Kat Wilder is screwed. No parents to take care of her. No money to pay the mortgage for the apartment she shares with her little sister. No chance at a future. She doesn’t even have time to daydream about her passions. She barely gets by waiting tables, getting treated like crap by the wealthy people who think she’s nothing.
Then she runs straight into billionaire tech CEO Blake Sterling.
Aloof, distant, and utterly in control, Blake is impossible to read. He wants Kat to play the role of his girlfriend and he’s more than willing to dig her out of debt. His intentions are good.
According to him.
They need to convince everyone they’re madly, deeply in love. Their entire relationship would be a lie. And a big one. The one true thing—the two of them alone, together—that part would be amazing.
It would be Blake’s way. Blake’s terms. Blake utterly in control, inside and outside the bedroom.
There’s no way she can agree. There’s no way she can refuse.
He brushes his fingers over the hem of my dress like he's brushing off my comment. "I'm never going to love you, Kat. But while we're together, I'll make sure you don't want for anything."
"What about... it's not like I can have a secret boyfriend on the side," I say. "Not that I want to. I mean... you're very handsome. More handsome than any other guys I know."
"You want to fuck me." It's a statement, not a question.
"Yes." I barely manage to get it out. "Not necessarily today. But eventually."
"This part is real." He leans a little closer. His hands slide over the sides of my chest. Over my shoulders.
His eyes are fixed on mine. It's so intense I have to look away. He pulls the strap of my dress aside slowly, like he's asking for permission. I lean into him, and his lips press against my neck.
Heat rushes through my body. It's been so long since I've been kissed, touched, anything. I dated guys in high school, but I never... I don't have any experience.
I close my eyes and surrender to the sensation. Blake pulls my dress off my shoulders. He cups my breast, over my bra. Kisses a trail from my lips to my collarbone.
"What does this mean?" I ask. "We haven't agreed to anything."
He shifts so we're eye to eye. "Is there anything else you want?"
"How long will this be? Is it indefinite?"
"Until I don't need the ruse anymore."
"And how long will that be? I want to fall in love one day. To get married and maybe even have a family. I can't be the billionaire's fake girlfriend forever."
Dread creeps onto Blake's face. "Six months. A year at most."
I study his expression. It's something that hurts him, but he's not about to let me in. "Is there an out?"
"I'll only accept a full commitment."
Some of that dread passes through me. So much could go wrong. Blake could turn out to be an abusive asshole. I could meet Prince Charming and fall madly in love tomorrow.
But agreeing would mean an end to that awful mortgage, an education for my sister, and at least six months of living without pinching pennies.
Whatever the risk there is of losing myself in Blake's role, it's worth it. "Okay." I offer my hand to shake.
He takes it. "I'll have my lawyer draft a contract. We'll sign tomorrow."
He stares deeply into my eyes. "This will move fast. We need to clean you up this week."
I bite my tongue. It's a role. I need to look a certain way. Nothing personal. "I work nights and weekends."
"You'll switch to lunches. No Saturdays."
"I'll never keep my job."
"I'll have a word with your manager," he says.
Just like that, he'll snap his fingers and everything will fall into his lap. Must be nice to have that kind of power.
"No, I'll convince her," I say. She does owe me one.
"I'll pick you up at 9 A.M. Saturday."
Jesus, that's early for someone who works mostly nights. "As long as you bring coffee."
He brushes my hair from my shoulder. "When you're with me, Kat, I'll take care of everything."
He runs his hands over my bra. "Clothing."
"Oh, that stands for clothing, does it?"
His lips close over mine. It's magic. Like one of those scenes in a movie where fireworks explode over a pretty pink castle. Blake's lips are soft and sweet, but there's something so commanding about his kiss.
I run my hands through his hair. It's short, brown, and some perfect mix of billionaire CEO and low-key programmer. Soft. His lips and hair are so soft but everything else about him is so hard.
He slips his fingertips into my bra and brushes them lightly over my nipples.
My body shakes with pleasure. It's been so long since anyone has given my breasts any attention, and he moves with a perfect finesse.
I sigh into his mouth, unwrapping my legs so I can slide into his lap. The details of this deal fade into the back of my mind. They seem so much less important than my body against his.
His tongue explores every nook of my mouth. I dig my hands into the soft fabric of his shirt until I can feel the hard contours of his muscles.
Desire overwhelms me. I've never wanted anyone this much. I never even knew you could want someone this much.
He tugs at my dress, but he's pulling it back on, back over my shoulder.
My head is spinning. He's not... but he... he can't stop now, not when I feel so damn exhilarated.
"It's late," he says.
I blink a few times, but he's still staring at me with that same impenetrable look on his face. "What else?" I ask. "Besides food, coffee, and clothing?"
"You'll come when you're with me, Kat. I'll make sure of it."
"But not tonight?"
"Not yet." He shifts off the couch. "I'll walk you out."
"I can walk myself."
I reach for my coat, but Blake is already holding it. He helps me into it.
His fingers brush against my neck, soft and light. Heat floods my body. It's everywhere. I can barely stand it. But not tonight, apparently. Not yet.
Patience is supposed to be a virtue. I've never hated virtue so damn much.
I squeeze my purse tightly[JM1] . I'm about to sign my freedom away in exchange for my sister's future. For our future. A little sexual frustration is the least of my concerns.
Blake walks me to the elevator. He waves his key card in front of the door. "I'll have one made for you."
"Jordan will take you home. If you need anything, call."
"I'll be fine."
His stare is intense. "Anything."
That same flutter collects inside me. He can't mean sex. He just sent me out of his office with my dress falling off my shoulders.
I clear my throat. Blake is a mystery I'm not going to solve. My best hope is enjoying the ride.
The doors slide closed, and I finally exhale. Almost home. It's a quick ride to the ground floor. As promised, the limo is waiting out front.
Inside, I check the mini bar for something that will ease the tension. But this isn't the kind of problem a drink solves.
The door closes. Jordan speaks into his earpiece. "Understood, sir." The partition rolls up with a quiet whir.
I'm as good as alone.
My phone rings in my purse. Blake. What the hell?
I answer. "Hello."
"I said anything, Kat."
"I was there."
"You want something."
My heart races. Of course I want something. He's not an idiot. "Yes."
"So ask for it."
Heat rushes through me, collecting between my legs. "I..."
"Take off your underwear. I want to hear you come."
Will be found here come release day: Amazon
Crystal Kaswell writes steamy romances with flawed characters. When she isn't writing, she is thinking about writing. Or watching way too many episodes of Law and Order in a row.