Hands On Training
Joey and Heath are stuck working together for a week in Florida. Not only will they be in each other’s presence more time than either of them would like, and when Heath’s old friend Grant shows up, things really get out of control. Too close for comfort, and too much temptation to resist, the three of them agree to a one-week affair. None of them wants entanglements, especially Joey who learned firsthand how to survive without help.
With each kiss, each touch, the three of them grow closer. By the time they return to Dallas, they aren’t ready to let go. Will the three of them be torn apart by fear, or will they risk their hearts to find happiness together?
Read an Excerpt
Joey couldn’t stand the man. She couldn’t stand the way he talked. She definitely hated the way he dressed. She loathed the way he always questioned her opinion. But nothing irritated her more than the fact she wanted him in bed, preferably beneath her.
She glanced out of the corner of her eye at the object of her thoughts, Heath Campbell. Even the quick look sent a shaft of heat spiraling through her veins, warming her blood. He wasn’t her type at all, but even just the thought of him would have her quivering with need. It made no sense she’d be attracted to him. Even now, he was irritating her and he wasn’t even conscious. From the moment they found their seats, he’d stretched out in the seat beside her on the plane and passed out within five minutes of taking off.
How he fit his six foot four inch frame into the coach class seat, let alone slept, she didn’t know. But, there he slept, as if he were floating on a cloud and he didn’t have a care in the world. It irritated her that he could just collapse as if he didn’t worry how the week would go. Of course, he didn’t care, as long as they got the job done. He wasn’t attracted to her…which just pissed her off even more. Joey wasn’t used to a man ignoring her, especially since she’d dreamed of him every night.
She wanted to wake him up, just so she could pick a fight with him. It would at least give her some satisfaction…although it would do nothing to ease the fine layer of sexual tension she’d been fighting since she’d met Heath. A full week in Florida working with him was going to suck, and not in a good way. When Liam had informed her she would be working her first on-site consulting job, she’d been so thrilled. Then, Liam dropped the bomb. Heath would be her trainer. The man who was convinced she didn’t have a brain in her head.
She looked at him again and sighed. She needed to have some sex, get the man off her mind. Finding a man usually wouldn’t be a problem. Joey knew she was attractive. Almost six feet tall with a head of curly blonde hair, and the legs of a Vegas showgirl made her irresistible to most men. She usually had her pick of dates. It was just the fate of good genes—thanks to her gorgeous mother. But, any man who had approached her in the last few months had left her cold, bored. They didn’t even give her a small spark of interest. Any time a man even showed a bit of interest in her, she couldn’t help but think what it would be like to have Heath to respond to her that way.
She couldn’t help the small sigh of aggravation. She had to be some kind of freak. Why would she fall for a man who had little to no respect for her? Freak. That had to be the reason. Oh, he was attractive. She glanced at him again. Very attractive. Okay, he was mouth-watering, hormone dancing, fantasy.
Heath wasn’t one of her pretty boys, as Marlow called Joey’s dates. Until Heath, Joey had been attracted to men who could easily grace the cover of any male magazine. She liked them lean like swimmers, and charming. Heath was neither of these. He was built like a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. For the first time, she’d felt tiny next to a man, and for good reason. Six foot four, chestnut brown hair and hazel eyes that changed with his moods, he was a big-boned man with a square jaw and a boorish personality. But every now and then, she would see him smile. Just a small curve of his lips, and she melted like ice cream on the pavement in July.
Joey frowned and looked out the window. At some point, she needed a man. Because if she didn’t get one, she really didn’t want to think of the consequences of going two months without sex and being cooped up with Heath. It had been hard enough not to lean over and take a big ol’ bite of him. It didn’t matter that she didn’t like them, or that they were completely wrong for each other. All that matter was that every night she dreamed about him touching her, undressing her, slipping inside her body…
Dammit, she had to stop. She rubbed her temples. They were all wrong for each other. And since Marlow had married Liam, Joey had started thinking about finding a man for more than a few laughs. Heath would not be that man, and she needed find a man she knew there might be at least a chance of something else.
The plane hit a bit of turbulence, rattling the glasses and disturbing most of the occupants. Not Heath. He shifted his weight, curling closer to her, and laid his head on her shoulder. Instantly, every nerve ending in her body went on alert, tingling with awareness as the scent of his bayberry cologne and his body heat wrapped around her. Her heartbeat increased. Oh, gawd, not good at all.
She shrugged her shoulder, trying to dislodge him. He snuggled closer and placed his hand on her tummy. Every hormone in her body jumped to attention. The muscles beneath his hand bunched and tightened. Heat curled in her stomach and then slid to between her legs. She shifted her legs and realized her panties were already damp with her arousal.
