I love the conflict a tough heroine brings to the hero as they get to know one another. It’s as if she’s compelled to test his strength to see if he’s worthy of her, that or scare him away, and the two are likely interconnected. In this unedited snippet toward the beginning of the book, Lou is picking at Lucky. But he acquits himself well. Enjoy – SS
“You are unsettled.”
Lou said nothing. He was right, but what was there to say? I think I’m going crazy? Would it freak you out if I burst out crying right now, dried up and then started laughing like a loon? She’d done just that this morning. She needed to check her calendar. Her period was probably coming. That was a guaranteed ticket to the crazy farm for at least a week. Comforting in a way. At least then she had a reason for the bedlam that went on above her neck.
He reached out to stroke her back, and surprisingly, she calmed. That damned heat of his. She edged closer, snorting because she knew better and still couldn’t help herself.
“I’m not a restful person.”
“No. But strangely around you I feel that way.”
“Is that bad?” He stroked her back again, one long swipe that loosened her spine and sent another rush of heat through her torso and her breasts and belly tingling. How did he do that? It was the most sensuous fire, a feeling like one she might write in one of her books. It made her want to bite him, grind herself all over his body until he got rough with her. Then give him what he wanted, wind herself around him like a cat and fall asleep in his lap.
“You work for me.”
“Yes. I do. If we make love, I will still work for you.”
She laughed softly. “Well, that’s plain speaking for you.”
“You like plain speaking.”
“I do indeed. But I’ve yet to meet a man who does. Most of you kick and fuss that women are too emotional, but at the end of the day it’s you lot who get bent out of shape about things.”
“Fuss pots, the lot of ya.”
“Potts,” he repeated, grinning and she laughed, knowing he was referring to her butler/his friend.
She hadn’t expect this. To be charmed by him. It felt weird that it didn’t feel weird. She hadn’t been this mentally engaged by a man in years, and Potts did not count.
“Shall we just get it over with?”
Of course she had no intention of sleeping with him that night. She didn’t quite feel like it. But she poked him anyway, testing to see if he’d bite so she could dismiss him and walk away.
Well how do you like that. He passed.
“No. I don’t like to rush. And you are not ready.”
“How do you figure that?”
“You don’t mean what you say. You are trying to trick me, I think.”
Her brows rose. Smart cookie.
He laughed softly. “See? I will not fall for this trick, woman.”
She pretended to snap her fingers, aw shucks style.
They walked in silence for awhile, and then he shocked her to her toes.
“I too am unsettled.”
She actually stumbled, she was that surprised. He automatically reached out to steady her and they kept walking. Her with ears cocked.
“I’ve been floating around since I left the military. I’m tired of it. I’m looking for somewhere to land.”
Ah. And the games begin. Who were these women who fell for lines like this? They must be very young. Had she ever been that young? She must have been. Years ago men had gotten over on her probably with very similar lines in their endless quest for conquest. But old Lucky was mistaken if he thought this trite shit was gonna fly today. Now she didn’t need dick or lies. She needed a handyman, and he needed an editor.
“You’ve a weird accent,” she said, changing the subject. After all, there was no need to drone on about anything romantic when there wasn’t going to be anything romantic.
“Yeah. Not quite country. Not quite city. Almost European. But not quite that either. Tell me about your home.”
“Tell me about your girlfriend.”
Her brows rose. “Way to change the subject, Ace.”
“Who is this Ace? Do you call me by another man’s name?”
“Of course not! It’s a bloody nickname. Take it easy. Who told you about Liz? Potts I suppose.”
“You can’t really want to hear about her. You a pervert?”
Instead of getting angry, he laughed. “Aren’t most people in your life perverts, Lou?”
She liked the sound of her name on his lips. He made something very ordinary sound exotic. “Yeah. I s’pose they are.