Happily ever after is part of the equation...but something's not adding up.
Investment analyst Lexi Watts has a social life, but thanks to her demanding job, no love life. After a twelve-hour day going toe-to-toe with her demanding boss, Dan Yeager, she barely has the energy to make her usual stop by her favorite pub for a pint and dinner. Except this night is different. Tonight, the firm's golden boy, Jack Brogan--a.k.a. the man of her dreams--is in the pub. Drunk, lonely and available.
After she takes him home and tucks him into bed, she finds herself joining him there more and more often. A dream come true, yet she can't quite put her finger on what's missing.
The pieces fall into place one night when she's a victim of a mugging. And it's not Jack who comes to her rescue, but Dan. Giving Lexi a surprising glimpse of the real man behind his volatile, irascible office persona.
And suddenly Lexi's once nonexistent love life has become complicated beyond belief...
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March 12, 2012
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Excerpt from An Unexpected Love by Claire Matthews
"My grandmother taught me to cook. She was a bit of a germaphobe. 'Wash your hands, you'll get a stomachache,' she'd say. That and 'Don't eat bananas after five o'clock.' Oh, and 'If your lips itch, it means you want to be kissed.'"
Dan stopped drying his hands on the dishtowel. "How do your lips feel?" He was right behind me. I turned around, expecting to see a teasing gleam in his eyes, but they weren't teasing. At all.
"They might be a little itchy," I whispered. He was so close. He smelled really, really good. I followed the nervous dip of his Adam's apple, then reached up and pressed my lips to his cheek.
"Lexi," he breathed.
He leaned forward and kissed my forehead. That wasn't what I meant.
He opened his mouth to speak, but words didn't come.
"What?" I prompted.
He looked at my lips.
"If I kiss you, I'll never stop."
I took a stuttering breath as he traced the curve of my jaw with his finger. His eyes were so dark--they went right through me. I reached for his hand and placed it on my cheek.
That touch, or something in my eyes, must have released whatever was left of his reticence, because suddenly I was in his arms, his embrace tight, his lips hot and demanding on mine. Our mouths opened at the same time, as if by agreement, and we wrestled each other with our tongues. His had a sharp, frantic taste, and it made me gasp with pleasure.
With his lips still on mine, he began to drag me from the kitchen. I reached blindly for the stove, twisting off the burner under the saucepan so I didn't torch the place.
"Hmph," he grunted against my mouth, congratulating me on my display of fire safety. We made it to the couch, and I shoved his shirt up, high on his chest. My hands explored the contours of his body, caressing the sexy spattering of dark curls, tiny Cs traveling down his stomach. He was trim and hard, his shoulders broad, hips narrow, as if he spent his days doing gymnastics instead of writing market analyses. He growled low in his throat as I scraped my nails across his ribcage.
As I moved closer to his waistband, he diverted me, pushing me down and kissing my cheeks and throat. Then he laced my fingers between his and plucked wet, soft kisses from my lips. There was no more crazed heat between us, just a slow, steady burn. And although part of me wanted to sit up and climb him like a jungle gym, the other, softer part never wanted this sweet embrace to end. We kissed for so long I lost track of time, and soon all that existed was Dan, enveloping me with his warm, gentle mouth. At some point I must have started to cry, because he finally stopped and caught a tear on the side of my face with his thumb.
"I'm not. Am I?" And then I let out a choked sob, answering my own question.
"I'm sorry," he said as he sat up. "I shouldn't have started this."
"No...Dan...I mean--Wait!" He stood up, and I could see him changing back to the real Dan, the one who treated me like an annoying little sister. But that wasn't the real Dan, was it? I could have sworn the real Dan just kissed me as if he could never get enough.
He moved toward the front door, his arms crossed over his chest. He spoke with his back to me. "Last week. You and I got into some kind of argument at the office. I behaved badly, and I knew you were upset. It's just...we sit there all day, talking and laughing, and when it's time for you to leave...I dread it, more than I should. So I pick fights." He paused for a moment. "After you left, I sat at my desk, trying to understand myself: I don't even try to charm her--and on occasion, I can be pretty goddamn charming. Instead, I just alienate her. Because I can't..." He shook his head.
"Why can't you?"
"Lexi, I'm your boss."
"So?" I wasn't being obtuse. There were more hook-ups at T&G than at a Match.com happy hour.
"So? It's inappropriate. And a great way for both of us to get fired." He still wasn't looking at me, but I knew it was more than our work situation that was holding him back.
I walked over and wrapped my arms around him from behind, my face buried in his back, between his shoulder blades. He was so warm. He lifted my hand from his chest and kissed my palm. "I'd better go. The alarm's installed. Please set it after I leave, okay?" His back was tense against my chest.