“Sexy as hell, gutsy as all get out.”—Tiffany Reisz, International bestselling author of THE MISTRESS on The Loving on the Edge series



Book 6 - Loving on the Edge

She’s making a wish list, and he wants to be on top.

From foster kid to trophy wife, Tessa McAllen is about to reinvent herself all over again—and defy every insult her cheating ex-husband ever used against her: Selfish? She’s championing a charity. Stupid? She’s getting her degree.

Boring in bed?

Kade Vandergriff can help her with that one. When they encounter each other at a singles event held at one of his restaurants, Tessa blurts out that kink is for girls who try too hard, and Kade instantly wants to show this sassy stranger how thrilling a night under his command can be…...but when he learns her name, the game changes for both of them.

In high school, Tessa was the popular girl who stuttering, awkward Kade fell for. But she chose another. Now, as she eagerly learns lesson after lesson, he’s going to make sure she never forgets him again.

Released: March 2014


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Copyrighted Material Roni Loren 2013 - All Rights Reserved Berkley Publishing Group

*18 and over only*


Someone’s naked ass is on my imported marble countertops. That was Tessa’s first thought when she walked into her kitchen that warm Tuesday afternoon. Not, Why is Doug home this early? Or, Why does he have his pants around his ankles? And most definitely not Why is my best friend moaning like an injured cat? Nope. Tessa’s brain couldn’t absorb those things just yet. Instead all she could think about was how there was a butt cheek sliding along the spot where she’d chopped strawberries for breakfast. 

The two occupants in the kitchen didn’t even notice they were no longer alone, apparently too caught up in their counter defiling to bother. God, were they that oblivious and swept up in passion? It’s not like she’d been particularly quiet walking in. And she’d slept with the man who’d dropped trou in this little tableau for the last thirteen years. She knew he didn’t inspire losing yourself to the moment. But maybe he saved his good tricks for Tuesday afternoons when he fucked the woman Tessa would’ve trusted her life with before today. 

Tessa cleared her throat, attempting to draw their attention, but all that greeted her was the sound of Doug telling that lyingbitch how hot she was. Rage washed through Tessa in a slow, powerful roll, boiling up and over until she was shaking with it. She calmly set down her purse next to the fruit bowl and wrapped her hand around a large navel orange. Without pausing to reflect, she lifted the fruit and launched it right at her husband’s head. 

It went whizzing past him without notice, sailing into the living room, but she couldn’t stop herself now. She picked up another and hurled it even harder. This one hit him right on the ear with a fat thud. 

What the fuck?” Doug’s hand went up to his ear, and he swiveled his head her way. “Shit.”

The traitor on the counter opened her eyes then, her gaze going wide.

But Tessa kept throwing. Oranges, apples, a grapefruit that landed with satisfying impact. It was as if some other force has possessed her. Fruit whizzed across the kitchen pelting the both of them as they scrambled to get up and pull their clothes around themselves.

“Ow, Tessa, stop it! What the fuck is wrong with you?” Doug roared as he yanked at his pants with one hand while trying to fend off flying fruit with the other.

“What is wrong with me? Me?!” Tessa shouted, knowing she sounded like a lunatic but unable to stop herself. 

“Tessa, honey,” Marilyn said, hands out in front of her, blouse still hanging open. “Let’s just calm down, okay?”

Tessa pinned her former best friend with a glare. “Did you just dare speak to me?”

“Marilyn, sweetheart,” Doug said softly, putting a hand on her elbow and blocking her from Tessa with his body. “Why don’t you get out of here? I’ll deal with her.”

Sweetheart?Deal with her? Loud, crashing bells were going off in Tessa’s head. She was glad the knife block was out of reach because she wasn’t sure she could trust herself in that moment. 

Marilyn nodded after a quick, worried glance at Tessa then hurried through the living room toward the sliding glass doors that led to the pool area and a backyard exit. Apparently, she knew better than to try to walk by Tessa to get to the front door. Wise move. Because Tessa was ready to throw down Jerry Springer style.

