Authors: Sydney Landon
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Women, #General
HEAD OVER HEELS
Nick prowled toward her and she took a step backward, suddenly nervous at his intent expression. When he had her backed up against the wall, she laughed nervously. “What’re you doing?” He ignored her question and lowered his head to her neck. She felt his warm lips slide against her sensitive skin and she gave an involuntary shudder. “Nick—”
His tongue thrusting into her mouth silenced the feeble protest she attempted to make. With a groan, she surrendered to him. They both knew she was powerless to resist how he made her feel. At that moment, she would have followed him off a cliff, so she issued no denial when he backed her toward the bedroom, never once breaking contact with her mouth.
Also in the Danvers Series
Not Planning on You
FALL FOR ME
A DANVERS NOVEL
This book is dedicated to my wonderful husband who is my prince charming every day. I knew he was “the one” when he said, “I get you.”
To my wonderful aunt Ida. Thank God for those Jackson genes!
Also, to my friends at Blue Ridge. We shared a little of everything together in the twenty-five years I was there and I will always consider you my family.
Beth cringed as her sister’s voice rang out loudly in the bar. So much for thinking she wouldn’t make a scene if she told her somewhere public.
“Will you please keep it down, sis; I don’t want everyone in here knowing my business.”
Suzy flicked her hand as if she didn’t care, but thankfully lowered her voice as she asked, “How can you be pregnant? You actually have to have sex to get pregnant, and you aren’t seeing anyone. Oh, God, you didn’t get frozen sperm, did you?”
If she wasn’t so mortified by this conversation, Beth would have laughed at the question. “No, I wasn’t artificially inseminated so I obviously had sex. I know this is somewhat of a shock to you, but I had sex!”
Now it was Suzy looking around as Beth belatedly realized her last sentence seemed to echo off the walls of the restaurant. “Okay, let’s talk about this rationally. Who is the bastard and where can I find him? He took advantage of you, and now he’ll suffer the consequences. Has he even offered to step up and take responsibility?”
Beth rolled her eyes and wondered if her sister was going to challenge the father of her baby to a duel next. For such a modern woman, her sister was freaking out more than she’d have thought. Clearing her throat, Beth admitted, “He doesn’t know yet. I . . . haven’t told him.”
“Well, when are you planning on telling the man, when the kid is in college?” Suzy sat before Beth with fire flashing in her eyes. Her red hair was pulled back in a French knot and, as usual, she was on the cutting-edge style-wise. Beth always felt frumpy around her. As a former fatty, she never felt comfortable in her new, smaller clothes. She’d lost over a hundred pounds several years ago, and even though the mirror showed her one thing, she always saw her old self staring back at her. Suzy had gotten her red hair from their mother, and Beth was stuck with their father’s unremarkable brown hair. Suzy was on the tall side and Beth was on the petite side. She’d always thought she’d missed out on the best family genes for sure. Realizing that her sister was staring her down, she took a breath and dove back into the fray.
“I just found out, sis, so I haven’t had time to make a lot of plans. I’m trying to come to grips with it myself. I took a home pregnancy test last week and then had a blood test with my doctor. I got those results this morning. I’m pregnant. I have my first appointment in two weeks.
“Geez, you would think I’d told you I only had a month to live or something. Freak out much?”
“Don’t mess with me, girl. I have the parents on speed dial. I can only imagine the horror of having this talk with them.”
“You wouldn’t dare,” Beth whispered.
Suzy pretended to study her fingernails. “Ordinarily I wouldn’t, but I’m gonna need something to work with here. So, you either start talking, or I’m going to pull our brilliant parents from whatever laboratory they’re in and tell them all about their wayward child. ‘Oh God, the shame, the disappointment, the heartache,’” Suzy finished dramatically.
“You suck,” Beth grumbled. “All right, I’ll tell you, but you have to promise me you won’t overreact. I mean it, Suzy.”
“Who me? I never overreact.”
With a snort, Beth took a deep breath and prepared herself. She knew from experience that her sister would release hell on her when she learned what had been happening behind her back. Maybe her friend Ella was right, this might have been a very, very bad idea, but there was no turning back now.
“I met someone about six months ago. Before you ask—no, we haven’t been dating this whole time. I kind of despised him at first, but God, sis, I wanted him. He makes me feel unbelievable things. He is the first man that sends me up in flames every time I see him. Just one look from him and I’m ready to rip all my clothes off and let him do whatever he wants to with me.”
