by Caitlyn Willows
Erotic Romance – Romantic Suspense
Cover Artist – S.L. Carpenter
What started out as just sex has now shifted to love, but admitting that publicly awakens the jealous beast, one who isn’t afraid to kill to keep what he or she considers “MINE.”
Declan Trent and Pam Donaldson are both divorced and neither is anxious to become entangled in another romantic relationship. But then there’s the sex angle. How can they obtain satisfying sexual liaisons without the entanglements that go with it? The answer is simple—they will become sex buddies.
It’s an arrangement that works exceedingly well. In fact, it sizzles. Never has either met a person they were more sexually compatible with—trust, adventure, play, and soul-screaming fulfillment. Do they dare take the step they swore they’d always avoid? Why not?
Then the murders begin. One by one Declan’s patients are being eliminated. How far will their trust of each other go now? As the pieces of the puzzle come together, they realize someone else has an agenda. Someone who will do anything, kill anyone, to keep Declan.
FIVE HEARTS! What a fantastic suspenseful book! The emotions the characters experience are artfully written and make the reader understand what motivates their actions. The author has written several twists into the plot to keep you guessing as to who the murderer really is. Overall, this is a fantastic suspenseful book with lots of hot, spicy sex scattered throughout. ~Lisa Freeman, The Romance Studio
FOUR STARS! This riveting, emotional book expertly blends highly developed characters with murder and romance. The romance is based on a strong, enduring friendship, and love scenes vary from playful to hot and sensual. Readers will not be disappointed by this complex tale of passion, betrayal, trust and frienship. ~Keitha Hart, Romantic Times
Caitlyn Willows pens a thrilling, roller coaster ride of a story with BUDDY SYSTEM. Declan and Pam are perfect for one another both in bed and out. And both fear rejection so therefore, they keep their true feelings bottled up inside. The sex is highly explosive and beautifully written with emotion and spiciness. I so love stories where the hero and heroine start out as friends and then progress to the next level. Both characters are multifaceted with each layer uncovered, revealing a little more about the inner person. Secondary characters include Pam’s partner and best friend, Gloria, who is about to marry District Attorney Remy Sanchez; Pam’s ex-husband, Hank, Declan’s ex-wife Connie, and Declan’s friend and colleague, Mark Roberts. Quite a menagerie of people, some open and honest while others have a hidden agenda. Interesting if I do say so myself. Suspenseful, erotic, and enthralling are words this reviewer uses to describe Caitlyn Willows’ BUDDY SYSTEM. Her in-depth characterization, and steamy sex scenes make this one hot read. ~Sinclair Reid, Romance Reviews Today
4½ LIPS! With so many twists and turns, this suspenseful story had me guessing until the very end and I STILL had it wrong. Buddy System is a dynamic story that doesn’t allow the reader a single dull moment. If it wasn’t trying to figure out who was doing the killing, it was reveling in the love and deep connection between Pam and Declan. The manner in which they instinctively knew what to say or do in order to make their mate happy and bring them comfort was refreshing and beautiful. Their chemistry ignited the pages and the love scenes were both sensual and erotic while being sexy and creative. Caitlyn Willows is truly phenomenal and I’ll never look at a necktie the same away again. ~Kerin, Two Lips Reviews
FIVE STARS! Without a doubt, Buddy System was the best-written, well thought out story I have read in a long time. The plot was fast paced and kept you guessing with each twist and turn that Caitlyn Willows threw out. I thought I had the answer and then bam! another piece of the puzzle was revealed and had me second guessing myself. The characters were fascinating, including the secondary cast and the background characters. I could not put this one down until I read the last word, then I hated that it was over. Declan and Pam had a sex life that would put low budget porn movies to shame! There wasn’t much that they were not willing to try with each other, and that gave me some great ideas of my own. Be prepared to squirm while reading this–they love sex and they love to spice it up in ANY room they are in–with any object they had on hand. Anyone reading this story will love the beginning, middle and end-it is that good. ~Stacey Landers, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
