Author: Lorelei James

“Nope. But I’ll sweeten the pot. I’ll even throw in fresh coffee and a side of sliced strawberries.”

“You drive a hard bargain, Blake.” Willow smiled. “Lemme up so I can call my crew.”

By the time Willow appeared in the kitchen, breakfast was nearly done.

“I still have to stop at home and load up my tools.” She stuffed a big bite of pancakes into her mouth and made that little happy moan. Yep. His dick stirred.

Blake gave her a once over. “It might be hard to nail siding in that skirt, but damn, is it perfect for me nailing you.” Her answering blush was cute as hell.

“So what are your plans today?” she asked.

He speared a hunk of ham. “I guess Mondays are slow, so I’ll probably work in the office, do inventory, at least until the happy hour crowd shows up.”

“I oughta work in the office today too,” she admitted, “but I’ll probably do it later tonight.”

“You could bring your office work over here and we could do the drone work together.”

Willow rolled her eyes. “We’d never get a lick of work done.”

“And that’s what makes the idea all the more appealing.”

“You are a bad influence on me. Bribing me with food. What’s next? Sex?”

“Uh-huh. I’m thinking about bending you over the table and having my wicked way with you before you race off.”

Her fork froze midair. “Blake West.”

He grinned when he realized she hadn’t said no. “Besides, you’re already late, what’s another half hour?”

Willow slowly set her fork down. She shoved her plate to the middle of the table. Wiped her mouth with a napkin and pushed to her feet. She started down the hallway.

“Hey, Will? Where you goin’?”

She whirled around. “To get a condom. You’d better hurry and finish eating so you can clear the table before I get back.”

Blake lost his appetite, his train of thought and any chance he’d finish with her in thirty lousy minutes.


Willow was dead on her feet. She hadn’t worked a full nine-hour shift, but she had tried to make up for lost time once she’d hit the jobsite.

Three hours late.

Lord. Blake’s half an hour of playtime had stretched into two hours. By the time he’d coated her body with syrup, licked it all off and taken his own sweet, sticky time making love to her, they’d both needed a shower.

Once Willow was faced with soaping Blake’s big, hard body and bulging muscles, well, racing off to work had been the dead last thing on her mind. She’d worked over one big, hard muscle in particular until he’d whimpered.

Yes, that shower had been refreshing in oh-so-many ways.

Still…she was tired. No sleep, indulging in more sex in the last two days than she’d had in her entire twenty-five years tuckered a girl out. She had every intention of driving straight home and snuggling between her sheets.

So why did she find herself cruising down Main Street?

Because the man was like a damn drug.

She inched past LeRoy’s Tavern. Holy moly. The place was hopping for a Monday night. Mandy was probably raking in killer tips.

I don’t work on Mondays.

If Mandy wasn’t around that meant Blake was doing everything by himself.

Willow hit the brakes, spun a u-turn and bumped into the rear parking lot. The back door was unlocked. Her clothes were filthy. She pulled one of Mandy’s extra blouses from her locker and slipped on the denim skirt she’d had in her duffel bag, ignoring the teasing scent of cherries. After she scrubbed her hands, she headed up front.

Blake was inundated.

Even Boy Scouts needed a little help now and then.

He didn’t acknowledge her until she’d sidled up beside him. “What do you want me to do?”

“Will? What’re you…?” Blake ran the back of his hand across his face. “If you’d handle the bottled beer that’d be great. Happy hour prices are two bucks domestic, three bucks import.”

“Got it.” Willow let out a wolf whistle. The noise in the bar dropped a level. “If you’re looking for bottled beer, the line forms here.”

“What about well drinks?” a man demanded.

She pointed to Blake. “He’ll get your order. And if you want something frou-frou, like a blended daiquiri or a piña colada, you’re in the wrong bar.”

Laughter rang out.

For the next hour, Willow uncapped beer bottles, hauled ice and restocked. Blake was still a bit frazzled, but he never snapped at her or at a customer. His smile wasn’t as wide as she’d seen it other nights, but the man was still smiling.

Especially when he glanced her way. A very satisfied male expression transformed his face. But oddly enough, it wasn’t sexual in origin.

Once they’d caught up, she propped her elbows on the bartop. “I guess people pour in for the drink specials, huh?”

