First in the Men With Tools series.Rye Coleman falls in lust with Alaina May the first time she walks into the office of his construction firm. During the tour of the old house that she wants to renovate, that lust takes over when Alaina falls on a broken step, right into his arms. Sex is hard and fast, and he imagines a lot more of it-until she tells him she's the sister of the woman who humiliated him in front of the entire town three years ago.Rye accepts the remodeling job, but refuses to have anything personal to do with Alaina. He can't be sure she won't treat him like her sister did. But Alaina is determined to convince Rye she's nothing like her sister. A picnic meant to thank him for his hard work turns into the first of many nights of lovemaking.A murder from seventy-five years ago, a ghost in the old house and a modern-day man determined to stop the remodeling threaten the blossoming love between Rye and Alaina.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Scandal and Sin by Lynn LaFleur
Still chuckling, Rye watched his brother stroll to the door. Dax turned the knob at the same time as a woman's face appeared in the glass pane. He opened the door and stepped back so she could enter. She looked surprised, as if she hadn't expected anyone to be on the other side.
"Excuse me," she said in a soft, lilting voice.
"No problem. You can run into me any time."
Rye recognized the interest in Dax's eyes from across the office. Rye didn't interfere with his brother's love life, except when it came to business. He didn't approve of Dax coming on to a potential customer. "Dax," he said in his "big brother" voice.
"Yeah. Right." He shrugged one shoulder and grinned again at his brother. "You can't blame a guy for trying." He waved at Rye. "Later."
Rye slowly stood and stared at the woman who had entered his office. An oval face, big brown eyes, high cheekbones, and full lips combined to make her stunning. Wavy auburn hair fell past her shoulders to curl over full breasts. She wore a plain brown T-shirt and jeans that gently hugged her generous curves.
His heart thudded in his chest, blood rushed toward his cock. It'd been a long time since he'd reacted so strongly to a woman.
You just reprimanded Dax for coming on to a customer. Business and pleasure don't mix.
She gazed at Rye, frowned, and looked back out the door's window. He assumed she was looking at Dax. People who met them for the first time often thought they were seeing double. It was even more interesting when Griff was with them.
"My brother," he said, adjusting his fly while her attention was focused on Dax.
"Apparently." She turned back to him. "The resemblance is amazing."
"We're two of triplets. Our other brother looks just like us."
Rye doubted if she'd come in here to talk about him and his brothers. Finding out what she needed would also help him get his mind off his burgeoning hard-on and back to business. "How can I help you, Ms...."
"May. Alaina May." She approached the desk and held out her hand for him to shake. "I'm looking for Mr. Coleman."
Alaina. Not exactly a common name. A vague memory flashed through his mind of a girl named Alaina, but he couldn't associate a face with the name.
Rye jerked himself back to the present. "You found him." He took her hand. It was soft and warm, with medium-length fingernails painted a pale coral. He had the strongest urge to raise her hand to his lips and kiss the back. "Rye Coleman at your service."
She blinked. "You can't be Mr. Coleman."
Rye raised his eyebrows. He almost laughed at the shock in her wide brown eyes. "Why can't I?"
"You're too young."
"Should I be flattered or insulted?"
She released his hand and curled her fingers into her palm. She'd been as affected by their hands touching as he had. "You own Coleman Construction?"
"Yes, along with my brothers."
"I assumed you'd be older. Your reputation is outstanding."
Rye tipped his head. "Thank you." He motioned toward the chair Dax had recently used. "Please, sit down."
She did, crossing her legs and tossing her hair over one shoulder. He recognized the get-down-to-business look in her eyes. Rye returned to his chair and waited for her to speak.
"I want to purchase a house here in Lanville. I'd like to get your opinion on refurbishing it."
"You're moving to Lanville?"
She nodded, her eyes sparkling with excitement. "I'm going to turn the house into a bed-and-breakfast."
Rye thought that was an excellent idea. The small town had two bed-and-breakfasts, but a lot of tourists passed through their area in the summer to visit the state park. The park was the largest in the area and drew hundreds of people, especially in the summer. Tourists often had to go to nearby towns to find a place to stay since the two B-and-Bs filled up fast. It would be much better for Lanville's economy to keep those tourists--and their money--in town.
"I know I have to check on zoning and all that legal stuff, but there's no reason to do any of that if the house can't be repaired."
"Where is the house?"
"On County Road 311."
Rye knew every road in the area because of his business. There was only one house on that road that wasn't occupied. "You aren't talking about Stevens House, are you?" Rye sat up straighter in his chair. That house was the last place in town he wanted to refurbish. If it were up to him, it would've been demolished years ago. "Ms. May, you don't want to buy that house."
The excitement in her eyes dimmed, to be replaced by confusion. "Why not?"
"It hasn't been lived in since..." He stopped and tried to remember so he could tell her how long it'd been vacant. "I'm not sure of the exact year, but it's been at least fifteen years. I don't know why it hasn't fallen down."
"It definitely hasn't fallen down. I looked at it this morning." She uncrossed her legs, leaned forward and gripped the edge of Rye's desk. "I can see so much potential there. It makes me think of the house in It's A Wonderful Life. Did you ever see that movie?"
"Only about two dozen times. It's one of my mom's favorite movies."
Alaina smiled. "Mine too. I'm a sucker for a romance."
Her smile suddenly faded. Straightening her shoulders, she sat back in her chair, once again all business. "Can it be refurbished, Mr. Coleman?"
"Rye, please. Yes, it can probably be refurbished, but I'll have to look at it to be sure."
"When can you do that?"
"Ms. May, have you contacted the owner about purchasing the house?"
"If you're Rye, I'm Alaina. I haven't talked to the owner yet. But that won't be a problem. I can be very persuasive."
Rye didn't doubt that. Self-confidence practically oozed from the young woman. However, he doubted if Alaina May had ever dealt with someone as unreasonable as the person who owned Stevens House.
For now, he'd go along with her and check out the house since it was so important to her. He looked at the large schedule on his desk that listed all his employees' names and where they were to work each day. He was supposed to have lunch with the sheriff at one o'clock, but that was pleasure, not business. Instead, he could grab a quick bite and meet Alaina at Stevens House in an hour.
He didn't want to step through the front door, but business came before his own bad feelings about that house. "How about one-thirty to look at the house?"
"One-thirty will be perfect." Her smile returned when she stood. "I'll see you then."
Rye admired the gentle swing of her denim-covered ass as she walked toward the door. Alaina May had a very nice body...one he wouldn't mind taking several hours to explore.
Some men liked a woman to be model thin. Rye preferred curves, and lots of them. He'd much rather hold onto a plump bottom than be jabbed with sharp bones when he made love with a woman. He especially loved large breasts...caressing them, sucking the nipples, sliding his cock between them.
Alaina May's body would give him a lot of pleasure in bed. Or on his desk. Or up against the wall.
Something about her seemed so familiar. He knew he'd never met her before today. He would've remembered that mane of auburn hair and those big brown eyes.
Whether he knew her or not didn't matter. Rye didn't mix business with pleasure. While he loved where he lived and couldn't imagine living anywhere else, there was a downside to a small town. Everyone knew everyone and loved to talk. Dax had no problem sleeping with the local women. Rye preferred to travel to other towns to find lovers. It made things less...messy.
The Coleman family had endured one scandal over seventy-five years ago, plus his own personal scandal three years ago. Rye wouldn't do anything that might cause embarrassment to his family for the third time.