By night, he becomes a mysterious stranger devoted only to her pleasure...and discovers she's hiding a naughty little secret.
After divorcing her never-home husband, Lauren Southall plucked up her courage, dusted off her power suits, and returned to corporate life. Two years later, there's just one six-foot three, testosterone-packed problem: her ex-husband's good friend and her current boss, Noah Reeves. Lauren aches for him. No other man will do. But she can't possibly measure up to the silicone-packed professional cheerleaders he dates. So she hides her desire behind a professional persona and fantasizes.
For ten years, Noah Reeves has waited to make Lauren his. Once her divorce was final, he tracked down and hired the brilliant, dedicated woman. But when he's with her, it isn't spreadsheets and profit margins on his brain. Problem is, she's never seen him as anything but her ex-husband's pal. Now that she's finally a free woman and with him 40+ hours a week, well... he'd love to persuade her to throw in her nights and weekends.
Noah decides to romance her by day. By night, he becomes a mysterious stranger devoted only to her pleasure...and discovers she's hiding a naughty little secret of her own.
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August 28, 2006
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Excerpt from Naughty Little Secret by Shelley Bradley
When she opened her mouth to scream, he covered it and whispered into her ear, "I promised you naked skin and fantasies. Tonight. The whole night. Are you ready?"
Lauren froze, the unfamiliar whisper echoing in her ears. The pounding of her heart almost drowned the sound out. Almost...but she could still hear him breathing. Hard.
As he leaned against her, she could tell that his breathing wasn't the only thing hard.
Oh. My. God. The stranger was in her house. In her bed.
Suddenly, she was terrified. She tried to remember everything she'd ever read about serial killers and rapists. But she was blank, rushed by a dousing of cold panic.
Half his body lay over hers. Judging from the fact her feet tangled with his calves and his wide chest enveloped her in solid heat, he was built tall, at least six feet, and like a wall of iron. While he didn't exactly pin her to the mattress, he made moving a challenge. Well, him and the handcuffs encircling her wrists.
She wasn't going anywhere, and he was making sure she understood that without a single word.
Fresh fear zipped up her spine. Holy cow, Mr. Mysterious hadn't failed to show up after all.
Be careful what you wish for...
Yeah, Lauren wished she'd thought in detail about the fact a stranger had vowed to strip her down and fill her up, rather than focusing simply on how nice it was to be noticed and wanted. This stranger had sneaked into her house, and he didn't have a rousing game of checkers on his mind. Oh, God. Would she wind up a police statistic?
"I can't wait to be inside you, to make you mine."
His deep, husky voice penetrated her panic and scratched her senses. Adrenaline jolted her. She opened her mouth to scream...but his hand still covered it.
Something about his words tore at her mind. I can't wait to be inside you, to make you mine... His voice sounded both menacing and seductive. Did he mean those words to be a promise or a threat?
Fear and thrill clawed at her belly. She couldn't separate them. Her mind spun, her heart pounded, and an icy slide of dread shocked her bloodstream. With the erection he pressed against her thigh, he felt fully prepared to do exactly what he'd stated and had beyond adequate equipment with which to do it. Way beyond.
For a flash of a second, she struggled. She should have told Noah she needed extra security. Should have called the police. God, how had this man stolen into her house? Handcuffed her to her own bed? Yes, she wanted excitement, but not the kind that meant she and her funeral arrangements would be the talk of the five o'clock news.
"Shh. You're going to scream. Long and loud. But not out of fear. I won't hurt you," he promised. "Ever. Just pleasure you."
With one hand over her mouth, the stranger placed the other on her shoulder and skimmed her flesh just beneath the strap of her camisole. Instead of tearing into her, he stroked her, his touch torturously unhurried. Lauren held her breath as his fingers moved across her skin, closer and closer to her breast.
What would he do? How would he touch her? It seemed unlikely he'd just seduce her and not hurt her. On the other hand, did the average serial killer have lingerie delivered to his victim's office first? No.
That realization only confused her more. She'd love to believe this was just a seduction. But why would he go to this much trouble just to get her into bed? She was hardly movie star gorgeous.
For some reason, he had gone to great lengths to get her beneath him--and doing a damn fine job with his opportunity--as he traced the swell of her breast, toyed with the hint of cleavage above the camisole. She held in a gasp.
Against her better judgment, tingles erupted. Her nipples peaked. Pleasure bubbled inside her, scraping against fear to create a totally new sensation. Jagged. Intense. Parts south suddenly gushed with moisture.
Oh, God. She was out of her mind. Her stomach coiled with fear and she got wet when he touched her. What was the matter with her?
Ashamed, afraid, aroused, Lauren trembled as his fingertips traced ever-smaller circles around her nipples. What should she do? Fight this stranger who'd invaded her home and promised to do the same to her body? Yes!
But his gentle invasion, his touch, sent frissons of excitement dancing across her skin, sugary sensations that pushed past her resistance and roused the dormant woman inside her. God, would it be too wrong to give in to the heat building inside her and let him have his way?
Before she could answer her question, he plucked at the ties, gave a little yank, and the garment opened, fell away. Lauren couldn't see, but the cool air caressing her nipples told her he'd bared them to his gaze. They tightened again. She held her breath, hoping he wouldn't touch them.
Hoping he would.
"I've got to see this. See you."
At her side, he shifted, leaned away, dropping his hand from her mouth. Then she heard the little click of the small light on her nightstand. Though she could see nothing behind her blindfold, she knew a muted golden light now suffused the room.
He curled his fingers around her breast and swiped a thumb across one of the peaks, groaning low and long. Lauren swallowed, her heart racing like a rollercoaster on a downhill run. He did it again. She bit her lip to hold in a moan.
The bed dipped beneath his full weight again, and he continued his attention to her breast, squeezing, rolling the hard tip between his fingers. "Gorgeous. I've imagined..."
His strained whisper scraped at her composure, her resistance. He burned her. Was she so desperate to be touched that a stranger who'd broken into her house and fondled her could turn her on? In a word, yes.
"Who are you?" The shaking in her voice was unmistakable.
He transferred his attention to the other breast for a moment, plumping her flesh, stroking her nipple. Lauren's words died, forgotten, under an onslaught of sensation.
"Your breasts are gorgeous, rounder than they look in clothes."
"I sometimes wear a minimizer bra," she blurted.
"Don't. Ever again." His voice was like the lash of a whip. "You're too beautiful to hide."
Pleasure shot down her belly, centering...right where he'd need it if he intended to get inside her. And the way she felt now, she didn't think wetness was going to be a problem.
Was she insane? Was she actually contemplating having sex with a total stranger?
She couldn't. Shouldn't. It was crazy. Certifiable. Totally insane.
All true, yet...Lauren felt his exhalation brush her lips, like he hovered right above her. Like he was going to--
Before she could complete the thought, his mouth crashed over hers in a kiss that tore her breath--and every rational thought--away. Fear barely had time to flicker inside her before it was lost in the feel of his hot mouth sliding over hers, his strong hands tilting her head so he could find the perfect fit. He groaned deep from his chest.
Lauren gasped at the scalding shock of desire jolting her. And her stranger took advantage of her parted lips, stealing inside and thrusting deep. She tasted his hunger, his hot, wild demand. Pure desire went to her head faster than liquor.
The man could kiss. Make a woman feel utterly possessed with just his mouth.
He slid his hands beneath her in an urgent grip, pulling her under every hard, hot inch of him. Then those big hands grasped her thighs and pulled them apart. Lauren didn't even have the chance to draw a breath before he settled into the cradle of her thighs, as if he belonged there. Had every right to be there. With his muscled legs, he shoved her thighs wider.