Make Me (MMF)

Etopia Press

Heat Rating: Scorching
Word Count: 86,876
1 Ratings (5.0)

You can’t have it all until you lose everything...

Manhattan’s most eligible bachelor, Kyle Hunter, is a Marine Corps vet, the son of a US Senator, and the prodigal heir of American corporate royalty. He’s rich, smart, and a notorious flirt. Kyle Hunter is also in love with his best friend, Manny. But after they’re disciplined for improper behavior, Kyle breaks it off. The last thing he wants to do is create a national scandal during his mother’s bid for re-election. Manny Tescadero isn’t about to be hurt twice. He needs time alone to figure things out. Still, when Rebecca Sinclair lands on his doorstep, claiming the apartment is hers, his honor won’t let him turn her away. New love interests aren’t part of the mission. Not when he’s still in love with Kyle…

Rebecca Sinclair thinks she has it all—her dream job and an amazing apartment in the city. But when she returns from her last work assignment to the apartment that she’d been subletting, she finds her landlord’s grandson instead—a hot Marine Corps vet with problems of his own. Rebecca’s attraction to Manny heats up pretty quickly. Add his best friend Kyle to the mix and the heat becomes explosive. Working through old hurts and understanding new desires isn’t easy. Rebecca never dreamed having it all could mean finding a combustible bond with two incredibly hot guys at once. Then someone sends pictures to the media, and having it all could mean losing everything…

Make Me (MMF)
1 Ratings (5.0)

Make Me (MMF)

Etopia Press

Heat Rating: Scorching
Word Count: 86,876
1 Ratings (5.0)
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Excerpt

