and-science-based curriculum you designed for high school girls got nominated for a big education award?” Unless she was a better actress than Claire realized, Alex appeared to be legitimately impressed by their accomplishments. “I’d love to catch up with you and hear all about it.”

Relieved that the conversation had moved away from the topic of her self-pleasuring, Claire forced herself to relax so she would stop acting like a complete dork. “Yeah, this was a good year for us. Sarah has done a brilliant job with the marketing. If not for her success in getting our products noticed by the right people, who knows where we’d be?”

Alex nodded toward the granny unit, then held Claire’s gaze as they walked along the path to the front door. “My sister is amazing, no doubt, but you’re the technical whiz who actually created all that software. Not to mention designed the coursework.” When they reached the entrance of the small cottage, Alex actually fumbled for a moment to find her keys. As she fitted the right one into the lock, she said the most exhilarating thing Claire had ever heard. “So you’re amazing, too, Claire. Own it.”

Chapter Two

Simultaneously glowing and flustered, Claire was glad when Alex walked inside ahead of her and tossed her keys onto a small apothecary table right inside the door. She was sure she had a silly, love-struck grin plastered on her face. “Thank you.”

“Seriously. You always had that adorable, geeky-girl thing going on, but I had no idea what a freakin’ super genius you actually were until I read the interview you gave to Wired magazine last year. I ended up passing that article around to a bunch of people at the shoot I was working on at the time, bragging that I knew you two way back when.”

“When we were annoying little kids who used to bug you to drive us to the arcade?”

“Exactly.” Alex swept a large cloth off the dining table, around which sat four chairs that looked like a human derriere had never touched them. “Please excuse the state of the place. I actually drove here straight from the airport. The good news is that they lost my suitcase, so at least I don’t have to unpack everything tonight.”

“Staying for a while this time?” Stiffly, Claire chose a chair and sat down. “Or just passing through?”

“Staying, actually.” Alex tossed the bag of food onto the table in front of Claire and continued into the attached kitchen. “Take whatever you want. I’ll scavenge from what’s left.”

Claire opened the bag and pulled out the various food items. Still nervous about being around Alex—by herself, even—she ate a couple of french fries but hesitated to test her uneasy stomach with more. “I’m not super hungry, to be honest.”

She heard the refrigerator door swing open, and Alex called out, “Are you thirsty?”

“A drink sounds wonderful.”

“Great.” The distinct sounds of beverage preparation began. “So, how are things outside of work? Life treating you well?”

“Not bad.” Claire stared at the open doorway, musing about how much easier it was to talk with Alex when she couldn’t see her stunning face. “Pretty quiet. My brother got married in June.”

Luke? Really?” Alex chuckled, and Claire snickered at her obvious surprise. “Can’t say I saw that one coming.”

“Me either. But he fell for a nurse he met at a friend’s birthday party. Apparently it was love at first sight.”

“Damn. Maybe there’s hope for the rest of us then.” Alex strolled back into the front room carrying a bottle of red wine and two mostly full glasses. She put one glass down in front of Claire, the other next to her, then set the bottle on the table between them while raising a questioning eyebrow. “I’m afraid I don’t have a lot of options until I make a trip to the store, but I can pour you a glass of water if you prefer.”

Looking forward to the loosening of her stupid inhibitions, Claire picked up her glass of wine and took a long sip. “No. This is perfect.”

Alex seemed pleased. “I was hoping you’d say that.” She took a drink of her own, then let out a contented sigh. “I’ve been waiting for this moment all day.”

“Fast food and wine?”

“Being home.” Alex sat in the chair to Claire’s left and grabbed the veggie burger, hurriedly unwrapping it without a trace of self-consciousness. “Getting some real food in my stomach.” She took a large bite and moaned. The sound caused a pleasant twinge through Claire’s instantly sensitive clit. Swallowing, Alex took another sip and shot her a warm smile. “The wine and the company are unexpected pleasures.”

Claire took an even longer drink this time, nearly draining half the glass. She would need the liquid courage if Alex continued to say things like that. Setting the drink down, she attempted to steer the conversation back to her favorite subject: Alex. “How about you? Is life treating you well?”

Alex’s smile wavered ever so slightly. “Life is good. Work has been steady, the locations interesting. The models…well, it varies. Still, I’m ready to slow down for a while.” She paused to chew on her burger, giving Claire an opportunity to wonder what had prompted that decision. As far as she knew, Alex thrived on her life of adventure and had never considered hitting the brakes even momentarily. Picking up on her curiosity, Alex said, “I’ve been working on an art project for the past year. Unrelated to fashion. I’ve pitched the series to a gallery in San Francisco, and they want to do a show. Since I can afford to pay my bills indefinitely with all I’ve saved over the past decade, I figured…why not try something new?”