With a tired sigh, Doug turned back to Tessa, his fly still unbuttoned and his dick still half-mast behind the material. The bastard hadn’t even lost his erection. In fact, he looked more annoyed that he’d been interrupted than ashamed of what he’d done. Tessa’s fist balled. “You lying, cheating asshole.”

He pulled on his dress shirt and looked around at the carnage of busted fruit on the floor. “Call the maid and have her come in early to clean this up. It’ll draw ants if it sits too long. I’ve got to get back to my office.”

Tessa blinked, almost too stunned to speak. “That’s what you have to say for yourself?”

“You don’t want to hear what I have to say.” He adjusted his cuffs like it was any other day of getting ready for work and not like the whole foundation of their marriage had shattered beneath them.

“Oh, no. I really do,” she said, seething.

His mouth curled in condescension. “Fine. You want to hear that I need something on the side? That you don’t satisfy all of my needs?”

“Your needs?” If she’d had another piece of citrus to throw, she would’ve reached for it then. How many nights had she put all she had into pleasing him even when he hadn’t put half the effort toward her? How many times had she donned expensive lingerie trying to catch his eye? She’d been willing to do anything for him. She’d loved him. 

And he’d been screwing around on her the whole time. With her best friend. The thought almost doubled her over. She reached out and grabbed the edge of the counter.

“Look, you’re upset. I get it. But, Tessa, it’s just sex. I don’t love them, and I’m not going to leave you for any of them. They’re not a threat to you.”

“You have the nerve to talk to me about love right now?” she asked, her throat trying to close. Them. So it was more than Marilyn. She wondered if Marilyn knew she was just the tramp in the Tuesday slot on his calendar. “You’re disgusting.”

His lips curved back into that patronizing smirk he was so good at. “And you’re boring in bed and my intellectual inferior, but I’ve learned to live with it. At least you’re nice to look at now that you’ve gotten your gym routine back on course.”

The hateful words knocked the breath right out of her. Doug had said mean things to her before in the heat of the moment. They’d been together since high school, so of course they’d had their fights. He could be critical beyond reason, always watching that she didn’t eat too many calories or go outdoors without makeup or say the wrong thing in public. She’d tolerated it because she knew how concerned about image he was in his role as the great Pastor Barrett of the Living Light mega-church. And she’d comforted herself with those moments when he was sweet and indulgent with her behind closed doors. He had the capacity to make her feel like a princess. And even though those times had grown few and far between over the last few years, she’d had no idea his opinion of her had sunk so low. Boring in bed. Inferior. Stupid.

God, is that what he told the women he cheated on her with? My wife isn’t too bright, and she’s clueless in the sack.

She grabbed her purse, her stomach threatening to toss up all its contents. She couldn’t stand here for another second and look at his smarmy face, smell the scent of sex in the air.  “Go to hell, Doug. I hope you’re happy with your college-educated whores. Now you won’t have to worry about me getting in the way.”

He scoffed. “Come on, Tessa. Stop being melodramatic. You’re not going to divorce me. Your life and everything in it exist because of me. Leave and it all goes away. You’re going to give up all this just because I like a novel fuck every now and then? Please. You wouldn’t even know how to survive without a man taking care of you.” He grabbed his wallet and flipped a piece a plastic her way. “Here, take the credit card. Go punish me by buying something useless and extravagant—you’re good at that—and we’ll move on.”

The credit card landed at her feet, and she had the urge to spear its platinum face with the heel of her Jimmy Choo pump. He was right. If she left him, every bit of her lifestyle would disappear in a poof. From the clothes on her back to the oranges she’d hurled at him—all of it was funded by him. There’d be no way to prove his affair in court, not with the legal demons he could afford to hire. And she’d signed a pre-nup. She’d be left with a pittance of alimony. All the comfort and security she’d worked toward her whole life would be gone. She’d be back where she started all those years ago—a nobody with nothing. 

