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Authors: Erin McCarthy

Basic Attraction

BOOK: Basic Attraction
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Basic Attraction

 

 

 

by Erin McCarthy

 

Copyright
©
2014 by Erin McCarthy

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner and the publisher of this book, excepting brief quotations used in reviews. Purchase only authorized editions.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, businesses or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Chapter One

Luke Weiss had always slept naked. He’d never given it any thought. He was either alone, which meant there was no one to care, or he was with a woman, which meant being naked was necessary.

Even though he was sleeping in his sister Angel’s new house, he was alone. So he was naked.

Which occurred to him a solid sixty seconds after he realized he wasn’t actually alone in the house. There was a soft feminine voice chattering somewhere out in the area of the living room. He pried an eye open.

It sure in the hell wasn’t his sister. She was in California with her new boyfriend, Rick, on vacation, meeting Rick’s five-year-old daughter. It wasn’t the carpet installation crew either, he didn’t think. In his experience, carpet installers didn’t hum “On Top of Old Smoky” in an off-key voice.

Glancing around the empty room, he tried to remember where he’d left his pants. In the bathroom. Great. He couldn’t even guess who else had a key to the house and could be dropping in with Rick and Angel gone. They hadn’t even moved into the house they would be sharing when Angel was in town yet, so it couldn’t be the neighbors. Maybe it was Rick’s mother.

He pried the pillow out from underneath his head and dropped it over his waist and thighs. It wasn’t much in the way of modesty, but it sure beat getting caught sprawled out buck naked by Angel’s boyfriend’s mother. If it were anyone else, he’d probably say the hell with and let them see his junk—which, he had to say, was nothing to sneeze at, but mothers were a whole different ballgame. There weren’t any blankets on the bed to aid his cause either. It was August. Blistering hot. The house had no air conditioning, so he had slept with nothing covering him.

He ran over his options. Stay here and hope she, whoever she was, left without discovering him. Or make a break for the john and get his pants. He opted for the latter. A man’s dignity lies in his pants—
In
his pants being the important part of the phrasing.

Standing up, he shook his shaggy hair out of his eyes and listened cautiously. The voice had retreated back to the kitchen, and whoever was out there was opening cabinets, rattling dishes, and still humming happily. If this were a two-story, he’d be safe, but it was a ranch-style house, and the kitchen was only separated from the bedrooms by the living room.

But it also meant that the bathroom was only a few steps down the hall. He decided to go for it and just apologize to Mrs. Dangel if she got an eyeful. Opening the door, he glanced to the left. No one. He started out with his pillow, just in case he needed it, and made it to the bathroom without incident.

Where there were no clothes waiting for him. Where the hell had he dropped his pants last night? Abandoning the pillow, he grabbed a bath towel from the mostly empty linen closet and wrapped it around his waist. Definite improvement.

With renewed confidence, he headed out of the bathroom and went down the hall to the living room, fully expecting to find his pants crumpled up in a ball in front of the TV he’d brought with him for his weeklong stay.

A surprised voice came from the kitchen. “Mookie? Where are you?” Footsteps headed in his direction. He stood still and waited for the inevitable. “What is this?” the voice continued, puzzled.

He hoped Rick’s mom wouldn’t scream when she saw him.

She did. Only it wasn’t Rick’s mom. It was a tall and tan twenty-something woman with hair that swayed in chestnut strands on either side of her face and the fullest, most erotic lips he’d ever seen. Lips made for kissing, tugging, and sucking.

Sheri. His body reacted accordingly and strained against the towel.

She was still screaming and clutching his jeans, T-shirt, and if he wasn’t mistaken, his briefs in her hand. He felt a grin spread across his face. This was a nice surprise, screams or not.

“Hey, Sheri. What’s up?” He lazily scratched his chest, taking in her impossibly long legs in crisp white shorts. Rick’s coworker, and Angel’s friend, Sheri was a hot thing.

Who was undeniably afraid of him. On the few occasions they’d met, she’d given him a wide berth along with suspicious and horrified glances. Screaming was a first though.

The scream died out. She said, “What are you doing here?”

He took a step closer to her. She backed up. Yeah, this was about how each of their previous meetings had gone. “I’m house sitting while Angel and Rick are gone. They’re getting new carpet and I’m supposed to let the guys in.” He took another step forward. She backed up until she hit the wall. “What are you doing here, Sheri?”

“I’m supposed to be watching Mookie for Angel while she’s gone.” She took a deep, ragged breath.

“What the hell is a Mookie?” He watched with appreciation the way her full breasts rose up and down in her navy-blue button-up shirt.

She darted a nervous glance down to his towel. He’d forgotten he wasn’t wearing clothes. He spread his legs a little farther and stuck his hands on his hips. She gulped. “Mookie is Angel’s cat.”

“Oh, yeah. I remember now. Sorry-looking tabby cat kind of thing.”

Her green eyes stopped staring at the towel long enough to glance up and flash indignantly. “Mookie is not sorry-looking. He’s precious.”

“Whatever.” He didn’t understand allowing a walking furball to share your house with you, but Angel was a sucker for animals. As was Sheri, apparently. “Hey, how come you need to take care of the cat if I’m staying here?”

She cocked her head. “Do you really need to ask that?”

While she still looked nervous, at least she didn’t look afraid of him anymore. He said, “Yeah, I do. What, like I can’t take care of one stupid little cat?”

She squeezed his jeans in her hand in distraction. He wished it were him getting the squeeze, not his pants. His towel shifted as his erection grew. The makeshift knot he’d twisted in the bathroom wasn’t going to hold much longer, he realized.

