My new book, Steal My Breath is out today!!
I also have a HUGE giveaway to celebrate the release – a Kindle Fire, signed paperback and Amazon gift card are all up for grabs. The link to enter is also below.
Steal My Breath is a sexy contemporary romance standalone with an alpha who will steal your heart. While there are no bikers or rockers in this story, there are plenty of sexy times!
I need to thank my gorgeous cover designer, Letitia from Romantic Book Affair Designs for this gorgeous cover. I was so damn fussy with this one that it took her extra weeks to design it, but I love it so much – totally worth the extra time! And Sara Eirew took this stunning photo – thank you, Sara!!
If you want to chat all things Steal My Breath, Ashton, Storm, Crave or anything else, join my reader group on Facebook here.
Here’s a taste of Luke & Callie…
I never used to understand what people meant when they said life wasn’t black and white, because to me it was. Things were black or white, wrong or right. There was no in-between space or spectrum of colours.
Then I met Luke, and he taught me that we do exist in shades of colour. He also taught me that although we inhale light through this rainbow of brilliance, we also exhale dark. The colours of life can give us the best of times just as easily as they can crash us into the darkest days of our lives.
Luke will be forever etched into my heart.
This is our story.
I’m not getting any sex tonight.
I know my three-month sex drought is going to continue the minute the guy sitting across from me says, “I love that shade of pink you’re wearing. I have a tie that would match it well.”
No man should wear a pink tie.
In the history of ever.
I pick up my glass of wine and drain it before standing. “I don’t think we’re compatible, Rick. And while it’s been fun learning about all the puzzles you put together and the pink tie you own, I’ve been on so many dates lately that I just don’t have it in me to sit through another hour or more knowing we’re not going to see each other again.”
A pang of guilt hits me when his mouth drops open, but the sex-starved woman inside me screams, “Don’t do it! He’s not the one who will make your vagina happier than you can.” So I stand my ground and offer a quick apology, “I’m sorry I’m being so rude, but you’ll thank me when you do finally meet the one for you,” before making a hasty exit.
Fifteen minutes later, I enter Elixir, the bar that’s my home away from home, and exhale a long sigh of relief.
“You look like you’ve just dodged a bullet,” Avery, one of the bartenders, and my best friend, says as she reaches for the vodka she knows I’m going to ask for.
Slumping onto the barstool, I nod and rest my elbows on the counter. “Yep, I just had another date that was a complete waste of time. How many men do you think I’m going to have to go through to find the right one? Hell, at this point, I’d just settle for a guy I thought could offer me some hot sex for the night.” I take the vodka and Coke she passes me and drink nearly half the glass in one gulp.
Raising her brows, she says, “Tonight’s dude didn’t fit the bill for hot sex?”
“God, no. Not unless you’re into nerds who love to do puzzles and hardly ever go out except to Sunday lunch with their mother.” Seriously, the guy had almost put me to sleep.
“Shit, where do you find these men, Callie?”
“Online dating sites mostly. I’ve told you about them.” I watch the judgemental look flit across her face and mutter, “Don’t you judge me, Miss I-Never-Struggle-To-Get-Laid, we can’t all be as lucky as you.”
Her lips curl up into a smile, and when she laughs and draws the attention of every man in the bar, I want to slap the sexy out of her. But I love her like a sister and never begrudge her anything, especially because she’s had a hard life and as far as I’m concerned she deserves every good thing that comes her way.
She holds her hands up in a defensive gesture as a grin settles on her face. “No judging, promise.” Nodding at my glass, she says, “Finish that and I’ll make you one on me.”
A low whistle comes from behind, and I turn to find Tyler smiling at us. “I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Avery offer to buy someone a drink. Did Luke give the staff a discount today or something?”
Avery scoffs. “I’ve worked for your brother for a year now, and I’ve never known him to give out a staff discount once.”
“True,” Tyler agrees as his gaze zeros in on the new tattoo covering Avery’s wrist. He jerks his chin at it and asks, “What does your tattoo say?”
I narrow my eyes at him and take in the way he’s looking at Avery. These two should just get a room and be done with it, because they’ve been tiptoeing around each other for almost a year now. It’s clear even to the cat that wanders into the bar every now and then that they both want something to happen, and I’m not sure why Tyler doesn’t take charge and make her his. I’ve seen him in bossy mode with his women before, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s time for him to boss my best friend around.
