Sexy Little Surprises due out June 8 from Ellora’s Cave
After ten years in, Alexis Marshall thinks her marriage is over. Maybe it doesn’t matter that she still loves her husband, still dreams of him, still aches for him…maybe it doesn’t matter that her entire body longs for him…
But before she walks away, she going to try one more time to see if there is anything left. She’s pulling out all the stops. Sexy surprises, sweet seductions, provocative promises. Anything to remind him—and herself—of what they had together before an unexpected heartbreak tore them apart.
She’s not ready to let go of her marriage. And she’s out to seduce her husband and make him realize that some things are worth fighting for.
Alexis wondered if he knew what to make of the book.
She sort of doubted it.
He hadn’t even realized the card’s quote had been from Ovid, a classical poet who Alexis had very much adored.
Ah, hapless me, Love’s arrow did but all too surely find its mark. On fire am I, and Love, and none but Love now rules my heart that ne’er was slave till now.
It had almost made her tear up that year when he’d given her an old-fashioned valentine with a quote from one of the world’s classic poet’s.
Sighing, she stood at the stove and stared at the clock.
It was almost six.
She didn’t know why she was bothering with dinner.
It wasn’t like he’d be home before seven or eight.
Front door, the alarm system chimed. Disarm system now.
Startled, she glanced up and moved away from the stove, drying her hands off on one of the towels.
When she saw him there, striding down the hall toward her, it almost hit her like a fist.
Swallowing, she turned back to the stove.
A minute, damn it.
She needed a minute.
Her hands shouldn’t be shaking like this.
Busying herself at the counter, she focused on the very mundane task of chopping up vegetables for curry. The chicken was currently browning on the stove and up until a few seconds ago, she’d been kind of hungry.
Right now, though…
She paused for a second, licked her lips and then laid the knife down before turning around.
He glanced at the knife, his blue eyes cautious. “Putting it down so you don’t give into temptation?”
“Nah.” She shrugged and glanced at the knife. “You know how I hate having to clean up a mess. If I was going to tear into you, I’d use a blunt object. Less blood that way.”
So she didn’t have to keep staring at him while her heart raced and hurt and shuddered, she turned back to the vegetables.
“Ah…I’m sorry about last night.” Garrett came a little closer, keep a wide berth like he thought maybe she’d decide to use that knife anyway. “I fucked up, plain and simple. It’s not excuse, but one of the big cases we were working finally came together and…hell. It doesn’t matter. I should have called.”
Her heart lodged in her throat. Well, at least it wasn’t something minor, she supposed. “Which case?” she asked quietly.
“The Bayside rapist.”
She paused and looked up at him. “You caught him?”
He nodded, a grim look in his eyes as he stared off into nothing. “We’re keeping it quiet for as long as we can but it will probably hit the news tomorrow. I should have called you and I would have but I wasn’t reading email or anything—things were moving fast and I just forgot, Lex. I’m sorry.”
She looked back at the meal she was working on, focused on it for a minute.
She needed to think.
If he’d called, she might have been disappointed, but she would have understood.
The crazy thing, though…she wouldn’t have come to that hard, painful self-revelation. The longer the day went on, the more clear it had become for her. She did love him too much to just keep going as they had and if their dinner had gone off without a hitch last night… She would have just keep going on, business as usual, for who knows how long.
They deserved better. Both of them.
It had taken a painful nudge to push her to this. But she wasn’t going to explain that just yet.
She was going ahead with her plan of a slow seduction.
Garrett needed to need her again. The way she realized she still needed him.
So instead of explaining anything, she just nodded. “It would have been nice if you’d called,” she said softly. “I’m not going to apologize for not coming home or talking to you yesterday. I needed some time to think.”
His hand stroked down her back. That light touch sent a small thrill through her and part of her just wanted to dance…because he’d touched her. Damn it, he’d reached out to her. Touched her. They so rarely touched anymore…
“Does this mean you’re…?”
Stirring up the chicken, she checked to make sure it had browned and then she stirred in the veggies. “Mean I’m what?” she asked, easing away from his hand. Hard to think when he had his hands on her. And damn, it had been a while. Such a long, long while.
Maybe a month?
And that time had been quick and hurried, in the shower.
The times before that, a few stolen minutes in the middle of the night here and there.
She was tired of it.
She wanted more.
Needed what they’d once had and she was taking it. They were taking it.
He still hadn’t answered her, she noticed. As she got a saucepan out for the rice, she glanced at him and asked again, “Mean I’m what?”
He was staring at her, hard.
“Aren’t you mad at me?” he asked.
A faint smile curved her lips. “Well, I won’t deny it was unpleasant to sit there and wait, and wait, and wait…” She set some water on to boil and added some salt before she turned around to study him. “But it’s over and it’s done. What do you want me to do? Yell? Have a tantrum?”
A muscle pulsed in his jaw.
He had something in his hand, she noticed absently.
A little, blue gift bag.
Her heart bumped against her ribs, but she pretended not to notice as he continued to watch her.
“Are you divorcing me?” he demanded.
Then she blew out a breath. “Well, you’re as blunt as always, aren’t you?”
Nervous, she reached up and toyed with her necklace. “Garrett, I…”
“Damn it.” He tossed the bag down on the counter beside her and closed the distance between them. Big hands, strong and rough, closed around her hips.
She gasped as he boosted her up and settled her on the counter, glaring at her. “I just want an answer. Do you want a divorce?”
Alexis lifted an eyebrow. Oh, no, my man, she thought. She’d just decided she wasn’t ready to give him up. There was no way—
“Answer the damn question,” he snarled.
“No,” she snapped.
His mouth came crushing down on hers and she forgot anything and everything else as hunger, so long forgotten, came rushing to fore.