Second in the Men With Tools series.Griff Coleman used to be the happiest man in the world, until a doped-up kid killed his wife in a bank robbery. Now he does his job during the day and spends the rest of the time alone.Emma Keeton, a five-foot-three package of energy, comes barreling into his life. They're thrown together when Griff is put in charge of building a restaurant where Emma will be chef. Emma oozes sex appeal, an appeal Griff finds irresistible.Emma has never been interested in anything long-term with a man. Her feelings change as she and Griff spend so many hours together. Sex with him is the best she's ever had, but soon only sex isn't enough. Griff has to let go of the past and accept her as part of his future. Only then will he heal and love her as much as she loves him.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Irresistible Sin by Lynn LaFleur
The light, floral fragrance drifted around him and crept into his nostrils.
Jana was here.
Griff Coleman's hands froze while connecting new wires in the kitchen ceiling of Stevens House. His heart began to pound, his lungs couldn't draw in enough oxygen. Logically he knew it wasn't possible for Jana to be here. His wife had been killed ten months ago by a doped-up kid in a failed bank robbery. Yet he still felt her presence, still woke up reaching for her every morning.
Still barely slept at night for wanting her in his arms.
Griff turned his head at the sound of feminine laughter. Alaina May--his brother Rye's girlfriend and the woman who'd bought this old Victorian to remodel into a bed-and-breakfast--entered the kitchen, followed by a petite woman with short, dark hair. The brunette must be the one wearing Jana's perfume.
He assumed she was one of Alaina's former housemates. Rye and Griff's other brother Dax had met both of the women who had shared a house with Alaina in Dallas, but Griff hadn't. He did his job every day, then went home alone and stayed there until he had to go to work again the next day. His routine hadn't varied in ten months. He knew of no reason for it to vary in the future.
The brunette's gaze swept the empty kitchen. Griff saw it as she did, now no more than a shell. Griff would finish all the light fixtures today, drywall would go up on the walls starting tomorrow, then flooring, then cabinets and appliances. The work would take several weeks, but by the first of November, Alaina would be able to start stocking the cabinets and pantry.
He watched as the brunette ran her fingertips over a bare wall. It reminded him of the way a woman would run her fingers over a man's skin.
It had been ten long months since he'd felt a woman's touch. Griff knew it would be even longer. He and Jana had been together since high school. He couldn't imagine being intimate with anyone but his wife.
"Oh, Lainy, it's wonderful."
Alaina laughed. "There's nothing here."
"I have a great imagination. I know exactly how it will look when it's finished." Her gaze shifted from Alaina to him on the stepladder. The smile remained on her face, now mixed with a light of appreciation in her eyes. "Hello."
Alaina looked from her friend to Griff and back again. "That's right. You haven't met Griff yet. Emma, this is Griff Coleman, Rye's brother. Griff, Emma Keeton, one of my best friends."
He nodded in greeting. "Hello."
"Hi," she said, her smile widening.
"Rye's brothers do a little of everything," Alaina said to Emma. "Griff is the company's electrician, Dax is the painter."
"You're much braver than I am." Emma shivered. "I'm terrified of electricity."
"It won't hurt you if you're careful."
"You stick to wires and fuses. I'll stay with my pots and pans."
Alaina looked up at Griff. "Emma will be my chef once the B-and-B opens. She currently works at a restaurant in Dallas."
Emma grinned. "I can hardly wait."
Her grin made her eyes sparkle. Griff's gaze passed over her body. She couldn't be more than five-foot-three and weigh around one-ten. For such a little thing, she had a lot of curves. Her tight jeans and cropped T-shirt revealed her shape perfectly.
Ashamed of himself for noticing her body, Griff quickly returned to connecting the wires hanging down from the ceiling. He had ceiling fans and lights to install in almost every room in the house. That didn't leave him time to stare at Alaina's friend.
"Come see my office." Alaina took Emma's arm and tugged her toward the room that had been created off the kitchen. "Rye took out part of the back hall and enlarged the old pantry. I have a cute little place in the corner."
Griff watched the two women walk across the kitchen. Emma let Alaina lead her, but she looked back at Griff over her shoulder. He held that gaze until the women disappeared and he could no longer see them.
"It's cozy, but I have plenty of room." Alaina gestured toward the built-in bookshelves along one wall. "Aren't these gorgeous? George does such a good job. I can hardly wait until he starts on the kitchen cabinets."