I jump at the sound of Luke’s voice.
That voice. It causes my tummy to flutter with desire, and I quickly gulp the rest of my drink in an effort to settle my reaction because let’s face it, my voice doesn’t cause a similar response in Luke’s body. I need to put all thoughts of him out of my mind. Nothing is ever going to happen between us.
Avery’s head whips around so she can eye her boss. “Yes?” I secretly cheer her. As moody as Luke can be, she never lets him rattle her.
He stalks towards us, his brows furrowed. “Those guys down the back giving you any trouble?”
His green eyes meet mine and linger for a moment before shifting to Avery. While he’s discussing the guys with her, I run my gaze over his body. No one wears jeans quite the way Luke Hardy does. Perhaps that’s because no man has quite the ass he does. And the way his pecs and abs ripple under that grey T-shirt he’s wearing… I’ve had dreams about those muscles. Not to mention the dreams I’ve had where I thread my fingers through his dark hair and hold on while he f—
“Callie, are you plotting again?”
I snap my attention back to Avery, who is staring at me with a smug look. She knows I’m not plotting my next book; she knows full well that I’m thinking dirty thoughts about Luke.
Pasting a fake smile on my face, I nod. “Yes, plotting that book I’m writing about unrequited lust and a girl who desperately needs sex.” My eyes drift to Luke and I find him watching me in a way I’ve never seen him watch me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something different in his eyes. If it were any other guy, I’d say it was lust, but it’s Luke, and he’s never shown any interest in me.
Tyler chuckles. “I’ve told you, Callie, you want a guy to end that drought you’ve got going on, just say the word. I know a fuckload of guys who would love to help you out with that.”
Luke directs a scowl at Tyler before turning back to Avery. “I’ve gotta head out for fifteen minutes or so, but I’m concerned those assholes down the back will give you hell.”
She waves his concern away. “I’ll be fine, and besides, I have Callie here. She got her black belt in karate when she was younger, so I’m sure she can take them on if need be.” The wink she throws me confirms the sarcasm I sense in her words, and I play along.
“Absolutely,” I agree, crouching slightly and raising my arms in an X in front of me. Luke is so damn serious all the time, and he simply stares at me rather than cracking a smile or a laugh.
“Don’t go anywhere near those guys. Either of you.” Looking at Tyler, he asks, “Can you stick around while I’m gone?”
I shift off the stool and mutter, “Oh, for God’s sake, Luke, chill. We’re grown women and can take care of ourselves.” Without waiting for his response, I grab the new drink Avery has made me and begin heading to one of the tables away from the bar. As much as I’m attracted to the man, his overbearing and overprotective streak drives me insane sometimes.
As I’m settling into my seat, warm breath and a deep voice by my ear cause my tummy to flutter again. “Why do you always have to argue with everything I say?”
I want him just as much as I want to tell him where to go.
“Because you’re not always right,” I reply, swivelling to meet his gaze. He has one hand on the back of my chair and the other rests on the table. His body is slightly bent as he watches me, taking in what I’ve said. I fight not to drop my eyes to check out his arms, but a girl only has so much willpower, and I’m all out for today. For the rest of this week. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? When Luke’s around, I’m out of willpower for the rest of this year.
I drop my gaze.
For the love of God, why is one man blessed with so much? Not only does he have those sexy green eyes that could lead me into sin, and that ass I could hold all day long, and abs to die for, he also has freaking arm muscles they could make porn movies about.
Please. Make. Him. Leave.
No, make him stay.
Make him stay for hours so I can stare.
And then stare some more.
Oh fuck, just let me lick those muscles.
Meeting his eyes again, I say, “What?” I’m so turned on I can barely wrap my lips around one word; I’m not sure how I’ll string a sentence together.
His face is near mine as he leans his body closer. The way his jaw clenches leads me to believe he’s frustrated, which is pretty much how he always is with me. In one conversation with Avery, I was voted the person most likely to frustrate Luke, and it seems I’ve managed to do it again today. “Stay away from those guys.” His gravelly voice fills the space around us, blocking everything else out, and for a moment, I’m suspended in time while I process everything hitting my senses.
His musky scent.
Mint on his breath.
His body close to mine.
The words out of his mouth.
“I’ll stay away from them,” I finally force out, doing my best to ignore the want shooting through my veins.
