NO LIMITS is Cosmopolitan Red Hot Read for October 2009. To fit their requirements, the editors adapted the excerpt from the scene below.

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The Comfort of Favorite Things - Bliss and the Art of Forever - The Sweetness of Honey - Beneath the Patchwork Moon - Boots Under Her Bed - A Blue Christmas/Jingle Bell Rock(Digital Edition) - Unforgettable - The Second Chance Café - Unbreakable - Undeniable - Holiday Kisses/This Time Next Year - Twenty-One Hours/SEAL of My Dreams - At His Mercy - Playing Love's Odds (Digital Edition) - Love Me Tender (Digital Edition) - Love In Bloom - (Digital Edition) - The Icing On The Cake - With Extreme Pleasure - One Good Man - No Limits - A Long, Hard Ride - Maximum Exposure - Kiss & Tell - Deep Trouble - In Danger - At Risk - Tex Appeal - The Perfect Stranger - Beyond A Shadow - Infatuation - The Complete Idiot's Guide To Writing Erotic Romance - Deep Breath - Goes Down Easy - Red Letter Nights - Totally Charmed - Kiss & Makeup - Undressed - Larger Than Life - Sara Smiles/Beach Blanket Bad Boys - The McKenzie Artifact - The Beach Alibi - The Samms Agenda - The Shaughnessey Accord - The Bane Affair - Mother, Please! - Indiscreet - Wicked Games - A Blue Christmas/Jingle Bell Rock - Striptease - The Sweetest Taboo - Bound To Happen - No Strings Attached - Roped Into Romance - All Tied Up - Love In Bloom - Four Men & A Lady - Love Me Tender - The Badge And The Baby - The Grinch Makes Good - The Heartbreak Kid - Call Me - Playing Love's Odds

Micky hadn’t been able to hear everything from the second story window at the back of the house, though she’d given her best effort to eavesdropping. She didn’t move after hearing Simon come in, waiting to see if he was going to seek her out or if he would take out his frustrations by pounding on the porch some more with his hammer.

She had no intention of hiding her snoopy nature, or denying her curiosity. In fact, if he did come looking for her, she planned to bombard him with questions about what was going on between him and his cousin. But only another minute or two passed before the kitchen door slammed on his exit and on all her answers.

She wasn’t patient enough to let him work things out the way men seemed prone to do. If she expected him to tell her the raw truth rather than giving her the rational explanation he reached after time alone in his man cave, she had to get to him before he’d put the incident away.

She scrambled down the stairs, dashed through the kitchen, and pushed open the door to the porch. Once outside, she heard the sound of running water. She followed the noise toward the storage shed that sat near the tree line at the edge of the clearing. On the far side of that structure and hidden from view was where she found Simon.


At least she assumed he was naked since he was standing under the spray of a shower. An outdoor shower. Naked. Water raining down. She suddenly couldn’t remember why she’d come looking for him; she was too busy looking at him.

He had his eyes closed, his head turned up to the downpour, his hands slicking his dark hair away from his face. She could see the thick tufts of hair in his armpits, the wet mat of hair in the center of his chest, his spiky lashes like spider legs against his cheeks.

The enclosure’s wooden fence stopped her from seeing anything below his first few ribs, though his legs were visible from the knees down, and his feet large enough to tempt her to open the gate for a peek at all the good stuff between.

“What do you want?” he asked.

She had no idea how she had given herself away – unless he could hear her heart racing, or feel the tingle in the well of her stomach, the suffocating belt of lust squeezing the air from her chest.

“What happened with your cousin?” she came up with as she climbed onto the stump of a long-ago felled tree to sit.

“He left.”

“I saw that much.”

“You didn’t hear the rest?”

Damn him. “Only bits and pieces. Not enough to answer all my questions.”

“He won’t be coming around here again. That’s the only answer you need.”

That’s what he thought. “You’re not going to tell me about the money you gave him?”

“No,” he said, sputtering water.

“You’re not going to mend your broken fences?”

“I didn’t bring enough tools.”

“I’m not talking about property fences.”

“Neither am I.”

Apparently he wasn’t into sharing his feelings. Or thinking confession good for the soul. “Did he take all the beer?”

“Every last bottle.”

“And you didn’t tell me you had an outdoor shower why?”

