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Zoologist Sara Carmichael’s active social life is the envy of all her friends, but she has a secret. She’s bored senseless. If she has to go to one more bird sanctuary fundraiser with some guy who thinks his little sports car makes him “hip,” she’ll scream.
Enter Brad O’Halloran, her best friend Kim’s much younger brother. A guy who’s picking up the pieces after a quickie marriage and even quicker divorce. A guy so hot he makes her body scream with frustration.
Until Sara’s apartment is renovated, they’re all living at Kim’s place. Despite her determination to not to salivate at glimpses of Brad’s finer-than-fine body in nothing but a low-slung towel, flirtation escalates to the brink of something more.
Now one of them has to back down…or ante up for some good, dirty fun with the unspoken understanding that when the time comes, they’ll make a clean break. Neither anticipated they’d make the most complicated connection of all—love.
Warning: This book contains a hero who knows how to make engines— and women—purr, seduction while on cold meds, and a heroine who might be a little older but still enjoys learning a few naughty new tricks
Why do you need to read this book? Loved this book! It was spicy, it was believable, and most of all it was romantic! Must read!
Dirty Distractions is available: Amazon
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In the three months, fifteen days and handful of hours since she’d last had sex, Sara Carmichael had thought of little else. Maybe not every minute, but way more frequently than usual. And the co-star of those fantasies was the grinning, often grease-spattered man currently ogling her from a few feet away across her best friend’s backyard.
Sara reclined in the chaise lounge by Kim’s pool and brought her cell phone close to her face, as if she were mesmerized by the scores of last night’s game. Instead she peered over the top of her phone, tracking the way Brad O’Halloran’s gaze tracked her as she idly ran her toes along her left calf.
She always felt exposed around him, though her basic black swimsuit didn’t exactly promise carnal delights. It was a bikini, true, but at forty-two, she doubted the under-thirty set would be getting erections looking at her curves.
Brad was under thirty. He also seemed tall enough to block out the sun as he rose and strode over to her, though she suspected her own modest five-foot-three height made it seem as if he were taller. As often covered in grease as he was in aftershave, Brad didn’t skimp on all those man pheromones that set a woman’s nose twitching.
Or her nipples hardening, depending.
As far as things went, Brad was a pretty good catch. A business owner, intelligent, pleasant to talk to. He was beyond hot. Sizzling. Scorching. And yet still really young.
“You’re going to go cross-eyed if you keep staring at that phone, Sara Smile.”
Sara Smile again. The old eighties song had come on one day earlier that summer and Brad had immediately adopted the nickname for her, probably in the hopes of driving her nuts. It was working.
She’d never had a nickname before. Sara was a utilitarian name, a proper moniker for a competent, professional woman whose life was normal in every way. Normal, familiar and predictable.
Well, not that predictable. At least to outsiders she appeared to be having the time of her life. She loved her job. She dated, and most of the guys she met were nice enough. If she was a little restless sometimes, a bit unsatisfied, that was to be expected.
“You’re standing in my light,” she protested, nudging him away with her elbow without looking where she was aiming. Her jab went a little high, glancing off his thigh perilously close to the bulge in his faded jeans.
“Hey, hey. Watch it.”
She stared at her phone and hoped he’d leave. Didn’t a guy like him have women to chase on a hot Sunday afternoon? Since he was recently divorced—after a marriage that had lasted less time than a TV sweeps period—surely he needed to reassert his dominance on the dating scene.
While she’d gotten to know a lot about Brad as a person, she didn’t know a lot about his love life, other than the occasional rumor that hinted he was a stranger to celibacy. She and Kim had become fast friends when Sara moved to Fairdale, Pennsylvania three years ago to work at the Fairdale Bird Sanctuary. Kim worked in the sanctuary’s gift shop and had helped Sara get used to a new home far from her family and friends back in Idaho.
Due to the timing of their simultaneous singledom, Brad and Kim had made the decision to temporarily live together while they fixed up their mother’s old Victorian home to sell. Two months ago Sara had taken over the spare bedroom after she’d lost her own apartment to building renovations. Telly, her conure, couldn’t tolerate paint fumes, so she’d gratefully accepted Kim’s offer to stay with them for a while.
Some nights the three of them would pop in a movie and share some popcorn and laugh their asses off about nothing. Kim and Brad were awesome roomies, and Sara wasn’t in any hurry to leave. She’d even told her landlord he could finish the renos at his own pace because she was so happy with her new arrangement. Being with them had offered her a respite from her solitary life, and she had no intention of ending the party early.
But lately Brad had bumped up the amount of time he spent around her when Kim wasn’t around—especially the amount of time he spent staring at her. Seductively. Almost daring her to make a move.
She hadn’t responded to his advances. And she wouldn’t, because of Kim, among other reasons. What friend wanted their much-younger brother to be cougar bait? Just because they were living like freewheeling college students didn’t alter her status as a respectable professional.