Chapter One

Rebecca Sinclair wondered if anything was more aggravating than ruining a pair of gorgeous designer shoes in the rain. Maybe the fact that said shoes would have been just fine if somebody’s audacious red Camaro hadn’t occupied the assigned parking space in her Manhattan apartment’s underground garage? The space was clearly marked: Reserved. Who does that?She’d turned her ten-year-old Jetta around with a harsh tug on the steering wheel, its nearly bald tires wheezing out a screeching echo in the cavernous lot. She’d cursed, and cursed again. Finding a space to park would be murder. Murder on her new-to-her Louboutins. So what if they’d been an unbelievable secondhand score? She loved them to pieces—not so much in pieces. Some shoes are made for walking; some are not.She could have called the building’s management company, but they would take an hour at least to get the parking situation sorted out. Rebecca had one thing on her mind for that evening, and it wasn’t waiting around on a tow truck to come and vacate the intruder from her space. After more than a month away on site at the Library of Congress, supervising the acquisition of the largest private collection of original Broadway scripts she’d ever seen, the only thing left on her agenda was to veg out on her new suede sofa.Trudging through the grimy puddles of the Upper West Side, she gritted her teeth and tried not to look at the way her powder-pink, gladiator-style platform heels were quickly turning the color of soot. A driving tropical wind whipped down the avenue. It was insanely hot and muggy for mid-September. Her umbrella snapped suddenly out of her control and tangled in her strawberry-blond curls for a few mocking seconds before she wrangled it back into place.“Friggin’ red Camaro,” she grumbled. It had to be a guy’s car, some self-important jerk who thought the world owed him something—like her parking space.Three blocks to her apartment building and Rebecca was certain the steam hovering above the sidewalk came right from her ears. She secured her shoulder bag and pressed on. Behind her, the rattle of luggage wheels grating on concrete hummed beneath the rhythmic swish of passing vehicles. Through the rain, a rush of motion flashed in her peripheral vision. Skin. Glistening, caramel skin swept by on a bicycle. She took in the sight—carved male flanks of hard-working muscle, all shiny and wet.“Yum.” The word escaped her lips in a moment of distraction. She followed him with squinting eyes as his shirtless silhouette cut through the sheets of rain. Her gaze trailed him all the way to the end of the block, where he turned right and headed down the same one-way street where her apartment building was located. That tasty image lingered in her mind until a taxicab crowded the curb at an ungodly speed and sent a whole bunch of yuck flying over her ankles. “Son of a bitch!”Home. She needed to be nestled safe and sound in her small but stylish one-bedroom apartment, with the slate-blue porcelain lamps she’d picked up at the flea market and the thick shag rug that was as good as any foot massager when she ran her toes through it. A whole month at an extended-stay motel and Rebecca craved the comforts of her own stuff. It wasn’t much, but it was hers. For the pretty penny she scraped up in rent to the elderly woman from whom she sublet it, she certainly wished she spent more time there.She turned right at the corner, noting that he had turned there as well, but the bicycle, along with the rider, were completely out of sight. She could, however, see the brassy gleam of her apartment building’s canopy overhang and the doorman stationed at the entrance. Rent in a swanky place like that would have been impossible on her salary were it not for the deal of a lease she’d scored. Even at half the normal asking price, making her rent was a stretch. As a librarian, Rebecca only brought home riches in the form of culture and knowledge. If only you could eat a book.Ronald smiled at her, his characteristically kind eyes dipping with a nod. “Good evening, Ms. Sinclair.”“Hi, Ronald,” she said with heavy sigh, relieved finally to be out of the rain. “Remember you’re supposed to call me Rebecca.” She raised her finger at the stout, middle-aged man with the sharp-as-knives creases in his gray trousers. “You promised.” Ronald was the only friendly face to greet her at the end of each day; they could at least be on a first name basis.His round face ignited in a blush. “Rebecca, then.”Rebecca nodded with a smile. “It’s good to be home.”She shook out her umbrella, careful not to get Ronald wet, and entered as he held the large glass door. The marble lobby looked the same as it had when she’d left a little over a month ago. As her ruined heels clacked against the glossy floor, she noticed a fresh bouquet of gladiolus and orchids sat proudly on the mahogany table in the center. The Veritage building was a perfect execution of vintage glamour. Home. There was just no better word.Rebecca reached the elevator and mashed the button. A glance at the display told her the car had last stopped on her floor. Just fifteen more until her chariot arrived to whisk her off to her sanctuary. She shifted in her sodden footwear and ran a hand though her bird’s nest of a hairdo. Thanks to the unyielding humidity it had been subjected to on that hellish stroll, she must have looked like a vision from The Walking Dead.And now she suddenly needed to pee in the worst way. Thinking back to the third grande iced coffee she’d thrown back on her way from the airport, Rebecca wished she’d had the foresight to make a stop in the ladies’ room. But of course she hadn’t planned on the twenty-minute walk from the only garage that wasn’t already full. She started to do the potty dance, mostly because she was the only one in the elevator. And for added effect she began to hum, because humming made the dancing not quite so weird.The elevator dinged, and she was on her way to sweet relief. Hobbling down the corridor, Rebecca frantically dug in her purse for her keys. The humming had turned into short puffs of breathy desperation as she shoved the key into the lock.Nothing happened. The lock wouldn’t budge. Desperate, she pulled the key out and looked at it quizzically. It had been thirty-five days since she’d left for Washington, DC, but she couldn’t imagine being mistaken about the key for her own door. Shaking her head, she inserted it again and turned it with a little jiggle of her wrist. Again, nothing.“Oohhhh!” she whined, louder than she might have wanted. “Come on!”Gritting her teeth together, she crossed her ankles and shoved the heel of her palm against her pelvis. With a shaky hand, she tried once more. When it didn’t give, she slammed her fist against the wooden paneled door in anguish.“Yeah, hold on,” a low voice called from behind it.She jumped back, startled, checking the numbered plaque in the center of the door. Was she going crazy too? This was in fact her apartment, in her building, with her doormat on the—She looked down. The harlequin motif she expected to see was not there.“Who is it?” the voice said.“What?” she asked, flabbergasted. “Who the hell are you?”The light illuminating the peephole shadowed and then brightened. She heard the lock tumble in its chamber, and the door opened.Rebecca’s mouth dropped. He was still wet. That was the first thing she noticed about the guy she’d eye-fucked on his bike. The second was how all that wetness clinging to his smooth skin reminded her that she had to pee. She squeezed her knees together and tried to form a sentence.