Eric Hamilton isn’t looking for love. Hell, he isn’t even looking for a girl. He has a five-year plan, and he’s one hundred percent focused on that. But then Shelby walks into his life, and suddenly, he can’t think about anything else. Unfortunately for him, she hates his guts, and wants nothing to do with him. But he’s a man who loves a challenge.
Shelby Jefferson can’t wait to get out of the city, and back to her country roots. She moved to Atlanta for a guy who promptly left her, and the last thing she wants is to fall for another man who might make her want to stay. But Eric is nothing if not persistent, and before long she’s inside his arms, in his bed, and she’s falling for him. Hard. But when history repeats itself, and she has to choose between a man and herself––again.
He patted his pockets and turned around to pick up his jacket. His muscles flexed under his shirt, something the fabric did nothing to hide. He wore a gray suit, and the pants hugged his rear. And when he turned around…sweet baby Jesus.
It hugged other things, too.
Things she’d been without for over two years now.
He faced her and froze. He stared at her again, taking in her red dress, and the heels she’d carefully put on earlier. She never wore heels. Or tight dresses. But tonight…
What was she doing?
This was a horrible idea.
“Christ, Shelby, you’re beautiful.” He ran his knuckles down her bare arm, leaving behind a tingling sensation that quickly turned into red-hot need. His nostrils flared, and he stepped closer, reading her reaction to him like an open book and clearly liking what he saw. “I want to kiss you. Right here. Right now.”
Her stomach tightened in response, and she pressed a hand to it as her breath quickened. It didn’t help. Nothing would. Nothing except…him. He seemed unaware of her internal struggle as he rested a hand on her lower back. His touch burned through the fabric, scorching her skin, and he stepped closer. His cologne teased her nose, and she breathed it in, swaying closer.
That was all it took.
He lowered his face, his mouth an inch from hers as he—
No. No, no, no, no.
“Can I have a second, please?” she blurted as she sidestepped him.
He frowned, letting go of her instantly, his forehead wrinkled with confusion. “Yes, of course.”
She bolted into the bathroom, closing the door and taking deep breaths. The room spun, and all she could think, all she could feel, was his hand on her, and her reaction to it.
This was a bad idea.
Yet, if she didn’t see this through, if she didn’t show him she was the wrong girl for him in the most obvious way possible, then he’d keep throwing those heated stares her way, like he had today in court, and he’d haunt her forever.
Eventually, if he kept staring at her like he was starving and she was his next meal, she’d give in and let him win gobble her up. She couldn’t let that happen.
This had to end tonight.
“Shelby?” he called out, knocking lightly on the door. “Look, if you changed your mind, we can just cancel the date and—”
She opened the door, meeting his eyes. “I didn’t change my mind. I just”—needed a second to breathe—“had to powder my nose again. My makeup was uneven.”
He eyed her suspiciously but stepped aside so she could come out. “If you’re sure. I’d never want you to think you had to go out with me. If you’re not interested, then I’ll go home. No harm done. I’ll leave you alone.”
But he wouldn’t. Not really.
She had to make him not want her anymore.
A fun read!
I really enjoyed both Eric and Shelby’s early relationship (she won’t give him the time of day, he’s determined to win her over like a gentleman instead of his usual manwh*rish persona) and their “friendship”–because man, can he pull out all the stops when he wants to, and even though Shelby really is pretty wowed by him (abs. And butt. And actually a nice guy in there somewhere) she still gives even better than she gets in their relationship. And though he’s never done it before, Eric does give a good grovel.
You gotta love a good grovel.
Which admittedly he wouldn’t have needed if he hadn’t turned into a total tool at about 80%–even though what seemed like it was going to be their black moment was caused by a non-communication issue (not my favorite plot device, but here it was fairly believable) was Eric content with that? Oh, no–he had to take it to the next level of WTFery and nearly lost me–but the aforementioned groveling saved him and the story.
Romancing the Bachelor is the second in the Hamilton Family series, but worked just fine as a standalone.
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.