I’m super excited to share this weeks snippet, No Matter What by Erin Nicholas. This was one of the very first books by her that I read and I’m super excited that she’s extending the book and making it a series.
He was grinning and that infuriated her. The first time she had heard him laugh and seen him actually grin, and it was at her expense.
“Then what just happened?”
“I scared you.” He said it matter-of-factly.
“Scared me? What are you talking about?”
“I almost kissed you, you panicked and ducked, I lost my balance and we fell in.”
She opened her mouth to reply, then quickly snapped it shut again. Was she more shocked that he thought he made her nervous…or that he was right? She began shaking her head.
He nodded his head in response. “Yes. You panicked when you realized I was going to kiss you. You’re scared of me.”
“I knew that you were pretty full of yourself the first time we met, but this is way over the top,” she declared, but her voice lacked conviction.
She moved to pull herself out of the water and he quickly grasped her upper arm. “I don’t think so.”
She sucked in a quick breath, but she held still, even as she realized that was probably a bad idea.
“Look me in the eye and tell me that you didn’t know I was going to kiss you.”
She struggled to swallow as she looked into his eyes. But no words came out. Her gaze dropped to his collarbone and she said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
He smiled and moved an inch closer. She stiffened but didn’t move away. “Jaden, so you know, I had every intention of kissing you a few minutes ago. I don’t want there to be any confusion about that.”
Hot and cold, numb and tingling all at once. She was amazed what a few simple words could do. Though she also realized that it was the tone of voice, not the actual words, that affected her so profoundly. Several seconds passed before she found her voice and said quietly, “I’m not scared of you.”
One corner of his mouth tipped up. “No?”
She shook her head and pressed her lips firmly together, telling herself she did not want to know what kissing him would be like.
“You’re not nervous at all about my attraction to you and your equal attraction to me? You’re not even a little anxious about me kissing you and where that might lead?”
She shook her head again and managed to pry her lips apart. “Even if you did kiss me—and I’m not saying that I think that’s a good idea—it wouldn’t lead anywhere. I think you should know that up front.”
”You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, Jaden,” he said soothingly, rubbing his palm up and down her arm where he still held her. “But I think that you should know up front that I’m very certain, eventually, I will kiss you and it will lead to something.”
He moved in a little closer, making her press her back against the rough side of the pool. “But because you’re skittish about this, today I’ll settle for this.”
He slid his hand down her arm slowly, creating goose bumps in the wake of his touch. Then he took her hand and lifted it to his lips, pressing a firm but gentle kiss to the center of her palm. A shiver went through her and she knew that it did not escape his attention.
He pulled himself out of the pool and shook water from his hair. He stood on the side and shrugged out of his jacket, tossed it onto the chair, pulled his shirt from the waist of his pants and began unbuttoning it. He peeled it off, wadded it into a ball and squeezed water from it. Jaden watched every move, unable to tear her eyes away even when he turned and saw her studying him. He kicked his shoes off, watching her the whole time. She didn’t move. But when his hands went to his belt, she shook herself from her daze.
“You’re not undressing right here!”
He looked around. “I can’t go dripping water through the whole house.”
She pulled herself from the pool and stomped to the chair where there was another dry towel. She tossed it toward him. “And I’m not skittish.”
He began toweling off. “That will make seducing you much easier.”
She spun toward him in the midst of pulling on a long T-shirt, only one arm poking through the sleeve. “Seducing me?” Her voice was almost a shriek.
Shrugging, he asked, “What did you think all the kissing would lead to?”
“We’re not kissing.”
“Not right now,” he agreed. “But that will change soon.”
“This is nuts. Is this the real reason Kathy and Cindy quit?” she asked, naming two of the three therapists who had come and gone from the Steele estate. “Because you were trying to get them into bed?”
Adam frowned at that. “The thought of taking either of them to bed didn’t even occur to me.” The resoluteness in his statement left no room for doubt.
Jaden stuck her left arm forcibly through the T-shirt and finally pulled it over her head and down to cover her body. She crossed her arms and regarded him with narrowed eyes. “But it’s occurred to you with me, after only one day?”
Adam stopped drying off and walked toward her, stopping only when he was close enough that she could see the gold flecks in his eyes. He put one finger under her chin and tipped her head up to look into her eyes.
“Taking you to bed occurred to me the first moment I saw you.”
He had to stop doing that. If she lost her ability to breathe and think every time he said something like that, she was afraid she would quickly lose her professional credibility with him. If she hadn’t already. Finally, she spoke. “Maybe that should have come up when we were discussing the job with Emily.”
He dropped his gaze to her lips. “I have every confidence that you can do both very, very well, but if you’re concerned, maybe you would be more comfortable not being Emily’s therapist.”
Anger welled up in her so quickly she wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. “You want me to concentrate on you rather than Emily?” Then she took a deep breath and forced herself to calm down. She shrugged. “Sure, that’s a great idea. You can bring in another therapist to work on her rehab while I have sex with you all day long. In fact, thank you for thinking of it. I was wondering how I was going to accomplish all of that by myself.”
He lifted an eyebrow. “You would have an affair with me and let another therapist work with Emily?”
She took a step forward, her eyes narrowed. “You are unbelievable.”
She put both hands on his chest and before he could react, she shoved him as hard as she could.
Jaden stood at the edge of the pool, hands on her hips, glaring down at him when he came up for air. “Of course I will not have an affair with you and turn Emily’s therapy over to someone else. My first and only priority is Emily. You’re going to have to find another…outlet…for your sexual energy.”
“So you’re staying?”
“That’s what I said.”
“No matter what?”
“No matter what.” Then she marched to the heavy glass door and jerked it open, turning for only a moment to tell him, “And, for the record, I’m also not kissing you…no matter what.”
Handsome billionaire Adam Steele is good. Good at getting his way. If nothing else, money always works—until he realizes he can’t buy his daughter’s way out of her new wheelchair. Three private physical therapists later, he’s almost given up on Emily walking again. Then he meets Dr. Jaden Monroe. And his match.
Feisty physical therapist Jaden Monroe has never met a man quite like Adam. She’s not sure if it’s his I’m-in-charge attitude or the heat in his eyes when he looks at her, but she finds herself wanting to say yes to anything he asks. Like when he asks her to help his daughter walk again. Of course, the million dollars he offers—just enough to finish the pediatric rehab wing Jaden has been working for and dreaming of—is hard to say no to as well.
But Jaden didn’t anticipate a teen whose injuries are more than physical. Or a man so passionate and devoted—and as tenacious as she is. As she and Adam fight their attraction, the only thing harder than keeping her promise will be keeping a hold on her heart.
This book has been previously published and has been expanded from its original release.
Warning: Contains heated arguments that erupt only slightly more often than hot kissing, a new perspective on kitchen appliances, and sizzling sex occurring everywhere BUT the bedroom (though they eventually make it there).