A Rude Awakening

Love & Lies 1

Cobblestone Press LLC

Heat Rating: Scorching
Word Count: 77,000
1 Ratings (4.0)

Savannah Deason has made her workaholic status a life choice, opting out of anything resembling a relationship. The feisty, sarcastic VP at Merrick Industries enjoys her single life, yet a hot night out on the town lands her hung over in bed with a tattooed hunk of sin. Her mind can't accept that he was only a luscious hookup, and nothing more. He now has a name to go with his sexy face and hard, bunched muscles.

Mega-successful Hexon James Montgomery is anything but average—and does everything in life with casual skill, leaving women with damp panties in his wake. He's the CEO of MK Steel and has a piss-poor attitude about women until he meets Savannah. She obliterates his loner existence and challenges his heart, twisting his distorted perceptions into a thing of beauty and teaching him how to love.

A Rude Awakening
1 Ratings (4.0)

A Rude Awakening

Love & Lies 1

Cobblestone Press LLC

Heat Rating: Scorching
Word Count: 77,000
1 Ratings (4.0)
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Excerpt

“Ugh, somebody please shoot me.” Savannah groaned under her breath and slid her jaw back and forth in an effort to wake up. Her tongue stuck to the roof of her bone-dry mouth.

She pulled it free and drew her brows together, then suddenly became aware that something rigid prodded her spine. She widened her eyes in surprise and then rolled over to take in the handsome man curled up next to her. Closer inspection revealed a mini-god of sin, all muscle-bound and gloriously naked, the sheet barely covering his hard body as he slept. He had a Celtic tattoo on his left arm that spanned his whole shoulder down to his elbow.

A handsome stranger, in my bed. Shit, what did I do last night?

The stranger was definitely easy on the eyes, from his thick, disheveled black hair and high cheekbones, to his full brows, prominent nose, and sexy lips. Fractured images of her grinding her body into his on the dance floor slowly surfaced in her brain, and a shudder ran over her skin. Only took her one goddamn guess to figure out how she’d ended up in bed with him in his hotel room. She could chalk up that and the hammering headache bulldozing through her skull to Mr. Tequila.

Sighing over her stupidity, Savannah rolled into a sitting position and fought off a wave of nausea. She really needed to invest in better friends, because hanging out with her foreman and his war party obviously didn’t work for her.

With one last glance at sleeping beauty, Savannah trekked naked to the bathroom, picking up her strewn clothing along the way. After throwing down some aspirin in an effort to squelch the pounding in her brain, she pulled on the same cursed little black dress and high-heeled boots she’d worn the night before.

Savannah opened the bathroom door a few minutes later to find last night’s booty call awake, a lazy half-smile on his face and his blue eyes filled with a sinful expression as he sat with his arms folded beneath his dark head. Conscious, he was even more beautiful than when he’d been asleep. His black, shadowy beard only reaffirmed his outlaw appearance. He didn’t have only one tattoo, either. His other shoulder sported the same fierce black design as the first.

“Mornin’,” he said, his voice smooth and dark.

She lifted an eyebrow. “Clearly we’re finished here. Are we not?”

“That depends.” His chest rumbled with a deep chuckle, and his grin remained sin-sexy. “The morning after can often offer up its own fair share of possibilities.”

“I’m sure.” Savannah offered him a tight smile. “But we should call it like it is… a one-night stand. And walk away.”

His blue eyes glinted with amusement, and he shrugged. “Suit yourself, princess.”

Tossing the sheet aside, he rolled into a sitting position, proving he wore cords of scrumptious muscle and nothing else.

Damn.

She gawked in the doorway like a fool.

“Are you up for seconds?” He must have sensed her gaze, because he offered her a lopsided grin. “I’ve got time.”

She pressed her lips together, gave herself a swift mental shake, and ignored him.

“Yeah, well, I do have a question.” He raked his mocking gaze in a scorching path over her body and stopped to linger on her breasts. “We did use protection, right?”

Her nipples beaded painfully, and she inhaled a sharp breath thanks to the confinement of her lacy bra.

“You don’t remember anything, do you?” he asked in a teasing husk.

Savannah shook her head, her sarcasm firmly in place, and glared at him as he stood up. Unabashed by his nakedness, he stretched. The movement bunched his muscles taut and accented the sinewy grace of his body.

“Well, we were both fairly shit-faced, as I recall, but I’m fairly certain I gloved up,” he said rather crudely, lowering his hands to his lean hips, the smile still on his face. “You were perfect, by the way. I’d hate to think you don’t remember any of it.”

“I’m good, thanks.” She arched one dark eyebrow and spied her purse on the table by the door. With a shake of her head, she left the protective arch of the bathroom doorway, turned to give last night’s hookup one final glance, and headed for the door.

