At his friend’s wedding, Paul Gilbert meets Holly Foster and is enchanted with her. After one amazing night in her arms, he finds out that Holly is a professional escort. He feels deceived and rejects her. However, when his wealthy family tries to pressure him into marrying an heiress he has no interest in, he enlists Holly’s help. But is Holly more than he can handle?
While Holly is devastated by Paul’s rejection, she finds she has a bigger problem to deal with: an unexpected pregnancy. When he contacts her out of the blue, can she accept his unusual offer for the sake of her unborn child or must she decline it, because she fears she won’t be able to keep their new relationship all business when her heart and her body long for something far more personal . . .
Montauk, Long Island, NY
Holly Foster watched as her best friend Sabrina departed with her new husband Daniel by her side, leaving the wedding guests in the elaborately decorated tent to their own devices. She smiled wistfully. It was good to see her friend so happy. Finally, everything had worked out for the best. Holly felt satisfaction in knowing that she’d played a part in her friend’s happiness.
Her gaze roamed over the guests. From the tent in the back garden of Daniel’s parents’ home in Montauk, at the very tip of Long Island, she could see the beach and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. The waves were breaking against the shore, and the torch lights around the tent illuminated their movement.
It was a warm night despite the breeze coming from the water. She brushed her hands over her dress, a classy red number she was grateful Sabrina had chosen as Holly’s bridesmaid’s dress. Thankfully her friend hadn’t stuck her in anything orange or pink. She knew the red dress fit her like a glove, accentuating her curves and her long blond locks. She felt confident in it. Confident enough to let herself go tonight.
Holly turned and looked at Paul Gilbert, who stood at the bar at the end of the tent, waiting for the bartender to mix him another drink. He was one of Daniel’s friends and a member of the Hamptons Bachelor Club, which after Daniel’s departure today consisted of only seven bachelors. While she’d been introduced to Paul during the rehearsal dinner, she’d barely spoken more than ten words to him. It was something she wanted to change—and not only because Sabrina had told her to be nice to him. Apparently Paul had been kind to her when she’d needed support.
A man like Paul she would talk to anytime. And not just talk. She wanted a lot more.
Holly ran her eyes over him. His tuxedo fit him like a second skin, and he had the kind of suave James Bond look about him that she’d thought only Pierce Brosnan or Sean Connery could carry off without looking smarmy. She knew exactly how a man like Paul would be in bed. She knew how he would undress her, how he would touch her, how his body would grind against hers. How his cock would slide into her with one forceful thrust and touch her womb—fill her—stretch her.
She knew all that just by looking at him. Because she always avoided men like him.
She preferred her clients to be average in bed. It made it easier to remain detached and keep her emotions out of the game. That’s why she didn’t want to be with a man like Paul. Because for once she might actually feel something. And what would she do then?
As her feet carried her closer to him, even though her brain told her to stay away, she started justifying the action she was about to take. She was on vacation. Wasn’t everybody allowed a vacation fling? A one-night stand that would lead to nothing . . . or to everything? Even a call girl had to forget her work occasionally, let herself go, and only do what her heart dictated.
Besides, hadn’t she already decided to quit the escort business, even though she hadn’t told her boss Misty yet? Hadn’t she already made up her mind that she was done with all of this? So what was the harm in flirting with a man like Paul? What was the harm in letting him know that she was available tonight if he wanted to take her to bed?
Before she could truly answer her own questions, she pulled her iPhone from her purse. There was no time like the present to follow through on a decision. No need to wait any longer to tell her boss that she wasn’t coming back. Why drag out the inevitable when she’d already made up her mind days ago?
Holly stopped next to a flower arrangement and composed a short text message to Misty, telling her of her decision to leave the escort business effective immediately. When she pressed the Send button, relief washed over her. She was free. The feeling both elated her and frightened her. She had no idea how to earn a living now, but she would figure something out. She had a few months’ worth of savings that would keep her head above water until she could devise a plan. But she wouldn’t think of any of this now.
She wanted to feel something tonight.
