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Authors: Erin McCarthy

Close Up

BOOK: Close Up
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A reunion to end all reunions

Since their separation years ago, Sean Maddock has imagined a lot of scenarios where he and Kristine would get back together. So finally getting served with divorce papers is a real shock. It’s not until he seeks out Kristine and feels the same hot kick of desire that he suddenly knows why—he still wants his wife!

Clearly it’s time to move on. But before Sean signs on the dotted line to end their marriage, he wants one more weekend. Just the two of them, closed up in an isolated cabin. Surely by Sunday night they will have played out all their sexy memories—maybe even made a few new ones. Then he’ll be able to walk away…or not!

“Just so you know, my plan is to seduce you....”

Sean’s words created an image Kristine forcefully ignored. “I think we’ve already established that.”

“No.” He shook his head slowly. “I mean,
seduce
you. By Sunday night you won’t even remember your name. I’m going to make you scream for me.” His thumb dragged across Kristine’s bottom lip. “Think you can handle that?”

No. But she had done enough ducking and running in her life. If she wanted the divorce papers signed, if she wanted closure and to move forward truly free as a mature adult, she needed to do this. For Sean, for herself.

For her undersexed girl parts.

“It’s two days. Unless there is a reason I shouldn’t trust you, I can handle roughing it.”

The corner of his mouth turned up. “I don’t remember you liking it rough.”

The seduction thing was kicking in already. Kristine wished she weren’t standing so she could cross her legs and quiet the ache stirring there. “Maybe more than one thing has changed in ten years.”

Ha. She could flirt right back.

It seemed to work. He made a sound in the back of the throat and took a step toward her. Why did Kristine feel like she was being swept out onto the lake by the sheer force of Sean’s personality?

Because she was.

Dear Reader,

The characters Sean and Kristine in the second book of my From Every Angle series,
Close Up,
impulsively married a decade ago. But even though it was a passionate marriage, it went south quickly. Now, after encountering each other at the nude photo shoot exhibit, sparks fly all over again.

Personally, I love a reunion story. The idea of a second chance, and reigniting a relationship with your soul mate, is a story naturally filled with optimism, hope and love. And the sizzle can be so much hotter when you already know someone!

In order to get these two rediscovering their passion (not that it was hard) I had to send them off to a cabin in the woods on a lake in Minnesota. I’ve been on this island, and the lake and surrounding area are beautiful and pristine—the perfect spot to rediscover an old love.

Hope you enjoy Sean and Kristine’s sexy reunion! Visit me online at
www.erinmccarthy.net
.

Happy reading!

Erin McCarthy

Close Up

NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling Author

Erin McCarthy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

USA TODAY
and
New York Times
bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has since written almost fifty novels and novellas in teen fiction, new-adult and adult romance. Erin has a special weakness for tattoos, karaoke, high-heeled boots and martinis. She lives on the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio with her family, her cat and her stylish and well-dressed Chihuahua/terrier mix.

Books by Erin McCarthy

HARLEQUIN BLAZE
804—DOUBLE EXPOSURE

Other titles by this author available in ebook format.

Special thanks to David Vandevoort for introducing me to Ely Island and for building us a bonfire, and to his parents for letting us have a girls’ weekend at their cabin.

To Tina Grillot-Vandevoort, Vanda Ungureanu and McGyver, it was an awesome weekend, let’s do it again soon!

Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Excerpt

1


I
F THE GOOD
Lord intended us to be naked, clothes wouldn’t have been invented.”

Kristine Zimmerman felt the urge to laugh, but restrained herself, shifting her phone from her right ear to her left as she surveyed the tables being set up for that Friday night’s art exhibit at Collective, the gallery that had just hired her as their events coordinator. “Mom, there are plenty of valid occasions for human beings to be naked.” She could think of at least three without even trying.

Her mother wasn’t sold. “Even Adam and Eve wore fig leaves. Why don’t they wear fig leaves in those pictures? Or better yet, those girls should have some boy shorts on. Boy shorts are cute.”

