Elle's Yearning - Suzie McLean - ebook

Jory has been a thorn in Elle’s side ever since he arrived to spend the entire summer with his twin brother. He has no scruples about using his raw male beauty to charm…and exploit. If only her pulse didn’t race with breathless excitement every time he turns those gorgeous chocolate-brown eyes in her direction!But Jory is about to realize he’s just met his match in sweet, soft-spoken Elle Sutherland. Will the angry sparks flying between them bond them together, or drive them apart forever?~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~Elle’s mind suddenly went blank when Jory closed the distance between them again, and curled his arms around her waist. “Knock it off, I’m trying to work here,” she yelped—but even she could hear how feeble her protest sounded. “Damn it, Jory, I mean it!”He retreated…but very reluctantly. Hastily she put one of the massage couches between them.“You’re as skittish as a newborn colt,” he teased, lightly running one finger over her trembling bottom lip. “Are you that way around all men? Or only me?”Elle’s heart was pounding so loudly that she could barely even hear his mocking question—but there was no mistaking his intent as he leaned so close that she could feel the heat of his muscular body.“I choose my own partners,” she gasped, and wished that her whisper-soft voice wasn’t so shaky. “So if you want to help me finish decorating in here, that’s fine. But if you have anything else in mind, you can kiss it goodbye.”“I’d rather kiss you.” His teeth flashed in another dazzling grin…then he startled her by cupping both hands around her face. His long fingers sizzled against her bare skin, and she gasped in surprise. Was this what Astra had felt when she’d let Jared make love to her?Damn it, why did it have to be Jory? She didn’t even like him!Every nerve in her body shattered as his mouth closed over hers in a hot, heady kiss. She never even heard the frantic whimper that tore from her throat as her fingers gripped his shirt like a lifeline, and her long body arched against his in wondering shock.Then his nimble hand rose to possessively cup her lush breast…and the next instant, he was writhing on the floor, moaning in helpless agony.Elle stumbled back in appalled shock. Oh God, what had she done?Reflex. Selena had taught them all how to defend themselves against attack. A necessary skill, she’d insisted, for nine single, superbly stacked sorority sisters. The alliteration had made Elle laugh while she’d been obediently practicing her kicks and blocks on the mat. But she wasn’t laughing now. Jory’s twisted features were a sickly green, and his helpless moan was an agonized rasp.“Jesus, Elle!” Fierce shudders racked his hunched frame as he rocked back and forth, desperately clutching himself. “What the hell! I said I wasn’t going to hurt you!”“And that makes it all right?” Outrage rose in a choking wave, and her normally-soft voice rose with it. “I told you no! You didn’t listen! You never listen! What gives you the right to grab me against my will?” Tears of sheer rage began to shimmer in her crystal-blue eyes as she backed away, clenching her small hands into fists. “You think that since you’re drop-dead gorgeous and sexy as hell, you can just take whatever woman you want, whether she’s interested or not? You can go straight to hell, Jory Montrose!”

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Bikini Babes’ Carwash

“Elle’s Yearning”

By Suzie McLean

Artwork by Moira Nelligar

Copyright 2016 Suzie McLean

All characters in this book are 18 or older.

Chapter 1

One Step Too Far

The remodeled carwash bay looked…empty.

Elle stared thoughtfully around the once-shabby room that her twin sister, Astra, and she had painstakingly renovated into a luxurious massage parlor, and frowned.

She was probably being silly, she decided with a rueful sigh. The customers who would shortly be flocking through their secure little door wouldn’t care whether it was stark and barren, or lush as a sultan’s paradise. They wouldn’t be coming in to exclaim over the lovely watercolor paintings Astra had scrounged at yard sales and flea markets. They wouldn’t care that the carpet was thick and plush beneath their sandaled feet. They probably wouldn’t even notice the soothing murmur of birdsong and ocean waves whispering from their cleverly-hidden stereo speakers.

They’d only want one thing: relief.

No, two things, she amended with an ironic grin. Relief from the blistering Florida summer heat, and relief from the assorted aches and pains of daily hard work.

The Bikini Babes’ Carwash would provide all of that, and plenty more.