Sliding her phone back into her purse, she approached Paul. He must have seen her from the corner of his eye, because he suddenly turned and smiled at her, his gaze meeting hers instead of doing what all other men’s usually did: drop to her boobs. But Paul’s eyes remained locked on her face. That fact only cemented her decision to offer him something she hadn’t offered any man in a long time.
“Holly,” Paul greeted her. “So it’s almost over.” He motioned to where some of the guests were gathering their things and starting to leave.
Holly lowered her eyelids halfway, but never avoided his eyes. “It doesn’t have to be.”
Paul’s chest suddenly lifted as if he were pulling in a deep breath. “No, it doesn’t have to.” He set down the glass the bartender had handed him and reached for her hand instead. “I don’t believe we’ve danced yet.”
When he drew her into his arms and maneuvered her toward the dance floor, Holly’s heart began to beat in excitement. His touch was electrifying. One hand clasped hers, while the other pressed against the small of her back to draw her against his body. She could feel the heat radiate from him and felt her body flush in response.
As he led her into the first turn of a slow foxtrot, she searched for something to say to cover her nervousness. This wasn’t like her. She wasn’t nervous and shy when it came to men. So why did she feel compelled to bridge the silence between them? “Sabrina said you saved her when the owner of the lingerie store was nasty to her.”
“That was nothing,” Paul claimed, smiling.
“It meant a lot to Sabrina. You were there for her when she needed somebody. She’s my best friend. You were nice to her. That means I’ll be nice to you.” Her pulse raced as she said words he could only interpret one way.
Paul dipped his head to her ear. His hot breath sent a shiver racing down her body and into her sex. “How nice?”
“Very nice—for as long as you want to.” Her breath hitched at her own daring words. She’d just lost her mind and offered a man she barely knew a night without limits. “Anywhere you want to,” she added when he still didn’t respond. Had she gone too far?
“Then what are we still doing on the dance floor?” he finally answered, and slid his hand onto her backside, pressing her against his groin. Already, she could feel a hard muscle there, one that would only grow harder and larger as the night progressed, she hoped.
Feeling the evidence of his arousal gave her newfound confidence. “Shouldn’t we at least finish this dance so people don’t stare at us when we’re rushing out of here?”
“Holly, Holly,” he murmured as if chastising her, and pressed a hot kiss below her ear. His warm lips issued promises she wanted to hold him to. “We can finish this dance if you insist, but I’ll guarantee you that if we do that, people will start staring at us. Because I won’t be able to keep my hands and my mouth to myself. Or another part of my anatomy, for that matter. Your choice.”
When she felt his pelvis rub against her again, she knew there was really no choice. She wet her lips. “I’ve never cared much for dancing anyway.”
“Wise choice.” Paul released her from his embrace, only to take her hand and lead her to the exit of the tent.
His pace wasn’t rushed, but determined. A man who knew what he wanted. And it appeared he wanted her. Tonight. In his arms, in his bed.
“Where to?” Holly whispered, though she didn’t really care where he took her, as long as something soft would cushion her back and something hard would thrust into her while his hot mouth devoured her lips and made her surrender to him.
Paul opened the passenger door of his Porsche and took Holly’s hand, helping her inside. Holly slid into the low leather seat, and he glanced down at her while she folded her long, shapely legs into the car and smoothed down her dress with her hands. The thought of those hands touching him very soon made his cock swell underneath his tuxedo pants. The rush of excitement that suddenly coursed through his body made mincemeat of his efforts to play the suave seducer. Instead, he felt like a sex-starved teenager who’d just discovered that his prom date wore no padding in her bra and that her breasts were real, round, and ripe for his touch.
From his vantage point, still holding the door open, he had a perfect view of said breasts. Holly had the sexiest cleavage he’d ever seen. Her flesh pressed firmly against the tight bustier of her bridesmaid’s dress and suggested that once he freed them from the inadequate cage, they would spill over into his palms.
