TEMPT, a scorching hot forbidden age-gap, small-town romance featuring a plus-sized heroine and her ex’s irresistible dad from USA Today Bestselling Author, Melanie Harlow, is now available!
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Nothing so wrong should ever feel so right…
You’ve heard the story about the wedding planner who falls for the groom?
Well, this is the one where she falls for his father.
And that groom? He’s my ex.
I didn’t realize who the gruff, gorgeous older man was the night he rescued me from a creep in a Manhattan hotel bar. All I knew was that a hot, bearded stranger with a protective streak showed up right when I needed a reminder that real gentlemen still exist.
(Although he left his manners behind after asking me up to his room.)
It was the hottest night of my life, but I never thought I’d see the former Navy SEAL again.
Imagine my surprise at the rehearsal dinner one week later, when my sexy one-night stand is introduced as the father of the groom. Even more surprising? That temptation we felt in New York was no fluke.
In public, we pretend there’s nothing between us.
In private, we can’t keep our hands off each other.
The situation is beyond complicated. Zach never even knew he’d fathered a child until recently, and he wants to earn his son’s trust and respect. As for me, I’m looking for a man who wants to start a family, and Zach has made it clear he’s not that man. He’s fifteen years older, newly divorced, and he lives across the country.
But no matter how many times we draw the line, we keep crossing it.
Nothing so wrong should ever feel so right.
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“…a heart-racing, high-heat, hard-fought forbidden love story…” ~Danielle, Red Cheeks Reads
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I was just lifting the glass to my lips when I noticed someone sitting around the curve of the bar to the left. He was broad through the chest and shoulders, wore a black dress shirt with the cuffs rolled up, and sat alone. His hair and beard were short and dark. Our eyes met and my body grew warm. His bone structure was beautiful—his face looked like it was chiseled from granite. He held my gaze for a moment then looked away, and I did as well, focusing on the first cold sips of my martini.
But in seconds, my eyes were drawn to him again, and I noticed the hand holding his glass—wide palm, long, solid fingers, thick wrist. I indulged in a brief and magnificent fantasy that involved those hands in my hair, his beard against my cheek, that brawny chest bare and warm above me. Was it hairy? I’d bet yes. He looked like a man’s man. My nipples tingled inside the bustier I wore beneath my dress.
Once more he caught me staring, and I realized too late that I was actually biting my lip.
The guy next to me whistled loudly and yelled at the bartender, “Hey! Can I get another round down here?”
The bartender, who was busy making other drinks, didn’t even look over. I didn’t blame him.
“The service is so shitty in this place,” he said. “You need a pair of tits to get any attention.” He glanced at my chest. “Yours are fantastic, by the way.”
Horrified, I picked up my glass and finished my drink in a couple swallows. I should have thrown it in his face, but it would have been a waste of a good martini. Setting the empty glass down, I reached into my bag for my credit card.
“Hey, don’t rush off.” The asshole leaned closer. He wore a white shirt and blue blazer, and he reeked of cologne. “We’re just getting to know each other.”
“Not interested,” I said, trying to catch the bartender’s eye so I could get my check and leave.
“Why not? I’m alone, you’re alone.” He covered my hand with his. That’s when I noticed he wore a wedding band.
I snatched my hand away and slid off my stool, putting it between us. “I’m not alone.”
“Oh no?” He laughed and glanced around. “Looks like it to me.”
I finally caught the bartender’s eye, and he came right over. “Can I get you something?”
“I’ll cash out,” I said quickly.
The bartender glanced at the asshole. “Everything okay?”
“Everything’s fine, I was just waiting for someone, but he couldn’t make it, so I—”
“Sorry I’m late.” A hand circled my wrist.
Startled, I spun around and saw a black shirt. Wide shoulders. Dark eyes.
The hot stranger and I exchanged a look of understanding before he leaned in and kissed my cheek. His beard was softer than I’d imagined.
“Forgive me?” His voice, by contrast, was deep and gravelly.
“Of—of course,” I stammered, my heart pounding. I couldn’t stop staring—the guy was gorgeous. A little older than I’d thought—there was silver in his hair and beard—but those dark eyes, that deep voice, and the possessive grip on my wrist? The whole package made my knees go weak.
He looked over my head at the bartender. “She’s with me.”
“Dude, she’s not with you,” argued the jerk in the blazer. “You were over there by yourself a minute ago. I saw you.”
Dropping my wrist, the stranger turned to him and growled, “You should go.”
The jerk slid off his barstool and put one palm up. “Listen, I don’t want any trouble. I just thought—”
“It’s fuckin’ obvious what you thought.” The stranger’s words were laced with fury, but he kept his volume low. Somehow it was even scarier than if he’d yelled. “Now get the fuck out of here, and don’t even look in her direction as you walk out, or you’ll be trying to do it with two broken legs.”
The jerk stood up taller, like he might be thinking of protesting, but he looked like a gerbil facing off against a Doberman. Then he adjusted his lapels and moved toward the exit without even glancing my way.
The stranger watched him go with hooded, hawklike eyes before looking down at me again. “You okay?”
“Yes.” But I was struggling to catch my breath.
“Can I bring you two another round?” the bartender asked.
The stranger looked at me. “Would you like another drink?”
I took a breath, willing myself to be brave. “Only if you’ll stay and have one with me.”
He hesitated, rubbing one hand along his jaw. “Okay. Sure.”
“Another martini for the lady and a Glenlivet on the rocks, coming right up,” said the bartender.
I perched on my barstool again, crossing my legs. “Thanks for coming to my rescue.”
“You’re welcome.” He sat down next to me. “I hope I didn’t insult you.”
“I didn’t mean to imply you couldn’t handle that jackass on your own.”
“Oh! Well, maybe I could have.” I laughed a little. “But I liked your way better.”
One side of his mouth twitched, setting off a thousand butterflies in my stomach.
“This round is on me,” I said as our drinks appeared.
He shook his head. “Not a chance.”
“But I’d like to repay you for standing up for me.”
“No payment necessary. Any gentleman would have done it.”
“Gentleman, huh?” I tilted my head and gave him a playful smile. I was a pretty good flirt when I wanted to be. “So you’re saying I’m safe with you?”
He didn’t answer right away, and I sat up a little taller in my seat. Slightly arched my back. But his eyes stayed put on mine. “You’re safe with me.”
What on earth was I going to do about that?
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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