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 Knightly 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 guinea 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.
With an invigorating deep breath, she popped up from her chair, and snagged his forearm in an iron grip. Slightly drunk and completely sloppy with her thoughts, Chloe’s fingers tightened around his smooth forearm. Beneath her grip his muscles tensed. His eyes widened. Before she could take back her mistake—he probably didn’t want to be touched after their near miss of a kiss—he yanked her down into his lap.
“Cripes!”She tumbled to the side, half angled on and off his jean clad lap with both of her hands resting on his chest.
Against her palms his heart catapulted beneath his muscles. As if someone had pressed pause, they lingered, his gaze half-lidded. His arms moved to curl her up closer into his body. Adrenaline twisted to the toes of her feet. Her stomach nearly bottomed out as awareness twitched through her nerve endings. The fantasy of his skin beneath her fingers became her sole focus as the rest of the world dropped away.
Were there still complications? Always. But as her measured breaths brought in more oxygen to her lungs, she didn’t find herself getting any smarter.
“What are you…”Almost touching lips. A small divide—but one she wasn’t willing to breach again.
Their noses almost touched. A random image of Noah giving her an eskimo kiss flitted through her mind and she smiled while trying to measure his quiet, closed off silence. When his hand shifted up her spine and into her hair she gasped, taking in a quick drag of his citrus scent.
Though her mind fed her questions, her mouth refused to work. She wouldn’t start it—but she couldn’t stop him. Not with his body heat flaring up through his jeans and their limbs snug together like they’d always belonged intertwined.
Either way, when his lips tightened and resolve slipped over her. Chloe got ready to spring from his lap, tuck tail, and run to the phone to call a cab. Men only got one chance at rejection. There was no amount of groveling that would open her heart once she’d closed it. His thumb slipped across the side of her jaw. A shaky caress that left her throat tight and aching. This was—more. So much more.
The last thing Chloe expected was for Noah to separate the last inch between them. From the tip of her toes she was poised to bolt. But he didn’t move so much as a muscle. He nodded once as if waiting for permission. Before he took the last inch between them and smashed it into oblivion by taking her mouth quick enough she didn’t have time to draw breath.
An instant moan leapt from her lips. He matched the strokes of his thumb to the ease of his tongue along her bottom lip. She opened to him like she’d been longing to do for longer than she cared to admit. His whole body vibrated. Engulfed by his strength and anchored by his gentle slow, exploratory touch, she was lost to it all in a tide of contrasts.
The soothing murmur of waves became a dull ringing in her ears. She kissed him, matching the slow, steady thrust of his tongue while her hands explored the firm planes of his chest and shoulders. Noah groaned low in his mouth, nibbling on her bottom lip. Beneath the back of her upper thigh she sensed his cock—hard and oh, so promising. His hand smoothed into her hair, tilting her head back for a deeper kiss. She was…awakened.
“I shouldn’t—but I couldn’t—I can’t get enough of you,”he whispered against her lips.
How could her body be so tight and yet she remained mellow at her core? God, it’d been so long since she gave herself license to explore! Explore anyone. Explore herself and what she was feeling. If she’d stayed too long on any one aspect of her relationship she might have been confronted with the horrible truth that she hadn’t been happy in a long time.
But wrapped in his firm embrace with the will being kissed out of her—she was bliss incarnate.He made a low, maddening noise in the back of his throat and his hips lifted against her ass. It was a feat that she managed to stay still. Her mind was screaming for her to react and grind back down on him while the rest of her loved the aching tease winding through her limbs. Noah’s lips eased away only a fraction and her eyes slit open to catch him watching her with a humbled, easy grin.
As his hand dropped away from her head she curled back into the touch. For the moment, unafraid to meet him stride for stride in their weird little ditty of a romance dance. Noah’s pleased noise only encouraged her as she bent forward and kissed his cheek. When was the last time she’d used so shy a move? Not even in second grade had she displayed any kind of wariness toward boys.
As her nipples hardened, a blush made her cheeks burn.
“Why didn’t we do that before?”she ventured figuring she could always claim the question was asked under tipsy circumstances later and leave it at that. Already the moonlight on his face shimmered too brightly and the world tilted. She took her first big deep breath in a bit.
“This is g-g-going to sound fucking psychotic to put-put-put it lightly. Bu-but, I made a promise to my-myse-myself that I’d consider myself abstinent while I’m at my sister’s place out of respect. Earlier, I was worried that once we got going—I didn’t know if I could stop.”
“There are other places to occupy ourselves than in the house, you know.”
It slipped from her lips before she could shut her big, fat trap.
“Good to know you’re thinking ahead.”He said with raised brows and a very masculine, very pleased with himself smile. “Shall we go get dinner?”
“Sure, but, um…”Chloe looked in the direction of his lap.
“It’s a hard on, not debilitating. It’ll just make me walk a little gingerly and awkward for a bit,”he dryly remarked.
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.
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