Authors: Christina Lauren
Praise for the
New York Times
An ambitious intern.
A perfectionist executive.
And a whole lot of name calling.
“Filled with plenty of hot sex and sizzling tension . . .”
—RT Book Reviews
“. . . deliciously steamy . . .”
“A devilishly depraved cross between a hardcore porn and a very special episode of
. . . . For us fetish-friendly fiends to feast on!!”
“The perfect blend of sex, sass, and heart,
is a steamy battle of wills that will get your blood pumping!”
—S. C. Stephens,
New York Times
bestselling author of
has heart, heat, and a healthy dose of snark. Romance readers who love a smart plot are in for an amazingly sexy treat!”
—Myra McEntire, author of
is the perfect mix of passionate romance and naughty eroticism. I couldn’t, and didn’t, put it down until I’d read every last word.”
A charming British playboy.
A girl determined to finally live.
And a secret liaison revealed in all too vivid color.
“Hot . . . if you like your hook-ups early and plentiful . . .”
, truly. I wasn’t sure how Christina Lauren planned on topping Bennett. . . . They did it. Max is walking hotness.”
“The thing that I love the most about Christina Lauren and the duo’s
books is that there is always humor in them. As well as hot steamy moments and some of the sweetest I love you’s.”
“When I say
is hot, I mean
is HOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTT!!! This book has some of the steamiest, sexiest, panty-dropping scenes and dialogue of any book I’ve ever read.”
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C & Lo
“I’m about to cut a bitch,” I hissed, pushing my share of the work away from me. Bennett failed to even look up, so I added, “And by that, I mean
-cut a bitch.”
At least this got a tiny flicker of a smile. But I could tell, even after doing this for the past hour, he was still in Wedding Preparation Zone, and would keep robotically working until the entire, unending pile of cardstock in front of him was gone. Our normally immaculate dining room table was littered with Tiffany-blue wedding programs. Across from me, Bennett methodically folded each one in half before moving it to the Completed stack.
It was a simple process:
But I was losing my damn mind. Our flight left at six the following morning for San Diego, and our bags were all packed but for the four hundred wedding programs we had to fold. I groaned as I remembered we
had to tie five hundred blue ribbons around five hundred tiny satin bags full of candy.
“You know what would make this night so much better?” I asked.
His hazel eyes flickered to me before returning to the task at hand.
“A gag?” he suggested.
“Amusing, but no,” I said, giving him the finger. “What would make this night better would be getting on a plane and flying to
, getting married, and then fucking all night in a giant hotel bed.”
He didn’t bother to reply to this, not even a whiff of a smile. It was probably fair to say he’d heard this exact sentiment from me approximately seven thousand times in the past few months.
“Fine,” I replied to his silence. “But I’m serious. It’s not too late to drop all of this and fly to Vegas.”
He took a moment to scratch his jaw before reaching for another program to fold. “Of course it isn’t, Chlo.”
I’d been playing around—
—up to this point, but with his words genuine irritation swept through me. I slapped my hand on the dining room table, earning a quick blink from him before he resumed his folding. “Don’t patronize me, Ryan.”
I pointed a finger at him. “Like
My fiancé gave me a dry look, and then winked.
Damn that man and his goddamn sexy wink. My anger dissipated somewhat and in its place came a flare of desire. He was ignoring me, being a patronizing ass. I was being a bitch.
It was the perfect setup for me to have many, many orgasms.
I looked him over and sucked the edge of my lower lip into my mouth. He was wearing a deep blue T-shirt that was so old and worn, the collar was frayed and—even though I couldn’t see it—I knew there was a tiny hole right above the hem that was just big enough for me to slide my finger through and touch the warm skin of his stomach. Last weekend he’d been wearing that T
and I’d asked him to keep it on while he fucked me against the bathroom counter, just so I could wrap it up in my fists.
I rocked a little in my chair to relieve the ache between my legs. “Bed or floor. Your choice.” I watched him as he remained impassive, and added in a whisper, “Or I could just climb under the table and suck on you first?”
Smirking down at his work, Bennett said, “You can’t get out of wedding preparation with sex.”
I pulled back to study him. “What kind of man says that? You’re broken.”
