“Laurelyn Paige, you are Jake Beckett’s daughter and you should use that to your advantage.”

“No, I’m Jolie Prescott’s daughter, and I’ll make my own way. I’m done talking about this. I love you, Mom, but I’ve gotta go. I’ll call you next week.”

I hang up as Lachlan reenters the living room. “Everything okay with your mum?”

Mum. It’s so cute the way he says it. “As good as it can be. She can be difficult at times.”

He passes me a beer. “Did she give you a hard time?”

“Would you like to talk about it?”

No one besides my mother and grandparents know my father is a huge country music star. It’s a secret I’m forced to keep from everyone I know, but I don’t have to do that with Lachlan. He doesn’t know my true identity so that makes him my one exception. “She wants me to threaten my sperm donor with going public about my paternity in exchange for him getting me a record deal.”

That sounds so much worse when I say it out loud and I feel the need to defend her, even if she is wrong. “Please, don’t think my mom is a terrible person. She’s not.”

Lachlan scoots closer to me and puts his arm around my shoulders. He props his feet on the coffee table and I can tell he’s prepared to talk and listen as long as I want. “I don’t think she’s a terrible person. She only wants to see her daughter succeed, but the right way of achieving that has become blurred through her eyes.”

We talk a long while and then go into the kitchen to continue our conversation over Mrs. Porcelli’s reheated chicken casserole. I know nothing about her or their working relationship, but something tells me she has a soft spot in her heart for her employer. I picture a gray-haired woman who loves Lachlan like a son, but then a different notion strikes me. Perhaps she’s younger than I imagine and is secretly in love with him.

We finish eating and thoughts of Mrs. Porcelli fade from my mind as we clear our dishes. When I finish, I’m drying my hands when he approaches me from behind and kisses my neck as he slides his hands around my waist. I think he likes doing that—surprising me—and I imagine him liking other things from behind.

He pushes my hair away from my neck so he can place kisses there and I tilt my head to the side. When he’s done, he reaches for my face and turns it toward him so I’m peering at him over my shoulder. He presses his erection against my bottom and kisses the corner of my mouth. He wants me. Badly. “I’ve been thinking about getting you into my bed all day, and now I’m done thinking about it.”

He takes my hand and pulls me toward the bedroom. I happily follow because I’m ready for this. I’m anxious to begin what he has predicted as the best three months of my life. So far, he hasn’t disappointed me.

We walk into the bedroom and I see my overnight bag on his bed. I wonder when he moved it from the guest room, but I don’t ask because it doesn’t matter. We both know I was never going to sleep in any other bed than his. That’s isn’t why I’m here.

We stand in the middle of the bedroom facing each other and he cradles my face with his hands as he kisses my mouth. His tongue moves slowly in a wave against mine and I melt against him.

He stops kissing me but doesn’t pull away. I feel his mouth move against mine when he speaks. “Do you need a minute?”

His inquiry makes me question if he snooped in my bag and saw the lingerie, but I don’t care. There are no pretenses here. We both know what’s about to happen. The only question is which set of lingerie I’ll be wearing when it does.

He gives me a quick kiss. “Don’t be long. I’m anxious to get you under me.”

We haven’t spent a lot of time together but I can tell that he likes to say things like that. He’s already proven he’s a man who speaks his mind. I bet he talks dirty in bed. I hope so.

I grab my bag and head into the bathroom. I quickly undress and try to decide which lingerie to wear. The naughty Christmas set is on top, but I’m saving it for tomorrow night.

I go with the sheer black lace baby-doll and matching panties—it’s naughty, yet somehow innocent at the same time. Something tells me Lachlan will like having it both ways. When I’m dressed and ready for him, I fluff my hair and finish myself off with body spray as I inspect the final product in the mirror. I feel every beat of my heart in my flushed face, but I’m not nervous. I want this man and everything he has planned for me.

I stop just inside the doorway. This no-pretense thing makes me brave, so I don’t go to him right away. I feel playful, still a little buzzed from the alcohol. I want to tease him, so I put my hand on my hip and lean into the doorframe, supporting myself with a raised hand. The hunger in his eyes tells me everything his mouth doesn’t. He’s dying to have me.

He grins and sweet seduction oozes from him. I melt to a puddle on the floor because I know what he’s about to do with that mouth; he’s going to use it to make me come.

