Pimpin’: Burnin’ Up Memphis by Delilah Devlin

BurninUpMemphis_600PIMPIN‘: Burnin’ Up Memphis by DELILAH DEVLIN

SERIES: Firehouse 69
BOOK: #1

BLURB:

She’s the one fire he may not be able to control.

When a roof collapse kills his best friend and his girlfriend clears out his apartment and leaves, firefighter John Cooper knows he shouldn’t sit alone in his empty apartment. But when he accepts an invitation to Club LaForge, his feet get colder with every step he takes inside.

The sights, sounds and smells of the BDSM club make him sweat, and not because he’s turned off. Yet he can’t bring himself to admit—to himself, or to his luscious guide, Moira—that this lifestyle might just be what he needs.

An experienced BDSM trainer, Moira senses that Coop is not only a Dom in the making, but exactly what she’s been looking for. A man to be her lover and her Dom. The only problem is, Coop isn’t looking for anything complicated.

Moira’s willing to start slow and easy, but even once there’s enough trust to bring Coop into her world—and to her Dom—she’s still worried he’ll look for the nearest exit.

Warning: Do you smell smoke? Don’t worry, it’s just a hot and sexy firefighter getting down and dirty. Contains BDSM scenes, ropes, floggers, some spanking, some sharing, and some five-alarm sex.

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Excerpt:

With her heels digging into the backs of his shoulders, Coop knew Moira was right fucking there. So was he. He grimaced as he slammed his hips forward, forcing her to withdraw her hands. With one hand cupping her rump to hold her the height he needed, and fingers still pumping into her ass, he was a little too busy to concentrate. Ambidextrous, he was not. It was hard to keep on task.

Calling her slut had made her expression soften, her lips poutier. The word had done something to him too. Made him powerful and then immediately remorseful, shamed for feeling that way. She wanted it, but he wasn’t comfortable giving it. His upbringing, which required that he always treat a woman like a lady even when she wasn’t behaving like one, might be a little too ingrained.

Still didn’t soften his dick one iota. Gazing down at her, he found he was searching her face for clues, looking for indications he was getting this right, giving her what she needed. Something he usually took for granted with his partners because what he brought always seemed to be enough.

With Moira, he wasn’t sure. For one thing, she wasn’t sinking her nails into him. Her hands were curled beside her head, her gaze clinging to his face, begging him silently. He wanted to ask her what she needed but sensed she didn’t want to direct him. He’d have to figure this out himself. Go with his gut.

Only once had his gut failed him.

He swallowed, halting his motions. He stared down at her and a drop of sweat trickled from his hairline down his cheek to his nose and then plopped on her cheek.

Moira angled her face and swiped the droplet as it veered toward her mouth.

Sexy as hell. He was driving into two of her three orifices, staring at the third. She was his. He could take her any way he wanted. And she was waiting….to see whether he was worthy? Whether he’d figure her out?

He remembered the dude on the stage at La Forge. The one with the ridiculous saw-blade hair. He’d been in control, and while he’d paddled  the woman, burned her skin, he’d never been too crude about it. Never made her an object. His tone had remained intimate, respectful, even when he’d called her slut.

He’d given her what she’d wanted—no, needed—and never taken a thing from her, except perhaps the pleasure of knowing he’d given Britney pleasure.

Coop wanted to be like that. Wanted to see Moira’s eyes flare with pleasure and respect. He wanted her to trust him. For her to know that if she fell through the roof, he’d catch her.

He bowed his head, dropping it to lie against her shoulder to hide his face, seeking privacy while he came to terms with his emotions.

Grief was still there at the fleeting, unwanted thought of that roof and the black cloud of smoke that had burned his eyes to tears. He hadn’t failed Danny. He knew it in his heart. Danny’s death had been out of his control. Lack of control was the crux of his problem.

The woman beginning to quiver beneath him was a gift he didn’t deserve, but one he wasn’t about to refuse. She was giving him the means to take back control, if only for the short time they’d come together. She was willing to let him take charge, take her wherever he wanted in any way he desired. She’d offer him only her unequivocal submission.

The thought was combustive to his libido, but also a sweet balm to his soul.


