Title: The Rock
Author: Jennifer Bernard
Genre: Contemporary Romance
As the owner of Rocky Peak’s favorite bar, easygoing Jake Rockwell is everyone’s rock and best friend. But now he needs serious help from the gorgeous and fierce investigator Olivia James—and it’s going to kill him to keep things strictly professional between them.
It’s been a long, hard-fought battle to go from naïve ex-trophy wife to respected private investigator, but Olivia has done it. She now offers her services only to women in need…but she’s made an exception for a friend. Which might possibly be the biggest mistake of her life, since Jake is as maddening as he is charming…and thoughtful…and insanely hot.
The closer they work together and the more Rockwell family secrets they expose, the harder it is for Olivia and Jake to resist their sizzling connection. But their burning almost-romance is about to go up in flames as they uncover the final revelation that could blow Jake’s world apart—forever.
Olivia went to the bathroom to take a shower. He drifted into a half-doze, happy that lying flat on his back seemed to give his arm some relief. A pleasant sense of well-being crept over him as the ache lessened. He’d be okay. He’d heal up fast.
And best of all, he was going to get more time to impress Olivia. He’d take his sweet time, get to know her, allow her to get to know him. Maybe he’d get to rescue someone from a fire in front of her. A puppy, say. A whole litter of puppies, carried on his back, while he strode bare-chested through a burning building. If she stayed long enough, he could show off his wood-chopping, his skiing, his winter survival skills. One of those ought to win him some points.
Granted, it might be hard to do those things without two functioning arms. Damn it.
He fudged that detail. This was a fantasy, after all. Once he’d spent some time gaining her admiration, he’d try another kiss. Cautiously, of course, because of her cagey attitude. But then, if he was lucky, chemistry would take over and she’d melt against him. He could practically feel her soft skin against his, the warmth of her naked body, still damp from her shower, as she straddled his hips—
Holy crap. He came to with a start—Jesus. This wasn’t a fantasy. This was freaking real. Olivia was on top of him. Naked. NAKED. This is not a drill. Or was it? Didn’t those painkillers potentially cause hallucinations?
He blinked hard, shaking his head to clear it.
Olivia was still there. And still spectacular. Wearing a Mona Lisa half-smile, a thin gold chain nestled between her breasts, and absolutely nothing else.
“Am I—” He didn’t even know how to finish that sentence. “What are you—did I—” Apparently none of his sentences were going to go anywhere helpful. “Hi.”
“Hi.” Her smile deepened, as if his confusion was amusing the hell out of her. “You seem to be wondering what I’m doing on your lap.”
“Yeah. That question did occur to me. Especially because you’re—” His gaze dropped down her body and yet another sentence died before it got anywhere. Her muscles were taut from all her boxing, but her breasts were soft and almost dainty, feminine counterpoints to her lean figure. Water droplets clung to her skin; he spotted one right next to her left nipple, like a gleaming beauty mark meant to draw his focus. Which, hell yes, worked like a charm.
“Not wearing any clothes,” she prompted.
“You seem a little out of it. I thought you ditched your painkillers. Should I—” She moved to get off him, but he clamped one hand—the one with the stitches, not the one in a cast—onto her thigh.
“No. You should stay right where you are. Who needs painkillers when there’s a goddess on my lap? I forgot the concept of pain even existed.”
Her smile returned. “Okay, good. But you have to promise me you’ll say something if it hurts.”
“If what hurts?” He still wasn’t entirely clear on what was happening. Did Olivia want to have sex? That seemed like the most likely explanation, but hadn’t she just lectured him in the car about men and independence?
Then again, she looked like a woman in control right now. Sexy and mouthwatering and exactly where she wanted to be.
“Here’s what I’m thinking,” she was saying. “We’re about to spend a lot of time together, and we have this sexy tension simmering between us.”
“Glad you noticed.”
“Of course I noticed. I’m not in the business of denying reality. So it occurred to me that the best way to deal with it is to defuse it.”
“Yes, get it out of the way.”
His eyebrows climbed up his forehead. “Get it out of the way by…getting it on?”
She laughed, which made her breasts stir, which made his cock surge. At least the painkillers hadn’t put a dent in his libido. “Yes, I guess that’s a good way to put it.”
Hadn’t she ever heard of the law of unintended consequences? In his experience, sex always changed things, for better or for worse. But you couldn’t predict how they would change. What if having sex increased their attraction to each other?
In fact, he had every intention of making sure that happened.
“Well, it’s an interesting approach and I have no problem with it,” he said mildly.
“That’s…uh…quite the ringing endorsement.” She wrinkled her nose, looking disgruntled.
“Well, you know, I was enjoying the sexual tension. Now you want to make it go away and I’m a little sad about that. But if that’s how you want it, I won’t fight you over it.”
“You won’t fight me over it?” Her eyes flared with a flash of deep blue. “Geez, this just gets more and more flattering. Oh, the passion…the romance…”
“Girl, if you want romance, I can provide romance.”
“No no, it’s okay,” she said quickly. “We’re not doing all that sappy stuff. Been there, got fooled by that. No thanks. We’re just keeping things real here. That’s all I want.”
“Got it. All right, in the spirit of keeping things real, may I say that you are stunningly beautiful and my cock is harder than my cast right now.”
About the author:
Jennifer Bernard is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. Her books have been called “an irresistible reading experience” full of “quick wit and sizzling love scenes.” A graduate of Harvard and former news promo producer, she left big city life in Los Angeles for true love in Alaska, where she now lives with her husband and stepdaughters. She still hasn’t adjusted to the cold, so most often she can be found cuddling with her laptop and a cup of tea. No stranger to book success, she also writes erotic novellas under a naughty secret name that she’s happy to share with the curious.a Rafflecopter giveaway