City reached into his briefcase and brought out two bags of chips and three candy bars. “I came bearing gifts. Thought you might be hungry. Do you prefer”—he glanced at the bags—”prawn or salt-and-vinegar crisps? Or if you don’t fancy crisps, I also have these.” He fanned the candy bars out on one broad palm. “I don’t know what you like yet,” he explained, his tone apologetic.
Cath cast her eyes heavenward in an attempt to keep up a good front, but really, how was she supposed to resist a man who came courting with junk food?
Resist the man. You can have the junk food.
She grabbed the prawn crisps and a Wispa bar. “This is a very classy spread. Are you always so charming?”
“Only when I want something very badly.” He smiled.
She tried to let that slide, but it slid down between her breasts, wriggled over her belly, and warmed up the junction of her thighs. She didn’t have a lot of experience being wanted—or courted, for that matter. It was making her woozy.
City took off his tie in that way real men did, arching his head back as he pulled at the knot and unbuttoned his top collar button. Seeing his exposed throat, she couldn’t help but think about the pulse beating there. About pressing her lips to his warm skin, and the expression on his face when he came.
He folded the tie up neatly and put it in his jacket pocket, then opened the bag of salt-and-vinegar chips. She wondered if it would be possible to surreptitiously fan herself without him noticing.
The train burst into the sunlight. Cath ate her chips and considered what made City smell faintly of cedar. Cedar hangers in his wardrobe at home? A cedar coat rack at the office? Was it his jacket or something underneath? She could find out if she leaned over a few inches and pressed her face into his shoulder. She managed to restrain herself by shoving a handful of chips into her mouth.
The train stopped at Heron Quays, then carried on.
“These are loathsome,” she observed.
Nev reached over and fished one out of her bag. His fingers brushed hers, and she liked it. “You don’t have to eat them.”
“I know, but they’re irresistible. Loathsome and irresistible is a perfect combination in junk food. Have you ever had an Oreo?” She reached for one of his chips. She didn’t even really like salt-and-vinegar, but she wanted an excuse to touch him again. She’d been reduced to flirting like a thirteen-year-old.
“I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure.”
“I can’t find them here. They’re these hard chocolate sandwich cookies—biscuits,” she corrected.
“I know what a cookie is, Mary Catherine.”
She hated her name, but she loved the way he said it. Like an endearment. Oh, she had it bad.
“And in between there’s a layer of white . . . frosting, I guess, though it’s a stretch to call it that. It’s a sort of sweetened, whipped hydrogenated oil paste that the good people of Nabisco refer to as ‘Stuf.’ That’s Stuf with one f, City, if that gives you any idea of what I’m talking about. Anyway, they’re really gross. I love them.”
Nev smiled. Reaching up, he tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear, his eyes never leaving her face. “Have dinner with me.”
“Let me walk you home then.”
“Give me your phone number?”
She smiled, looking down at her lap. “Sorry. No. It would be a mistake.”
“Would it help if I promised not to be?”
Startled, she looked directly at him then. His eyes were earnest, and she wondered what sort of life he’d led that he could even say such a thing. What would it be like to be so sure of yourself that you could promise not to be a mistake? She didn’t know. Couldn’t remember a time when she’d been sure. “You can’t.”
“I can,” he said without blinking. “I will. I promise you, Cath, you won’t regret me.”
“But I already do.” Or she should, anyway. She was trying to. Her conscience regretted him, but her body didn’t. And her heart . . . Well, what did her heart know? Her heart was always getting her into trouble.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT, coming from Loveswept (Random House), June 11, 2012!
Sure, opposites attract, but in this sexy, smart eBook original romance from Ruthie Knox, they positively combust! When a buttoned-up banker falls for a bad girl, “about last night” is just the beginning.
Cath Talarico knows a mistake when she makes it, and God knows she’s made her share. So many, in fact, that this Chicago girl knows London is her last, best shot at starting over. But bad habits are hard to break, and soon Cath finds herself back where she has vowed never to go . . . in the bed of a man who is all kinds of wrong: too rich, too classy, too uptight for a free-spirited troublemaker like her.
Nev Chamberlain feels trapped and miserable in his family’s banking empire. But beneath his pinstripes is an artist and bohemian struggling to break free and lose control. Mary Catherine — even her name turns him on — with her tattoos, her secrets, and her gamine, sex-starved body, unleashes all kinds of fantasies.
When blue blood mixes with bad blood, can a couple that is definitely wrong for each other ever be perfectly right? And with a little luck and a lot of love, can they make last night last a lifetime?
Preorder/order links — only $2.99, releases June 11
Ruthie Knox figured out how to walk and read at the same time in the second grade, and she hasn’t looked up since. She spent her formative years hiding romance novels in her bedroom closet to avoid the merciless teasing of her brothers and imagining scenarios in which someone who looked remarkably like Daniel Day Lewis recognized her well-hidden sex appeal and rescued her from middle-class Midwestern obscurity. After graduating from Grinnell College with an English and history double major, she earned a Ph.D. in modern British history that she’s put to remarkably little use.
These days, she writes contemporary romance in which witty, down-to- earth characters find each other irresistible in their pajamas, though she freely admits this has yet to happen to her. Perhaps she needs more exciting pajamas. Her debut novel, Ride with Me, came out with Loveswept (Random House) in February.
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