About Delilah Devlin

Delilah Devlin is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with a rapidly expanding reputation for writing deliciously edgy stories with complex characters. She has published over a hundred thirty erotic stories in multiple genres and lengths. She is published by Atria/Strebor, Avon, Berkley, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ellora’s Cave, Grand Central, Harlequin Spice, HarperCollins: Mischief, Kensington, Montlake Romance, Running Press and Samhain Publishing. Find out more about Delilah at www.delilahdevlin.com.

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Pimpin’: Marissa Dobson

Operation-Family1PIMPIN‘: Operation Family by Marissa Dobson

SERIES: SEALed For You
BOOK: 4

BLURB:

Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander Mac García spent twenty years in the military but had no plans to retire. He didn’t know what his life would be like without the SEALs, and through the years he saw the worst in the world. He’d be damned if he’d see another attack on American soil. Arriving home, he’s faced with a whole different obstacle—twin toddlers. As the only family left to these little girls, he has to figure out what the next step in his life will be and how he’ll manage raising two children.

A knock at Nicole Ryan’s door delivers the news of a friend’s death, and now she’s alone to care for the twins until their guardian arrives. As their nanny since they were born, she can’t picture being separated from them, let alone seeing them head to the other side of the United States. She’ll fight for the right to keep the girls, because she doesn’t know how else to deal with the loss of their father, and she can’t bear losing them too.

Can two people from different walks of life come together to build a strong family for the twins? Or will destiny make them lose everything they hold dear?

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EXCERPT:
A sprawling white brick ranch surrounded by trees and fields met Mac as he pulled into the driveway. Large trees thick as his waist, lent privacy to the huge property. Off to the side, he could see a pool area. The place was stunning. What had Shawn done to afford it?

Now that he was gone, Mac realized he barely knew his nephew. They hadn’t spoken more than a few times a year, mostly at holidays, because there was so little left of their family. It had been almost a year since the last time they’d spoken. Mac had been deployed, and even though he’d meant to, he never got around to calling Shawn.

Now it was too late. Regret burned inside him, causing an ache to rise in his chest.

Even when they had spoken, it was quick, never more than a few minutes. No lengthy discussions about what Shawn did for a living. He knew his nephew had eloped with a local girl almost two years ago, but Mac had never met her. Over two years since his last visit. That bothered him, but there was nothing he could do to change it now.

He shoved the rental car into park in front of the house, checking one last time to make sure the address was correct before he stepped out. He glanced at the quiet house; no lights shone through the gloomy afternoon mist, leaving him to wonder if anyone was home. I should have called ahead. He’d taken it for granted that she’d be home with the twins.

All of a sudden, there was a grinding noise as a shotgun cocked from near the porch, sending him on guard. He stepped back next to the car, the bulk of it separating him from the front door, when a woman’s voice hollered at him. “You’re trespassing. This is private property.”

“Ms. Ryan?” When there was no response, he continued. “Ma’am, I’m Mac García, Shawn’s uncle.”

“The guardian…” Her voice broke.

“Yes, ma’am. I apologize for not calling first.” He watched her over the top of the car until she lowered the shotgun to the ground. Damn she was beautiful, even angry. “It’s raining. May I come in?”

“Not that I have any choice. You’ve inherited everything and you’re going to take them away from me.”

Pimpin’: Caryn Moya Block

GOMM copyPIMPIN‘: The Gift of My Mate by Caryn Moya Block

SERIES: Siberian Volkov Pack
BOOK: 9

Before You Dive In:
Check out Caryn Moya Block and The Siberian Volkov Pack Romance Series

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BLURB:
Margot Martin has been searching for her mate for years. When she couldn’t find a mate in her pack, she started looking for a mate in the human population, earning her a rather shady reputation. Now one of her human admirers has turned stalker and Margot can only turn to the head of pack security, Mathis Levesque, for help.

Mathis Levesque has known from the first moment he saw Margot Martin that she was his mate, a secret he has kept from her, for her own protection. A member of the Betas council’s “Sable Guard” has made him more than one enemy and Mathis didn’t want Margot to become a target. Now she is stalked by a human business man and Mathis must protect the one woman he can’t give up.
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EXCERPT:

Chapter One

Margot Martin wanted to disappear instead of going to the first of many Christmas parties she was scheduled to attend. She’d rather spend a quiet evening at home, sitting in front of the fireplace and reading. As the final touch to her evening ensemble, she put on the diamond earrings her father gave her on her sixteenth birthday. He made it clear that tonight’s attendance was mandatory. He would be entertaining several business associates and their families. When she was little, Margot enjoyed dressing up and socializing with her peers. Now all she felt was alone.

