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ONCE IN A LIFETIME
by Jill Shalvis

Genre: General Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance

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Swallowing hard, she forced herself to turn away. But her eyes had a mind of their own and needed one more peek, and she pivoted back.

And bumped right into him.

Chest to chest.

Thigh to thigh.

And everything in between. He’d moved silently, coming right up on her. “Did you talk to Mrs. Cappernackle?” he asked. “Did you apologize for whatever it is you did?”

She went still, then forced herself to relax. “You think you know something,” she said. “But you don’t.” She turned to leave, but he wrapped his hand around her wrist and pulled her back.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” she said. Once again he was close. Too close. So damn close. “At all,” she added, hearing with some alarm that her voice had softened. Everything had softened, at just his proximity. “Ever,” she whispered, and found her gaze locked on his mouth.

He had a really great mouth.

“I don’t want to talk, either,” that mouth said very seriously. And then he lowered his head. They shared a breath for a beat, just long enough for her to know what was going to happen and feel the anticipation wash over her.

Then he kissed her, deep and slow and utterly mesmerizing. His hands were firm on her back. Needing an anchor, she reached out and grasped his shirt and leaned into him. He was warm and solid, so very solid, emitting the kind of strength that she herself was a pint low on today. Leaning in more, she felt his body respond.

Things got a little hazy then. A lot hazy. She felt his hands move over her, melting her bones away. She touched him, too. Her hands wandered all over his body — and good Lord, what a body.

She had no idea how long they kissed — and kissed — but she didn’t think about stopping until she ran out of air. Breathing hard, she slowly opened her eyes and stared directly into his.

They’d heated. Darkened. And something else. He wasn’t looking so relaxed now. In fact, he was looking the opposite of relaxed. He looked…feral.

And she was his prey.

It made her quiver in arousal, which was crazy, but she couldn’t look away. He was still holding her. In fact, he was holding her up. And having his hands on her was doing a number on her heart rate. “I have paint samples,” she said inanely.

“Paint samples,” he repeated.

“Yes.”

“You were thinking about paint samples just now?”

No. She was thinking about the temptation of his hard body and how he might feel on top of her, holding her down while he did all sorts of delicious things with all that…hardness. Not that he needed to know that. “Yes,” she lied. “I was thinking about paint samples.”

His lips swept along her jawline to her ear. “I could make you forget about them.”

No doubt in her mind.