“I adore Kristen Ashley’s books!”—Maya Banks, New York Times bestselling author
Love is the greatest gamble of all . . .
Nina Sheridan desperately needs a timeout vacation. With a fiancé who can’t even remember how she takes her coffee, Nina wants some distance to rethink her engagement. Flying halfway around the world from England to a mountain town in Colorado should do the trick. But when she finds a gorgeous man at her rental cabin, Nina’s cold, lonely adventure suddenly heats up.
The owner of the house, Holden “Max” Maxwell is surprised by the beautiful woman who turns up at his door. But when Nina becomes ill, Max spends days nursing her back to health. A private man with a broken heart, Max finds himself drawn to the strong-willed woman. Soon it becomes impossible for Nina and Max to deny their growing attraction to one another. Yet even as these two wounded lovebirds think about taking a chance on a relationship, a dangerous secret from Max’s past emerges-and threatens to end their love for good.
“I thought we were going to enjoy being alive, breathing and alone.” I reminded him.
“We’re not really doing that.”
“Let’s move onto that phase of the evening,” I suggested.
His fingers curled around my shoulder and gave me a squeeze.
“Good idea,” he murmured.
“Do you want a beer?”
“I can make some hot chocolate,” I offered.
“Thanks, but no.”
“Do you want anything?”
My stomach dipped and my body grew tense.
“There’s somethin’ I been wantin’ awhile.”
“Take my mind off things.”
My head came up and I repeated, “Max.”
His fingers slid into my hair again and his eyes focused on my mouth. “Be a good way to celebrate breathin’, bein’ alive, and bein’ alone.”
“Kiss me, Duchess.”
My hand went to his chest as his hand pressed my face closer to his.
“You’re being domineering again,” I informed him. I felt his mouth grin under mine and watched his eyes do it.
“Yeah, baby, fair warnin’, when we’re naked, you better get used to that.”
I gasped at his words. Then he kissed me.
It could have been the snow falling softly all around the A‑frame, the fire burning in its grate, the soft lighting under the cupboards in the kitchen, and just the lamp by the couch being lit making the house more cozy and romantic than ever.
It could have been what happened that day to Mindy, Brody, Max, and me and relief that we were all here, still able to walk, talk, breathe, kiss.
It could have been Max’s long fingers in my hair, his hard, warm body so close to mine, his mouth tasting vaguely of coffee and cake and strongly of Max.
It could have been that this was Max, and today he proved he was more Wonder Max than ever.
Or it could have been he was just a very good kisser.
But I melted into him and his kiss, tipping my head to the side, lifting my hands to his neck and sliding my fingers into his thick hair, touching my tongue to his.
He growled in my mouth and at the feel of it, the sound of it, my body responded to just how much I liked that noise coming from Max and the fact that it was me who made him make it, and I pressed into him.
His hand went from my waist, up my shirt, and I felt the rough pads of his fingers against the skin of my back.
My body liked that too.
I pressed closer.
Max twisted his torso to me, pushing me back into the chair, his hand coming to my front, running over my ribs, my midriff, and up to cup my breast.
“Yes,” I whispered against his lips when his warm hand closed over my soft flesh.
Then I kissed him, our tongues tangling, his thumb stroking my nipple. One of my hands went from his hair to tug up his shirt and it slid in, gliding along his hot skin and solid muscle.
His finger found his thumb and together they squeezed and rolled.
I felt this dance through my body, most specifically straight between my legs, and it felt so good, I liked it so much, I lost it. I pushed him back and followed him, moving up over him to straddle his hips as my hands went to his shirt, lifting it up. Max helped, his hands going from me to the back of his neck, where he tugged the shirt over his head, down his arms and he tossed it away.
It was my time, my chance, his magnificent chest was right there in front of me and I wanted to explore.
So I bent, my lips going to his neck, my hands going to his body. Both explored. Fingers, lips, tongue, teeth. I slid down, bowed my back to get to him, taste his skin, drift the tips of my fingers across the ridges of his belly, run the edges of my teeth against his nipple, the sound of him sucking in breath forcing a surge of wetness to strike between my legs.
His fingers curled into my shirt and up it went, forcing my torso up, my arms. Then it, too, was tossed away and Max’s hands came to my back, pressing in, forcing me to arch forward, pushing me up, and his lips fastened on my nipple over my bra.
“Max,” I breathed as the sensation of his mouth closing on me rocked through my body, my hands sliding into his hair, and his tongue flicked out.
Even over my bra this felt better than his fingers, way better. He had a very strong tongue.
“More,” I demanded on a whisper, my hips instinctively rolling against his hard crotch. His mouth went away but his hand pulled my bra down, his fingers curling around my breast and there it was, Max’s mouth direct on me.
I tipped my head down to watch and there was something so amazing about Max’s dark head close to my skin. His tanned hand holding my breast to his talented mouth. I couldn’t hold it back and I heard my moan as it escaped my lips.