He felt a trickle of sweat run down underneath the collar of his shirt and stifled the urge to rip his bowtie off and the shirt along with it, wishing to keep at least the pretense of coolness and sophistication. Though in a few minutes, Holly would realize anyway that he wasn’t calm or cool at all, but a man who had trouble keeping his passion locked up inside him. He knew he often frightened women with this intensity and had therefore learned to keep his true self locked away. He now conducted his affairs with cool efficiency.
Surely, this wouldn’t be any different, though the end of it was already programmed in. Holly would return to her home in San Francisco in a few days, but while she was still in the Hamptons, still on his turf, he would take what she was willing to give.
He’d been watching her during the entire wedding ceremony. She’d stood there, close to Sabrina, as Sabrina and Daniel had exchanged their wedding vows. But Paul hadn’t even listened. He’d only had eyes for Holly. He’d never seen a more sensual woman, one who was sin personified, and he’d had more than his fair share of gorgeous women thanks not only to his good looks, but also to his financial success and his family connections.
Many a Hamptons mother would shamelessly deposit her own daughter in his bed if she could, in hopes that he was in the market for a wife. He wasn’t. It wasn’t the right time. He liked variety, and his career as a highly skilled negotiator who brokered multimillion-dollar mergers and was richly compensated for his services demanded his full attention. Besides, there was still plenty of time to have a family and kids ten years down the road. As long as he married a young enough woman, it didn’t really matter when he started his own family.
“Are we waiting for something?” Holly’s voice pulled him from his thoughts.
“I was just admiring the view,” Paul deflected, and locked eyes with her, looking deep into her blue irises. She didn’t blink.
Yes, sinful, that was exactly how she appeared. A woman who knew the effect she had on men and was using her considerable assets to make those men surrender to her. For a short moment, he wondered whether he could risk getting entangled in her web, but another look at those luscious red lips, and he squashed that fleeting doubt. She would be gone soon, and the distraction that she would provide was as welcome as it would be short-lived.
Paul eased the passenger door shut and walked around the car, before taking the driver’s seat. With another look at Holly, he turned the key in the ignition and heard the car hum in response. He felt the subtle vibrations of the engine travel through his groin, reminding him that he shouldn’t waste any more time.
“I’m staying at my parents’ house a couple of miles down the coast.” From the corner of his eye, he noticed Holly open her mouth as if she wanted to voice a protest, her chest lifting at the same time. He knew what she wanted to say before she had a chance to express her concern, and preempted it. “They’re gone this weekend. We’ll have the house to ourselves.”
It was darn lucky, too, considering that his parents hadn’t been traveling much lately. But his great-aunt Mirabelle, who’d been a midwife for over forty years, was getting on in years, and his parents had decided to look in on her in her little house near Boston.
He maneuvered the sports car out of the parking spot and pulled into the street. There was virtually no traffic, and he could drive the route in his sleep, enabling him to focus his attention on Holly. And her dazzling figure. Her creamy skin. Her hard nipples that pressed through the fabric of her dress.
Paul sucked in a breath. Thoughts like that were likely to cause a car accident, or at the very least, make him spill in his pants before he’d even arrived at his parents’ house.
“Why did you proposition me?” The question was out before he could stop himself. Stupid, stupid, stupid! He wanted to bang his head against the steering wheel.
“You think I propositioned you?”
He took his eyes off the road. “Didn’t you?” He lifted his hand from the wheel and slid it over her hand that rested on her thigh. Warm skin greeted him and sent a tingling sensation through his arm. “Or did somebody set you up to play a prank on me?”
Holly freed her hand from his.
Instantly, disappointment coursed through him. But before he could say or do anything, he felt a hand slide onto his thigh.
“Does this feel like a prank?”
Heat shot to his groin, and his heart began to thunder. Confidence flooded back into him as if somebody had opened the locks to a dam. “Could you maybe be a little clearer and move your hand a bit higher up?”
He didn’t really expect Holly to meet his challenge. When she did, however, he nearly jumped out of his seat. Her hot palm cupped his erection, pressing against the hard flesh without hesitation.
“You mean like this?” Her voice sounded innocent, though her words weren’t.
Yes, she was sin personified.