Given that her mother couldn’t see her, Kristine felt free to give a generous eye roll. It would be a bit counterproductive for the world-renowned mass nude photographer, Ian Bainbridge, to cover his volunteer models in undies. “The photographer is not doing an Adam and Eve exhibit. The nudity is intentional to make a statement about the lack of humanity in corporations.”

“It’s objectifying women,” was her mother’s firm opinion. “You need to quit this job.”

Kristine was no longer amused. “No. I am not quitting this job.” She nodded as the caterer, who was setting up the tables with three staff members, held up white tablecloths for her approval. Normally setup wouldn’t occur three days in advance, but Kristine wanted everything perfect. She wanted the opportunity to see the gallery ready for the event, and make adjustments without the pressure of guests arriving in a matter of hours. This event was her probation period with this job. If it went well, her boss would know she had hired the right person, despite Kristine’s less than remarkable résumé.

At twenty-nine years old, Kristine had virtually nothing to show for the past decade of her life. No money, no retirement fund, no significant other, no highly sought-after skills or talents, and a boatload of student loan debt for a degree she’d never finished. This job was her chance to settle down into a routine, to prove she was a grown-up, finally. Her days of wandering aimlessly from one bad choice to another were behind her, and she was determined to move forward with her life.

Which was why she had also finally shelled out her last bit of savings to draw up divorce papers for Sean, the man she had impulsively married at the age of nineteen and shared a passionate and volatile six months with, before their relationship had imploded. They had parted in anger, but had never filed for divorce. Initially, she had been too upset to deal with the paperwork, and then as the years slid by, it had always seemed that she had something better to spend her hard-earned money on. It had also just been easier to let cobwebs collect on those emotions than disturb them. Apparently, Sean had felt the same way, because he had never contacted her for a divorce, either, even though Kristine knew for a fact he was now a highly successful businessman and money was not an object.

It wasn’t until a few months ago, when Kristine had started dating George, a guy she’d thought she could really grow to care for, only to be dumped unceremoniously when a month into seeing each other he had found out she was still legally married. He had considered it dishonest and revealing that she hadn’t severed those ties, and he had washed his hands of her. Given that a divorce could be obtained on the internet for a few hundred bucks had made her consider the fact that George had a valid point or two.

She was still holding on to Sean, consciously or not. He had been the first stable force in her life, and the last, and somewhere in the back of her mind, she had been treating him as a safety net.

Which was ridiculous. Why would Sean want anything to do with her now, ten years down the road?

The realization that she needed to move forward with her life and truly stand on her own two feet had hit her full force. She had packed up and moved back to her hometown of Minneapolis from Las Vegas to deal with her past before she could proceed with her future.

That past unfortunately included her mother, Ebbe Zimmerman, who was, and always had been, an eccentric. Over the years, Ebbe had worked to save the whales, put warning labels on rap records, become vegetarian, then vegan, then carnivorous again, had tried her hand at raising alpacas and baking cakes—on the same farm—and had fought for a variety of worthy causes for women’s rights. But whereas in her younger years her feminist lean had been toward equal pay for women, she was now hell-bent on shutting down every strip club, burlesque show and art exhibit featuring nudity she came across. Kristine figured her mother had a right to protest whatever she wanted, and most of the time she sympathized with her causes.

But not when it involved tasteful photography that in itself was a protest of corporate greed, something else her mother despised.

And especially not when her mother’s actions potentially threatened her job, given that Ebbe was known for stating her opinions with a lot of pomp and circumstance. And spray paint.

“Well, I can’t be silent about this,” her mother said firmly. “I’m going to stage a protest this weekend at the opening.”

Damn it. Kristine strode quickly in her heels to the back storeroom, where the caterers couldn’t overhear her. “Mother, don’t you dare. I am begging you, if you love me, do not make a scene. This is my place of employment!”

“So you would have me compromise my principles so you can rake in some greenbacks from porn distributors?”

That was a leap of epic proportions. Art with consenting adult models did not equate to porn. There was literally no reasoning with the woman, and Kristine did not have time for this. “I need this job or I will be forced to move in with you, and God knows, neither of us wants that. So save the protests for social media, okay? Because if you show up here Friday and destroy this opening night, I will lose my job and I will never speak to you ever again, even while I’m sharing your apartment.”

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