A Gentleman in the Street

By: Alisha Rai

Jacob’s abs tightened and he crunched up, grabbing a handful of tissues from the box on his desk in the nick of time to capture the messy evidence of his filthy fuck-toy fantasy.

His chest worked as if he had run a marathon, each breath bringing with it a healthy dose of guilt and self-disgust. Hands fumbling, he cleaned up and tucked himself back inside his jeans. Like he could hide what he had just done.

He was still semihard.

Gritting his teeth, he launched himself out of his chair, pacing to the window and back. He should go running, he thought desperately. Or go work out.

He couldn’t do this anymore. He couldn’t think about those things. Especially not with her. Never with her.

There was no doubt Akira was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, but that wasn’t the only quality that spurred his near-obsessive interest. A palpable energy hummed around her. The air crackled when she came into a room. People looked up, paid attention, became nervous. She was charismatic and engaging, dramatic and flirtatious.

Not to mention, the most sexual creature he had ever met.

He wasn’t a virgin. The sex he’d enjoyed in the past had been satisfying and pleasant, if not mind-blowing. It didn’t need to be mind-blowing, because it was safe. The women were perfectly nice human beings who didn’t threaten to make him forget every other thing in his life. He walked away from those encounters with his heart and his head intact.

If he ever became one of Akira’s conquests, he didn’t think he would be able to crawl away. He would lie at her feet, starving for even the tiniest morsel of attention.

The danger of that thought titillated him as much as it alarmed him.

There was no risk of that, though. If she genuinely found him at all desirable, he would be shocked. Teasing and flirting with him was a game to her, a way to prick his temper. He’d watched her employ the same strategies on other people for years.

Let her think he was an uptight prig. She didn’t know that every time she called him “brother” he wanted to put her over his knee and paddle her delicious bottom before he demonstrated all the unbrotherly thoughts in his head.

She had no idea he employed every defensive strategy in his arsenal to not go around on his hands and knees after her, begging for a taste.

I could start at the top and work my way down. Or maybe…maybe you’d prefer I started at the bottom.

If she only knew.

She could never know.

The front door opened and slammed shut, and he jolted at the noise, spinning around as if he’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “Jacob?” His sister’s high-pitched voice came from downstairs. “You home already?”

And that was why he didn’t have the luxury of indulging his desires. Not when the fallout could affect someone else.

Jacob yelled down, “Yeah. Be right there.”

His desire had been doused the instant he’d heard the kid’s voice, but he lingered a couple of minutes before making his way down the steep stairs.

He found his baby sister in the kitchen, rummaging in the fridge. As usual, a smile touched his lips at the sight of Kati, fondness and anxiety warring within him. When had she grown up? Sometimes he half-expected to turn the corner and have a tiny blonde six-year-old run into his knees, not this slender teenager.

Unlike her three brothers, Kati was petite. Her mother had been short too. Jacob mentally shied away, never eager to dwell on Jane. He preserved her memory for Kati and encouraged his sister to have a relationship with the woman who had left for the East Coast shortly after she was born. That was as much as he could manage without dredging up his own demons. “Hey, Kati-cat.”

She didn’t turn around, but the breath she exhaled made it clear she was probably rolling her eyes at the childhood nickname.

“How was Kristen’s?”

Kati pulled out a carton of almond milk from the fridge and slammed it shut with her hip, her short hair swinging around her pixie face. She’d gone platinum this week, which he was grateful for. The puke green had made him wince. “Great.”

“Did you go biking?”


“Stay up late?”


“Break into her father’s wine cabinet and get drunk?”

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