A Hot Winter by C.J. Lake
Publication date: December 2nd 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
*Story contains explicit/steamy scenes that are intended for mature readers.
**All books in C.J. Lake’s Attraction Series are standalone novels with NO cliffhangers.
It was supposed to be a simple job. A favor for a friend, nothing complicated. But that was before I realized who Emma was. I knew I wasn’t imagining the tension between us–still there and getting stronger every second. She wanted to keep things professional now. I suppose we’d have to try–because if we gave in…once would never be enough…
I never thought I’d see Matt Winter again, and now here he was. Working on my house! Making me nervous, flustered, and almost breathless. Disarming me and making me feel things I haven’t even considered since my husband died four years ago. No, I don’t want to want him. My life was in order before he came, and I’m leaving Boston anyway. Forget Matt. It’s the only logical option. So…why can’t I stay away from him?
(No author photo)
C.J. Lake is a storyteller who is passionate about art, surfing, and skiing/snowboarding. Residing near the coast of Massachusetts, C.J. is working on a new book that will feature Tragan Barrett's friend, Matt Winter. Readers can get in touch via email (email@example.com), or follow C.J. on Twitter @brightbluesurf.
“Matt, please…” she implored, half-turned, her greenish eyes looking almost troubled as she gazed up into his face.
Pausing, he tried to regain his sanity. Obviously he’d never want to push Emma into something she didn’t want. “Are you saying you don’t want me to kiss you right now?” he asked.
“What I want doesn’t matter.”
“Like hell it doesn’t,” he nearly snapped. Why was she making this so complicated?
“It’s part of being an adult,” Emma said, casting her eyes down, her voice faint. “We can’t always have what we want. That’s life.”
“Believe me, I know that,” Matt told her. “If I could have what I want, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation--I would’ve been kissing you all this time. I would be doing the crossword puzzle with you every morning. I would be fixing that screwed-up weather-stripping, just so you’d be warm. I would grab you and pull you onto my lap…” With her eyes widening, Emma’s mouth fell open, as Matt dipped his head lower and finished, “If I could have what I want, then I’d already be running my hands inside your panties right now.”
“Matt…” she whispered helplessly, wetting her lips as her face rose to meet his.
Wordlessly, she handed him the check. Folding it, he shook his head. “Man, I’m so glad nothing happened between us last night,” he muttered as he stuck the check in his pocket.
Emma’s face crumpled. “What?” she said, feeling insulted and hurt (even though she’d basically given him the longer version of the same sentiment).
With a short, humorless laugh, Matt said, “I don’t need this drama.”
“No one has ever accused me of being overdramatic.”
“If you give me this big of a hassle over a bill, God knows what you’d do to me in bed,” he said.
“I wouldn’t do anything to you! Wait--I didn’t mean it the way it sounded…” she fumbled.
“You’d probably tell me I’m doing it wrong.”
Rage boiled inside her, as she struggled for a comeback. “I’d only tell you that if you were.”
With a cocky laugh, Matt leaned his face toward hers and said, “I do it just fine.”
She pasted on a patronizing smile. “Well good for you.”
“It could have been good for you, too,” he remarked plainly. “But that ship has sailed.”
At first, Emma’s mouth dropped open. Then she let out a shocked sort of laugh. “Oh my God! I hope you’re not seriously trying to use reverse psychology to get me to sleep with you?”
Impatiently, Matt said, “Emma, aren’t you listening? I don’t even want to sleep with you anymore.”
With her fists balling at her sides, she said, “Good. Actually, that works out well, because I really don’t want to sleep with you.”
“Uh-huh, sure, okay,” Matt said briskly. “Well, I’m glad we’ve cleared that up now.” He turned toward the door, adding, “Now it won’t have to be unclear when I cross paths with you again someday.”
“Don’t worry, you probably won’t cross paths with me anyway,” she called after him. “I’m leaving remember?”
At that, Matt paused, looked back at her. His expression seemed more solemn. “Right, I forgot, well…good bye, Emma.”
With his hand on the doorknob, Matt turned.
Impulsively, Emma reached for the stack of envelopes that was sitting on hutch by the stairs. She flipped through it and pulled out the one with Matt’s name on it. “Here,” she said, walking toward him. At first he just eyed the envelope, confused. “It’s a Christmas card,” Emma explained offhandedly. “You might as well take it now.”
Wordlessly, Matt shifted his gaze from the envelope to Emma’s face. His dark eyes burned into her. She swallowed feebly, still holding the card out for him. “To hell with this,” he uttered gruffly, and slid a hand around her neck, pulled her to him and kissed her.