Surprise fills his features as his eyes widen. “Fuck, that’d be a first.” He’s right, but he’s probably also right about those guys, as much as it pains me to admit it. And while his bossy ways annoy me sometimes, in this instance, I know he’s only trying to look out for me.
He pushes off from the chair and stands straight. “I won’t be long. Do you think you and Avery can stay out of trouble while I’m gone?”
I pout at him. “I’ll have you know that the trouble we got into last time you left us alone was not our fault.” It truly wasn’t. Well, maybe just a teensy, tiny part of it was, but I’d never openly admit that to Luke.
His brows rise. “Callie, the newspaper headlines the next day read, ‘Coyote Ugly Comes To Town’. You and Avery turned my bar into an almost strip club while you served customers drinks from the top of the bar rather than from behind it. How the hell can that be anyone else’s fault?” This happened three months ago, and it’s a relief to hear the small amount of humour in his voice because a month ago, there was no humour to be found. He’s obviously moving past it.
Standing, I place my hand on my hip. “You weren’t here, Luke. You didn’t see the shit going on between some of the customers. They were gearing up for a fight, so I did the only thing I could think of. Dancing on the bar worked a treat, diverting their attention from each other.”
Shaking his head, he mutters, “You could have just called the cops to come and deal with them.”
I don’t want to get into this with him so I let him have this one. “It was a good thing you came back when you did, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, I guess it was.” He points his finger at me. “No bar-top dancing tonight.”
Resisting the urge to poke my tongue at him, I nod and shoo him away. “Go! Tyler and I will keep Avery out of trouble.”
After another few moments in which he stares at me in silence, he finally gives me a nod and leaves. I can’t help myself; I check out his ass again.
I need to get laid.
After I finish my waitressing gig at Grind the next day, I drown the buzz of the café out as I sit staring at my laptop. I stayed here in case they get busy and need me. Plus, I prefer the atmosphere of the café rather than the quiet of my apartment. I’m trying to improve my online dating profile, and as I read what I currently have, I’m bored by it. I can only imagine how bored potential dates would be.
Working my way to dream career of novelist.
Loves yoga, reading, spending time with friends.
I press delete on the keyboard and in frustration type out a new dating profile.
Desperate for sex.
Earns shit money waitressing while desperately trying to get a publishing deal.
Only does yoga to keep core muscles strong – trust me, guys thank me when they fuck me.
Hangs out with the three friends I have.
Reads too much because gets no sex.
Did I mention desperate for sex?
“Really?” A familiar voice sounds from behind me.
I snap my laptop shut and look up to find Luke moving from behind towards the seat across from me. My heart makes itself known as it begins to beat faster and I swallow down the dryness in my throat.
God, why does he always affect me so much?
He sits at my table, and his eyebrows pull in. “I thought you were working today.”
“My shift got cut in half again because it wasn’t busy enough. Figured I’d stay and write here in case they did get busy and needed me.” Story of my life—my income is dwindling to epically low amounts.
His frown grows deeper. “How are you covering your bills?”
“Let’s just say, my savings are taking a hit. I probably should look for a new job.” I hate the idea of looking for a new job and am fairly sure I’ll have to be homeless before I go down that path. Change and I do not go together well, often to my detriment.
He leans back in his seat and runs his fingers through his hair. “Shit, Callie.”
My heart does a little dance at the concern for me I can see on his face and hear in his voice. I’ve known Luke for a year, and he’s always been somewhat of a mystery to me. What I do know is that he’s a few years older than me, and inherited Elixir from his father. His past is somewhat sketchy, and he’s never shared much about it with us. Avery worked for his father for a year before Luke inherited the bar and Luke wasn’t on the scene until his father died. Locals gossip about him, but no solid information has come to light. All I know for sure is that Luke Hardy is honest and takes care of those closest to him, and that’s all that matters to me.
“Why don’t you take on some shifts at Elixir? God knows, I could do with the help after losing a staff member yesterday. And by the way, thanks for helping Avery out last night while I left for a while.”
Do I really want to work for the man I’ve been secretly crushing on for almost a year?
I hesitate. Avoiding his suggestion, I opt to talk about Avery instead. “No worries. Those guys behaved themselves so there were no problems. And we had Tyler watching out, too. Dude, you need to talk to your brother about Avery. He clearly wants her.”
“Why are you changing the subject?” His eyes don’t leave me, and this unnerves me even more. He’s watching me so closely it almost feels intimate.
