Mistake number one: falling in love with a man who betrayed me. Showing up on his doorstep years later asking for his help? Also not brilliant.
Haven: Naive. Foolish. Call it what you like, but I let myself get conned by a man who claimed he loved me. Nine years later, he’s as sexy and compelling as ever. I find myself wanting to believe he’s changed, wanting to believe I’m his, him to touch me. But how the hell am I supposed to trust a con?
Ethan: Grifter. Master manipulator. Hustler. Call it what you like, but I’m damn good at what I do. I earn trust, I break it, and I never make mistakes. Then Haven knocks on my door, every bit as gorgeous and brilliant and impossible as I remember, with her curves and wholesome innocence. I’ll protect her. Earn her trust. Make her mine.
“Oh, yeah,” he confirmed. “See, while I was in here, my thoughts were occupied by all the things I couldn’t wait to do when I got out of here. I decided, I want steak for dinner from La Marque.”
“The one on Fifty-Fourth?”
He nodded. “And I want the longest, hottest shower known to man.”
“Oh, I bet,” I said, putting my elbows on the metal table and leaning forward to rest my chin on my hands. I couldn’t imagine the culture shock of having your showers regimented.
“But before I do any of those things, Haven?” His voice had changed tone and I was startled by the intensity.
“Y-yeah? What do you need, Ethan? Anything you want.”
He smiled, slow and hot. “I want you. In my bed.”
I swallowed again. I’d already decided in favor of that, of course. He’d paid his debt to me – both by giving me back the money he’d taken from my parents, and by showing me just how much he’d changed by stepping into this hellhole voluntarily to free Max and Luis.
But Ethan didn’t know that. If the man had been making assumptions, I wasn’t going to make this easy for him.
“Is that right?” I said, folding my arms over my chest. “What makes you think I’d go?”
His voice shifted even lower, deeper, the rasp of his voice sliding over my skin. “Because you know I can make you scream my name.”
My breath caught, a tell-tale hitch that belied my stiff posture. The words were a bold challenge, an honest, straightforward claiming. They were proof that we’d moved way beyond deceit and trickery, and that my faith in him was justified.
“I’ve thought a lot about how sweet your pussy was the other night,” he continued conversationally. “I closed my eyes and I swear to God, I could practically taste it. It was fucking delicious.”
Oh. Dear. God.
“I imagined I was sitting on my bed at home, and you were standing in front of me in that hot little black and white dress of yours, giving me that little teasing smile I love. And while I watched, you pulled the dress up, just an inch at a time, and bared your skin and those sexy-as-fuck panties to me.”
Oh, God. I could see it too, like he was painting a picture in the air with his words. My mouth was hanging open and I tried my best to summon a cool, snarky response, but all that came out was, “Guh.”
He smiled, dark and predatory. “I told you to remove your panties. Slowly. And do you know what happened next?”
I shook my head. I could guess. Hell, I was practically ready to do it right here and now, cameras and guards be damned. But I wanted to hear the words from his lips.
“You said no,” he whispered, and I blinked. Wow. His fantasy-Haven was pretty badass and had way more control than the real me had.
“But that was fine,” he said, his eyes burning into mine. “That was fucking perfect.”
“Mmm. Because I turned you around, put you over my knee, and spanked your ass for your disobedience.” He bit his lip, the first physical sign he’d shown that he was as affected by his words as I was. “And Haven? You wanted me to. So, so badly.”
I raised my hands to press my cold palms to my suddenly burning cheeks. I would want that. I hadn’t confessed it to anyone, ever, not even to him nine years ago, but I did want it. I craved it.
He didn’t move from the wall, but his eyes stalked me, cataloging my every movement, my every response. Ethan knew how to read people, and I knew he could read me right now.
Did he know that my panties were damp? Could he sense the way my nipples were beading beneath my blouse? Did he realize how badly I wanted him? Suddenly, I wanted him to know.
“Then what happened?” I demanded breathlessly.
“After that? After your ass was red, you mean? After you’d writhed on my lap until your pussy was dripping for me?” He smiled, innocent as an angel except for his wicked, wicked eyes. “Then I forced you to your knees on the floor.”
I was nearly hyperventilating, aching with want, and I could barely see him across the room, since my vision was turned inward, imagining the scene he projected.
“You took my cock in your mouth,” he said hoarsely. “Licked it like a popsicle that might melt at any minute, and then sucked me down the back of your throat. Jesus Christ, I was so hard. So, so hard. And I didn’t want to hurt you, I would never want to hurt you, but you grabbed my hands and put them on your head to let me know you loved it every bit as much as I did, that you wanted me to use you that way.”
I gripped the table so I could hold myself to earth when the stunned arousal in my blood made me feel buoyant. I did want it. I did, I did, I did.
“I fucked your mouth,” he whispered, like the world’s most erotic confession, but the look in his eyes said he wasn’t repentant. Not for one single second. “You made the sweetest little noises, just like the noises you made when I ate you out the other night. You remember, Haven?”
I didn’t respond fast enough, apparently, because he repeated himself, his voice harder this time. “Do you, Haven?”
I nodded jerkily. God, of course I did. I’d deliberately tried not to think about it while he’d been away, knowing it would only make me miss him more, but his voice was a spell, an incantation, that conjured up that evening with perfect clarity. I could feel his mouth on my most intimate areas, could feel the powerful thrust of his tongue.
“Ethan,” I breathed.
“I want to do that again, Haven. Right now. Tonight. Over and over.” His hands were flat against the wall behind him now. And though they were still cuffed behind his back, it seemed like he was hanging onto the cinder-block surface for support. In a rush I realized that he was standing that far away because distance was the only way he could control himself.
Jane has been writing since her early teens, dabbling in short stories and poetry. When she married and began having children, her pen was laid to rest for several years, until the National Novel Writing Challenge (NaNoWriMo) in 2010 awakened in her the desire to write again. That year, she wrote her first novel, and has been writing ever since. With a houseful of children, she finds time to write in the early hours of the morning, squirreled away with a laptop, blanket, and cup of hot coffee. Years ago, she heard the wise advice, “Write the book you want to read,” and has taken it to heart. She sincerely hopes you also enjoy the books she likes to read.
Maisy is an unabashed book nerd who has been in love with romance since reading her first Julie Garwood novel at the tender age of 12. After a decade as a technical writer, she finally made the leap into writing fiction several years ago and has never looked back. Like her other great loves – coffee, caramel, beach vacations, yoga pants, and her amazing family – her love of words has only continued to grow… in a manner inversely proportional to her love of exercise, house cleaning, and large social gatherings. She loves to hear from fellow romance lovers, and is always on the hunt for her next great read.