Reckless Heart Early Chapters

Chapter One


Considering how my week had been going, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that I was standing in the resort’s parking lot, wearing a suit covered in glitter, while trying to corral three rolling cases filled with dildos.

It was my fault, really. I was the one who double-booked the resort’s only party room. As if that wasn’t bad enough, this also happened to be my third fuckup this week. That was par for the course for my youngest brother, Levi, but not me. Never me.

I didn’t make mistakes. And I sure as hell didn’t fuck up to the extremes I’d done this week. I did what needed to be done when it needed to be done because I handled shit.

Except lately, I hadn’t been handling shit well. Or at all.

“Sorry about the mix-up, Mabel,” I said, pushing one case ahead of me while pulling the other two behind. I didn’t claim to be a sex toy expert, but Jesus Christ, that was a lot of dicks. I just hoped like hell the inventory was secured and I wasn’t leaving a trail of vibrators in my wake.

“Oh, don’t you worry about it.” Mabel swept a hand through the air, brushing away my concern. The older woman wore a pair of hot-pink sweatpants and a matching sweatshirt with I need a cocktail…hold the tail written in glittery lettering across the front. She was Starlight Cove’s surrogate grandma—if your grandma didn’t have a filter and was horny 24/7—as well as the town’s self-appointed news broadcaster and co-owner of the town’s only newspaper. Meaning she had her nose in everyone’s business and got away with it because she was “reporting” the goings-on in Starlight Cove via her infamous Facebook Lives. “I actually appreciate the switch to the parlor. All that natural light will better showcase the gemstones in the butt plugs I’m featuring this month!”

No longer at all shocked by the things that came out of this woman’s mouth, I gave a short nod. “Happy to help.”

“You let me know if I can ever show you anything, honey. Using toys as a part of one’s repertoire is totally normal and makes for a very healthy sex life. It can even help loosen up some of the more…reserved menfolk.” She shot a glance at my suit-and-tie combo, proving I was exactly the “reserved menfolk” she was talking about. “In my opinion, if more men looked at toys as teammates rather than the competition, a lot more women would be able to reach climax right along with their partners. Orgasms aren’t just for men, you know.”

I couldn’t agree more. But I knew better than to tell Mabel anything, least of all that my stance was if a woman didn’t get off at least five times to my one, I wasn’t doing my job. So instead, I gave a noncommittal hum and kept walking.

“I really love this look, by the way.” She gestured to me where I sparkled in the setting sun. “Makes me miss the strip club I used to visit back in the day.”

“Thanks,” I said dryly. “The high schoolers celebrating homecoming glitter bombed me when I asked them to keep it down.”

“Is that why all these hideous vans are here?” She tutted and shook her head. “Never thought I’d see the day that kidnapper vans were the preferred transportation method for homecoming. Kids these days…”

I actually didn’t know why all those fucking vans were here, only that they were taking up much-needed real estate in our already small parking lot, and we had nothing on the schedule to account for them. Maybe Mabel was right, and that was what teens did now. What the hell did I know? I hadn’t been in high school for more than a decade and a half.

After getting Mabel squared away in the parlor and waving off her offer for a quick demonstration of her most powerful vibrator, I headed to find my sister. Better to get this reaming over with. And Addison was definitely going to dig her claws in. She was already pissed off because of what had happened earlier this week, and my double-booking the party room was going to tip her straight into banshee territory.

Except when I turned the corner into the front room, Addison wasn’t alone. The space was filled with more people than the small area could comfortably hold. Especially when several of those people held equipment. Video cameras and microphones and—

Oh, fuck me.


It took barely a second for all the pieces to click into place. The vans in our parking lot housed the crew and equipment for a wedding documentary series featuring engaged couples as they selected every aspect of their wedding as voted on by the viewers. Our resort had been lucky enough to be chosen as the location for this season’s couple, and Addison was sure it was going to catapult us to the next level. It had been our second break this year, and things were on the upswing for Starlight Cove Resort.

Although with a fuckup like this, I wasn’t so sure it would last.

As I stared at the chaos in front of me, I had a vague recollection of the production team contacting me to schedule a cake tasting on the very day my personal life had imploded. While going viral earlier this year had worked wonders for the resort, the same couldn’t be said for me. It had opened doors I’d never thought would be opened for me, but it had also knocked me on my ass. I’d been so distracted with calls and emails and DMs that day that I’d taken the appointment for the cake testing, but I hadn’t actually put it on the calendar. Which meant Beck hadn’t prepared for it, which meant we had an entire production crew ready to film and an engaged couple ready to taste test, and we didn’t have any fucking cakes.

And it was one hundred percent my fault.

“I’m so sorry for the mix-up,” Addison said to the production crew, smile firmly in place, though I could read her tells from a mile away. And the twitch at the corner of her eye said she was about to hand someone their ass.

And that someone was me.

“If you’ll give me just a second”—she glanced around, her attention snapping to me as soon as she noticed I was in the room, and her lips flattened into a thin line, her eyes narrowing—“Aiden and I will get this sorted out.”

Oh yeah. I was totally and completely fucked.

* * *

With a murderous glare directed up at me, Addison stabbed her finger into my chest and read me the riot act. She was short—just an inch or two over five feet—which meant she was at least a foot shorter than me and our brothers. Despite that, she was a force to be reckoned with…a dictator and a fucking tornado all rolled into one shrimp of a package. And God help any idiot who was in the path of her destruction.

