What happens when a good girl asks a bad boy to help her break all the rules? Find out in this Dynasties: Beaumont Bay novel by Jessica Lemmon.
“Please show me how to break a few rules…”
Hallie Banks is done being “the good twin,” living in her superstar sister’s shadow. But what does she know about letting loose and having fun? She needs a teacher, and fortunately, gorgeous bachelor bad boy Gavin Sutherland is up for the job. Soon Hallie bursts out of her comfort zone and loses herself to Gavin's sizzling touch. But living on the edge always comes with a cost…and now the moment of reckoning is nine months away!
From Harlequin Desire: Luxury, scandal, desire—welcome to the lives of the American elite.
He leaned over her, his palms flat on her kitchen table. He looked good, but he smelled better. A hint of spice rolled off his neck, making her hungry for more than sushi.
“What is it you think you heard me say?”
Ha! What a lawyer-y question.
“I know what I heard.” She abandoned her lunch to fold her arms over her chest. “I can’t get a date. You said so yourself.”
“I asked if you had one.”
“You asked if I’d landed one.”
He nodded, letting her have that, but he didn’t seem happy about it. “I wasn’t implying you couldn’t.”
“I’m not incapable of being social,” she found herself defending. “I’d been social for hours by the time you said hello. You caught me at a bad time.”
He straightened and threw his arms out. “I didn’t say you were incapable of being social.”
“You said Hannah was the social butterfly, and I work all the time.” Her voice cracked, emotion causing her throat to tighten. She was trying not to sound weak or defensive, but it was hard when the guy she liked way too much thought she was an antisocial stick-in-the-mud.
Rather than lean this time, he pulled out a chair and scooted closer to her. She gazed into his fathomless gray-blue eyes and briefly imagined another scenario that would bring him this close—one where they weren’t arguing about her being a workaholic. One that would give her a taste of the lips she’d been longing for over the last year.
Dammit. Why hadn’t she corrected him at the party? Then he would have been polite and nice and she could have been spared his uninvited opinions.
“I was complimenting your work ethic,” he said. “Granted, I could have done a better job.”
His mouth slipped into a smirk and his voice came out more tender than before. “I was suggesting you deserved some time off, not accusing you of not knowing how to have fun.”
Well. That was sort of nice. But…
“You weren’t exactly trotting out the compliments.” She took a drink of her iced tea. A big enough gulp that she nearly choked when he continued.
“You want compliments? The truth is I have never been able to understand why you don’t bring a date. Look at you.” He did then, raking his eyes over her in a slow perusal that made her wiggle in her chair. “You’re damn gorgeous. And smart. Funny. Unique.”
“So unique you assumed I was Hannah when you saw me?” she clipped.
“Can I add smart-ass to the list?” He gave her a full-on grin, his eyes twinkling, and she suddenly regretted crossing his name out with permanent marker. Similarly, she couldn’t erase her memories of what he’d said last night.
“In my defense,” he continued, “I had second thoughts the moment I addressed you as Hannah. What was I supposed to do? Call you a liar? Or worse, compliment you on your smoking hot dress and ask you to dance?”
Oh, that would have been lovely.
“And then,” he said, his voice low and seductive, “when I gave in to the urge to run my fingers over those creamy, exposed shoulders…”
Hallie leaned closer, hooked on his every word. He’d thought her dress was smoking hot? And he’d wanted to dance with her? To touch her?
“Would you have come to my funeral?” he murmured.
She blinked. “What?”
“If you had actually been Hannah, Will would have murdered me.”
“You’re saying it’s my fault,” she grumbled, feeling regret tenfold.
“Partially. I’m sorry if I offended you. I recognize when someone needs a break, and you, Hallie, have earned one.” He took a deep breath before he continued. “I was raised in a family whose motto is work hard and work harder. I’ve resisted that with everything I am. Everyone has a breaking point, you know.”
“And you think I’m at a breaking point?”
“Not yet.” His smile was soft, his eyes locked on hers.
She was still in shock. She assumed he could take her or leave her and that she was alone in admiring him from afar. Now he was smirking and smiling and saying sexy things to her. It was too much to process over a tuna poke bowl.
“Forgive me?” He offered his hand and she regarded it dubiously. She didn’t recall ever shaking Gavin’s hand. Even when they’d first met. Overwhelmed by the need to touch him, she agreed without a second thought and slid her hand into his.
“There’s nothing to forgive.” She was going to add a thank-you for the compliments and a return apology for faking her identity, but the words frittered into the sizzling air between them.
His hand was larger than hers, his skin slightly tanned. He had long fingers and attractive knuckles. His grip was firm, yet gentle. And warm. So warm. His smile held, his eyelids sinking to half-mast.
“Hallie Banks. Golden eyes, dimples, able to lift one eyebrow without trying. Mistaking you for your sister isn’t something you’ll be able to accuse me of again.”
* * *
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Dynasties: Beaumont Bay
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