Claire brightened at the news. When she’d first met Alex, the older teenager’s bedroom had been papered with her favorite photographs, a veritable collection of artistically staged shots and candid slices of life captured in time. Though fashion photography had launched her career in a very specific direction, Claire knew that Alex had never lost her love of using the medium for her personal expression. The idea that she was about to reclaim that passion in her professional life made Claire want to burst with pride. “That’s wonderful!” she said, cheeks already warm from the wine. “I’m so happy for you. Congratulations.”

“Thanks.” Improbable as it was, Alex seemed almost bashful about Claire’s praise. “It’s been a lot of fun. We’ll see what happens.”

Fresh off another swallow of wine that had all but emptied her glass, Claire asked, “Will I get an invitation to the big opening?”

There was no mistaking Alex’s blush this time. Visibly pink-cheeked, she was delicious in her sudden awkwardness. “Uh…” She chuckled and met Claire’s eyes with a mischievous smirk. “I’m afraid the subject matter might scandalize you.”

A surge of wetness literally trickled out to soak Claire’s panties. Polishing off the last few drops of wine that clung to the bottom of her glass, she reached for the bottle, but Alex beat her to it, pouring refills for both of them after she’d thrown back the rest of her own drink in one hearty gulp. This go-round, Alex let the red liquid flow until it nearly reached the rims of their glasses. With an attempt at nonchalance, Claire took a casual sip. “Go on. You can’t say something like that and then just stop.”

Alex polished off the burger and cracked open the box containing the individually portioned pizza, which was topped with light cheese, tomatoes, and basil. “Want a piece?” Alex separated a one-quarter slice from the rest of the pie and handed it to Claire with a smirk that made it clear she was trying to stall—and that she knew Claire knew it, too.

Mellowed by her first glass, Claire snatched the pizza from Alex and took a dainty bite. Then she said, “The subject matter of your show. Spill.”

“It’s nothing too shocking,” Alex said. “Erotic shots, that’s all. Lots of nudes. With a major focus on the female form, particularly the vagina.” She took a bite of pizza, then another, chasing the mouthfuls of food with more wine. “My love letter to pussy, for lack of a better description. I ended up shooting more than sixty women over twelve months. All ages, colors, shapes, sizes. So much variation, it was magnificent.” Pizza polished off, Alex turned her attention to the practically full bag of fries. “Mind if I have some of those?”

“Please.” Claire drank some more wine, hoping Alex wouldn’t think she was a lush. The more she consumed, the easier this all became. “Your project sounds beautiful. I’d love to see the show when it opens, as long as you won’t be too scandalized to have your little sister’s annoying best friend there.”

Alex laughed. After eating a few fries, she pushed away the food to focus exclusively on her wine. “You’ve never been annoying, Claire. Even when you were just a little kid in my eyes.”

So that means I’m not a kid to her anymore? Claire bit her lip, almost tipsy enough to ask, but not quite. However, she was tipsy enough to say, “Over sixty women, huh? And how many of them did you sleep with?”

Alex’s smile froze in place, the hurt reaction subtle but noticeable. “Just one, actually. I was seeing her when I came up with the concept for the shoots. She was my first model.” Pausing to take a slow drink, she closed her eyes and rolled the liquid around on her tongue before swallowing. “She dumped me ten months ago. I haven’t been with anyone since.”

Shocked to have drawn out so much information with one teasing query, Claire wasn’t certain how to respond. “I’m sorry. I can tell she meant something to you.”

“I thought she did. Or rather, I thought I meant something to her.” Alex shook her head and waved away the slight melancholy that had invaded her mood. “Please understand, I’m better off without her. She was a manipulative, lying narcissist who never cared about me as much as what I could do for her.”

“But she had a pretty pussy?” The wine eased the way for the word to leave Claire’s mouth for the first time since the driveway, but it couldn’t prevent the blush that rose in her cheeks after she’d uttered it.

Alex snorted, then reached over to clink her glass against Claire’s. “Indeed. She had a very pretty pussy. Yummy, too.” She took another long swallow and let out a satisfied sigh that Claire suspected was partially in memory of her ex’s flavor. “Too bad she was a lying, cheating jerk.”

“Well, remember…there’s plenty of pussy in the sea.” Claire blinked, then stared at the empty wineglass in her hand. When did I finish this one? She looked up at Alex, who watched her with obvious amusement. And did I really just say that?

“On that note, how’s your love life? Seeing anyone?” Alex followed up her question by taking another lengthy drink.

“Uh, no.” Claire cleared her throat, ashamed of her excruciatingly lackluster dating life. “I tell myself I don’t have time because of work, anyway, but the truth is, I never seem to meet anyone who’s interested. I mean, no one that I’m interested in, as well.”

“Well, what’s your type?” Alex turned her chair to face Claire more directly, then leaned back and crossed her legs as though settling in for a long conversation. “Maybe I know someone I could hook you up with.”