Suzy was staring at her in shock.
Beth left her in silence for a minute and then prodded her with her hand.
“All right, I get the whole urge-to-bang thing, but let’s speed forward to the baby daddy’s name. Crap, six months? Is it someone at Danvers?”
* * *
Suzy felt like she’d landed in the twilight zone. How could she not know her sister was seeing someone? Hell, not just seeing him, sleeping with him. Maybe she’d been so wrapped up in Gray that she hadn’t noticed things that she normally would.
Shit! Suzy could tell by the guilty expression on Beth’s face that it was indeed someone that they worked with. Damn! She’d thought the pregnancy thing was the biggest shock she was going to get, but the dreamy look that came over Beth’s face as she talked about the guy was pretty close. She’d never seen her like this. Beth had never been one to date very much and she certainly had never been so completely crazy over a man before. This guy better be on the up-and-up or his days were going to be numbered.
Suzy took a deep, calming breath and studied her sister. She didn’t look freaked out; she actually kind of had a glow about her. “I never see you with anyone but Ella or Nick. Crap, they probably already know, don’t they? Am I always the last one to know everything?”
Beth had been working for Danvers International for about six months now as Suzy’s assistant, ever since losing her job as an elementary school teacher due to budget cuts. Suzy handled event planning at Danvers and was engaged to Grayson Merimon, whom she had met a year ago when Danvers International merged with his company, Mericom, and created the largest communications company in the United States. They were both happy with the arrangement right now, and neither of them was ready to make a change.
She ran through her mind, trying to remember if Beth had been talking to anyone there more frequently than usual. “All right, I’ve got nothing. I’ll give you credit, you can sneak around with the best of them because I’m totally clueless.”
From Beth’s expression, Suzy could tell she was debating the wisdom of revealing the father of her baby. Her options to force her to talk were limited, unfortunately. Since Beth had driven them, she would simply refuse to take Suzy home until she calmed down.
* * *
How much of a scene would she make in a restaurant? Beth wondered.
Just spit it out. I’m sure she will be happy. After all, you’re keeping it in the family. She might be surprised, but she’ll be happy for you. Just do it fast, like ripping off a Band-Aid.
“Okay, um . . . It’s Nick.”
Suzy threw her head back and started laughing.
Wow, she sure was taking this well. Beth laughed along with her, relieved that Suzy didn’t seem to be upset over her involvement with Nick.
Suzy wiped her eyes, still smiling. “Okay, sis, enough delaying. Spill the name already.”
Oh, crap, I should have known it wasn’t going to go that well.
“Suzy, I’m serious, it’s Nick. We’ve been seeing each other since we were both living with you after your accident. I mean, not immediately, but after a few weeks. It just happened. One minute I hated him and the next minute we were on the kitchen counter naked.”
“Ugh, please stop! Tell me you’re kidding? How can you possibly be sleeping with Nick? He’s like our brother. That little shit. I should have known he couldn’t be trusted to keep his pants on. He seduced you, didn’t he?”
Beth grimaced as she took in her sister’s glowing red face. “Suzy, I’m not a kid, and it’s not his fault. Honestly, I practically ripped his clothes off.”
* * *
Suzy was starting to feel light-headed. Why hadn’t she suspected anything? Nick was around a lot. Where you saw Beth, he was normally close behind. Never once though had she thought anything of it. She had just been glad that they were getting along better. Ugh, she had forced them together at every turn, trying to keep the peace.
Oh, God, I’m her pimp. I have been setting my sister up for sex with my future brother-in-law. I’ve done everything but pay the man to do my sister.
“Get your stuff; we’re going back to my place. I want to hear all about this, but I need to be drunk first.”
“Bu— But Gray will be there.”
“Does he know about this?”
“No, I promise you, he doesn’t know anything. Ella is the only other person who knows.”
“Trust me, if Gray’s home, he will make himself scarce when he sees my face. Now, let’s get out of here.”
* * *
The silence in the car during the drive to Suzy’s house was broken only by an occasional groan from her. Beth decided to stay quiet and let her come to terms with it on the way. It wasn’t like she was doing much better. She still had a hard time believing that she was sleeping with someone like Nick. Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined a man like him being interested in her. She had never been comfortable with her body, even though she was a normal size now, maybe even smaller than average for her height. Yet when Nick looked at her, she felt beautiful. Even when she tried to hide her body from him, he refused to let her. He had kissed every inch of her, and the desire in his eyes said that he didn’t see any of the flaws that she did.
