Release Date: June 27, 2019
Cover Design: Damon Freeman
Publishing-house receptionist and aspiring writer Lindsey Deal spends her days dodging bullets: one insufferable boss, one sinister-looking spider, and, most daunting, a certain romance novel-in-progress that screams to be finished.
The first two are easy enough. The third requires…motivation.
Enter: Rian Harper. Mysterious. Cool. Sexy as sin. The rule-breaking, covered-in-tattoos musician may be just the motivation Lindsey needs to finish her manuscript—and test the limits of her comfort zone.
But he’s too old for her. Too afraid to open up. Too much her new boss.
Single dad, brooding artist, corrupter of women. What Rian Harper needs is a business partner, maybe a creative partner. Someone who can have his back. He doesn’t need her tempting him to fall in love. It could ruin them both—especially when the too-sweet, too-pure, too-young woman discovers his longest-held secret.
Rian pulled up to the house and parked on the street because that damn silver Mustang was in his spot again. At least he knew his daughter was home. He rounded the truck to Lindsey’s side and scooped out the sleeping girl, tossing her gently over his shoulder. Her full weight collapsed onto him; her cheek was warm and damp on his shoulder. The glare from the TV flashed multicolored lights through the front window downstairs. When Rian stepped inside the house, Logan and Jo leaped out of each other’s arms and three sets of accusing eyes landed on him.
He didn’t want to wake Lindsey so he mouthed, What is he still doing here? He could have been talking about the dog or Logan, but actually, he didn’t mind Logan being over here so late. He’d rather know that Josie was home and safe, and he didn’t blame the kid for wanting to stay away from his own home. At least they were downstairs where Rian could see them when he walked in, though they’d foiled his plan to get Lindsey settled in on the couch.
What is she doing here? Jo mouthed back. She was trying to act accusatory like Rian, but her golden eyes glowed with…pride? Excitement? He hadn’t brought a girl back to the house with him in forever. Didn’t think Josie cared one way or another.
He didn’t have a choice but to take Lindsey upstairs and tuck her into his own bed. He’d be just fine on a camping mattress and a sleeping bag on the floor. In the morning, Josie and Rian would both have some explaining to do. And her story’d better be a good one.
Logan, Rian acknowledged the kid with a nod.
“Mr. Harper,” he whispered back.
Rian turned for the stairs and went up to his bedroom.
He laid Lindsey down in the middle of the bed, then rolled the covers down from under her and brought them back up to tuck her in. She turned to her side and curled up one of her knees. Rian resisted the urge to stroke her hair and kiss her face, even if only a chaste peck. Instead, he turned for the bathroom connecting his bedroom with Jo’s. He wasn’t a big drinker but could really use another one now, something stronger, like scotch or whiskey. Rian opted for a cold shower.
When he returned ten minutes later with a towel wrapped around his waist and not a bit more relaxed than he’d been when they got home, Lindsey’s eyes were open wide as avocadoes…and all over him.
Wow, she mouthed, and Rian’s face instantly warmed. He wasn’t one to blush, but he was basically naked and there was this beautiful angel girl all wrapped up in his bed.
“Go to sleep,” he whispered.
“Is this your room?” she asked.
“I like it. It’s not what I expected.”
He’d ignore thoughts of Lindsey wondering what his room might look like. It wasn’t easy.
“You had a lot to drink tonight,” Rian said. “Do you need some water?”
“I need some you.”
How much of this was he supposed to resist? Without getting dressed first, Rian was pulled to the bed. She was this gorgeous fairy-shaped magnet girl, and Rian, as helpless as an unsuspecting speck of iron. The ample blankets didn’t hide the outline of her lithe body. Even the roundness of her breasts was visible as her chest rose and fell with ragged breaths.
I don’t stand a fucking chance.
When he sat beside her, leaning to rest on feathered pillows, Lindsey’s face moved to lie over his stomach. Her hand skittered up his chest again, exploring the newness of his skin against hers. Recklessly, Rian’s own arm curled around her, his hand settling over her waist.
“Mmm,” she murmured, nuzzling close. “You smell so good.”
Rian’s heart zipped at the sound of her lips purring on his abdomen, sending electric pulses right where he wanted her now. Those throaty noises were driving him wild. He took a breath, studied the shape she formed in his bed. Yes, Rian could almost totally lose it with Lindsey Deal. His job, his mind, his self-control…
“You had the question backwards, little bird.”
She turned her face up toward his. She still smelled a little like wine, but also like French vanilla and honey. He would devour the too-tempting woman. Here, now—and Lindsey would let him.