The dance my heart has been doing turns into a nervous, uncoordinated jig. “I’m not. I’m just pointing something out to you.”
“I don’t involve myself in my brother’s love life.” He continues to hold my gaze, and I know he’s waiting for my response to his suggestion. I’m struggling to understand how nervous he’s making me feel—I never get this nervous with men.
“Thanks for the job offer, but I’m going to follow up on some waitressing gigs I’ve had mentioned to me first. If they don’t pan out, I’ll see if you still need someone.”
“You’ve already got some offers?”
“Yes,” I lie, willing him to either believe me or drop this. I’ve decided it wouldn’t be good for me to be in his presence more than I already am.
“Okay, but let me know if anything changes. Like I said, I could do with the help.”
“I will.” My heart stops doing that jig and resumes normal beats. Thank goodness he’s letting me be, even though I’m sure he can read the truth of the situation.
Leaning forward, he asks, “Why do you keep looking online for love? Every guy you’ve met on there has turned out to be a loser or not your type.”
I know he means no harm, but his words sting. I already feel like a loser who can’t find a guy or even just get laid; I don’t need Luke to be verbalising the fact. Crossing my arms over my chest, I reply, “I’m not a quitter, Luke. I’ll eventually find someone.”
“I hardly think you’d be classified as a quitter if you stopped scouring dating sites. All I’m suggesting is that perhaps if you stopped trying to force something, it might happen when you’d least expect it.”
Standing, I grab my laptop and bag. My heart has started doing that goddamn jig again, and I’m sure my face has turned a lovely shade of red. I don’t want to talk to him anymore today. I’m a twisted mix of embarrassed and pissed off now. The pissed off side wins when I snap, “I see nothing wrong with using a dating site to look for love and if I want to scour those sites, that’s my business, not yours.”
With one last glare at him, I turn and stalk out of the café. I know I’m being irrational and overreacting, but Luke has this way of provoking me.
Screw you, Luke Hardy.
I’m going to find me a man and show you it can be done.
“Where the hell did you find this guy?” Avery demands, her eyes all over my date and her tongue practically hanging out of her mouth.
I don’t blame her for drooling. The dude’s hot in every way a girl wants her guy to be hot.
Dark, wavy, looks-like-he’s-just-been-fucked hair.
Muscles that indicate he’d be able to carry me to bed with little exertion.
Tom Hardy lips that you could kiss for hours on end.
Ian Somerhalder eyes. Seductive as hell.
There’s only one catch with this dude. When he opens his mouth and speaks, the ugly shows through. I’ve just spent the last two hours having dinner with him and within the first twenty minutes, I wanted to leave. I’m convinced he could talk about himself for days without taking a break, and that’s exactly what he did. However, when he suggested we go for a drink after dinner, I jumped at the opportunity to bring him to Luke’s bar and show him off.
Nobody needs to know I’m as far from attracted to him as a woman can be to a man. I’ll tell Avery the truth later, but for now, I want Luke to see me with a guy I found on a dating site. And I want him to see me smiling and having a good time with said guy.
I’ll show Luke that I can find a guy online.
God, he stirs my crazy behaviour, and as much as I know it makes me seem ridiculous, I’m unable to stop myself.
“Dwayne was one of my matches on the dating site,” I answer her as I lean against the counter and watch him talk to the guys. Luke’s face seems to be set in a permanent scowl as he listens to Dwayne. Tyler, on the other hand, appears quite animated, as if he’s interested in the conversation. And he probably is—Dwayne has hardly shut up about football all night, and Tyler loves talking footy.
I turn to catch Avery licking her lips. She grins at me and says, “I bet that man is a master in bed. Look at those muscles. I’m sure he’d have stamina to last the night through.”
She’s right, but sex is the last thing I want from him. And that’s saying something because three months without it is messing with my mind. I'm pretty sure all I think about is getting some.
Reaching for the vodka she’s just poured, I take a long sip before shaking my head. “I’m not even interested.”
Her eyes widen and her mouth gapes. “Huh?”