Today, unfortunately, I was that idiot.

“What the hell happened, Aiden?” she barked, and thankfully, we were in a back room, away from guests. “Seriously, what is going on with you lately? As if the seven hundred cartons of paper towels instead of the luxury bath towels I asked you to order weren’t enough—” She gestured around us to the stacks of boxes currently taking up space in every spare room we had. “Then you put in the wrong price on the booking site, which meant we had five couples reserve their week-long stays for a whopping fifty bucks per night because you forgot a zero. Mabel is currently in our parlor showing off bejeweled anal plugs to any guest who walks through because you double-booked the party room.” She ground her teeth together, her eyes narrowing into slits as she pressed her finger harder into my chest. “And now you’re telling me you forgot to write on the schedule—your precious schedule you won’t let anyone else touch, by the way—that a fucking camera crew and the bride and groom we’re trying to impress were going to be here for a cake tasting? A cake testing that Beck is not prepared for, nor even aware of?”

I scrubbed a hand over my face, barely restraining a growl of frustration. “Yes, that’s what I’m telling you. Look, I get it. I fucked up.”

“You didn’t just fuck up,” she hissed. My sister was a tyrant on the best of days, and she didn’t have any problem putting people—especially her five older brothers—in their place. When one of those brothers screwed up? The barracuda came out, and she didn’t pull her punches. “You may have cost the resort the opportunity of this decade. Of the whole fucking decade, Aiden!”

“I got it, Addison,” I snapped, no longer able to keep even a modicum of cool as I shoved a hand through my hair in frustration. Except that only made glitter rain down on me, reminding me of exactly how shitty this day had been from the start.

“What the hell are we supposed to do now? We have a whole-ass camera crew in the foyer waiting for something we can’t give them. It’s not like Beck can magically throw together a wedding cake in the next fifteen minutes!”

“I’ll handle it.”

She barked out a humorless laugh and shook her head. “Uh, no. Absolutely not. I’m handling it, and you’re leaving.”

“I’m leaving?”

“Yep. While I figure out a solution to this situation and save our asses, I want you gone. I don’t want to see your face, or I might claw it off. That means no going upstairs to sulk in your bedroom. Get out, and don’t come back until you’ve gotten your shit together.”

With that, she stalked out of the room without a backward glance, and I bit back a litany of curses as I scrubbed a hand over my face. I’d never been the guy who needed to get his shit together, but if these past couple months had shown me anything, it was that I couldn’t have it all. I was one hastily pulled Jenga block away from crashing.

I hadn’t yet figured out how to balance having personal success while also managing a now-successful resort. Especially because the success was totally new for us. When my siblings and I had taken over running the resort ten years ago after our mom had died at sea, it had been struggling. For a long damn time. Then, several months ago, a viral video sent it soaring.

The power of mass interest wasn’t lost on me. It’d taken me—or my pseudonym, anyway—from obscurity to damn near a household name in a couple short months. Suddenly, I had everything I’d ever wanted…everything I’d ever dreamed about…at my fingertips. Amazing opportunities that were all mine.

And my family knew nothing about it.

* * *

Even though Addison had told me to GTFO, I ran upstairs for a quick shower and to change out of my sparkly suit before heading into town in jeans and a T-shirt. I’d had enough humiliation for the day, and the last thing I needed were catcalls wondering which strip club people could find me at.

As much as I hated receiving a scolding from my baby sister, I couldn’t deny any of what she said. I had been a mess. And I hadn’t been pulling my weight at the resort. Not like I usually did anyway. It’d been my baby for a decade. My older brother Brady might’ve been the eldest McKenzie, but he’d already had a career as a police officer—now sheriff—when our world had caved in on itself. The twins, Beck and Ford, had been away at college, my youngest brother Levi’s only interest had been in boats, and Addison hadn’t even graduated high school yet. So, I’d stepped up. And eventually, with the help of the rest of my siblings, we’d made it work.

But now, I had a whole other aspect of my life pulling me in the opposite direction. I’d been arrogant to think I could juggle it all. That I could accomplish everything thrown at me from all directions. And that I could do it all without my family or this town finding out anything about it.

But if this past week had taught me anything, it was that I was living in a dream world. I physically couldn’t do it all. I already wasn’t sleeping much—though that was nothing new. If I got more than four hours a night, it was a miracle. And I couldn’t ask for help at the resort without my siblings wanting to know why I suddenly couldn’t manage what I’d been doing for the past ten years.

So, yeah. I was totally and completely fucked.

I sat at the bar in One Night Stan’s, nursing a bottle of beer and contemplating how the hell I was going to make this work. The smart thing—the easiest thing—would be to give up everything else and just focus on the resort.

But I wanted something more.

I couldn’t remember the last time my life was just for me. For the past ten years, everything I’d done had been done with my family’s well-being in mind. But now, I had a glimpse of more. Of something that was just mine. And I wasn’t quite ready to give up on that. I just didn’t know how to make it work.

I must’ve been giving off an exceptionally shitty vibe because no one but the bartender had approached me. I was aloof on the best of days, but today, that was cranked to eleven, as proven by the empty spaces on either side of me.

No sooner had the thought passed through my mind than a woman swept in through the front door and strolled straight toward me, dropping her bag on the floor next to the stool on my left.

The bartender lifted his chin at her in greeting. “What can I get you?”

“The best fruity drink you know how to make. And do you have food in this place?”