The battered old building they’d rented from Riley Thompson had laid empty ever since Hurricane Denise, five years ago, had damaged the long bays. Over time, it had become a refuge for dozens of vagrants and homeless vets. College students had used it as a clandestine party hangout. Lazy townspeople had dumped their unwanted trash in huge, smelly piles.

The sheer scope of hauling away all the accumulated garbage had been daunting—but the Alpha Beta Xi sorority was nothing if not determined. Several weeks of hard, filthy work, and a lot of long-overdue stucco repair and repainting, had transformed the derelict bays into sparkling-clean working units again.

Originally they’d only planned to expand on their very successful college fundraising efforts by hand-washing grubby cars and trucks. But Astra and Elle were both so fair, and burned so easily, that they’d quickly expanded on that idea to create an enclosed, air-conditioned space where the tall Scandinavian twins could work in sybaritic comfort.

Using materials scavenged from a dozen different demolition worksites, they’d walled off the first bay, sanded and painted the weatherbeaten stucco, and laid down a thick pewter-gray carpet. Then Jared, their newest business partner, had called in some favors, and Seaside Bay Community College had happily donated four sturdy massage couches in exchange for a small plaque on the wall proclaiming their support of a new hometown business.

So, Elle thought with satisfaction, while her beautiful sorority sisters provided an eye-popping show outside with their skintight bikinis, hoses, and soapy sponges, their decadent ‘massage parlor’ would provide a unique diversion for the hot, sweaty drivers.

Andi’s clever fiancé, Reid Holmes, had installed a powerful little air conditioner up on the back wall that would keep the bay comfortably cool. Astra and Jared were both skilled physical therapists who’d been trained in the fine art of full-body massage. And while she might not have inherited Astra’s magic hands, Elle had a special gift for sensing pain. She and her twin often volunteered at the local hospital, helping patients who were struggling to overcome painful injuries or disabilities.

Eventually she hoped to add cosmetology to the list of services available in their cozy little hideaway, and had already set up a small salon-quality manicure table in the furthest corner. But damn it, she thought, surveying the long room again, something still was missing. Even if their customers didn’t notice it, she did—and it would continue to nag her until she figured out what was wrong, and fixed it.

They’d planned to set a big artificial tree in the opposite corner, to hide the spot where Astra had accidentally messed up their otherwise-flawless wall restoration. So far they hadn’t been able to find one that looked sufficiently real, so a pretty little table sat there now. She didn’t have a problem with that; the right tree would come along eventually.

The real problem, she realized, was the walls. They were twelve feet high—and apart from the paintings Astra and she had scattered at eye-level, they were totally bare all the way to the ceiling. Painting a faux-wood pattern on them had helped. But it hadn’t helped enough.

Their father had promised to chip in some money if their limited start-up fund ran dry. They hadn’t taken advantage of his generous offer yet. But she had a feeling that was about to change.

“Hey, Astra,” she said over her shoulder when the sturdy door opened behind her, “what would you think of draping fabric down from the ceiling in long graceful sweeps, so the room looks like a sultan’s tent?”

“Would that include ultra-sexy harem belly dancers?”

Elle jolted and spun around as Jory Montrose closed the door behind him, then leaned against the doorframe and shot her a dazzling smile. The mocking grin transformed his sculpted features from merely handsome into absolutely breathtaking.

“Jory!” Weakly she clasped a hand over her lush breasts, and tried to jumpstart her heart into beating evenly again. “I’m sorry, I thought you were Astra.”

That made his grin widen into an impish smirk. “I’ve been called a lot of things in my life,” he teased, straightening to his full towering height and ambling over to glide a possessive hand over her long white-blonde hair. “But no one’s ever mistaken me for a gorgeous, stacked woman before!”

The light brush of his clever fingers made Elle want to turn and run in screaming panic. Instead, she stubbornly held her ground, then casually eased a few steps away as if she was just finding a better vantage to study the high cement roof. But her pulse began to hammer when he followed her, and leaned in entirely too close for comfort.

