ANY TIME, ANY PLACE – EXCERPT
She laughed as he made his way back outside to bring in the rest of his supplies. He organized the setup with a ruthless precision that surprised her. For some reason, she’d pictured him as a sloppy worker, but he examined every piece of his equipment, from brushes to sander, and created a kind of assembly line. She scooped up her coffee and headed toward her table.
“Gonna hang out with me today?” he asked.
“If that’s not a problem, yes. I have a ton of work to do and won’t get in your way.”
“I’d love company. Just one problem.”
She prepped for a flirty, meaning-laden comment. “What’s that?”
“I need music.”
“Oh. Well, that’s okay, I can put on the jukebox or Pandora radio.”
“No, you don’t understand.” Why was his face turning a light shade of pink? “I have particular music I like listening to while I work, and not everyone appreciates it.”
She tilted her head in consideration. “Is it, like, blackmail material?”
“My brother Cal would say so, but he’s always lacked true taste.”
A smile tugged at her lips. “Do your worst. I won’t say a word.”
“Yes, I swear.”
He considered her words, then nodded. “You’re now in the circle of trust. Once you’re in, you can never be released.”
“Kind of like marriage?”
She laughed again and sat down. He took his phone out, swiped at the screen, and the strains of NSync belted out in high-energy, poppy form. Her eyes widened in surprise, but Raven didn’t say a word. He cut her one warning glance, then focused on his work.
Raven decided to do the same.
Problem was she couldn’t.
A strange thing happened during the Backstreet Boys’ greatest hits—had they really actually had enough songs to do a greatest hits album? Her attention kept getting tugged away from inventory and upcoming work shifts and toward Dalton Pierce’s ass.
He leaned over the bar, denim stretched tight, powerful hands stroking the wood like a lover. Fascinated, she watched him walk slowly down the length of the massive mahogany front, palms coasting, lips moving in a whisper of sound she couldn’t hear, as if he was speaking to the wood. Face set in concentration, he seemed in another world, a look of blissful peace radiating from his eyes. At one point, she let herself stare, wondering why he seemed like more of a puzzle than she’d originally thought. Each movement was coordinated with grace and an odd sort of poetry, whether he was sanding down the surface, scraping and chiseling out the bumps, or soothing the wood with soft strokes.
The scents of sawdust and varnish and oils filled the air. She didn’t even realize it was past lunchtime until she forced herself out of her voyeuristic daze and looked at the clock.
He’d never even taken a break.
Rising, she rotated her stiff neck and walked toward him. “You missed lunch.”
He startled at the sound of her voice, blinking.
“Lunch. You haven’t eaten.”
“I’m good. In the zone.”
She shifted on her feet. “Oh. Well, I brought sandwiches for us already. You can join me. To eat. For lunch.”
Pure interest flashed in his gaze. “A lunch date, huh?”
Raven blew out a breath. “It’s a roast beef hero, dude. Don’t get excited.”
“That’s my favorite sandwich ever!”
She rolled her eyes and walked into the kitchen. Retrieving the subs, she took out some potato salad and chips, arranged them on plates, and brought them back out to the table. “Soda or water?”
She grabbed two bottles of Fiji, put them on the bar, and reached for glasses.
When she turned back around, he stared at her with an open look of horror. “What? What happened?”
He lunged for the bottles and tore them off the bar, studying the two wet rings on the surface. Uh-oh. A fine sheen of sweat gleamed on his forehead, and his golden hair was all mussed, looking like he’d just tumbled out of bed. His voice dropped to a sexy growl of sound. “Did you just place water bottles on my bar?”
HGTV’s Property Brothers meets The Marriage Bargain in this second volume in the Billionaire Builders series, an all-new heart-wrenching and sexy contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.
When she was a teen, Raven Bella Stratton’s father was killed in a horrible car crash. The bigger shock was the discovery of a woman with him—Diana Pierce—and their two fully packed suitcases with airline tickets to Paris. Devastated by her father’s betrayal, Raven went to live with her aunt, never truly overcoming the traumatic event. When she discovers that the mysterious woman had a family with a husband and three boys, Raven vows to leave the memory of her father behind.
Until Dalton Pierce visits one night and suddenly her past challenges her future…
Leaving his life in California behind to run Pierce Construction with his two older brothers, Dalton Pierce has enjoyed returning home and studying his passion of woodworking. But when he visits the local bar with his brothers one evening, he’s immediately drawn to the smart-mouthed, badass, sexy bartender who sets his body on fire. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem as intrigued by him, and his multiple advances are met with rejection. When he offers to restore the bar back to its original glory, he begins to work with her on a daily basis, and falls harder. His plan of seduction slowly weaves a web around them both, until they are caught up in the spell. But Dalton doesn’t know the secret that can either destroy them both…or finally mend two broken hearts.
Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon’s Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.
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