“What question?” she said, sounding more sleepy and peaceful than drunk right now.
He dipped under the covers with her, turning so they were face to face. Warm lust propelled him now. Rian swiped a loose strand of her ash-blond hair and touched his lips to her neck, dragging his mouth up to her ear in one measured stroke. Lindsey’s skin tasted creamy and sweet. He groaned softly, “What are you doing to me?”
Rian could play any Pearl Jam song by ear. He could shoot a four-inch group from a hundred yards with his forty-four. He could lift a hundred and fifty pounds straight over his head. He could do all of this, but he couldn’t pull himself away from Lindsey when her soft pink lips crashed into his.
Lindsey tasted like candy and dreams. Rian took her face in his hands. She rolled on top of him. Their lips and limbs clung like magnets. She moaned again, this time over his mouth, moving her hips up and down, slowly, along his erection. Rian pressed her to him, his curious tongue delving deep between her lips. His hands descended, from her pretty face to her hips to the toned backs of her thighs, her tight little skirt sliding up for him with ease. Lindsey’s chest became flush with his, her legs straddling him, urgently squeezing strong thighs together—an unspoken yet greedy, anxious, seductive plea. A saccharine whimper escaped her again.
Fuck, this girl was playing with fire.
He rolled them over so he was on top, his hands seeking out every smooth, forbidden curve. The poor young woman was going to be bruised and sore tomorrow—Rian didn’t do nice in bed, and it’d been a while. There was no way in hell he was taking this slow.
Lindsey smiled and her hands flew up over her head, falling back down in submission. She was giving herself to him.
Their lips came together. Rian worked her sleeveless blouse, discarded the fabric, exposing her black bra that clasped in the front over two perfect tits.
“You’re so fucking beautiful,” he breathed.
Fourteen years younger.
Fuck the voice in his head. It could go screw itself for all he cared.
Rian’s hands and lips stayed fixed to her body, possessive. To hell with the towel. He slid it off, baring all nine inches of a throbbing hard-on. Lindsey hummed as he moved against her. His mouth claimed the sweetest part of her neck and he dragged his teeth along her skin, up to her ear and down again. Goosebumps dimpled her flesh, from her neck to her breasts and all the way down her arms. He fingered the clasp of her bra and peeled the garment away.
“Wow,” Lindsey sighed against his lips when he moved a hand down to her skirt and lifted it further, revealing delicate white lace panties. Damn, she was sexy—the perfect shade of pink. He slid them to one side and caressed her warm, wet skin with a finger.
“Go gently,” she purred. “I’ve never done this before.”
Shit. He could actually hear the tires screeching in his brain. Rian jerked his hand away and locked eyes with hers.
“You’ve never…done…what, exactly?”
He wanted to kiss away the embarrassment that flourished red against her cheeks.
“I’m a virgin,” Lindsey confessed, her body starting to tremble beneath him.
And I am going straight to hell. “How is that even possible?” He shook his head. “Look at you.”
Lindsey shrugged. “It’s just never happened. I’m ready, though.”
Oh fuck no. Rian was not taking a buzzed twenty-two-year-old’s virginity.
“What do you mean, it’s just never happened? No one’s ever tried to have sex with you?”
She giggled. “A few have tried. It didn’t feel right.”
“So you chose not to have sex them with them.”
“Well, yeah.” Lindsey grinned.
She’s choosing me?
He realized he was still on top of her, their bodies still naked against each other’s, Rian’s dick still awake and ready to bury itself inside of her. There were a million other reasons he might end up in hell, but this wouldn’t be one of them. He couldn’t do it.
“Not like this, babe.” He pulled the blankets over Lindsey and kissed the top of her head. “Not tonight.”
One of Five ARC’s for Work in Progress
About the Author
Michelle Morgan lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and two sons. She is a 2018 RITA Finalist Editor for the romance novella, “In His Arms” by Jules Dixon, and has edited more than 100 novels since 2013.
Nothing ignites Michelle’s passion for editing like working on her own fiction. She published After Henry, her first novel, in 2014. Alongside Jeremy Morgan–fellow writer, IT genius, and Michelle’s real-life hero–she spent the next four years growing their two small businesses and starting a family. The muse took a back seat but never left. As of June 2018, Michelle has been writing again–a lot! She’s excited to release her romantic fiction, “Work in Progress” and “No Turning Back,” in the summer and fall of 2019.
Michelle is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Editorial Freelancers Association.
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