Author: Lorelei James

Her body shook. Her blood pumped hot and fast. She was actually dizzy. With want. With need. For him. For what he brought to her. For how he made her feel.

He whispered, “Let’s sit up.” He stretched his legs out in front of him, maneuvering her across his lap, her knees on either side of his hips.

Willow panicked. “Wait. Blake. I’ve never done it this way… I don’t know what I’m doing.”

“Do what you want. Do what feels good. I’m gonna be touching you everywhere while you figure it out.”

She didn’t waste time, she immediately impaled herself.

He groaned. She groaned. And so it began. The glide of skin on skin. Long kisses. Short kisses. Sighs. Tasting. Touching. The erotic dance started slow, developing heat and speed until their sweat-slicked bodies were slamming together.

Blake thrust up when Willow pressed down. His marauding mouth was on her neck, her breasts, her shoulders. It seemed to be everywhere at once.

Her body was primed to shatter. Each hip bump, each grinding downstroke, each sucking kiss, each bead of sweat created between them brought her closer to that elusive breaking point.

Blake said “Come on, Will. Come for me. Take me with you this time.” His hand slipped between their bodies and he rapidly thumbed her clit.

She detonated. His mouth remained sucking on her throat, sending a connective wave from her pulsing sex to her throbbing nipples. “Blake? Oh God. Oh God!”

Her muscles tightened around his cock, but he didn’t shift or change his strokes, he rode out the storm with her.

Then Blake had his hands on her ass. Frantic thrusts gave way to stillness. She watched as he threw his head back and came with a drawn out groan.

Slumped together, they held each other, trying to retain some semblance of sanity.

Finally, Willow lifted her face from the spot on his shoulder that seemed tailor-made for her head.

Their eyes met.

She whispered, “Kaboom.”

He whispered back, “Definitely kaboom.”

Chapter Nine

Willow thought about Blake all morning. How he’d done so many sweet, considerate things for her. She wanted to repay him and prove she wasn’t inept when it came to romantic gestures.

The candles, the music, the seduction last night…pure romance. Pure Blake.

At the sandwich shop she bought two supreme meat and veggie subs, two cups of potato dumpling soup and two chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Not exactly healthy, but the man had to indulge once in a while.

She entered through the service door. “Blake?”

He poked his head out of the office. “Willow? What’re you doin’ here?”

She held up the box with the food. “Lunchtime.”

“I was hoping you were here to offer me a nooner.”

“It depends on how fast you eat.”

“Don’t tempt me, sunshine.” He kissed the top of her head and took the box. “Let’s eat in the bar. Hopefully the delivery I’m waiting on will show up while we’re eating, so afterward I can sneak you upstairs for a quickie before you head back to the trenches.”

Willow balanced on the tips of her steel-toed boots and smooched his chin. “You have the best ideas.”

Soon as she’d divided the food, Blake straddled her across his lap and kissed her thoroughly. “Mmm. That’s what I was hungry for. It’s been forever since I tasted your sweet kisses.”

“Forever? It’s been four hours since you kissed me good-bye.”

“Like I said. Forever.” Then Blake kissed her again.

Willow sighed. “You’re heating me up while the food’s getting cold.”

“That’s how it should be.” But he set her on her own chair.

Blake wiped his mouth and spun to face her. “What are you doin’ tonight?”

“I don’t know. Why?”

“I know you have to work early tomorrow, and it’d be late, but could I come by your place tonight after the bar closes?”

“Sure. What’s going on?”

Blake smoothed back the hair that’d fallen from her ponytail. “We need to talk about some stuff.”

“Like what?”

“Like…what happens when Dave comes back.”

Her stomach did a little flip.

“And some other stuff that I don’t want to talk about here, okay?”


He tucked into his sandwich. She stared into her soup, her appetite completely gone.

Willow thought she’d be prepared for the “it’s been fun” speech, but she now realized she didn’t want him to go.

Maybe he doesn’t have to.

Before she lost her nerve, she blurted, “If you need a job when you’re done working for Dave, you can come to work for me.”

His mouth dropped open.

“You’ve done construction and we’re always looking for reliable workers, especially carpenters, and you might not be working with me, but I’m sure we could find some way to put your skills to use.”

