Jeff Brooks stood in his kitchen, furiously chopping green
peppers, trying to expend some of the sexual frustration that
currently had his shorts tied up Gordian knots. Making breakfast
was infinitely preferable to fantasizing about the woman happily
snoozing in his bed.
Sheldon Summerville. Party girl. Socialite. Professional shopper.
She was off limits, with a capital O, little f, little f. O-F-F.
F-F-O. He recited the little jingle in his head, while thinking
about her father, who nearly three months ago had hired Jeff's
firm to "redeem" her image. As if such a miracle
could be performed by a mere mortal without the use of a padlocked
chastity belt. Anything to lock up that perfect body that she
seemed determined to share with the world.
He pulled out an onion and began to hack, his eyes burning
from the juices. Today he welcomed the discomfort. Sheldon
Summerville left him frustrated professionally, sexually, and
mentally, too. He'd never met someone so determined to ignore
what the world thought, especially her father, Wayne Summerville,
the head of Summerville Consumer Products. They were the Number
Two consumer product conglomerate in the world, proud maker
of Toothbrite toothpaste, among other things.
Sheldon's party-girl image didn't sit well with Wayne's stockholders.
Apparently, people with whiter teeth and fresh breath could
be real frumps socially. But even Jeff thought she went to
extremes, and he was no monk himself.
However, the bigger mystery was why? No matter how he racked
his brain, he couldn't figure her out, and she provided no
hints. Always smiling, in that vacant and clueless manner,
which had stopped fooling him on Day Three. To make matters
worse, she had no qualms about drinking copious amounts, making
lewd, yet majorly imaginative propositions -- especially to
him. He looked down at the mess he'd made of the onion and
tossed the thing in the trash. Maybe shallots would be better.
Imaginative propositions he wanted to ignore. Propositions
he should ignore. Okay, propositions that he didn't want to
Last night had been a stupid idea, but every night with Sheldon
was a stupid idea. She had conveniently left him a message
that she was going to the notorious club, Crobar. Jeff, knowing
that was code for multiple doses of alcoholic beverages, had
shown up at ten, hoping to play responsible chaperone. At ten-oh-nine,
he'd pulled her off the bartender, at ten-thirteen, he'd pulled
her off the New York Ranger's goalie, and when he caught her
kissing the bouncer, he knew it was past time for her to go
They'd argued until the cops came, threatening to arrest her,
which would be exactly what she wanted. So Jeff had poured
her into a taxi and taken her home. With him. It seemed like
a good idea at the time. It had still seemed like a good idea
six hours later when he woke up on his couch. In fact, it had
seemed like such a great denouement, that he had congratulated
himself on finally lassoing her into some sort of obedient
Everything had been fine until he opened the door to his bedroom,
and saw her curled up, one hand cupped under her cheek like
a child, sheets tangled between bare legs that were anything
but child-like. Instantly his body moved to code red.
Jeff wasn't a self-disciplined man, had never worried about
consequences, but this… The quiet little devil on his
shoulder began whispering in his ear, telling him to go wake
up her up in the best possible way. She wouldn't mind. Ah,
there's the rub. She wouldn't mind. She would welcome him with
arms wide open, those sea-blue eyes promising so many things.
Glorious, wondrous things….
Thump. Thump. Thump. He whacked the shallots with his cleaver.
Hard. Right now he needed to destroy something, and vegetables
seemed to be the victim of choice.
Slowly Sheldon Summerville pulled herself from the fog of
sleep into the fog that most people called life. She could
smell him on the pillow, and she smiled, clutching it tighter
to her. A persistent thump-thump echoed in the apartment, possibly
the beating of her heart. Sunshine poured in through the window,
and she stretched beneath the warm rays, her body sated…
No, her body wasn't sated at all. There had been no touching,
no kissing, nothing remotely sate-like last night. She was
merely sleeping in his bed. By herself.
So if he wasn't in his bed, where was he?