As the bartender slid a menu her way, she tossed a book faceup on the bar top and settled onto the stool. Out of habit, I glanced over at it, my eyebrows shooting up when I saw a familiar cover. It was the dark romance book everyone was talking about right now. And it was dark. And dirty. And definitely depraved. Something most people would probably hesitate to read in public.

Most people, but not her.

A small smile tugged at the corner of my mouth. It was clear this woman did not give one single fuck what people thought. And I had to admire her for that. I took a swig of my beer, wondering what that would be like. I couldn’t even tell my family I—

She turned toward me then, her whiskey eyes pinning me in place, a devilish smirk on her full pink lips, and a riot of red hair surrounding her like the best kind of distraction. She was stunning, but that wasn’t what had me choking on my drink.

I coughed and sputtered as I stared at her chest where her T-shirt proudly proclaimed, Buy me books and tell me to STFUATTDLAGG.

Jesus Christ, who was this woman?

Chapter Two


Getting stood up after driving 1500 miles in three days wasn’t exactly how I saw this night ending, yet here we were.

Okay, so I hadn’t exactly been stood up. I’d received a phone call. But it didn’t change the fact that I was alone in Starlight Cove for the evening with no one to keep me company except this week’s book boyfriend.

Though that wasn’t all that different from what my life had been lately.

It was one of the reasons I’d decided to move back home to Maine following a yearslong stint in Mississippi. While I’d enjoyed my time there, and I’d made some amazing friends, the past few months, I’d started to feel…untethered.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love my friends there, but they were in a totally different place in their lives—married with kids or kids on the way—and I was out here fumbling through life, just trying to remember to put my clothes in the dryer before they became moldy.

Mississippi had never been in my plans. But I’d made the mistake of following a boy—yes, a boy and definitely not a man—right after college. And while he’d dropped me as soon as his influential—read: snobbish—family got one look at me, I’d gone where the wind had blown me. And it had blown me to Havenbrook, a picturesque small town in the heart of Mississippi.

I didn’t live my life with regrets. Boyfriends bailed on me—men bailed on me. Friends grew apart. Shit happened, good and bad. And I didn’t mind making mistakes—thank God, because I made a ton of them. But I learned from every single one.

And during my time in Havenbrook, I’d learned it wasn’t enough to be someone’s second or third…or fourth…choice. I’d spent my entire life settling for exactly that, but I was done. I didn’t begrudge my friends for slotting me into that space. Of course they would choose their significant others over me. Of course my closest friend there would choose her sisters over me. If I were in their shoes, I’d do the same. Or I would in theory anyway. But what did I know? I was an only child, and my person happened to be my mom.

Following the shock of a lifetime, it had been just the two of us against the world. And I needed to get back to that. Needed that connection. Needed an anchor to ground me.

So when I had the chance to pursue what I’d always dreamed of doing—traveling the world as a flight attendant—I’d quit my job, ended my lease, and left Havenbrook behind. I changed everything without a second thought when my mom said her boyfriend of the month could get me into flight attendant training almost immediately by bypassing the waitlist. But changing things on a dime was sort of my superpower.

Like when my dinner date canceled and I had to figure shit out…

Instead of checking in to my cute little boutique hotel and getting ready for a night of fun, I adjusted. No use in getting all done up to eat by myself when I could grab something quick and spend the rest of the night in my room with my book boyfriend and my favorite vibrator.

My phone rang as I pulled up in front of the only bar in town—which happened to be two buildings over from my hotel—and I glanced at the FaceTime request before answering.

“You really miss me, huh?” I said as soon as the video connected.

Willow, aforementioned Havenbrook bestie, huffed out a laugh as her face filled the screen. “Obviously. Was that ever in question? It’s not too late for you to come back, you know.”

Seeing her smiling face and hearing her sweet, Southern drawl made me homesick for a place I’d never really seen as home. It was quite the mindfuck.

“Speak for yourself. I just spent the past three days in a car, hopping from motel to motel and subsisting on Twizzlers and Dr Pepper. If you think I’m doing that all over again, the sleep deprivation is really getting to you. Tell Finn he needs to step it up and pull his weight.”

She laughed, her smile bright and eyes crinkling, and my heart squeezed. Fuck, I already missed her so much, and it’d only been a couple days. “I just wanted to make sure you got there okay. Are you home?”

“Not yet.” I flipped the camera around and gave her a quick view of the adorable downtown before switching it back to me.

“So cute! Where are you?”

“I took a detour through Starlight Cove to visit my best friend and roommate from college, but she had to cancel our dinner plans. Something about an implosion at work, and she had to clean up the mess.”

“That sucks. Are you staying there, or are you just gonna head to your momma’s?”

“Honestly, I’m dead tired and starving, so I’m here for the night. That way, Addison and I can get breakfast in the morning. I’m going to grab something to eat now and then lock myself in my room with a book and my vibrator.”

Willow propped her chin on her hand and let out a dreamy sigh. “Sounds heavenly.”

“Oh, don’t give me that. You have an actual dick you can use. Speaking of, what are the chances someone in this bar can decipher my shirt?”

“What shirt is it?”

“Buy me books and tell me to shut the fuck up and take that dick like a good girl…”

She snorted, and her husband’s head popped up in the background. “Ask Avery where she got that so I can buy you one, Willowtree!”

“Quit eavesdropping!” she said over her shoulder before bringing her attention back to me with an eye roll.

I laughed. “Oops, my bad. I didn’t know there were other ears around.”