FIVE STARS! What an enthralling book! Both Pam and Declan stepped right off the pages and spoke to me. Descriptive and fascinating, these characters as well as the secondary characters are very well-written. Pam and Declan’s graphic sexual relationship has a significant place in the story. The sexual interaction between them is extremely loving, more importantly they pulled me right into their lovemaking. When doubts occur, their lives together stretch, but do not break. There are secondary characters, such as Declan’s secretary and Pam’s former boyfriend who add drama and suspense to this book. Ms. Willows has an amazing facility to plot a story and then allow her characters to tell it. I kept reading, finding myself more confused about “whodone it” all the time. When the denouement came, I had just about figured out the mystery. Ms. Willows wrote an engrossing story and I am incredibly eager to read another of her books. ~Marcy Arbitman, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
Caitlyn Willows impressed me with this one! Buddy System pretty much consumed my entire life for almost six hours as I read a wonderful plot, highly intense sex, and wracked my brain as to who the bad guy was. Imagine my surprise when it wasn’t who I thought it was. It stumped me to the very end and I love when a book does that! I am filing this one under “W” on my keeper shelf! ~ Talia Ricci, Joyfully Reviewed
Pam Donaldson scissored her crossed legs while she casually flipped through a three-month-old issue of Good Housekeeping. At least she hoped it looked like she was being casual. Waiting like this fired her up until it was all she could do to sit still. She wondered what Declan Trent’s prim little secretary — oops! admin assistant — would think if she jumped up and started pacing a mean streak back and forth across the burnished-gold carpeting.
Probably call the paramedics to have me hauled away. Pam suspected it wouldn’t take much to freak Trish Wallace out. She’d die on the spot if she knew why Pam was really here.
The woman sat on the edge of her seat, perched over her computer keyboard as if she had a pole up her ass. Hair spray welded every strand of her shoulder-length blond hair in place. No wave, split end, or frizz dared disobey. Her cotton-candy-pink suit was just the right length, just the right size, and just the right shade to match her perfectly manicured nails. Real nails, not acrylics. How many women would kill to have nails that perfect? Pam’s nails were nice, but they weren’t that perfect. With her light blue eyes, Trish looked like a china doll someone would seal behind protective glass, pretty to look at, but nothing you were allowed to touch or, heaven forbid, play with.
Pam wondered if that was a façade Trish showed to the world. If behind the hands-off automaton exterior lay a woman of wild and uninhibited passion. It was hard to reconcile that picture with what Pam saw here.
Trish kept her desk perfectly ordered, not one folder out of place. Pam had been tempted a time or two to link all the paperclips in Trish’s lead crystal bowl together just to see how the woman would react. She certainly had the opportunity. Each time Pam visited, Trish would go to the ladies’ room at precisely eleven-twenty. At heart, she couldn’t be that cruel, no matter how much the woman’s idiosyncrasies grated on her nerves.
So Trish was obsessive-compulsive. Why should Pam care? In fact, she was in the perfect occupation to seek counseling for her problem if she wanted. As psychiatrists go, Declan Trent was one of the best. For all Pam knew, maybe Trish was a patient, especially if two diverse personalities existed in that prim and proper mind of hers. If so, Declan sure had his work cut out for him. Pam had never seen anyone so uptight.
She wondered if she should tell Declan that Trish actually raked the footprints out of the plush carpet each time the waiting room was vacant. Pam had caught her in the act shortly after she’d started seeing Declan. That’s when Trish’s little habits started to burrow under Pam’s skin.
Little Miss Perfect. Pam knew from experience the woman was most probably a ticking bomb. She’d seen it too many times in her line of work — women for whom perfection was a lifestyle, a religion. However, it was never enough to keep their husbands from straying or their children out of trouble. Problem after problem pounded against the illusion they’d created, slowly loosening each brick until the foundation crumbled and they were staring down at the blood-splattered butcher knife — or smoking gun — in their shaking hands.
Just the week before, Pam had responded to a homicide at just such a house, an art deco mansion perched back from the winding curves of the Hollywood Hills. The wife made the 9-1-1 call in perfect, orderly fashion. “I’ve just killed my husband and would appreciate it if someone would stop by to remove him.” They’d arrived to find her mopping up the crime scene, rubber gloves and a bucket full of Mr. Clean at her side.
Pam would hate to see Trish turn out that way. She was a good person, pleasant and sociable to all Declan’s clients, and very efficient. All Declan needed to do was think about it, and Trish had it done. Pam wanted to snatch her up by the shoulders and give her a hard snap-out-of-it shake. The last thing she wanted was to arrive at a homicide call and find Trish on her hands and knees cleaning up blood spatter.
