All Lit Up
Pleasure Inn, Book 3
Rebuilding the fire—one kiss at a time.
When interior designer Anna Deveau is hired to create a room made for romance at a Victorian inn, she is thrilled—and a little wistful. A fairy-tale ending will never be hers, but perhaps tapping into abandoned dreams will fan the flames for someone else.
Then she learns the only bricklayer available to build the room's fireplace is Daniel Long. The sexy boy-next-door who filled her teen years with angst, broke her heart—and still colors her nights with red-hot fantasies.
Daniel never understood why Anna stopped talking to him a week before her sweet-sixteen party. Or why the wall between them remains a mile high. But now that he's back in town, he intends to figure it out once and for all. Pushing the limits of her seductive design, he sets out to prove he didn't burn her in the past.
Anna finds herself doing the one thing she swore she'd never do again: laying herself bare. Until the ghost of rumors past threatens to snuff out the fiery fantasy that, this time, Anna thought was real...
Warning: Years of sinful fantasies about the sexy boy-next-door lead to a night of wild indulgence. Be sure to keep a bevy of toys on hand when reading this tale, or better yet, get a boy-next-door of your own.
Now that had to be the most scrumptious ass Anna Deveau had ever set eyes on.
And downright squeezable.
The warm autumn sun beat down on Anna as she swiped her tongue over her dry bottom lip and zeroed in on the delectable male before her. Cripes, that man had buttocks like none other. Firm, ripe, ready for the picking.
As a shiver of awareness tingled deep between her legs, derailing her hard-fought ability to think straight, Anna took extra care in negotiating the cracked and pitted walkway in her thin-soled flip-flops.READ MORE
Pamina kept pace beside her—the mystical-like woman who'd hired Anna's firm to create fantasy-inspired theme rooms in the rundown Victorian inn situated on the outskirts of Mason Creek. As they strolled along the dilapidated path, Lindsay, a childhood friend and fellow colleague, caught up with them, and they all made their way to the masonry van in the driveway—where said scrumptious buns stood waiting. With the back doors spread wide open, Mr. Sex in a Pair of Jeans braced his muscular thighs against the bumper and leaned forward, presenting her with a perfect, unobstructed view of his magnificent backside.
His gluteus maximus muscles were perfect, all right. Perfect for pinching, or grabbing hold of and palming while he made sweet passionate love to her. A romantic at heart, Anna envisioned those strong hands of his removing her clothes, slowly, methodically, taking the utmost care with her body. Her thighs quivered as she gifted herself a moment to play out the sexy scenario—gentle fingers touching her private, intimate parts with purpose, the rough pad of his thumb working her sensitive nub into orgasmic bliss, his warm, wet mouth buried in the crook of her sensitive neck as he whispered sweet nothings in her ear. A small rapturous moan threatened to crawl out of her throat, and she promptly choked it back as the erotic slideshow played out in her mind's eye.
Taking her by surprise, small beads of moisture broke out on her forehead, and she swiped at them, but the dampness had nothing at all to do with the hot sunshine beating down on the quaint town, and everything to do with the pact she'd made with her friends. A pact she was suddenly questioning the intelligence of. Damn, it had been so long since she'd engaged in an intimate relationship that her body had turned mutinous. Deep between her legs she felt libidinous, needy and hungry.
Which had her questioning the logic behind their pact, and begged the question—exactly why had they all renounced the opposite sex again?
"What do you think, Anna?" Pamina asked.
Anna turned toward the tall, willowy woman with the knowledgeable green eyes, and struggled to comprehend the question. As Pamina stared at her, obviously awaiting a response, she shifted Abra—her very overweight cat—in her long, lithe arms as the ornery feline hissed and swatted at an imaginary fly.
Lindsay shot her a questioning glance. "Yeah, what is your opinion on it, Anna?" Her friend's brow furrowed in concentration as she carefully picked her way forward in a pair of three-inch spiked heels that only a wild brazen woman like Lindsay could pull off.
