Since his last relationship blew up in his face, bomb expert Brad Crosby has lost his appetite for “permanent”. But his kid brother’s best friend?
Now there’s a curvy morsel he could wrap his lips around. For years Brad has been the star of Madison Graham’s fantasies. If only she were the kind of put-together girl he prefers, not a pastry chef whose makeup consists of a dusting of powdered sugar on her nose.
A belief that’s confirmed when her apartment floods and he offers to let her sleep in his bed—alone.
Wrapped in Brad’s sheets, she dreams of his touches, his kisses, the feel of his body on hers. Except her dreams feel like reality—and come morning, she realizes it wasn’t a dream at all. Soon the two are burning up the nights. But as Madison’s sweet love grows on him, Brad can’t help but think of extending their time together.
Too bad Madison keeps reminding him their affair has an expiration date.
Warning: May contain heat, explosive sex, and Fourth of July fireworks that pale in comparison to the sparks between a sworn bachelor and a tempting pastry chef.
Jesus Christ, Madison was going to be the death of him.
We’d been hoping to avoid her when he showed up to collect his brother, and the last thing he expected was to find her in a goddamn wet T-shirt, looking so fucking hot he almost shot off a load then and there.
Brad drummed his fingers on his steering wheel and shifted in his seat, uncomfortable as his cock pressed insistently against his unforgiving jeans. Christ, seeing her in that T-shirt, blinking up at him with those dark bedroom eyes of hers as the lush swell of her body beckoned his touch—his cock—had damn near done him in.
He’d be lying if he said he didn’t want her in his bed. Every time he looked at her all he could think about was caging her beneath him and fucking her long and hard, driving balls deep until she screamed out his name. Oh yeah, he’d make her scream, and when he did—contrary to what Sophie thought—everyone would hear it.
Maybe then he’d be able to stop thinking about her when he was alone at night. Hell, who was he kidding? He thought about her even when he wasn’t alone.
He’d always liked his kid brother’s best friend, but six months ago, after returning home from a long overseas tour, he suddenly began to see the sweet girl next door in different ways.
But he wasn’t going to act on his urges, not when she had something going on with Jonah. Shit…
Truthfully, Brad wasn’t sure what kind of relationship the two had, considering he’d seen them both date other people over the years. But from the comfort level between them, to the way they took care of each other, even going so far as to sharing a place when Jonah had finished his last tour, he knew there had to be deeper feelings involved, and he wasn’t about to take her to his bed, no matter how much he wanted her naked and beneath him. Or naked and on top.
Or just plain naked.
Jonah tossed his rucksack into the truck bed and slid into the cab, pulling Brad’s thoughts back from fantasyland. “Hey, bro, what’s up?”
Brad put his key into the ignition and turned the engine over. “Nothing.” He clenched his jaw hard as he watched Madison and Sophie exit from the downstairs bakery. A frown marred Madison’s pretty face as she spoke to her friend, the Sweetie’s Bakery Closed sign on the door behind her rattling against the glass pane as she locked up. Brad gripped the steering wheel harder. He hated seeing her living and working in such a shitty place, and he knew today’s loss of income was going to have a serious effect on her bank account.
“You have that look on your face again.”
Brad angled his head toward his brother. “What look is that?”
Jonah grinned. “The one you get just before you kick the shit out of me.”
Brad glared at his brother and scoffed. “Evidently, I should have beaten you more often.” Okay, so he might have roughed up his punk-ass brother a time or two over the years, but it was only because Jonah had needed it. The boy was a damn fool sometimes, getting into messes that Brad had to clean up behind him.
“Yeah, well, that’s a matter of opinion,” Jonah said.
He held his brother’s gaze. “You got something to say?”
Jonah held his hands up and laughed. “Nope.”
Madison tapped on the window and Jonah jumped onto the sidewalk to let her climb into the middle. Without conscious thought Brad’s eyes roamed the sexy curves she always kept hidden behind those baggy clothes and icing-stained apron. Damned if he didn’t want to peel those loose-fitting work clothes from her body so he could touch and kiss her lush contours until she writhed beneath him and cried out his name.
As Madison slid in beside him, her duffle bag clutched to her chest, want pumped through his veins, the sudden, urgent need to help himself to a taste of her sweetness pulling at him hard. Fuck. He looked away, staring at some random woman walking her dog while he did his damnedest to ignore his raging hard-on.