In one hot second, he caught her around the waist and twirled her into his arms. She gasped as her body melted over his and he nudged her center with his thigh. The friction against Savannah’s clit sent a wild, sensual tremor through her and she clung to him, grasping his tattooed shoulders to keep her balance, searing her hands onto his warm skin. A deep quiver lit her up, stimulating her oversensitive nerves.

“What in hell are you doing?” she asked. His flawless, chiseled lips halted only inches from hers, and the heat and heady male scent of his body overpowered her mind.

He didn’t bother to answer her. Instead, he pressed his lips to hers and parted the seam of her mouth with his tongue.

A ribbon of lust curled through Savannah, and she groaned deep in her throat. He tangled his tongue with hers and his flavor swam over her taste buds, igniting a furious fire between her legs. She unconsciously looped her arms around his neck, sifted her fingers through his inky hair, and pulled him closer. All the air punched out of her lungs, liquefying her body in a blaze of heat, her pussy slick and ready.

Breaking free of her mouth, he trailed a silken path to her ear, grasped her hips, and ground his cock against the apex of her thighs, whispering, “Are you sure you have to go?”

She knit her brows together. Was she sure? She shook her head to clear the sensual fog that had blurred her vision and wondered what crazy train her senses had hopped onto. No wonder she’d awakened beside him. The man had game.

“I’m sure.” She hated to admit it, but his offer for seconds tempted her.

Damn, he was hot.

He grinned, eased her away from his body, and saluted her with two fingers. “All right. See you around, princess.”

Savannah cleared her throat and stumbled back against the door, too shaken from his kiss to have her bearings. Then without a word, she turned away and reached for the doorknob, because really, what more was there to say? She had been a complete hussy the night before, or at least from what she could remember of it.

She stepped out and shut the door, leaned against the cool wood, and exhaled slowly, her body still tingling.

What a fucking morning.

Mortified, she walked to the elevator with purpose, sending up a silent prayer of thanks that it was empty, and jabbed the button panel with an impatient hand. She hung her head in shame. Could the day have started off any worse?

Sherrod Towers, her brother-in-law’s posh hotel chain, was currently her home. Last year had been a ride from hell after a car accident had left her sister Laura in a coma for three months and Laura’s husband had died. Laura had never loved Devon Merrick; she’d loved Sean, Devon’s brother. The two had already had an affair that had resulted in a baby, Savannah’s one-year-old niece, whom Laura had named Devon in honor of the girl’s uncle who had passed away. Savannah shuddered at the thought her sister’s crazy relationship, or any relationship, really. To her, they were complicated and a definite waste of time. Not that her sister’s mixed up mess had resulted in a huge impact for Savannah, but Laura’s accident had changed the course of Savannah’s career.

With a degree in advertising, she had been a top manager for Wendell, Stokes, and Cossack, Ltd. and had received a promotion to vice president of the company’s London office, but Laura’s coma had forced her to place her life on hold. Her promotion and job had fallen by the wayside, yet she hadn’t cared—not when the sister she loved needed her.

Her devotion, care, and attention hadn’t gone unnoticed by Sean, who had offered her a position at Merrick Industries. Savannah had never studied construction, but she soon found pleasure in the drama and deadlines required by her new position. Plus, the workers were a hot, yummy bonus to drool over. Never underestimate a sweaty, half-naked man in a hardhat.

She currently had a dependable team under her supervision that traveled with her to other hotel locations in need of repair or overhaul, a great group of dedicated men who respected her position and authority. She appreciated that and enjoyed the badass drinking they did when they occasionally threw down at a club.

Sure, she could rent an apartment or buy a house with the money she’d made over the years, but she found it easier to bounce through the Sherrod Towers Hotels. No cooking, no housework, and very little laundry, leaving her free to live life as she pleased. The benefits of living on the road amazed her, and it didn’t hurt that her brother-in-law, or Handsome, as she had dubbed him, was also her employer.

Right now, however, she needed a shower and a cup of coffee—in that order. When the elevator finally opened, Savannah’s younger sister, Laura, stood beside Savannah’s door. Savannah frowned and tried to recall if they were supposed to go out, but no memory of agreeing to that popped into her pounding head.

“Hey, you.” Laura widened her eyes as she took in Savannah’s rumpled dress and wild cloud of hair, then wrapped her sister in a hug. “I knocked, but you didn’t answer. Thought you were still asleep.”

The two had a similar golden skin color, with blonde hair only a shade or two off, and brown eyes. Savannah, however, towered over Laura by a good four inches.

“Rough night?” Laura asked.

Not in the mood to discuss her stupid choices, Savannah shook her head and dug into her purse for her key card. “Fan-fucking-tastic.”

“How so?” Laura lifted an eyebrow. “What did you do?”

“Oh, the deets won’t change the outcome, but coffee will,” Savannah said with a hopeful smile. She opened the door and tossed her purse onto a side table. “Do you mind ordering up some java while I hop into the shower?”

“No problem. Laura nodded and stowed her purse on the sofa, while Savannah headed for the bedroom.

“Wait.” She halted and looked back at her sister. “Were we going somewhere?”