Not understanding the question and feeling a bit flustered by the sexual energy zinging through her bloodstream, Anna tucked a short blonde lock behind her ear and blinked her mind into focus.
"Anna?" Lindsay asked again.
Just then one of the many skilled workers on assignment at the inn crossed in front of her, and she nearly bumped into him.
"I, uh." Goodness she'd been so caught up in lusting after Mr. Sex in a Pair of Jeans, completely preoccupied with the delicious images of his hard body climbing over hers, that she hadn't been paying any attention to their conversation, or to all the other laborers milling about in an effort to return the inn to its natural, beautiful state. Truthfully, it was hard to believe that the mere sight of a hot guy had the ability to render her senseless. She was a smart woman, logical, proper, always maintaining a professional demeanor at the workplace, so what had suddenly gotten into her? What the heck had her thinking wayward thoughts about a man she didn't even know?
Lack of sex, she supposed.
No doubt it would shock her friends if they discovered the naughty direction her thoughts had taken. Not that she would tell them. When it came to sex, unlike the bold and vivacious Lindsay, Anna was a very private person. Then again, she shouldn't be fantasizing about the laborer Pamina had hired in the first place. It was a distraction she didn't need. Especially since time was of the essence. She'd put so much work into perfecting her design that she was just beginning the renovations and Lindsay and Anna were well on their way to finishing.
From her peripheral vision, she spotted Candace, the third and final partner in their bustling interior-decoration business, Styles for Living. Candace lunged forward, stretching her muscles on the sun-crisped lawn before her habitual early-morning run. Thankful for the distraction, and deciding to take the focus off her and her current lack of communication skills, Anna gave a wave and shouted a friendly greeting. Pamina and Lindsay fixed their gazes on Candace and followed suit.
After exchanging pleasantries, Anna turned her concentration back to negotiating the walkway. Fortunately for her, Pamina and Lindsay returned to their conversation, forgetting all about Anna's opinion. Deciding to pay a little more attention, she half listened to them discuss Lindsay's BDSM room, but Mr. Sexy proved too much of a distraction, and Anna stole another glance as they closed the distance between them.
As though unaware of their presence as they approached his van, Mr. Sexy ripped off his professional polo shirt, the company name embroidered on the back, and proceeded to change into his work wear. Good Lord! His sun-kissed skin was bronzed, smooth and glistening under the morning rays. Firm shoulders tapered to a trim waist and the delectable sight had her feeling all warm and wicked inside. A fine tingle worked its way down her body and loitered around that hungry little spot between her legs. If the mere sight of his backside had the ability to rattle her like dice in a Yahtzee cup, she could just imagine what a full frontal would do to her.
Truthfully, only one other guy had ever made her feel so edgy, so sexually aroused, and she hadn't set eyes on him since high school. Nor did she have any desire to. Not after what he'd done to her. Which suddenly reminded her why she'd agreed to the pact and sworn off men in the first place. She frowned, then quickly buried those thoughts in favor of more pleasant ones.
No, it certainly wasn't the time to dredge up old painful memories of Daniel Long, the cute boy next door and Mason Creek High School sports hero who'd been coveted by all. It was time to take pleasure in the fit man before her and commit every striated muscle to memory. At least then when she was lying in bed later that night, it would give her something to fantasize about while she took the edge off. And take the edge off she would. Just because she'd sworn off men and had given up on finding her very own Prince Charming, didn't mean she couldn't dream about delicious, orgasmic sex, did it?
She absently toyed with the gold chain around her neck, bit back a chuckle and shook her head. To think that just a short while ago, she'd been both shocked and embarrassed as she stood on the sidewalk outside Toys4Gals and examined the array of sexual devices through the curbside window. Never had she thought she'd purchase such a toy, let alone use one. Now, here she was gathering quite the collection in her bedside table. Working solo wasn't normally her style. But lack of action had forced her to think outside the box—or inside the box—or... Oh hell, she didn't know what she was thinking anymore. All she knew was that she was hurting. Anna gave a quick shake of her head to clear her salacious musings and wondered if a quick shake of her hips would help push back the lust that gathered there.