“Appears that way.” Blake drained a bottle of water and stared at her.


“I’m surprised to see you.”

She shrugged.

“The last thing I heard after you totally fried my circuits in the shower this mornin’ was that you wouldn’t be around tonight.”

“I hadn’t planned on it until I drove by the bar and saw you were swamped. I remembered Mandy wasn’t working. I figured you could use the help.”

Blake didn’t toss out a funny comment or offer her a dimpled grin; he just kept studying her with those intense hazel eyes.


“Is that the only reason you came by?”

Willow never thought of herself as shy. But with the knowing way Blake considered her, she had the unusual urge to duck her face from his scrutiny.


“No, that’s not the only reason.”

He waited for her response. Just as she knew he would.

“I’m here because I missed you. I-I can’t seem to stay away from you.” She glanced down at her boots.

Blake put his fingers under her chin, lifting her face to meet his gaze. “Did you know how crazy I am about you?”

Willow shook her head.

“You do now.” He kissed her square on the mouth.

The knots in her belly loosened.

“Stay with me tonight?” he whispered against her lips.

She nodded.

Last call couldn’t come soon enough.

Blake closed the bar at ten o’clock. He disappeared in the back while she tidied up the front. When Willow ventured to the office, all the lights were off. The heavy steel door slammed and the deadbolts clicked. Blake smiled and took her hand, leading her upstairs.

In the apartment he rubbed his hands up and down her arms. “You hungry?”

“Um. No. Thanks.”

“Come on then.” Clasping her hand, he guided her into the bedroom.

Willow stopped in the doorframe. Candles were scattered around the room, giving off a golden glow and a mix of scents. The bedding was stripped back to just white sheets. “What… Wow. When did you have time to do this?”

“You like it?”

“I love it. I’ve never…” Had a man try to impress me with romance. Especially not when she was a sure thing.

“I wondered if you’d find this clichéd.”

She faced him. “No! But you didn’t have to go to all this trouble.”

“And yet I did.” Blake tugged her against his body, pressing his hands in the small of her back. “It’s been a few crazy days. I wanted to slow it down a bit tonight.”

She blinked at him.


“You’re so thoughtful.”

“I try.”

“I don’t deserve this.”

He frowned. “Why not?”

“Because I can’t reciprocate.” She groaned with frustration. “I’m bad at gooey romantic stuff. I never know what I’m supposed to be doing.”

“You knew exactly what you were doing earlier in the shower.” He placed his lips on her temple and murmured, “Amazingly hot, Will.”


“Ssh. Let me see you.” He undressed her. Kissing each section of newly bared skin.

“I’m glad you don’t want a strip tease,” she mumbled between his flirty kisses.

“I’ll admit I woulda liked to’ve seen you whipping your undies up on the ceiling fan. I was surprised you put the sash back on once you were nekkid.”

“Not exactly queenly behavior. Then again, I was hardly the epitome of beauty queen.”

“You’re the epitome of beauty to me. From what I’ve seen, you’re definitely a firecracker. So the title fits you.” Blake slid the straps of her bra down her biceps and she shivered at the raw sensuality in his eyes.

“I’m definitely explosive when you touch me.”

“I’ve got a short fuse when it comes to you.” He whispered, “On the bed.”

Willow rested on her elbows and watched him strip. She whistled. “I’ll bet you could make a mint in a strip club with that hot, sexy body of yours.”

Blake slipped on a condom and hung on all fours above her. “I can’t imagine having dozens of chicks grabbing my junk.”

“All that attention isn’t a little bit appealing?”

“Nope. I only want one woman’s hands on me.”

“Really? Do I know her?”


“Is it…me?” she asked with mock shock.

“Yep. ’Cause, sunshine, you are an expert in handling certain…tools.”

She giggled.

He kissed her. Drawing out every ounce of pleasure with just his mouth on hers. He feathered his lips across her jawbone. Her cheek. Her eyelids. Her eyebrows. Her forehead. He nuzzled her hairline.

Then Blake let his mouth, his hands, his breath, even the ends of his hair caress her skin. Purposely avoiding the area between her thighs. He traced her bikini line and the crease of her leg with the very tip of his tongue.