Designs on Haley (MF)
[BookStrand Contemporary Romance, HEA]
Michael Flannery is the kind of man every woman dreams of—tall, handsome, intelligent, successful, and fiercely protective of those he loves. The talented architect has two goals: become a partner at Miller Engineering and Design, and find Miss Right.
Haley Preston has two goals as well: start a new life, and learn not to be such a gullible idiot. The rich, beautiful interior designer has been duped and used. Never again. She has sold her immensely successful business in New York and moved back to Tennessee to rebuild her life.
Sexual chemistry ignites an undeniable desire the moment they meet. Haley fights her attraction, but Michael will not be dissuaded. No one will interfere with his Designs on Haley.
Will Haley's secrets tear them apart? Can Michael banish the ghosts of Haley's past? Is lust enough? Or does his blueprint for the future require true love?
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
5 CUPS: "Haley caught her best-friend and fiancé in bed together. While her revenge was effective, she got caught in the blowback. Making a huge change in her life, this celebrity designer has moved to the Carolinas to rebuild her life. Haley has been successful in avoiding men, but after meeting Michael, she has to work hard to hide her attraction to him. Michael met Haley at a gym and used any opportunity to talk to her. Starting out as friends, he has put forth considerable effort to get them to be more involved. If not totally honest, Michael acts in what he feels is Haley’s best interest. Doing something for another’s “own good” seldom works. When it happens to Michael, instead of his doing this to Haley, his reaction is explosive and may be more than their relationship can handle. I like that Haley had a real reason to be sad and reserved. She had enjoyed her old life, and the “pity” angle made her character more empathic. It also stopped her from being too perfect and instead, she is so very relatable. Michael has his good moments, okay he has great moments, but is also a bit hypocritical, but this helps him seem real. On to the sex; yeah baby, not terribly graphic, but really good. The dialogue is great and support characters are wonderful. They complement Michael and serve to frame the changes in Haley’s life. This has to be one of the best “re-bound” romances I have read. Go buy Designs On Haley today." -- Anya, Coffee Time Romance & More
Pushing her thoughts and reservations aside, she gave in to temptation. “I suppose a little kiss wouldn’t hurt anything.”
He pulled his hands from his pockets and stepped closer. “I promise it won’t hurt at all.”
Butterflies churned in her stomach, and her heart raced. She held up her index finger. “Just a little kiss. Okay?”
He wrapped his hand around her finger and pulled it to his chest. “Just tell me when to stop.”
His lips hovered above hers for a heartbeat then touched hers with a feathery caress. They moved over her mouth, barely touching, but she felt it all the way to her toes. Firm lips increased their pressure, and time stopped. Liquid fire sped through her veins. He caught her bottom lip with his teeth and gave it a gentle tug. Haley’s lips parted, and his tongue teased the seam between them as if asking permission to enter.
She couldn’t have denied him had she wanted to. All thought fled, and she leaned into him, opening her mouth, inviting that sinful tongue inside. His arm came around her, pulling her to him, pressing her into his hard chest. Her nipples pebbled in response.
Michael accepted her invitation with an unhurried exploration. His tongue danced with hers. Her breath caught, and a soft moan escaped her throat. He answered with a growl and sucked the tip of her tongue into his mouth. Hunger spread through her as he nibbled her bottom lip before delving in again.
Haley’s breasts ached, and she pushed them against his chest. The action sent a tremor to her core, triggering heat and moisture between her thighs. An image of the two of them in her bed flashed through her mind. The thought brought her to her senses. She stiffened, tore her lips away, and rested her forehead on his shoulder.
Once she’d caught her breath, she whispered an apology. “I’m sorry. I’m not ready for this. Not yet.”
He pressed a kiss against her hair. “Damn.” He stepped back and cupped her cheek. “I’m not used to waiting, Haley, but I understand why you need to go slow. I’ll try to remember. If I forget, don’t run away. Just tell me to slow down. Okay?”
Oh, hell. What was she getting herself into? This man knew all the right things to say, and damned if he didn’t say them in the sexiest voice she’d ever heard. Even if the thought of a relationship didn’t scare her witless, how could she consider the prospect? She didn’t even feel comfortable telling him who she really was. Hiding her past was so much easier than facing it.
Michael appeared to be waiting for an answer. With a deep breath, she nodded. “Okay. Thanks for understanding.”
“I had a great time tonight. I’ll see you at the gym Monday.”
Before she could talk herself out of it, she opened her purse, retrieved a pen and slip of paper, scribbled on it, and handed it to him.
His brows lifted in surprise. “What’s this?”
“My cell number.” She spun around and swiped the card to open the gate. Stepping inside, she closed the gate and met his gaze between the wrought iron bars. “Good night.”
He lifted the paper to his lips and winked at her.
Haley fled into the building before she did something really stupid like asking him to stay. She let herself into her apartment, locked the door, and leaned against it. Her purse vibrated, and her cell phone played a jingle. Digging it out, she pressed the button to answer. “Hello?”
“I have the phone number of the woman with the sweetest kiss I’ve ever tasted.”
Her heart fluttered at the sound of his voice. “Yeah, well, she can’t talk right now. She’s still breathless from that kiss.” Why had she said that? She shouldn’t encourage him.
If it were possible, she would have sworn she heard him smile.
“Sweet dreams, Haley.”