As she tried to marshal her thoughts and focus on the job at hand, Pamina stepped forward and spoke to the man at the rear of the truck. Mr. Sex in a Pair of Jeans turned to face the woman who'd hired him. With his work shirt dangling in his left hand, he reached out with his right. As they exchanged greetings, Anna shot him a glance. Catching his profile, she began a leisurely inspection of his perfect physique. So much for her efforts to redirect her concentration.
Beginning with his rock-hard thighs, she let her glance wander upward, stopping to linger around that impressive bulge just below his waistband. A tremble worked its way through her body and her mind went on an erotic journey as her gaze climbed higher, to take in his handsome face and chiseled features. When her eyes met his, he angled his body, giving her a full-frontal view. As Anna took in the Grade A specimen at the back of the truck, her brain practically shut down and her jaw gaped open. It couldn't be.
Oh God, it just couldn't be.
She attempted to speak, but couldn't seem to formulate any words as the sight of the man standing before her left her speechless.
Totally and utterly speechless.
Not because of those long hewn legs of his, or how she envisioned them wrapped around her body. Not because her fingers itched to touch those tight sculpted abdominals, now damp with early-morning perspiration. And definitely not because those mesmerizing hazel eyes seemed to be staring into her soul, unearthing feelings best left buried.
Oh no, not at all. It was because the man behind those eyes was none other than Daniel Long, the high-school stud who'd destroyed her belief in Prince Charming and happily-ever-after.
He gave her a wolfish grin, flashing his perfect white teeth, as he took one measured step closer, closing the small gap between them. He dipped his head and put his mouth close to hers, and his warm breath felt more intimate than a kiss. As her body absorbed the heat radiating off his bare chest, her nipples tightened beneath her cotton sundress, and she crossed her arms over her chest, fearing he could see her ill-favored arousal.
He gave her a warm smile and a moment of silence ensued as she took a brief second to peruse the features of the man before her. Gone was the young handsome boy from high school and in his place existed a man. A real man. Tall, broad and oozing sensuality in a way the young Daniel never had. The years had definitely done him well, she decided.
"Hi, Anna." His sensuous tone curled through her body like an aphrodisiac as his familiar scent thickened her blood. Not only did that provocative aroma take her back in time, it aroused her senses and made her feel downright hot.
Edgy and distracted, her every nerve ending burned with unfettered desire. Her legs went a little rubbery and she locked her knees to keep herself upright. Once again silence hung heavy, and the tortured sound of her swallowing down the lump that had taken up residency in her throat cut through the air.
Striving for normalcy, Anna blinked her eyes tight and opened them again, convinced that she was hallucinating. Surely lack of sex had her mind conjuring up images of the guy she'd lusted after for years, because no way could her high school crush—captain of the football team and every girl's dream—be standing before her. Years previous Daniel had gone off to the city for college, and the last place she expected to see him was here in Mason Creek, Connecticut, standing behind a masonry truck, no less. As she sorted through matters, one question remained. Why had he come back after all these years?
He gave a sexy tilt of his head, his eyes assessing her. "It's nice to see you again." His voice was dark and warm, his tone husky and sensual just like she'd remembered, and despite herself, she leaned into him, momentarily forgetting past hurts.
But the ever-protective Lindsay hadn't forgotten. Not even for a minute. She cupped Anna's arm and hauled her back. Her eyes shot daggers at Daniel when she said, "I think you should leave."
Daniel continued to stare at Anna, but with her brain currently on overdrive, trying to process this unexpected turn of events, she could barely vocalize a response.
Deep smoldering eyes skated over her. "Do you want me to leave, Anna?" She didn't miss the invitation or the odd ache of longing in his voice. Nor did she miss the strange way he was looking at her.
"Do you?" he asked again.
As her brains screamed yes, her body, especially the moist juncture between her legs, screamed no. No with a capital N.