Alone. With no money of her own and only a high-school education to her name.

She bent and picked up the card from the floor, turning it in her fingers before dropping it in her purse.

Doug smiled, satisfied. Victorious.

Without another word, she turned on her heels and calmly walked back out to her Mercedes. When she made it into town, she bought the two most extravagant things she could think of.

The services of an attorney.

And a plane ticket home.

It’d be the last of Doug Barrett’s money she’d ever spend.


“Hold up. Why are you buying condoms?” Tessa snatched the box of Trojans from Sam’s fingertips and held them up like Exhibit A. “You said this was an emergency stop.”

Sam sent her an innocent look, one that Tessa had seen her use rather effectively on both sets of foster parents she’d shared with Sam. “What? I’m out. And we may need them.”

“You may need condoms,” Tessa repeated. “For a cooking class.”

Sam grabbed another box from the rack. “We may need them. I’ll get some for you, too. You never know who we might meet.”

Tessa groaned and looked up at the buzzing florescent lights of the drugstore. Sam’s ability to look for dating opportunities around every corner never failed to amaze Tessa. “We’re not going to meet anyone. It’s a cooking class. It’s going to be married couples, women, and gay men.”

Which is exactly why Tessa had agreed to go. After months of Sam trying to drag her out to bars or clubs on Friday nights to get her over that “dickwad ex-husband”, finally her friend had come up with something that didn’t make Tessa’s stomach turn and her body break out into a cold sweat. But now, as she took in Sam’s snug skirt and high heels, Tessa’s dread was growing. She’d thought Sam had simply chosen to dress up because the class was being held at one of the swankiest restaurants in Dallas. But now the puzzle pieces were locking together into a new picture.

“Straight men like to cook, too,” Sam pointed out as she strolled away from the prophylactics aisle toward the cosmetics section. “Particularly when it’s a Perfect Match meet-up event.” 

Tessa’s shoe squeaked on the floor as she halted mid-stride. “Sam, you better be screwing with me.”

Sam grabbed a lip gloss off a rack and held the colored cap next to Tessa’s mouth, frowned, then picked up a different color. “I’m not screwing with you. I’m helping you. My friend is the receptionist at the local Perfect Match office. She offered to sneak us onto the list because the event wasn’t full. How could I pass it up? It was like fate tapping my shoulder. You want to scratch items off your list. This will accomplish that and maybe get you a date as a bonus. Two for the price of one.”

“Learning to cook is on my list. Dating is not. Dating is actually diametrically opposed to the whole spirit of the list.” 

“Diametrically? Wow, someone’s getting As in her night classes.” Sam gave her a teasing smile and dropped the lip gloss into her hand basket. “And if I’m not mistaken, one of the items you have on that sacred to-do list of yours is to tackle being ‘boring in bed’. How exactly do you plan to fix that one without actually coming into contact with the opposite sex?”

A guy perusing greeting cards across the aisle gave them a sideways glance and smirked. Tessa’s face heated. “Could you at least try to keep your voice down while discussing my sex life?”

What sex life?” Sam replied, not bothering to lower her voice. “This is exactly why we’re going tonight. You need to loosen up. Be open to a world of infinite possibilities. And by possibilities, I mean hot men.”

“Ugh.” She should’ve never let Sam see her stupid list. It’d been something she’d written down in those first few weeks after she’d left Doug and her life in Atlanta. She’d landed in Dallas with no plan, no place to stay, no job. All she’d had was her suitcase and a head filled with all the critical things Doug had said to her over the course of their marriage and that final day in the kitchen.  

He’d said she was nothing without him. 