“What are you doing in my apartment?” she asked and shifted her weight to her left side and then back to the right.He frowned, cocking his head sideways as he appraised her. The magazine he held fell to his side. “Um…do you want to use the bathroom?”Rebecca wanted to scream. “No…oh damn, yes.” She sprinted past him and the bicycle resting against the wall, knowing exactly where to find the bathroom.She kicked the door closed and practically tore off her panties. “Ah.”Blessed relief flooded through her as one emergency eased. Her gaze caught the familiar wallpaper of navy and cream stripes hung above the classic white tiles. On the shelf next to the sink, men’s shaving cream replaced the antique bottles of perfume she’d displayed there. Gone was the pink fluffy robe she kept on the hook behind the door and her vintage-inspired scale. Maybe she wasn’t too sad to see the scale go, but the rest of it had her head spinning.She pressed her lips together while making quick work of washing her hands. Shaking them dry, she marched toward the shirtless intruder. She opened her mouth to speak, but he beat her to it.“Guess you’re Rebecca.”Rebecca folded her arms across her chest, lifting her chin to the lanky shirtless man extending his hand in front of her. “Yeah, well, who the hell are you?”“Manny. Manny Tescadero.”Rebecca recognized the name, or at least the last one. “I sublet this apartment from Jeannette Tescadero,” she said, as if the commonality could possibly be some kind of strange coincidence.“She passed away a little over a month ago,” Manny said with his hazel eyes casting downward. Then lifting them to meet hers, he continued. “She was my grandmother.”Rebecca’s heart sank. “Oh, I’m so sorry. She was…I mean I didn’t know her that well, but I thought she was so sweet.”“She was an amazing woman.”Rebecca nodded, a smile creeping onto her lips as she thought about the elderly woman she’d met in the European art history section of the New York Public Library. Jeanette had just finished taking a tai chi class and said she was balancing her Eastern exposure with something from the West. They’d struck up a conversation as Rebecca went about her analysis of the current cataloging locations in that area. Jeanette had commented on her blouse, a fifties-style, cream, peplum-collared number with delicate white dots and a smocked hem. It was one of Rebecca’s favorites. Rebecca had appreciated the beautiful Hermes scarf Jeanette wore in a stylish knot around her silver ponytail. They’d chatted about fashion and art—and eventually life.Rebecca had taken a seat across from the thin-but-sturdy woman, watching her slap her hand enthusiastically against the wooden table as she celebrated the punch line of a joke. Jeannette finally confided that she had to move out of the apartment she adored. It turned out her boyfriend wanted to move in together, but her place was just too small for both of them. Rebecca had marveled about this woman’s love for life. She’d been amazed by her free spirit. After years of living alone as a widow, Jeanette had found love and wasn’t afraid to follow it.She’d asked Rebecca if she was interested in a sublet arrangement. The rent would be cheap; just enough to help her with the maintenance on the co-op. Who wouldn’t want to live off Central Park West? It was a dream location. She would have been insane not to ditch the lease on her lower Eastside hole in the wall. They met for coffee the next day and sealed the deal over a dainty handshake and scones.“She rented this place to me last year.”“I know. I mean, I know now.” Manny chewed his lip. “Nana wasn’t the best at keeping records. I only had one phone number for you, and I tried it every day, but you never answered. She left me this place in her will. I tried to give you a month’s notice, but you never responded.” He sighed. “Eventually I had to put your things in storage and just wait until you showed up.”“I don’t believe this,” Rebecca said, looking around the two-hundred-and-fifty square foot apartment and all the places where her stuff should have been.“Really, I did try to contact you. I left like fifty messages.”“What number did you call?” Rebecca asked, tugging her phone out of her bag for a peek at the call log.Manny put down the magazine and pulled his phone from his cargo shorts. They hung just low enough on his waist to draw her attention to the soft trail of hairs forming a solicitous line down the center of his rippled abs.“Could you possibly put on a shirt?” Rebecca asked, her state of shock morphing back into anger. The last thing she needed was to add lust to the mix.Manny Tescadero smiled at her in a knowing way that made her want to prove him wrong.“I mean, I don’t even know you,” she went on. “It’s not…uh…it’s not civilized.” That was the best she could come up with.He raised an eyebrow. “Pretty sure it’s perfectly OK to be shirtless in my own place.” His grin widened. “Matter of fact, I think they passed a law in this city that says it’s OK for a woman to go topless too, if they want. Women’s liberation and all that.”She frowned at him. “Do you think you’re funny?”Manny shook his head and chuckled softly. “No, ma’am.” He swiped his thumb a few times over the screen of his phone and then tapped it. “Here you are. Isn’t this your number?”She leaned forward, peering at the display and catching a nice whiff of him. Cedar, sweat, and maybe even a slight hint of motor oil filed her nose. Manly smells, all of them. Manly Manny, she thought despite herself.The display read: Mystery Girl. Below, a phone number that was only mostly correct.“The last two numbers are supposed to be 78, not 16.” As much as she hated to admit it, this nightmare was real.“I told you my Nana wasn’t great with records,” he said quietly. “This number was scribbled on a tag attached to the key she had for the apartment. There wasn’t a name. Just the phone number and the initials R. S. She kept everything up here.” Manny tapped his index finger against his temple. “But that didn’t do me much good after she passed on.”Another sweep of sympathy flooded through Rebecca. “Were you close?”“Yeah, pretty close. Before I deployed, I used to visit her all the time in this apartment.”“Deployed? Were you in Afghanistan?”“Six years, on and off. Mostly on.”“Hmm. How long have you been back?”“About two months. I had a chance to see her happy again. Did you know she had a boyfriend she was living with?” He smiled. “The funny thing is, she told me that she had someone I should meet, someone who was keeping her apartment warm for her. I think Nana was cooking up a plan to introduce us.”“She really was a romantic.” Rebecca shook her head, musing over the memory of Jeanette and the impression the elderly woman left on her. But this wasn’t a time for musings or getting to know you chitchats. This was a full-on shit storm she’d been thrust into, and after twenty minutes of talking to the gorgeous, shirtless grandson of the woman she’d counted herself so lucky to have met, there was still no clear answer to what the hell she was going to be able to do about it.

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