Finally, he gave me a dark, hungry look. “I promise you, I’m
broken. I’m getting this done so I can focus on wearing you out later.”
“Wear me out
,” I whined, standing and walking over to him. I slid my fingers into his hair and tugged. Adrenaline dripped hot and electric into my veins when his eyes fluttered closed and he suppressed a groan. “Where’s all this money you have? Why haven’t we hired someone to do this?”
Laughing, Bennett wrapped his hand around my wrist and pulled my fingers from his hair. After kissing my knuckles, he very deliberately set my hand back at my side. “You want to hire someone to
the night before we leave for San Diego?”
“Yes! Because sex!”
“But isn’t it nicer like
? Enjoying each other’s company and,” he said, lifting his wineglass to take a dramatic sip, “conversing like the happily affianced lovers we are?”
I glared at him, shaking my head at his attempted guilt trip. “I offered sex. I offered hot, sweaty,
sex—and then I offered to give you a blow job. You want to fold
. Who is the buzzkill here?”
He picked up a program and studied it, ignoring me. “Frederick Mills,” he read aloud, and I began pulling my shirt up and over my head, “together with Elliott and Susan Ryan welcome you to the wedding of their children, Chloe Caroline Mills and Bennett James Ryan.”
“Yes, yes, it’s so romantic,” I whispered. “Come here and touch me.”
“Officiant,” he continued, “the Honorable James Marsters.”
“If only,” I sighed, and dropped my shirt on the floor before working my pants down my hips. “I’m going to pretend it’s Spike performing our wedding ceremony instead of that hilarious gentleman with early dementia we met back in November.”
“Judge Marsters performed my
wedding ceremony almost thirty-five years ago,” Bennett chastened me gently. “It’s sentimental, Chlo. The fact that he forgot to zip up his pants is a mistake anyone could have made.”
“Fine.” I did feel a little guilty for making the joke, but I stood quietly for a minute, letting my memory of the old, frazzled man take shape. He’d met us at the wedding site when we went out to see it last fall, and got lost on each of three trips to the men’s room in under an hour, returning with his fly open each time. “But do you think he’ll remember our na—”
Bennett cut me off with a stern look before he realized I was only wearing my bra and underwear, and then his expression went a completely different kind of dark.
“I’m just saying,” I started, reaching behind me to unfasten my bra, “it would be at least a
amusing if he forgot what he was doing halfway through the ceremony.”
He managed to turn his attention back to folding the program before my breasts were exposed; he made a crisp seam as he slid his thumb along the edge. “You’re being a pain in the ass.”
“I know. I also don’t care.”
He quirked an eyebrow as he looked up at me. “We’re almost done.”
I bit back my response, which was to point out that folding the programs was the least of our worries; the next week with our two families together had the potential to be a disaster of Griswold-family holiday proportions, and wouldn’t sex right now be a lot better than thinking about that? My father and his two boozy divorcée sisters alone could make us crazy, but add in Bennett’s side of the family, Max, and Will, and we’d be lucky to get out of there without a felony under our communal belt.
Instead I whispered, “Just really quick? Can’t we take a little break?”
He leaned forward, inhaling between my breasts before moving to the side and kissing a path to my left nipple. “Once I start, I don’t relish stopping.”
“You don’t like interruptions, I don’t like delayed gratification. Which of us do you think will get her
Bennett ran his tongue over my nipple, and then sucked it deeply into his mouth as his hands circled my waist, slid to my hips, and then worked together to pull my panties off with a satisfying rip.
Amusement lit up his eyes as he looked up at me from where he sucked at my other breast, and his fingers teased at the juncture of my hip and thigh. “I suspect, my impossible wife-to-be, that you’re going to get your way and then I’ll finish folding these later while you sleep.”
Sliding my hands back into his hair, I whispered, “Don’t forget about tying the ribbons on the candy bags.”
He chuckled a little. “I won’t, baby.”
And it hit me all over again, like a warm gust of wind: I
him, madly. I loved every inch of him, every emotion that passed through his eyes, and every thought I knew he had right now but wasn’t voicing:
been the one to insist we do as much of this ourselves as we could.
was the one to assure him it was fine that every distant relative of ours on the planet had somehow squeezed their way into this wedding event.