Margot checked her appearance one last time before she slipped into her pumps. Dancing would be expected of her, even if it was only with her father’s friends, or worse, the sons of her father’s friends. Gathering her courage, Margot left the resort suite her family always used to dress on party nights. No one would guess the Martin heiress was actually a shy, introverted lycan.

One of the ever present security guards followed her to the elevator. She glanced at him. Though he looked familiar, she’d never seen him before. This one emitted a strange scent that was unfamiliar. He smelled like a human with a hint of something that reminded her of a snow storm. Surprised, she stared at the man. Could he be wearing a different cologne? He was broad and muscular with black hair. The type she would normally be attracted to. He wore the same dark blue uniform as all the security guards, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses. She wanted to laugh. It was already dark outside.

He must be good at his job if Mathis Levesque, the head of security, allowed him to guard a family member. Something about the man reminded her of Mathis. Shaking her head, she pressed the call button for the elevator. The security guard spoke into his radio, informing control “the princess” was on the move.

Margot hated the name her father insisted the guards use. She wasn’t a princess, she was a woman, the same as everyone else. The elevator door opened and she stepped inside, her long ice blue dress brushing against her feet. The security guard followed her and pressed the button for the ballroom floor.

Mathis had been extra careful with security since Margot and her mother were kidnapped by Samuel Ouelette, a man she met at a dance club. Mathis and a group of lycans from the local pack rescued them. Nothing would keep him from performing his sworn duty to keep her and her family safe. The rescue was the first time Mathis had ever touched her, skin to skin. The first time she had felt completely safe.

At the ballroom level, Margot stepped into the crowd. The security guard walked close beside her, towering over the masses, as she made her way to the room entrance.

A large Christmas tree decorated in red and gold stood outside the door, and another larger tree was inside the ballroom. Margot personally supervised the decorating of the lodge hotel and ski resort. She loved Christmas and it was their busiest time of the season. For a little while, Margot could believe in the goodness of mankind and felt that magic existed in the world. Plus, it was a romantic time of year and Margot was a romantic at heart. She looked up at the large ball of mistletoe hanging in the middle of the hall. No one else seemed to take much notice of it. She sighed.

Margot looked from the mistletoe to Mathis standing quietly beside her parents. His gaze found her in the crowd and ensnared her. His eyes, a piercing chocolate brown, seemed to see right through her. She shivered. Her father turned at that moment, his boisterous voice easily heard over the crowd. “Margot. Here she is. My little princess. Come here, dear, and kiss your old dad.”

Margot pasted on her brightest smile and dutifully walked up and kissed her father. He smiled and patted her back. “Margot, this is Louis Jardin, and his son, Wade. I’m sure Wade would like a dance. Why don’t you take him inside?”

Margot groaned in her mind, but turned to find the thin man leering at her. “Mr. Jardin, how nice to meet you. Can I interest you in a dance?”

“Call me Wade, please…” He put his hand on her back and ushered her into the ballroom.

Thank goodness, she didn’t wear a backless dress. Lately, it was almost painful to be touched by anyone other than her parents. Now if only she had worn gloves. Something about Wade gave her the creeps. She wasn’t sure if it was the way he looked at her chest instead of her eyes, or the strange comb over he sported. Still, if her father wanted her to dance with him, then his father must be important to the business of the resort.

She walked onto the dance floor and let Wade pull her into an embrace. Margot pushed lightly against him, trying to keep some distance. Wade kept pulling her closer. The dance was the longest three minutes of an already dreadful night. Finally, the music stopped and she disentangled herself. Wade possessed the arms of an octopus. The band changed to a quicker tempo and Wade frowned.

“I like the slow dances. Let me see if I can convince the band to play another one.” He pulled a bunch of bills from his pocket. “Now, don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back.”

“I’ll try not to get lost.” Margot smiled at him. As soon as Wade was out of sight, she hurried to the other side of the room next to the huge Christmas tree. People packed the area laughing and chatting. She wove her way through the crowd until she was on the side of the tree, concealed by a blind spot behind the huge limbs. If she was lucky, she could stay hidden from Wade for a little while.