She tossed the magazine to the glass-topped table beside her. Trish jumped at the loud smack it made. Then, like clockwork, she pushed away from her desk for her eleven-twenty trek to the ladies’ room.
“I’ll just be a moment, Detective Donaldson,” she said in a smoothly cultured tone that never varied; neither did the words.
Pam gave her a nod as she walked by. Even her shoes were pink.
Just let it go, she told herself. She was here for one reason and one reason only. That should be her focus.
She crossed her arms and slowly rocked her leg back and forth. Without panties, the action gently rubbed her moist labia over her swollen clitoris. Every part of her was primed for her visit with Declan, but if she didn’t pace herself, she’d wind up coming right here.
Pam forced her legs apart. God, she could smell her arousal! Maybe going without panties wasn’t such a good idea. She tugged her black pencil-skirt to her knees, then adjusted the cuffs of her smoke-gray silk blouse. The skirt and the three-inch black heels were a departure from what she normally wore to work, but she considered it more appropriate since she had to testify in court this afternoon — with panties, of course. Besides, she really liked the naughty feeling of coming to see Declan bare-bottomed.
The thought made her smile. What would he do when he found out? A shiver wiggled through her. Trish’s return shattered her reverie. Pam shifted her focus to studying the waiting room.
Cream-colored walls brightened the place. Matching leather chairs cradled visitors in comfort. Watercolors of varying landscapes — rolling hills, seashores, deep forests, mountains — helped create an aura of tranquility. No music flooded the room, just the soft, steady click of Trish’s keyboard.
Pam cocked her head to one side. Maybe that was it. Maybe Trish was part of the illusion of order in the turmoil of some clients’ lives. She’d never thought of it that way. In retrospect, it made perfect sense. Perhaps it was by Declan’s design that Trish behaved as she did. Pam had just let the horrors of her own job spill over. She wouldn’t be the first cop to become jaded by the discouraging vicissitudes of life.
The door to Declan’s office swung inward. “Now remember, Carol, the group session for tomorrow night is cancelled. I’ll be at a conference.”
The buxom redhead glanced up at him with wide brown eyes. “Oh, dear. I’d forgotten.” She draped her fingers over his bare forearm as she stepped into his personal space. “What will I do?”
Declan gave her a soft smile — the one that always turned Pam’s insides to mush — and placed his hand over that of the redhead’s. “You’ll do wonderfully. You’ll see. I wouldn’t go away if I thought otherwise.”
Pam smiled when the woman’s face lit up. That’s one of the things that was great about Declan. He instinctively knew what to say to patients to bolster their self-confidence, or when a gentle touch would ease their concerns and give them hope. Sadly, it was that bedside manner that had ruined his marriage. Connie Trent lived and breathed jealousy and had made Declan’s life a living hell in the process. Despite that, Declan remained friendly and compassionate toward others.
“Yes. Yes, I will be fine. Thanks to you.” Shoulders back, Carol walked to Trish’s desk to schedule her next session.
Pam’s gaze remained riveted on Declan. Even after six months, he still had the power to take her breath away. His dark brown hair scuffed the collar of his white dress shirt. Long fingers smoothed down his blue-striped tie as he raked his gaze over her from head to toe. A smile lifted one corner of his mouth, brightening his golden-brown eyes. She could scarcely breathe. Then he shut the door.
She forced herself to sit still, to wait until Trish called her to go in. Did he realize what he did to her? Of course he did. It was all part of the game.
She tucked her arms tighter over her chest. Already her nipples were poking their little noses against her bra, making their presence fully known to anyone who’d care to look. God, how they ached! Had it really only been fourteen hours since she’d had sex? It felt like forever.
As Carol left the office, Trish’s intercom link buzzed. She lifted the phone in what felt like slow motion.
Jeez, her voice actually sounded like a purr. Pam was definitely more than little over-sexed today. But that’s what being with Declan did to her.
Trish smiled as she replaced the receiver. “Dr. Trent is ready to see you now.”
