“Jessie's got himself a girl and I want to make her mine.”* 🎶
Successful Texas lawyer, Reade Walker, curses that damn song every time it plays, all too aware of the irony of its lyrics. After all, he has been secretly and painfully enamored with Jesse’s girl, Gwen, for nearly a decade. It was love at first sight for him, but sadly she’s not his girl. She belongs to the one man who betrayed him and knows Reade’s hidden family secret. Yet Reade can’t seem to love anyone except the one woman he can't have. Or can he make her mine?
When Gwen Clark’s senator husband runs off with his intern and all their money, the ensuing scandal turns her life upside down. Deserted, penniless and desperate to provide for her six-year-old daughter, Gwen has no one to turn to but Reade Walker. The one man her heart desperately wants, but her pride dreads having to ask for help. Despite welcoming them into his home, it seems like Reade can barely stand being in the same room with her anymore, let alone under the same roof—in the same bedroom. But Gwen is determined to get her life back on track, and if that means dealing with another one-sided attraction, so be it. It is past time to rediscover her own dreams…if only she can keep her aching heart from breaking all over again.
*Song lyrics by Rick Springfield Jessie’s Girl, 1981
- 2020 double HOLT Medallion Finalist - Best First Book & Best Romance Novella
- 2020 Book Buyers Best Contest for Published Authors Finalist Romance Novella
- 2020 CRW Beverley Contest Finalist for published authors
- 2018 Orange Rose Novella Winner 1st Place
- 2018 Cleveland Rocks Romance Winner 1st Place
- 2018 Unpublished Maggie Awards Finalist
-2018 Golden Rose Finalist
- The Catherine 2018 Toronto Romance Writers
- Maine Romance Writers 2017 Strut Your Stuff Finalist
- Pages from the Heart 2017 Finalist
She was having that dream again. She was lying in Reade’s strong arms, and it felt so right having his body pressed down upon hers, imprinting himself on her. Gwen could smell his sandalwood scented soap and hear his thundering heartbeat as if it were her own. The dream seemed so real, she buried her head deeper into the crook of his warm neck, rubbing her lips there at the base of his throat.
Gwen moaned, wrapping her arms tighter around Reade, not wanting to be taken away from this delicious fantasy. She sighed with pleasure as his mouth blazed a trail down the column of her throat, nipping and nibbling and sending chills down her spine. Instinctually, her hips lifted up to meet his. Wow! This dream is getting good. She could even feel his…
Gwen’s eyes popped wide open. She was, indeed, underneath Reade…in his bed. When did he get here? Her arms were wrapped around his bare back, stroking him. Her mouth had been pressed against the base of his neck. She could still see the moisture from her lips and feel the heat of his skin still on hers.
Holy crap. Tilting her head back, she peeked a nervous look up at him.
He was having that dream again. Reade squeezed his eyes shut, resisting the claws of consciousness trying to take him away from the glorious feeling of Gwen. He was winning the war, because Gwen felt so wonderful in his arms, kissing his neck, stroking his back. He let himself explore her fantastic body with his hungry mouth and hands. Needing more, he ground his hips against hers.
Oh yes! That feels amazing. His body practically hummed from the sheer pleasure of it. A little too amazing.
Belatedly opening his eyes, Reade rose up on his elbows and stared down at Gwen, who was wide-eyed and looking up at him in alarm.
Shit. I was just dry humping Gwen. How did she get here? Reade quickly rolled off of her, and she sat up ramrod straight, clutching the sheets to her body.
“I’m sorry!” they blurted out at the same time.
“No, it’s my fault,” Gwen said, furiously shaking her head while avoiding eye contact. “I did not expect you back until later tonight, so I had Maddie sleep in the den alone, and I came in here to get a good night’s rest. She likes to toss and turn and never stays still in her sleep.” Clearly, neither do I.
“No, I’m sorry. I wrapped up my work earlier than expected.” To get back to you, Reade almost added. “The only flight available was the red-eye,” he continued. “And since I’m terrible at sleeping on planes, I took a sleeping pill. I vaguely remember my driver dropping me off at home and then stumbling into bed. I forgot you were staying here. I swear, I didn’t even know you were in the same bed until, well…”
They were both silent for a moment, hearts racing from the encounter. Finally, Gwen released a laugh that sounded forced. “It’s okay, we were both still sleeping after all, and it’s not like we even knew who we were with. It was only natural.” She got out of bed and immediately tugged down the loose jersey she was wearing.
Her attempt at modesty did nothing to cover her stunningly long legs, which Reade couldn’t help but greedily take in. Man, did he want to devour her, inch by glorious inch.
As Gwen turned toward the door, Reade spotted his name lettered across the back of the shirt. Is that my college baseball jersey? Thoughts of Gwen as a college coed wearing his uniform flashed through Reade’s mind, and he thanked the heavens he had the comforter pulled loosely around him to cover the evidence of his reaction. Gulping, he tried to call upon the heavens once more to prevent him from making a further fool of himself. Heaven must have been busy, though, since Gwen caught him staring at the jersey she was wearing.
Blushing, she shifted her gaze to his left shoulder.
“I hope you don’t mind me wearing this. I sent most of my clothes to the consignment shop to sell and the rest is in boxes. I was so focused on packing for Maddie I didn’t even think to pack pajamas for myself. This looked large enough, so I…”
Gwen glanced down at the floor. Her golden hair spilled forward in layers around her shoulders and face. So, this is how Gwen looks in the morning after being kissed? Rumpled, flushed, and so inviting. God, her eyes are incredibly green. So clear they reminded him of a piece of sea glass he’d once found on the beach in Key West. Reade groaned inwardly.
He wanted to pull her back down on top of him, wishing neither of them had woken up so soon. If only he had just a few minutes more, he would have lifted the jersey up over her head, revealing her smooth—
“Take it off,” he announced gruffly.
Gwen’s head snapped up at Reade’s deep command. “Excuse me?” she squeaked.
Did I just say that out loud? He had been pleasantly thinking the words, but he hadn’t meant to utter them. But he was still unable to tear his eyes away from her luscious body, taunting him underneath his jersey. Reade curled his fingers to stop from lifting the fabric to touch her.
Ordering himself to get a grip, Reade scrambled for a quick response. “Uh, I meant, take it! You can take it.” Phew. He silently applauded himself for finally finding his brain.