“Those other ears don’t need to get any ideas,” she said, loud enough for Finn to hear. “My vagina needs a break from pushing out babies.”

Finn walked up behind her and leaned down to murmur in her ear, but he didn’t exactly whisper because I could hear every word. “But it doesn’t need a break from my di—”

“Oh my Lord, would you leave me alone, please?” She pressed a hand to his chest and shoved while he laughed. He slipped out of her reach, only to come back and plant a loud, smacking kiss on the side of her head. The two of them together were so damn cute. It made me sick.

Anyway,” she said to me. “I think you’re probably in the clear. I’d say you have a slim to none chance of running into a book whore who knows the acronym while you grab a quick bite to eat.”

“Honestly, I’d welcome the conversation at this point. It’s been forever since I’ve had quality human interaction. I’m starting to get attached to the narrators of the audiobooks I’ve been listening to.”

“It’s been three days, you drama queen. And I told you to call me when you got lonely!”

“You’re working. And I’m fine.”

“Well, I’m not.” She stuck out her bottom lip in a pout. “I miss you like hell.”

A knot filled my throat, and my eyes stung from unshed tears. I pressed my lips together and nodded. “Me, too,” I said thickly. Just because I knew it was time to leave and move on didn’t make it hurt any less.

Before I could say anything else, her daughter’s cries echoed over the line, and I knew our time was up.

“Sounds like duty calls,” I said. “I’ll let you know when I get to my mom’s, okay?”

She nodded. “Okay. Be safe and I love you.”

“Love you, too, Will.”

I ended the call, closed my eyes, and rested my head back against the seat. I had no idea if my moving back to Maine was the right choice. Hell, I didn’t even know if I’d enjoy the career I’d been building up in my head since I was a kid.

I just knew it was time for a change.

Even though the sun was on its last legs, it was still exceptionally darker inside One Night Stan’s. Without allowing my eyes time to adjust to the dimly lit space, I strode blindly toward the bar and dropped my bag next to an empty stool. After partaking in a little small talk with the bartender and giving him my order, I glanced to my right to find the only other person at the bar sitting directly next to me.

I barely had time to register his dark, tousled hair that curled over his ears and the piercing blue eyes that nearly took my breath away before his gaze dropped to my shirt. His eyes widened a fraction…and then he promptly choked on his drink.

Fuck my life. Slim to none chance, my ass.

Oh my God.” I slammed my forearm over the acronym, as if that would do anything now that he’d already read it except draw more attention to it. Then under my breath, I hissed, “You know what this means?”

Mr. Hottie was still coughing, his eyes dancing with something I couldn’t quite name, and I wasn’t sure if I should be mortified or proud. There were worse things than this hot-as-fuck man knowing I wouldn’t mind being tossed on a bed and stuffed full of—

“Hadn’t been counting on that, huh?” he managed through a rough throat.

And jeezus, even his voice was hot as hell, all rumbly and deep and in the exact tenor that made my nipples tighten.

I huffed out a laugh and shook my head. “You’re definitely not the person I pictured who’d know it. I thought for sure it’d be a fellow smut slut.”

His lips twitched, and the barest hint of a dimple peeked out beneath a close-cropped beard. Honestly, it was just getting obscene now. “What makes you think I’m not?”

I lifted my brows, propping my chin on my hand as I gave him a once-over. I couldn’t tell how tall he was, but my bet was well over six feet. Tattoos ran up both arms, interspersed randomly from mid-forearm and disappearing beneath the T-shirt sleeves stretched tight over well-defined biceps. The ink was hot as hell, but it was his eyes that held me captive, blue and bottomless and so fucking intense.

“Are you telling me you’re a proud member of the smut slut club?” I asked.

He glanced to the back of the bar where the bartender chatted with a group of people before returning his gaze to mine. “I’m not sure I’d categorize myself as that, but I get around.”

Do you?” I didn’t bother to hide the interest in my voice. Talking about books was quite possibly my favorite thing. Talking about smutty books with this book boyfriend come to life? Fuck me running, my shitty night had taken a sudden turn for the better.

I could discuss books with literally anyone, but I liked to gauge the other person first so I knew what I was getting into—and so I didn’t scar them for life. Romance readers came in all different varieties, and what some called spicy was actually just the equivalent of drinking tepid water. I wanted straight up tequila, or I wasn’t interested.

“Have you read this one?” I pressed my fingernail on the cover of the book I’d brought inside.

He dipped his chin in a nod. “I have.”

My mouth dropped open, and I leaned closer. “No shit?”

“No shit.”

My god, the filthiness he’d read in this book… Just the thought of it was doing things to me that weren’t appropriate for public. While the vast majority of what went on in this novel landed firmly on my side of fine for a book boyfriend but abso-fucking-lutely not in real life, it still let me know he was probably open-minded and sexually adventurous. And that only led to more ideas, every single one of them featuring him and me and not a single stitch of clothing between us.

The crowd at the back roared with laughter, and that, paired with the music pumping through the speakers, made it hard to hear.

I leaned closer until our heads were only inches apart, inhaling the crisp, warm scent of him. “What did you think of it?”

He lifted a single broad shoulder, the move brushing his skin against mine and sending a shiver of awareness down my spine. “It was good for research.”

The proclamation seemed to surprise him, as if he hadn’t meant to say it, and my interest was officially piqued. But before I could say anything, the bartender dropped off my meal, made sure my real-life book boyfriend was good, then headed back to the corner to chat with the raucous group.