Claire answered with a vigorous shake of her head, horrified by the thought of allowing the woman she loved to play matchmaker. She immediately felt the effects of the alcohol, almost losing her balance and toppling off the chair to one side. Catching herself, she giggled nervously and said, “No. That’s okay.”

“Are you sure? Even if I haven’t actually lived here for a while, I do know a lot of single women in the area. Men, too, if you wanted to spread your wings.”

Claire wrinkled her nose at the suggestion. “No men.”

Alex beamed. “All right, then. What do you look for in a woman?”

“I don’t know.” Flushed, Claire fumbled with the bottle, filling a third of her glass with more of the deep-red liquid. “I like someone who’s smart, funny…and butch, I guess?”

“Oh, really?” Alex took the bottle from her and emptied the rest into her own glass. “Sarah told me you dated a baby butch a few years ago. Even texted me a picture of you two once.” She took a sip, then added, casually, “She was cute.”

Claire bought time by taking another drink, one she definitely didn’t need. Her entire body felt warm and alive with arousal, and she feared she might say or do something she would regret. Excited to see this conversation through, yet nervous beyond belief, Claire said, “Jane. She was nice. At first.”

Alex’s expression darkened. “And then?”

“She said I was boring.” Claire shrugged, trying to play off the comment like it hadn’t stung, even though it had. “She’s probably right.”

“No. She’s a bitch.” With a roll of her eyes, Alex chugged the rest of her wine and set the glass on the table. Then she rested her forearms on her thighs and leaned forward to stare into Claire’s face. “You’re not boring.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I work too much, I prefer to stay in on the weekends, I hate big parties, and I’d rather sit in a bathtub with a book than go out dancing at the club any day.” Claire drained the rest of her wine to avoid making eye contact, then placed her glass on the table next to Alex’s. “Jane found that unforgivably dull once my new-girlfriend sheen wore off. Granted, she did come crawling back six months later when Sarah and I took the company public.”

Alex snorted. “I’ll bet she did.” She continued to search Claire’s face, seemingly unafraid to let her curiosity show. “Has there been anyone since?”

“No one serious.”

“How about sex?”

Now unambiguously tipsy, bordering on drunk, Claire didn’t even pause to think before tossing out the kind of smart remark she might’ve made to Sarah—who would’ve simply laughed it off. “Is that an invitation?”

The goofy smile on Alex’s face became even goofier, growing lopsided and tinged with what looked like desire mixed with mild alarm. “Do you want it to be?”

Afraid to test Alex’s sincerity, Claire chose to simply answer the original question. “No dating, and no sex, for two years now. Which is why I spend my Saturday nights…entertaining myself.”

“What’s your favorite way to make yourself come?”

Claire blinked, caught off guard by the blunt question. “Uh…”

“Shit.” Still grinning, Alex lowered her eyes and shook her head. “You know what, I’m sorry. I’ve asked that question of the models for my project so many times now, I think I’ve forgotten how invasive it actually is.”

Emboldened by the idea that Alex was interested in knowing something so intimate about her, Claire said, “I usually rub my…clit with my fingers. Sometimes I’ll watch something on my computer…or read a story…but mostly I fantasize.”

Alex lifted her eyes to Claire’s. “Fantasize about what?”

Claire immediately shook her head. “No way. I’m definitely not that drunk.” It would take a lot more than a couple glasses of wine for her to confess that Alex was her favorite and most frequent subject.

Chapter Three

Alex giggled, a thoroughly girlish sound that took Claire by surprise. Rising from her chair, she grabbed Claire’s hand after only the briefest hesitation, helping her to stand on unsteady feet. “Well, I’m a little drunk. Let’s move this into the front room. I’m suddenly craving a reunion with my favorite couch in the world.”

Claire followed as Alex led them to a well-worn leather couch that sat beneath a large, shaded window. Abruptly, Alex dropped Claire’s hand and took a running leap at the cushions, landing face-first along their length with a contented groan. “Oh, yeah. That’s what I’m talking about.” Pulling up her legs while simultaneously rolling onto her back, Alex scooched up to rest her lower back against the arm while waving Claire over. “Come on. Sit down with me.”

Claire experienced a sudden moment of clarity in which she realized that she’d somehow managed to get stupidly inebriated with the woman she wanted to sleep with more than she wanted anything else in the entire world. Alex seemed game to let this unexpected reunion continue even as they trod closer to dangerous ground, a thrilling place where whatever they said and did might potentially alter their tentative yet longstanding friendship forever. Claire wasn’t sure she trusted her own judgment, or even Alex’s, so she hesitated in front of the couch, unsure what to do. When Alex’s smile faded slightly and her eyebrows drew together in confusion, Claire said, dumbly, “Listen, I don’t want to impose. You just got home. I’m sure you must be tired.”

Alex’s smile fell away completely. “Have I made you uncomfortable?”

“No!” Horrified by the thought that she’d destroyed any chance for them to be together, Claire rushed forward and sat on the couch beside Alex’s feet. “Not at all.”

