Can he really keep his hands off of her?

March 15, 2010 at 12:40 am (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

Well, it was an interesting weekend to say the least. Soon, I will be starting edits on Shadows of Ecstasy, the third book in my Club X series. I’m also in the middle of working on a new project. This will be a slight departure from what you are used to, but I hope that everyone will love it.

I also hope that you are enjoying Mallory and Jackson’s story. This one is near and dear to my heart. It’s also set in my old hometown.

Excerpt 20

Jackson looked down at his watch. 

Right on time. 

Finding the house had been no trouble at all.  He glanced up at the single story dwelling, noting the small touches that made it a home.  Flowerbeds lined the front door with blooms of orange and red.  The window frames of the brick house were trimmed in white. 

He had to admit that it was more modest than he expected. 

            Climbing the two steps to the front door, he looked down at the doormat.

It read, Wipe your paws

He couldn’t help but grin as he reached over to push the glowing button next to the door.  In a matter of minutes, Mallory opened it wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  A lock of hair fell into her eyes, which she blew out of the way. 

“Hi,” she said in a breathless tone.

            He couldn’t help but feel like he had the wind knocked out of him. 

God, she was beautiful. 

For years, he had tried in vain to erase the sound of her voice, the smell of her skin.  Having her in such proximity these past few days had been a lesson in torture, and now that he’d had her again it only made the ache worse.  Staying away from her wasn’t a viable option any more.  But he wasn’t that boy whose heart she had easily claimed years ago.  Now, he was a man, and he wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. 

This time he would be the victor in their little game. 

This time he would take what he wanted and leave her as coldly as she’d left him. 

            “Hi,” he replied. 

His eyes locked on hers, and they stood there for a moment, each very aware of the other.  

            “Come in.”

            Stepping aside, she let Jackson edge in beside her.  His body brushed against hers.  Sensation shot through his arm.  Being a boy scout might be harder than he thought, but he would damned sure do his best.  Scanning the room, he noticed an overstuffed blue couch that was flanked by two glass coffee tables.  A large coffee table sat in front of the couch holding a wide variety of books and magazines.  A white pillow with the saying Home is where the heart is embroidered on it was smashed into the corner of the couch.  The house looked lived in.  It was a home, a place where someone could feel comfortable immediately.

And he did.

            His eyes narrowed as he glanced at the pictures on the wall.  One was of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice.  The other was a painting of the Coliseum.  The pictures looked strangely out of place with the furniture, and he couldn’t help but wonder why she had chosen them. 

He walked across the room to get a better look.  “Have you been to Italy?”

            A blush crept into her cheeks.  “No, I’ve just always wanted to go there,” she admitted.

            He turned, his eyes meeting hers.  “Why don’t you?”

            “There just never seemed to be time.  I mean, I had Jacob…” she trailed off.

            He was just about to push her on the subject when Jacob entered the room. 

“Hi, Mr. Hart,” he greeted cheerfully.

            “Jackson,” he supplied with a smile.

            Jacob shrugged, offering him a shy grin.  “Sorry, Jackson, I mean.  I just finished reading your new book,” he explained in a rush.

            “Already?” he exclaimed with a chuckle.

            Jacob bobbed his head excitedly.  “It was awesome!”

            “Well, I still have a few things to do in the kitchen.  I’ll let you two talk,” she offered, as she started to leave the room.

            When she reached the kitchen, she let out the breath she had been holding.  This was going to be harder than she thought.  Having Jackson Hart in her home was more intimate than she could have ever imagined.  She had thought about canceling a million times, had even reached for the phone, but in the end she knew she wouldn’t be able to.  She had always been a fool for him, and now that he needed her she couldn’t possibly turn away. 

            Still, just feeling him near was a torture that she hadn’t expected.  When he brushed past her in the entryway, her nipples had tightened instantly.  After all these years, she still wanted him just as much as she ever had.  Time had done nothing to ease her attraction to him. Gripping the edge of the sink, she sent up a silent prayer. 

To get through tonight without make a fool of herself, she would need all the help she could get. 

            Jackson listened as Jacob gushed enthusiastically about his latest novel.  His eyes caught sight of Mallory through the open door to the kitchen.  The jeans she wore hugged the curve of her ass, and he could see the outline of a lacy bra through her shirt.  He tried to focus on what Jacob was saying, but it was getting harder by the minute. 