“You can’t just leave me hanging like that,” I said, tucking into my meal. “What kind of research? You planning to kidnap someone or…?”

He laughed, a low, rumbly sound that sank into my bones and settled deep. Christ on a cracker, what was this man doing to me? “It was for…work.”

“For work, huh?” I asked, brows up. “You’re either a detective or… Yeah, I got nothin’.”

His gaze flitted around again as if to catalog the space before landing back on me, hesitation written across his face.

“Oh, come on.” I leaned into him, bumping his shoulder with mine. And then I had to force myself to pull away because I wanted to melt into his warmth. I didn’t think I’d lost my northernness since I’d grown up here, but four years in Mississippi had made me soft, and I wasn’t yet used to Maine Octobers.

It was definitely that and not the fact that he was hot as fuck and it’d been a long-ass time since I’d had my world rocked.

“I won’t tell a soul.” I mimed zipping my lips and tossed the invisible key over my shoulder. “I’m not even from here—I’m just staying the night, so you don’t have to worry about me spilling your secrets around town.”

And yes, I was absolutely going to ignore the pang in my gut over the thought that I’d never see this man again. I didn’t even know him. Why the hell should I care about that?

He stared at his bottle of beer, his long, thick fingers wrapped around the base, thumb stroking up and down the label and gathering condensation in its wake. Fuck. That shouldn’t have been so hot, and it certainly shouldn’t have made my clit throb, but I couldn’t stop picturing those hands on my body. Stroking gently… Reverently.

Finally, he tipped his head closer and said, “I’m an author.”

My mouth dropped open as I gaped at him. “Seriously? That’s so cool! What do you write?”

He lifted his gaze toward the back of the bar once again before meeting my eyes. “Fantasy, but my latest skewed heavily erotic. Hence the research.”

“Do a lot of research at strip clubs, do you?”

His brow furrowed as he stared at me. “What?”

I reached out and brushed a finger over his eyebrow and his cheekbone, swiping away the random gold sparkles. Then I spotted another fleck on his jaw and leaned close, softly blowing against his skin to displace it. His Adam’s apple bobbed as I pulled back, the tension between us crackling.

“It’s a long story,” he said, his voice rough. “And I’d rather talk books.”

I just blinked at him before shaking my head. “My God, you’re like the perfect man. I wish every guy would read romance novels to get an idea of what women want. There’d be a hell of a lot more satisfied women, that’s for sure.”

“You have trouble with that?”

It was a more intimate conversation than I usually had after knowing someone for all of twenty minutes, but for some reason, it didn’t feel strange or weird with this man. It felt…natural.

I lifted a single shoulder in a shrug. “I think every woman does.”

His eyes heated, gaze fixed on mine even while he didn’t say a word. But he didn’t need to. His stare spoke volumes, and everything screamed, You wouldn’t have any trouble with me.

I shifted in my seat, my body humming with awareness for him. I wanted to be closer. Hell, I wanted to be in my room and naked with this man, but that wasn’t in the cards right now, so I turned toward him. He mirrored my posture, adjusting so his legs were on either side of mine, and the position was so damn intimate. Especially when the insides of his thighs brushed the outsides of mine, the heat even through his jeans and my leggings enough to burn me up.

“So.” I cleared my throat, attempting to impart some moisture into my too-dry mouth. “You read smutty books for research… You ever do any real-life research?”

I knew I was pushing the boundaries here, but I was well past the point of caring. And I didn’t want there to be any confusion. I was, without a doubt, interested in him, and I was absolutely down for a single night of fun with this man. A book boyfriend come to life who researched smut for a living? Sign me the fuck up.

The air grew heated, an electric charge sizzling in the space between us, and I felt it from my head to my toes and every neglected inch in between.

“Not usually, and even then, it’s probably not how you’re thinking.” He dropped his gaze, allowing it to roam over my body in a slow perusal I felt all the way to my toes. Then he swiped his thumb across his lower lip and met my eyes again. “But I’m definitely tempted to be a little reckless tonight.”

Chapter Three


I didn’t even have time to worry about the fact that I’d shared something with this stranger that I’d been keeping to myself for years. Didn’t have time to analyze why I hadn’t instead come up with a plausible explanation to her question, or why it had felt so freeing when I’d told her the truth. Didn’t have time to think about any of it before we were crashing through her hotel room door, our lips connected, hands everywhere they could reach.

I cupped her ass and held her against me as I swept my tongue into her mouth, groaning at her taste. That, combined with the noises she made, all needy and breathless, were enough to have me damn near busting out of my jeans. I was so fucking hard for her, but my dick was the last thing on my mind. All I could think about was her. Her taste and her sounds and my desperate need to make her come.

I wasn’t this guy. I didn’t do this. I was careful and methodical. I had situationships that went on until they didn’t, and I never cared enough to be bothered by their inevitable end. And yet with this woman—this stranger whose name I didn’t even know—I had no idea how I was going to fit everything I wanted to do with her into a single night.

I didn’t care that I’d known her for all of an hour. I wanted to fucking devour her.

Pinning her against the closed door with my hips, I guided her legs around me. That was all the encouragement she needed to lock her ankles at the base of my spine and grind her pussy down against my cock.

She stared at me, eyes half lidded, as I groaned into her mouth. And then the sexiest fucking smile swept across her lips, and she gave another slow, purposeful roll of her hips.

