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Excerpt: COMING IN HOT! Everything’s at stake for a smokin’-hot BBQ master and a fiery social media star!

He told her, “We’re mixing a lot of peripherals here, trying to get to know each other. Think we’d both prefer to build Rome in a day, but . . . maybe what we really ought to do is spend some time living in the moment, with what’s happening right here and now.”

“A smart cowboy is a sexy cowboy.” She gave him a simmering look. “I did mention to Brodi you’re more the type to need layers.”

“I like to iron out the wrinkles before puttin’ on the shirt. That’s not always possible.”

“No, it’s not. In most instances.” Once more, she flattened a palm over his pecs and solemnly said, “In this particular instance . . . I can see us putting the cart before the horse.”

“Aww.” His head bent to hers, and he said in a low tone, “This is gonna be our thing, honey? Poor idioms?”

“Well, if we were kissing,” she murmured as her lips lightly brushed his, “we wouldn’t have to shame ourselves with them.”

“You are sheer genius.”

She laughed sweetly, her warm breath blowing over his cheek. “I just can’t seem to help falling under your spell, cowboy.”

“Didn’t know I was casting one.” He gave a sharp grunt. “Goddamn, there we go again.”

“We should remedy this before it gets out of hand.”

“Oh, I’d say plenty’s about to get out of hand.”

His lips tangled with hers. No tongue, just delicate, flirty kisses that had her fingers curling around the material at his chest as her other palm pressed to his obliques. She leaned into him, but he was mindful not to twine an arm around her and haul her up against him, the way he was dying to do.

Flames seemed to lick at his groin, sending a heat wave upward to his gut and blazing through his veins.

He cautiously gripped her hips, not exactly sure what had triggered her when he’d almost touched her face earlier. Not wanting to startle her or jerk her out of this moment.

And really, the slow burn was fine by him. It gave him time to taste her, to breathe her in, to listen to her soft moans.

Granted, the intimacy arcing between them made Avery ache for her in a way he couldn’t ever recall feeling. So that the need to take this all a step further mounted within him.

His tongue glanced over hers, playfully.

She sighed again. And reciprocated.

It would have been all seventh grade-like, but then she repositioned her hands and freed a couple of the pearl snaps of his shirt. Well, Jack’s shirt, but . . .that was of no consequence at present.

Her nails grazed the inner swells of his pecs, and that seared him to the core.

She whispered, “Way to launch a subtle attack.”

“You were in on the strategy.”

Her lips curved against his. “Mm, it’s a very productive one.”

She pulled apart the flap, right down to his belt buckle, where the shirt was tucked in.

“So much for the slow burn,” he muttered.

“I couldn’t stand the suspense a second longer.”

Her gaze flitted to his exposed torso, taking him in with hungry eyes.

She released the material in her hands and twisted her arms around herself so she could unlatch the clasp in the middle of her back. Avery coiled his fingers in the minuscule straps at her shoulders and eased away the shimmery top, laying it out on the chair next to them, then returning his attention to her.

“Son of a gun.” A carnal sound tore from his mouth as he absorbed the sight of her before she moved into his loose embrace.

Her breasts nestled below the ledge of his chest and the skin-on-skin contact set his pulse racing and had his adrenaline spiking.

She circled his neck with her arms. Whisked off his hat.

They both kept the kisses sultry and provocative. Not too heavy. More . . . teasing and taunting.

Avery had the inclination to move in for the kill. But this was a tricky endeavor, on many levels. And the last thing he wanted to do was spook her. Push too hard, too fast.

He wasn’t prone to giving up the reins, but he sensed Layla needed an acclimation period. They hadn’t gone from zero to sixty, no. Although they’d only just met—and not for this reason—he knew there was much more to learn about her. Much more she had to wade through too.

Admittedly, these were fleeting notions. What really occupied his brain was how she melded to him, how fragile and yet firm she felt in his embrace, how she couldn’t seem to get enough of his mouth on hers and the feel of their bodies sliding against each other.

It was tormenting and titillating at the same time.

Eventually, he couldn’t stop himself from walking her backward, into his suite. She tossed aside his hat, neither of them caring where it landed. He guided her toward the four-poster bed. Slid the zipper of her skirt along her hip and let the garment fall to the hardwood floor.

The erratic beats of his cock matched his heart rate.

He unfastened his belt buckle.

She knelt before him, popping the button on his jeans.

But Avery gently gripped her upper arms and said, “I don’t want you on your knees, darlin’. I want you in my bed.”


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