Hump Day: Marie Harte's Just The Thing

JUST THE THING by Marie HarteHave you been brought down by the mid-week slump? Marie Harte's got Just the Thing to make you perk up. Her sexy Five Star Gold contemporary romance won't be with us until July, but we have a very sexy excerpt to devour right now.

Life after the Marine Corps has been difficult for Gavin, but he's finally found some stability in teaching a self defence class at a local gym. That's where he meets Zoe, who's working daily to overcome the grief from losing her sister in a terrible car accident. As they both work to rebuild their lives, they discover that love may be Just the Thing they need.

They worked well together for close to an hour, under the cool wind and dappled moonlight making fairy patterns on the grass.

“Fairy patterns?” Gavin asked when she commented on it. He hunkered next to her as he patted at the soil around a freshly weeded cucumber plant. “Someone’s a little too fond of Lord of the Rings.”

“Why is that the only movie people associate with fairies? And they were elves and dwarves, technically.” She paused. “And hobbits.”

He rolled his eyes. “Fine. Name another fairy movie.”

She opened her mouth and closed it. Suddenly blank. Before she could come up with a better argument, she felt a raindrop hit her cheek. Then another.

Gavin glanced up. “Hell. At least it held off for a while.”

She would have agreed, but then the sky opened up, and a torrent of rain fell from out of nowhere.

In seconds, she was drenched. “I’m getting soaked!”

“Shit. Let’s go.” He hauled her with him to the back porch, then left her to ease Leon and his new pals under the eaves, so that the water wasn’t pummeling directly on top of the transplants. Instead, the wind sprayed the drops like mist over the fragile blooms.

Once inside again, they stood dripping onto the kitchen floor.

Gavin swore. “That rain is not gentle or warm. I think a few more minutes out there and we’d be missing skin. Damn storm.”

“No kidding.” She started to shiver.

“Wait here.” He hustled away and came back with towels and a robe. “I raided the downstairs guest room, where Hope’s staying. This place is better than the Ritz. Leave your muddy shoes here. You can change in the guest room around the corner.” He pointed past the kitchen toward the main hall.

She left and returned, clad only in the fluffy blue robe. She refused to feel self-conscious, because the wet cold of undergarments had been like torture. Especially in contrast to the soft warmth of the robe.

She found Gavin in the kitchen in nothing but jeans, towel-drying his hair. Droplets graced his muscular shoulders and biceps. A dusting of hair covered his firm chest and ran down his corded abs.

Holy mother of… She pretended to yawn to cover her gaping mouth.

He froze when he saw her. “Blue’s your color.”

“Tan is yours,” she quipped, earning a grin.

But there was no mistaking the hunger in his gaze.

“So, ah, what now?”

The loaded silence about killed her, until Gavin nodded to the hallway. He skirted her, careful not to make contact, she noted. Then he walked past the living room, leading her back down another hallway toward a smaller living space. It was cozy, filled with a large-screen television, a soft, thick sectional, and a fireplace. With the flick of a switch, he had a fire going.

“Gotta love natural gas.”

She nodded.

“Yep. No chopping wood for these folks.” He smiled. “And no smelly smoke from the flue being blocked. Had that happen a time or two growing up, back when my mother thought it would build character to take us all camping.”

“What happened?”

He placed the towel down over a faux bearskin rug in front of the fire and sat, his back to the fireplace. “My mother and father realized we are not a ‘roughing it’ kind of family. Landon and I basically tormented Hope, Mom, and Theo with spiders. Dad refused to cook in such a primitive setting, without his designer pots. And it rained on our borrowed tent…that had holes. Unfortunately, Mom hadn’t listened to Aunt Beth about trying it out and checking for tears before we camped.”

She chuckled. “I consider myself a hotel kind of camper, myself.”


“But you were in the Marines, right? You must have done plenty of camping in the woods.”

To her surprise, his face closed up, and she realized his time in the service had come with a hefty price. He said he’d seen horrible things. It appeared the memory of them wasn’t far away.

Then Gavin seemed to shake off the memories, because he smiled. “I’m a better camper than Landon, that’s for sure. I was enlisted. I worked for a living. My prissy older brother was an officer. Major Pain in the Ass, for sure.” He snickered.

“What rank were you, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Master sergeant. I wanted to stay a gunny, but they forced the promotion. Most of my time was spent away from a desk, thank God. I’m not an admin, peacetime kind of Marine. I do better out in the field.”