Sheri did too. Staring in horrified fascination, she said, “Be careful! Your towel’s about to—”

His towel came undone and swirled to the floor, pooling around his ankles. Sheri gasped. In appreciation, he sincerely hoped. She ought to appreciate it, considering she was the one who was responsible for his lower half’s grand entrance. He took his time leaning over and pulling it back up.

She stared for a long moment then squeezed her eyes shut. “Put your towel back on!”

“I’m trying. I can’t get the knot done.” He pretended to fumble with it, hoping she would take a peek. She did. He pretended to let it slip again, flashing her thoroughly.

She clapped both of her hands over her eyes. “Put it away!”

Now that wasn’t the reaction he’d been hoping for. He didn’t think he had ever heard that particular phrasing before. Well, okay, maybe once when he was fifteen and had gotten a little overenthusiastic with his girlfriend. She had been well within her rights. Sheri was just being insulting.

Knotting the towel firmly, he said, “You can look now. The big bad wolf is in his cage.” He spoke with more than a little sarcasm. Every time he met this woman, she treated him like he was a shark and she was a juicy little fish. His towel swelled again. Damn, that was a bad analogy. He shouldn’t imagine biting her.

“You’re incredibly…”

He waited for the compliment that was sure to follow. He had impressed more than one woman in his thirty years of life with his stature.

“…disgusting.” She grimaced. “And why aren’t you wearing any pants?”

Yet again, that wasn’t the response he’d been looking for. He found it more than a little annoying that he was intensely attracted to her and she found him revolting. Or did she? Given the tilt of her head, her pursed lips, and her frozen look, he wondered if she didn’t find him fascinating at the same time. It was worth a little effort to see.

He liked a challenge. Besides, he had been here less than a day and he was already bored. Owning his own bar back in Chicago kept him busy around the clock, and he wasn’t used to having so much time on his hands. He had planned to spend the bulk of the week relaxing, which meant sleeping and eating. But spending them with a willing Sheri would be much better.

“Because you’re holding them in your hot little hands, gorgeous.” He smiled at her slowly.

She dropped the bundle in her hands faster than the speed of light.

“Were you playing with my underwear, Sheri?” He grinned and made no move to retrieve his clothes.

Shaking her head rapidly caused her chestnut hair to dance around her face. “No! Of course not.”

“Well, you were holding them,” he said, pointed out the obvious, blinking for sincerity.

She blustered. “I found them in the kitchen. I had no idea you were staying here. And please, don’t even try and explain to me what your pants were doing in the kitchen.”

“I was hot, so I—”

“I don’t want to know!” She covered her ears and hummed the tune she had been earlier.

It was adorable. She had to be five foot ten, in her late twenties, with a physically demanding job as a Smoky mountains park ranger, yet she was playing the child’s game of “I can’t hear you.” He took a step forward, his mouth dry.

“Don’t come near me.” She held up her hand to ward him off.

He stopped walking and bent down to scoop up his clothes. “What?” he said innocently. “I’m just getting my clothes. Unless you want to keep my underwear?” He held them out to her with a wicked grin.

She reacted accordingly. Reeling back, she shook her head. “I cannot believe Angel is your sister. She’s so sweet and normal, and you’re…” She fumbled for words.

“Disgusting?” he said.

“Yes.” Sheri nodded firmly.

He decided to push her a little further. With one finger outstretched, he ran it across her cheek, slowly and gently, ending the touch with a brush across her bottom lip. He wanted to sink his teeth into that plump, moist lip more than he could say.

He said softly, “You’re lying. You want me as much as I want you.”

Maybe that was a stretch, but he was hoping that it was the truth. Sheri wasn’t the kind of woman he normally was interested in. For girlfriends, he had a preference for petite women, sweet and stable—like his sister, Angel. For no-strings-attached fun, he went for loud and brassy, with big hair. Sheri was none of the above.

Sheri was tall, athletic, with legs that went on for miles, and a tight, firm ass. She was confident, yet touchingly innocent, with gorgeous green eyes that flashed fearfully at him.

“You’re delusional.” She pursed her lips and held her hand out, ready to fend him off if needed. “I thought I made my feelings of disgust perfectly clear the three times that we’ve met.”

“You’ve counted how many times we’ve met?” It gave him hope. “That proves you think about me.”

She looked horrified. “I don’t think about you! It’s just obvious. We met on the deck at Angel’s cabin, then the next day, then again at their Fourth of July barbeque. It’s not that hard to figure out and it doesn’t prove a thing.”

“It proves I made an impression on you.” He ran his hand through his hair and pictured running his fingers through Sheri’s hair instead. With her moaning in pleasure. He bunched his jeans in front of him. He needed to get a grip. Or better yet, she needed to get a grip. On him. He groaned to himself. This wasn’t helping.

She went wide-eyed. “An impression? Yeah, of a bully.”

She thought he was a bully? That took him completely by surprise. He asked indignantly, “A bully? Why would you think that?”

She crossed her arms underneath her perky breasts. “You growled at everyone.”

“Growled?” he repeated in disbelief. “I don’t growl.”

“Yes, you do.” She nodded defiantly.

He felt severely misunderstood. Just because a guy chose to wear chains on his jeans and a swear word or two on his shirt and he had a tattoo here and there or everywhere did not make him a bully. He was a nice guy. Kind to women and children. Generous to the poor. He was friggin’ Mr. Rogers.

“When did I growl?” he asked hotly.

“At your sisters,” she answered promptly.

“I don’t remember that.” He was a damn saint when it came to his sisters. He frowned at her.

“You reprimanded Angel and told Dixie to shut up.”

His frown deepened. There was possibly some truth to that. Dixie was ten years younger than he was, man hungry, and a chatterbox to boot. It was highly likely he had told her to shut up a time or two.

BOOK: Basic Attraction
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