“You can grind that sweet little cunt down on me all you want, but I’m not coming until you’ve had your fill.”

“I really hope you’re not talking out of your ass and you can actually deliver on that promise…”

A smile tipped up the corner of my mouth as I brushed my lips along the column of her neck. The barest hint of black ink behind her ear caught my eye, so I swept her hair over her shoulder to get a better look. It was a small bunny tattoo, no bigger than the size of a quarter. I brushed my thumb over it, and she shuddered against me, a soft moan leaving her parted lips.

I pulled back enough that I could watch her reaction, softly tracing the lines with my thumb. “That why you got this here? Is it your on button? If I touch it or kiss it or lick it, are you going to give me more of those needy little moans?”

“Maybe.” She turned her head to give me better access and raised a brow in challenge, and goddamn, her boldness only got me harder. “You should find out.”

Gripping her ass, I lowered my head and brushed my lip over her earlobe before tracing her tattoo with my tongue. At her answering moan, I sucked the spot and hummed against her skin. “I fucking love those sounds.”

“Yeah?” she asked, breathless. Her tits brushed against my chest as she arched her back and tightened her legs around me. “I bet you could figure out a way to coax more out of me.”

“I bet you’re right,” I said into her neck. “The real question is if you want me to tell you to shut the fuck up and take my cock, or call you my good girl tonight?”

God,” she breathed. “Is it greedy if I say both?”

“Is that what you are, pretty girl?” I pulled back so I could look into her eyes. “You gonna be greedy for me?”

She bit her lip and nodded. And fuck me, this woman was going to be my undoing. I hadn’t felt this kind of connection…this kind of chemistry…in years. Maybe ever.

“Then we make a good pair,” I said, voice scraped raw.

“Why’s that?”

Pressing her to the door with my hips, I braced one hand over her shoulder and gripped her waist with the other. I slipped my thumb under the hem of her T-shirt, stroking over her pebbled skin and nearly groaning at how responsive she was to me. Especially considering I hadn’t even gotten started.

“Because I’m going to love making you come,” I admitted.

“That makes two of us.”

“Is that your way of telling me you want my hands on you?”

She gave a jerky nod, and I didn’t waste any time lowering her feet to the floor before slipping my hand down the front of her leggings and straight into her panties. Bracing one arm on the door above her head, I leaned closer until our noses were nearly touching, her panting breaths ghosting over my mouth. And then I glided my middle finger straight through her pussy lips and hummed in satisfaction when she moaned low and pleasure swept over her face.

“Christ, you’re wet,” I said against her mouth, our lips brushing with each word. “You want my fingers inside you?”

She lifted her hands to my chest, tightening her fingers in my T-shirt, and nodded. “God yes, please.”

“So sweet for me…” I swiped my fingers through her again before gliding my middle two deep into her cunt.

Moaning low, she dropped her head back against the door with a thump. She looked good enough to eat. Her eyes were hooded as she stared at me, lips parted and cheeks flushed, a look of hungry desperation written across her face that I fucking loved.

“How many times do you think I can make you come with just my hand?”

She shook her head before sucking in a sharp gasp as I curled my fingers inside her. “One. If you’re lucky.”

I didn’t have any doubt that I’d be lucky, and I was pretty sure she didn’t, either. With the way her pussy fluttered around me, squeezing my fingers every time I stroked her G-spot, there was no denying she was close to tipping over the edge.

I leaned down until my lips hovered over her bunny tattoo, then I stroked it with my tongue. “Can’t forget about that needy little clit, can we, bunny?”

I pressed the heel of my hand against it, giving her the friction she needed while I pumped my fingers in and out of her. She gasped, her body going rigid as she held me to her. And then she exploded. Her eyes fluttered closed, and a long moan left her lips, her hips rolling as I stroked her through her orgasm.

But I wasn’t done. Not by a fucking long shot.

She stared up at me, eyes wide when I didn’t let up, my fingers thrusting into her and exploiting the spot inside her that had her pussy tightening impossibly around me.

“You going to be a good girl and give me another one?”

“I don’t— I can’t—” She shook her head even as she canted her hips, urging my fingers deeper. Faster.

“You can and you will.” I scraped my teeth down the column of her neck, sinking them into the juncture where it met her shoulder. “I’ll make sure of it.”

Her breaths grew choppy, her body tightening as she clutched me to her, and then she was falling all over again.

“There you go, pretty girl,” I murmured against her mouth as her pussy squeezed my fingers. “Come all over my hand.”

She moaned, head falling to my chest as she gave herself over to the sensations I was coaxing from her body. I was hard as a fucking rock, every ounce of her pleasure shooting straight to my dick as if I’d been the one racking up those O’s. Fuck me, I wanted to taste them. Needed to taste just how good I’d made her feel.

Once she sagged back against the door, panting and wrung out, I dropped to my knees, taking her leggings and panties with me before tossing them to the side. Then I hooked her leg over my shoulder and groaned at the sight of her, all pink and swollen and so fucking ready for me.

“Holy shit, is this actually happening?” she asked, her words breathless and disbelieving. “This can’t be happening. I’m dreaming, aren’t I?” She laughed, a half-hinged, hysterical sound, and shook her head as she stared down at me. “Two orgasms from his fingers and now he wants to eat my pussy? Yeah, this is definitely a dream.”

“Not a dream, bunny.” I swiped my thumb through her slit, my cock throbbing at her unrestrained moan when I passed over her fully exposed clit. “You’ve already been so fucking good for me. Are you going to let me taste this next one?”