She drew in a shuddering breath and moved her shoulder again, but his hand skimmed up her body to cup her breast. His large palm caressed the underside of her breast, then his thumb grazed across the already hardened nipple. She licked her dry lips and took another deep breath.
His name came out in a breathless, husky whisper. He snored louder, his thumb still rubbing her nipple.
“Hmmm, you smell nice, baby.” His breath was hot against her neck. “Why don’t we just spend all day in bed?”
His lips brushed the sensitive skin just below her ear. She felt it all the way to her toes. So, not good. She wanted this, wanted to feel his rock hard body against hers. She needed space.
“Heathcliff Grayson Campbell, wake up this instant!”
Several of the passengers looked in their direction as heat crept up her neck and into her face. Heath slowly lifted his head away. Cool air replaced his body heat.
“What?” he asked, wiping the sleep from his eyes. “What the hell is the matter with you?”
She swallowed—hard, then cleared her throat. “You had your hand on my breast.”
He didn’t even look at her. “I did not,” he said while stretching.
“Yes, you did. And although I’m not opposed to most good looking men putting their hands on my breast, I do have a problem with my boss doing it.”
He grunted while he rolled his shoulders, but said nothing else. And that was just like him. Grunt, sigh, grunt. He never answered any challenge she threw at him.
Irritation inched along her spine. She crossed her arms over still aching breasts and looked out the window at the wing of the airplane. Her whole body tingled, yearned. She wanted more than just a feel up. She needed a full blown crazy night of sex that left her limp and worked Heath out of her system.
It was going to be a very long week.
Heath shifted in the tiny coach seat, trying to ease the ache in his balls. The action gave him no relief. Instead, the material rubbed against his erection and heightened his arousal. Damn. He could barely think straight, his thoughts still on how perfect her breast felt in his hand. Every drop of blood had slid from his head to his dick, once again making him look like a fool in front of Joey. The same woman who had slid into his dreams and kept him from having restful sleep for the past year.
That’s why he’d passed out the moment he sat down. His sleep had suffered for weeks, getting worse the more they had worked together. Damn Liam for ordering him on the trip. When his brother had said it was Heath’s job to give Joey the proper training, the image of her tied up while he made her come again and again, had left him at a loss of words. Images had bombarded him, her on his bed, bent over, and receiving a spanking. It had been so vivid he could imagine the tiny little gasp of pleasure each time the flat of his hand met the luscious flesh of her ass. By the time Heath had brought himself back to reality, Liam had been staring at him as if he'd lost his mind. He had...thanks to Ms Josephina Vernon.
He looked over at her and inwardly groaned. Men probably begged her to have sex. He wouldn't doubt she could easily have a different man every night. All that wave blonde hair, and those eyes. The woman had the eyes of aged whiskey. There were times he would lose his train of thought when she focused her attention on him. That hadn't happened since he'd been in middle school. Another thing was her height. He looked down on most women because of his height, but with Joey, he was almost eye to eye, especially when she wore one her pairs of fuck me heels. He knew she worked out, but most of what appealed to him wasn't that she was athletic. There was something so warm and welcoming about her, all those curves, that great intoxicating laugh...except for him. Whenever she looked at him, it was if she had just sucked a lemon. And that of course made him crazy.
He scrubbed his hand over his face, trying to pull himself out his thoughts. Instead, he could still smell her there. Soft, musky, sensual. The dream he'd been having came back full force, her soft breast beneath his palm, the taste of her flesh on his lips....
His pants drew tighter over his erection as another rush of blood shot straight to his cock. Damn. He shifted, his size twelves bumping into her feet. She sighed, rolled her eyes, and shifted her feet over. That smart-ass attitude should piss him off, but all it did was turn him on even more. He liked a sub with a little fire, and he was sure Joey would make the best of subs in that area. She was the kind of woman who was used to getting her way, calling all the shots. He could only imagine the pleasure of bringing her under his control, making her understand what pleasure she could gain from giving him that control.
He had to do something, say something to get past the embarrassing situation.
She didn't look at him and nodded--once. Apparently, that wasn't going to go far.
"I wasn't thinking about you."
Everything about her stilled, which really gained his attention. The woman was usually in constant motion so it was odd to see her that way. Slowly, she turned to face him a look of irritation and something that he would normally said would be hurt flashing in her eyes. But as soon as he saw it, it disappeared. She quickly turned away and resumed her watch out the window, which couldn't be that interesting. It was dark out, but now, he didn't know what to say. They just needed to move past this, and apparently talking about it wasn't working so he decided to change the subject.
Every day was a trial of control. The woman got under his skin, itching, and scratching, and drove him nuts. By the end of the day, he was amazed he could function because any time he spent in her presence meant he had no blood in his brain.
“Have they served dinner yet?” he asked.
