Carla Johnson thinks issuing orders to a lover will keep her heart safe and leave her in charge of her own destiny. Afraid for Carla’s future, her best friend Heather implores her to change her self-centered ways, handing her a list of love life mistakes to steer clear of:
1. Casual Sex
2. Friends with Benefits
3. Avoidance of Intimacy
Carla ignores the list—unwilling to face she might have a commitment problem. Until she invites a co-worker to her place one night. She instantly regrets the hum-drum sexual encounter and discourages the accountant from pursuing her.
Andy Shea refuses to become another lover the feisty blonde dumps. It’ll take a patient man with a strong hand to unlock Carla’s sexual awareness and win her heart. He’s up for the challenge to convince her he’s the one—and eager to prove this number cruncher won’t make a boring bedmate.
Bodies press against Carla, shoving her closer to the bar as she tries to leave the stool. I reach out an arm to protect her from the worst of the crush. “Carla, let me see you home. You shouldn’t make your way alone.”
Her buzzed smile and feeling-no-pain expression is a sure sign we should have had dinner when the bartender offered menus an hour ago.
“No worries, Andy. I’m good.” She stumbles and lands face first against the broad chest of a nearby guy. The grin on his face shows he’s not angry at her slip.
“My…you’re big,” she says while pushing blond bangs out of her face. “Want to help me get a cab?”
Anger boils close to the surface at the mere thought of the curvy blonde going home with this meathead. I will not stand here and let her make a poor choice when she’s been drinking. The large man opens his mouth to respond, then catches sight of what I hope is a nasty look on my face. His smile dims as he looks back to Carla. “Maybe next time, sweetheart.”
I nod my thanks while trying to steer my more than tipsy co-worker out of our company’s favorite after-work bar.
“But, Andy,” she whines, “he looked hot. Lemme get his number.”
I take a firm hold on her arm and gently maneuver her toward the door. “You’ll thank me later.”
The cool late spring air smacks us, jolting me with a much-needed surge of energy. Hopefully, it will have the same affect on Carla. “But, he looks like a real man,” she says, with a pointed look my way.
I ignore the brush of annoyance I feel at her implication I’m not a real man. Where the hell is her aggravation coming from? “Yeah, and I’m sure he’ll call you in the morning, too.”
“That’s not fair, Andy. The guy I picked up two months ago called me.”
I hail a taxi and pour us inside.
“But he turned out to be dumb.” She snorts at a memory while I tell the cabbie her address. In the ensuing silence she whispers, “Couldn’t even find my clit.”
I resist shaking her for her stupid actions. I know firsthand she has a solid mind and a sharp wit. It’s the alcohol getting to her, and it’s getting to me, too. The mere mention of sex has parts of me growing in my suit pants. She settles snug against my side, hugging my arm. “Whoa, Andy. You have some serious muscles here. Have you been working out?”
Her grasping fingers massage my bicep through my jacket. “I’ve always worked out.” I pry away her grip then she squeals and aims to tickle me. Bad move. Her quick hands graze my expanding arousal and she freezes.
“Andy! Do you want me?” A wisp of longing sounds in her voice.
I suppress the sigh aching to burst forth. I’ve wanted Carla from the moment we teamed up on the Stringer account six months ago, but needed to wait for the right time to approach her. And partially drunk is not the right time. “Carla, let’s just get you home. We’ve both been drinking and I don’t want to do anything we may regret later.”
She nips playfully at my ear. “How could I possibly regret fooling around with you? We could be friends with benefits. Wouldn’t that be cool?”
“While the idea sounds excellent, I’m not so sure it ever works.”
“Oh, come on. You’re starting to sound like my friend, Heather. I like sex… it’s fun. It never hurt anyone.” Her previously frozen hand strokes my erection through the fabric.
Dear God, are we almost to her building? I need to get her off me and out of this cab before I come in my pants.
“We could make it work, Andy. Despite what Heather says.” She pulls her hand from my erection and turns my face to hers for a kiss, moisture gleaming in her eyes. “We could try.”
Excitement courses through me. Her breath smells sweetly of white wine and I want nothing more than to crush my mouth to hers and devour her whole. Energy seems to leap from my lips to hers as I lean in, succumbing to the raging desire to possess her.
The taxi lurches to a stop, jerking us toward the front of the cab, breaking the spell a moment before our lips touch. The fog of lust clears from my mind and I want to ask about Heather and what she may have said to upset Carla, but instead I fish out the cash to pay the driver.
I impulsively decide to walk her to her door. Maybe we could make this work.
About the Author
C.J. Ellisson is the USA Today Bestselling author of the NYT Bestselling book, Vanilla on Top, the bestselling V V Inn series, and several erotica shorts. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband, two children, two dogs, and a fluffy black cat who makes her sneeze.
Unlike most full-time authors, she’s also battling severe chronic illness. C.J. works daily to put her Lupus into remission and continues to fight numerous bacterial infections while her immune system slowly attacks her body.
She turned to writing when she could no longer work outside the home and claims the escape of penning contemporary fantasy, erotica, and erotic romance has helped save her sanity.
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