Insistent fingers tipped her face up. Renner’s eyes blazed. “That’s what you were doin’ that night in Buckeye Joe’s when I first kissed you. Picking out a cherry-poppin’ guy?”

Tierney blushed. “Yes. Not that it happened.”

“Goddamn good thing.” Then Renner’s mouth swooped down, commanding hers with molten kisses that set her whole body aflame. He rolled her to her back, batting aside pillows so he could pin her arms above her head. He hung above her on all fours. “Well, sweetness, I will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about bein’ my lover and then some.”

“So this isn’t a onetime thing?”

“No. But we are gonna set some ground rules.” He beamed a cocky smile. “Oh sugar, by the mutinous look on your face, you don’t like that one little bit, do you?”

“Like you’re a big rule follower, Renner Jackson.”

Still grinning, he kissed her. “Rule one—you don’t get to tell Daddy nothin’ about what goes on between us.”

Like that would pose a challenge since she and her father currently weren’t speaking. “Done. Is that it?”

Renner shook his head. “Rule two—same deal for the Split Rock employees. All of them. Complete discretion. Everyone knows your father gave me the financing for this place and I don’t wanna give anyone the chance to whisper that I’m with you for any reason besides I wanna be with you.”

“That’s sweet. But I so wanted you to nail me on a dining room table during breakfast,” she cooed.

“Smart-ass. But I do have a whole host of ideas on how we can christen your desk.”

She lightly bit his chin and let her tongue trace the indent near the tip. She recited, “Rule three—same goes for the guests. Rule four—same for the people in Muddy Gap. I get it. Now can we move on to the teaching me about sex part? Because I have lots of—”

He fused his mouth to hers, devastating her with a kiss that proved she had a lot to learn about having this man as her lover. When he pulled his lips away to peer into her eyes, she was so dizzy and wanting she couldn’t speak.

“I’ve figured out a way to shut you up,” he murmured.

She arched, rocking her hips into him. “Do that again. Please.”

“In a second. Two other things. What happens between us on a personal level won’t affect our business dealings.”

“So if you do something asinine regarding the Split Rock, and I demand an explanation, and we have a big blowup, you won’t use that as an excuse to withhold sex from me?”

“I oughta take offense to the word asinine. But I’m trying to stay focused even though you are nekkid.” His finger followed the curve of her neck to the hollow of her throat. “You’re so pretty right here. We haven’t been at each other’s throats nearly as much in the last month. Why is that?”

Because I might go broke trying to do my part to keep this place afloat and now I have loads of work to do strictly for cash. I don’t have time to dissect everything you do or obsess over potential mistakes. “Umm . . . because we realized we have a common goal?”

“Maybe. But I’m glad we ain’t snapping at each other all the time.” Renner kissed her forehead. “Last thing, if we’re together, then there’s no one else. You wanna break it off with me, fine. Do it. But I won’t stand for cheating.”

She outlined the rugged angles of his face, committing to memory his bone structure. “How could any woman ever cheat on you? You’re so good looking. And you have this magnetism.” Her eyes searched his. “I’m jealous. You don’t know what it’s like to be shy. Or to be the least interesting person in the room.”

“Sweetheart, you’re so wrong. You’ve had my interest since the day you stepped your high heels at the Split Rock and glared at me from behind them sexy glasses.”

A blush stained her cheeks. “I’m not fishing for return compliments. I’m just . . . pretty stunned that you’re attracted to me at all.” She traced the twin slashes of his dark eyebrows. “We’re complete opposites.”

“In some ways. But in other ways”—Renner touched his lips to the hollow of her throat—“we fit together so well.”

He slid down her body. Placing a kiss on her breastbone. Her sternum. Her belly button. Then her bikini line. His eyes danced with mischief. “Ever had a man’s mouth down here?”

She shook her head.

He moved south until his face was level with her groin. He dragged his tongue from hipbone to hipbone. One. Twice. Three times.

Her belly muscles rippled, inside and out. “I—I . . .”

At the first swipe of his wet, soft, hot, determined tongue, Tierney decided she’d died and gone to heaven. He licked. Sucked. Tortured her with his mouth until her body nearly vibrated off the bed. Then he really unleashed all his oral tricks. She cried out when the vortex of pleasure dragged her in and spun her around, upside down, inside out, until she couldn’t breathe.

As she floated down from an orgasmic high, Renner was back on her. In her. Watching her eyes as he f**ked her. Gauging her reaction to every little thing he did to her. Fast. Slow. Long. Shallow. Hard. Teasing. It didn’t take much for that thundering need to build again. Pulse hammering, hips slapping, sweat-slicked arms and legs fought for purchase on the slippery sheets as she detonated again.


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