And Pam was more than ready to see him. She flashed Trish a smile and forced herself to walk, not run, to the connecting door. The knob turned easily under her hand. The door opened on silent hinges. The pale gold, vertical blinds were closed against the California midday sun, but brass candlestick lamps on the white pine tables cast a welcoming glow. Declan sat behind his oak desk, chin resting on the points of his fingers as he quietly perused her from the huge black leather executive chair.
Pam shut the door behind her, then leaned against it as she let her shoulder bag slide to the floor. The soft, black leather landed with a plop. Her heartbeat thudded with the rush of her heated blood. All she could see, all she could think about was him. That half smile lifted one corner of his mouth again. His gaze mentally stripped her clothing away.
“Detective Donaldson.” His voice drifted over her, beckoning, caressing like fingers against her hot skin.
She maintained her position. “Dr. Trent.”
Two could play the waiting game. The rewards were still the same. She twisted the lock closed on the door. The click echoed in the room.
“Are you armed, detective?” he asked.
“Yes. My weapon is holstered and in my bag. And you? Are you armed?”
“Cocked and ready, ma’am.”
Pam tried not to laugh, but the giggle came out anyway. “Oh, really?”
Declan leaned back and tugged the knot loose on his tie. “Yep, I’ve been hard as a rock since I saw your name on the schedule this morning.”
“I couldn’t let you go away to a conference without a proper send-off. And I know how you like surprises.”
“How fortunate you can find room in your schedule to accommodate me.”
“I’m always willing to squeeze in you.”
Pam parked her hands on her hips and laughed. “Stop that. This is supposed to be a seduction. I can’t do the come-hither look and fuck-me walk if you have me laughing.”
He tossed back a laugh of his own. “Sorry. Proceed with the come-hithering and fuck-me stuff.”
“Thank you.” She took a step toward him.
He held up his hand, halting her progress. “No closer, Pam. You know the rules. You know what I want.”
Damn it, he knew how to fire a woman up. “Refresh my memory. Tell me.”
He pressed his lips together, then licked them as he pulled the tie free. It whispered against his shirt, a soft sigh that wiggled deep into her core. He twined the length of silk through his long fingers, tying a knot every inch or so in it as he pondered his next move.
“I see you’re wearing hose today. And I love the heels.”
“A concession for court.”
He tsked. “And here I thought they were for me.”
She mirrored his earlier smile. “Well, the hose are thigh-highs and –” She dropped her tone to a sultry purr. “– I have no panties on.”
That earned her a big grin. “My, aren’t we daring and naughty. That’s almost like begging for a spanking.”
“You have repeatedly assured me your office is soundproof.”
“Indeed it is.” He flicked open his belt buckle. Seconds later the leather hissed through its loops. Declan doubled it over and placed it on his desk, the knotted silk tie beside it.
Pam’s knees quivered. So far they’d never gotten into the spanking thing here; just the threat was enough to turn them both on.
He truly was the best sex she’d ever had. Six months and she still couldn’t get enough of him. If only …
“Undo your blouse … slowly,” he ordered.
One by one, she slipped the tiny pearlized buttons through their holes. With each one Declan’s breath became more labored. She knew what his desk hid — an erection that would have made a horse proud. With the last button freed, Pam shrugged the blouse from her shoulders. It wafted to the floor behind her.
“And now the bra.” His voice had deepened with his lust.
Pam reached behind her and undid the hooks. Rather than let the bra fall as she had the blouse, she looped her fingers around the straps and slowly pulled them down, caressing her flesh as she did so. Fully exposed, she dropped the undergarment and kneaded her breasts, plumping them together to form a deep cleavage.
“You want to fuck my tits, don’t you?” she asked. “Nestle your cock into the warmth and pump away?”
“You’re determined to make me come in my pants, aren’t you?”
Pam laughed and twirled her nipples into elongated beads.
“Damn it, Pam. I am going to spank you.”
“Enough teasing. Skirt off.”
She sliced the zipper down, wiggled her hips free, and stepped out of the garment.
“Good girl.” He pushed his chair away from the desk. “Leave the heels and hose on and come here. You know what I want.”
Did she ever! She’d never been more in tune with a man. Sex was a wondrous adventure with Declan. Nothing was forbidden as long as they wanted to explore. Trust they’d built during their long-standing friendship had shifted easily over into this facet of their relationship. They were free to explore every sexual fantasy they’d ever had without embarrassment, risk of disease, or pregnancy. Who knew agreeing to be sex buddies would be so rewarding?
