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From USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow and David Romanov, comes an all new sexy and emotional MM standalone romance.
I wasn’t looking for Derek Wolfe.
I wasn’t looking for anybody. All I wanted was to start a new life in America. But when I found myself stranded here with no place to go, he came to my rescue, offering me a place to stay.
He’s smart, successful, and sexy as hell—I can barely sleep knowing he’s right down the hall. And when the chemistry between us explodes one night with fierce, fiery passion, it’s hard to deny there’s something real there.
But he does.
He says he was drunk. He says it was a one-time thing. He says he’s not into guys and what we did meant nothing.
He’s lying. Because it happened again, and again, and again. And it’s better every time.
I know we could be good together, and I want the chance to try, but I’m done hiding. If he’s not strong enough to admit the truth, I’ll have to be strong enough to walk away.
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Her name was Carolyn, and she was damn near perfect.
“Thank you very much for dinner,” she said as I pulled up in front of her house. “I had a great time tonight, as usual,”
Beautiful. Sweet. Intelligent. Twenty-nine years old. Divorced from her high school sweetheart, no children, but wanted them in the future. Taught college algebra. Loved to travel. Volunteered for UNICEF. Ran marathons.
“Me too.” I put the Range Rover in park. “Let me walk you to the door. Stay right there.”
We’d been on six dates—one coffee, two lunches, and three dinners—and I’d enjoyed every one of them. She was exactly the kind of woman I’d envisioned for myself. Nothing about her turned me off.
The problem? Nothing about her turned me on, either.
She unbuckled her seatbelt and waited for me to walk around and open the passenger door before getting out. I offered her a hand and she took it. “Thank you.”
You’re not trying hard enough.
Keeping her slender hand in mine, I shut the car door and escorted her up the front walk. The June night air was warm and balmy and smelled like orange blossoms. Everything about the evening whispered romance.
“Such a gentleman,” Carolyn teased. “It’s good to know that chivalry isn’t dead.”
“Not at all.” I liked the idea of chivalry, that a man could be governed by a code of conduct based on tradition, honor, and nobility despite being a warrior at heart. That he buried his propensity for violence or his darker urges in order to preserve social morality, or at least the appearance of it. I understood that.
We stepped onto her front porch and she turned to face me. “Would you like to come in for a drink?” Her eyes glittered in the dark as her body swayed closer to mine. “And maybe stop being such a gentleman?” She ran her hands up my chest.
I slid my arms around her waist and pulled her against me, lowering my mouth to hers, praying to feel something. Anything.
But I felt nothing. No quickening pulse, no rush of heat, no stirring in my blood. (Or my pants.)
Shyly, she slipped her tongue between my lips, and I met it with mine, opening wider to deepen the kiss.
Frustrated, I clutched the material of her shirt in one fist and grabbed a handful of her hair with the other, hoping some aggression and resistance was what I needed to get turned on. For me, sex was best when it was a little antagonistic. A little combative. A power play. And it had been so long…
“Ouch!” Carolyn cried.
Immediately I let go of her and stepped back. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Are you okay?”
“Yes. I’m fine.” She rubbed the back of her head and laughed nervously. “Don’t be sorry. I’m the one who said the thing about not being a gentleman. It just surprised me.” She softened her voice. “Could we maybe try again? Go a little easier this time?”
What’s the fucking point?
“I’m sorry, Carolyn. I’m a little out of it tonight. Another time?”
“Oh, okay. Sure.” She sounded let down, her eyes dropping to our feet. Then she looked up again. “Are we still on for tomorrow night?”
She beamed, clearly relieved. “Great. I’ll bring dessert. I’m excited to meet your friends.”
“They’re excited to meet you.”
Her smile widened. “Night.”
“Night.” Shoving my hands in my pockets, I watched her go in and shut the front door.
What the hell was my problem?
Twenty minutes later, I let myself into the beautiful three-bedroom brick house I’d purchased a few years ago when I’d been about to propose to my then-girlfriend. I thought we’d be married by now. I thought we’d have a family by now. I thought I’d feel complete by now.
None of it had happened.
I turned off all the lights and trudged upstairs, feeling every one of my thirty-six years. In my bathroom, I frowned at my reflection in the mirror, running a hand over my slightly scruffy jaw. Jesus, look at all the gray coming in. For a while, it had only been a couple of spots, but now I was solidly salt-and-pepper. At the temples, too. Was it normal to go gray at this age? And what the hell was with those lines between my eyebrows? Was that from frowning? I quickly relaxed my face, and they mostly disappeared. But not entirely.
Goddamn, I was getting old.
At least I was still in good shape. I slipped my coat off and hung it and my shirt in my closet, tossed my T-shirt into the laundry basket, then stood in front of the full-length mirror on the bathroom door, eyeing myself critically.
No paunch yet. No flab. No “handles” anywhere. My stomach was still hard and flat, my six-pack still lingered, my chest and arms were still muscular. I might not have all the sculpted lines and bulges I’d had ten years ago, but I worked hard to maintain my physique. I liked working out. It made me feel strong and powerful and in control of my body. I commanded it to do something, and it obeyed. Run those miles. Lift that weight. Punch that bag.