www.girl-gear . . .
She'll bare her body
. . .
Melanie Craine knows romance isn't in the cards for her.
She's ambitious, and has no time for a man in her busy life. With all
of the other women at the funky gIRL-gEAR.com Web site meeting Mr. Right,
someone has to keep things afloat! Then, when hot videographer Jacob
Faulkner films her behavior at her friend's wedding, she's livid. Determined
to make him see what's beneath her attitude, she tapes herself doing
a steamy striptease . . . for Jacob's eyes only.
He'll want her soul . . .
Jacob never expected Melanie to retaliate
the way she did when he sent that tape! Watching her slowly remove
each item of clothing
from her body is the most erotic thing he's ever seen. Now that he's
on board to film the gIRL-gEAR group for a documentary on successful
businesswomen, there's no way he can keep things "professional." And
it can't get any better when he finds out she doesn't want anything more
than a sexual relationship. But will it be enough in the end?
Deep breath, Mel. You’re only going
for a swim. Funny, but she already felt as if she were drowning. Anticipation
made it so very hard to breathe.
At the end of the second floor hallway, the guest bedroom’s door stood
ajar. She’d left her larger beach tote on the bed when she’d first
arrived. So, now she would simply take her suit into the adjoining bathroom and
change. Jacob was more likely than not finished; she’d catch up with him
at the pool. End of nervous breakdown.
Except when she pushed the door wide open, she found that Jacob wasn’t
close to being finished at all. He was standing at the foot of the bed, his duffel
open as he dug inside for his trunks. He was standing there, and he was wearing
nothing but his sandals and his unbuttoned denim shorts. When he realized she
was there, he looked up.
She’d known from the fit of his clothes that his body was sculpted and
buff. But she’d never expected to have her breath sucked away. She was
stronger than that; she wasn’t taken in by beefcake and bullshit. She knew
better than to think a gorgeous body meant anything. But knowing, it seemed,
worked better in theory than in practice.
He was absolutely beautiful, his shoulders broad and rounded with muscle, his
biceps and triceps equally defined, his chest and abdomen dusted with dark hair.
She stepped fully into the room, pushed the bedroom door closed and leaned back
against it. The beat of her heart rapidly became a full-body flutter.
“I thought you’d be finished dressing by now.”
“Is that why you shut the door?” He slowly unfolded his bright orange
hibiscus print trunks, draped them over his duffel, moved his hands to his hips
while she watched. “So I could finish?”
She inclined her head; her fingers flexed so tightly into the cloth of her shorts
she expected to find permanent wrinkles in her permanent press. “If you
don’t want the privacy, I can open it back up.”
He shrugged one shoulder. “Well, you being here sorta limits the privacy
I do have.”
“I’ll go then,” she said though the longer she stood here unmoving,
the harder it was going to be to ever put one foot in front of the other again. “Is
that what you want me to do?”
“You could do that.” He left his trunks where they were and moved
towards her, his body seeming so much larger in the flesh than she’d ever
imagined when he’d been fully clothed. His dark eyes flashed. “Or
you could stay.”
Her heart beat painfully hard. “You want me to stay?”
“I’m not sure I can tell you what I want without getting graphic.” He
stood less than three feet away. So close she could feel waves of heat rolling
from his body. So close she could think of nothing but sex.
The hardest thing she’d ever done was not reach for him then. She lifted
a brow. “More graphic than the recording I just listened to?”
His mouth quirked. “At least as graphic as your dance.”
“I didn’t watch the tape before I sent it.” She glanced away,
breathed, looked back. “I knew things had gotten out of hand, but until
I saw it just now . . .”
“I’d say you took things in hand quite nicely.”
She pictured shadowed hands pinching at shadowed nipples and wanted to disappear
into the wood grain of the door. “It sounded as if you did the same.”
Another step closer. “You made for great inspiration.”
“So did you,” she admitted, and her chin came up.
A chuckle sounded low in his throat. “I can’t say I’ve been
anyone’s inspiration before. Don’t women look for that in their sexy
“You mean the same way men look for theirs in Playboy?”
He grinned like the devil he was. “I prefer Maxim. Except when I can have
the real deal.”
She feigned ignorance and managed to find enough voice to ask, “The real
He nodded. “Flesh and blood. And warm. And willing. Not a glossy magazine
page that never breaks a sweat.”