“Here, give me that.” Jonah took the bag from her and tossed it into the truck bed with his.
Once he jumped back into the cab, Brad put the vehicle into gear, turned his attention to the road ahead and slipped into traffic. Jonah punched up the volume on the radio and hooked his left arm over the back of the seat, pulling Madison toward him.
Brad tried to focus on his driving, he really did, but with Madison’s leg rubbing up against his it took effort to stay on the road.
He drove through the downtown core, and when they passed a vacant building, a For Sale sign on the window, Jonah turned to Madison. “Maybe when I get back we can look for a new place to live.”
She looked at the building, and there was a hint of gloom in her voice when she said, “I can’t afford to rent an apartment and a business front, and it won’t be easy to find a place where I can live upstairs and turn the main level into Sweetie’s.”
Jonah curved his arm around her and pulled her in closer. As she rested her head on his shoulder, he brushed a light kiss over her hair. “Don’t worry. I’ll be making some good coin out on the road. It’ll go a long way in finding something nicer than we have now.”
Feeling like a third wheel, an eavesdropper listening in on a private, intimate conversation, Brad cast a glance their way. His gut clenched when he saw Madison smile up at Jonah. Hell, the two of them even talked like an old married couple. There was no missing how much his brother cared for her, which only solidified Brad’s vow to keep his distance where Madison was concerned.
Of course, she wasn’t the first girl Brad had walked away from because of his brother. Jonah was fun, wild and had a reputation with the ladies. As teens, a few of Brad’s girlfriends had gravitated toward his charismatic younger brother. Even though Brad wanted to beat the shit out of Jonah for taking his girl instead of doing the honorable thing and backing off, Brad always walked away. Blood was blood and no way would he allow a girl to come between him and his brother. How much could any of those girls have cared anyway, if they had no trouble leaving one brother for the other? Besides, he’d promised his dad that he’d take care of Jonah, and as a man of his word, he chose his family battles carefully. As long as Jonah treated the women properly, there’d be no trouble between brothers.
His thoughts careened back to a couple years ago, to the night he found his fiancée Jocelyn in bed with another man—doing the one thing he wouldn’t dream of asking her to do for him, considering she’d blatantly told him oral sex was disgusting and there wasn’t a girl in the world who enjoyed giving it. Although she enjoyed the hell out of it when he’d gone down on her, which he did frequently. Fuck, he wasn’t sure what hurt more, seeing her mouth wrapped around some douchebag’s cock, or realizing how stupid she thought he was when she starting spilling lies, telling him it wasn’t what he thought. Sure, whatever. Wouldn’t be the first time a woman had fallen and landed with a hard-on in her mouth and a pair of balls in her hand. Oh yeah, shit like that happened all the time.
He could have stayed and fought for her, but any girl who would sleep with another man and lie about it while her fiancé was overseas fighting for their country wasn’t worth the battle. And after seeing the same thing happen to a few of his comrades, he’d come to learn that long-distance relationships never worked. Since Brad’s work continued to take him out of state, he decided never to get himself in that kind of situation again. No, now he was into casual sex, no commitments.
“Besides,” Jonah said, “Brad can help us turn any space into a bakery. Right, bro?”
“Yeah, sure.” Brad looked at Madison, and when she turned her bright-eyed smile his way, his heart nearly stopped.
She ran paint-chipped nails along the deep hollow of her throat, and as he watched the movement his mouth watered, his tongue wanting to follow the path of her hands. Heat throbbed through him, and his cock thickened once again, aching to pound into her, hard hot strokes that would leave them both sated and breathless and would finally, finally, get her out of his head.
“And if something else goes wrong with the place while I’m away, Brad’s your man,” Jonah said.
As Brad pictured himself stepping in for his brother, his mind ran wild with one delicious idea after the other, and he forced himself to cough, hoping it would rattle some sense back into his lust-drunk brain.
“Isn’t that right, Brad?”
“Yeah.” He nodded. “I can help you out with anything you need.”
Something flitted across her face when she asked, “Anything?”
“Yeah, anything,” he assured her, but when she drew her bottom lip between her teeth, and her eyes glazed over like she had other things on her mind, he wondered if they were still talking about her run-down rental…or something else entirely.
New York Times and USA today Best selling author, Cathryn is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Cathryn can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter and tries to write page-turning books that her readers will love.