It really sucks to be in love with someone who sees you as nothing more than a friend. Darcy Owens knows this from personal experience. From the moment she met Sean McKenna as a wary ten-year-old, he’s owned her heart. So when he asks for her help with an important construction project, she can’t say no.
Building a boutique hotel on Boston’s waterfront is a career-making opportunity, and Sean needs Darcy’s interior design expertise. She’s incredibly talented, and there is no one he trusts more. He knows he can always count on his childhood friend, but doesn’t know why he’s thinking about her tight skirts and blue eyes instead of tight deadlines and blueprints.
When Sean and Darcy’s excitement about their work turns into an entirely different kind of excitement, it’s a sexy surprise. But they soon realize that building a new relationship is more challenging than building a new hotel, especially when life-long habits and old insecurities create cracks in the foundation.
Sean had never noticed the cobweb in the corner of his living room before. The thin and delicate web shifted slightly as the evening breeze wafted in from the open window.
Back and forth it moved. Back and forth.
He looked down at his watch for the thousandth time. Half past eight. They were supposed to meet Ewan and Quinn a half hour ago.
“Darcy! What’s the holdup?” he yelled. “Did you fall asleep up there or something?”
He heard some rustling and drawers shutting before she yelled back, “I’m almost done!”
With a sigh, he let his head fall back against the chair. Women were notorious for taking forever to get ready. He’d dated a couple of women who would take forever to put on the finishing touches while he waited in their foyers or living rooms. He just never figured Darcy would be that type of woman.
Not that he minded. Not much about her bothered him, except when she made him all hot and bothered. But then again, he didn’t mind that either.
He’d gotten the impression earlier she was a little nervous about tonight. She’d asked a million questions about where they were going and who would be there. He didn’t know why she was nervous. They were meeting Ewan, Quinn, and some others who they’d been out with a million times since they were old enough to get into bars without fake IDs.
Whatever Darcy’s hang-up was, it was cutting into their night. They had to stay at the bar for a socially acceptable amount of time before they excused themselves so they could hurry home to the confines of his bedroom, where he planned to do all sorts of naughty things.
It had been two weeks since London, and he couldn’t get enough of her. She was to Sean what catnip was to cats.
Darcy was Sean-nip.
He twisted his lips at the clever quip and let his mind wander back to last weekend. He’d driven down to Providence the moment he had left the office on Friday. They hadn’t left her apartment until Sunday night to go to dinner. He’d driven back to Boston afterward and floated on some sort of sex high the rest of the week.
The moment she’d walked into his townhouse last night, he hadn’t even bothered with the polite “Hey there” or the casual “So, how was your drive?” He’d lifted her up by the waist and kissed her all the way out of the kitchen, up the stairs, down the hall, and into his bedroom. He hadn’t even cared that his roommates were home and saw the whole show.
He flexed his fingers against the upholstery on the armchair. Sex had never been this exciting. Sure, he’d looked forward to it before.
But being with Darcy was like walking around with a set of blue balls all the time. He ached at the thought of her smooth skin. He constantly thought about getting inside her, and then when he finally got there, he never wanted to leave. She was becoming less inhibited—more confident—and the sex just kept getting better.
Over the last two weeks, he’d wondered why that was. Why was she so irresistible to him when other women were so forgettable? Why did he find himself thinking of her all day long when he should have his mind on work?
If he and Darcy had started a relationship years ago, would it have been this good? Was Darcy some untapped sex siren who would have rocked some other guy’s world if he hadn’t gotten to her first?
Whenever such questions would arise, he’d dismiss them as quickly as he could. His mother always told him he was like an ostrich. Instead of facing issues or tough questions or challenges, he’d stick his head in the sand and wait until they’d passed him by.
He didn’t necessarily agree with his mother’s assessment. In fact, when it came to his mother’s advice, he usually let it go in one ear and out the other. She’d have him married with a whole brood of kids by now. That was definitely something he wasn’t ready for. At least at this point in his life. Maybe someday in the future. Way in the future.
He wasn’t running away from tough questions, he just didn’t think it was worth his time and effort to worry over something that wasn’t going to affect anything in the present or future.
Why ponder such things? They were together now, exploring each other and this thing they had going on. Why sit and think about the past when she was upstairs in his bedroom at this moment getting dressed in what he hoped included some hot lingerie?
He felt himself hardening and cursed. Maybe they should just skip the bar altogether. Tell everyone that he’d come down with a case of dengue fever or some shit like that.
He heard another drawer slam upstairs.
“Seriously!” he exclaimed. “You must be sleeping ’cause I have no idea why else it’s taking you so long. I know I wore you out last night and all, but you drank all of your girlie latte plus half of my man coffee this afternoon. You can’t possibly be tired with all that caffeine.”
A laugh floated down the stairs. “I’m not sleeping, I’m getting ready! And stop flattering yourself, Sean. If anyone wore anyone out last night, it was me.”
“Woman, please. I’ve been taking it easy on you since you’re just past virginal.”
Another laugh from upstairs. “What’s the next step then?”
Sean stood up and went to the bottom of the steps. “See, that just goes to show how not ready you are. You don’t even know what the next step is.”
He heard a zipper, then a light switch turned off. “Please, Mr. Sex Guru. Enlighten me.”
Sean leaned against the wall. “I can’t. It’s against guru policy to divulge the secrets of the next level of sexual satisfaction if you’re not ready. You gotta pass the test first.”
He heard footsteps and looked up to see Darcy finally coming downstairs. She wore a long-sleeved green dress and nude high heels. His eyes moved from the roundness of her breasts hidden underneath the dress down over her shapely hips and her exposed legs. She looked good enough to eat.
Darcy stopped on the last step, and her warm, familiar minty scent surrounded him. “What kind of test is it? Multiple choice? Short essay?”
He reached for her and pulled her snug against him, loving the way her breath hitched when he squeezed her ass.
Sean smiled before answering, “It’s an oral exam.”
Jamie Hollins was born and raised in rural Northeast Ohio. After graduate school, she embarked on a perilous career in Human Resources where she met plenty of real life characters. When she’s not writing or chasing after her toddler, she enjoys reading and golfing. Jamie lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and their dog, Winston.