“A sweat?” It wasn’t ignorance that had her mimicking a mynah
bird, but anticipation flexing its claws.
“Yeah. A sweat.”
One more step, and he was close enough that she could grab him by the belt loops
and tug him forward and into her body. She forced herself to wait. And she waited,
because she could tell by his fiery gaze that she was about to sweat like she’d
never sweated before.
“I like a woman who isn’t afraid to work up a sweat.” He dropped
his gaze to her breasts, then to her belly, and finally brought up a hand, as
if he was thinking about touching her. Taking his own sweet time. Torturing her
on purpose. Teasing her unmercifully until she begged for what they both wanted.
The heady sense of being pursued made it so hard to stand still, to lean back
into the door and pretend her weak knees weren’t on the verge of collapse.
He looked back up then, ran a fingertip along her hairline beneath her bangs
where perspiration always beaded first.
“Are you the real deal, Melanie?”
“I’m not afraid to sweat, if that’s what you’re asking.” And
she wasn’t. Neither was she afraid of what he made her body feel. Her only
fear was that if she gave up control to this man she’d never regain any
of the discipline she’d worked for her entire life. She loved the challenge,
hated the threat.
“Good.” His finger slid behind her ear and down her neck where he
wiped the dampness from her nape. “Oh, yeah. Very nice.”
Cocky bastard. Far too pleased with her response. “Thank you. I do aim
to please.” How she got out the words she hadn’t a clue. She could
barely draw a breath.
This time when he moved, he leaned his head forward, his hand cupping her nape
as his lips drew within millimeters of hers. “Melanie?”
“Hmm?” she hummed back, feeling the warmth of his breath and his
body, smelling his clean and hot skin, wanting desperately to taste him.
“Can I have you?” he whispered.
She gave an imperceptible nod because she didn’t trust what was left of
her voice to get the job done. “As long as I can have you.”
He leaned into her body then, touching her the way she’d wanted to be touched
since he’d hovered at her back and beside her that that day in the church.
His palms flat on the door above her shoulders, he brushed his lips from her
ear to her temple and down her cheekbone.
Her eyelids fluttered shut, and she raised her chin, giving him access to her
neck. He took it, nipping lightly at her skin until she finally moved her hands
from her back to his, slipping her fingers beneath his waistband and urging him
She felt every tremor of the groan that rolled up his throat. “Melanie?”
“Jacob?” She blew her answering question softly over his ear.
A shudder ripped through him. “You sure this is what you want?”
“I’m sure it’s what I want right now.”
He hesitated, then ground out, “And that’s enough?”
“You tell me,” she answered, her head turning and her open mouth
moving toward his throat.
He stood still and let her explore his skin with her tongue, let her nip her
way along the resilient flesh of his shoulder, let her leave a trail of tiny
damp kisses beneath his collarbone. His skin was salty and wonderfully warm.
And she wanted to taste more. To feast. To feed the hunger he’d driven
her to feel.
She tingled and ached but not nearly enough. Not completely. Not in the way she
wanted, the way his eyes and the sounds he’d made promised to provide.
So when he backed away from her mouth and all the fun she was having, it was
all she could do not to scream.
“Why did you make that tape?” he growled down at her, his chest heaving.
“Because your tape pissed me off,” she answered, breathing equally
“That wasn’t what I intended.”
She didn’t care that he seemed contrite. “Then your intentions fell
short, didn’t they?”
“You say that like you know what they were.”
She didn’t care that he appeared defensive. “Does it matter?”
“I thought so at the time.”
She didn’t care that he looked put out. “And now?”
“Now I don’t want to talk about it.”
All she cared about was getting him out of his clothes. “Why’s that?
You can’t talk and screw at the same time?”
He took a moment before he answered, a moment in which Melanie’s frustration
reached an unbearable height. A moment in which she panicked, wondering if she’d
actually pushed him too far. Goading was so much more palatable than begging,
but right now, here and with this man, she wasn’t above getting down on
He ran a finger from her temple, to her jaw, her chin and down her neck to her
chest, where he drew a line back and forth along the scoop of her tank. “Are
you sure talking is what you really want me to do with my mouth?”
Finally! “I’d rather you shut up and show me what you can do with