He watches as I walk to where he’s standing by the bed. When I reach him, he twirls his finger in a circle. “Turn around for me.” I’m not sure if he means all the way around because he wants to see the full view or because he wants my back turned to him. I know he likes to touch me from behind so I circle slowly, deciding he’ll stop me if that’s the way he wants me.

I make a full spin before he drops to his knees in front of me. He pushes my gown up above my hipbones. My panties are riding low and he kisses my stomach before he runs his tongue over the jeweled piercing through my belly button. “This was very unexpected today. I like it.”

I put my hand on top of his head and run my fingers through his thick, dark hair as he kisses each of my hipbones above the elastic waist of my panties. No man has ever knelt before me and explored my body like this. On one hand, it’s unsettling. On the other, it’s hot as hell and has me drenching wet.

He hooks his fingers in my black lace panties and drags them down my legs. I have to use his shoulders to balance myself as I step out of them because my head is spinning so hard from everything he’s doing to me.

He tosses them aside and runs his hands up the back of my legs, starting at my ankles until he cups my cheeks and pulls me against his face. His mouth is almost right where I crave it, and I’m ashamed to admit how badly I yearn for it to be on me.

He gazes up at me. He smiles when his eyes meet mine and we don’t break contact as he leans forward to lick me in one long stroke. I’m shocked, but not by the feel of his tongue. It’s the sight of seeing him do that to me. I think he wants me to watch the show.

“Sit on the bed.” I do as I’m told because I’m afraid not to.

I sit farther back than he wants me to, so he grabs my legs behind my bent knees and pulls me until I’m barely on the edge. He takes my feet and places them on the rails and pushes my legs apart. “Don’t lie back. I think you’ll enjoy the visual.”

Oh, fuck me running! Or on the edge of your bed using your mouth. I watch his head dip between my legs. He uses his tongue to lick me up and down before it circles the place throbbing with need for his attention. He pushes his thumb inside me and glides it in and out while his tongue works its magic. In little to no time at all, he takes me to that place—the one where a little is too much, yet never enough, and I’m close to coming undone.

It’s that spot right there. As I’m sending him the telepathic message, he receives it and gives me exactly what I need to finish. Once the rush of pure pleasure starts, I can’t stifle the incoherent garble escaping my mouth. I fist his hair and pull his mouth harder against me.

I feel a new sensation—tiny quivers deep inside as I spiral down from the place Lachlan has taken me. I come to my senses and realize I’m still fisting his hair. I let go and know I should apologize, but I can’t find the coherency required to speak.

My legs are quivering, boneless appendages in the aftermath and I think my knees will buckle if I try to stand. I look at Lachlan to make sure I didn’t smother him when I slammed his face between my legs. He’s peering up at me. “You are so damn beautiful.”

“Thank you,” I whisper. I’m not sure if I’m expressing gratitude for the compliment or the supernatural orgasm he just bestowed upon me. I don’t have time to iron it out because he kicks off his shoes and strips his shirt over his head without unbuttoning it.

He’s the beautiful one—soft and hard in all the right places. He wastes no time in ridding himself of his jeans and boxer briefs. He’s anxious to fuck me. And I’m anxious to be fucked, but first I want to return the favor he has gifted me with twice.

He sees me get off the bed and knows I’m about to drop to my knees, so he stops me. “Not this time. I need to be in control or I’ll blow as soon as your mouth touches me.” Yeah, I sort of know the feeling.

He spins us around and sits on the bed. He needs the control, but I see what else he wants, so I climb up to straddle him. He rubs his thumbs over my nipples through my nightie and I hear him suck air through his teeth when I grind against him.

“I can’t wait any longer. I’ve got to have you right now.”

He loops one arm around my waist and I hang on to him as he leans forward to get a condom from his nightstand drawer. When he sits on the bed again, he lets go of my waist and leans back. He tears the square package open with his teeth and rolls the condom on in one quick motion. I look down because I want to watch, but I’m too late because he’s so fast.

I feel his hands on each of my hips and I’m flipped onto my back. He uses his legs to push mine apart and he positions his erection against the very wet center between my legs. He bites his bottom lip and shakes his head as he groans, “Paige, I’m about to fuck you so hard. You have no idea.”

And then he drives into me with one smooth motion—hard, just like he promised. Or threatened. I suppress the surprise behind my lips and the noise I make comes out sounding like a moan. He pulls back with deliberate leisure and it feels like he’s going to slide out completely, but then he thrusts into me again even harder. He does this several times and I realize what he’s doing. He’s pacing himself because he wants this to last as long as possible. And so do I.