The band finished playing the upbeat Christmas song and began another slow one. Wade must have given them a big tip, the show off. Margot peeked out from behind the tree, but didn’t see him. She ducked back again and almost screamed when hands at her waist stopped her from stepping back. She quickly turned, prepared to defend herself, when she realized it was Mathis.

“Don’t sneak up on me like that,” she hissed at him.

“Easy, I didn’t mean to scare you,” Mathis said, his deep voice flowing over her like warm honey. She loved his voice, loved the slight French accent that softened the consonants of his words. She shivered in response to his touch.

“I’m not afraid of you,” Margot said, looking up at him.

Mathis was broad, even for a lycan. He radiated power that both excited and terrified her, not that she’d ever admit it. Underneath all that, she felt a sense of complete acceptance and safety when she was with him. As if he saw the real Margot she kept hidden inside. No one would hurt her with Mathis at her side.

“You’re cold, you’re trembling,” Mathis said, his tone accusing. “Come here.” He pulled her into his arms, wrapping her close.

They danced slowly to the music. Margot slipped her hands inside Mathis’s coat and around his waist. He was so warm, she melted against him. She pressed her nose to his chest, taking his scent of fir into her lungs, along with the smell of a frosty morning. She wanted to stay right here, forever. Safe, hidden from the eyes of her father and his friends.

Margot didn’t have many friends. She might be rich in human standards, but that didn’t mean she had real friends, someone to talk to, or go shopping with. It was just her and her mother, and a couple of lycans from the pack on the other side of the mountain.

Most people saw her as the rich debutante, who rebelled against her family. There weren’t many unmated women in the pack and Margot alienated most of them by trying to find her mate.

It might be wrong to flirt and tease the males, but how else could she get the mating bond to snap into place. First, Margot hoped the Alpha, Jared Wolfe, might be her mate, then his best friend, Granger Thibault. She went through the other single males, and no hint of the mating bond appeared.

When that didn’t work, she started looking in the human population. Her mother mated a human, so maybe she would too. Going to dance clubs, she’d lure the men into touching her, but if the mating bond didn’t snap into place, she moved on.

Unfortunately, she developed a reputation that many looked down upon. She’d even caught Mathis’s disapproving looks when she’d dress to go clubbing. That hurt. If anyone would understand it would be him. He always seemed to know how lonely she felt, wanting someone to love her, wanting a family. Why couldn’t she have a man to love her and children to fill their house with laughter?

The music stopped, and so did Mathis. He didn’t release her and she didn’t let go. Why couldn’t he be her mate?

His radio squawked and Mathis reluctantly pulled her away from him. “I have to go. Some teens are trying to sneak into the party.”

“Thank you for the dance. I know it isn’t in your job description.” Margot smiled trying to cover the quiver in her lip. She wanted Mathis to hold her, to take her away from her life of parties and socializing. Already she ached to be back in his arms.

“It’s not about the job.” He brushed his fingers against her cheek in the lightest of caresses. Then he turned, and walked away, talking on his radio as he went.

“Hey, there you are. I told you not to disappear.” Wade walked up frowning.

“Mr. Jardin, I’m sorry, I saw another friend I needed to speak to. Now, you must excuse me, I’m developing a headache.”

“Oh, no you don’t. I’ve heard about you, Margot.” Wade slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her close. “I thought you and I could get better acquainted. If you’re feeling like leaving the party, then I’m going with you.”

Suddenly a large hand landed on Wade’s shoulder. Margot wanted to smile in relief, but something in Mathis’s gaze kept her frozen in place.

“I’m sorry, sir. Miss Martin needs to come with me.” Mathis pulled Wade away from her before leaning down and catching the man’s gaze.

“Repeat after me, I like Miss Martin very much, but there isn’t any spark between us. I’m sure I can find someone more exciting at this great party.” Margot realized, Mathis gave the man a mental push.

Wade obediently repeated what Mathis said, then wandered back into the crowd. Mathis turned and took Margot’s arm. “Let’s go.”

“Wait, you mean I’m leaving for real?” Margot looked around. Where was the danger? Something must be wrong for Mathis to take her out of her father’s party.