“Good, because I would never want to do that.” Alex’s eyes watered slightly, the alcohol clearly bringing intense emotion to the front. “I really like you. I’m having fun tonight.”

“Me, too.” Claire glanced down at Alex’s feet and, without thinking, pulled one onto her lap so she could unlace the boot. She fumbled slightly with the laces, her normally deft fingers clumsy. Wanting Alex to understand that even if it frightened her a little, she enjoyed the simmering sexual tension between them tonight, Claire murmured, “It’s nice to be able to talk with you like this. Like…”

“Two adult women?”

Claire nodded, tickled that Alex actually understood. “Yeah.”

“You know, I really don’t see you as a little girl anymore.” Alex exhaled with relief when Claire pulled off her boot, then her sock, and happily offered her other foot for the same treatment. “Especially after I read that interview you did. Like, seriously. You sounded so together. So fuckin’ smart.” She huffed and poked Claire’s thigh with her bare toes. “Smarter than I’ll ever be.”

Claire battled the urge to pull out her phone and Google her own name so she could reread the interview that had so clearly impressed her childhood crush to such an unbelievable extent. Giddily, she resisted and instead tugged Alex’s second set of laces loose with renewed confidence. “Of course, you’re far more talented than most of us could ever hope to be. Including me.”

Alex yanked her foot out of the second boot and sat up to tug off her sock. “You should probably wait until after you’ve seen my new work before you make that call. Could be I’m just a pervert.”

Claire watched Alex’s T-shirt ride up to expose a thin stripe of bare skin on her lower back. “Well, I look forward to finding out.”

Glancing toward the front door, Alex opened her mouth to say something, then stopped—and closed her mouth again.

Intrigued, Claire prompted her. “What?”

Alex shrugged. “I left my laptop in the car with my carry-on bag. Since I should probably bring my stuff inside the house anyway…” She bit her lower lip, then raised a tentative eyebrow. “If you wanted, I could show you some of my favorite shots right now.”

Subject matter aside, how could she possibly refuse? “Sure.” Thank goodness I’ve had half a bottle of wine already.

“Yeah?” Alex’s obvious anxiety seemed to have sobered her up a bit. “You don’t have to. Maybe it’ll be too weird.” When she took a deep breath, Claire could sense that she was about to change her mind. “It’s probably—”

“Alex, I want to see them. Please.” Claire’s face heated at her overly passionate entreaty the instant it burbled out of her.

Alex licked her lips. “Okay.” She glanced toward the kitchen. “Would you mind pouring me another drink?” Making shy eye contact, Alex looked startlingly vulnerable in a way that Claire had never imagined seeing the woman of her dreams. “I promise not to get totally smashed. I just…need a little more courage. You’ll be the first person to see most of these photos, besides the curator at the gallery.”

Claire put her hand on Alex’s knee and squeezed. “I’m sure they’re wonderful.” Standing, she walked to the kitchen as steadily as possible. I touched her knee. Which is next to her thigh. Which is so, so close to her… “Another glass, coming right up.”

When Claire returned to the front room with two more glasses of wine—because if she was going to view an art project focused on lady parts while sitting beside Alex-freaking-Williams, she sure as hell needed another drink, too—Alex had just returned from outside. Barefoot, she carried a backpack she set down near the door and a laptop case that she brought to the couch as Claire settled back into her seat. Sitting close enough that Claire could feel the heat emanating off her body, Alex picked up her refreshed glass of wine and took two large swallows. “Okay.” She put the glass back on the table and opened her laptop. Double-clicking on a folder titled, simply, Cunt, she enlarged the first of dozens of photos, a close-up, black-and-white photograph of an aesthetically perfect vagina. “Here we go.”

They sat together in silence with the image for a few endless moments while Claire took a big gulp of wine. Grateful for the fuzzy heat that immediately spread through her muscles and loosened her tongue, she lowered the glass and said, honestly, “Beautiful.”

“Unfortunately, that one’s my ex.” Alex clicked to the next photo, what looked to be the same pussy, but this time with long, feminine fingers exploring the delicate folds of her labia. Shot at a different angle, this one showed the plump mound of her ex-girlfriend’s vulva, which was also perfect. “I still love these shots, though.”

“They’re amazing.” Claire sipped her wine as Alex began to scroll through the photos, occasionally murmuring a quiet, “Love it” or “That’s gorgeous” or “Breathtaking” about the ones she particularly admired. After a few dozen photos and half her glass of wine, Alex paused on an image of a woman’s swollen labia peeking out from between her thighs, framed by her full bottom, and said, “There are a few more, but they’re a little…explicit.”

Now drunk enough to wish she hadn’t made Alex worry so much about causing her discomfort, Claire put her glass down a little too loudly. “Go ahead. Show me. It’ll be inspiration for later. You know, lust.”

