Thank you, everyone, for reading e-books! Tina, you’re the winner of yesterday’s giveaway! Please drop me a note (joelysueburkhart AT gmail DOT com) with your selection from my backlist and the format you’d like.
And now to the snippet! Here, Vicki has taken Jesse on an innocent shopping trip, which doesn’t end up quite so…innocent.
She turned around, looking for Jesse, and found him mesmerized by a white fluffy negligee a few rows back in the lingerie department. Slowly, she walked back toward him, trying to figure out why he found the silly thing so interesting. It was innocent and frilly, totally not her style. He’d already said she was red, passion, fire. Not meek and insipid white, let alone such a feminine, helpless looking outfit.
Her hackles rose just looking at the damned thing, but she tried to keep the bite out of her voice. “You’re not picturing me in that, are you?”
His cheeks flushed but he met her gaze with a sheepish shrug of his shoulders. “So sue me, I’m a man, and I think you’d be hot in it.”
“In this?” Incredulity rang in her voice and he smiled wider. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Remember the surprise factor.”
That took her aback. When choosing colors and patterns only by her personal preference, she’d created a solid but boringly conservative line, which was far from what she’d hoped to accomplish.
“I already knew you were strong, kind, gorgeous, and that once you make up your mind to do something, you do it one hundred percent all the way.” His voice roughened into a whiskey husky drawl. “I heard enough last night to know that you’re also uninhibited and sexy as hell.”
Now it was her turn to blush. He just had to get in a dig about what all he’d heard last night. “What’s your point?”
“If you were to deliberately pick out something to wear for Reyes, I bet you’d choose red or black, right? This is totally unexpected. It screams innocence and shyness, a direct contradiction to your personality. If you were to slip this little baby on for your cop, I guarantee he’ll swallow his tongue in surprise, and then blow a gasket trying to get you out of it.”
Doubtfully, she took the hanger off the rack to examine the negligee closer. She tried to picture herself in it, and failed. Just thinking about it made her feel awkward, shy, and stupid, none of which she typically felt, especially around Elias. He brought out the vixen—or the crocodile—in her. Not the blushing virgin.
Maybe that’s exactly Jesse’s point.
He stepped close enough to whisper. “Hold it up to you. Let me imagine you wearing it.” For me.
He didn’t say the last words out loud, but she heard the longing in his voice, the intent in his body. Could he be right? Would Elias like her in such a feminine, innocent-looking nightgown?
She held the negligee beneath her chin and watched Jesse’s eyes flare wider, darken to the mysterious lost-lagoon depths.
“If you think it’s too…”
“Virginal,” she said wryly.
His mouth quirked and he dipped his head. “Then wear something brazen beneath, like a see-through thong. Or better yet, nothing at all.”
She arched a brow at him in warning but he only smiled wider. “That reminds me. You need underwear and socks. Hmmm. I wonder what size you are?”
Since he was so close, it was easy enough to reach around his waist and slide her fingers down the back of his saggy jeans in search of the waistband tag.
Mistake. Huge. Because instead of cotton, her fingers met only bare skin.
“Jesse. You are not wearing any underwear.”
A muffled gasp drew her attention. A blushing, wide-eyed saleslady stared at them.
“No, ma’am.” Whispering, he dropped his head and allowed his shoulders to droop, that automatic, innate signal of surrender she recognized despite her refusals to ever consider learning more about the BDSM lifestyle as her brother urged. “Extras were a luxury, and I don’t mind going without.”
Glaring at the ogling saleslady, Vicki shoved her hand down further. Her index finger lodged between his cheeks, the rest of her hand cupping his buttock. Jesse quivered beneath her grip but otherwise didn’t move a muscle, while the saleslady flushed even darker and finally whirled to disappear down a side aisle.
She tried to keep her voice firm instead of sultry, but her voice sounded like she’d just slugged a flask of Jack Daniels. “I thought we agreed to no flirting.”
“Um, it’s your hand down my pants. Ma’am.”
She couldn’t help leaning into him, squeezing firmly, letting him feel how strong her hands were. She’d grown up on a ranch and although she had two older brothers, her parents had always believed in hard work for every single person in the family. “What did I tell you to call me?”
“I can’t,” he breathed short and fast. “If I say your name while you’re touching me like this, I might not be able to control myself.”