A Little Harmless Taboo
Book 14 in the Harmless Series
Part of the Harmless World
When a one night stand doesn’t really stay a one night stand, a woman can only resist the man of her dreams so much.
I’ve always been the good girl.
You know the type. The one who never got in trouble, unlike both of my brothers. But after a very public break-up, I’m ready to walk on the wild side and have my first one night stand. And I find the perfect candidate. A man she never plans on seeing again.
Until we come face to face a few days later at her new job site.
But that’s okay, I can handle it, and handle the sexy former Army Ranger named Alek. No, wait, I’m not going to handle him. I’ll deal with the situation like an adult.
Okay, that’s a lie. Or maybe not. Do adults agree to a short fling knowing that said adult is already half-way in love with a man? Well, that’s what I did. But, I have a feeling that he’s right there with me.
And as he spends his time showing me the real Hawaii, we both realize that our hearts are totally involved.
Soon, tongues are wagging about our affair and someone from my past decides to make my life a living hell. With our relationship now fodder for the tabloids, I assume he’ll walk away.
One thing you need to know about this story: I’ve never been so wrong about so many things, especially Alek.
Warning: This story includes a good woman with naughty thoughts, a hero who wants to help her live out those fantasies, a meddling family–on both sides, and a trip back to the islands. This is another Harmless story, so you know the drill. Ice water is recommended and the author takes no responsibility for overheating readers.
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A Little Harmless Taboo
A Little Harmless Taboo
“That sleazy tosser,” Julienne Wulf bit out as she paced her brother’s home office. She’d been doing this for the better part of thirty minutes and her feet ached from it. Sure, it probably had more to do with the new pair of printed patent leather Louboutin Pigalle’s. She’d been meaning to break them in for a week now and this seemed like the perfect time. When she was angry, she paced. And any normal person would just kick them off and sink into the deep Aubusson carpet. This proved what her mother had always said. She was not normal.
The one thing she was thankful for was that her brother was not in his home office at the moment. He would want to fix the problem and Julienne didn’t need that. She needed to vent and that’s what her sister-in-law Nicola was there for.
“I just never thought he would go this far,” Julienne said. When Nicola didn’t respond, she looked at her friend. “What?”
She sighed. “I worried he might go this way.”
She nodded. “Well, I didn’t expect him to do this actually, but he always rubbed me the wrong way.”
“Me too, but I’m pretty sure we aren’t talking about the same thing.”
Nicola laughs. “Yeah, no. Gregor always made me uncomfortable.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
She sighed, her demeanor growing serious. “You were head over heels about him, Jules.”
Julienne had been. She remembered meeting him, introduced by her mother. He had a few drops of blue blood in him—not that it was that important to Julienne—and had political aspirations. He wanted to work in government to make things better. Of course, now, Julienne was sure that had been a lie too. He’s probably some bastard who would steal from widows and orphans. And puppies.
“How is this going to help him in his career? Who wants to admit they couldn’t satisfy a woman?”
It was ridiculous. Royals, the newest online tabloid based in London, had a story about their sex life. Or what the reporting said was their sex life. Julienne had never really been featured in a tabloid report like this. Growing up rich and related to the Windsors did get her into some stories, but she’d been the boring sibling. The one who never stepped out of line. Jensen had been a drug addict and couldn’t keep it in his pants before he got clean. And Jakob, well, he just didn’t keep it in his pants. There was always speculation about who was warming his bed these days.
Julienne didn’t date that much, even before Gregor. She’d been a damned virgin when she ended up in bed with him. So, the idea that she did some of the things Royals claimed she did was insane.
“We know it’s him, right?” she asked.
“We don’t know anything for sure,” Nicola said. “But I’ve got feelers out to find out. I’m pretty sure it’s someone from his camp. With or without his approval. What I’m more interested in is finding out who owns Royals.”
She thought about the look on his face when she ended things with him. “I’m damned sure it’s with his approval.” Then what Nic had said broke through. “You don’t know who owns it?”