Alex laughed but also kind of groaned. “Okay. But when you realize that you’re sitting here looking at porn with Sarah’s big sister, please don’t freak out and regret it in the morning. Deal?”

Would Claire regret this in the morning? A real, live masturbatory fantasy for me to embellish and expand upon in my head forevermore? At the moment it was difficult to imagine being sorry about anything that happened tonight. In fact, the only real disappointment would be if nothing happened at all. “Deal. Now show me your porn.”

With a nervous chuckle, Alex brought up an image that Claire instantly recognized as her ex. Her shapely bottom filled the frame, each round cheek gripped by a strong hand and pulled apart to reveal her incredible wetness and the long, flesh-colored dildo the unseen wearer was using to penetrate her slick, pink vagina. Instinctively, Claire glanced down at Alex’s hand on the laptop to confirm her suspicion. Is that really a photo of Alex fucking someone? “Oh,” she murmured aloud, unthinkingly. “Uh, wow.”

“I haven’t actually decided whether to include these in the show.” Alex clicked to the next shot while studiously avoiding eye contact. “Tell me to stop at any time.”

“No, don’t stop.” The second photo showed a similar pose, but this time the bulbous head of the dildo only barely rested inside the ex-girlfriend’s swollen cunt. Allowing herself to be carried away on a pleasant cloud of alcohol-induced euphoria, Claire placed her hand on Alex’s to encourage her to continue. “Are there more?”

Alex cycled through a handful of additional shots: two fingers penetrating her ex’s eager hole, a pale bottom and pussy spanked bright pink by the bare palm still hovering over the reddened flesh, and after that an entire hand disappearing between a woman’s soft thighs, up to the wrist. When she landed upon a particularly striking shot of a familiar mouth pressing a wet-looking kiss against the ex-girlfriend’s shiny clit, Alex waited only half a second before hurriedly clicking ahead. The next photo was no less graphic than the previous one, a close-up of the flat of what was unmistakably Alex’s tongue mid-swipe across the aroused ridge of flesh. Breathing hard at the visceral rush of fantasy the sight brought forth, Claire crossed her legs to stifle the urge to rock against the cushion in an attempt to seek relief from the effect of Alex’s provocative talent.

“Does that mean you like them?”

Detecting true uncertainty in Alex’s lilting voice, Claire managed a small nod and a tight, “Yeah. I do.”

Alex minimized the photo on-screen but, in doing so, revealed one more thumbnail Claire knew she hadn’t yet seen. Without really thinking, Claire leaned forward to take control of the laptop, double-clicking on the last image. “You missed one.”

“Don’t—” Alex lunged for the keyboard and then froze, staring dumbly when yet another incredibly appealing image filled the screen. Shot from the neck down, the topless model had her thighs spread wide and one hand resting on her lower abdomen as she displayed herself to the camera. The woman’s bare breasts were out of focus, but the lens had lovingly captured every detail of her pink, thick-lipped pussy. Quietly, Alex said, “This is another I haven’t made a decision about.”

Alex’s tentative voice made Claire jump. “Why not? I love it.” Her throat went dry as she belatedly drew the obvious conclusion. Oh. She picked up her glass and poured the rest of its contents down her throat. Because it’s a self-portrait.

Alex apparently detected Claire’s flash of recognition, because she snorted loudly, then buried her face in her hands as she dissolved into helpless guffaws. “Oh my God, I’m so drunk. I’m so drunk, and I just showed you a picture of my pussy.”

Claire’s breath caught at Alex’s confirmation of what she was seeing. She leaned near to study the image more carefully. “To be fair, I kind of showed it to myself.”

Still chortling, Alex slammed the lid of the laptop closed, then turned to hide her face in the arm of the couch. “Please don’t tell Sarah.”

“It’ll be our little secret. However, you do realize that if you include that one in the show, or any of the others you took with your ex, everyone will see it.” Claire paused for effect, knowing she was about to deliver a terrible psychic blow. “Including Sarah.”

Alex lifted her head to reveal rosy cheeks, only managing to meet Claire’s eyes briefly before lowering her gaze. “All right. You’ve talked me out of it.”

“That wasn’t my intention,” Claire said, bleeding honesty now that she’d drenched her filter in alcohol. “You’re really damn sexy, Alex. So is your pussy. I say if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Right?”

Alex managed to glow even redder. “You’re sweet.”

“I’m not trying to be.” Claire squeezed her thighs together, riding the giddy high that came from suddenly feeling like the most confident one in the room—something that almost never happened to her in social situations. Clit throbbing, she realized how perilously close she was to doing something truly ill-advised. And yet she couldn’t seem to stop herself from pushing ever forward, desperate to see exactly how far Alex would be willing to take their mild flirtation. “I’m just telling you, if your goal is to arouse your audience, then you should absolutely include that last shot in the show. Because it was definitely arousing.”

Alex’s confidence slowly returned in the form of a hesitant smile. “Are you aroused, Claire?”