“That’s what I said, now come on.” Mathis maneuvered them through the crowd, heading for the side door.

“Mathis, what is it? What’s wrong?”

Pimpin’: Marissa Dobson

Hopes-Toy-Chest2PIMPIN‘: Hope’s Toy Chest by Marissa Dobson

SERIES: Cedar Grove Medical
BOOK: 1

BLURB:
At thirty-one, Kingsley Mathews has been named the head of the pediatric oncology department at one of the best children’s hospitals in the country—Ceder Grove Children’s Hospital. His life is dedicated to his patients—until one Christmas when he learns there’s more than his work.

Chelsea Waters lost her daughter two years ago on Christmas Day to a rare form of childhood cancer. Her career was over, then her marriage. Now all she has left is Hope’s Toy Chest. The toy drive she started in the memory of her daughter has become her everything.

When she ends up flat on her back in a pile of snow, she begins to wonder if there’s room in her heart for anything more. Could the doctor who worked so feverishly to save her daughter bring the meaning of Christmas back into her heart?

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EXCERPT:

Chapter One

Another armload of toys thudded onto the last remaining spot on the floor of the guest room, obscuring the patch of blue carpet beneath. With three weeks until Christmas, Kingsley Mathews had no idea how he’d be able to fit more toys into the small space. He could barely open the door, not to mention there was absolutely nowhere to walk except over the gifts. How he’d managed to get tangled up into all of this was beyond his imagination.

“If you could just grab the last bunch in my truck, that’s all of them for now!” Elizabeth’s shrill hollering reminded him how he’d gotten roped into it.

That darling little sister of his had a heart of gold, and a face that was nearly impossible to say no to. So instead of having an empty guest room gathering dust, as most bachelors did, his had become the warehouse for Hope’s Toy Chest. He believed in the cause. He’d picked up toys, and even spent the days before Christmas wrapping presents with Elizabeth, but the idea of storing everything at his place had become almost too much for him. There were toys everywhere, and almost constant phone calls, emails, and unannounced visitors dropping things off. His patience was wearing thin.

Being a pediatric oncologist at one of the best children’s hospitals in the country, he worked long, hard hours. He saw so much suffering, children sick and death with little he could do for them. It was a hard field, but one he chose at a young age. He strove to make a difference, and he knew finding a cure would do that. His love of children had brought him into this toy drive, and he couldn’t back out now.

This year Christmas seemed to mean even less to him. There was a young girl under his care that might not make it that long. The family was hanging on, praying for a miracle that he honestly didn’t believe would come. It was heartbreaking to watch them sit at her bedside every day hoping for any news that might save their daughter.

Looking around the room only stressed him more, sending his thoughts back to one of the nurses.

It will be a blessing when her time comes, no more pain and suffering.

Those words rang in his ears. There had never been a time when he thought one of his patients were better off if their time came, taking them from this world, from their loved ones. That’s where he and the nurse differed. He wanted to save them all. Losing even one of them was devastating, because they had so much life left. A life they didn’t get to begin living. Being surrounded by machines, needles, hospital staff, sick from the medication that was supposed to make them better. None of it was fair. They were children; they deserved a chance to live.

“Earth to Le.” Elizabeth ran her hand in front of his face, shattering his thoughts sharply as though she were breaking a thin pane of glass.

“Sorry.” He blinked a few times, trying to clear his mind, but his thoughts wouldn’t let go of that little girl.

Pimpin’: Elise Hepner

ExRetreat_72PIMPIN‘: Ex-Retreat by Elise Hepner

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elise Hepner lives with two spastic cats and a very supportive, slightly crazy husband. There is never a dull moment in the house, unless the caffeine runs out, which it never does. She’s a multi-published erotica author with Cleis Press, Ellora’s Cave, Xcite, and Secret Cravings Publishing.

She’s driven by her tea addiction and a tiny stuffed turtle her husband picked up from Disney World that sits on her desk and “supervises” her work.

When not writing (which is rare), she’s watching countless hours of reality television, playing the Sims or shopping online. Plus there’s that odd obsession with the color purple. Everything is purple. Visit Elise at her website www.elisehepner.com to keep up with her naughty ramblings, random tidbits and future work.