Paul clenched his jaw, fighting the onslaught of sensations her wicked touch unleashed in him. “You’re a very direct woman, Holly. I like that.”
She removed her hand and placed it back in her lap. Her action left a void that surprised him. As if the brief touch had created a sudden yearning only Holly could satisfy.
“No use beating about the bush. After all, we’re both adults. We’re free to do what we want,” Holly said, and glanced out of the passenger window.
“Yes, we are. So, tell me, Holly, is there anything in particular I can do for you tonight?” He ran his eyes over her curves, wishing he could take her right here.
Her lashes lowered, but it wasn’t a demure gesture, it was provocative. “You’re already doing it.”
At a red traffic light, Paul brought the car to a stop and rested his foot on the brake. “I can do a lot more,” he promised and leaned across the gap between their seats. “And I wouldn’t mind starting right now.” His gaze dropped to her lips, lips so red and plump, he couldn’t wait to explore them.
“Are you always this impatient?”
Was he? He couldn’t recall. “There are moments in a man’s life when waiting even one second is waiting two seconds too long.”
“And I’m assuming now is one of those moments?” Holly replied, licking her lips, making them even more tantalizing than they already were.
“Kiss me, Holly, before the light turns green.”
Her head moved closer, and then her lips were on his, touching him softly at first. Her sweet breath rushed from her parted lips and bounced against his. He drew the scent into his lungs. His hand came up to slide to her nape, drawing her closer as he slanted his lips and took possession of her mouth.
He’d hungered for this kiss ever since he’d first been introduced to Holly at the rehearsal dinner. He’d wondered what it would be like to finally explore her mouth and feel those full lips press against his. Wondered what it would be like to feel her surrender to him. To feel her shudder in his arms.
The kiss was everything he’d imagined—and more.
The press of her warm lips was determined, the slide of her tongue against his smooth and without hesitation. As if they were lovers already. Yet at the same time, the contact was electrifying, like it always was with someone new and unfamiliar. With every stroke against Holly’s tongue, with every lash against her lips and teeth, he poured into her more of the lust that he’d bottled up inside him for far too long. He hadn’t had an outlet for it. Maybe that was the reason Holly affected him like this.
Or maybe it was simply because she kissed like a woman who knew no boundaries. As though everything was possible, nothing taboo. Not even all the wicked ideas that came to his mind now, the thoughts of how and where he could fuck her, how long he would ride her, how wild their encounter would get. All this because of the way she pressed her alluring body against his while she gave herself over to his kiss. As if he wasn’t a stranger at all, but a lover whom she knew would give her pleasure if only she let him.
Just as he knew that Holly would pleasure him just by allowing him to dive into her body and bury himself so deep inside her that all boundaries would vanish and their bodies would move as one.
Even the kiss was like that: so perfectly in sync were their movements, their strokes, and their caresses that it felt as though they’d done this a thousand times. As if they’d been destined to kiss. He’d never before believed in fate or destiny, but as the kiss turned from passionate to scorching and sent flames shooting through his body that threatened to incinerate him from the inside, he rethought his conviction.
Maybe there was such a thing as fate after all.
A honking sound jerked him from his thoughts and made him release Holly’s lips.
Headlights from a car behind them shone into the interior of his Porsche. Fuck, he hadn’t made out with a woman in a car in years, and he’d completely lost all sense of time and space. If a kiss from Holly could do that to him, what would happen once she was in his bed with his cock buried deep inside her?
He slid back into his seat, waved apologetically to the driver behind him, and pulled through the intersection, speeding up until he’d reached the speed limit.
Only then did he speak again. “If you keep this up, you’re going to be the death of me.”
He gave her a sideways glance. Was Holly as ruffled by the kiss as he?
“I didn’t start it,” she murmured.
He shook his head and let out a soft chuckle. “You did. You propositioned me.” Then he took her hand and brought it to his lips, pressing a kiss to the back of it. “And had you not done it, I would have asked you to spend the night with me before you had a chance to leave the reception.”
There was no way he would have let an opportunity like this pass him by. Because women like Holly didn’t cross his path every day.