Charli and Dylan from Gambling On A Secret are both broken, but when she hires him to rebuild her dilapidated ranch and house, they can’t deny the flame between them… In this scene, fixing a rusty pipe in a stifling bathroom gets a whole lot hotter with just one kiss.
Her body betrayed her good sense and her voice came out breathy. “Don’t. It’s a furnace in here. If you’re more comfortable with your shirt off, it’s okay.”
His gray eyes darkened to a shimmery, bluish hue of a summer day. With jerky movements, Dylan opened the bottom of the shirt. “I don’t think either of us would be comfortable if I went shirtless.”
Oh, yeah, his working shirtless would make her squirm. When she’d first met him two months ago, his dark brown hair had been short, but now it fell over his forehead and curled around the tops of his ears. A small scar ran along the sharp angle of his right cheek under the dark shadow of beard he hadn’t shaved that morning.
She let her gaze slip down over his work-toned body. His shoulders were broad, biceps muscular. The scars and tattoos gave him a dangerous edge she should run from, not eat up like eye candy.
As he pulled the shirt over his head, she reached out and skimmed her fingertips over the largest of the scars on his abdomen. Dylan shivered, yanked the shirt off before putting it completely on, and dropped it on the floor. He grabbed her wrist to pull her against him, and held her.
Her head spun, and her heart sputtered as his mouth lowered hard on hers. He licked at her upper lip, and she opened for him to plunge his tongue into the depths of her mouth.
Worlds collided, stars collapsed into black holes and whole oceans turned to deserts in their kiss.
His hands moved to her hips. Without breaking the kiss, he lifted her unto the edge of the sink. She wrapped her legs around him and crossed her ankles over his behind. When she pulled him as close as he could get with their clothing in the way, he groaned. She couldn’t get enough of him and pressed her center into his impressive erection. He held her there, and somewhere in the cosmic haze, she realized they were dangerously close to giving in to the raw desire sizzling between them.
Her hands moved between their bodies through the soft curls up his chest. His hands molded over her breasts under her tank top. A moan escaped her when he flicked his thumbs over her aroused, satin-covered nipples. She wanted to touch him everywhere and wanted to be touched everywhere by him.
With a growl deep in his chest, he broke the kiss and pulled back. She opened her eyes to meet his. Why was he pushing her away?
The scowl twisting Dylan’s flushed face wasn’t that of a man who wanted to have hot, sweaty sex on the bathroom sink. He looked like he regretted every kiss, every touch, every utterance.
He untangled her legs from around his hips with hot hands. Once he was free, he lifted her off the edge of the sink to stand before the cabinet. Weak-kneed, she grabbed hold of the old ceramic top and leaned against it.
Stabbing both hands through his hair, he turned away with ragged breaths. “We can’t. It’s not right. You’re my boss.”
“Dylan, it was just a kiss, which we both wanted.”
He bent to pick his shirt off the tile floor. “That wasn’t just a kiss. And we both know it.” With his back to her, he quickly pulled the t-shirt over his head. “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
The growing dread of rejection and humiliation settled over her like cold, wet blanket. She stared at him for a moment, not believing he meant the passion in his kiss and touch. A muscle twitched in his clenched jaw and pain glowed in his eyes. Dylan desired her, but he wished he didn’t.
“I’m not ready for this, Charli.”
“Because of…your ex?”
He sucked in a breath, averted his eyes and nodded.
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When Charli bets everything on a secret, will she find the deck stacked against her?
Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.
Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.
When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?
COVER QUOTE: “Full of intrigue, tangled pasts, and raw emotions, this one is guaranteed to keep you turning pages from start to finish and then wishing for one more chapter!”
Carolyn Brown, New York Times bestselling author.
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