Sheldon threw back the covers, looked around, and then rubbed
the sleep from her eyes. The mysterious thump-thump was consistent,
and now that she knew it wasn't someone's heart, the sound
was merely annoying.
Silently she padded into the kitchen, watching him as he chopped,
chef's knife in hand. Thump. Thump. Thump. First the green
peppers, then back to the red ones. He didn't even notice that
she was standing, staring, ogling.
It was criminal that Jeff Brooks could be so tasty, so buff,
and yet still work in the stab-you-in-the-back world of PR.
What was criminal was how badly she wanted him.
She pulled at her tank top and leaned back against the wall,
adopting her patented vacant, yet still sexy stare. As soon
as he felt the weight of her stare, he looked up, took a long
eye-drinking of her skin, cocked one brow, and then went back
to chopping peppers.
"Can you put some clothes on?"
Even his voice was sexy. Deep and rough, with that scuffed
up mark of New York City that he couldn't hide no matter how
hard he tried. He was tall and lean, with strong legs emerging
from the loose boxers that did more framing than concealing.
She soaked up the sight of him, her nipples hardening under
the thin material, and without cold air, artificial device,
and/or a drenching of water.
Did he notice? No. He was happily making breakfast. Like she
didn't bother him at all.
Her mouth opened, so tempted to lash out at him, but it would
ruin her image. Lashing out implied, passion, emotion, feeling.
Instead she leaned one hip against the edge of the granite
counter, and let the long cascade of her platinum blond hair
fall over one well-formed breast.
From the time she was a kid, everything had been done for
her. All her whims had been granted, all her wants fulfilled.
When you were the porcelain doll in the glass case, there was
no reason for ambition or dreams.
You would think someone with her life would be happy and at
peace, and if she were normal, that would probably be the case.
But there was something wrong with Sheldon, some piece of her
wiring that never connected, because she only felt empty. A
tinman without a heart, a scarecrow without a brain, and a
lion without courage -- all rolled into one.
The only tangible assets that belonged to Sheldon were a classically
sculpted face and a body that made dead men moan. Hall of Famers
is what the tabloids termed her cleavage and Sheldon had learned
to use it whenever necessary.
"You're complaining?" she drawled.
His strong, capable hands never stopped their mechanical chopping
motion. For weeks she'd had dreams of those hands on her. Steamy,
vivid dreams that didn't stop when she woke up.
"Not complaining, just trying to be helpful." He
smiled at her, a toothy, advertising smile, possibly attributed
to Toothbrite toothpaste. She suspected that he knew she hated
it -- both the toothpaste and the smile -- which was why he
"Is there something I can do?" she purred, her eyes
gleaming when his hand stopped for a tiny second.
He waved her off and continued working. "Hangover this
She pulled her hair into a ponytail, her chest lifting with
His gaze drifted down.
Her lips curved upward.
"Are you ever closed for business?" he asked.
Her eyes, normally vacuous and sultry, looked down meekly
so that he wouldn't see the rage. Rage implied a depth that
she didn't want to possess.
She backed away from the kitchen, the knife, and the man with
the strong, capable hands, and then padded barefoot across
"I think I'll take a shower," she stated, slipping
the tank over her head. It was a picture designed to freeze
a man's brain, but he wasn't even watching. She was furious
at herself for such an obvious act of desperation, but not
so furious that she didn’t slide the signature red panties
down over her long, tanned legs as well.
"You don't mind do you?" she asked louder than necessary,
her heart rapping inside her. He did this to her, reduced all
her self-confidence to shreds.
Finally, his dark gaze lit over her, and she felt each and
every white-hot touch. This time he didn't smile, only lowered
his head and continued the whap-whap-whap against the cutting
She left her clothes in a messy heap in the middle of the
floor, and retreated to the loneliness of his shower. She turned
on the warm spray and let it wash over her body, slipping between
her breasts and thighs like a lover with strong, capable hands.
She shouldn't have been alone. He should be there, too.
Men didn't ignore her -- ever. Especially men like Jeff. He
was no extraordinary example of humanity. He was nice looking,
with a hot body of his own. But those dark, devilish eyes weren't
supposed to be steely strong.