“What do you think?” Claire held her breath as she awaited the answer.

“I think…” Alex paused, then exhaled loudly. With a chuckle, she said, “I think we’re drunk.”

“Yes.” She wasn’t going to deny it.

“And…maybe we should be careful.”

Claire frowned, no longer all that concerned about being cautious now that she’d consumed another full glass of wine. “Of what?”

“Of doing something we’ll wish we hadn’t.”

Despite having wrestled with the same worry less than an hour ago, Claire failed to suppress her disappointment about the sudden appearance of Alex’s conscience. Unfortunately, it seemed that she could trust Alex’s judgment after all. Damn. Awkwardly, Claire chose to feign ignorance. “Such as?”

“Claire.” Alex’s low voice dropped to a throaty murmur. “You know what I’m saying.”

Made unbelievably bold by the wine, not to mention her raging libido, Claire leaned against Alex’s side for a beat before moving away. “That you want to do dirty things to me?”

I really just said that. Out loud. Claire closed her eyes, trying to determine exactly how embarrassed she would be in the morning.

Alex shuddered noticeably in reaction to the words Claire still couldn’t fathom having uttered. “Like you wouldn’t believe, Claire-Claire.”

Unable to look at Alex after the hoarse, stunning confession, let alone move, Claire struggled hard to catch her breath. To think. Swallowing hard, she finally whispered, “Is that really such a bad thing?”

“I think it might be.” Despite her apparent reluctance, Alex made no effort to put any additional space between their bodies.

Light years beyond any sense of shame by this point, Claire asked, “Why?”

“You’re Sarah’s best friend, for one.” Although Alex delivered this verdict in a somber tone, she sounded eager to be dissuaded. “You’re also drunk.”

“I’m not the only one. And even so, I’m not beyond the ability to give consent. Are you?”

Alex shook her head. “No, but I’m older. It wouldn’t be right.”

“Alex, you’re thirty-two. I’m twenty-seven. You wouldn’t exactly be robbing the cradle.”

Blinking, Alex stared into Claire’s eyes as her handsome face took on an expression of actual wonder. “Wait, you…you really want this, don’t you?”

She might as well have doused Claire’s face with gasoline and lit a match. “Shut up,” Claire said, chagrined by how easily Alex had detected her obvious need. If she were smart, she’d put a little distance between them before she made an even bigger fool of herself. Screwing up her friendship with Alex wasn’t an option. “More wine?”

Chapter Four

Alex caught Claire’s hand to prevent her from standing up to go to the kitchen. “I’m already too drunk. So are you.”

She wasn’t wrong. Claire wobbled a little on her feet, then sank back down onto the couch. “You’re right.” A thought occurred, one that made her giggle nervously. “Which means I’m stuck here for a little while, unless I call a cab.”

Alex shook her head firmly. “I’m not sending you home in some stranger’s car. Not like this.”

Pouting, Claire said, “I didn’t mean to get so drunk.”

“My fault. I take full responsibility.” Alex exhaled as she rested against the arm of the couch. “I was nervous about hanging out with you. I wanted to loosen up, but…” She raised her hands into the air and shimmied them. Jazz hands. Claire chortled aloud at her silent musing. Chuckling along with her, Alex concluded, “Now I’m a little too loose.”

Claire immediately zeroed in on the bombshell Alex had so casually dropped. “You were nervous? With me?

“Well, yeah.” Alex scrubbed her hand over her short hair with a self-conscious lift of her shoulder. “Now that I know what a genius you are…”

“I’m still me. The geeky, bespectacled dork who used to freeze up every time you talked to her. Who still does.”

“You do?

Blown away by Alex’s supposed astonishment, Claire exclaimed, “You’ve got to be kidding. I’ve always been a nervous wreck around you! You had to have noticed.”

“Well, you’ve always been kind of quiet, but you never seemed like a frozen, nervous wreck to me.” Alex sat up straighter, shifting to face Claire. “Why did I make you so uneasy? I wasn’t ever mean to you, was I?”

“No.” Laughing in disbelief at Alex’s cluelessness, Claire didn’t even press pause before allowing her loose tongue to unleash the biggest secret she’d ever harbored. “Alex, I’ve had the stupidest, most massive crush on you ever since I was twelve years old. It paralyzed me every time you came near. Don’t tell me you never realized.”

Alex’s lips parted, and she drew in a shaky breath. “I really thought you were just shy. I mean, I think I knew you were a little infatuated with me as a kid, but I…I figured you’d grown out of that.”

“Well, I haven’t.” Claire’s heart thundered at the realization that now that she’d finally outed her attraction, she would receive one of two responses. Or perhaps no response at all. She tightened her hands into fists, queasy about the magnitude of what was happening. “And now you know.”

“Now I know.” Alex hesitated, then lifted her arm and let her fingers hover over Claire’s. “May I hold your hand for a minute?”