And as she’d sat in Sam’s guest room one night, trying to put together a resume to apply for jobs and feeling sorry for herself, she’d realized the bastard had been right on some level. Since she’d met Doug in high school, her entire existence had been centered around being who he wanted her to be. Being what everyone wanted her to be. For Doug, it was the doting girlfriend. For her classmates, it was the bubbly, popular cheerleader. For her foster parents, it was the girl who never broke the rules and went to church with them every Sunday.

She’d been a master chameleon without ever realizing it. It’d kept her from being moved to yet another home. It’d kept her safe from the vicious bullying in high school. It’d given her a way to secure a future with a man who would take care of her. She’d never be that little girl left alone and scared again.

Only the whole plan had been built out of popsicle sticks. She’d counted on someone else for her happiness and security. A fatal mistake. How had she ever let herself be so stupid as to trust someone again? Her mother had said she’d always be there and look how that had turned out. Trust was for suckers.

As Tessa had stared at that blinking cursor, she’d made a decision. Never would she let herself depend on anyone else again. She would survive on her own. She’d done it for years as a kid. She could do it now. And she wouldn’t just make it through, she’d transform. Thrive. She’d vowed that by the end of the year, a resume of her life would no longer be a stark blank page. She would take those insults Doug had hurled at her and use them as fuel, not only to find a job but to tackle every facet of her life. She’d prove that she was more than the trophy wife she’d let herself become.

But that plan had not included dating. Sex, maybe. Eventually. She didn’t plan to enter the convent and abstain for the rest of her life. But dating and getting any emotional entanglements would only send her sliding backward. “Sam, I’m not ready to date. You know that.”

Sam sighed and linked her arm with Tessa’s, leading her to the register. “So come for the food and cooking lesson then. The whole point of these meet-ups is that it’s a no pressure environment. And we’re getting sangria and a fancy meal for free. How long has it been since you’ve had a chance to eat a restaurant that doesn’t serve food wrapped in greasy paper?”

Tessa groaned. “Don’t remind me.”

One of the main reasons she was interested in cooking classes in the first place was because she missed the delicious meals Doug’s housekeeper used to prepare for them and all the gourmet restaurants she and Doug had gone to regularly. If she had to eat another bowl of canned soup, she may stab herself with the spoon. But she didn’t have the income to fund nice restaurants anymore. So if she wanted to eat something that wasn’t frozen or canned, she was going to have to learn how to cook it herself. 

Sam swiped her credit card and took her bag from the cashier. “Exactly. Barcelona is one of the hottest restaurants around. This is your chance for a major treat. The only sacrifice is that you’ll have to make small talk with a stranger who happens to have a penis. Big deal.”

Tessa sighed, her ability to fight against Sam’s hopeful gaze crumbling. Sam had good intentions, even if they were misguided. And really, what was a little awkward small talk with someone Tessa would never see again when there was free sangria to be had? “You’re lucky I’m a sucker for tapas.”

Sam’s face broke into a grin, and she pulled out the lip gloss to give it to Tessa. “Gloss up, babe. Let’s go cook some shrimp and break some hearts.”


When Tessa walked through the doors of Barcelona, it was like walking through a portal to a world she wasn’t a native of anymore. Soft Spanish music played, the scent of exotic spices drifted through the air, and the saffron-colored walls flickered with the dancing light of candlelit tables. Every detail screamed trendy elegance and money. As did most of the guests sitting at the tables. She could almost see her old self sitting among them, glass in hand, diamonds sparkling at her throat, her husband sitting across from her telling her about the latest plan he was working on. Anyone looking at them would’ve been envious. 

But seeing the image in her mind’s eye now showed a picture that was warped and tarnished. An illusion. The conversation would’ve been one-sided because Tessa had never understood Doug’s business speak. The diamond choker around her neck would’ve probably been a guilt gift he’d given her after one of his affairs. And the glass would’ve been filled with sparkling water instead of wine because Doug didn’t allow drinking for either of them in public. 

 She didn’t miss this world.

And she didn’t miss that woman.

“Hello, ladies, do you have a reservation?” the host asked.