"Daniel—" she croaked out, not really knowing what she was about to say.
Discretion aside and ignoring those around them, he touched her hair and that intimate gestures spread warmth through her body. "It's been a long time."
"Yeah, a long time," she agreed, shocked that she could actually speak, let alone formulate a sentence.
"Too long." Something in his voice hitched and Anna had the distinct feeling that he wasn't at all surprised to see her, and that, unlike her, he was completely prepared for this encounter.
Was it possible that it was she who'd inspired him to come home?
She quickly dismissed that ridiculous notion as soon as it hit, and resisted the urge to slap her forehead. Good God, she'd spent years trying to get over him, and it irked her that all it took was one second in his presence to have her fantasizing about Prince Charming and happily-ever-after again. With him. Him! The guy who only thought of her as a conquest, one of a handful of high school girls he'd yet to nail. Perhaps he'd come back to try again. At that thought, Anna squared her shoulders and pulled herself together. Well he could forget it. He couldn't get into her panties back then and he certainly wasn't about to now.
"Of course she wants you to leave," Lindsay interjected and jerked her thumb out toward the road.
Feeling much more in control than she had seconds before, Anna touched Lindsay on the shoulder. "It's okay. I've got this."
"Yes. Just give us a minute." With that both Lindsay and Pamina stepped aside, but not far enough that they couldn't hear their conversation, or Lindsay couldn't intervene if she felt Anna needed her assistance.
Anna turned to Daniel. He'd only been a boy when he'd given her a hard cold dose of reality, a boy who cared about his own needs. Thankfully she'd found out what he was all about before she'd handed her heart over to him. Because once she had, she was sure there'd have been no coming back from that. In fact, maybe she should be thanking him for opening her eyes to the real world, where Prince Charming existed only in Disney movies and romance novels.
"Why are you here, Daniel?"
He gestured with a nod toward the two women hovering nearby. "I was hired by Pamina to install marble around the Jacuzzi tub and to lay brick around the fireplace."
Anna gave a quick shake of her head. "No, what I mean is why are you here? In Mason Creek. I thought you'd moved away for good."
He grew quiet for a moment, as if weighing his words carefully, then stated the obvious, "I'm back."
"I can see that." She tapped a restless foot. "What I want to know is why?"
Warm heat passed over his eyes. "Because I—" He opened his mouth to tell her, then seemed to change his mind. He gave a casual shrug and in a low, controlled voice said, "I thought it was time."
"Last I heard you hated Mason Creek, and everything about it. And when you went off to college, you had no intentions of ever coming back."
He drew back looking a little hurt, like her words had triggered some dark memory. "I'm helping my brothers with their business."
Anna nodded. She'd completely forgotten that his older brothers had started the town's only masonry business, very much needed now, thanks to the growth in the housing market and the boom in new home construction. But hadn't Daniel gone to State college to get a business degree? Not that she was keeping tabs on him. Because she wasn't. Not really.
"It's crazy how much they've expanded," he added.
As she listened, she wondered what a guy with a business degree knew about masonry work.
"I take care of the office end of things," he said, answering her unasked question. Then he grinned and laughed fondly under his breath. "Mike and John have made a mess of the paperwork. Good thing I came back when I did."
Anna crossed her arms. "If you run the business end, then what do you know about laying marble and bricking around a fireplace?"
"I'm not without my own skills." He paused, then pitched his voice low. "I can do a good job for you, Anna. I promise. I'll make it good. Real good."
She swallowed hard and wondered if he was talking about laying marble or something else entirely.
Lindsay stepped in, probably catching his sexual undertones as well. "I don't think you're the man for the job."
He shrugged. "I'm all you've got." He gestured toward the house. "We're the only game in town, so if you want the work done..."
"Send someone else from the company."
"My brothers are on other jobs. Completely buried." When he turned his mesmerizing hazel eyes on her, it felt like she'd been sucker-punched. "I'm your man, Anna."