His head tilted back, his face more beautiful suffused with want, especially his want of me , and he muttered, “Jesus, honey.”
“More,” I whispered again, and suddenly we were up, Max’s hands at my bottom. My legs went around his hips, my arms went around his shoulders, and he was striding to the stairs.
I couldn’t stop, didn’t have near enough of him. Maybe I could never get enough. But I was going to try. I bent my head and put my mouth to his neck, tasting it with my tongue, tugging his earlobe with my teeth.
Before I knew it, we were by the bed, Max bent at the hips, and the light went on.
“Drop your legs, Duchess,” he ordered, and I did as I was told.
I no sooner got my feet on the floor than the drawstring was pulled on my pajama bottoms and they pooled at my ankles and then I was up again, only to be partially placed, partially tossed on the bed.
I watched Max follow me down but he didn’t land on top of me. His hands slid up my inner thighs, spreading my legs, and then his mouth was on me, over my panties.
I heard the low, rough noise escape my throat as his mouth moved on me. Then he muttered, “Fuckin’ soaked,” before his fingers shoved the material of my panties aside and his mouth
was on me.
I bucked against his mouth and moaned, “Max.”
It was debatable whether his finger or his tongue was more gifted until his finger slid inside and his mouth covered my sweet spot and sucked deep. My whole body jolted at the sheer beauty of it and I knew a combination of the two was the best.
“Oh my God,” I breathed, because it was coming and it was going to be beyond anything I’d ever experienced.
Then Max’s finger slid away and his mouth moved up an inch and he kissed me over my panties.
My head shot up and I cried in protest, “Max!”
His hands went to my armpits and he hauled me up and twisted me in the bed until my head hit the pillows and he came down on top of me.
“You stopped!” I accused.
“We’re comin’ together this time, baby,” he said against my mouth, and then kissed me, his tongue sliding inside. This time I tasted me on Max and it was so appealing, me mingled with Max, I forgot to be angry that he left me hanging and I kissed him back.
He rolled to my side, his finger hooking in my underwear, tugging it down, and I pedaled my feet to kick them off. They no sooner left my ankles than Max’s arms came around me and he rolled to his back, taking me with him and I pulled up, straddling him, and my hands instantly went to his jeans. His hand went to the nightstand. I unbuttoned. He pulled open the drawer.
I slid down his thighs and bent low, touching my lips tothe flat, taut skin over the waistband at his fly as I kept unbuttoning.His hand came to my hair. I got the buttons undoneand yanked the jeans partly down his hips and saw my firstglimpse of the true meaning of Wonder Max.
He was beautiful all over.
My hand wrapped around him for half a happy second when I was pulled up, rolled over, and Max was on me.
“You keep stopping me in the middle of the good stuff,” I snapped, my hands sliding down his back, one going in his jeans and over his bottom and it was soft (his skin) and tight (his muscle) and I immediately decided I loved it.
Max ripped open a condom with his teeth before he grinned, his mouth came to mine, and he promised, “You’ll get the good stuff, Duchess.”
His hand was working between us but his mouth was now covering mine and he was kissing me again and then his hips were between my legs and, just as I was really getting into the kiss, I felt the muscles of his bottom bunch under my hand and he thrust into me.
The feel of him, so big, so glorious, surging into me, filling me, connecting me to him, made me break our kiss as my neck arched reflexively and I committed that moment to memory, burned it into my brain, knowing I’d never forget it as long as I lived.
My other hand went into his jeans, both my legs bent at the knees to give him deeper purchase, and I pressed them against his sides as Max pulled out and rammed back in.
“That’s beautiful,” I whispered the God’s honest truth.
“You’re absolutely fuckin’ right,” Max muttered his agreement, pulling out so I could only feel the tip and then slamming back in.
My fingers flexed, my legs squeezed, and my mouth begged, “More, darling.”
He gave me more. He gave me his mouth, his tongue, his right forearm in the bed beside me, his left hand fisted in my hair, and he thrust into me harder, faster.
It was back. It was coming. I was coming and he’d been right the day before—it was going to be so big, I was going to split straight out of my skin.
I panted, my hips rocking with his drives.
“I can feel it, Jesus, Nina, you’re ready,” Max groaned.
“Come for me, baby.”
“Okay,” I breathed, and did what I was told.
I closed my eyes and my head rolled back, my hips reared up, my hands went from his behind to become my arms wrapping him tight and I gasped as it tore through me, hard, long, and soul-destroyingly beautiful.
Max’s face was in my neck and I felt his growled release against my skin half a second after I felt him drive in deep and stay planted there.
After, neither of us moved for a while. Max stayed buried deep, his face in my neck and my arms stayed wrapped around him, my thighs pressed to his sides.
Finally, Max rolled to his back, his arms coming around me as he settled me, straddling him and still connected, on top.
“Yeah,” he murmured against my neck as his hand drifted along the skin of my back. “It’s fair to say we got chemistry.”
Be sure to pre-order the paperback coming May 27, 2014!