Three, that I would never, ever back out of the opportunity to wear my wedding dress on the Coronado coastline.
But instead of pointing out the obvious—that he was the one being a good sport here, not me, and that despite all of my bitching I would never be satisfied with a quick Vegas wedding—he stood, turning to walk to our bedroom. “Okay, then. But this is the last night I’m fucking you before we’re married.”
I was so buzzed by the “fucking” part that it wasn’t until he’d disappeared down the hallway to our bedroom that the rest of his words fully sank in.
Bennett was already undressing when I joined him in the bedroom, and I watched as he slipped the buttons free on the fly of his jeans and pushed them and his boxers down his legs. He reached for the hem of his shirt, eyebrows raised in silent question—
want it on or off this time?
—before I nodded and he tugged it up and over his head. He walked over to our bed, lay down on his back, and gazed at me.
“Come here,” he said in a quiet growl.
I stepped closer to the bed but remained out of his reach. “When you say ‘the last night you’re fucking me before we’re married,’ do you mean that we are only going to have sex during daylight hours this week?”
A tiny smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “No. I mean that after tonight, I want to abstain until you’re my wife.”
An unfamiliar panic rose in my chest, and I wasn’t sure how seriously to take him. I climbed onto the bed and crawled over, bending to kiss my way down his chest. “I thought I knew what
meant, but in this context it sounds like you’re telling me on a Tuesday that we’ll be together all week but
having sex until Saturday.”
“That’s what I’m saying.” Strong fingers tangled into my hair and urged my head lower, to where his cock arched, rigid and slick with his own excitement.
I stopped the path of my lips just at his hips, which rose from the mattress in an effort to meet my mouth halfway. “Why on earth would you want to abstain?”
“Christ, Chlo, stop teasing and put my dick in your mouth.”
Ignoring him, I sat up and moved to straddle his thighs so he couldn’t easily escape if I decided to inflict some sort of bodily harm. “You’re
if you think I’m going without sex for the next four days in the middle of this wedding nonsense.”
“I’m not insane,” he insisted, trying to pull me higher up his thighs so his man parts could get better access to my woman parts. “I want it to be special. And aren’t you the one who wanted a quickie before finishing the wedding prep?” His fingers dug into my hips and he lifted me, pulling me down directly over his cock. “So stop struggling.”
But I escaped by digging a finger into the single ticklish spot on his body, between two of his ribs, and with a spasm he released me, shoving my hands away.
I bent to kiss him once on his perfect, perfect mouth. “That was before you suggested that my access to this sincerely ridiculous body of yours expires at midnight. Saturday is our
night. As far as I know, we only get one of those. How could it not be special, even if you’re hitting it like a jackhammer all week long?”
“Maybe I want you a little hungry,” he whispered, sitting up beneath me. His mouth found my neck, my collarbones, my breasts. “I want you so hungry for it that you can barely think straight.” He grew fevered, grasping at my sides, sucking my skin. I was all too aware of the hard press of him against my inner thigh, and wanted nothing more than to feel him inside, hear his sounds as he grew delirious and lost and urgent.
And then a thought occurred to me. “You mean you want me hungry enough to not care if you rip the ungodly expensive lingerie I bought for the wedding night.”
He laughed into my breasts. “That’s a pretty good theory, but no.”
I knew Bennett Ryan well enough to know that I wasn’t going to win this battle. Not here, not yet. With him, I never won with words; I only ever won with actions. I kneeled over him, pulling away and smiling at his short, deep grunt of frustration. But then I turned my body so I could straddle his face at the same time I took his cock into my mouth. He reached for me eagerly, hands splayed across my hips and pulling me down, down, down.
My eyes rolled closed at the first sensation of warmth, of the soft slide of his tongue followed by the seal and suction of his lips. I quickly grew lost in the vibration of his moans, his words muffled against me, the tiny tease of teeth before the suction was back and he grew wilder, and desperate. Below me, he rocked up, urging, and I wrapped my fist around his base, gazing at his length, appreciating its shape and smoothness. I loved the feel of him, the impatient jutting of his hips.