She has a newsletter where you can sign up for sneak peeks, contests, giveaways, new release news and other fun things: http://eepurl.com/pW8Sj

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BLURB:

Warning: This book contains a geeky, secretly insecure but overly cocky handy-man with a penchant for pleasing, a dominatrix in training who’s on the rebound, and enough smut to strip a couple layers off your soul. Plus there’s mac n’ cheese with a smattering of self-actualization for good measure.

After Chloe Barrons’ fiancé cheats on her via webcam, she begrudgingly accepts her Type-A mother’s offer of a spur of the moment luxury spa weekend. But things don’t play out quite from point A to point B when she arrives drunk and disoriented on the front porch of a deserted North Carolina beach house. From the very start she’s caught off guard by Noah Knightly, a sinfully sexy, self-proclaimed commitment-phobe who’s a handyman for his sister’s relationship rehabilitation center—a rehab where Chloe is the sole guest during off-season.

But faced with temptation, to stay guarded she’ll have to call the shots.

Noah shouldn’t have taken Chloe’s reservation. But in need of a second pair of hands to fix up the beach house, he throws all his sister’s rules out the window. Soon he worries that maybe he’s bitten off more than he can chew: each day Chloe cracks more of his cocky façade bringing down his guards to reveal a stuttering geek who has a hidden will to please her in any way possible.

With no way to ignore her pain, Noah sets himself up as a guniea pig to prove to Chloe that not all men are created equal—in or out of the bedroom. As Chloe comes into her own through every sexual session, Noah needs to decide if he’s man enough to accept the one thing he never thought he wanted—love.

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EXCERPT:

“Hello? Mothership to Chloe? You there or is there a break in transmission? Because I don’t have any experience in bringing back patients from a catatonia. That’s Phil’s job and he’s not coming back until the fall.”

“Sorry.”

“I was asking which you’d rather start with, the pipe work, or weatherproofing the three decks out back.”

“The second one.”

“Thought that would be your pick. Stand up, please.”

She shrugged and did what he asked, but didn’t move an inch from the chair.

“Hey, so, thanks for taking care of me last night. You didn’t have to do that and I appreciate it.”

“Sure.”

His one word answer exuded gentleness. Maybe it was the soft-spoken respect behind it, like he wouldn’t have dared do anything else. Two large steps and he was in front of her, so close she sharply inhaled and her fists clenched tight behind her back. She actively avoided looking at him. Too close for comfort. Her focus scattered as she tried to ignore him, looking everywhere in the room. Tension threaded and wound tight through every muscle and she wanted more than anything to step away from him—but she sure as shit didn’t want Noah to know exactly how vulnerable one little movement had made her.

“It really wasn’t a problem.”

“Mmmhm,” she replied, weighing her options, trying not to look weak in the face of so much male muscle.

“Hey…”

His hand cradled her chin and she jerked back, almost tripping before his arms cinched around her waist anchoring her against his firm chest. With a yelp she planted her hands on his shoulders, unable to do anything else. She scrambled to stay upright, their gazes locked.

Why hadn’t he let her go the minute he sensed she’d gained her balance? She fumbled for words. But there was nothing as his thumb slid along her lower back in small, smooth strokes as if he were trying to calm her down. But it only served to set her whole body on fire while time stood still and she weighed the merits of pulling away. Whether he would let her go at all.

A smile barely brushed his lips. His hands tightened on her waist, fingers twisting in her cardigan. Without too much thought, her fingers mirrored his tension resting on his shoulders. Beneath her palms he was warmer than she thought possible. He must have been burning up in his sweater. Which begged the question—what would he look like without it?

“That could ha-ha-ha-have been bad,” he stuttered and she watched his Adam’s apple work as he swallowed hard.

“Yeah.”

That was all that came out of her mouth. She processed his cocky swagger crumble to an endearing affect that made her pulse slide into overdrive. His face lit up, beet red, as he blinked behind his glasses. Her fingertips traced the foreign lines of his collarbone. She couldn’t bring herself to break their sensual embrace.

They’d never been close enough for her to notice his scent—like ink and citrus. The odd mixture suited him. His nostrils flared as she continued tracing him with her thumbs. But he hadn’t drawn away. Flat against him, Noah wasn’t tense, only watchful with his strong, unbreakable grip above her hips. How much longer would they stray into this land of intimacy? One of them had to have the willpower to pull away, before this went way too far. Chloe hadn’t been dragged to the beach house to have rebound sex with a stranger for three days. An hour ago she wanted nothing to do with men, but she couldn’t bring herself to pull away when she was chomping at the bit for any kind of touch.