She breathed out a laugh. “The next one? You’ve already given me double what I usually manage, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“What was the question again?”

I let out a low chuckle, so close to her, I had no doubt she could feel it against her skin. “Can I make you come with my tongue?”

“You can sure as hell try.” She whipped her shirt over her head—the shirt that had been the catalyst for what was sure to go down as one of the best nights of my life—and tossed it and her bra somewhere over my shoulder. “And for the record, you’ve got an all-night pass to do whatever you want with your tongue.”

My mouth watered at the sight and scent of her, and I couldn’t wait another second to have her taste on my tongue. I swept it through her slit, from entrance to clit, groaning when her sweetness flooded my mouth.

“Oh shit.” She braced herself with one hand against the door, the other on the back of my head, holding me to her pussy. The move was wholly unnecessary because I didn’t plan to leave until I’d wrung another two orgasms from her sweet little cunt. I licked her from top to bottom and every place in between, sucking and nipping and humming against her skin every time she gave me a breathy moan.

“God, you’re good at this,” she said, awe and desire threaded through each word.

“Don’t tell me that until you’ve come down my throat.” I turned my head and sank my teeth into the inside of her thigh. Not hard enough to hurt but enough to sting, and a shudder racked her body. “Now ride my face and make yourself come for me.”

“Fuck.” She dropped her head back to the door, the thump of it mixing with her moans as she rocked her hips against my mouth, doing exactly what I’d instructed her to. With one hand clutching me to her and the other cupping her breast, her thumb and forefinger pinching her nipple, she took her pleasure from me. The sight…the sounds…the fucking taste of her did nothing but make me harder. Make me ache to sink deep inside her and feel her come around my cock.

She ground her hips shamelessly against my face, and I slipped two, then three fingers inside her. I worked her clit with my tongue until I found exactly what made her legs shake, what had her moans increasing and her fingers tightening in my hair. Then I found the rhythm and the speed at which she liked to be fucked—fast and deep, and Jesus Christ, I couldn’t wait to slide my dick inside her. Couldn’t wait to feel this hot, wet heaven between her thighs. To see her dripping down my shaft just like she was my fingers.

“Oh my God,” she said, shock ringing in her words. “I’m—shit. You’re gonna make me come again.”

I hummed into her pussy, and she did exactly as promised. She broke against me, her cunt squeezing my fingers while her clit pulsed against my tongue, and I licked up every single drop she gave me.

With her body still shaking, I stood, lifting her against me as I strode straight to the bed and tossed her onto it. Her tits bounced with the movement, her tight nipples begging for my tongue, and I didn’t bother to hide my hunger for her. I fucking loved that she was naked, her body flushed and shaking from what I’d done to her, and I hadn’t even unbuttoned my jeans.

I wanted to do a thousand different things to her tonight. Wanted to sit her in my lap and make her grind herself down on my cock, guiding her hips until she made a mess all over me. Wanted to suck her tits into my mouth and see if I could get her off by only that. Wanted her to sit on my face and suffocate me with her cunt. I wanted to find every single way I could to make her scream for me. And then I wanted to do it again.

And again.

And again.

She stared up at me with what looked awfully close to awe. “I gotta tell you—your research paid off. You’re seriously a book boyfriend come to life, and I’m not mad about it.”

“Does that mean you’re ready for another one?”

Breathing out a laugh like she thought I was joking, she sat up on her knees and shook her head. “It’s my turn.”

Then she crawled toward me, reaching out and tugging me closer by the waistband of my jeans. With her eyes locked on mine, she undid my fly and pushed my jeans and boxer briefs down until my cock popped free.

She made a noise halfway between a shocked gasp and a moan and shook her head. “Good God, you didn’t tell me you were hung like a book boyfriend, too.”

My chuckle turned into a groan when she lowered her head and sucked me between those gorgeous lips. No lead-in. No preamble. Just the hot wetness of her mouth as she took me deep until the head of my cock touched the back of her throat. The sight of her nearly did me in, bare ass up in the air, her eyes focused on me, and those dark pink lips wrapped around my shaft, trying to suck my goddamn soul from my body.

“Christ, your mouth feels so fucking good.”

Too fucking good. If I didn’t find a distraction quickly, I was going to come, and I’d promised her I wouldn’t until she had her fill.

I slid my hand down her spine, gliding it over the curve of her ass as she sucked me deep. Then I gave it a sharp smack. She jolted then moaned around my cock, eyes blinking up at me with unmistakable hunger. “Still greedy for me, aren’t you, bunny?”

She whimpered and nodded, sucking me deep. She was a woman on a mission, but I wasn’t going to be derailed, especially when she’d just told me she needed me again.

I pulled back with a groan as my dick slipped from her mouth. “Flip over.”

She stared up at me with glassy eyes for only a second before doing what I said and turning to lie on her back, her head hanging over the side of the bed.

“Just like that,” I said, stepping up and brushing the head of my cock over her lips.

She opened for me immediately, sucking me into her mouth, her throat working against the head of my dick. Christ, her mouth was fucking nirvana, and she had me too damn close to blowing.

I cupped her tits in my hands, tweaking her nipples, then continued down over her stomach to her pussy. Her legs were bent at the knees and clenched tightly closed, but I pushed them apart, humming in satisfaction when she let them fall to the mattress. And then she was spread open for me and so fucking gorgeous. I swept my fingers over her, coating them in her arousal, before sinking two deep inside.