She shook her head but said nothing. Crap, now he had offended her in some way. Okay, maybe putting his hand on her breast and saying that he was thinking of someone else wasn't the smartest thing, but now it was too late. He'd just make himself look like a fool. This was going to be a shit job he just knew it. Every day he'd have to work in tandem with her, teaching her how to work at an onsite consulting job. And there was a pool...so he was sure she'd be using her. Hell, he'd heard Marlow and Joey talking about it yesterday, and just the thought of a few pieces of spandex barely covering her...shit.
And, to prove just how insane he was, he'd packed his own trunks knowing she was planning to go to the pool.
He was a masochist, no doubt about it.
The sultry Florida air slapped Joey the moment she stepped out of the Ft. Myers airport. She squinted at the bright sunlight and dug out her sunglasses. The damp heat curled around her, robbing her of breath. Great. Her hair would be huge by the time they reached the rental car. It was bad enough in the spring in Texas, this week it would take all her expertise not to have the typical big Texas hair.
“We have about a two hour trip to La Boca Vista,” Heath said, without looking behind him. The man was walking around as if the heat didn’t bother him one bit. And it probably didn’t, because he wasn’t human. That might explain the way he was. He was some kind of alien dropped into the Campbell family and they had adopted him.
“So, it’s out in the boonies?”
They’d reached the car, a very boring sedan--probably his choice--and he punched the button to pop the trunk. He picked up his suitcase and then took hers from her. “If you mean it isn’t in the middle of a huge city, then no. It is sort of out of the way. One of its charms, and one of the things we need to discuss with the owners.”
He didn't rise to the bait. What good was it trying to fight with someone when they just ignored you? “Can we pick up something to eat?”
He stopped and looked at her across the top of the car. His hazel eyes narrowed and he frowned. And, idiot that she was, she felt a roll of heat that had nothing to do with the temperature tumble through her. God, her whole body was tingling. When he looked annoyed with her, it turned her on. Hell, who was she fooling? All he had to do was stand there and she wanted to jump his bones.
“We just ate.”
“That was almost an hour ago. And I need something to drink.” She waved a hand in front of her face. “I can’t take this heat here.”
“Aww, Ms. Vernon, I was certain this was right up your alley.”
The tone of his voice irritated the hell out of her every time he used it; sarcastic with just an edge of condemnation to it and a small dose of flirtation. He always seemed to know just which buttons to push to piss her off. She didn't know how he did, because he didn't know her that well at all. But, every time he did irritate her, there was another facet to it. He looked down on her. And why the fact he didn’t accept her, for whatever reason, mattered to her, she didn’t know. It was damn aggravating to know for the first time in years, a man’s opinion was important. It just wasn't something she was equipped to handle, especially out in the jungle heat of south Florida.
Without another word, she opened the door and slid onto the car seat. The heat outside of the car had been bad, this could kill her.
"Do you need me to read the map?” she asked, knowing full well he would never accept her help.
“No. The car has gps, so we should be fine.”
He pulled off his suit jacket. As he stretched, his white shirt tightened, clearly defining his chest muscles. Damn, he was big. She licked her lips thinking of running her hand across his chest, and then down past his abs…
Dammit, there she went again. She hurried and sat in the car, trying to ignore her hormones popping all over the place. She drew in a deep breath and tried to get her body under control. That did not one bit of good. The scent of his cologne intensified in the heat inside the car. The heat sliding through her balled up in her stomach and then sank lower to between her legs. She shifted in her seat, trying to ease the tension. Her panties rubbed against her clit and she bit back a groan. She wanted him now, needed him now. She couldn't imagine that she would be able to get him to do anything in the car, he was so big. But, knowing Heath, he would definitely figure out a way to make it work. Just the thought sent a shiver through her body. Her nipples tightened painfully against the lace in her bra. She curled her fingers into the palm of her hand in order to resist brushing over her nipples to reduce some of the need coursing through her.
Lord, this was going to be one long trip.
When they were finally on the road, she settled back in her seat and closed her eyes. The overly cool air of the car’s AC washed over her heated skin and she shivered. If she could sleep for a bit, maybe she wouldn’t be so cranky.
Heath pulled over to the side of the road to look at the map again. The GPS had cut out on him about an hour ago, he was assuming because of the approaching storm. It was late, already getting dark, and he had no freaking idea where they were.
As he unfolded the map, Joey shifted in her seat. She’d been asleep from the moment he’d hit the road and she hadn’t moved much at all. Apparently, the stopping of the car did pull her out of slumber. As she woke, she stretched her arms over her head and hummed. The sound of it sank into his bones, and sent a vibration up his spine. Her breasts pressed against the fabric of her blouse, her hardened nipples clearly outlined. Instantly, the blood rushed to his groin. The sudden pressure caused him to tighten his hands on the map and he almost tore it in two.