That was when he looked at her. When he finally stopped being an island unto himself and let her see how much he wanted her and was struggling to keep her at bay.

She hadn’t known a man’s eyes could steal her breath from her body. That one could look at her and grind everything she thought she knew about herself to dust. That desire could come alive and exist on its own, a being more powerful than she had ever pretended to be.

“Why do you think?” was what he finally said when she’d expected him to invite her inside.

He didn’t want to make the first move. She’d never known a man who cared if she was ready, who’d asked himself if seduction was what she wanted. She’d known this man less than two days and had stopped counting the ways he’d surprised her. All she knew was that she was as comfortable with him as if she and not her one-dimensional self had been engaging him in conversation since the billboard had gone up.

“Because the woman you thought I was wouldn’t care? But the woman I am wants nothing more than to strip to her skin and join you?”

He looked away, a visible tic in his jaw, another in his temple, his throat flexing as he swallowed his response. And then he gave up the fight, swearing to himself but loud enough that she could hear when he came to get her. He pushed open the enclosure’s gate, stalked toward her bare and dripping, grabbed her by the wrist and hauled her fully clothed with him into the small space and the spray.

It was the most caveman thing she’d ever experienced, a more intoxicating staking of a claim than any she’d ever imagined – and she had imagined plenty, but nothing like this . . . his hands holding her face, his fingers sliding into her hair, his wrists pressed to her temples as his mouth came down on hers.

This was the kiss she’d been waiting for all of her life, one that desperately tried to be tender and failed. She didn’t care. Not about the effort or the outcome. She was too caught up in learning his touch, his taste, his mouth, his body . . . all the things he was feeling but wouldn’t say.

His tongue played with hers because when he’d pushed at her to open, she hadn’t been able to say no. He tasted earthy and warm, like beer and water, and his lips pleased her. They were smooth and soft where they pressed against hers, and that came as a surprise. She’d expected hard because he was hard, because he refused to take shit from anyone, because he insisted on things going his way.

But he was also hard in other ways. Oh, was he hard. His shoulders beneath her hands were like baseballs, his thighs bracketing hers like logs. And even wearing her clothes – granted, now stuck to her like her own skin – she could feel the hard length of his cock like a branding iron making his mark against her belly.

He let go of her mouth, moved his hands to the hem of her shirt and pulled it and her scarf over her head. She toed off her new sneakers, stepping onto the warm, wet concrete while he released the button and zip of her jeans. She shimmied her way out of the heavy wet denim.

He reached around to unhook her bra. She would have pulled off her underpants, but he had both of her breasts in his hands, squeezing, kneading, tugging at her nipples, molding her weight, and she couldn’t think to move.

When he dipped his head, took her into his mouth, she grabbed at him to hold on. The pull of his lips, his teeth, the heat of his tongue, the cool evening breeze, the stinging spray of water . . . they all combined into a flood of feeling that left her gasping and overwhelmed.

Her fingers slid from his biceps to his elbows. She shivered and moaned, closing her eyes and letting the water rain down on her chest as Simon dropped to his knees, nibbling at her belly as he slipped his fingers beneath the elastic of her panties and pulled them to the ground.

She stepped out of them, kicking them away, lifting her arms and pushing her fall of wet hair from her face before spreading her legs for Simon’s hands. He settled his mouth over her sex, slicked his tongue through her folds, sucking gently on her clitoris and bringing it to life.

She felt suspended in sensation. The water sluicing over her, the wind blowing in gusts through the trees around them. The warmth of the remaining sunshine as it set. The warmth, too, of his breath.

And now his fingers as he pushed one inside of her, using his thumb as a compliment to his mouth. Unreal. She was drowning. The things he was doing, the pressure, the length of his stroke, opening her, stretching her.

It was all too much, yet it wasn’t enough. Having him this way felt too strangely detached. She wanted so much more than an orgasm. She wanted, she needed to have Simon, his body pressed to hers, head to toe, and filling her.

And so she put her hands on his shoulders and backed away.


Simon looked up to see Micky shaking her head. If that wasn’t a bucket of cold water . . .

“Don’t get me wrong,” she said, easing the sting with the softness of her voice, her fingernails stroking his wet hair from his face. “I’m about to burst out of my skin.”

