Billionaire businessman, Cal Sellers had the only woman he’s ever loved, but with one careless, arrogant act, he lost her. Now as she stands in his office begging for her old job back, he has no intention of losing her again—or hiring her. He has an altogether different position to offer her…
Lucy Monroe will do anything to protect her daughter and stay as far away from her vicious ex-husband as she can—even if it means marrying the no good, egotistical man who broke her heart, Cal Sellers.
Determined to make up for the past, Cal pulls out all the stops to woe and protect Lucy while showing her they can have more than a passionate marriage of convenience. But with her ex becoming dangerously violent, will Cal’s love and security be enough to save them all?
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~Excerpt from Lush~
Lucy shifted Poppy to the couch next to her and adjusted the blanket around her. She was a devoted mother to her daughter. It had occurred to Cal more than once that Poppy could be his. He and Lucy had certainly been careless more than a time or two. If things had gone differently between them…
She glanced down at the ring on her finger. He’d spent nearly the entire afternoon looking for the right ring, betting against the odds that she’d agree to marry him. Maybe it wasn’t fashionable to have colored stones in an engagement ring, but the sapphires reminded him of her eyes. She said she liked it, but she kept staring at it oddly, like it didn’t quite fit her.
“Thank you,” she said, eyes still on the ring. “I promise I’ll do my best to uphold our bargain and be the kind of wife you need me to be.”
He grabbed the bottle of whiskey and splashed more into each of their glasses. She was acting like a wounded puppy, and it pissed him off. He wanted the Lucy who went toe-to-toe with him and gave as good as she got. So maybe he’d have to draw that Lucy out.
“What kind of wife do you think I need?” he asked.
“Well,” she started and then took a sip. “You said you needed a hostess, someone to hold dinner parties?”
“I’m a fairly good cook, but I think it would probably be best if we had the dinners catered.”
“And what about the charity balls? You do know how to dance, don’t you?”
“I…ah…know how to sway…”
She finished off her drink, so he refilled her glass. He wondered if she’d realized it yet that she was too drunk to drive home.
“Do you know anything about corporate wives?” he asked.
“I’m not sure if I’ve met very many.”
“And your wardrobe. We’re going to have to make some changes. That blouse you’re wearing, besides being cut too low—” but not low enough for his taste, “—is too small. I can see half your bra.”
She glanced down at her chest, then her head popped up. The fire was back in her eyes just as he intended. “You cannot see half my bra. It gapes a little, but it’s not obscene.”
“Darlin’, from where I’m sitting, my eyes have practically gotten to second base with you. And your skirt—”
“What about my skirt?”
“It’s tight enough for when we’re at home. Personally the office sex kitten look does a lot for me, but it sends the wrong message to every other man who is not your soon-to-be husband.”
“Look, I know I’ve put on some weight—”
“Yeah, and you put it in all the right places. That’s what counts.” He ran his gaze over her the way he’d been wanting to ever since he’d seen her again this afternoon. She flushed under his gaze. “You’re making me want to add an addendum to the option we discussed in my office.”
Her gorgeous mouth dropped open for a second and then she rebounded. “You’re a pig.” She didn’t sound half as pissed off as she would’ve been if she wasn’t so intoxicated.
“I can’t help it. I’m a male pig. And you, darlin’, are very female.”
“I have a question about that option.” She downed the last of her whiskey and pushed her glass at him for more. He obliged. “How open to options is it?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean just how many option clauses do you have open?” She was slurring her words now.
“Just the one, darlin’. Just the one.”
She tried to point at him, but she couldn’t quite focus enough to nail him down with it. “I mean, there’s not like a brunette option or a redhead option or even another blonde-headed-ded-ded option, is there? Cuz, I know you. You’re a man who likes his options. So if we’re gonna get married, I’m gonna have to insist you cut…” she made a slicing motion with her hand and tipped over slightly then recovered, “…all your other options. You get me, cowboy?”
“I get you, darlin’. Yours is the only option for me. But I’m going to want the same assurances from you.”
“Psshh.” She waved him away. “Between my giant ass and Poppy, there aren’t any men who would even give me a second look let alone options.” She rolled her eyes, weaving a little, and then finished off her glass.
He took it from her before she could ask for another.
“I seriously doubt that. But just so we’re clear on all our options, why don’t we write them down.” He wanted her to remember this conversation tomorrow.
“Oh! Like a contract. Good idea. And we should have it notarized so there’s no weaseling out of it.”
He was halfway to grabbing a sheet of paper when her words stopped him. “You want to make our agreement formal?”
“Well, yeah. Sure. Why not? You like binding contracts, don’t you?” She giggled. “I know for sure you like binding.” She waggled her eyebrows at him.
“You want to put binding in our binding contract?”
She slapped her knee, wide-eyed. “We totally should!”
He sat back down next to her with a pad of paper and a pen and started writing. “So binding is option number one. What’s option number two?”
“No, no. Scratch that out. Number one should be the option that says neither one of us doesn’t get any other options. Or we’re the other’s only option. No other optioning. Or something like that. Otherwise I’m not havin’ any kind of options with you.” She shook her finger at him, then held up three fingers. “Two can be binding. Oh! And we should make three or is it four…I can’t remember…but it should definitely be that thing you do with your teeth and your tongue right here.” She made a sweeping gesture that encompassed her whole body.
He started writing, jotting down all of the options she wanted, adding in a few of his own with her permission. When they were done, they had a five-page list of some of the most inventive sexual activities ever compiled.
“Okay. Okay,” she said. “I’ve got one more. This is the last one. I promise.”
Somehow when he wasn’t looking she’d gotten ahold of the whiskey bottle and refilled her glass…two…no, maybe three times.
“And what would that be?” He really couldn’t believe it. She’d outdone anything his imagination could come up with by yards. He couldn’t wait to see what she came up with next.
“We need a…” she hiccupped, “…an optional option.”
“An optional option. What exactly is that?”
“It’s an option that says that all of the options are completely optional.” She waved her hands around. “Optionally speaking of course.”
“That goes without saying.”
She snorted. “Right. That’s what I thought. Didn’t turn out that way.” She tapped the page with her finger. “Write it down. I want it in writing this time. Op-tion-al.”
He stared at her for a moment, not quite believing what she’d inadvertently told him. What in the hell had her marriage to that asshole been like? Had he forced her to have sex with him? How bad had things gotten for her?
He cleared his throat, which had become inexplicably clogged. “How about: Everything in this option agreement is absolutely and completely optional, and either party can pull their option at any time during any option?”
“Oohhh. That’s good.”
~Reviews for Lush~
‘What can I say, except I REALLY BLOODY ENJOYED THIS!!!!’ ~ Sheryl ~ Confessions From Romancaholics
‘With a little stalker in the mix this book was a fun read.’ ~ Heather ~ A Crazy Vermonter’s Book Reviews
‘The book is very real when it comes to domestic abuse and the mental scars left behind. The reader will want hold Lucy as she struggles to deal with trust issues, physically issues and emotional scars left behind by her ex-husband.’ ~ Heidi ~ Hiding From My Kids Books
‘…characters that felt real and that shared a true love and affection for one another.’ ~ Jen ~ Bookaholics Not So Anonymous