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LOVERS AT LAST
Table of Contents
Excerpt - One Night of Misbehavior
About Shelley Munro
Other Works by Shelley Munro
Pearl’s master plan to catch a rich husband—results so far…A for effort, F for success.
Justin Collet wants way more than friendship from Pearl. He craves love, laughter and hot, down-and-dirty passion. A life partner. All he needs to do is convince Pearl.
A broken relationship, a few drinks and a string of pearls. Comforting Pearl takes a turn into carnal territory. Heat blossoms between them, fiery and consuming. Sweet kisses inflame and erotic whispers tempt. It’s all or nothing for Justin as he seduces Pearl into agreeing they’re lovers at last.
A thump on Justin Collet’s door jerked his attention from the New Zealand versus England rugby match playing on his television. Before he could push to his feet, he heard his front door fly open and hit the stopper. Seconds later it slammed shut. The strident tap-tap-tap of high heels echoed in the hall and Pearl MacInray stomped into his den. Justin took a moment to admire the temper glowing on her face, the flashing pale blue eyes and golden tumble of curls before doing a scan of her lush, ripe body. Immediately he tensed, his cock shooting to partial arousal. Damn, she was one fine woman. Pity they were merely friends. Pearl came to a halt in front of him, magnificent breasts heaving with the force of her ire.
“Andrew Dickins is a bastard,” Pearl spat out, shaking her fist in Justin’s face. Something white and thin flashed past his nose, almost hitting him in the eye.
Justin stood, moving out of range. “Wanna beer?”
“Yeah. Thanks.” Pearl dropped onto his battered leather couch, her miniskirt riding up to display a good portion of black stocking. Justin knew she wore stockings because he caught a glimpse of pale, creamy thigh before she tugged down her black skirt. Hot damn. This woman was gonna be the death of him. He wondered why Andrew Dickins was a bastard and decided he didn’t really give a damn. If the man’s behavior meant he could spend time with Pearl, Justin was all for the man’s bad behavior. His cock stirred again at the thought.
He strode into his kitchen, giving himself a swift lecture about friends only. Didn’t work. Hell, he’d given up trying to listen to commonsense. Let lust rule. The few beers he’d had after work with his mates were enough to blunt his normal restraint when it came to Pearl. Somehow he couldn’t find it in himself to give a fuck about breaking his self-imposed rule.
Maybe it was time he made a move on her.
There was more in life than work. Yeah. He’d done the work thing and was doing fuckin’ nicely, thank you very much. Time for another challenge. He opened his fridge and grabbed two beers, pausing to collect a glass for Pearl before returning to his den.
When he stalked up to his couch, Pearl was muttering to herself, her hand clenching and relaxing on something white. A string of pearls. His lips pursed in a silent whistle. Big bucks.
One of her lovers had dropped a pile of money on her. Considering the magnificent gift, he wondered what had bent Pearl out of shape. Last time he’d seen her this angry, it was because her lover at the time had refused to take direction. Justin snorted. Any man who couldn’t find a woman’s clit had no business making love to a stunner like Pearl. She should have told him to fuck off without a second chance.
“Here you go, babe.” Justin handed over the dew-frosted can and glass before sinking onto the couch beside her. He tipped back his head, enjoying the crisp taste of hops dancing across his tongue. Beer, woman and rugby. Hot damn. His night was lookin’ up.
“You come to watch the rugby, or do you want to shoot the breeze?” he asked finally, more to stop her fidgeting and muttering than anything else. Knowing Pearl, he was gonna hear about whatever ailed her no matter what he said.
“Andrew gave me these pearls.” Pearl shook them in his face again.
Justin ducked out of range. That was a bad thing? “I thought you liked jewelry.” Although he’d known Pearl since high school, sometimes he couldn’t fathom the way her mind worked. Women. Shit, he’d never understand them, which was probably why he’d stuck to short-term relationships. That and because he lusted after Pearl, couldn’t imagine being with anyone else for the long haul.
“I’ve been with Andrew for a year. He took me to dinner with his partners. When he told me he was giving me something special, I thought it was a diamond engagement ring.” Her plump breasts rose and fell, attracting his attention again. Damn, she was fine.
“And?” he prompted, suspecting there was more.