Sam stepped forward. “We’re here for the cooking class.”

“Ah, yes,” he said, his smile welcoming. “Follow me. You’ll be in the banquet room.”

The host led them through the main dining area and then through a short hallway and another set of doors. The banquet room looked much like the other side of the restaurant, but the lights weren’t as low and there were tables set up around the perimeter with cooking equipment and little bowls of ingredients. In the center of the room, there were smaller, more intimate tables where they’d presumably eat their meal after learning how to prepare it. Pitchers of sangria gleamed ruby red on each table. A number of people were already sitting at the small tables, mingling and drinking. The tinkling sounds of nervous, first date laughter mixed in with the music.

Tessa’s stomach did a flip, and she almost turned to leave. Sam put a hand on Tessa’s arm, as if reading her unspoken intention, and guided her forward. “Don’t chicken out now.”

A man with a clipboard near the entrance grinned brightly. “Welcome to the meet-up ladies. I’m Jim, your event liaison for the night. Names?”

“I’m Samantha Dunbar, and this is Tessa McAllen.”

Jim scanned the clipboard, nodding. “Ms. Dunbar, your perfect match is Cory Heath, table five. He’s already here if you’d like to head over and say hi. We’re letting everyone chat and enjoy their drinks for a few minutes before the class starts. Break the ice, you know?”

“Sure,” Sam said, peeking over at the salt and pepper-haired guy at table five, scanning him from head to loafer. “Sounds good.”

But Tessa’s brain snagged. “Wait a second. I thought we were mingling with everyone?”

Jim smiled. “Oh, no, ma’am. Perfect Match is full service. We took the profile you sent us and matched you up with someone compatible for the evening. No use wasting time on people you have nothing in common with, right?”

“The profile I sent in?” Tessa asked, shooting daggers at Sam.

Sam sent her a please-don’t-kill-me look and gave Tessa’s hand a squeeze. “Just try to have a good time, okay? I promise, it’s no big deal. It’ll be fun.”

With that, Sam hurried off toward her “perfect match.” Tessa had to fight hard not to lose it right there. Not only was she going to have to manage a date with a stranger, but said stranger would be under the impression that they’d been matched together. And God only knew what Sam had put in Tessa’s profile. Probably that she enjoyed long walks on the beach, tantric sex, and belly dancing.

Jim was scanning his list again, and Tessa smoothed the front of her dress. She hadn’t thought to put much effort into her outfit tonight. This was supposed to be a cooking class after all. So she’d stayed in the pale pink blouse and black skirt she’d worn to work. But now she felt plain and out of place. Everyone else had put on their A-game ensemble for date night. 

God, why was she even worrying about it? This isn’t a real date. She’d been trained by Doug to look her best at all times because you never knew who you’d run into, and sometimes that old urge was hard to shake. But she wasn’t here to impress anyone. She was here to drink sangria and to learn how to cook. That’s it.

The door opened behind her as more people came in.

“Ms. McAllen?” Jim asked, a small frown curving his thin lips as he lifted his gaze from the clipboard. “Do you have your confirmation number with you? You’re not showing on my list.”

“My what?” She automatically put her hand on her purse but knew she had nothing of the sort in there. “No. My friend set all this up for us both.”

“Hmm.” Jim tapped his pencil on the clipboard. “Well, I’m not showing you on here, which means we don’t have confirmation of your payment. If you’d like to pay the fee now, we can let you stay for the class. Then if you find your confirmation, we’ll refund you. But since you weren’t on the list, we won’t have a match set up for you. You’d be staying for the cooking portion only unless we have any other walk-ins.”

No match? That sounded like a fantastic idea. She’d never been so happy to be left off a guest list. “How much is it?”

“Two-hundred dollars.”

A gasp escaped her lips. Two hundred dollars? She should’ve expected it at a place like this, but the number still caught her off guard. And it was a number she couldn’t fund. “I’m sorry. I’ll have to find out what happened to my original fee and do this another time. Maybe I can talk to my friend and see if she has the information.”

