Breakout New Adult sensation Monica Murphy returns with a hot new contemporary romance—a heartfelt story of second chances, forgiveness, and redemption.
Commitment. That’s what I really want from Colin. Ever since my brother, Danny, died in Iraq, Colin’s done so much to help me, including giving me a job at his popular restaurant so I can leave my crappy waitressing job at the strip joint. But lying in bed with him every night to comfort him from his horrible nightmares isn’t enough anymore. I know he feels guilty about Danny’s death, about not going to Iraq, but I can’t keep living this double life.
I love him desperately, but he’s got so many demons, and if he can’t open up to me now, then he’ll never be the real partner I need him to be. I gave him a month, and now I’m out of here. If he truly loves me like he says, he knows where to find me.
Tossing the magazine on the tiny table next to me, I readjust the lounge chair so it’s pretty much flat and lie down, closing my eyes. I should not be soaking up the sun with skin cancer being prevalent and all, but I slathered myself in sunscreen before I came outside. The heat feels good on my mostly bare skin and deciding to be daring, I untie my bikini top, letting the strings drop so I won’t have tan lines across my chest.
One wrong move and the top goes bye-bye, but who’s going to see? I’m alone out here. The people who live on either side of Colin both work, so there are no stay-at-home moms hovering, no little kids running around in their backyards. I could sit out here naked and skinny-dip in the pool. No one would be the wiser.
Deciding to go for it, I sit up and untie the string that stretches across my back, flinging the top onto the ground. I sigh with satisfaction as I settle back down onto the lounger, adjusting my sunglasses and closing my eyes to the too-bright sun.
Just for a few minutes, I tell myself. I’ll lie here for a little bit and let the sun warm skin I don’t normally expose at all. It feels good, almost . . . sexual. Well, everything these last few days has felt sexual what with the constant state of arousal I’ve been living in.
I’ve been with other men, too many of them probably, though I keep my numbers to myself. Then there are the ones no one knows about, the ones that don’t count. The ones who paid me money for a quick good time, money I’d desperately needed.
Not that Colin will ever, ever know about those men . . .
But no one, and I mean not a single one of them, made me feel like Colin does. One smile from him and I want to melt. He can touch me in the most casual of ways and my knees threaten to buckle. And when he kisses me, I swear I lose a few brain cells every single time.
Arousal trickles through me at the thought of his drugging, delicious kisses. My nipples bead almost painfully and I’m tempted to touch them. To ease the ache that’s slowly but surely building inside me . . .
“Well, well, well. Now this is a pleasant surprise.”
Tingles sweep over my skin at the sound of Colin’s velvety deep voice. Lifting my head, I open my eyes to find him standing on the other side of the pool, near the back door that leads into the house. I can’t believe I didn’t hear the door open or shut.
I wonder if he thinks I’m out here like this just for him.
“I didn’t expect you home,” I say, rolling my eyes behind my dark sunglasses. Such a lame reply but he doesn’t seem to mind, not if the grin on his face is any indication.
“You lie around outside half naked all the time then? I should be staying home in the morning more often.” He starts toward me, the epitome of mouthwateringly delicious, wearing jeans and a simple white T-shirt. The way his shirt stretches across his shoulders and chest make me itch to tear it off him.
Shrugging, I struggle for nonchalance, though inside anticipation curls through me, making me burn . . . everywhere. He’s moving with a predatory grace that makes my mouth dry, his gaze never leaving me. Suddenly nervous, I look around for my bikini top, spotting it on the concrete right next to the lounger, and I bend down, snatching it up, ready to tie it back on. Or at the very least, cover myself. I’m feeling exposed. Silly for lying around half naked like this.
“Oh, no you don’t.” He’s at my side in an instant, pulling the swimsuit top from my fingers and tossing it far out of reach. His smug grin is downright wicked as he settles on the edge of the lounger, his hip nudging my side, the denim of his jeans rough against my bare skin. He takes me in, his greedy gaze raking over me before landing on my chest, and my nipples literally ache for his touch. “Enjoying the sun?” His husky voice twists my insides, making me breathless.
I lick my lips, sitting up so my face is close to his. “Yeah.” Leaning in, I brush my open mouth against his, lingering, tasting. His tongue darts out, teasing mine with gentle flicks, and I moan softly.
“You’re trying to kill me, aren’t you?” His large hands graze my breasts, his palms brushing against my nipples so lightly I can almost believe I’m only imagining he’s touching me.
But he’s real. His hands on me are real. Hot and seeking and knowing exactly what I need to fill me with uncontrollable desire for him.
“I swear I had no idea you would come home. You’re usually gone in the mornings,” I say in my defense. He goes into his office when it’s quiet and he can get paperwork done. Phone calls made, emails answered, whatever it is that he needs to take care of. He’s been extra busy lately what with the new location opening soon. “I thought I had a morning to myself.”
“Tell me.” He kisses me, a quick, sweet kiss though his mouth lingers, barely moving away from mine. “Were you going to touch yourself out here, Jenny? Have a little fun while I’m gone?”
“No.” I shake my head, biting the tip of his finger when he reaches out to trace my bottom lip, making him softly yelp. He doesn’t remove his finger from my mouth, though. “But I was thinking of you.”
“What were you thinking about?” His voice has gone tight, a sure indicator he’s aroused, and I smile.
“How much I miss you.” I kiss him again and he cups my face with one hand, holding me, his mouth coaxing mine open before I break away. “How much I wished you were here. Touching me.”
His smile grows. “Well, your wish is about to come true.”
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend.