TEASE, an all new billionaire, fake engagement, small town romantic comedy from USA Today and #1 Amazon Bestselling Author, Melanie Harlow, is available now!
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I didn’t mean to say I was engaged to a hot billionaire–it just slipped out…
I didn’t mean to say I was engaged to a hot billionaire–it just slipped out.
In my defense, I’d had a really bad haircut, a really strong drink, and I was trying to save face in front of the Mean Girl at my high school reunion.
Lucky for me, I happen to know a hot billionaire. Hutton French and I have been friends forever, and even though big social gatherings are not his thing, I called him from the coat closet and begged him for a favor–show up and play my fake fiancé for the night.
Except that word of our engagement spreads like wildfire. Our families are ecstatic. We’re front page news. My little food blog is launched into the stratosphere.
Of course, I offer to set the record straight right away, but Hutton wants to give it a little time–the phony engagement will keep his matrimony-mad mother and every matchmaking granny in town off his back.
He even suggests I move in with him to make the ruse more real.
And we don’t stop there.
We practice kissing. Undressing each other. Saying things–and doing things–we’d never dare if we weren’t pretending. Because it’s all for show, right? We’re just role-playing. Hutton doesn’t want a real relationship, and I don’t want to get hurt. But the more time we spend faking it, the more I start to wonder.
Could Hutton French and I actually be right for each other, or is it all just one big tease?
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“Want something to drink? Whiskey or scotch?”
“No, thanks. Mostly I just want to take these heels off.”
“Leave them on.”
I was already bending down to unbuckle one ankle strap. I looked up and saw him standing there with his glass in his hand. “What?”
“Leave them on. And come over here.”
I straightened up and took one tiny step.
“On your hands and knees.”
My breath caught. I could feel his eyes on me. Instantly I understood what this was, and even though I was a little nervous, I wanted to play along. I wanted to please him this way.
The only problem was, I wasn’t entirely sure I could get to my knees in this tight dress. But I said a quick prayer and dropped to my knees on the carpet in one smooth motion. Thankfully, the dress material had some stretch, and the seams didn’t pop.
“Good girl,” he said quietly, igniting a firestorm in my blood that surprised me. “Now come here.”
My heart thrummed fast and loud as I lowered my palms to the floor and slowly closed the distance between us. I’d never done anything like this in my life—who am I right now?—but I liked the way it made me feel.
Tempting. Seductive. Alluring. I’d never thought of myself that way before, but here and now, in this tight little black dress with the red satin heels, crawling toward a gorgeous, powerful man in a suit in our Manhattan hotel suite? My billionaire fake fiancé? It was easy to imagine I wasn’t myself at all.
When I reached his feet, I sat back on my heels and looked up. Our eyes met. His lean, muscular silhouette looked imposing above me. Even that rebel lock of hair had been tamed into submission tonight.
He took another sip of his drink and set the glass on the table. Pulled the chair at the head of the table aside. Loosened the knot in his tie. “Are you okay?”
“If there’s a point tonight where you are not, you should tell me.” He slipped the tie from his collar.
I swallowed hard. “Like a safe word?”
His mouth hooked up on one side. His hand freed the top button of his shirt. “You already have a safe word?”
“No,” I said quickly. “I’ve never needed one before.”
“You do now.” He undid a second button. “So what will it be?”
Of course, I couldn’t fucking think of anything, and I panicked.
“Roy Kent,” I blurted.
He cocked his head, his hand still on his shirt. “Who’s Roy Kent?”
“Never mind. I’ll think of another one.”
Do not say Oklahoma.
Do not say bumblebee.
I racked my brain for something else. “Romeo,” I said breathlessly. “That’s what I’ll say. Romeo.”
He set his tie on the table and offered me a hand.
Placing my palm in his, I rose to my feet. “Is anything going to hurt?” I asked, picturing whips, chains, ball gags, metal cuffs and clamps, shiny rubber gloves.
“I don’t need to inflict pain to feel in control, if that’s what you’re asking.”
“Okay. Should I—”
But that was all I got out because he spun me around and clamped a hand over my mouth, pressing his body tight against my back.
About Melanie Harlow:
USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like Schitt’s Creek, Homeland, and Fleabag. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.
Melanie is the author of the CLOVERLEIGH FARMS series, the ONE & ONLY series, AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.
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