Hump Day: Alisha Rai's HURTS TO LOVE YOU

HURTS TO LOVE YOU by Alisha RaiWhen we first read Alisha Rai's RT Top Pick! Hurts to Love You, we were immediately swept up in Eve and Gabe's romance. The book marks the end of Alisha's Forbidden Hearts series and while we are super sad to see the series draw to a close, this is one SERIOUSLY satisfying ending! This addictive friends-to-lovers romance releases next week, but you can read a sexy excerpt right now:

He tossed the old blankets he’d found in the chest on the couch, his boots squishing water.

She imagined saying in her sultriest voice, You’re all wet. You should take your clothes off.

“We’re both soaked,” he remarked. His tone was casual. He really had decided to table their issues for the night, it seemed. He was back to being mild, calm Gabe. “I didn’t think to bring clothes, but looks like there’s plenty of towels and blankets in this chest, if you want to dry off. I know I do.”

She swallowed, then swallowed again. “Sounds good,” she squawked, and gave him her back, focusing on the fireplace.

She liked him. She knew he liked her. Possibly liked her like that.

And now they were going to engage in platonic nudity? Or maybe not platonic.

Things were getting unzipped and uncovered behind her, and her imagination was zooming into overdrive. Wet fabric fell on the floor. She tensed as his heavy footsteps came closer to her. She didn’t have to see him to know when he was standing by her side. Heat radiated off of him hotter than the heat from the fire.

She turned her head slowly, and looked up. He’d wrapped a blue quilt around his waist, and slung a gray towel around his neck.

“You okay?” He draped a shirt over the fireplace screen first, and then his wet jeans, and finally his socks.

No underwear. Was he still wearing it? Did he not wear any? So many questions.

He dried his hair briskly with the towel, and she tried not to stare, transfixed, at his bulging biceps. He was so big. There was a light smattering of hair on his chest, darker than the hair on his head, but his tanned skin was otherwise smooth. Crouched as she was, she was on eye level with his thighs. She could easily tug that blanket away, see what was under there.

She’d barely kissed him.

She shuddered. She wasn’t a dramatic person, so calling her being thrown from the horse a near- death experience was a little too much for her, but that split second when she’d twisted in the air had clarified something for her. The fact that one of her regrets in a He’d turned his back to her, as interested in the fire as she’d been while he was undressing dangerous situation was not touching and being touched by this man—well, she ought to at least try to rectify that, right?

He stared down at her, and an odd look crossed his face. “Eve?” He shook his head. “Why don’t you get out of those clothes? You’re soaked.”

Have you ever wanted something you couldn’t have? It was happening.  Finally.  Her moment.  She couldn’t predict what his reaction would be, but she could control her own behavior.

This isn’t low-risk.

Worst case, he’d reject her. She wouldn’t die.

Sometimes people need to be taught to see you as who you really are than what they think you are.

She swallowed and rose to her feet. She wasn’t sure how, that was the problem. She’d had exactly two boyfriends in her life, and both had been men—boys—who had known her. Her main draw, for them, had been her wealth. She hadn’t exactly had to seduce either of them. Her trust fund and connections had been seduction enough.

But getting naked was probably a good precursor for seduction.

She walked to the chest, trying to make her walk as sexy as waterlogged clothes would allow for. Not that he’d notice.

His back was sexy too, a vast landscape of muscle and ink and bone. A blue-green dragon stretched from shoulder to shoulder, poised for flight. She wanted to trace his shoulder blades with her tongue, kiss her way up his neck.

She slowly whisked her shirt off, the fabric raw and rough on her oversensitive flesh. Every noise she made sounded louder than it needed to be, but she was glad about that. She wasn’t paying attention to her clothes at all, but to his muscles. Was there a contraction when she undid her zipper? Was there a relaxing when she shimmied the fabric down her legs?

She hesitated over her bra and panties. They were wet too, but it seemed a little too wild to go butt naked under a blanket. She compromised by keeping her panties on and removing her bra.

She dried off with a towel quickly, rubbing the thin terry cloth over her goose-pimpled skin, and then wrapped a blanket around her, tucking it under her arms and leaving her shoulders bare. Since that felt scandalous as well, she draped another blanket over her shoulders.

“I’m decent,” she said, and walked her wet clothes over to the fire. He turned. If she hadn’t been so attuned to him, she would have missed the quick once-over he gave her, but every bit of exposed flesh burned.

She arranged her clothes next to his to dry, and daringly draped her bra so it was visible. Daring . . . ha. Her daring meter was definitely out of step with most people. She hadn’t had anything daring happen to her in a while.

The light from the fire brought out the red in his hair. She angled her body toward him, supremely conscious that they were both wearing very little clothing.

“We’re going to be here for a while,” he murmured.

She cleared her throat. “It seems that way, yes.” “I don’t have a cell signal. Otherwise I’d suggest we stream a movie or something.” “I don’t have a signal either.”

His lashes fluttered. They were long, those lashes, tipped in red, like his hair. “We’re going to have to entertain ourselves the old-fashioned way, I guess.”

Oh. Well.

Eve pressed her fingers to her neck, but there were no pearls to clutch. “Um.” Yes, it was happening, and it had been so easy.

This is a bad idea. You can’t have sex with him and walk away from him. But do you want to ever feel regret like today again? 

Her two sides—caution  and  need—were  at war, and she wasn’t sure which one to listen to.

Caution was smart and how she lived her life, but need was hungry.

Need had felt that big body plastered on top of hers before, and it had had more than one dark car ride to talk to him and like him and, hell, smell him. Need wanted this.

He leaned closer and his well-formed lips formed words she was dying to hear.  

She swayed closer, eager and scared. “Monopoly?” 

What. “Huh?”

“Do you want to play Monopoly or Clue?”

Eve drew back, the  urge  to  laugh  bubbling up in her. Jesus, she’d been picturing him naked and driving into her, and he’d been talking about board games. “Monopoly is fine,” she managed. He gave a curt nod and made his to the leaning bookcase, which held a couple of old games.

She was relieved, funny enough. But she was also disappointed.

The night is still young. Be brave. Take what you need.

She took a deep breath and let it out in a slow exhale. No regrets.

Hurts to Love You will be available in digital and print on March 27. Digital copies start at $5.99, grab yours here: Amazon | B&N | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo. If more Hump Day excerpts is what you crave (who wouldn't), we've got you covered!

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