Nicole Austin – Scandalous

{December 29, 2010}   Sunshine on Chrome by Lynne Connolly

Sunshine on Chrome, the next awesome book in the Cougar Challenge series, available now from Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

After working with sexy consultant Verill Harper for three months, Lacey Rezanov can hardly keep her hands to herself. And it seems Verill feels the same way. As soon as his contract with her company ends, he has her in a hold she has no desire to break.

Encouraged by the sassy women of the Tempt the Cougar blog, Lacey has the fling of her life with this younger man. They only have a month before Verill is due to set off on an around-the-world bike ride. Can they cram all that passion into a few weeks? No.

Verill wants Lacey more than any other woman he’s ever met, but she won’t agree to come with him. This isn’t just a pleasure trip and he can’t cancel. The heat is turned way up when Lacey poses with Verill and his mechanic Dene at a photo shoot to promo the tour. Even that can’t persuade Lacey to change her mind. Can anything?

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.

Copyright © LYNNE CONNOLLY, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

The door to the boardroom opened and closed. He looked up to see Daphne turning the lock. She slinked forward, a smile slicking her lipsticked mouth. Rose Parade. Shit, he had to get out of here. Working for a cosmetics company, he now knew the name of every damn lipstick on the current product card. He’d even caught himself lingering by the counters in department stores, admiring the display or eyeing the assistant critically. That had to stop.

Daphne laid her hand on his arm. She looked lacquered, from her sleek blonde hair, worn in a shoulder-length slalom wave, to her shiny toenails, peeking coyly out from black patent high-heeled pumps.

Verill kept his cool. “Did you have more questions?”

She purred her answer. “Plenty. Like, are you free tonight for dinner?”

What was wrong with him? Lacey, that was what. He was obsessed with the woman, morning to night. Daphne was an ambitious, rapacious cat. Nothing wrong with that, he just wasn’t in the market for that kind of female right now. He forced a reluctant grin. “Sorry, Daphne. I have other plans.”

“Break them.” She moved closer and the aroma of musky perfume swept over him in a choking wave. He even recognized the fucking scent. Oh God, he was turning metrosexual. “Come to my apartment. I’ll cook. Or send out for something.” She pushed her card into his hand and leaned closer. “Don’t let me down.”

And then she kissed him. Verill couldn’t help himself—his hand came around the back of her neck. Her hair felt scratchy. Fine hair needed a lot of control. She must go through a can of spray every day.

After a polite interval, less than a second or two, he pulled away. Holding her arm, he gave her a regretful smile. “I try real hard not to mix business and pleasure. Normally, it’d be a pleasure, Daphne, but not at the moment. I have a lot going on.”

She pouted. She should really practice that look, it didn’t sit well on her. “Don’t lose the card. And I won’t lose yours.” At least she didn’t know his address. He wouldn’t be surprised to find her sitting on his doorstep one day.

He grabbed his stuff and made his escape, almost colliding with Lacey, who was leaving the ladies’ restroom. Fuck, had she seen anything? At least Daphne had left already. Lacey just gave him a cool smile. “I’m ready to sign off on our contract. Do you want to follow me?”

Anywhere, sweetheart.

As he followed her down the carpeted hallway, the gentle swish of her hosiery made his cock stir. Her pencil skirt outlined the curves of her bottom and thighs, not blatantly, but the subtle hints were, in a way, worse.

She opened the door to her office before he could open it for her. It clicked quietly behind them. “You’ve done a great job.”

He detected a quaver in her voice, too slight for most people to notice. But he wasn’t most people.

“I might have difficulty getting everybody on board, but with the launch of the new face cream we’ll need the extra guidance. Not to mention the online ventures.” She grimaced. “Did I say that some of the board members think that’s going down-market?”

He stuffed his hands in his pockets in a desperate attempt to hide his erection. “Yes, you did, and some of them mentioned it to me. I tried to assure them that it’s the image of the product plus the pricing that matters. The client needs to think she’s buying something exclusive. It doesn’t matter what socioeconomic class she’s from.”

“‘A touch of luxury.’ We’ve had that slogan since the beginning, did you know?”

He did. “I did my research. Ever since your great-grandmother came over from Russia and decided to bring some Russian exoticism to America.” Like her sleek mahogany hair, her slightly slanted eyes and that rich, full mouth, enhanced with a slick of lip gloss. Lip gloss he wanted to lick off. Her light, floral perfume urged him to move forward and fill his lungs. He didn’t know what kind she wore and he didn’t care. Guess he didn’t have to worry that he was turning metrosexual.

