"Will hook you from the opening scene and keep you flipping pages...Scott Sebastian is the perfect combination of alpha jerk and naughty delight."Jana Aston
NYT Bestselling Author
The Sebastians own this city.
Hell, they own the whole world.
All I want is one little piece of it, a corner that I can call my own.
So when my boss runs away to "find herself", I seize the opportunity and dive head first into the Sebastian's glamorous universe. It's everything I've ever wanted--fast paced and high stakes--and, even though I don't fit in, I'm excellent at faking it.
Until I come face to face with the man in charge, Scott Sebastian, the arrogant, playboy heir with the mind of a devil and the body of a god and a mouth I can't stop thinking about.
He's infuriating. He's a distraction. He's the man who wants me in his bed as much as I want to be there.
And, if I get too close, he'll be the one person who could expose me for what I really am--a fraud.
Release date: October 27, 2020
Publisher: Paige Press LLC
Print pages: 260
Reader says this book is...: entertaining story (1) high heat (1) sex scenes (1) strong chemistry (1) strong heroine (1) suspenseful (1) unputdownable (1)
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Man in Charge
I was holding my phone up, looking for a signal when I heard it. A soft mewling. The kind of sound a kitten makes when it’s in trouble.
Perking my ears, I scanned my surroundings. Behind me, four metal silo-shaped structures huddled together. Below me, the crowded rooftop bar pulsed with high energy. In front of me, the Empire State glowed prominently in rainbow colors (in honor of the LGBTQ rally happening that weekend), but the abundance of flashing club lights from the venue made the famous tourist site pale in comparison. It was loud too, which was part of the reason I’d snuck up the steel staircase to the building’s highest level, wanting to make a phone call. The other reason being that I had yet to get more than one bar to show on my screen.
The mewling, I determined, had to be coming from the silos, whatever they were. I imagined they housed mechanical items for the building—electrical, air conditioning, whatnot. Some top-notch architect had for some reason decided that bronzed cylindrical towers with tops that looked like Asian rice hats was the best way to pretty up the industrial equipment. Seriously, trendy New York City design style was beyond my grasp. They were weird, as far as I was concerned.
And they were also on the top of a building with sixty stories, so the likelihood that I’d heard a lost cat was relatively slim.
The sound had stopped, anyway. It had probably been just a squeak of a generator, or I’d imagined it. I went back to my phone. Two bars now when I faced this direction. I climbed the remaining three steps to the official top level. Three bars! That would work.
Except, now I heard the cat again.
Twice more. It definitely wasn’t mechanical. I lowered my phone and crept cautiously around one of the silos. If it wasn’t a cat—which it couldn’t be this high up, right?—then what was it? Did rats make those noises?
I cringed at the possibility. There was honestly no reason to look for the source.
But what if it was a cat? Maybe the hipster bar kept one up here to take care of the mice. It wasn’t the most ridiculous idea, and my curiosity was piqued, so against my better instincts, I continued around the curve of the second silo.
Then I froze.
It wasn’t an animal making those noises—it was a woman. She was about fifteen feet away, her back pressed against the brick wall that framed a smokestack on the other side of the silos. Her eyes were closed, her cocktail dress gathered up around her waist, and the sounds she was making were whimpers of pleasure, not distress. Probably due to the man standing in front of her. More specifically, his hand working between her legs.
And, wow, he was really working it if the expression on her face was any indication.
Quickly and quietly, I scuttled back around the silo and let out a slow breath. I didn’t know if I should laugh or...well. What other reaction should I have? Certainly the instantaneous buzz of arousal between my thighs wasn’t appropriate.
So laugh it was. A silent laugh, so as not to disturb the “lovers.”
When the impulse at humor had passed, though, the buzz was still there. It had been way too long since I’d gotten laid. My last real relationship had ended the previous summer, then there’d been that one rebound hookup over the Halloween weekend, and since it was currently early September... Oh my God, it had almost been a year. No wonder I was so intrigued by the rando couple getting it on in a dark corner of a rooftop shindig.
The vicarious stimulation was too alluring. Softly, I tiptoed back around the silo, my body pressed against the edifice so I could just...peek.
Whoa. The sight was just as sultry the second time as it had been the first. More so now, when the woman’s hips bucked up against his hand. It was downright filthy, the way he held her arms over her head, the way they didn’t kiss, the only points of contact between them at her wrists and the place between her legs.
The next time she moaned, I almost moaned with her.
I made a note to self—apparently you think voyeurism is hella hot.
So hot that I’d forgotten all about why I’d come up here in the first place. So hot that my own pussy throbbed. So hot that I didn’t think to slip back into hiding when she let out a final gasp and shuddered out her orgasm.