His wrinkle-free trousers did little to hide his burgeoning erection. If anything, the light gray color enhanced it. His cock was a long ridge behind his zipper and actually managed to cast a shadow from the lighting.
Hot fingers cupped her ass as she straddled his thighs. As she had her blouse, Pam slowly unbuttoned his shirt. Inch by inch the bronzed plane of his chest appeared. She loved to trace her hands against it, to dust her fingers through the light smattering of dark hair that nose-dived into his trousers.
Declan’s breath was ragged. So was Pam’s. She indulged her need to caress his strong shoulders as she peeled the shirt from him. His scent surrounded her, warm and laced with the hint of Old Spice. She leaned in, pressing her lips against his neck, dancing her tongue across his collarbone while her fingers flicked against his nipples.
His soft groan escaped on a gasp. Pam wiggled lower, grazing her teeth over his nipple while her fingers eased his zipper down. He lifted his hips, helping her tug trousers and shorts down. His erection fell against her breasts. She squeezed them together, cradling him, then bent her head down and lashed her tongue against the salty droplet that awaited her.
Declan cried out. Combing his hands deep into her long hair, he held her head in place, desperately seeking the full comfort of her mouth while he thrust between her breasts. Still she teased with feathery flicks over the slit and around the head.
“If you don’t suck me soon …” A long groan cut off the rest of his words as Pam pulled him deep in her mouth.
He pumped her lips in wild abandon. She looped her fist around the base, giving him that extra squeeze and stroke he loved so well — that touch that said, “I might let you come, but then again, I might not.”
More pre-cum salted her mouth. He was close. She wiggled her free hand between his thighs to massage his sac. It was the final push he needed. She felt the twitch on the underside of his cock that signaled his approaching orgasm. Still, the temptation to taunt him was too much. She gave an extra hard squeeze to the base of his cock.
“Nooo,” he cried out. “I swear I’m going to …”
She sucked him hard, yanking the orgasm from him.
Declan shuddered as the release spurted into her mouth. She milked him until the wave subsided, then slowly released him with dotted kisses as the erection faded.
Panting for breath, he grabbed her around the waist and hoisted her to his desk. “Lie back and relax.”
She watched through hooded eyes as he picked up his knotted tie. Tightening it between his hands, he lowered it to her crotch and raked it over her slit.
Pam arched her hips off the desk as the knots rubbed over her clit. “Oh, God!”
He sawed back and forth, gathering momentum as she climbed higher to the peak. Her fingers flexed spasmodically on the smooth wood surface, desperate to clutch at something, anything to help her ride to the top. All she could do was take it. Each swipe swelled her to the breaking point.
Almost there. Almost …
Her body was rigid with anticipation. Just when she saw the edge, Declan stopped.
“No!” She smacked her palms against the desk.
He merely laughed and thrust two fingers deep and high into her cunt. Pam reared upward with a gasp. A third finger burrowed into her tight ass. He lashed his tongue over her clit as his fingers pumped into her. She cradled his head with one hand while the other toyed with her nipple, tweaking it hard. Then he sucked her into his mouth.
Fire raced across her skin seconds before Pam’s orgasm struck. She quaked with the release, then collapsed against the desk.
Declan dotted kisses over her inner thighs as he gently pulled his fingers free. She’d never felt more relaxed. He always had that effect on her.
Grasping her hand, he helped her up. At least that’s what she thought. Before Pam realized it, she was facedown over his lap. The tinkle of his belt buckle alerted her to his full intent.
“How many, sweetheart?” He danced the leather over her bare ass. Just the feel was enough to turn her on once more.
“I want … I want …”
“To feel your warm ass the rest of the afternoon? To think about it when you’re sitting outside the courtroom while we wait to testify?” Over and over the soft leather caressed her.
Pam spread her legs a little wider. “You know what I want.” He always knew, just as she knew for him.
“Indeed I do.”
He started slow, warming her for the harder strokes to come. With each smack against her bare bottom, her clit swelled more, begging for attention of its own. She wiggled around until she could ride his knee. Declan pulled her gently back into place, wedging his free hand under and straight to her pussy.