I throw some more of my drink back and then let out all my frustrations. “God, why is it so damn hard to find a man these days? For fuck’s sake, I just want a guy with manners who is as interested in me as himself.” I guzzle the rest of the vodka and slam the empty glass down before raking my fingers through my hair. “No, strike that! I want a man who hangs on my every word for at least some of the date. Some attention would be nice. A guy like Dwayne is only interested in himself, and I bet sex with him would be a bust. He’d probably get off and not even make sure his woman was taken care of before turning on the damn television to catch up on sport. Ugh.” I ignore Avery’s bulging eyes and the shaking of her head. She can think I’m wrong, but she isn’t the one who had to sit through two hours of the guy.
“Shit,” she mutters as a throat clears behind me.
Spinning around, I find Dwayne staring at me. “So I take it that tonight’s not leading anywhere.” His words don’t stun me—they only confirm my suspicions.
Well damn. I figure there’s no saving this now. “Nope.”
His gaze lingers on me for another moment before he reaches into his pocket for his keys. “Figured as much at dinner, but I thought a drink might loosen you up a bit.”
“I think you should leave now.” Avery’s protective streak kicks in and her anger flares. She’s always looking out for me, and I love her for it.
Dwayne takes a step away from us. “Consider me gone,” he says, and a moment later, we watch him walk out of the bar.
“What a douche!” Avery exclaims, her eyes wild with indignation. “All he wanted was sex.”
I groan. “Well, to be fair, I’m pretty desperate for that, too.”
“Yeah, but at least you’re also looking for a guy to date. I’m glad you didn’t lower your standards for him.”
I catch sight of Luke staring after Dwayne and then our eyes meet for a moment.
“Another dud?” Tyler asks as he joins us, distracting me from Luke.
“She’s better off without him in my opinion,” Avery offers her thoughts.
I sigh. “Yes, another dud. Why are good men so hard to find?”
Tyler grins. “I know one right in front of you, who I don’t think you’ve ever considered giving a shot. The way he watches you is a dead giveaway but you seem to be blind to it.”
“Please enlighten me so I can rectify that.” I’ve no clue who he means.
Before Tyler shares the name, a guy runs into me, spilling his drink all over my new dress.
Can this night get any worse?
“Fuck!” Tyler says. He grabs the guy by his shirt and hauls him away before I even get the opportunity to give him a piece of my mind.
Avery passes me a roll of paper towel, and I attempt to soak as much alcohol out of my dress as I can. The smell of rum fills my nostrils, and my annoyance builds.
“I’m going to the ladies, babe,” I say to Avery as I dump the paper towel on the counter. “This is going to take more than paper towel. I’m freaking covered in rum.”
She stares at me with sympathy and nods. “Yeah, I think you’re right.”
“Make me a vodka? A double, please.”
“I’ll make you a huge-ass vodka,” she promises, and I leave her to head to the bathroom.
First order of business: clean my dress.
Second order of business: drink as much vodka as is needed to put tonight out of my mind.
“So let me get this straight, you waitress to pay the bills, but your dream is to publish books? And you’ve already got a tonne of rejections for your first two manuscripts?” The guy I’ve been drinking with for the last hour struggles not to slur his words as he recounts what he’s learned about me so far.
I drink what’s left of the vodka in front of me. “When you lay it out like that, it’s almost depressing, but yes, that’s me in a nutshell.” The feelings of inadequacy I’ve held onto over my rejected manuscripts resurface, and my soul shrivels a little more.
Will I ever succeed?
I’ve been writing since I was a teen and am currently working on my fourth book. I never submitted my third to anyone for fear the rejection would finally cripple me. As it is, I go to battle with myself every day. Between the constant back and forth of ‘I’ve got this’ to ‘You’ve got no idea what you’re doing’, the mind whiplash feels like a beating I give myself day in and day out.
The guy—I’ve long forgotten his name—nudges me. “Life’s depressing. Don’t feel like you’re the only one who has that covered. It’s why I drink.” He raises his beer at me before taking a long swig.
This guy is not the kind of man I need to be spending any time with.
Taking a step away from the table, I signal my intent to leave. “Thanks for the chat.”
He frowns. “You’re leaving? The night’s only young.”
“I’ve gotta get up early for work tomorrow.”
As I attempt to leave the table, he places his hand on my arm and halts my progress. “Stay.” His voice takes on a darker tone as if he has no intention of letting me leave, and concern slides through me.
Plastering a fake smile on my face, I argue, “No, I really have to get up early. I’ll be wiped if I don’t get to bed soon.” I’m suddenly feeling a hell of a lot more sober than I did five minutes ago.