It was obviously when I should have left. Okay, I should have left earlier, but since I hadn’t, this was the time. Yet, I stayed, entranced by the nonchalant attitude of her man as he pulled a hankie from inside his tux jacket and wiped off his hand before tucking it back into his pocket. Didn’t even offer it to her.
It was evident the woman noticed. She scowled as she adjusted her dress, but her smile quickly returned. Throwing her brown tresses over her shoulder—dark but not as dark as mine—she sidled up to him, her hand lowering toward his crotch.
“Come on, Eden. You’re finished.” While I couldn’t make out everything from my vantage point, I could clearly see him move her hand off of him.
“But you’re not,” she purred.
He stared at her for several seconds. I wished he was facing me so I could see his expression. It was so hard to spy on people who weren’t cooperative.
“I’m not interested,” he said finally. A dismissal, clear as day. I could tell that without having to see his face. “Only reason I got you off was so that you’d leave me alone.”
This guy was a real asshole.
Or was he? He had given her what seemed to be an extremely proficient orgasm before blowing her off. Of course, I couldn’t know enough to make the judgment from what I’d seen. But it was hard not to imagine details of the scenario as I stood by figuratively eating popcorn, and in my imagination, the guy was both fantastic at the sex and at the assholing.
The traits seemed to come in pairs from my experience.
Eden harrumphed, but she seemed to know when she was defeated. “Your loss. You know I treat you good.”
“Yes, I do know. That’s the problem.”
Oh, yes, definitely a prick. The kind of guy who needed strange. The kind of guy who only messed with a girl once and moved on. Considering that the entire bar had been rented for an elite event, the one roaring on below us, I had this guy totally pegged. Rich. Entitled. Playboy. Eden would do best to walk away.
Her smile fell away, and she straightened her spine, her eyes throwing daggers. “You’re an asshole.”
My word exactly, Eden.
Playboy shrugged. “I warned you.”
“You warned me knowing that by doing so you would come off as exactly the opposite. You know what? You deserve your misery.”
She looked about to leave, which was my cue to skedaddle, but I hesitated when he reached out and grabbed her arm. “Eden, wait.”
Her face softened with relief. Like she’d been hoping he’d stop her. I knew that hope. I was pretty sure Eden knew what she was in for when she’d gotten involved with this bastard, but still. It was hard not to empathize.
He let go of her arm and reached out to touch her face. Just when I thought playboy might not be so bad after all, he said, “Clean up before you go down there. Your mascara is smudged.”
Eden jerked away, and with no further words, she stormed off.
Stormed toward me, actually.
I scurried around the silo, far enough around that she wouldn’t see me as she descended the stairs, but not so far that the asshole would see me on the other side. Then I waited, listening for his footsteps so I’d know when it was safe to come out of hiding.
The asshole had a real quiet step, apparently, because I didn’t hear squat. So I counted. To two hundred to be sure enough time had passed. It was a long two hundred, too, because I lost count a couple of times when an image of the sexy scene I’d walked into jumped into my head.
I was definitely adding get laid to my to-do list. This was ridiculous.
Finally, I poked my head around the silo to where I’d last seen him standing.
No one was there. I took a few more steps to be sure. He was nowhere in front of me. I sighed with relief.
“Looking for someone?”
I jumped at the voice behind me. Whirling around, I saw him standing in the shadows where I’d been just a few seconds before.
There was no way he’d known I was there. He couldn’t have. He definitely couldn’t have known I’d watched him. Quickly coming to that conclusion, I played innocent. “I thought I heard an animal. A cat in trouble. I was just looking around.”
Awesome, Tess. That didn’t sound super defensive at all.
“A cat. On a rooftop this high.” He was rightly incredulous.
“It was odd to me too. Hence, why I was looking.”
I was sweating with nervousness. I hadn’t forgotten that I was at this event under false pretenses, and though there was no reason for this guy to question that right now, the fact put me on guard.
And not necessarily on guard in a good way. Because I should have stuck to my story—it was a true story, after all—and been on my way. He was still lingering in the shadows, his face cloaked in the dark. It wasn’t like he was trying to stop me.
But there was a challenge behind that single syllable, an unspoken dare, and anyone who knew me knew I wasn’t the type to walk away when the gauntlet was thrown.
I took a step toward him. “Huh? What’s that supposed to mean? You don’t believe me?”
He shrugged, the same couldn’t-care-less shrug he’d given Eden. “I just meant huh.”
“Oh.” Maybe I’d imagined the dare. This whole adventure was a mistake. Why did I think I could pull this off without freaking out? I might be the kind of person who stood up to a challenge, but I wasn’t an idiot, and coming to this party tonight had been crazy idiotic. And now I was making up drama where there wasn’t any. “Okay, then,” I said, turning away from the mystery man.
