Copyright © 2010, 2017 by Alexandra O’Hurley
He stood there staring at her for what seemed like hours, but couldn’t have been more than a couple of minutes. She allowed her gaze to roam over his perfect body. He was fully dressed, but she could tell he was perfect.
When she lifted her stare back to his face, Ethan had one eyebrow cocked, and his hands on his hips. She was almost ashamed, but it was the first time she’d seen a man this tasty up close and personal. Her stare roamed over his lean body again, from the top to the bottom and back up again, enjoying the way he filled out the pair of blue jeans. He was all lean muscle, from the short tawny strands on top of his head to the large booted feet that held promise for what he had inside those jeans. Hell, promise? The bulge at his groin was all the promise any man needed to offer.
Ethan let out a soul deep sigh and asked, “Are you going to let me in, or am I going to bunk out here in the hallway?”
“As in sleep.”
“You’re going to be sleeping here?”
“Those are the guidelines of the game. I move in and fulfill your every fantasy for the next year. And you offer me food, lodging, and necessities.”
“You’re going to move in and be here…a year?”
The eyebrow lifted again, and he began speaking to her like she was a child. “You bought a ticket—for the lottery—yet you didn’t bother learning what it entailed?” He shook his head before scrubbing one hand over his face. “I’ll be living in there for the year I signed up for. Believe me, at this moment, it’s the last thing I want to do.”
“Okay, so the details are hazy,” she waved her hands on either side of her aching head. “You don’t have to be so rude.”
“Trust me, I can be ruder.” He cast a glance over her shoulder through the door. “Is your apartment as dirty as you are? Maybe I should just stay out here after all.”
“I didn’t realize that you would actually live here, nor did I realize it was for an entire year.” Turning, she walked through the door a few steps, steaming a bit with irritation that her present was apparently prettier on the outside than in. She spun to face him. “But don’t let me stop you, by all means gather your junk and drag it inside my dirty apartment.”
He leaned over to grab his bags.
Too bad I’m not behind him. Her eyes widened and she put a hand over her mouth, surprised her mind went there. While most women treated men like a piece of meat, she knew they deserved better.
But then a tasty morsel hadn’t been delivered to her doorstep before, either.
When he was midway through the door, she stopped him, placing a finger into the middle of his broad chest. “And by the way, it isn’t dirt, it’s paint. If you’re going to live here you had better get used to it.” She knew her crabbiness and her mouth were all driven by the hellacious hangover she had, because under normal circumstances his words would’ve turned her into the mouse Sam always claimed her to be.
“Big difference. Dirt, paint, it’s all a mess.” He pulled his bags inside the door and dropped them. He was so tall and wide, he barely fit through the half-opened door, and it made her insides melt. He stood with his hands on his hips, and looked around her space. Looking back at her, he glared. “Where do I go from here? Where’s our room?”
“Our room? Umm, I don’t know.”
He looked at her like she’d sprouted a second head. “You don’t have a bedroom?”
“Of course I have a bedroom. I just have no idea where you’ll be sleeping since I didn’t think I’d win; I didn’t make arrangements for you.”
“Well, if you have a bedroom, then I have a bedroom. What’s there to arrange?” He finally gazed past her and spotted the large artist’s loft beyond. “Oh, wow, artist rustic…how…quaint.”
The way his nose curled up when he said the word quaint further pissed her off. “I’m so sorry my lodgings aren’t up to your standards, but it is what it is. I’m an artist, and I live and work out of this studio. I live completely alone, and wasn’t expecting a year-long house guest, so plans will have to be made as to where you’ll sleep.”
“Great. What do you have against me sharing your bedroom? I’ll be sharing your bed at night.”
“Sharing? Mine?” Karlyn blushed. “Can you… uh… excuse me for a moment?”
Before she could get away to compose herself, she felt his hot fingers wrap around her wrist, and she was dragged against his muscular chest. The air was knocked from her lungs as she looked up into his face, noting the perfect curve of his lips and the deep cut angles of his face. She could lose herself all day just staring at him.
She’d seen pictures of men this gorgeous, but had always thought they were a myth. As his sweet-smelling breath warmed her face, drawing her attention back to that perfect mouth, she felt the hot brand of his cock resting against her stomach. Tingling sensation raced to her nipples and her mound, as she watched transfixed—all while his mouth descended toward hers.
Afraid of what was happening, she attempted to pull from his arms. His steely grasp was too strong and she couldn’t free herself. A tremor flitted down her whole body at the strength he seemed to wield, and she felt dampness spread in her panties. His lips neared hers again, and she leaned back once more, but not enough, and she felt the gentle graze of his mouth against hers. A soft sigh escaped her lips, and he appeared to take the sound as he acquiescence. He pulled her tightly to him again, the hard ridge of his manhood showing her how ready he was to fulfill the promise his kisses made.
Heat erupted all over her body as his hands skidded down her back and onto her bottom, and the only thought that crossed her mind was taking off her clothes and allowing him to finish what he’d started.
As one cool hand snaked up the back of her shirt and moved to the clasp of her bra, she was reawakened. Pushing against his hard chest, she took a deep, calming breath, attempting to cool the ardor he’d flamed.
She backed away and couldn’t look him in the eye; embarrassment over nearly succumbing to his charms within five minutes of him walking through the door was devastating.
A frown ridged his brow, that one eyebrow rising. Karlyn swallowed nervously, while lifting a palm toward him. “I need a moment.”
Karlyn spun and rushed up the antique wrought iron stairs to the artist loft. Racing to the vidscreen on the far wall, she called Sam. Having absolutely no idea what to do with a man—let alone one as sexy as this one was, regardless if he was a complete ass—she needed help and fast. Not like a lesbian would be able to do much better, but hell, it was all she had at this point. Sam took her time answering, but looked nearly as exhausted as Karlyn felt.
“Jesus H. Christ, can’t I get some fucking sleep?” Sam rubbed her fists into her eyes and gazed at the screen before her. “Oh, good morning, Karlyn. I thought you were someone else.”
“Sorry to call so early, but I have big problems, and those problems are your fault.”
“What the hell did I do?”
“I won.” Karlyn was at a loss for words, throwing her hands up into the air for emphasis, as she had no idea how to explain her situation with the possibility of the hunk downstairs hearing her. That was one of the only pitfalls of loft living—few walls, little privacy, but considering she spent most of her time alone, it had never been a problem until now.
“You won? You won what?” Recognition finally fell over Sam’s features. “Oh my God, you fucking won the baloney pony?” A wide smile crossed her lips. “That’s freaking awesome!”