Nic shook her head. “No one knows. I mean…no one.”
Julienne collapsed into the overstuffed chair that was opposite to the sofa where Nicola sat. There was a good chance that she was going to have to soak her feet tonight. Better that than her head, which was now pounding like a big bass drum.
“What I don’t understand is why he is doing this? What will he get out of harming my reputation? And why wait almost a year to start this all up again?”
When Julienne broke their engagement, he had gone to the tabloids then. Not overtly. One with a bit of money didn’t do that. No, he had his minions for that. But the last month there had been fewer and fewer stories. And none of them had been this salacious.
Nicola studied her for a long moment, then sighed. “It’s probably his stupid ego.”
She thought about it and while she wasn’t completely convinced about that, there was a chance it was just that. “Probably. Still, though. Running a sex dungeon? When would I have the bloody time? And how? I can’t seem to make a move without the paps showing up to take my picture.”
“I take it David is handling the latest round?”
David was Julienne’s PA and devoted to her like none of her female friends had ever been. Since the first round of rumors started a few months ago after Julienne broke their engagement, each report had gotten increasingly ridiculous. The latest was that she was a sex crazed Domme who ran a sex dungeon and Gregor had broken off their engagement when he found out. Yes. Seriously.
“Yes. He’s furious at the moment.”
“I can imagine. He loves you.”
He did. If he weren’t gay, he might be the perfect man for Julienne. They had the same taste in movies and food, they were both clothes whores, and their sense of humor was drier than any 007 martini.
“I just don’t know how to escape this. I have ignored it. I’ve put out statements. And dating was bad enough before, but now that I’m known as a sex crazed Dominatrix, I don’t see myself getting many dates.”
“Well, none that you would want.”
Julienne sighed and closed her eyes, setting her head on the back of the chair. She didn’t regret breaking off her engagement. If anything, Gregor’s pettiness about it solidified her belief that he was not the one for her. Was it too much to ask that he just go away?
“What do you want to do?” Nicola asked her.
Julienne opened her eyes to find Nicola watching her closely. The former ice-skating champion was one of those amazing women who caused heads to turn. Tall, slim, with ice blue eyes and dark hair, she was just stunning. As in, she could be a supermodel if she wanted, or had the temperament. She did not.
Whenever Julienne was around her, though, she felt frumpy. Well, frumpier. She was short, curvier, with long blonde hair, and eyes that had always seemed too huge for her face when she was a child. She could make herself look decent these days, but it took a lot of work. Nicola, on the other hand, looked like a goddess first thing in the morning.
“I don’t know. Nothing seems to work.”
Nicola sighed and leaned back on the sofa, resting her hand on her baby bump. It was still hard to believe that she was going to be an aunty soon.
“I have a plan but I’m not sure if you’ll like it. Or that idiot brother of yours.”
“Which idiot brother?”
“Both of them.”
They shared a smile.
“I think you should go to Hawaii and oversee the redo of the resort.”
For a long moment, Julienne said nothing. She’d been to Hawaii for Nic and Jensen’s wedding, but she had flown in for seventy-two hours and then had to be back in England. And she wasn’t someone who usually did onsite work. She tended to work remotely, handling the interior design from her home office. But this suggestion intrigued her.
“I thought they didn’t need one of us.”
“Your mother wants a Wulf there. You know how she is. I’d go, but Jensen doesn’t want me to go very far right now,” Nic said, smoothing her hand over her baby bump.
Julienne smiled, happy and envious of Jensen and Nic’s life now. She was so ecstatic that Nic was now a sister by marriage and not just a friend, but Julienne wondered if she would ever get that. A husband who adored her and a baby. She really did want babies, but with this media storm by her ex, it was doubtful. What man would want a woman whose name had been dragged through the press?
“Is this just a ploy to get me out of England and make the problem go away?”
Nic shook her head. “No. In fact, I want you here. I mean, do you think this lot is going to be fun? Hawaii is wonderful, and you’ve never spent enough time there to really get a feel for the state.”