The way he'd said those four simple words caused the blood in her veins to boil. Years ago, she'd really thought he was her man. So sweet, kind, respectful and genuine. Confident, yet always a little shy around her. A real-life Prince Charming. But it was all an act to get her into his bed. She'd learned long ago that beneath that perfect package, Daniel Long was nothing but a bad apple.
And no matter how much he charmed her she would never, ever sleep with him.
She didn't think.COLLAPSE
All Worked Up
Tired of aspiring actors using her to get close to her movie producer father, Candace Steele has sworn off relationships. At least until she's achieved her dream of restoring an old inn on the outskirts of Mason Creek. The new carpenter who's been hired to help her create bedroom furniture designed for...endurance...is throwing a kink into her plans. Watching his athletic body pound wood is doing things to her hormones that have her rethinking her vow.
When he agreed to take the job, Marc Collins intended to keep the sexy spitfire at arm's length. But Candace is giving him a run for his money in more ways than one. It's tough to keep just his eyes on—and hands off—his boss's daughter when she's hell-bent on seducing him. And when she pulls a fast one and wins an impromptu bet, what's a red-blooded guy to do except let her collect her winnings...all of them.
The heat they generate melts the fresh paint off the walls. But when seeds of doubt make Candace put on her running shoes to flee, Marc will have to talk fast—and run faster—to capture her heart.
Candace darted a glance over her shoulder to see if he was coming as she raced to the lake. Oh yeah, he was coming all right, and quickly closing the distance between them. A smile pulled at her and she knew if she wanted to win this race she'd better put everything she had into it. Deciding to do just that, Candace lengthened her stride, but Marc was too fast and too strong.
He caught up to her in seconds flat and hadn't broken a sweat yet. "What exactly do you mean, winner takes all?" he asked, keeping pace beside her.
"You see," she managed through labored breathing, knowing she needed to throw him off his stride the same way he'd thrown her off her game the other day. She planned to win the race using any means possible. "When I win, I'm going to take you back to the inn and show you another way to exercise."READ MORE
His eyes lit. "Yeah, how?" She could see the genuine interest in his gaze.
"Well there is the new Tantra chair I'd like to try out. You know, to ensure it works properly and is sturdy enough before we open the room to guests." She watched his face change as understanding dawned. Deciding to play, to push him a little more, she added, "And then there's the hanging sex swing, the love glider and the floor-to-ceiling pole for a little seductive dancing."
His jaw dropped and his stride slowed, his body language conveying his shock at her boldness. Or perhaps he was too busy thinking about what they could do on said equipment to focus on running. Fortunately his reprieve gave her the opportunity she needed to win. Once she reached the embankment, she stopped running and twisted around to glimpse Marc, who still stood there gawking at her, need and desire flitting across his handsome face.
He quickly caught up to her, grabbed her hips and anchored her to him, and her entire body shivered in sensual delight. He put his back to a tree and cast a glance around. "What the hell are you trying to do to me?"
There was something about the way he moved, talked and continually scanned the area that reminded her of a cop or a bodyguard. With her father's line of work, she'd been around enough of them to pick up on their little nuances.
But as heat poured through her and her pussy throbbed, aching to feel him again, her brain was too far gone to consider that point further. Right now all she could think about was the way his hands were touching her body, the feel of his growing arousal pressed against her abdomen. The way her mouth watered, thirsting for a taste of him.
"Well, I'm trying to get you naked so I can have my wicked way with you. It's only fair, don't you think? After all, you've seen me naked."
Hot. Wet. Needy. And naked.
His eyes smoldered, as if he was remembering every delicious detail of their erotic encounter.
Candace wet her lips, and he watched the action very carefully as his eyes moved over her face. Candace shifted her hips, positioning his cock right where she needed it as she gauged his reactions. His hard erection told her how much he wanted this, but would he hesitate or would he go for it?
"You know. A little tit for tat..." she added for good measure.