“I thought he’d ask me to marry him, but instead, he gave me this stupid pearl necklace. ‘Pearls for a special Pearl.’ That’s what he said, and then the louse told me he intended to marry Janie Gilroy.”
“Bastard,” Justin said while feeling elation inside. He didn’t like the idea of Pearl marrying anyone.
“Yeah,” Pearl muttered. “A pearl necklace. You’d think males could be more original. Men keep giving me stupid pearls and I want diamonds,” she ended on a wail.
“Sweetheart, don’t cry,” Justin said uneasily. He’d been through one of her crying jags before and didn’t want to repeat the experience. A man could only take so much before he broke.
A single tear ran down her face, melting him inside. He set his beer aside, took her glass from her and pulled her against his side. A strand of golden blonde hair tickled his nose and he tucked it behind her ear, kissing the tip of her pert nose. “You smell nice.”
“A present from Andrew,” she said with a sniff.
“Bloody Andrew,” Justin said, knowing it would make her laugh.
“Yeah, ‘bloody Andrew’,” she parroted with a watery smile.
“Have you been drinking?”
“Um…I had a glass or two of wine.”
“And drove over here? Woman, you’re a cheap drunk. I’m not letting you drive home. You’ll have to stay the night.” His cock reared at the thought. Justin cursed softly and tried to think icy-cold thoughts. Didn’t work. Back to plan A.
Pearl hiccupped. “You only have one bed.”
“That’s right,” Justin said. “We’ll have to share.”
Pearl pulled away to waggle her finger in front of his nose. “I’m a wild woman. I might force myself on you.”
Justin snorted. “Do your worst, sweetheart. I don’t scare easy.”
She stared at him, her heart doing a slow drum against her ribs. Her tongue darted out to moisten her bottom lip. “Won’t your girlfriend mind?” She watched him closely, both body and mind on high alert. She loved Justin, enjoyed spending time with him—being friends. Of course she’d wondered what it would be like making love with him, but she valued his friendship more. The man was about six inches taller than her five foot six with short dark hair and gray eyes—a head turner. Because he loved sports, he spent a lot of time outdoors, giving him a healthy, tanned look, and she knew the slight bump on his nose came from rugby. She’d actually witnessed the on-field scuffle. Yeah, Justin was all muscles and sleek power with a killer grin. No wonder women chased him.
“There’s no one special.”
“Oh.” Pearl wondered what that meant. She really didn’t want to be alone tonight. Did she dare? Apart from his lack of money, Justin was the perfect man. But after a childhood filled with poverty, she never wanted to do without again. It wasn’t wrong to hold out for a man with money. It wasn’t, she told herself.
“What did Andrew do when you threw him out?”
“I didn’t. I took the pearls and left.”
He blinked slowly, his thick, lush lashes sweeping his cheeks. “Wow, you sure told him.”
Pearl cuffed him across the shoulder. “Don’t be smart.” She eyed his lips, wanting comfort. They were firm, the bottom lip fuller than the top. Sexy. Without another thought she leaned close and stole a taste. Justin froze the second their lips met. They stared at each other, their lips centimeters apart, still almost touching. Pearl shuddered, closed her eyes to dive in for another taste. This time Justin was ready for her. He turned her into his arms and tunneled his hand into her hair, tugging strands from her artfully placed jeweled combs. For once she didn’t care. All she wanted to do was kiss him, needing to know she was desirable. Their lips slid together and Justin took over. He nipped and delicately licked then traced his tongue along her bottom lip with clear expertise. Sensation simmered through her, but it wasn’t enough. She moaned softly, opening her mouth in a silent demand for more. Their tongues tangled in a lazy dance, slamming pleasure through every inch of her body. She moaned again and wound her hands around his strong neck, holding tight, rubbing her breasts against his chest in blatant invitation.
When they pulled apart, they were both breathing hard and his thick erection pressed against his fly. Pearl snorted softly. At least he was quick on the uptake. Andrew, despite his wealth and career hadn’t been the brightest bulb, which was probably why he’d managed to get things so wrong.
“Are you sure you want this? It will change everything between us,” Justin murmured, his gray eyes stormy with passion. She shivered, rubbing against him, dragging her hard nipples over his muscular chest again because it felt so good.
“Justin,” she whispered, tilting her head up for more.
“I want to hear the words, Pearl. I don’t want you to say later that I took advantage of your vulnerable state.”