April 19, 2016
Available at Amazon
Available at Barnes & Noble
Available from iBooks
Available from Kobo
Courtney Devons needs a husband to claim a free vacation at an exclusive resort. After recovering from a broken relationship with a controlling man, she needs someone who won’t demand anything romantically from her. Morgan Lucas fits the bill. After all, he is the geeky, sweet antique shop owner she’s known since high school and her best friend.
He brings her red roses and an antique wedding ring.
He reacts to the resort fitness instructor flirting with her.
She sees him in Speedos.
They each acknowledge a simmering unconscious attraction that is about to go ballistic.
Instead of telling him right away, she scooted her chair back, scooped up a strawberry and began to eat it as she paced the floor. “I don’t know how much longer I can keep up this charade. I’d like to set some ground rules.”
His eyes narrowed. “What kind of rules?”
“I think we should work on keeping our relationship…what it was before we came here. Feel free to go our separate ways on this vacation. Have fun. See other people while we’re here.”
She took a deep breath, hoping to get control of the sudden hollow feeling that dropped directly into her stomach.
He nodded. “You’re right.”
She took a long, slow breath. “Good. I’m glad we’ve got that straight.”
He looked down at his plate. “Me, too. But there’s something I want to understand. Stan appearing has sort of complicated things. We want to go our own way and see other people but if we don’t act married, Stan will know you were lying.”
She hated the annoying reality of his words. “It doesn’t matter what he thinks, but he might make a little trouble if he thinks we aren’t married.”
He shrugged. “We can’t have it both ways. If we see other people, then we won’t look married, that’s for certain.”
Exasperated, she said, “I think we can do both. We’ll just need to keep an eye out for Stan, especially when we’re together.”
Morgan nodded, but she saw doubt in his eyes. “If you stay clear of Ken…Alan, you won’t tip off Stan in the first place. Just stay clear of Joe Jockstrap.” She thought she saw a glimmer of anger replace the doubt in his gaze. “Unless, of course, you want to get back with Stan.”
Irritation spiked within her and she spoke without thinking. “Why you—you know, you’re just like Stan. He was into telling me how things were going to be and who and what I was going to be. And you know, even if I did want to go back to Stan, it wouldn’t be any of your business.”
His eyes narrowed dangerously. “I’m nothing like Stan. Don’t compare us.”
“But that’s how you’re acting. Controlling. You want to tell me what I can do and when I can do it. I thought you knew me better than that. I thought you realized how I felt about manipulation. Instead you’re telling me what I can do and assuming I’ll make the same mistakes again with Stan.” She began to pace, her annoyance growing. “What makes you think you have the right to tell me not to flirt with Ken—I mean Alan? You were flirting heavily with Felicia last night when you were singing the duet. Why is it okay for you to do that, but not for me to flirt with Alan?” She was on a roll and couldn’t stop. She halted a few feet away from him.
When he remained silent, her frustration sharpened. She did the only thing she could think of to retaliate.
She tossed a strawberry at him, loaded with whipped cream. It hit him square on the nose and left a blob of cream before it bounced onto the floor.
“Why you little—” Morgan said as he stood. He scooped up a handful of whipped cream and came toward her. “You’ve been asking for this for two days.”
She backpedaled, but not fast enough to avoid his revenge as he promptly plopped the cream onto the top of her head.
“Oooo! You brat!” She reached for the bowl of cream and scooped another handful before he could pull her away. She flung the white stuff and it splattered onto his face.
She scurried away, but he moved too quickly. He smeared cream onto her nose and over her lips. “Take that!”
She stepped away and bumped into a chair. She would have fallen straight on her butt, but he reached for her, one strong arm looping around her waist. Her sticky hands landed against his bare chest, and her breath caught. Automatically her fingers contracted, feeling the hard contours of his pectorals. As her hands slipped to his shoulders, her fingers left a trail of sticky goo.
He stared at her in the most unusual way, his face smeared with white stuff. She laughed.
“Don’t laugh,” he said softly, failing to stop a smile from forming on his lips. “If you laugh, there will be consequences.”
“That’s what you get for calling me silly last night, and for…for…”
His eyes crinkled at the corners as he laughed, and her heart did a flip. “Oh, I’m really scared.”
“You should be. Now let me go.”
His smiled faded into a hot, lingering look. “Maybe I don’t want to.”
“Of course you do,” she said, starting to feel a little dizzy.
“Not until I apologize properly.”
This threw her completely off track. “Apologize?”
He lowered his voice. “For calling you silly last night, Squirt.” He reached up to cup her face. “However, you are sticky, sassy, and definitely a pain in the butt.”
Surprise and warmth stole around her as well as the desire to throw more strawberries. An eternity passed as he stared into her eyes, and the tension grew and stretched. Despite the warning bells ringing in her head, she couldn’t stop caring, couldn’t stop the developing urgency to hold him close.
He tapped her gently on the nose with his index finger. “You ought to see what you look like.”
“I’m a mess. Ugly as sin,” she said.
“Not half as ugly as I am.”
“You’re right. You’re horrid.”
“A perfect troglodyte.”
She laughed and shrugged. “But I like you anyway.”
Instead of releasing her, he smiled. She fell into his eyes. God, they were beautiful eyes. She should pull away and jump straight into the shower. A very cold shower.
He reached up to touch her face, managing to spread more whipped cream on her cheek. “Damn. Guess I’ll need to get that cream off another way.” Slowly his lips descended, and the kiss on her cheek effectively removed the cream. He pulled back, and their noses bumped. “You’ve got cream on your lips.”
“I need help getting it off,” she whispered.
His mouth descended on hers, and her lips tingled as he licked the cream away.
“Mmmm,” he said, his voice raw and husky. “Much better. I think we should eat dessert like this all the time.”
Before she could respond, his lips captured hers. Tendrils of desire did a slow, exquisite roll through her stomach. She shut out the part of her mind that said she walked a tightrope without a net. Morgan tasted far too good to resist. Abandoning any idea of releasing him, she twined her arms around his neck and plunged her hands into his hair.
His lips stayed tender upon hers, melting any traces of opposition.
No man had ever treated her so delicately, with such reverence. Like she might be porcelain and would break in his embrace.
Necessity grabbed her like a whirling storm, demanding that she take another step. She heard a soft moan and realized it was her.
He plunged a hand into her hair, angling his mouth to increase the intimacy of their kiss, pushing his tongue deep within her mouth. Pleasure darted within the most feminine recesses of her body.
The world around her ceased to exist as everything centered on how she felt as he kissed her with a fierce passion that rivaled their previous embrace. Everywhere she ached with need. Her breasts ached against the hard wall of his chest, and deep within her a craving rose.
Soul-searing kisses were no longer enough. His hands lingered along her waist, then brought her hips closer. He reached to cup one cheek of her bottom, pressing her against his hips. At the unmistakable feel of his arousal, she gasped into his mouth, and he took advantage by kissing her with fierce hunger.
A few moments more and he’d be…they’d be…making love.