His grip on me tightens, and his eyes flash with determination. “Sweetheart, I’ve just spent an hour of my time talking to you and buying you drinks, the least you can do is give me some of your time and attention.”
My mind swims with confusion.
I’m sure I bought all my own drinks.
How the hell do I always pick the dickheads?
I seriously need to consider celibacy as a life option.
“The lady has made herself clear. Let her go and get the fuck out of my bar.”
I catch sight of his face as he forces his way between me and the dude, and my breathing slows at the anger I see there. I’ve never seen him so mad.
The guy lets me go and raises his hands defensively. “Sorry, man, I didn’t realise she was taken.”
I don’t know where he got that idea from, but I’m not going to correct him.
Luke’s shoulders remain tense, and his eyes don’t leave the asshole. He jerks his chin at the door. “Leave.” He utters one word only, but holy mother of God, everything about that word screams “don’t fuck with me”.
With one last scowl, the guy stalks out of the bar while Luke tracks his movements before turning back to face me. His shoulders remain tense, but his features soften a little. “You okay?”
My tummy flutters at the concern I hear in his tone. I nod and try to put his mind at ease. “Yes, I’m all good. Thank you.”
He takes that in and then says, “I’m taking you home now. I had another woman complain about that guy earlier, and I don’t want to take any chances that he’s gonna come back looking for you.”
“I doubt he will, Luke. You were pretty forceful, and besides, he thinks you and I are together. He wouldn’t chance pissing you off.”
“I know guys like him. They don’t give up easily when they want a woman. Take my word for it, he’ll be back.”
“You don’t have to take me home. I know you’re busy tonight.”
“Fuck, Callie, can you ever just let me help you?”
I stand straighter and take a deep breath. I’ve managed to frustrate him yet again. It’s like he’s got a short fuse with me, but not with everyone else. “When I need help, I’ll ask for it, but you’ve got a bar to run, and I am capable of getting myself home.”
He bends his face closer to mine and takes charge like he’s never done before. “I’m all out of patience, so get your ass outside and in my car.” His bossy tone hits all the right spots and desire shoots through me, lighting me up with a need I’ve never known.
I don’t even hesitate. I do as he said.
As I move through the crowd in the bar, Luke places his hand on the small of my back and guides me. People talk to him as we walk, but he hardly responds, and instead, keeps directing me towards the front door of the bar.
When we finally arrive at his car, I’m so freaking turned on I can barely concentrate. He unlocks the doors, and I slide into the front seat of his BMW. I’ve never been in his car, and it’s not at all what I would have expected him to drive. Luke is not a flashy guy, and I didn’t think he was wealthy, but his car leads me to now assume otherwise.
A few moments later, he starts the car and drives in the direction of my apartment. It’s less than a ten-minute drive to my place in New Farm, and we make the trip in silence. My brain is firing haphazardly as I sift through my thoughts and feelings.
Hopefully, he’ll just drop me off and keep going.
There is no way you can let him into your apartment because you’ll end up jumping his bones.
Who are you kidding? There’s no way he’s going to just drop and run.
Oh, God. Please send help.
We reach my apartment complex, and he parks the car. As he switches off the ignition, I know how this is going to go down. He’s going to walk me in, and I’m not going to be able to stop myself from making a move. I’m so damn horny, and a woman can only control herself to a certain point.
I want Luke and there’s no more denying it.
“You don’t have to walk me in,” I blurt out, making one last attempt at trying to control myself. As the words pass by my lips, even I’m hoping he ignores them.
And he does.
“I’m walking you in, Callie. Don’t even try to argue with me.”
He unfastens his seat belt and exits the car.
Five minutes later, he follows me into my apartment after guiding me inside with his hand on my back again. To say I love the hell out of his hand on me is an understatement.
“Is James home?” he asks as he looks around the lounge room. It’s been a good three months since he’s been here and I’ve made a lot of changes since then. Not that Luke has really seen much of my home. He came over once when I had a gushing tap. I rang Avery in desperation and Luke overheard. Twenty minutes later, he turned up to fix it and we exchanged numbers in case I needed help again. Since then, he’s helped me out a couple of times because James was useless at male things.
“He moved out last week.” Luke never liked my ex-roommate, and I catch the smile that flickers across his face at the news.
I kick my heels off and almost moan at the instant relief. Heels and I don’t have a good relationship, but I had to wear them tonight. I mean, what else do you wear with a little black dress?