            “So, you’ve got a thing for my mom, huh?” Jacob prodded.

            When he looked at him, the boy was watching him intently.  Suddenly, he felt like a teenager being cross-examined about his motives. 

“I…” he trailed off. 

How could he explain something he didn’t truly understand himself? 

            “It’s cool.  But my mom’s been through a lot lately, and I don’t want to see her get hurt.”

            His eyebrows furrowed together. “Why do you think I would hurt her?” he asked. 

He hadn’t expected Jacob to display such a protective nature, but it was clear the boy meant every word.  Jacob had been able to see through him and his motives.  He wanted to deny his concerns, but he couldn’t. 

Hadn’t he planned to hurt her?  To seduce her and then leave? 

Hadn’t he wanted to make her pay for leaving him? 

He shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

            Jacob shrugged nervously.  “Look, it’s just that you’re a big time writer.  You’re not going to want to stick around here.”

            The kid was right. 

And he knew it. 

There was no logical reason for him to stay. 

So, why was he still here? 

Why was he playing this game with Mallory? 

Because he hoped that winning this round would finally purge her from his soul.  He hoped that when he walked away, this time he would walk way a whole person.    

            Before he could answer, Mallory called out to say that dinner was ready.

            As they ate, Jacob’s warning echoed through his mind.  He knew the boy was right.  But he couldn’t leave.  Not yet.  For once, they would settle this thing between them and he would be free of her.  For months, he had felt stunted, like life was moving all around him but he was still.   Success had fallen at his feet, but he didn’t feel it. 

            It was the worst kind of irony.  

 “Jackson?” he heard Mallory’s soft voice.

            He lifted his head.  “What?”

            One corner of her mouth tugged up.  “I asked if you liked it?”

            He nodded.  “It’s great.  You’re a good cook,” he answered.

             “Well, I try.”  Her eyes met his and held.

            “So, how long are you planning on staying?” Jacob asked.

            It was a trap. 

He knew it the second the question left the boys lips. 

“I’m not sure.  I just started working on a new book.” 

It was the truth.

Sort of. 

Okay, so he hadn’t written a single, salvageable line.  But he couldn’t very well tell them that he planned to stay until he had revenge for what had happened fifteen years ago.   Still, Jacob’s protective nature struck a chord.  Wouldn’t he have done the same thing for his mother?  The fact that the kid saw him as a threat hurt more than he wanted to admit.  He liked the kid.  He didn’t want Jacob to hate him when this was over. 

            “What’s your new book about?” she inquired.

            Good question, he wanted to say, but didn’t. 

“It’s a mystery,” he admitted. 

Even to me, he didn’t add.

            “Well, I’m sure that it will be a bestseller.  Your books just fly off the rack at the store,” she admitted.

            He tilted his head to the side.  “So, business is good?”

            She bit the corner of her lip.  “Business is…great.”

            She was lying. 

The way she bit her lip made that clear.

“It must be hard in a small town like this to find enough business to stay afloat,” he prodded.

            Pulling her lower lip further beneath her teeth, she worried it gently.  “It can be a challenge at times, but I love it.  I love being able to grow the business from the ground up.”

            Her honesty tugged at a part of him he didn’t want to acknowledge.  Wasn’t that exactly how he felt about his books?  He could only blame the fierce determination in her eyes for his next offer.

            “Anything I can do to help bring in business?” 

What the hell was he doing? 

Had he lost his mind? 

He didn’t need to entrench himself any further with her. 

Getting involved was a mistake. 

But before he could stop himself, the offer was on the table.

            With a quick shrug, she tilted her head to the side.  “Actually…you could do a book signing.  I mean, having you at the store is bound to bring in business,” she suggested.  Pink tinged her cheeks and she looked away sheepishly.

            His gut tightened with arousal. 

God, she could seduce him with the merest tilt of her head. 

“Why not?”

It was as if his cock could talk for him.  

Still, having a valid reason to be close to her might serve a purpose. 

After all, a grateful woman was more likely to give into her lustful needs than an ambivalent one.  

He would do her little signing, but he would demand a reward. 

A reward he was sure to enjoy.

Stay tuned for more of Choices…

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