The same way he’d reached out with his hand to stop Eden, he reached out with his voice to stop me. “See, I think you did come looking because you heard something. Then you found something else. And instead of walking away...you stayed.”
I pivoted back toward him. “I didn’t—” I cut off abruptly. He’d stepped out of the shadows, and now, for the first time, I saw his face.
And it was stunning.
No wonder Eden had been gaga over him. Everyday men didn’t look like that. He was cover-model material. Pressed to describe him in words, I wouldn’t have been able to explain what about him was so attractive. It was the whole package. The way his features knit together. His high cheekbones. The chiseled jaw evident under a well-trimmed beard, some shade of brown. His inset eyes—it was too dark to grasp their color, but the placement was perfection. And while it hid a lot from the backside, the tailored tux he wore showed enough from the front to see that he was very well-defined. Like, the kind of defined that not only owns a home gym but also spends time in it.
I’d been so surprised by him, so unprepared, that the words stumbled out before I had a chance to rein them in. “Oh, wow, you’re hot.”
Heat rushed up my neck into my face. My olive skin didn’t show blush too easily, but the blood still ran upward when I embarrassed myself. And this was super embarrassing. Too embarrassing to even figure out how to fix.
While I was kicking myself and dying of shame, he swept in, smooth as a cucumber. “I was thinking the same thing about you.”
And now he was hitting on me.
After he’d just gotten off another woman. I’d pegged him accurately, that was sure. Player with a capital P.
I laughed, half nerves, half incredulity. “That’s not. No. We’re not. Uh-uh. Thanks, I’ll just be leaving now.”
I was too flustered to get all the way turned around this time before he halted me once again. “No, wait. I apologize. I didn’t mean to come on strong. You said it first, so I took that as an invitation.”
I considered for a beat before I responded—something I knew I should do more often. Okay, right. I had decided he was a playboy, but I didn’t necessarily have proof. I had been the one who’d verbally vomited on a total stranger. I was definitely the one out of line.
“I did do that,” I admitted. “I’m sorry. It just came out.”
“No need to be sorry.” His smile was like gold the way it gleamed. Hypnotic. He could convince a lot of women to do a lot of stupid things by flashing that beauty.
I hoped “a lot of women” didn’t include me. But I was also realistic, so I was on high alert that it probably did.
And yet I was still standing there.
“Add that to the fact that you did stay through what you found up here.” He was determined to make me admit to what I’d seen. It was a guess. He was feeling me out.
Really, though, was there a reason to deny it? I was more curious where he was taking this conversation, so I merely said, “And?”
“And that, combined with your comment on my appearance, gave me a different impression of where this interaction might be going.” He prowled toward me. Literally. Prowled.
It was ridiculous how sexy a man could look just taking a handful of steps.
Even more ridiculous was how affected I was by it.
And, oh my God, it had taken me a beat, but had he really just said that?
“Please,” I said, groaning in irritation that was meant for me as much as it was for him. “Because I accidentally walked in on your little sexcapade, you think that means I must want a sexcapade of my own?”
“No, of course not.” That nonchalant shrug again. “It’s the fact that you watched.”
Another rush of blood to my cheeks. His back had been to me the entire time. Eden hadn’t even seen me, and she’d been the one facing me. Was I wrong? Was there something reflective I’d missed on that brick wall? I swiveled to study where he’d been standing. I looked back to where I’d been standing.
Nope. No way. He hadn’t seen me. I turned back to him with a gloating smile. “You couldn’t know that.”
Then it was his turn to gloat, because of course I’d just given away that I had indeed watched.
“I was determining consent,” I said on impulse.
“Looking out for your fellow woman.”
“Exactly.” I felt noble about the lie. As though I’d really been a hero instead of a peeping Tom, only concerned with whether or not Eden was being raped.
His smirk called bullshit, but he played along. “I hope you came to the conclusion that there was, in fact, consent.”
“On her part anyway.” I might have thought it was a dig when I first said it, but after the fact, even I knew it sounded like I was flirting.
Fuck. Maybe I was.
His expression seemed equally unsure. “I wasn’t forced into anything. But yes, you’re right. She didn’t have my full attention. You, on the other hand, do.” Unsure or not, he was awfully brave.
I had a thing for stupid-hot, brave players.
And fooling around with one was definitely not on the night’s agenda. I had to step away. “Okay, that’s fine,” I said, my head all jumbled and dazed. “Yep. I’m just— thanks, but no thanks. I just came up here to make a call, and yeah. I’m going to go do that now.” I had the sense to leave then. Even more sense to call over my shoulder, “Please don’t follow me.”
All right, maybe it wasn’t sense that had me taking that last peek in his direction. I wanted to know if he was watching me walk away.
Call me an idiot because I was pleased to find he was.
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