Yet, Chloe couldn’t check her urge to go on tiptoe, inviting his kiss with a firm squeeze to his shoulders. That’s when he broke away like he’d been burned. Noah must have cleared three feet away from her and she was left with a stone weighing down her stomach. Okay, so that went badly. Think.

“Uh…” he said.

Think. Think. Think, damn it!

Chloe bit back a noise of hurt. Yeah, that’s the last thing he needed—a mental case chick who couldn’t check her own impulses while she was in rehab for being a relationship ditz. Although, he’d started all the flirty-flirty.

“So, don’t I need some kind of safety gear or something?”

Voice only a little bit like Minnie Mouse—she could work with that.

Noah nodded and spun marching out the door.

 

She’d made no comment. Not a single joke, laugh, or snide remark. He moved blindly through the house feeling as if his head was going to float off his body. His body still bristled from his expectations—the inevitable end result of his stutter and he ran a hand through his hair. A low breath later he rested against the banister on the top floor living room.

“Why the hell did you move out of the way, you dingbat?” He said under his breath while his fingers tightened on the banister behind him.

When she’d moved in, all but inviting him to kiss her, he’d wimped out. Practically hightailed it out of there as if even touching Chloe would give him frostbite or something. He squeezed the banister trying to shake his trembling, but there was no other way to react to her hinting when he was still coming to grips with her reaction to his deformity. It wasn’t that he didn’t want her, come on, that was obvious. He just had to look the gift horse in the mouth first.

Noah groaned and cracked his neck. What the hell was wrong with him?

Which was worse acknowledging his stutter and getting it out in the open or glazing over it altogether, as if it wasn’t a glaring black mark? His face heated and he paced the cheap carpet uncaring if he wore holes in it. Did he want to kiss Chloe? Stupid question. Next. Hell, if he had kissed her well enough he was pretty sure he could erase all memory of his screwup and give him enough time to play with that he’d make a better impression. Until he did it again. She just made him so…so…nervous. Even admitting that made his gut twist until he licked his lips and took a restless seat on the couch.

“Get. Yourself. Together.”

It was his fault that it had been an embarrassingly long time since…yeah…since that had happened. Even admitting it in his own head was pathetic. There was no way to salvage the moment. No way to storm back in there, clasp her to him, and plant one on her until she was trembling and breathless. Noah didn’t have it in him. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. God, it wasn’t for lack of trying—the image was seared into the back of his brain. He could almost feel her soft lips pressing against his own in surprise before she gave in and took his mouth completely and with no mercy.

But then he lost himself too. Until she plunged her tongue into his mouth and he gave himself up to her petite body as he wrapped around her body like a vine to a tree. The vivid imagery nearly knocked him flat out. One second they were locked in an embrace that made her thick and hard thinking about it, and the next she was shoving him down on his knees with one pale, petite hand. Her face was unreadable, a twinkle in her eye that made his mouth dry up as he tried to keep his breathing steady, but breathing in her light floral scent with every second.

Noah groaned, fisting his hands in his hair. This was absolutely absurd, what the hell was wrong with him? He forced his eyes open and blinked away from the images playing across his eyelids like dirty movies only for his enjoyment. Every guy fantasized about women, but this, this was different. He shook his head. Blinked. Tried to get a grip on reality while stalwartly ignoring the aching hard on in his jeans. Even reaching into his jeans to adjust through his boxers made him bite back a low moan that sizzled up his spine.

There was something about Chloe. Something. He yanked his hand out of his pants and glanced down the stairs, as if she’d come up them any second and see him. The idea of going back down there made him bristle. Would she see everything he’d laid out in his skull despite the fact that he was locking it down? Noah bit his lip and grumbled an inarticulate stream of frustrated nonsense. Sure, it had been awhile in the bedroom department…but, Christ, that imagery kicking up in his head! He could still sense her fingers running through his hair, prickling his scalp—before she yanked his gaze upward to rest on her simpering smile.

Noah shivered, every muscle in his body tight with confusion.

He’d had fantasies…but never like these.

What the hell did he get himself into?