Maybe he just needs glasses or he has secretly longed for a fluffy girl to cushion his hard contours.
Beth had no idea how Nick would react to the news of her surprise pregnancy. Everything about their relationship was casual. They did spend almost every night together, but there was never any talk of feelings. For all she knew, he was still fitting in dates with other women when he could. She wasn’t sure what her feelings were for him, either. If she let herself, she would probably fall madly in love with him. The only thing that stopped her was the certainty that men like Nick didn’t end up with girls like her.
He was a rich, sexy, handsome man with a killer personality. Everyone loved him. When he walked into a room, it lit up with his presence. Things were just better when he was around. Beth, on the other hand, knew she was just average at best. Some might consider her attractive, but she was far from model material, and those were the kinds of women Nick was probably used to dating. She couldn’t work out what he could possibly see in her besides maybe the excitement of sneaking around?
Boy, there had been plenty of that. They’d had hot, furious sex all over Suzy’s new home.
Beth chuckled; her sister would croak if she knew that.
“All right, stop with the laughing. I can well imagine what’s running through your mind, so please stop unless you want me to upchuck right here in your precious VW Bug.”
Gray’s BMW was sitting in the garage beside Suzy’s SUV when they pulled in. “I’m not talking in front of him. So unless he goes, I go.”
Suzy snorted and marched toward the door. “Trust me, I got this.” When Suzy threw open the door to the beach house that she shared with her fiancé, she looked around as if moving in for the kill. When Gray picked that particular moment to walk in from the patio, Beth almost felt sorry for him. A smile lit up his face as he walked toward her sister, the love he felt for her evident in the intimate look in his eyes. As he leaned in for a kiss, Suzy put out a hand and stiff-armed him. “Whoooa, that’s close enough, slick.”
Any other man would be confused by such a statement, but Gray seemed to take it all in stride. “Good evening, Beth.” When she smiled weakly at him, he turned back to Suzy. “Ah, baby, it would appear that I’m in the doghouse again. We could save time if you just tell me what I’m guilty of.”
“You’re guilty of having a horny brother who lowered his zipper in the wrong place this time!”
Beth could see the instant Gray looked at her and made the connection. “Oh, hell. I’ll kill him,” Gray sighed.
“You won’t have to; I’m going to stick my foot so far up his ass, he may never walk right again.”
Beth looked back and forth between her sister and Gray as they each threatened bodily harm to Nick in turn. This was really absurd. Nick hadn’t seduced some teenager; she was an adult, fast approaching thirty. What did it say about her that they thought she was this easily led astray?
Poor fat Beth, she has to be protected from evil Nick. Show the big girl some attention and she loses her head.
Screw this, she had had enough.
“Stop! My God, do you hear yourselves? Nick hasn’t done anything wrong. Let me tell you—I wanted him. Hell, I still want him. I like sex; actually I love sex! Nick tried to be a gentleman and walk away after our first kiss, but you know what? I grabbed him and crammed my tongue down his throat and ripped the buttons off his shirt right in your kitchen. I have been fully willing and eager every time we have had sex and, believe me, we’ve had plenty. I’m enjoying myself and when I’m ready, I’ll walk away.”
When Beth paused to take a breath, she saw the stunned expressions on Suzy’s and Gray’s faces. Okay, possibly she might have gone a bit too far in her defense of Nick. Maybe a simple sentence letting them know it had been consensual would have been better than, “Hey, I’m a slut.”
“Um, I think I’ll go upstairs to my office. You know, take care of a few things. I’m sure you two would like some privacy.” Gray left the room as fast as his Italian loafers would carry him.
Great, I’ll never be able to look him in the eyes again. Every time he goes in his kitchen, he’s going to imagine me ripping his brother’s clothes off against his granite countertops.
Suzy pointed her to the couch in the living room before she walked into the kitchen. Moments later, she returned with a bottle of wine, orange juice, and two glasses. She motioned for Beth to be quiet until she had filled her glass to the rim and then proceeded to drain half of it. Taking a deep breath, she said, “All right, start at the beginning and feel free to gloss over any parts that you know will make me want to puke.”
Beth picked up the glass of juice that Suzy had poured for her and took a sip while trying to decide where to begin. Well, heck, if she wanted the whole story, then that was what she would get.