COMING FRIDAY 7 PM PST. CHRISTINA PHILLIPS AUTHOR OF: ONCE UPON A PLAYER (SEE EXCERPT)
7 PM PST.
When my mum gets sick, I volunteer to fill in for her and clean some hot jock’s penthouse. I’ve heard all the rumors about him, so the plan is get in, clean some toilet bowls, and get out. After my last experience with a “sports hero,” I’m done with that sort of guy.
But Lucas Carter is full of surprises. He wants to help me clean and is nothing like the toad the press has made him out to be. Resistance may be futile for some girls, but not me. Then he asks me to help him with the interior design of his new place. I can’t say, no. It’s going to look great on my resume.
Unfortunately, spending time with Lucas is dangerous. He’s so charming and sweet, but I can’t let myself forget––once a player, always a player.
Once Upon a Player is a standalone romance
I did not just ogle Lucas Carter’s hard-on.
Yes, I did. My face is still burning even though my unforgivable slip happened about three minutes ago. And much as I want to believe he didn’t notice, I saw the satisfied smirk on his face just before he left the room.
A mortified groan shudders through me as I wash the surprisingly clean workbench in the kitchen. There’s no chance I can sneak out of here before he returns, but it doesn’t stop me fantasizing about it.
Why couldn’t he have been a total wanker? It was way too hard being all detached and professional when he was helping to clear up the rubbish. Even though I try and hold his smirk against him, it’s not working.
That’s my own fault for eyeing his goods. He probably thinks I’m just playing hard to get.
He’s a player in every sense of the word, and I need to remember that.
By the time he strolls back into the room, I’ve managed to compose myself. No more sneaky peeks at his equipment. Luckily, his shorts hide everything there, and he’s also pulled on a white short-sleeved shirt, which would be helpful if he’d taken the time to button the damn thing up. As it is, he’s just hotter than ever.
He folds his arms on the back of the sofa I’m working on and leans over it, which is distracting when I’m trying to clean the white leather.
“Hey, Violet.” Why does he keep using my name? It sends a tingle down my spine and I so don’t need that. “Do you want a coffee? Or cup of tea?”
I could do with a stiff whiskey. “No, thank you.” I concentrate on the task in hand and refuse to give in to my weak desire to glance up at him.
“Have you been working at the cleaning agency for long?”
Why does he want to know that? It can’t be because he wants to lodge a complaint. I’ve been super polite. Anyway, he’s not behaving like he has a problem with the service. I give in, roll back on my knees, and catch his warm Mediterranean blue gaze. God, I loved his blue eyes when I was fifteen.
“For the last three years.” I hope that satisfies his curiosity. I’m not sure if he’s aware that Mum’s cousin is his agent, and I don’t want to accidentally say something I shouldn’t. On the other hand, I’m not going to lie, since it wouldn’t take him a minute to find out the truth.
“Full time?” The distracting flash of dimples that accompanies his inquisition should be illegal. If not for the way my ratbag ex, Geoff, totally played me by cheating with my best friend Monica, I’d be in serious danger of falling for Lucas’s sweet talk.
He’s only asking me about my work! Well, yep. And this just goes to show how much of a hermit I’ve been when it comes to chatting with guys during the last year.
While the logical thing to do is to tell him I don’t have time to gossip, there’s no way that will sound anything but rude, and I can’t let Mum and Bec down like that.
Yes, sure, that’s the only reason why I’m going to answer him.
“No, I’m just casual. I help out when needed.”
His forehead creases, which has the effect of making him sexier than ever. “Is this the first time you’ve been here?”
“Yes.” I decide it’s time to get the conversation on a more professional footing. “And I’m very sorry, but I’m afraid the contracted hours won’t cover a full clean this week.”
His lips twitch, as though he’s trying not to laugh which isn’t exactly the response I was angling for.
“Sure,” he says, and to give him credit, he sounds sincere. “Just do whatever you can, no worries. I’m guessing the hours will have to be renegotiated once I’ve moved in?”
Yes, but definitely not by me. “That’s something you’d need to discuss with the partners.”
“Right then.” He straightens up. “Where’s the vacuum?”
Is he serious? “We’ve already had this conversation. Why don’t you go and,” I wave my arm in the vague direction of the kitchen, “have your breakfast or something?”
“Tell you what. Why don’t you leave the rest of this until tomorrow, and I’ll take you out for brunch now as an apology for the extra work?”
I clench the cleaning cloth and try not to hyperventilate. Did Lucas Carter just ask me out?
Yes, he did. Oh, my freaking God.
Ten years ago I offered her everything, and she threw it back in my face. When she walked, I vowed no other woman would ever screw with my head the way she did. I moved on. Now I’m the V.P. of the Bastards, run my own nightclub, and nameless sex keeps me sane. No commitment or ties, just the way I like it.
Now she’s back, for one week only, gorgeous, successful, and I can’t keep away. She offers a long goodbye, a way to heal our fractured past. She burned me so bad, there’s no way I should even want to be near her. But the more she gives, the more I need. Until I discover the real reason she left, and my whole goddamn world implodes…
Burned is a standalone romance
“You want to grab some early lunch?”
I lean against the kitchen sink and pretend to think about his offer, even though I’m going to accept. After the breakfast interlude, we shared a leisurely shower until the water ran cold. I can’t believe it’s almost eleven already, but that’s not the main thing on my mind. Stop thinking about how he roared your name when he came… “Sure, why not?”
His smile turns my stomach into a kaleidoscope of butterflies. I’m so screwed. We should’ve finished this on Saturday morning. What was I thinking to suggest we drag it out for the whole week? My heart’s never going to recover a second time.
It never recovered the first time.
“Guess I’d better get dressed.” He saunters out of the kitchen wearing only his jeans, and for the first time I get a good look at his back.
I let out a measured breath. The Bastards’ colors are engraved in my psyche, and while I despise everything they stand for, there’s no denying how good the ink looks on Ty.
His MC is his family, stronger than any blood ties. I’ve always known it. It doesn’t stop the ache deep in my chest, though.
Enough. I don’t need to agonize over any of it the way I used to when we were together. This is just one nostalgic week where I can finally lay all the ghosts to rest.
Most of them, anyway. The ones that count.
Ty’s the only one that matters. And Viper’s dead.
I guess that’s justice of a kind. More than I could’ve ever expected. I’ll take it.
A strange sense of peace flutters through me, gone in an instant, but it’s enough.
Yeah, it’s enough.
We leave the building, and I take a deep breath. The air isn’t exactly fresh out here, but it’s better than the dirty stairwell we just left. “Where’re we going?” I glance up at Ty as he strolls by my side, looking as though he owns the world.
He used to own my world…once upon a time.
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Christina Phillips is an ex-pat Brit, who now lives in Western Australia with her high school sweetheart and their family. She’s had more than twenty romances published, from novellas to single titles, in contemporary, ancient historical and paranormal. Whatever the subgenre, she writes on the sizzling side of naughty, and loves bringing her heroes to their knees (her heroines enjoy this, too 😊 )
She loves good coffee, expensive chocolate, and bad boy heroes, although not necessarily in that order. She’s also owned by three gorgeous cats who are convinced the universe revolves around their needs. As in all things, they are not wrong. Sign up for her newsletter at http://christinaphillips.com
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