Painted Hearts Publishing

Heat Rating: Scorching
Word Count: 55,253
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Three best friends. Two lovers. One death.

Maximus hadn’t grown up surrounded with any love in his life, but he didn’t allow that to stop him from falling madly in love…with two people. Morgan and Samantha were already in love with one another, so he forced himself to be content with his role as best friend and protector to both of them. It wasn’t a difficult task. Morgan was carefree, full of life, and suffered from a serious case of hero-worship where Maximus was concerned; Samantha was a delicious mix of sweet and sassy and could easily put both men in their place.

Maximus swore friendship would be enough …had to be enough because he would never do anything that would destroy the love Morgan and Samantha felt for one another. But when tragedy strikes and takes Morgan away, will he step up and confess his feelings to Samantha? Can Samantha ever love Maximus the way she loved Morgan? And what happens when they find out Morgan isn't really dead after all?

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Painted Hearts Publishing

Heat Rating: Scorching
Word Count: 55,253
0 Ratings (0.0)
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“Do you still want me?”

She saw and felt the air gush out of his quivering lips. Damn, but his mouth was sheer perfection. She could imagine those lips and teeth suckling her nipple until she was moaning with pleasure.

“What kind of stupid question is that, Sam? I’ve always wanted you and always will want you but I’m not in the mood for games tonight. Are you drunk?” His eyes squinted in suspicion as he looked intently at her.

“Sober as a toad. I’ve had a couple of shots, but the mint chocolate chip obviously counteracted the liquor’s ability.”
He arched a perfectly shaped brow as if he didn’t believe a word coming from her mouth.

“What? Mint chocolate chip is a powerful antidote to practically any ailment a girl can have!” When he still looked hesitant and troubled, she tried the serious route. “Max, I’m sober. I promise. I’ve spent the last thirty minutes doing some serious soul-searching with my friends. They helped me see the error of my ways.”

“Don’t, Sam. I understand why it can’t ever be that way between us. I wasn’t lying to you earlier. I loved Morgan. Hell, I still love Morgan. I can’t compete with him…not even with him gone. I never could and never will be able to. Hell, I wouldn’t want to! Our Morgan was perfect and I miss him so bad it makes my chest ache. Please don’t ever think I’ve just moved on and forgotten about him. He is here,” he clutched his chest, “every minute of every damned day.”

“No, you can’t compete with Morgan.” When his eyes darkened with pain, she quickly continued, “You won’t and don’t need to compete with Morgan. You are special and perfect in your own way, just as he was. There isn’t a competition and us being together won’t null and void what we both shared with Morgan. I hope it only makes it stronger, actually.”

She watched as Max took a deep, steadying breath. She could see his heart pounding in his chest and the overwhelming need to kiss that very spot became too urgent to resist. Slowly she knelt until she was on her knees before him. As his eyes widened even more, she leaned in and kissed the spot over his thundering heart. “This belongs to me?”

“Only to you, Sam,” he answered softly. “You are the only woman I’ve ever truly wanted in my life.”

She snorted before she could stop herself. “Yes, that brings us to my next point.”

This time, he cocked an eyebrow. “Yes? Stipulations already?” He would agree to anything.

“Of course. I’m a woman, so you know there will always be stipulations.”

“Name them and they are yours,” he declared and she knew he meant it.

“If we are going to do this,” she motioned a finger to him and then to her, indicating them being together, “it is only going to be us.” She watched his eyes closely, looking for any signal that he might not be willing to give up his whoring ways. “No more women…or men. I don’t share my things.” She shrugged. “I think it has something to do with being an only child. Blame my parents, if you need to blame someone.”

“Agreed,” he answered quickly. “No more women or men in my bed. No problem. What else you got for me?”

Max had admitted to her that he was bisexual four years ago, a fact he had never shared with Morgan and had begged her not to tell. It hadn’t bothered her in the least and she’d felt confident that it wouldn’t have bothered Morgan either, but she had still kept his secret. Nothing he did could change how she felt about him, but she wasn’t kidding, she didn’t share.
“That’s it, I guess.”

“Well, okay, then,” he answered and then glanced around the room. His eyes were darting nervously between her and different spots in the room.

She could see how uncomfortable he was and it was cute. He had no clue what he needed to do next. Perhaps he needed a tiny nudge in the right direction. Hell, she wasn’t a vixen by any stretch of the imagination. She’d had sex with one person in her entire life and she was pretty certain Morgan had loved her so much he would have lied and told her she was awesome in bed even if she totally sucked. None of that mattered though…Max loved her as much as Morgan had. If she sucked in bed, he would teach her all new tricks. If she still sucked after the tricks, Max would love her anyway.

Slowly, as seductively as a girl like her knew to do, she leaned back from between his legs, dipped her hands to catch the bottom of her T-shirt, and pulled it over her head. Thank Jesus she had on her sexiest underwear instead of the ugly sports bra she usually opted for when she was home for the evening. When his eyes widened in disbelief and then darkened with arousal, she felt empowered in a way only a woman could when her man was showing her how beautiful he believed her to be. He didn’t have to make a move or say a word, his eyes were telling her everything she needed to know. Not nearly as gracefully, but as sexy as she could make it, she shimmied out of her sweats. Now, kneeling before him in nothing but her black lace underwear, she waited for him to take the lead. Hopefully, he would take that fucking lead because she was clueless about how to proceed. She knew what she wanted, she just wasn’t certain how to go about taking it.

“Oh, fuck, Samantha. Are you sure?” His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down and he’d used her full name. Oh, hell yeah, things were about to get out of control. She felt dampness pool between her legs just from the promise in his eyes.

“Do I look certain, Max?” She asked in her sexiest voice. “You are wearing way too many clothes. Do you need me to help you with that?”

For the briefest second, he looked scared as hell and she was pretty sure nothing had ever scared Maximus.

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