Luke’s gaze is drawn to my feet, and I savour the slow burn of heat as his eyes slowly move back up my body. When they meet my gaze, my legs go weak, and my heart begins beating faster.
He wants me as much as I want him.
How have I missed this?
Holding his gaze, I close the distance between us and place my hand on his chest.
My gaze drops to his lips.
I need those lips on mine.
“Don’t,” he says in his husky voice, and my thoughts come to a screeching halt.
I look back up into his eyes, searching for a sign that I misheard, but the way he’s staring down at me tells me I didn’t.
Conflict sits heavy on his face.
Frowning, I remove my hand from his chest and ask, “Why not?”
His chest rises as he draws a deep, ragged breath. “We don’t want to start something that can’t go anywhere. I don’t want to do that to you.”
I don’t understand his reasoning. “What do you mean it can’t go anywhere? And besides, who said this couldn’t just be a one-night deal?”
His lips press together, and he rakes his fingers through his hair. It’s clear he’s torn over this decision. “We’re friends, have been for a year now, can you honestly see us sleeping together once and then acting like nothing happened?”
“Yes.” God, I want him. Even more now that he’s telling me no.
“Bullshit.” He watches me closely for my response, and I want to scream out my need for him, but I refrain.
“Okay, so maybe not, but why can’t we see where it leads?”
“Because I know where it will lead. To heartbreak, and I refuse to hurt you.” He speaks with a finality that irritates me. As if he gets the final say and I get no input.
“I know you think that you know everything, Luke, but on this, you don’t. You have no idea where it might go, and I want to know what’s holding you back.” I train my eyes on him in an effort to make it clear I’m not giving in to him on this.
“Jesus!” He rubs the back of his neck as he takes a step away from me. When he begins pacing, I wonder what the hell is going on in his mind. I’ve never been turned down by a man before.
Maybe I read him wrong.
Maybe he doesn’t want me.
And then, he surprises the hell out of me by stalking back to me, taking hold of my face with both his hands and kissing me.
Oh, dear Lord.
His lips fit perfectly to mine.
He caught me off guard for a moment, but I quickly get back in the game and wrap my arms around him while pressing my body close.
No man has ever kissed me the way Luke is kissing me.
It’s like sunshine on a rainy day, when all the doom that’s been cast your way during the pounding rain finally clears, and you see those first rays of a rainbow mixed with glints of sun.
Sweet, sweet, happy rays of sunshine that make you want to dance. That make you feel happy and thankful when all you were feeling before was sad and gloomy.
That’s how Luke’s kiss makes me feel.
I don’t ever want this kiss to end.
His tongue dances with mine, and my body lights up with pleasure.
Don’t ever stop.
My fingers tangle in his hair, and I moan into his mouth as he deepens the kiss. And when he growls his pleasure, I press even harder against him. Against his erection.
He wants me as much as I want him.
Thank you, sweet, sweet universe.
And as I’m clinging to him and drowning in his kiss, he does the one thing I don’t want him to do.
He pulls away.
Pained eyes stare at me as he attempts to get his breathing under control. I stare back in complete confusion waiting for him to explain why he stopped.
Eventually, he gives me two sentences that only confuse me even more. “I can’t do this. Not yet.”
And then he’s gone.
And I’m left staring at the spot where he stood a moment ago.
Where he stood kissing me as if I was also the sunshine to his rainy day.
Steal My Breath Blurb
I let him steal my breath and I want to give him my heart too.
But it’s complicated.
Internet dating and Callie St James do not go together.
Desperate for sex.
Earns shit money waitressing while desperately trying to get a publishing deal.
Only does yoga to keep core muscles strong—trust me, guys thank me.
Reads too much because gets no sex.
Did I mention desperate for sex?
She’s about to give up on love when the guy she’s been lusting after for a year breaks her three month sex drought.
Mysterious, moody and all alpha, Luke is hiding a secret—one that Callie never saw coming.
The secret, however, is nothing compared to the discovery she makes about Luke’s family when she starts a new job at the local paper. Callie finds herself caught between her morals and her desires. Whichever path she chooses, someone will lose. Is she ready to give up the man she’s just found or will she go against everything she believes in so she can finally have the love she’s always dreamt of?
This story contains all the panty-melting sexiness and alpha goodness that Nina Levine books are known for.
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