“Where are we?” Her voice was husky from sleep. He swallowed. Damn, he wanted to here that voice in the morning as she woke beside him. He was pretty sure that Joey would be fun to wake up in bed next to.
He cleared his throat. “Not sure. I followed the directions, but we seem to be in the middle of nowhere.”
She rubbed her eyes, and then looked around. “Wow, you ain’t kidding.”
Heath grimaced. The two-lane highway was deserted. Pine trees and brush lined both sides. The clouds blocked out much of the moonlight. It cast the scene with an eerie quality. Of course, from the sound of thunder, they should be in the middle of a downpour at any moment.
He studied the map and realized he’d followed the directions correctly. He had a sinking feeling about this assignment. It started the day Liam told him Joey was coming with him on the trip.
Refolding the map, he said, “Well, it seems I was following directions just fine. The owner said they were sort of secluded.”
One perfectly sculpted eyebrow rose but she didn’t say anything. He knew what she was thinking, because the same thoughts were going through his head. This was not looking like the best of assignments. Liam had handled all the preliminary meetings except the last one. Heath had the data, but he seriously hadn’t expected the trip there to resemble a scene out of Deliverance.
He pulled back up on the highway and continued down the road. Fifteen minutes later, the heavens opened up and a torrent of rain hit them. Even with the wipers on high, he could barely keep the rain off the windshield. The lightening grew in frequency while hail bounced off the hood of the car.
“You know, I’m not the most optimistic person, that’s Marlow’s job, but this is not looking good, Heath.”
He glanced at her. There was an underlying thread of fear in her voice. The need to soothe her rose so fast, he couldn’t bat it away.
“Come on, Joey, it will only take a few more minutes and we’ll be there.”
She looked out the window, drew in a deep breath and sat up straighter. “If it takes longer than that, you’re turning this car around and heading back to Ft. Myers. I don’t want to become a gator’s midnight snack.”
He fought the urge to chuckle. Before he could respond, a stream of light broke through the trees. “Looks like we won’t have that problem.”
The leather seat crunched as she sat forward to peer out the windshield. He drove around a curve, careful of the rising water on both sides of the road. As they rounded the bend, the resort came into view.
It wasn’t a five star hotel, not yet, but it did have potential. The white stucco building stood out amongst the tall pine trees and muddy mess of the front driveway. As soon as he parked the car, a short, wiry man ran out to them. His wide, heavily lined face was split into a smile. He was dressed in a yellow rain slicker and held an umbrella.
“Mr. Campbell?” Heath nodded. “Oh, good. We were getting a little worried about you. That road can get covered with water pretty quickly. I’m Harry Sanders. Welcome to La Boca Vista.”
Harry had his hand on the door handle, but Heath stopped him. “Ms. Vernon needs that more than I do.”
His rheumy eyes shifted to Joey and then widened. Without another word, he hurried around the front of the car, slipping a bit in the mud, and opened Joey’s door. She stepped out of the car. Heath had to smother a laugh when he watched the other man swallow visibly. She stood at least two inches taller than Harry, even as she sank in the mud.
“Excuse me.” He could hear her husky voice even over the rain pounding on the car roof.
“Oh…oh. Sorry.” Harry stepped back and trailed after her, another convert for her cult. The woman collected them with just a smile and a walk. He should know. She’d been driving him crazy for about a year.
He stepped out of the car, the cold, heavy rain making it hard to even stand up straight. Slamming the car door, he jogged to the front entrance of the hotel. He slipped a couple times, almost embarrassing himself by falling flat on his face. Thankfully, he made it to the door soaking wet, but with mud only on his pants and shoes. The moment he walked through the door, the cool air washed over him. He shuddered as a chill inched down his spine.
Damn, it must be no more than sixty-eight degrees in the place.
With his wet clothes clinging to his skin, he strode forward. Joey stood frowning at the desk clerk and Harry. Barely wet with only her shoes muddy, Heath had no idea why the woman had a reason to be pissed. He had been driving for the past few hours, while she slept and was dry.
She turned and crossed her arms beneath her breasts.
“There seems to be a problem.”
“What’s wrong now? Don’t they have a suite for you?” He didn’t even bother to hide his sarcasm. The woman was high maintenance. It was one of the reasons he didn’t want her on this trip. The other had to do with the fact that even now, wet, pissed and just in a nasty enough mood to shot someone, he’d be happy to have her flat on her back beneath him.
She shook her head, her curls sliding over her shoulders. “Oh, no. They have a suite. The honeymoon suite, in fact, but there is one little, tiny problem.”
He was tired, hungry, and so freaking cold, he was ready to scream. Drawing in a deep breath, he calmed himself down. It wouldn’t be very professional to be a raving lunatic in front of the staff the day they arrived. As soon as he had his temper under control, he asked, “What the hell’s the problem?”
“Well, dear heart, it’s the only room left.”