His laugh was edgy, churning with passion. His nostrils flared, and his jaw clenched like he was fighting some internal battle. Then something came over him, a shift of some sort, and he grabbed her hand. "Let's go."
"Yeah, you won, and winner takes all, remember?"COLLAPSE
ALL WORKED UP is the second story in Ms. Fox's highly entertaining Pleasure Inn series and it's even better than the first. For the most part, ALL WORKED UP can stand on its own. However, those who have not read ALL TIED UP will miss out on the mystical setup concerning Candace, Anna, Lindsay's unusual client. This doesn't impact the romance, but some things in the book might seem a bit odd if you have not read ALL TIED UP.
Cathryn Fox has delivered a fast and fun tale that sparks with the energy of its delightful characters. All in all, I'd say that Ms. Fox has a winner on her hands with ALL WORKED UP. I greatly enjoyed reading it and cannot wait to read Anna's story.
All Tied Up
Need the job done right? Get a handyman with the right...tools.
Interior decorator Lindsay Bell jumped at the chance to help restore the old inn at Mason Creek. What could be more fun than letting her imagination run wild on an unlimited budget? Eagerly she plans to turn her assigned room into a fantasy BDSM playground.
All she expected from her newly hired handyman was to help her tear down a support wall. She certainly didn't expect Brad Caldwell to be so drop-dead gorgeous in a tool belt. When he proves to be a steady, hardworking, stand-up guy—unlike the men she's dated—Lindsay has a new and wicked idea.
To take her new creation on a test drive down the road of their deepest, darkest, most delicious desires—and seduce her way into his heart.
Pamina moved farther into the room, the mysterious stranger shadowing her movements. Captivated by Pamina's new friend, Lindsay scraped her teeth over her bottom lip and watched his strong, athletic body move with self-confidence and assuredness. When he circled Pamina and came around to face Lindsay, their gazes connected and locked. In that moment something sparked between them and a weird tingling began in her bloodstream.
Lindsay didn't believe in love at first sight, nor did she believe in fate or destiny, but this guy, wow, this guy with his mesmerizing blue eyes could suck her under like a tsunami wave and make her believe in anything.
He smiled and Lindsay's pulse leapt in her throat. Her lascivious, sex-deprived body immediately shifted into overdrive. One seductive look from him had her hormones firing at jet speed in record time.READ MORE
His long athletic gait closed the space between them. As he stood before her, she tipped her head and pulled his spicy, panty-soaking aroma into her lungs, letting it wrap around her, letting it arouse all her senses. Lord, the man just oozed sexuality and testosterone.
Her gazed panned the length of him, stopping to inspect his broad shoulders, trim waist and rock-hard thighs. She wondered for a second if anything else under those snug jeans was rock hard. Damned if she didn't want to find out.
Had the temperature in the room suddenly skyrocketed?
Once again her hungry gaze traveled back to his face, taking in his dark features, unkempt shoulder-length hair, with bangs that swished to the side, square jaw and unshaven face. The guy had bad boy written all over him. Lindsay knew his type well. A Casanova who was, undoubtedly, so very, very good. Just the kind of guy she knew better than to get involved with.
Despite that, lust rose to the surface, clamoring for attention and all she could think of was men. Sex. Men and sex. And not necessarily in that order. Forget nailing jelly to the wall. She wanted this guy to nail her to the wall.
Of course, this is what she got for going without sex for the last two months. It appeared that a quick trip back to Toys4Gals to pick up extra batteries and maybe even a few new gadgets was definitely in order. She made a mental note to put that at the top of her to-do list.
Mr. Slurpalicious gave her a sexy, predatory smile that screamed of the big bad wolf—and of even bigger and badder things they could do together. Libidinous slut that she was, she pondered for a moment if he would gobble her up like a frosted cupcake. Or if he'd lay her out like a buffet and take his time to savor her like a rich, decadent dessert.