He smiled kindly, but she saw the instant dismissal in his eyes. He knew she was bailing because she didn’t have the money. He knew she didn’t belong there. “Of course.”

Shame tried to edge in, heating her cheeks. But she swallowed it back. She would not get teary over missing some stupid cooking class. She took a step to head toward Sam’s table, hoping that even though they were technically party crashers, her friend had some magical confirmation number. But before she could move forward, a warm hand touched her elbow. 

“I’ll cover the fee.”

She stiffened at the touch, but the rich timbre of the man’s voice rolled over Tessa like sun-heated ocean water, making her want to close her eyes and soak in it, stay there a while. She turned around, her gaze going up, up, up, and finally colliding with clear blue eyes, a face made for Greek sculpture, and lips…God, his lips. She couldn’t imagined those had ever been used for anything but sex and sin. 

She wanted to bite them.

As that image flitted through her mind, any shot she had at a normal, polite response evaporated into mist. 

“I’d hate for you to miss one of the best meals of your life because of a computer glitch,” the man said with a ghost of a smile.

Tessa simply stared back like she hadn’t understood the language he spoke. The way he held her gaze had her thoughts scattering and her brain reaching for some memory she couldn’t quite grab ahold of. She shook her head, breaking the gaze and trying to clear her head. No. Get it together, Tessa. This stranger was offering to pay two-hundred dollars for her to eat. She knew how that worked. She’d played that game before. “Really, that’s very kind of you to offer. But I’ll just come back another time.”

He pulled his wallet from his pocket, pulled two crisp bills from it, and handed it to Jim. “I insist. And it’s no problem. I’m sure they’ll pay me back when they find your original reservation.”

Tessa shook her head again, even though her mind was already fast-forwarding and picturing how decadent it would be to sit and sip sangrias with this stranger. But she couldn’t fall into her old habits and let him pay her way. It didn’t matter that he was gorgeous or that he didn’t seem to mind or that he was wearing a watch that said two-hundred dollars was insignificant for him. “I’m sorry. I can’t take your money.”

Before the stranger could protest, she moved past him and the few people waiting behind them to head for the door. She needed to get out—now. She knew it was ridiculous, but she had the sudden urge to cry, to scream, to pound on something. All she’d wanted tonight was to relax and have a fun girl’s night with Sam. Instead, she’d been reminded of the life she used to have, how feeble her bank account was now, and how fucked up she was when it came to men.

She moved through the hallway that led back to the main dining room in a rush, hoping to reach the parking lot before the tears broke free, but a hand touched her shoulder. “Hey, hold up.”

The quiet command of his voice and the gentleness of the touch had her slowing her step before she could think better of it. She closed her eyes, took a breath, and turned around, speech prepared. But when she saw the genuine concern on his face, her words got stuck in her throat.

He tucked his hands in his pockets, the move pulling his black dress shirt snug across what looked to be long, lean muscles beneath. His eyes scanned hers. “Are you okay? I didn’t mean to chase you off.”

She put her hand to her too hot forehead, trying to catch her breath and center herself. “I’m sorry. It wasn’t you. I’m fine. This night just isn’t working out like I thought it would.”

“Expected to meet your perfect match?”

She made a sound that was some mixture of a snort, a sob, and a laugh. “Ha. Hardly. What a joke that is. A perfect match.”

His mouth lifted at the corner, his blue eyes dancing in the flickering light of the wall sconces. “Come on, you don’t think there’s the perfect someone out there for everyone? Someone who’s meant to fit only with you? All the movies say so.”

“Movies sell us a bill of goods,” she said flatly. All that mystical aligning of stars was such bullshit. People got into relationships for what it could do for them. When the benefit ran out, they moved on. She’d seen that proven over and over again.