Jory, she firmly told herself, was an arrogant pain in the ass. And he’d been a thorn in her side ever since he’d arrived several days ago to spend the entire summer with his fraternal twin, Jared.

There was no denying that both men were the living epitome of tall, rugged, and outrageously handsome. Heads turned everywhere they went—and not all of the heads were female. Jared had the chiseled features of a golden-blonde Greek god, whereas Jory’s coloring was more of a deep russet-red. But they were both well over six feet tall, muscular, and looked more like California beach guards than physical therapists or marketing majors.

The problem, Elle thought as she edged another cautious step away, was that while Jared was a genuinely decent person, Jory had no scruples about using his raw male beauty to charm…and exploit. Just look at the way he’d tried to hit on every girl in their close-knit group the night he’d arrived in the middle of Jared’s boisterous barbeque!

When he’d realized most of them already had steady boyfriends, he’d promptly focused his eager—but unwelcome—attentions on the three who were still single. Riley had helped to diffuse the tension by inviting his nephew, Brad, and his roommates to drop by for the evening, and they’d run a very welcome interference that had kept Jory safely at bay. Not that Nina had needed it…a single sharp look from Muriel’s massive older brother, Asher, had warned Jory away from her. It really was too bad that she only saw Ashe as a kind of honorary big brother, Elle mused, because he’d been madly in love with her for years.

Brad and Selena had hooked up that night, and they’d been tight ever since then. That was pretty cool to see, because she’d always liked Brad, and she agreed with her sorority sisters that Selena and he looked really cute together.

She’d enjoyed flirting with Pierce and his friends…

But they couldn’t be around all the time. Jory could…and was. The moment he’d learned about their new business, which would officially open this Friday, he’d started hanging around the carwash every day, and generally making a nuisance of himself.

He didn’t think so, of course. He thought he was being a great help as they sorted through all the boxes of supplies that had begun arriving on a daily basis.

He really was quick and clever on the computer, though, so they’d solved several problems at once by having him log everything into their database, then neatly store it all by category in their compact little supply shed. And it was even possible that his marketing skills might be useful someday, once they had the budget to worry about paid advertising.

In the meantime…

When he was solely focused on business, he was…almost tolerable, Elle decided. But the moment he switched gears, he acted like a modern-day Casanova. Flirting was okay—she enjoyed flirting with a handsome man just as much as the next woman. But Jory took it a little too far. She didn’t like having someone invade her personal space and touch her when she didn’t want to be touched, or get entirely too personal when she wanted to keep things light and casual.

If only he didn’t make her pulse race with breathless excitement every time he turned those gorgeous big chocolate-brown eyes in her direction!

Why, oh why, did it have to be Jory Montrose who kindled the fire in her belly? Why not Pierce, or Alan, or even geeky Robbie Baxter? At least they weren’t total jerks who thought they were God’s gift to women, and didn’t know how to take ‘no’ for an answer!

Purely physical, she assured herself when Jory’s hands rose to stroke her shoulders, and she took another instinctive step away. And purely frustrating, because she yearned with a helpless aching that drove her crazy…and she didn’t dare follow through on those desperate yearnings!

When Astra had found herself falling for Jared, she’d deliberately slept with him to quench the fires he’d kindled. That hadn’t worked out quite as she’d planned, and the resulting passionate explosion had singed everyone within a ten-mile radius. But that was okay, because Jared and Astra were really good for each other.

It wouldn’t be like that, Elle knew, if she tried taking the same route with Jory. Jared had already been crazy-in-love with her twin sister. Jory was only in love with himself. So what had worked out perfectly for Astra would be a disaster for her. The sex would probably be good—but the damage to her heart simply wasn’t worth the brief physical thrill.

“Well, since you’re here,” she said, and hoped that her voice wasn’t really as breathless as it sounded in her own ears, “let me tell you what I had in mind, and you can tell me whether you think it will work or not.”

He began gently massaging her slender shoulders, and every nerve in her body melted with pure sensual pleasure. Oh God, did he have any idea what he was doing to her?

Probably, which meant he was deliberately trying to unsettle her. That knowledge helped to bolster her resolve, and kept her from foolishly whirling around and burrowing right into his waiting arms.