He should be weak.
Men in the media business weren't supposed to have scruples.
She was sure of it.
Life truly wasn't fair.
Jeff continued chopping until all eleven green peppers had
been diced into precise triangles. When there were no more
peppers left to chop, he exhaled slowly, wiping the sweat from
his forehead. It was a good thing she hadn't touched him because
he knew in his heart, he would've jumped all over that.
He clicked on the television, letting the perky morning news
shows dull the throbbing ache of his erection, that needed
to be inserted into the golden, shimmering skin that nestled
happily beneath her thighs.
Brazilian. Why Brazilian?
Jeff groaned, loud, ragged. A rutting stag deprived of dinner.
Would she notice if he spent the next thirty minutes jerking
off? Probably. She'd want to help. That was her way.
He threw the peppers into the sauté pan and cranked
up the gas burner, watching the thick skins pulse as the heat
licked them into submission. Next he poured on the shallots,
hacking off a chunk of butter, the butter sizzling from the
burn. He took eight eggs from the refrigerator and kicked the
door shut with extra force. It didn't help ease the pain, but
these were desperate times that called for dramatic gestures,
meaningless or not.
One by one he cracked the eggs, stirring them into a fine
glop of something that resembled the aftermath of particularly
athletic sex, and then poured them over the tenderized vegetables.
The heat of the flame melted the two into a fiery joining of
two culinary souls tasting the full extent of their passion.
Life really wasn't fair. He didn't want to want Sheldon. But
there were parts of him that weren't cooperating. Parts of
him that longed to be acquainted with parts of her.
Re-acquainted. Because according to Little Miss "I Put
My Body Where I Want To," said cock had already met said
bare, naked nethers in a fiery joining of their own. Six weeks
ago she'd dropped that little nuclear bombshell on him. According
to her, they'd had wild, untamed sex. Four times. And all he
could remember was Sheldon trying to drink him under the table
at Club Red. The rest of the night was a gut-rotting blank.
Expertly he flipped the omelet, shredding some gouda over
the smooth, golden body of the eggs.
Eventually, the cheese melted, sliding into each and every
crevice of the sensual delicacy. Jeff flipped it onto a plate,
ruthlessly sliced it into two halves, and then laid the plates
on the bar.
When exposed to the sunlight, it looked liked nothing more
than breakfast. His mind latched onto the commonplace thoughts,
pushing aside visions of naked thighs and full breasts being
drenched by the water from his showers. Damn it. He thought
he was safe. Thought she'd given him a reprieve.
He was wrong.
Sheldon came into the living room, using a towel to dry the
long lengths of her white-blond hair. The rest of her was still
dripping wet. Nude -- and dripping wet. His eyes noticed, his
hands began to shake, and his cock…well, at the moment
he really didn't want to think about the tortured appendage
that used to be functional.
She walked-- walked being a very inadequate word to describe
the sensual movement of her body -- over to the small pile
of underwear, picking up her bra and panties.
"Can't believe I was such a slob," she said, her
eyes catching at the waistband of his boxers. "My, my,
my…" she said, clicking her tongue against her teeth.
He hated the celebration in her eyes, but he was a weakened
piece of flesh. It was self-preservation alone that kept him
Her hand reached toward him, and he closed his eyes, steeling
himself for her touch. He was strong. He was invincible. And
mostly, there were ten million reasons that he could not touch
"An omelet? You are talented," she whispered, her
hand flirting near his waist. Yet, she didn't touch him.
Her hand fell away, and he told himself that he was relieved,
lying bastard that he was. But then, the gates of hell opened
before him. She leaned down, the golden angel of temptation,
and touched the tip of her tongue to the engorged, pained,
tortured, while panting-like-a-happy-puppy, tip of his cock.
She popped back up, wearing a smile of victory and nothing
else. Then she wiggled her brows at him and strolled back into
the bathroom. He couldn't suppress his groan.
"I heard that," she yelled.
At the moment he didn't care.
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