“Uh-huh,” he said, his tone teasing. “So you’re telling me you paid two-hundred dollars to attend something you don’t buy into?”

“I didn’t pay,” she admitted. “A friend told me she’d get me on the list. And I—I wanted to learn to cook and to taste the food.”

He glanced back at the closed door and chuckled. “Ooh, a party crasher. How scandalous.”

His low laugh was like a gust of summer air across her nerve endings, reminding her of someone long ago. Someone she hadn’t had to be a chameleon for. She found herself smiling, her dour mood lifting. “That’s me. A scandal a minute. And now I’m causing more. I’m sure your perfect match date is anxiously awaiting you inside.”

“Nah, I’m not sold on a perfect match, either. But instant attraction…” He stepped closer and the air in the room thickened and warmed. “That I subscribe to. So, Ms. Party Crasher, answer me one question. Are you leaving because you were opposed to the money or me?”

She blinked, caught off guard by the question and his nearness. “What?”

“You came here tonight to take a class and have a nice meal. I was happy to help you do that. So, did you turn down my offer because you think the money comes with strings or is because you’re opposed to spending the evening with me?”

“I—” She wet her lips. The way he’d said spend the evening with me had her mind conjuring pictures of him braced over her, his blond hair mussed, his eyes burning through her, and that sensual mouth whispering dirty, filthy things in her ear. Her thighs clenched, and she tried to come up with something to say that wasn’t God, you’re beautiful, please push me up against this wall and make me forget my name. “I can’t accept the money.”

That answer seemed to please him. “And me?”

She couldn’t tell if it was the warm, smoky spices from the restaurant mixing in, but even the scent of him was exotic and dangerous, tempting. She wanted to bury her face in the open collar of his shirt and inhale. And possibly lick. No, scratch the possibly on that, tasting would definitely need to be involved. All her resolve disintegrated in the space between breaths. “I’m not opposed.”

He reached out and pushed a stray lock of hair away from her face, the simple brush of fingers like lightning rods touching her skin. “So if I promised you I wouldn’t pay a dime for the rest of the evening, would you agree to spend it with me?”

She swallowed hard, the notion almost too much for her psyche to absorb. She knew what he was offering wasn’t simply dinner and a chat. There was a ripple of heat beneath each uttered word, a promise. Her body was on board with this plan, whether her good sense agreed or not. Already, she could feel the flush of arousal tightening her nipples and making her panties cling. She hadn’t been touched by anyone since Doug, and her experiences with him had always been underwhelming. Just being close to this mystery man made everything inside her feel hot and alive. But it’d be stupid and reckless to say yes. She’d never had a one-night stand. She didn’t even know if she was capable of it. Plus, what if she really was boring in bed.

She’d told herself that Doug had thrown that out there just to hurt her, but what if there was some truth to it? Her sexual history was nearly nil since she’d gotten married so young. What if she hopped in bed with this guy and was completely out of her league?

“I can’t leave. I’m my friend’s ride,” she said, her voice thready and breathless from him being so close.

His smile was slow, sexy. “I never said we had to leave.”

She closed her eyes, his mere presence overwhelming her system and making her heart pound in her throat. “What do you mean?”

His breath brushed her ear. “Take my hand, and I’ll show you.”

A shiver worked it’s way down her neck and along her skin. Every nerve ending screamed for his touch, all the years of pent-up frustration surging to the surface and demanding relief. She needed this escape, this release. She needed to feel like a woman again.

When she looked up at him finally, the pure confidence and interest shining there in his eyes had her nerves smoothing. She knew in that moment that this man would never allow her to be boring in bed. This was a man who got what he wanted. A man who wouldn’t be afraid to tell her exactly what to do, how he liked it, and how he was going to have her.

Suddenly, she wasn’t so interested in sangria anymore.    

Or sitting in the car alone to have a good cry. 

She reached out and let her hand slide into his.

Maybe she’d scratch something off her list tonight after all.

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