“Yes, we’re supposed to look at flooring for the new renovation.” Laura pushed a stray lock of hair over her shoulder and emitted a soft laugh. “Are you okay?”

Savannah shook her head and tried to squash the memories of this morning rising in her mind, but her body refused to listen. Her breasts were still tight and achy, and her throbbing clit was in desperate need of another orgasm.

“Let’s just call it bad judgment with a tequila chaser,” she finally said, plopping down onto a chair and reaching down to shuck off her boots. She needed a mind switch, fast. “By the way, where is Squirt? I miss her.”

Squirt was Laura and Sean’s one-year-old daughter, Devon.

“She’s with her nanny,” Laura said, heading for the suite’s tiny kitchen.

Savannah ducked into the bathroom for a twenty-minute, semi-dousing revival, then stepped out wearing a white bathrobe and a towel around her head. Laura appeared at Savannah’s elbow with a steaming cup of coffee.

Savannah grasped the much-needed cup of Joe and eagerly took her first sip of heaven for the day. Moaning with pleasure, she said, “If you weren’t my sister, I’d have a girl crush on you. You’re a godsend, sweetie.”

“So my husband tells me.” Laura winked. “And I think he has more than a crush.”

“Ha! You’re damn right he does. How is Handsome?” Savannah moved to sit on the plush white sofa and propped her feet onto the small glass table with a sigh. Some pleasures where meant to be enjoyed with one’s feet up, and coffee was one of them. “I haven’t seen much of him in the past few weeks. Of course, I’ve been dealing with construction and remodeling issues.”

“He’s been busy with CEO duties at the office, but he mentioned we might head to Europe soon for a mini-vacation.”

“You lucky bitch.” Savannah waved off Laura’s good news with a twist of her hand and rolled her brown eyes.

Laura widened her smile and fluttered a hand against her chest. “Savannah, oh my God.”

“Just sayin’ you deserve it, sweetie. I mean that,” she said with a shrug, pointing her finger at her sister. “But for the love of Godiva chocolate, bring me something hideously expensive, or prepare to endure my sisterly wrath.”

“Yes, ma’am, I’m already on it. But enough about me,” she said, her tone sobering. She lost all playfulness. “You don’t seem like yourself today.”

“Sorry. I’ve got a deadline, and time is ticking down.” A true statement, but that wasn’t what had disturbed the peaceful balance in her life. No. That honor went to this morning’s hottie. Now nothing felt right, including her pounding head.

Damn that Tequila.

The Sherrod Towers Hotel in Atlanta, GA was currently receiving a bit of makeover, most of it cosmetic, except for the banquet hall, which was being completely refurbished. Savannah only had a month to strip down the internal construction and rebuild it with a more modern flare. A wealthy, prestigious steel company planned to hold a fundraiser in the rebuilt anteroom shortly after her deadline. The owner apparently had a penchant for campaigns to do with kids, and he was one of Sean’s good friends. Her brother-in-law loved a noble cause, so when his friend had approached him about holding the gathering at Sherrod Towers, Sean had signed on to update the hotel’s façade in hopes of attracting new clientele that included rich benefactors.

“You’re usually not nervous about deadlines.” Laura drew her forehead into a pensive frown. “Are you sure that’s all that’s bothering you?”

“Yes,” Savannah said firmly, dropping her head back onto the sofa and closing her eyes. “No. I don’t know. I’m just—”

“Is it guy trouble?” Laura asked after a small hesitation.

Savannah cracked one eye open and gave Laura her most horrified expression. “Bite your tongue—twice!”

Damn, she was slipping. If her sister could see right through her, she feared others could, too. She needed to get herself back in line and forget enjoying any more wild nights with the guys. In fact, she needed a complete life makeover that included no nightclubs, no drinking, and no sexy, morning-after men. She needed to go Zen all over her own ass.

“Okay, okay.” Laura held up both hands. “Just thought I’d throw it out into the universe. I’m always here if you want to talk about anything.”

“Thanks, but not this time. I’m just worried about meeting deadlines, because I’ve had some major hiccups with several subcontractors and have had to change suppliers due to budget issues. Anywho, it’s nothing I can’t work out—you know me.” She shrugged, hoping she sounded convincing enough after changing the topic. “I just need to get the flooring picked out because I don’t have much time before we install it. So let me get dressed, and we’ll go.”

By the time Savannah stepped out of her bedroom for the second time, she felt refreshed. She’d even put her long blonde hair in a messy twist for good measure, hoping to affect a more urban-casual vibe instead of her usual tailored look. Lately, whenever she was at a construction site, she’d worn jeans with boots instead of dressy suits and stilettos. The hazardous of piles of concrete, metal, and other debris threatened a woman’s well-intentioned fashion statement, and she figured dressing down was better than breaking a leg.

She downed the last bit of her coffee and grabbed her sunglasses and purse before turning to face her sister.

“Ready, sweetie?"

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