Emma nodded in the appropriate places while Alaina prattled on about her office. She was happy that her friend was so happy, yet her mind kept drifting back to the man in the kitchen on a ladder.
The too slim but very handsome, sexy man on a ladder.
Alaina had told her about Griff. What a tragedy for a man to lose his wife so young, especially since they had been happy, according to Alaina. Emma knew a lot of married couples who were together but she wouldn't describe as happy.
Emma jerked when Alaina waved a hand in front of her face. "What?"
"Where are you?"
"I'm right here."
"Did you hear anything I said?" Alaina asked, frowning.
"Yes. You said your bookshelves are gorgeous. I agree. You said you can hardly wait until George--whoever he is--starts on the kitchen cabinets."
Alaina crossed her arms beneath her breasts. "And?"
"What did I say after that?"
Emma hadn't a clue. Not wanting her friend to know she hadn't been listening, she tried to bluff her way out of it. "A bunch of stuff about your house. I want to know if you've ordered the kitchen appliances yet. You promised me I could help you pick them out."
"No, I haven't ordered them and you're changing the subject."
She could never fool Alaina, no matter how many times she tried. "Okay, okay. I was thinking about Griff. Satisfied?"
Alaina rolled her eyes. "Of course you were. He's a man and he's breathing, so naturally you were lusting after him."
"Well, yeah. But I was also thinking about him losing his wife. It's very sad she died so young."
"Yes, it is." Alaina leaned against the bookshelves, concern filling her eyes. "He's still grieving so much. He's been withdrawn ever since his wife was killed. Rye says Griff does his job, then goes home and spends every night alone in his house. He goes to Sunday dinner at his parents' house only because he doesn't want to hurt their feelings. He doesn't even smile anymore."
"Maybe he needs a little help to get back out in the world of the living."
"I'm not being mean or cruel, Lainy. I feel sorry for him, I really do. But he's still alive and he's absolutely yummy. A little thin, but my cooking can put the weight back on him in no time."
"You're determined to throw yourself at him, aren't you?"
Miffed that her friend would accuse her of being so tacky, Emma straightened her shoulders. "I do not throw myself at men. I simply let them know I'm available."
Chuckling, Alaina shook her head. "You're priceless, do you know that?"
"I do my best." She moved next to Alaina and leaned against the bookshelves. "So," she said, her voice lowered to barely a whisper, "do you think Griff is hung?"
"If he's anything like his older brother..." Alaina bobbled her eyebrows.
"No complaints about Rye's tool, huh?"
"Not about the size, and not about the way he uses it." Alaina fanned her face with one hand. "Whew!"
Emma playfully frowned while Alaina giggled. "You realize I hate that you're having more sex than I am."
"For a change."
Emma joined in the giggling, until the object of their discussion walked into the office. Rye looked from one woman to the other, a perplexed expression on his face. "I could hear y'all giggling from the kitchen. What's so funny?"
Emma looked at Alaina and they both burst into laughter. Rye crossed his arms over his chest. "When two women laugh like that, they must be talking about men."
"Not at all," Emma said. "We were discussing tools. Right, Alaina?"
"Sure you were." He focused his attention on Alaina. "George wants you to look at the samples he has for the library bookshelves."
Dax stuck his head around the doorjamb and looked at Alaina. "There you are. Come check out the paint colors and tell me which ones you like."
"All of a sudden, I'm the most popular girl in class. I'll be back in a bit, Em."
"Take your time."
Emma took a few steps forward so she could watch the two men's asses in those faded jeans as they walked away with Alaina. Very nice. There wasn't a thing wrong with those broad shoulders and strong legs either. Rye's hair brushed his shoulders and Dax's hung halfway down his back in a ponytail. While she thought the long hair sexy, she was just as happy when a man had short hair.
The triplets were drop-dead gorgeous. All three brothers could have any woman they wanted with simply a look from those deep brown eyes. Rye was definitely taken, but Dax wasn't. She hadn't been around him much, but he'd always flashed her a flirty smile or a wink. She had no doubt if she said, "Let's fuck", he'd say, "Where and when?" She also had no doubt that he would be amazing in bed.
Yet it was Griff who tugged at something inside her.
With his too-thin body and his sad eyes, he seemed like a lost soul...someone going through the motions of existing because he still lived and hadn't died with his wife. He needed someone to put the sparkle back into those amazing brown eyes and make him smile again.
Emma knew the perfect woman to do that. Smiles always spread over men's faces after they were with her.
She grinned. She would enjoy her new assignment very much.