Stripped

NLA Digital LLC
477

So how did I get myself into this situation, you ask? Simple: desperation. When you're faced with being homeless and hungry or taking off your clothes for money, the choice is easier than you'd imagine. That doesn't make it easy, though. Oh no. I hate it, in fact. There's nothing I'd like more than to quit and never go into another bar again, never hear the techno beat pulsing in my ears again, never feel the lecherous gazes of horny men again. Then, one day, I meet a man. He's in my club, front and center. He watches me do my routine, and his gaze is full of hunger. Not the kind of desire I'm used to though. It's something different. Something hotter, deeper, and more possessive. I know who he is; of course I do. Everyone knows who Dawson Kellor is. He's People Magazine's Sexiest Man alive. He's the hottest actor in Hollywood. He's the man hand-picked for the role of Rhett Butler in the long-awaited remake of Gone With the Wind. He's the kind of man who can have any woman in the entire world with a mere crook of his finger. So what's he doing looking at me like he has to have me? And how do I resist him when he looks at me with those intoxicating, changeable, quicksilver eyes? I'm a virgin, and he's an American icon of male sexuality. I'm a stripper, and he's a man used to getting anything and everything he wants. And he wants me. I know I should say no, I know he's the worst kind of player...but what my mind knows, my body and my heart may not. And then things get complicated.
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It started with a window that was jammed shut. Pretty simple, right? All I wanted was to open the windows while I tidied the house. I’d been after my no-good husband to do it for months, but he never did. And then he shacked up with his secretary, leaving me with a pile of bills, husband-free for the first time in ten years, and with a house that was falling apart. 


The ad popped up on the side of my social media feed—a local contracting agency willing to do pretty much anything. Since I don’t really know a screwdriver from a ratchet, I gave them a call. 


And let me tell you, the ad was NOT lying. Jesse O’Neill can do it ALL…and looks amazing doing it. 


He fixed my window, so I called him back to fix the sagging, splintery front steps. Which led to him fixing my kitchen sink. And then he recarpeted my stairs. And then fixed the squeak in my bed. 


He was supposed to fix my house, not my rusty, sputtering libido. And certainly not my broken heart.

Lucian Badd saved my life. He jumped into the freezing water of the Ketchikan harbor after I fell in. He took me to his room, stripped my wet clothes off, and wrapped me in a warm blanket. 


That should have been it. I should have hit the road as soon as I could, because I’m a vagabond, a drifter. A homeless orphan with no family and no future except what I create for myself. Which is why getting tangled up with a guy—no matter how tall, dark, quiet, and sexy he may be—is a really terrible idea.


Yet…I kissed him anyway. And that one kiss? It set my world on fire, turned everything upside down. 


I know I shouldn’t get involved with him. I tell myself I won’t. Yet, I still get pulled in by him and his seven brothers and their wives and girlfriends—by the concept of family, something I haven’t had in a very, very long time. Something I never thought I’d have again. 


Every moment I spend with Lucian turns my present into perfect, and puts my future at risk. 



*   *   * 


As the second youngest Badd brother, I’ve lived my entire life in the long, broad shadows cast by my older brothers—the burly, bad boy bartender, the Navy SEAL, the trick pilot, the athlete, and the rock star twins. Even my younger brother, Xavier, finds a way to outshine everyone in the room with his unassuming charisma and dizzying intellect. More and more lately, I’ve been asking myself where I fit in.


And then Joss Mackenzie fell into the Inside Passage in the middle of a freak snowstorm, and in so doing, fell into my life. I saved her from the icy water, but can I can I save myself from falling for a girl I know is only going to end up doing the one thing she does best—leave? 


It’s evident from the first kiss what the answer is—there’s no saving myself, not from the magnetic appeal of her wild, untamable spirit, or the exotic allure of her caramel skin and long dreadlocks and golden-brown eyes and perfect body. I’m helpless against this attraction.


But as I seek to find myself and my place among my larger-than-life brothers, will I lose my heart to the exotic beauty with walls a mile high and a tragic past? 

4.2
477 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
NLA Digital LLC
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Published on
Aug 14, 2013
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780989104449
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Romance / Contemporary
Fiction / Romance / New Adult
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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