“Then what?” He gained his feet slowly, skating his palms from her thighs to her armpits before he settled his hands on her shoulders and stared down into her eyes. “What do you want? What don’t you want?”

He knew he hadn’t read her wrong. What she’d said about the woman she was . . . if she hadn’t wanted this, wanted him, she wouldn’t have come with him, wouldn’t have helped him get her out of her clothes as if they burned her, wouldn’t have let him kiss her, or kissed him back as if it was the only thing in the world worth doing.

“I don’t want you to give me just an orgasm. I want you to give me sex.” She kept her gaze locked on his and took hold of his cock. “I want you to give me you.”

For a moment that seemed to go on longer than he should have been able to hold his breath, he did just that. Stopped breathing. Waited. He was pretty damn sure his heart stopped beating, too.

He’d fantasized about her fingers more than a few times, but the reality of feeling them wrapped around his shaft, of having her palm warm and cupped over the head of his cock, blew all his imaginings to hell.

This was Michelina, his Micky, the woman who was real and vibrant and couldn’t have been more gorgeous standing in his shower had she been decked out in the dark jewels and glittery glossy colors of the billboard branded on his brain.

“Sex you can have,” he finally said when he felt in control of his voice. “Me you can have, too. However. Wherever. As many times as you want. Except for this first time. I can’t promise I’ll be able to wait long enough –”

“I don’t want you to. I don’t need you to. I don’t care if you promise me anything.” She tightened her grip, teased his weeping slit with her thumb, smoothed his sticky release around his head to use as lube.

He groaned, dug his fingers into her skin. “I want to make sure you –”

“I will. Trust me. I’m as close as you are.”

That he seriously doubted. If she opened her mouth just right, looked at him just so he’d be done.

“Bet you a back rub that I’ll get mine first,” she said, and he swore her eyes promised she’d be rubbing more than his back and using more than her hands.

“I’ll take that bet,” he said, because no way was he going to blow his load until he felt her convulse around him. “You don’t need to worry about being safe with me. I go into some really nasty places around the world, and I value my dick too much not to keep it in my pants.”

She nodded, then reassured him. “I’ve got pregnancy covered, and my reputation is a lot more sexually active than I am. It’s been awhile for me. A very long while.”

He shouldn’t have liked knowing that as much as he did, but he couldn’t deny his feelings. He was staking a claim, and he was doing so with his body. He couldn’t think of what that meant beyond the moment. Being here with her couldn’t be about the future. It was only about the now.

He grabbed her shirt from the shower’s cement floor, spread it out on the utility shelf of one-by-eight planks attached to the enclosure’s wall. Then he lifted her up to sit and stepped between her legs. The height was perfect. He hooked her knees over his forearms and let her guide him home.

She circled him around her opening, smearing her juices until he was slick with both of their fluids, then placing him where she wanted him and looking into his eyes. She waited, as if wanting to see his face the first time he pushed his way inside of her.

He thought this would be easy, that he could keep this casual, make it all about the sex, think of their encounter as the culmination of a fantasy living like reality for weeks in his mind. But he couldn’t. It wouldn’t work, his efforts at pretending this didn’t mean a thing, that it wasn’t a beginning rather than an end.

He was too far gone to stop, and she was giving him no reason to want to, unless he counted her unexpected expression of hope. It was fierce, possessive, giving him as much grief as his own expectations, so he willingly, mindlessly, let his body have its way.

Holding onto her hips, he drove forward. She closed around him, a sheath so tight he could feel the texture of her flesh with each pulse of blood engorging his cock. He groaned, the rumble vibrating from his body into hers. He knew she felt it because of the smile that blossomed on her face, and he told himself the moisture welling in her eyes wasn’t tears but the spatter of the shower.

The lie tore into his heart as he began to move, thrusting slowly, setting a steady rhythm, picking up the pace when her eyes rolled closed and the water beading in the small of his back was mostly sweat.

She came like a butterfly, tiny flutters of her pussy kissing the head of his cock. She shuddered, shivered, a strangely gentle release that floated around him teasingly, playfully, inviting him along.

He came like an elephant stampede, trumpeting, pounding, a brutish completion that nearly crushed him into a pile of broken bones. They collapsed, finished at the same time, leaving him to wonder how sex with a virtual stranger could be the best sex he’d ever had.