She moaned around my shaft as I stroked her how she’d shown me she liked, finger-fucking her in the rhythm that would get her off. It didn’t take long until she was rocking her hips up to meet my hand. She whimpered as she swallowed around my dick, her hands cupping my ass and tugging me to her, so desperate and needy for me.

“You gonna come again with my cock down your throat, pretty girl?” Just the thought made my words come out hoarse and low, my cock jerking in her mouth, and I was going to make sure she did exactly that.

With my fingers buried deep inside her, I leaned over until I could taste her again. I swept my tongue through her slit before sucking her clit between my lips, and that was all it took.

She whimpered as her orgasm peaked, her body going stiff even as she rolled her hips in time to my fingers. Her moans vibrating down my cock and the sloppy, hungry way she was trying to suck me off were nearly my undoing. I pulled out of her mouth and gripped my shaft firmly at the base. My cock jerked, about two seconds from spilling, but I wasn’t ready to come just yet. She hadn’t told me she’d had her fill, and I sure as hell hadn’t had mine.

“Holy fuck,” she said, breathless, as the last shudder ran through her. Reaching down, she pushed my hand away from her pussy and squeezed her legs tight. “Oh my God, you’re magic.”

After a few brief moments when she caught her breath, she rolled onto her side and climbed to her knees, her eyes intent on me. “But I think it’s about time you got inside me.”

Goddamn, I wanted that, too. More than I’d wanted anything in a long time. But as much as I’d love to stuff her full of my cock, I didn’t have any fucking condoms on me. I sure as hell hadn’t gone out tonight with the intention of ending up here. And I wasn’t one of those guys who carried one around in my wallet, just in case.

I didn’t do just-in-case sex. I did it on the first and third Tuesday of the month. Or at least I had until the resort went viral, my life was thrown into chaos, and I barely had time for a nightly jerk session, let alone driving to meet my current situationship just to have sex that was mediocre at best and subpar at worst.

Somehow, I knew that wouldn’t be the case with this woman. She’d already turned me inside out, made me crave her in ways that were altogether foreign to me.

“I don’t have any condoms,” I admitted.

She stared at me for long moments before she slipped her hands under my shirt, gliding them up my stomach and chest and taking the material right along with them. I reached back and tugged the neck over my head before tossing it to the side. And goddamn… How could I be hungry for her when I could still taste her on my tongue?

She reached for me, wrapping her fingers around my obnoxiously hard cock, and grinned up at me, a slow, wicked smile that shot to where she was stroking me. “Good thing I do.”

“There has to be a mistake,” Aiden said.

“I’m afraid not, Mr. McKenzie. We have the note right here. Ms. Addison McKenzie made the reservation for the Cozy Garden Hideaway, and that’s the only room I have booked for you.”

“Can you check again, please.” The way Aiden said it was less question and more demand, but the man behind the counter simply smiled and did as Aiden had requested.

“Hey,” I said, splitting my gaze between him and the front desk attendant, whose name tag read Mark. “Everything all right?”

Aiden slid his gaze to me, giving me a slow once-over. I’d noticed he did that every time I walked into the room. It felt less like he was checking me out and more like he was checking to make sure I was okay. And my body reacted every damn time, goose bumps sweeping over my skin and a warmth blooming low in my belly. “We’ll see,” he said.

Mark made a low hum in his throat. “I’m afraid we just have you down for the Cozy Garden Hideaway, sir.”

Aiden hung his head and blew out a heavy breath. “Fine. Do you have another room available that I can also reserve?”

“Unfortunately, we’re all booked, thanks to the fall festival taking place this weekend.”

“Let me guess,” Aiden said flatly. “It’ll be the same for every other place in town.”

“I would assume so, sir.”

I glanced between Aiden and Mark, brows raised. “What does that mean?”

Aiden curled his hands over the front desk ledge, tension coming off him in waves. “It means Addison ‘forgot’ to add another room to our reservation. And she booked the smallest room while she was at it.”

Mark’s gaze bounced between Aiden and me. “If you’re worried about the accommodations, I can assure you the room is cozy and quaint—”

“Read: small AF,” Aiden muttered under his breath.

“With a double bed and a gorgeous view of our back garden, which is full of a kaleidoscope of colors right now. The trees are just breathtaking. You’ve really picked a beautiful time of year to visit!”

Aiden glanced at me then, a brow raised. “It’s your call. We can turn around, and I’ll drive us right back home tonight.”

“It’s almost ten.”

“Doesn’t matter. I don’t want you to be uncomfortable, especially when my sister strong-armed you into this,” he said, as if he was the one making me uncomfortable.

And he was, but not for the reasons he probably thought. I wanted him—hadn’t stopped wanting him—but I didn’t know if it was a good idea.

Still, I wasn’t going to sabotage this weekend. Even if Addison’s intentions were nefarious, that didn’t change the fact that she really did want me to scope out the festival and return to Starlight Cove with a bunch of ideas we could implement there. And I really was excited about doing it.

I held Aiden’s gaze as I spoke to the front desk attendant. “We’ll stay.”

“An excellent choice!” Mark said, typing away on his computer. “All our previous guests who’ve stayed in that room have enjoyed their time immensely, so I have no doubt you will, too.”

I wasn’t so sure about that. Three evenings with Aiden in a tiny room that held only one bed? I was pretty sure this was going to be torture.