The Hired Hand was my first ever contracted book and came out nine years ago this month. It is hard to believe it has been that long!
THE HIRED HAND
Stranded in a Dallas hotel room with nothing but a red spandex dress, stiletto heels and thigh highs, with directions on where to meet a gigolo, was not how Marlow Smith planned on spending her thirtieth birthday. But when her best friend leaves her knowing Marlow is so anal she’ll dress up and go fire the man, she does exactly that. Except the firing. She finds him sitting at the end of the bar and somehow ends up back in her hotel room with him. After a night filled with the best sex of her life, she leaves, thinking never to see the man again, and returns to her boring, stable life.
Business consultant, Liam Campbell, can’t believe that little Jane Smith actually thinks he’s a gigolo. She’s curvy and cute, and he can’t resist talking her into bed. And once he gets her there, and on the couch, and in the shower, he doesn’t want to leave. The only problem is he never quite gets around to telling her the truth. He wakes up the next morning with a hundred dollar tip and no way of finding his “client”.
Three months later, Liam shows up at her family business as their hired business consultant. Marlow hopes that he doesn’t remember her and when he does, she wants to pretend that nothing happened. But little does she know the moment he sees her again, Liam has plans for not only her body but also her heart.
A shiver of excitement raced through her as his fingers slid sensuously in a circle over the palm of her hand. The heat that had invaded her belly now slid down between her legs. She shifted, trying to quell the searing inferno blazing through her system. It did no good.
“Chemistry. You and me.” His voice deepened. “We have chemistry. What I can’t understand is why you don’t want to act on it.”
“You find me attractive?”
He slowly nodded.
“You want to sleep with me?”
“Well, sleeping wasn’t what I had in mind, Ms. Smith.” His lips curved into a smile that promised he had more than one way to stay awake.
She shook her head. “Liam, I understand you may feel obligated to fulfill your contract. Really, I won’t tell a soul.”
He said nothing. He stood and walked around the table and sat down next to her. His eyes never left hers as he moved his fingers to the plump skin directly below her thumb. His spicy scent and heat surrounded her.
Up and down and around, again and again, he stroked the tender skin. Each caress tingled, all the way to the tips of her toes. Her heart beat wildly against her chest. Up, down, around. His eyes, dilated with arousal, totally focused on her. Up, down and around.
Still he said nothing.
“Liam,” she said, half reprimand, half plea. Every fiber of her being was focused on his caress. Wet heat slid to her sex and her breasts ached.
“Jane, what’s going on in that pretty little head?” he asked, his voice whisper soft. “Are you trying to come up with another idea to stall me?” He leaned closer, his lips almost touching her ear. “Or are you thinking about my fingers, hmm? Are you thinking what I could do with them, by chance?” His heated breath caressed her lobe, and she shivered.
“No.” But she was now. His callused fingers continued their feather-light assault, and all she could think about was what it would feel like to have those fingers caress her breasts. She shifted again, and felt his lips curve a little bit more.
She found herself leaning closer to him. The temptation to lean against his shoulder, allow his body heat to seep into her, warm her from the inside out, almost overwhelmed her. She wanted to allow this man to run his fingers all over her body.
Marlow had fantasies, just like every average woman. But they were usually about celebrities, or nameless, faceless men.
Not any more.
Next to her sat six-foot-one of pure female fantasy. Trying to seduce her. With his golden brown hair, twinkling green eyes and dimples, he could charm an armadillo out of its hide.
Just like Vic. Vic, who had come to work for the company and charmed her into bed. Vic, who several weeks later, had told her he wanted nothing to do with her if she didn’t help get him promoted.
Marlow jerked away from Liam, reminding herself of her promise: never let another man charm her and use her.
“Liam,” she said, the husky desire still lingering in her voice, “I really don’t think this is going to work. I’m just not interested.”
“Jane,” he chastised, “you’re lying. I felt your pulse quicken. I bet your nipples are puckered so tight they hurt. You know you want me.”
“I don’t want to want you. That’s what’s important.”
“Ah,” he said, and he rubbed his thumb over the pulse on her wrist. “You don’t want to want a man whom you control? Someone there for your pleasure? Does that scare you?” His eyes were now almost emerald green. “Jane, let me be yours for the evening. You tell me what gets you hot. You tell me what to do to you.”
The thought of having a man at her command, who was schooled in the seductive arts, caused her heart to thump rapidly. She looked at that smile, his green eyes and knew this was a once in a lifetime chance. She would be the one in control of the situation. She would be the one calling the shots, directing the show. Excitement bubbled up at the thought of ordering this man to pleasure her. One night, no attachments. No way for her heart to get involved. Still…she wasn’t into one-night-stands.
Then she thought about going back to her hotel room, sleeping in that big bed all by herself. All alone. No one to cuddle with. No one to kiss goodnight. She looked at Liam. What would it be like to sleep next to him? To have him to spoon with, his arm draped over my stomach through the night. The very heat of him warming my back. She wanted that. For this one night, she deserved that.
Marlow Jane Smith, a woman who always plotted and planned, a woman who left nothing to chance, never stepped out of her comfortable shell, ran as fast as she could and jumped off a cliff.
“Follow me to my hotel.”