Release Date: March 28, 2019
Cover Design: Sara Eirew
Photographer: Sara Eirew
I moved three thousand miles to get away from my best friend, Luke Fraser.
He was the whole package.
Did I mention he was married?
I couldn’t take the heartbreak of wanting something I couldn’t have, so I bailed.
I had convinced myself that I was over him, until he ended up in my town for a six-week art commission.
One look was all it took for my heart to break all over again. I wasn’t over him. Not one bit.
But things have changed, and not for the better.
Recently widowed, Luke is carrying darkness and secrets.
Everyone tells me to stay away. Even him. He’s a mess. Broken. Incapable of giving me what he says I deserve.
But regardless of what I deserve, there’s only one thing I need.
“I’m sorry for how I behaved last night,” he says, drawing my eyes slowly to his.
He turns slightly on the sofa, facing me, hooking one foot under his knee and draping one muscly arm over the back. He still has no shirt on, and my eyes slip down involuntarily to the broad plain of his chest before I fix them at eye level again.
“It isn’t that I didn’t want to kiss you or that I didn’t enjoy it.”
My cheeks had barely lost their blush and now they’re heating up again. He said he enjoyed the kiss. I could’ve guessed as much during it, based on the way he was clutching me to him, but his abrupt departure left it all in question.
“But, Mia, I’m just not in the best frame of mind right now.”
“Yeah. That’s what I hear.”
His eyebrows raise slightly. “Says who?”
“My sister and my girlfriends.”
“You’re talking to your sister and your girlfriends about me?” He doesn’t seem mad. He seems flattered. Intrigued.
“Yes, you were quite the topic last night.”
His lips flatten into a line, as if he just realized our conversation about him might not have been all sunshine and roses. He doesn’t seem to know what to say now.
He scratches the underside of his jaw then gestures to the wine bottles. “Would you like some?”
“I don’t think I’d better add alcohol to the mix. This is bad enough.”
“I’m sorry. I’m not trying to make this hard.”
My eyes dip involuntarily to the snug crotch of his jeans. My gaze lands there only for half a second, but it’s enough to see—again—just how generously God graced him.
I hop up from the couch and pace around the table, keeping my eyes focused in the opposite direction. “Well then you should at least put on a shirt. If we’re not going to be kissing anymore, I don’t want to have to be looking at all that.”
Still looking away I gesture behind me with my hand, making a circle to indicate his entire torso.
“You’re very attractive, and I just don’t need to be seeing that.”
Jesus, it’s a good thing I’m not drinking any wine. I’m loose-lipped enough to have had an entire bottle already!
“Well then you’d better put on some overalls and a parka because those curves are going to do me in.”
I turn to face him. He’s on his feet now too and still, it should be noted, completely naked from the waist up. Naked, naked, naked. I should rip my top off just to give him a taste of his own medicine.
But I don’t because, of course, I’m not crazy. At least not that crazy. And because I can’t hardly move because he’s just told me I’m attractive, and he’s giving me that heated perusal again.
“You think I’m pretty?”
“Sinfully gorgeous,” he says with a low voice that sets my insides simmering, “but that’s not the point.”
“What’s the point?”
“The point is, I don’t want to hurt you.”
“That’s the point?”
I look away, fold my arms, knit my brows, and try to figure out what I thought. He doesn’t want to hurt me? That’s not what I thought this was about.
I look back to him, my arms still folded. “No,” I correct him. “The point is you need a friend and nothing… intimate… And that’s what you need from me. A friend. Nothing… closer.”
His eyes are locking on mine, and the simmering inside my body is turning molten.
“Right?” I ask, weakly.
He starts approaching, one panther-like step at a time. “No. Not right. I can take care of myself. If there’s something that bothered me about that kiss, that’s my business. The biggest reason we’re not kissing anymore,” he says, echoing my words, “is because of you.”
He stops, within arm’s reach. He nods in the affirmative.
I have two questions about what he just said, one of them being whether or not there was something that bothered him about that kiss. But I only get one question at a time so I ask, “So if I wanted to, we would be kissing?”
All the little warnings from my friends last night are rattling around in my brain, but I swat them to the back because there’s only so much rattling around I can take, and right now my heart is rattling around in my chest like it’s going to self-destruct into a thousand pieces if it doesn’t get what it wants.
Luke’s eyes narrow slightly, but the heated glint is still there. We stare at one another for one beat. Two. “This is not the conversation I meant to have with you,” he says.
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“You want to know if you get to decide whether or not we kiss?”
I don’t quite answer his question either. “Not like before. I don’t want you to push me away again.”
He slowly moves a half step closer. “I highly doubt I’d have the strength to push you away again. But you shouldn’t think that’s a good thing.”
His chest—his naked chest—is right in front of me. “Why not?”
“Because I’m not in the best frame of mind right now. All I can think about is what I want, and you deserve better than that.”
I sway a little closer. “What if I don’t care what I deserve? What if this is what I want, too? I can decide for myself what’s good for me.”
His eyes narrow slightly, as if considering the validity of this. Maybe he thinks that’s a legitimate argument, because the heat is pooling behind his eyes. And his eyes are roaming, slowly working from my lips to my chest and back again.
I continue, but my voice is weak. “What if I don’t care what I’m supposed to do?”
His hand brushes the palm of my hand and my heart skips a beat. “What do you think you’re supposed to do?” he asks quietly. His hand travels lightly up my arm, over my shoulder, and under the back of my hair.
A shudder of pleasure ripples through me and I close my eyes briefly. When I open them again, I fix them on the hard form of his chest.
My fingers brush along the tender skin on the side of his navel. His lips part slightly and his grip on my hair tightens. I don’t know if he pulled me closer or if I came of my own volition.
I answer softly. “I’m definitely not supposed to be doing this.”
One of Five ARC’s for Heart of Glass
About the Author
Jordyn White writes steamy romances featuring smart, sexy women and the swoon-worthy men who adore them. Her sexy love stories are full of passion but don’t skimp on the tenderness.
She’s addicted to trendy coffee houses, poolside lounging, and HEAs. When not tapping blissfully away on her laptop, she takes time to enjoy life with her husband and their children.
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