They owned a home on Oahu, but it had been more for Jensen, who had a favorite club he frequented. And then it hit her.
“Do you think Gregor did this because of Jensen? If he knows he’s a Dom, he might have just assumed I’m one myself.”
Nicola shrugged. “It could be, but more than likely, he tried to pick something that he thought would shame you.”
“Indeed. So, Hawaii?”
“Do they really need me to be there? I could always go somewhere else.” It was true. They had properties all over the world.
“No, they don’t need you there. But I think it would be good.”
She studied Nic. “What are you up to?”
Nicola sighed. “This pregnancy is making me stupid if I can’t fool you Wulfs anymore.”
“So, give it up.”
“Okay. But I want you to hear me out.”
She nodded, waiting. Nicola’s brain was an amazing thing. She could see connections, things that the rest of them didn’t. Jensen getting clean had helped the company, but since she had been by his side, the company was a million times better.
“I feel—and I don’t want you to get your feelings hurt by this—but you seem to have been in a bit of a rut.”
Nicola nodded. “Yes.”
“My work has been subpar?” Great. Now she’d let her family down, on top of having a real tosser of an ex throwing out lies about her.
“No, not at all. I just don’t think you’ve been happy with it.” Nicola’s ice blue eyes studied her for a long moment before Julienne dropped her gaze to her lap. It was true, and she didn’t know what to do about it. “Your work has been excellent as usual, but you don’t seem happy like you used to.”
“I haven’t been happy with my entire life. I just broke up with Gregor.”
“It’s been a year. And you did that because you were bored.”
She raised her gaze to Nicola’s. “You’re right, but…”
“You were unhappy with things before that, Jules.”
This woman was so damned perceptive. “Yes. I don’t know what’s wrong.”
Her position in the family business was all about interior design. She handled their public and private spaces, and she had loved it. Adored it, actually. She’d been in the top five at the Royal College of Art where she received her MA in design. And it had all seemed like so much fun when she’d started, but now…
“You’re creative. You need to get out there, see some of the world, do something different. Creative types always do.”
“But if my work is satisfactory, then why do I need to change?” The moment the question left her lips, Julienne realized how insane the comment was. In college, she had thrived on challenge, always looking for something that pushed her.
“You know why. And look at it as kind of a vacation. You and David can go over to Hawaii, meet with the Roberts, and have a little fun. Yes, people notice you if you run with an entourage, but if you fit in with the locals, they won’t notice you.”
She gave her sister-in-law a smile. “This pasty Brit is going to stand out among all the golden-skinned locals.”
“There’s more than a few pasty Brits over there, but you will also just look like another tourist. And take the jet.”
“Why? If David and I are heading over there, wouldn’t it just be wasteful?”
“You can just disappear from here and no one will know where you are.”
Of course. Julienne had flown commercial for most of her life if she wasn’t on official business. Even sometimes when she was. Since all the mess with Gregor, she hadn’t been able to.
“And if you agree to take a few bodyguards, Jensen won’t throw a fit.”
Nicola had a stalker a year ago and they had almost lost her. Jensen had gotten a little overprotective of everyone, including Jakob. Her brother’s wife nodded. “Yes. Now you know you and David will have a wonderful time. Go start packing and I’ll start working on your brother.”
“Fine, but if anything happens here, anything I need to be here for, you will call me back. Agreed?”
She and Nicola discussed a few of the particulars of the trip, and then Julienne made the trip across town to her flat to pack. As she looked out the window at the dreary April day, Julienne decided that a little break in a tropical paradise might be just what she needed.
End of Excerpt
A Little Harmless Taboo
A Little Harmless Taboo was super sexy, perfectly paced, engaging, and great to read.
I absolutely loved Alek and Jules from the very beginning.
I loved this story!
...another great Melissa Schroeder story!
This story is just so magical, pulls you in from the start and never lets you go!
Such a good book.