Who happened to lust after a guy she should’ve seen as a brother.
It was probably the low-slung towels he paraded around in after his showers. That had to be it. His damn ripped stomach would turn a virgin into a nympho. And she was no virgin.
“Kiss for your thoughts.” Brad grinned and dropped down at the end of her chair, sitting very close to her legs. She hastily scooted over, but he only used the extra room to sprawl.
Sara rolled her eyes. “I don’t kiss little boys.” Shit. She hadn’t meant to say something so mean—especially not with that note of challenge in her tone.
Brad’s grin widened. “Little’s not a word that’s ever been used to describe me.”
She didn’t blush or fidget at his reply. Years of schmoozing at fundraisers and events with the public had taught her well. She had a pretty good game face and knew he wouldn’t be able to decipher her reaction. But her pulse quickened, and the sudden dryness in her throat contrasted sharply with the surge of moisture between her thighs.
“I wasn’t referring to height.”
His grin deepened. So charming. So utterly cocky. “Me either.”
Deciding she’d had enough of his attempts to flirt or whatever the hell he was doing, she lifted her brows. “I’m forty-two. I’ve seen a lot. A lot,” she emphasized, though it was only recently she’d seen much of anything. And most of what she’d seen she’d already forgotten.
That was partially because she’d given up having men over when she’d moved in with Kim. It seemed awkward, and she didn’t relish meeting Brad over coffee the next morning while her sheets still smelled like another guy’s aftershave. It felt…weird. So she’d accepted her love life would consist of sleepovers at the guy’s place until she grew out of her need to live with her friends as if she were twenty all over again. She wasn’t seeing any man in particular right now anyway. None of them interested her enough.
Did that make her fickle or impossible to please? She wasn’t sure. But she hadn’t given up looking for that guy who would make her pulse race faster.
Kind of like Brad’s doing now?
“And yet you’re single. So I’m thinking what you’ve seen hasn’t been worthy of making you stick around. Am I right?”
“I almost got married before I moved here,” she said, surprised again at what came out of her mouth. Somehow she’d developed a disconnect between her brain and her vocal cords.
“Yeah? What happened?”
“According to my ex, I ran away to play with endangered birds.”
He laughed, tipping his head so his longish, dark blond hair tumbled into his eyes. They seemed caught between gray and blue, as if even his irises were incapable of making up their minds. Just like Brad, if rumors could be believed.
“According to my ex, I left because I couldn’t be with just one woman.”
He braced a hand next to her knee on the chair, his knuckles millimeters away from brushing her skin. The backs of his hands were lightly dusted with hair, much like the bare chest he insisted on flaunting whenever she was within view. Unlike the very straight hair on his head, his chest hair was almost curly, the kind that would be perfect for a woman to tug on.
If a woman were inclined to do such things.
“Well, gotta admit, a three-week marriage does seem pretty bad.”
“It was almost six weeks actually,” he said, his voice lacking any inflection. But his easy grin faded.
“You still did better than me,” she said, making her own tone brighter in denial of the flatness of his. Funny, she’d used his quickie marriage and divorce to dismiss him, but the tense expression he wore while discussing his ex almost made her jealous.
Maybe he wasn’t such a player after all.
“I didn’t even make it to the altar,” she added, registering his silence.
“Neither did Darla and me. We went to the JP. Justice of the Peace,” he said at her curious expression.
“Oh. I thought you’d gone to Vegas.” She didn’t really think that, but she wanted him to smile again. He didn’t seem like Brad without the semi-permanent grin.
“You have lots of thoughts about me, apparently. Most of them wrong.”
“Maybe I’m a presumptuous bitch.” Again she scratched her calf with her toes. Except this time she knew exactly where his gaze would go, and the idea didn’t disturb her as much as it had a few minutes ago.
Sunstroke maybe? It was awfully hot out here. Or could they have actually forged some sort of bond over broken relationships?
Some sort of platonic bond. Because, seriously, she wasn’t going there. Not with Kim’s little…err, younger brother.
Normally she didn’t have a problem with making a decision and sticking to it. But lately ping-pong matches had nothing on the wishy-washy flip-flopping she was doing in her own damn mind.
“Or maybe you want me to think you are so I lose interest.”
“Are you admitting you have interest?” she tossed back, wondering where Kim had disappeared to. Her friend had run to the store around the block. What could possibly be taking so long?
He leaned forward and snagged her free hand, dragging it to…what? He wasn’t really going to put her hand on his—
Yep, he was. Oh my God. She had her hand on her best friend’s brother’s sizable erection, and her fingers were all but twitching with the urge to wrap around him.
No. Absolutely not. Heat radiated through thin cotton, an undeniable temptation. If anything, he grew even harder.
“Take a breath,” he advised, his lopsided grin again overtaking his face. “For such a woman of the world, a man’s hard cock shouldn’t be all that big of a deal.”