Claire turned her wrist so her palm faced up, then nodded. She whimpered softly when Alex’s large, callused palm pressed against hers and their fingers interlaced like the most natural thing in the world. “I’m drunk,” Claire repeated, like a disclaimer. “Sorry.”

“Too drunk to consent?”

Alex’s husky question made it almost impossible to breathe. “Consent to what?”

“I don’t know.” Alex squeezed her fingers, then lifted their joined hands so she could brush her lips over Claire’s knuckles. “A kiss?”

Paranoia seeped into Claire’s pleasant buzz, making her worry that Alex’s request could be motivated by simple pity in the aftermath of her embarrassing disclosure. “You don’t have to do that, Alex. Really.”

Alex’s fingers flexed on hers. “You don’t want me to?”

“Of course I want you to.” Claire licked her lips and stared up into Alex’s eyes. “But only if you want to, for real.”

A strong, sure hand curled around the back of Claire’s neck and pulled her into a tender, exploratory meeting of their lips and then, thrillingly, the very tips of their tongues. The kiss ended almost as soon as it began, eliciting a despairing whimper from deep in Claire’s throat when Alex backed away. Breathing hard, Alex looked into Claire’s eyes and whispered, “I want you.”

Wetness literally gushed from Claire’s pussy, as though her body were weeping with joy over having finally lived the exact scenario she’d fantasized about hundreds of times. Too drunk to self-censor her physical reaction, she bent slightly at the waist and twisted around, reaching between her legs with her free hand to check if she’d stained Alex’s favorite couch. Never having been in such a sexually charged situation, especially while intoxicated, Claire struggled to hang on to a coherent thought, let alone respond in a way that wouldn’t kill the mood. All she could manage to say was, “My panties are soaked. I hope I didn’t get any on the leather.”

Alex’s fingers tightened on the back of her neck. Her thumb stroked the top of Claire’s spine. “I’m wet, too.”

Claire couldn’t help but to imagine the photograph of Alex’s gorgeous pussy, this time coated with slick, clear fluid and swollen dark pink with arousal. She tried to think of how to reply, but even red wine couldn’t restore her vocabulary with that vision filling her mind’s eye.

“You’re picturing it, aren’t you?” Alex smiled big. “My wet pussy.”

“How could I not?” Claire breathed. “I won’t be surprised if I see your self-portrait every time I close my eyes, for the rest of my life.”

“Then I’m jealous.” Alex brought their faces closer together but didn’t allow their mouths to touch. “You’ll have the memory of that photo to get you by, and I still have only my imagination to go on.”

Growing more comfortable the longer they remained in the intimate embrace, Claire asked something she’d always wondered but had accepted she would never know. “Have you ever thought about me before? Sexually?”

Alex lowered her eyes, clearly a little conflicted. “Before I read that interview, only a few times. The very first was the day I took you and Sarah to the beach to go swimming after your high school graduation ceremony. There were a handful of other times after that, when I felt naughty enough to go there. Since last year, though, it’s been more frequent.” She trailed off, then let out an amused snort. “Especially since I’ve had so much opportunity to masturbate, being single and celibate.”

Claire struggled to believe that wasn’t simply the alcohol talking. “Seriously?”

Reestablishing eye contact, Alex pinned her with an expression so earnest that for the first time in their lives, Claire felt every inch her equal. Soberly, Alex said, “I wouldn’t lie to you. I won’t.

Claire initiated their second kiss, a sensual dance of lips and tongues that undid her every bit as much as the first had. She immediately abandoned the idea of self-restraint, not so inconspicuously rocking against the couch cushion in an effort to find friction for her achingly sensitive clit. Alex dropped her hand from Claire’s neck to the middle of her back, then lower, to tease the subtle cleft of bare skin rising just above the waistband of her panties. When Claire broke away with a gasp, Alex bent and sucked on the sensitive flesh joining Claire’s shoulder to her neck.

Swept up in a situation still too unreal to believe, Claire asked, “You’re not too drunk?”

“To make out with you?” Alex nibbled on her neck, teasingly, then pushed her hand farther down the back of Claire’s jeans to grab a handful of her ass. “Definitely not.”

“Is that what we’re doing?” Without conscious thought, Claire slipped her own hand between Alex’s thighs, rubbing the crotch of her jeans before capturing her concealed mound in a possessive grip. Exactly as she’d imagined doing countless times in dozens of different fantasy scenarios. “Making out?”

Alex made a strangled noise in the back of her throat, releasing Claire so she could slump against the couch while she endured the rough handling. “What do you want to do, Claire-Claire? Tell me. Sounds like you’ve thought about this at least a little before tonight.” She exhaled shakily, lifting her hips to push against Claire’s palm. “After fifteen years, you must know exactly what you want to do with me right now.”