After a thorough inspection of his tall, brawny body, her gaze went to his big hands. Damn, there was just something about a man's hands that got her juices flowing like a broken dam. She noted that he had a working man's hands, different from the soft, pampered hands of the good-for-nothing bastards she had a habit of attracting. Lindsay afforded herself a minute to visualize how those rough, callused palms of his would feel on her naked flesh, on her breasts, between her thighs. Oh yeah! She shivered. Almost violently.
A man like him could make her abandon her vow to stay away from men. She furrowed her brow and sifted through her memories. Why again was it that she'd made that vow?
When Pamina touched his muscular arm and he turned, giving her his undivided attention, a weird pang of jealousy cut through Lindsay.
"I'd like you to meet Lindsay Bell," Pamina said. "She's the brilliant interior designer I hired to turn this space into a BDSM room for lovers."
Lips curved up at the corners, he angled his head, clearly intrigued. "Oh yeah?"
Heat arced between them as he stepped closer and held his arm out. Her body responded to his proximity. Pleasure raced through her and she became hyper-aware of dampness between her thighs. Had she been wearing panties, they'd have been soaked.
She attempted to rein in her desire, to pull herself together and abandon her lusty thoughts, she really did. But so far her efforts were proving futile.
His sensual mouth slanted and the gleam in his eyes held all sorts of promises. "A BDSM room. How interesting. I look forward to seeing the end results."
She made one more attempt to gather control over her wayward thoughts, but his deep sensuous voice shattered all her efforts. In fact his rich tone sent her tortured, hormonal body into convulsions. Her nipples tightened painfully, heat and hunger lapped at her thighs.
It suddenly occurred to her he was waiting for a handshake. With little finesse, she thrust her arm forward and slipped her hand inside his. His huge palm practically swallowed hers up. As her flesh absorbed his heat, her libido roared to life in a way it never had before. Christ, she knew she had a healthy sexual appetite, but the sudden cravings for this man both frightened and excited her.
She schooled her features into polite interest while her hormones danced to the beat of that eighties AC/DC song "You Shook Me All Night Long".
"I'm Lindsay," she said.
He grinned and shot her a wolfish look. Assuring her, that with a huff and a puff he could blow her house down. Except it wasn't a house Lindsay was interested in him blowing. Damn, this celibacy thing was definitely playing havoc with her body…and her mind. She needed to get her thoughts off sex and on to the conversation at hand.
"I'm Lindsay," she repeated.
"I know," he said. "Lindsay Bell."
"How do you know my name?" Looking for a distraction, anything to get her mind off Mr. Sexy Pants, Lindsay grabbed the overstuffed chair and began to slide it toward the doorway. Damn, the thing was heavy.
"Pamina already introduced you." His slow smile licked over her thighs and filled her mind with wild and wicked images.
Right! Damn. She was making a total ass of herself, which was something she never did. Christ, no man had ever had that effect on her before. She'd always maintained a cool, in-charge demeanor.
She strived for normalcy and tried not to stumble over her words. "And you are?" she asked, expecting his name to begin with big and end in wolf. Expecting? Okay, okay, maybe hoping was a better choice of words.
"I'm Brad Caldwell."
His gaze roamed over her and his deep, big-bad-wolf tone sent shivers skittering down her spine, making her suddenly wish she was draped in a red cape and covered in icing.
"Pamina asked me to stop by to chat with you."
"Oh?" Lindsay turned to face Pamina, heavy chair forgotten.
Pamina waved one delicate hand through the air. "I thought Brad could take down that wall and open this room up for you."
Lindsay glanced at the papered wall and considered that option. Not a bad idea. "That would certainly beat the hell out of peeling all that paper off."
Face locked in concentration, Brad stepped up to the wall and ran his fingers over the aged paper. Lindsay's stomach tightened and her knees weakened as she envisioned him running his hands over her body just like that.
Common sense dictated that she decline the offer and make do with the small room. Yeah, that's exactly what she'd do. Decline Pamina's suggestion to take down the wall and just make the best out of the cramped quarters. Because having him around for the next week or so would simply distract her and play havoc with her hormones. And since she'd sworn off men, it was a distraction she didn't want or need. No way. No how.