“Willow. That’s not—”

She put her fingers over his lips. “Just think about it, okay?”

The back door slammed. But it wasn’t a delivery person pushing a handcart full of beer through the doorway. It was Dave LeRoy. Holding a duffel bag and looking annoyed.

“Dave? What the hell? You were supposed to be gone another couple days.”

“Nice to see you too.”

“Something go wrong?”

“Might say that. The fishing sucked. Gloria was being a first-class b—” he glanced at Willow and amended, “—baby, and I decided enough was enough.”

“What happened?”

“We broke up.”

“Aw man, that sucks.”

“Tell me about it. So I tucked my tail between my legs and slunk home like the whipped dog I am. You’re off the hook.”

Would Blake just up and leave now that Dave was back?

Dave dropped the duffel bag. “The hook comment would’ve been funnier if my fishing trip hadn’t gone in the crapper.”

“Isn’t a crapper a fish?” Blake asked.

“That’d be a crappie. Which also describes my mood.”

“Why don’t you head on upstairs? I’ve got it covered down here.”

“Nah. I’m wired.” Dave wandered behind the bar, helping himself to a glass of Sprite. He frowned at Willow. “I didn’t think this was your kind of place.”

She froze. Would Blake tell Dave what’d happened in his bar in his absence?

Then Dave looked back and forth between Blake and Willow. “You two know each other?”

“Startin’ to. Maybe you oughta—”

“I get it.” A huge smile bloomed on Dave’s face. “You’re cozying up to the competition, West. Smart.”

“Competition?” Willow repeated.

Blake went board stiff next to her.

“Sure. Blake’s a helluva carpenter. His skills have been wasted working part-time for his cousins. Now that his years as a sheep rancher are over, I’m trying to talk him into remodeling this place. Putting in a kitchen so I can serve bar food. Then he could hang out his shingle, so to speak.”


“You’re a sheep rancher?” Willow said incredulously.

Dave laughed. “Now why am I not surprised you kept that to yourself?” He confided in Willow, “Bet he didn’t tell you he and his dad just sold their spread for a pile of money?”

“No. He neglected to mention that.” She spun toward Blake. “So you’re not ‘between jobs’? You’re not really a bartender?”

“I am a bartender, Will,” Blake said softly. He looked at her. “Does it matter?”

“It does if you’re a carpenter with unlimited funds, pretending to be a bartender, so you can get the lowdown on what it’d take to compete with us.”

“A little competition would do Gregory Construction some good,” Dave said.

“Shut up,” Willow and Blake snapped simultaneously.

“I’m just sayin’…” Dave put up his hands. “It’s obvious you two have some things to talk about.” He disappeared into the back.

Things started to click into place. Blake asking her specific details about their business. Their main focus. How many guys worked for them. She was amazed he hadn’t suggested she patch the wall, not to lessen the amount she owed for bar damage, but so he could ascertain her skill level.

Infuriated, she jumped to her feet. “You totally played me.”

“How do you figure?”

“Getting me to talk about my job.”

“And that means I have ulterior motives? Because I’m interested in your life?”

“Darn right it does. When you haven’t been honest with me about yours.” Her cheeks burned with embarrassment. “Are you having a good laugh about me asking you to come to work for us? Cozying up to the owner? Was that your plan from the start?”

Blake smacked his hands on the counter. “When you barged in here I had no idea who you were besides a confrontational drunk who also happened to be Miss Firecracker. The local beauty queen, not the local carpenter.”

“You slept with me under false pretenses!”

“What was false about it? That I think you’re sexy, smart, funny and sweet? That you look as hot in a toolbelt as you do in a pageant sash? That I like spendin’ time with you in and out of bed?” His eyes glittered. “Lemme tell you something, sunshine, there was nothin’ false about my c**k getting hard every time I saw you or touched you.”

“That is not the point.”

“What is the point?”

“You lied about being between jobs.”

“I am between jobs.”

“You didn’t tell me you had money.”

“Maybe it’s because I’m not used to having money. Or maybe I kept it quiet because I’d like a woman to be attracted to me—not to my bank account.”