He seemed calm talking about his time in. Then she noticed his fist by his side, clenched in the rug. He saw her watching him and relaxed it, brushing through the fur. “Great place, isn’t it? Want to watch a movie or something while our clothes dry?” He blinked. “Ah, speaking of which, let me find the dryer. I’ll be right back.”

He darted from the room, returning minutes later. “I threw the stuff in the dryer. Hope that was okay.”

Great. He’d seen her polka-dot panties and plain cotton bra. Way to go, May West. Wow ’em with your sexy lingerie.

She nodded and moved closer to the flames, hoping he’d attribute the heat in her cheeks to the warmth of the fire. Keeping her back to him, she held out her hands, enraptured by the flickering oranges and reds.

She started when his breath swept her ear. “Love those panties, by the way.”

She went from nervous to hot and wanting in seconds. Even though she knew it wouldn’t be smart, she turned and saw bare, muscular flesh inches away. Lifting a hand, she stroked his shoulder and saw him shudder. Then she followed the trail of muscle, and one thick vein, down his biceps to his dense forearm.

“Yeah? Well, I love your shirt too.” She stroked his fingers, then traced a pattern over his chest. Deliberately grazing his nipples, she stared up into his eyes, now dark with need.

“Do you?” he growled. “’Cause I’m not wearing one.”

“Uh-huh.” She bit her lip, aware she was aroused all over. Wet between her legs, her nipples taut, her belly doing somersaults as she breathed in Gavin Donnigan. “I don’t do casual sex,” she reminded him—and her.

“Right. No one-night stands,” he agreed, his voice impossibly low.

“Exactly,” she whispered.

And then, somehow, his mouth was on hers, and the passion building between them exploded.


Gavin couldn’t take it. Two seconds from coming in his pants, just from looking at her. Knowing she wore nothing but skin and that sensual, fluffy robe killed him.

But the nail in the coffin—her fingernails scraping his chest.

Lost in her taste, her touch, he felt her hands everywhere. Gliding across his pecs, his stomach, grazing the button of his jeans.

He swore against her mouth as he unfastened his pants, then unzipped to give himself some room. Fuck, but he was thick and hard. Ready to come without much more prodding. So when her fingers grazed his cockhead, sliding through the moisture there, he could do nothing but give the lady what she wanted.

Gavin had been doing his best to keep his hands away from the robe opening, controlling the kiss and being as much of a gentleman as he could. But shit. No longer.

He pulled away and yanked off the rest of his clothes while she stared, her eyes wide, her lips parted, quiet. Her hands moved to her robe, and he covered them so that they removed her robe together to pool on the floor. He spared her a glance, wanting to feel more than see the feminine shape that so tantalized. This first time.

They met, naked, body to body, and he groaned at the silky feel of her against him. So soft, pliant, yet firm as she yanked him closer and kissed him until he couldn’t breathe. Not sure who made the first move, they ended up on the rug. He kissed her, palmed her breasts, and nudged a leg between hers. Needing to be inside her in the worst way.

His desire skyrocketed when she moaned and grabbed him back, her soft panting and mewling cries like pinpricks of arousal stabbing him everywhere.

Sanity tried to rear its head—to slow down, make sense of it all, be smart. But there was no reasoning once she wrapped her ankles around his waist and nudged his cock between her folds.

He kissed his way to her ear, biting her lobe with insistence. “So hot. You feel so fucking good.”

She gasped and rocked against him, causing the head of his shaft to slide inside her.

“Zoe?” he managed, pulling back to stare into her eyes.

“On the pill,” she confessed and dragged him back for a kiss, digging her heels into his ass in encouragement.

Gavin thrust the rest of the way inside her. “Oh fuck.” He pulled out only to surge back in, faster, harder. No patience left.

“Yeah,” she whispered and clasped him tighter, tugging at his shoulders as he rammed in and out, no finesse, just raw need.

It didn’t take long before she cried out and seized around him, her body so hot and slick  she sucked him into an orgasm without thinking.

He shuddered as he came, emptying inside her until he could no longer maintain the carnal frenzy. She squeezed him again with her body, and he swore and jerked, finding something left inside him after all.

Just the Thing will be available in digital and print on July 4. Digital copies start at $6.15, grab yours here: Amazon | B&N | Google Play | iBooksKobo. And if more Hump Day excerpts is what you crave, we've got you covered.

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