THE FADING LINE BETWEEN WANT AND NEED
Evan: She has no idea who I really am. It’s the perfect situation. After an incident that causes me to re-evaluate my life, I’ve come here to escape the demands of my career. The last thing I expect to find is a woman who doesn’t see me through the prism of my fame. She’s that woman, the one who allows me to unleash desires I’ve suppressed for years.
Audrey: He’s gorgeous and brazenly confident. He’s exactly who I don’t need to meet at this point in my life, but I have no choice. Drawn in by his relentless seduction, I’m soon taking chances I never thought I’d take, letting go of fear and letting him over my protective wall, while having the most sensual experiences of my life.
What starts as a perfect distraction for both of us quickly becomes an entanglement of scorching hot sex, closely held secrets that could tear it all apart, and moments that will shape us for the rest of our lives.
**Due to mature content, this book is recommended for readers 18 and older.**
(This is a full-length novel with no cliff-hanger.)
The sun peaks out from behind the clouds, making a little steam rise from the wet sidewalk. This early, and already the humidity is setting in. I round the corner, beach view off to my right, the path lined with palmetto trees and knee-high beach grass in the sand.
I walk up the steps to the porch and knock on the door. As expected, there’s no answer. It wouldn’t hurt to do one walk-through of the place before he arrives, so I use my master key and go in.
Everything looks clean and perfect, the air conditioner is set at 72, drawing the humidity out of the air. There’s a welcome basket on the counter that contains nothing on his list. I consider removing it, but decide to leave it. I go upstairs and check the six rooms. Everything looks good.
If he’s staying by himself, he’ll surely be using the master bedroom, so I go back downstairs.
The blinds are closed, so I walk around to the other side of the bed to open them and almost trip over a set of bags.
“Hello.” The voice behind me is low and smooth.
I turn and see a man dressed in blue shorts. His white t-shirt is off but it’s slung over his left shoulder. He’s wearing a baseball cap, but I don’t know what the insignia on it means. His shoulders and chest are broad, and his left bicep flexes a little as he leans on the doorjamb. He looks like someone who just walked in off the beach, not at all like the guy I was expecting.
“I’m Audrey Mitchell. Mr. Lewis, right?”
I step away from the window and toward him. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were already here. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have—”
“It’s fine,” he says, cutting me off mid-sentence. “I’m used to finding strange people in my bedroom.”
I pause, unsure what to say. I’ve just apologized.
He smiles. “Relax.” He looks down at my chest and I think he’s appraising me, looking at my boobs, but he looks up immediately. “I’m just fucking with you, Audrey. Nice to meet you.” He lifts a hand.
This is the first time in my life anyone has ever said any form of the word “fuck” when we first met. I don’t sense arrogance from this guy, but rather a confidence I’ve never seen in anyone I’ve met.
I take his hand. “Nice to meet you, too, Mr. Lewis.”
“Please, call me Adam.”
I’m suddenly aware that he’s still holding my hand. Or am I holding his? I pull back a little, and he lets my hand go.
“Adam,” I say. “When did you arrive?”
“A little after four this morning.”
So Jeanine checked him in and forgot to mention that critical bit of information to me. She was hurrying out the door, though.
“I was just taking a walk on the beach.” He pushes off the doorjamb and walks past me, to the bathroom. I notice he has something in his mouth. It’s white, and I realize it’s a mint. I hear the water running in the sink, then splashing, and figure he’s washing his face.
This is the part that’s always hardest for me. The small talk. I’m not into small talk. It’s boring, it’s forced, usually meaningless. It’s the one part of the job that I don’t like, but that goes with any job, I suppose.
“Hope you didn’t get caught in the rain,” I say.
He steps out of the bathroom, blotting his face with a hand towel. He has taken his hat off. His hair is sandy blond and short. “How long have you worked here?”
I take his question as more small talk and answer, “Two weeks,” but I’m wrong about the chit-chat.
“How old are you?”
It’s an odd question. I’ve never been asked this before at this job or any other, but I see no smooth way to refuse to answer. “Twenty-two.”
He nods, then tosses the towel back in the bathroom. He takes a few steps toward me. Close enough that I can see his green eyes.
Usually, I would be put off by a guy staring into my eyes like he does, but it doesn’t bother me at all. I look back at him, then his gaze travels down to my chest, legs, feet, then back up. A brazen assessing scan if I ever saw one.
I’ve had guys check me out before, but they usually try to do it secretly. He doesn’t make the slightest effort. It’s almost like he wants me to know.
“I need to know that I can trust you. That I can count on your discretion.” I can smell the peppermint on his breath, and God, the hard lines of his jaw make me want to reach up and touch them.
I swallow hard, suddenly finding myself wondering about him. “Of course,” I say, and it’s no lie. In fact, I’d be breaking company policy if I were to violate any guest’s privacy. If that’s what he means. What does he mean?
J.T. Charles lives in the southeastern United States and is the author of The Rider List.