She laughed. “Something like that. I didn’t know her, but I knew my grandmother and everyone said they were the same. My mother wasn’t very different, but it was a different world then. Times change. So do Rezanovs.”

When he took a step toward her, she retreated behind her desk. She obscured the glorious view of North Lake Shore Drive and the harbor beyond, but he didn’t care one bit. He could see a similar view any time he wanted from his condo. But he couldn’t see Lacey, much though he’d like to.

She wouldn’t meet his eyes. “I’ve had your fee wired to your account. That’s the final amount.”

“So that means we’re quits.” He wanted to make sure she understood they weren’t business colleagues anymore. Because he wanted more than that. “I don’t work for you now.”

“I guess so.” She glanced up at him almost shyly.

He loved it, as though she were a kid about to have her first adult kiss. It made her look—not younger, but freer, somehow.

He rounded the desk. Her skirt twitched, as if she thought about retreating then decided against it. Good. “I’ll get my staff to handle everything else, if you have any queries in the future. I shouldn’t need to return unless things go badly wrong, and then you’ll have to re-contract me.” Chances are he wouldn’t be available, anyway. “Clear?”

She swallowed but met his gaze. “Clear.”

He took a moment to stare into those gorgeous blue eyes, the darker flecks enhancing the trepidation he read there. But she held her ground. Fuck, she’d be a wildcat in bed. Hopefully he’d find out. He lowered his head, giving her plenty of time to duck away, but she didn’t. With a surge of triumph, he saw her lift her chin.

A breath of hot air whispered across his skin when he touched her lips gently with his. To Verill, it felt like surrender. Her hands came up to clutch his upper arms, her touch like a challenge for him to take this further and discover her response. He lost his mind.

Gripping her waist, he deepened the kiss, flicking his tongue over her lips. Her mouth open under his. He swept inside, not giving her a chance to withdraw, taking possession. His cock strained his pants and he drew her closer, pushed against her stomach in mindless need. God, she smelled good, like a whole field of wildflowers underlaid with spice. Expensive perfume, he’d learned recently, reacted to the wearer’s skin, the chemicals blending and creating something unique. He’d never smell lavender again without thinking of her. Remembering this.

She tightened her hands on his arms and he withdrew, gasping for breath. “Do you know I’ve wanted to do this since I first set eyes on you? I even considered throwing the job and just going for you.”

She huffed a laugh, sounding as shaky as he felt. “I didn’t know. You’re so damned professional.”

“Fuck, if you knew!” He’d kept rigid control of his desire for her. But watching her and wanting her over the last three months had driven him crazy. The first month, he and his team had done research. Shadowed the staff, gone out in the field, conducted questionnaires. He’d known then that he couldn’t work with her around, and although he’d planned to shadow her, he couldn’t do it.

Now he had her. He bent his head and they shared another long, luscious kiss. Drawing her closer, he spread his hands over her back, tracing the indent of her spine. He had to kiss all the way down it. Now. He stroked, felt her responsive shiver, and knew he had her permission.

He nibbled her neck just behind her ear and carried on when her muscles tightened, pausing at the base of her throat when she gasped and stretched her neck to give him better access. Paused to nibble and lick, to tease the sweet hollow he found there.

She loosened her grip on his arms, rubbed her hands up and down, around his neck and into his hair, ruffling it. Her fingers massaged his scalp with a sensuality that made him moan.

Her blouse buttoned at the front. One, two, three and he’d undone enough to see her bra, a smooth expanse of satin, lightly padded. When he slid his fingers inside, he touched her nipple, puckered and hard, ready for him. He wanted to see it, to taste it. He gave a soft “umph” of approval and pleasure. “Did you think ahead, sweet Lacey? Put on something padded because you knew you’d react to me? Get hard like this?” He tweaked again, loving it when she gasped.

“Something like that.” Her breathless voice urged him to explore more. He pushed down the soft bra cup and lowered his head to take her nipple into his mouth. Like a pretty rosebud, deep pink and crinkled.

Sensation exploded over his tongue. The way the peak hardened even more, the tip pushing into his tongue, insisting on attention. He gave it willingly, sucked hard, taking her soft flesh, wanting more. He wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her close but allowing her to arch back enough to thrust her breast up. Nothing would stop him now. Nothing. He stroked down her body to the sweet indent of her waist, the curve of her ass, and swept back up to find the zipper of her skirt.

She was the first to register the meaning of the quiet click, jerking up in his arms. Since it was followed by an explosive, “Mom! What the hell are you doing?” Verill caught up with her fast.


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