The strokes came harder now, faster, her hips lifting of their own accord for each of them. She came quickly, only to be instantly back at the peak. Pam rode his hand while smack after smack heated her backside, and one orgasm after the other rolled through her.
Declan growled low in his throat and tossed the belt to the floor. Hauling her upright, he pushed her facedown on the desk. She raised her hips high, spreading her thighs as far as she could. A hard thrust seated him deep. He froze there for what felt like forever, the head of his cock plugged into her cervix. His fingers dug into her hips, shaking with the effort to maintain control.
Pam kept herself as still as possible, wanting the moment to be as supreme for him as it was for her. Finally, he pulled back, then in again. He shifted his fingers back to her clit. She rocked in rhythm with him, taking and giving back each thrust with equal fervor. Contractions rippled along the steel inside her.
“I’m going to come, Dec,” she panted out.
He gasped. “Me, too.”
And in that instant, they did.
They sagged together in the aftermath, both lazy and sated. Then, reluctantly, they pulled apart and wandered into his adjoining bathroom to clean up.
The tiny room was designed for function — sink with mirror, toilet, tiny black-and-white tile — definitely not for two people. Nevertheless, sharing the bathroom was part of their after-sex routine. Somehow, this snippet of bonding had slipped under their “rules” radar, along with cuddling. So far, neither had brought that violation to the other’s attention.
“I owe you a tie,” she said.
“I’ll just send it to the cleaner.”
Eyes wide, she jerked up her head and locked gazes with him in the mirror over the sink. “Don’t you dare!” she said with a laugh. “They’ll want to know what they’re pre-spotting and …”
His laughter cut her off. Tugging her against him, he dotted kisses along her shoulder. “I’ll seal it in a brown paper bag and toss it in a Dumpster five miles away.”
“After you burn it and stir the ashes. Better yet, I’ll take it and destroy the evidence.”
“Deal.” He stepped away to pee.
She plucked several paper towels from the receptacle, wet them, and cleaned away the evidence of sex.
“You’ll be gone the rest of the week?” How could she begin to tell him how much she was going to miss him during that time? It wasn’t supposed to be like this. They’d set rules. And yet …
“Yeah, I’ll be back late Friday. Want me to call or just come over?”
Pam smiled as his reflection reappeared in the mirror. “Coming over is fine. Doesn’t matter how late.” She didn’t have plans. Hell, she hadn’t had plans since they’d started up.
“Good. I’ll come right over, then. Stinky from the drive and everything.” He smiled back and patted her butt as he slipped the wet towels from her fingers to use on himself.
That’s what she called bonding. “And I’ll have a hot shower and a hot woman waiting for you.”
“Every guy’s dream come true.” He bent forward as if to kiss her, then pulled back. “Sorry. I almost forgot.”
Pam wished he had forgotten and kissed her. That was one of the rules they’d agreed on when they decided to be sex buddies — no kissing. Where the hell had her head been? It seemed a great idea at the time: no kissing, no dating, no spending the night. How in the world could she have possibly thought she could have great sex with a man and not have emotional involvement? Her hormones had obviously been running her life then. And now?
Well, they were still running her life, but her heart was demanding some equal attention. Which left her with quite a problem. Did she risk what they had going and tell Declan she’d made a mistake? That she wanted to move up to the next level and actually have a romantic relationship as well?
They’d been adamant, both of them. Once badly burned, twice shy. Bad marriages had that effect on people. But that was then, when they were both so horny they couldn’t bear it. When teaming up with a trusted friend for sex seemed a better solution than throwing themselves into the treacherous world of dating where your heart was sure to be trampled on.
“So I’ll see you then.”
Pam snapped her thoughts back to the present. “Yes, Friday.”
Declan laughed. God, she loved his laugh. “Well, yes, Friday, but I was talking about this afternoon at the courthouse.”
She blinked. “Yes, of course.”
“Were you a thousand miles away just then?” He wrapped his arm around her waist and hugged her against him.
Pam forced a smile she suddenly didn’t feel. “Looks like.”
She didn’t have the courage to tell him. They had a good thing going. Why risk it by telling him that at some point during the last six months, her heart had ignored the sex buddy rules and fallen truly, madly, deeply in love with him?