Sometimes bad isn’t good enough…
On the outside, Lyle Tarpin is a clean-cut Hollywood actor whose star is on the rise. Inside, he’s battling his own demons, shunning relationships and finding solace in the arms of a string of anonymous women paid very well for their discretion.
But when he’s photographed in a compromising position by an over-eager reporter, the only way to save his career is to say that the woman he was with is his fiancée. And now Lyle has to play a very public game with the only woman who’s ever managed to get under his skin.
Struggling waitress Sugar Laine agrees to spend one night with Lyle—but only because she’s desperate to save her family home. She never expects that a night of passion will turn into a pretend engagement … or that the heat between them will blossom into love.
But sometimes love has a price.
And now the only question is—can Lyle and Sugar afford to pay it?ADD TO GOODREADS
My blood pounds through my body, my heart beating so hard that I can feel the pressure not only against my ribs, but against the wall behind me. My lips are parted, my breath coming in shaky gasps. He’s only inches away, so close I could reach out and touch that famous, gorgeous face. His eyes, as deep and blue as the summer sky, roam over me. He eases closer, moving slowly, his face reflecting a hunger that sends shivers through me. Once again, my mind conjures the image of a hungry wolf. Only now I’m thinking that maybe getting eaten wouldn’t be so bad after all. Besides, I’m here. Might as well enjoy it. Then, of course, I remember exactly what it is. Oh, God. His fingertip brushes my forehead, and I almost jump out of my skin. I meet his eyes, see something that looks like irritation, and want to kick myself. I need to focus, dammit. “You were somewhere else.” He speaks flatly, as if he’s working to keep all emotion out. I shake my head, conjuring a lie. “I’m right here.” And then, because I’ve seen movies with call girls, I put my hand flat on his chest, trying to seem seductive. He’s wearing a gray T-shirt, and I can feel his heart beating beneath the planes of his muscled chest. I read somewhere that he was getting in shape to play a superhero in an upcoming movie. And kudos to whoever’s orchestrating that transformation, because this guy is rock solid. He’s still looking at me, and I fist my hand in the material of his shirt, needing an anchor against the storm of emotion I see playing out on his face. Desire. Hunger. Longing. Regret. And pain. I see so much damn pain that I have to fight the urge to cup my palm against his cheek and tell him that whatever it is, it’s going to be okay. Instead, I simply whisper, “Lyle?” I’m not sure if it was the wrong thing or the right thing to say, but I know that it was unexpected. And before I can apologize or cover or say anything else at all, he is on me. One hand at my throat, the other hard on my breast. I’m pinned against the wall, helpless, as he claims my mouth again. Wildly. Brutally. I try to think what I’m supposed to do—try to respond. But I’m trapped. I’m not Sugar. I’m not Laine. I’m not anyone. This isn’t about sex. It’s about pain and need and that storm of horrors I saw on his face. I might as well not even be here. And as his hand squeezes tight on my breast—as his mouth clashes so hard against mine that he draws blood—my only thought is that I shouldn’t have come at all. That this was stupid. Foolish. And that this night is going to leave me scarred. I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to be what he wants. A warm body. An anonymous female. But I can’t do it. I can’t do it at all. All I can be is me. A woman desperate enough to have sex for money. A girl trying anything and everything to save her house. To protect her family’s memory. I can be that girl. But I can’t be nothing. I can’t be no one. And as his hand tightens in my hair—as he kisses me violently—as his body presses hard against mine and I feel the steel of his erection—I know that I’ve made a terrible, horrible, awful mistake. Stop!