Flushed from both the wine and her embarrassment over her rich inner fantasy life, Claire continued to squeeze and caress Alex through her jeans even as she groped blindly for a suggestion that wouldn’t be too humiliating to say out loud. “Um…”

Alex’s hand covered hers, encouraging Claire not to stop by helping guide the speed and pressure of her touch. “Or would you prefer that I take charge? Do you like the idea of surrendering control to me?”

Claire nodded a little too rapidly. Drunk. So very fucking drunk. “I want you to take control. I want you to…” She paused, considered the inhibitions she normally possessed, then forged ahead, relieved to discover that she didn’t currently care about anything except getting off. “Be in charge. Tell me what to do. Show me how to do it.”

With a moan, Alex straightened and reached for her again, dragging Claire closer to plunder her mouth with her greedy tongue. Claire felt the shift in their dynamic immediately, Alex’s natural dominance taking over now that she’d been given permission to wield it. Pressing Claire back against the arm of the couch, Alex ran eager hands over her breasts, her hips, her stomach, then finally, somewhat terrifyingly, between her legs. Alex backed slowly out of the kiss, nipped Claire’s chin with her sharp teeth, and rumbled, “I want you to show me your pussy.”

Claire’s entire body caught fire. “Just…show it to you?”

Alex dissolved into a lopsided grin, clearly tickled by her shock. “You saw mine.”

“Yes, but…” Claire scrambled to complete a mental inventory of her personal hygiene. She’d showered that morning, thank goodness, and was wearing decent enough panties, but she hadn’t trimmed her pubic hair in days. Or shaved the quarter-inch of growth under her arms. “You were prepared. I’m not.”

“You don’t need to prepare.” Alex pushed a lock of hair behind Claire’s ear, then played gently with the lobe. “I want to see you just as you are. Not a meticulously cultivated version of yourself.”

“But I told you, I’m soaking wet. Like, to the point it might be a little off-putting.”

Alex laughed long and hard. “I doubt it.” She beamed at Claire with such authentic affection, such undeniable desire, that any further resistance on Claire’s part felt not only futile, but unforgivably foolish. “I’ve seen a lot of women’s pussies, sweetheart. Some of them very, very wet.” Backing up just far enough to allow Claire to sit, Alex stayed connected with a hand cupped around Claire’s breast, the pad of her thumb toying with the erect nipple. “I’ve never wanted to look at anyone as badly as I want to look at you right now. And that’s the truth.”

“But…I’m afraid I won’t measure up.” Claire bit her lip as soon as the breathless confession flew out of her mouth, turned off by her own lack of confidence. If you want to be with Alex this way, you need to believe you’re worth it first. “Sorry. I know that’s silly.”

“No, it’s not.” Both of Alex’s big hands clasped hers, comforting her with their sheer size and warmth. “Not silly at all.” Stroking Claire’s knuckles with both thumbs, Alex fixed her with a patient, empathetic expression that belied her obviously inebriated state. “I think you’re stunning, Claire, but regardless of how you look on the outside, you’re one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known.”

Slowly, Claire leaned forward to trace the tip of her tongue over Alex’s upper lip. “All right, but will you take off your clothes first?”

Alex inhaled swiftly but nodded. “Sure.”

“And can I have just a little more wine?” Claire bit down on Alex’s lower lip, rolling the plump muscle between her teeth before releasing it with a sensual moan. “You’re not the only one who needs liquid courage before baring her soul.”

Breathing hard, Alex practically leapt off the couch, grabbing their empty glasses to teeter clumsily toward the kitchen. “Just a sip or two more.”

Chapter Five

As soon as Alex left the room, Claire’s hands flew to her mouth and she let out a silent scream. Then a roof-raising cheer. Then, still energized, she broke into an elaborate, seated jig that ended midway through her performance of The Sprinkler dance, when Alex rushed back from the kitchen only to promptly erupt with delighted guffaws. Mortified, Claire laced her fingers on her lap, wishing for the ability to psychically retrieve her new glass of wine from across the room via some sort of Jedi-level mind magic. “That was fast.”

“What can I say? I’m excited.” Grinning broadly, Alex sauntered back to the couch and handed over Claire’s last sips of wine. “Clearly I’m not the only one.”

Claire downed the entire glass in one go. Shuddering as the heat of the alcohol flowed through her body, Claire felt wide-eyed at the realization that Alex had started to strip down in front of her. Already topless, Sarah’s big sister was a veritable butch goddess, with broad shoulders, a tapered waist, and shapely breasts even more breathtaking in reality than Claire had ever dared to dream. Alex paused to grab her glass and take a few eager sips, then bravely unbuckled her belt, thumbed open the button on her jeans, and pulled the tab of the zipper down to reveal a glimpse of the black briefs she wore beneath. Once she’d tugged her pants down around her ankles, Alex glanced up at Claire with a quirked eyebrow. “Feel free to join me anytime.”

Not wanting Alex to feel alone in this act of courage, Claire chugged the rest of Alex’s wine and stood up to unbutton her own jeans. “Oh, what the hell.”

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