Brad turned to face her. "So, what do you say, Lindsay? Would you like me to hang around and take down that wall for you?"
Take down the wall.
Strip her naked.
Have his wicked way with her.
With casual nonchalance, he rolled one broad shoulder. "I could even help you out with the bondage equipment, if you'd like."
Help her out? As in try it out with her?
Hell yeah, she liked.
Brad picked up the overstuffed chair and with little effort moved it into the hallway. "You know, in case you need a strong arm to lift things." His words said one thing but the heat in his eyes told an entirely different story. One that could easily get her into trouble with another bad boy. She quickly reminded herself why she'd sworn off sweet-talking playboys in the first place.
"So what do you say?" he asked again as her mind reeled.
Say no, say no.
Laura J wrote:
4 1/2 Stars from The Romance Studio
Lindsay, Anna, and Candace are interior decorators and their new job is to turn an old inn into a more modern inn, one with sexually inspired theme rooms. Lindsay's room is to be BDSM themed, and she eagerly jumps into the task. Thanks to a recommendation from the inn's owner, Pamina, Lindsay hires Brad, the sexy handyman. He inspires Lindsay even more and soon they are testing the waters in the newly designed BDSM room.
This book is a mixture of great characters, true friendships, sinful fantasies, and the erotic possibilities when you meet the one person who is your true love. The characters were described in such a way that the reader immediately knows their personalities. The author has written about three friends who are vastly different yet the reader knows their friendship will stand the test of time. Lindsay is the focus of this book and she is very loyal to her friends, both male and female. Her sexual attraction to Brad was immediate and their relationship developed gradually for this to be such a short book and was believable because of the way the author wrote it. Brad is the quiet hero that sneaks up on your emotions. He is the kind of guy that will be there for you through the good times and bad, and that makes him the perfect hero for Lindsay. Also perfect was Brad's intuition on what Lindsay likes which leads to some very erotic lovin' and light BDSM play. I can't wait to see what the author has in store for Lindsay's friends, Anna and Candace and I can't help but wonder about Pamina and her cat, Abra.
The Good, The Bad and The Unread: LauraJ's review Grade 'A'
How does she do it? Cathryn Fox is able to create stories in a short amount of space and you still feel like you have read a regular full length novel. I have heard authors say that it's much harder for them to write a novella than a novel because they have so much they want to say or they need to say to convey the entire story. In all the novella's I have read by Ms. Fox I have never left feeling that I have missed any part of the story.
Now this is the first of what I'm assuming is going to be at least 3 stories. There are two other characters that are introduced in this book that you can tell have their stories waiting in the wings and so there are "parts" missing but nothing that I know won't be resolved in these other books, assuming of course, I'm right about the next two. As for the hero and heroine in this story I do feel that I got their whole story.
Lindsey, Candace, and Anna are three long time best friends who own their own interior decorating business. They are offered a job to fix up rooms in an old Victorian Manson in the town of Mason Creek for a woman who wants to turn the home into a place for lovers to indulge their fantasies. Each girl is asked by the owner to design her room based on her deepest fantasy.
In this first story, Lindsey decides to decorate her room in a BDSM theme. While she is trying to figure out how to make everything work and fit into the small room, the home's owner introduces her to Brad is a handyman she has brought in for Lindsey to consider hiring to tear down a wall to make the room larger. Sparks fly immediately between the two despite the fact that both Lindsey and Brad have had relationships in the past that have made them wondering if there is "the one" for them. Lindsey has had several relationships where the men take from her without giving her anything in return but heartache. Brad is tired of women only wanting to bed him and not get to know him.
The story does have a bit of a paranormal tone to it with the two secondary characters, Pamina and her cat, Abra, who "guide" the girls who have given up on men to finding their heroes.
I don't know how long I'm going to have to wait for the next two stories, but I hope it's not too long. The was a great, fast, and very sexy read and I'm looking forward to seeing how Candace and Anna's stories play out.