Hidden Kisses (A Curvy Girl and Bad Boy Romance Suspense)
Marietta Lawson is cute, sweet, curvy and very, very good at listening. She listens to everything she can, writes most of it down, and gives it to her boss. By day, Mari is the personal assistant to a billionaire pharmaceutical tycoon, but by night she’s in the business – the very lonely business – of corporate espionage.
Mari’s come to grudgingly accept that spies don’t usually have great love lives, and is pretty much done worrying about guys. That is, until during some idle employee database searching, she sees a new face that catches her attention.
Damon Kelly is a hotshot, bad boy doctor-lawyer with wavy black hair, a sexy dimple, scorching eyes, and one hell of a secret.
Caught red-handed in the middle of a job, Mari is more than a little surprised to find the guy she hasn’t been able to get out of her head – Damon – with a gun pointed at her. Damon, for his part, can’t believe that he’s about to screw up the most important job of his career to take a chance on something as crazy as love.
This standalone, steamy, sweet, sexy, fun erotic romance suspense isn’t afraid to ask: Is it okay to throw away everything you know for one chance at a love you didn’t even know you were missing?
Marietta could not help but think back to ten years ago, when she had first taken the job.
Her degree was a rambling thing – she started college early and still took five and a half years to finish. Mari wove a complex web of Humanities credits, Computer Science, Biology and even dabbled in Physics before settling on her first true love: sculpture. Her application to the company was done out of desperation, not any hope she would actually get anything more than a form letter rejection.
Needless to say, when she got that first call, she was rather surprised.
She was fresh out of school, terrified and alone, when Jack Masterson took her under his wing. She still had no idea why he hired her over all the other, undoubtedly more accomplished applicants, but whatever the reason, he had come to be very dear to Mari. He showed her the ropes of the pharmaceutical world, taught her how to present herself, how to operate in a shadowy world of double-dealing, corporate espionage and obfuscation that she read about in dime novels. Until she became a part of that world, she never believed it to exist.
For that decade, she had done everything he asked of her. And, he asked quite a lot. For a person whose job title was ‘Administrative Assistant II’, Mari had a lifetime of experiences thanks to Jack Masterson.
And then there was the love.
She came to him innocent, wide-eyed and scared of the real world. At twenty-two, she was trim, unwittingly sexy, unsure of herself and nervous all at the same time. The way Masterson watched her was, at first, unsettling. Mari was used to lecherous professors, but the way Jack Masterson devoured her body was something completely different. Nothing before came close to matching how she felt when he ravished her with his gaze.
His advances were very strange to her at first. Back then he had a way about him – a sort of impressive air that no one who met him doubted. He commanded the mood of a room, dictated the pace of conversation and the flow of energy about him. If he laughed, so did the crowd. When his mood darkened, a storm cloud may as well have come in the window. She fell in love with him long before she understood what she felt, or why.
She had a hard time believing that someone like Jack Masterson could ever fall for a timid, mousy person such as herself, but six months after her appointment, his stares softened, and she started to realize that regardless of her own insecurity, he saw something in her he liked.
Maybe it was her malleability, her youth, or the way she walked with a straight back. She had no idea, but in the end, none of that mattered.
He took her hand one morning as he swished past her cluttered desk and pulled her back to his office, locking the door behind them. When she heard the knob click, Marietta knew her life was about to change. Her anticipation grew as he caressed first her hair, then her face with the back of his olive-hued hand.
“I can’t keep my eyes off you,” he had said, “There’s something about you I just can’t place. Something that makes me want you every time I walk by. You don’t know how beautiful you are, or how entrancing those eyes can be when they sparkle. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you for months, Mari."
He kissed her then, lips soft and warm against her cheek. When he traced her jaw to the side of her neck, a thrill shot up her scalp. As his fingers danced across her arms, goose prickles gave away how he excited her and how Jack Masterson was not the only person with desires. Her mouth dropped open when he sucked behind her ear, ran his fingers backward through her hair and stared deep inside her eyes.
“Give yourself to me,” he whispered, “And you will never want for anything again. Material, or otherwise.”
She could do nothing but nod.
Marietta watched Masterson’s face change before her eyes. The hard lines that usually marked his face relaxed. A smile crept across his lips that she had never seen before, and as soon as it did, she was helpless to resist him.
She felt the heat of his palm slide down the back of her jacket before he pulled her against his body and kissed her again behind the ear, then the neck and finally caressed her lips with his.
Breath hitched in her lungs and she opened her eyes to find his closed, with a blissed expression on his perfect face. This man, and this moment is all she had ever wanted, she realized as he touched the nape of her neck and kissed her again, harder than before.
Masterson’s tongue rasped against the gentle cracks and crevices of Mari’s bottom lip, exploring, tasting, and relishing. Then, when she gasped at the touch of his fingertips underneath the waist of her skirt he tentatively pushed his tongue inside, against hers. As his kiss warmed her, Mari closed her mouth, gently sucking his bottom lip. Again and again, the gorgeous billionaire lavished her with kisses and slid his hands up her back, then down, brushing his fingers over her prickling flesh.
He held her close against his body, kissed her again, then put his hands on her shoulders, pushed her away and beheld her for a moment.
For Mari, a woman who had never felt particularly sexy, this was a new experience. She was a ‘cute’ girl all her life, and then in college, had started to embrace her quirkiness. Away from her parents, and feeling free, she tried new things – wild hair colors, some questionable piercings, and even kissing women a time or two – but always thought something was missing. She never knew what, though, until Jack Masterson melted her heart with his eyes.
“I could not let you get away from me,” he said with his hands still on her shoulders. “When I saw you for the first time, I decided you weren’t walking out of the interview until I was sure you were coming back. There’s something about you that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Like I said, if you stay with me, you will never want again. Anything you desire, you’ll have. Anything at all.”
She took a deep breath and searched his face for some sign that he was lying, playing a joke, or anything else. Mari just could not believe something like this was happening to her, not her. She was the girl with the strange glasses and bad taste in movies. She was not a person to be worshiped by gorgeous, powerful men.
This just can’t be, she told herself, but as he moved close again and put his hands on her hips, there was no denying reality.
When he touched her this time, it was his fingers closing around her wrists. He pushed her sleeves up her forearms, and kissed her wrists one at a time. The warmth of his lips traced the tendons on the undersides of her arms, up, up, up until her sleeves bared as much arm as they could.
“I need,” he began before stopping to swallow, “I need this, Marietta. I need you.”
She had no idea how, or even if, she should respond. As he gently slipped the jacket off over her shoulders, Mari searched Masterson’s face again, still unable to accept that there was no punch line, that this was no joke.
After the jacket, he kissed her again, one hand on her shoulder and the other on her neck. They both opened their eyes as their lips parted. Mari looked up at him, and put her trembling fingers on either side of his face.