He looked like the kind of man you wanted to rip your clothes right off of you. Like a huge, sexy, rugged pirate, stepped right out of the historical romances I loved. But also kind of like a Sean Connery 60s-era James Bond, suave and tall in a classic tux perfectly tailored to fit his large frame. The party was just getting started, but he already had the late-night look with his bow tie hanging loose, his white shirt slightly unbuttoned. My panties got wet just looking at him. I blushed at my own thoughts. They weren’t the kind I normally had. Calculations for science labs, worrying if I’d be late for an obligation, that was what usually filled my head as a sophomore at a preppy all-girls college in Massachusetts. But standing there at that party my mother had dragged me to, I forgot all of that. I hadn’t wanted to go to the black tie charity affair that night, but my mom had insisted. She craved the spotlight. I shrank from it. But she said that there was someone special she wanted me to meet, the guy she’d been seeing for the last couple of months. I’d been hearing a lot about him. He was so rich! Had she mentioned how rich he was? Cross your fingers, this could be the one! But I’d heard that plenty of times before. It got so you tuned it right out. She’d been pretending to be interested in polo lately, the game with the horses and mallets. You know what she liked most about polo? The rich men who attended polo matches. The charity event that night had something to do with raising money for equestrian land conservation. What was that exactly? She pretended to be passionate about the cause, told me the equestrian industry needed our support. I tried not to roll my eyes. I’d had some fun getting ready for the party. Mom talked me into wearing green that night. I usually tried not to call attention to my red hair. It drew enough attention to itself as it was. Thank God it had toned down a bit from the orange of my youth. I liked to pretend it looked auburn, though in full sunlight I swear it was fire-engine red. Basically, my hair belted out a solo of color when all I wanted to do was blend in with the chorus. But my mom certainly knew how to take advantage of assets, and she chose a flattering dress for me. She knew a lot about lingerie and supporting structures and by the time she’d rigged me out I looked like the perfect hourglass. I was still getting used to my curves. I was what you called a classic late-bloomer. I’d had a long, awkward stretch, made all the more awkward because my mother happened to be a movie star. Or had been. She was now decidedly on the B list, but you’ve still probably heard of her. Candice Kidd. At 14 she’d been discovered in a shopping mall in Illinois. She still loved talking about it. She started modeling, living unsupervised and mainlining coke like the rest of the malnourished, overpaid minors with whom she shared an apartment in New York. At 18, she made her big crossover, heading out to L.A. to launch her acting career. At 18 she’d also had me, a minor footnote on her Wikipedia page. My dad was some agent she’d partied with one night, but he’d never been involved. While I’d been shunted off on whatever neighbor she could impose on or babysitter she could afford for a little while, she started snapping up any acting part she could, working her way into America’s hearts or at least the pants of American males. She had a couple of bit parts in teen romps, the kind set in summer camps where bikini tops came off during mud fights. Where at 14 she’d been 5’10” and all skin and bones, by 18 she’d filled out big time. That’s when Hollywood took over. Her big moment, the apex of her career, came with a moderately successful romantic comedy: Springtime in Paris. You’ve probably seen it late at night on TV. There was the cute meet, the typical hijinks and mix-ups, then all was lost until—surprise! Everything worked out in the end. Fast forward 15 years and Candice Kidd was your basic has-been starlet, a few stints in rehab, a few years making headlines as the girlfriend of Zane Black. Nothing like a heroin-addicted lead singer in a band to bring stability to a happy home. She hadn’t been in the headlines for a couple of years, thankfully, but for most of the past decade she’d been good for a juicy gossip story. What had I been doing through it all? The exact fucking opposite. Some of my first memories were of my mom vomiting from too much booze or sleeping off a hangover. I watched her cry into her rum and coke after she got dumped, then a few weeks later clean up all bright, shining and hopeful over some new guy. Repeat cycle. I vowed I’d never be like her, and so far so good. I kept my head down in high school, as much as possible that was. It was hard to be stick-skinny with flaming orange hair and freckles in a Southern California high school where the rest of the student body was either cool and Mexican (think Latin hip-hop video) or surfer dudes (teen beach movie). I fit right in. Not. But I used that to my advantage. I had a lot of time on my hands. I studied and then studied some more and what do you know I’d won myself a college scholarship. I loved it at my safe, small, all-women’s, ivy-covered New England campus. That was my comfort zone. Not black tie galas. When we got to the party, my mom said, “I want to introduce you to someone. Try not to spill anything on your dress. And don’t disappear on me.” Then she promptly disappeared into the crowd. I watched her and sighed. I was used to it. I made my way over to a dimly-lit corner and found an inconspicuous spot behind a pillar. I had a glass of champagne to sip, and I settled in to people-watch, one of my favorite pastimes. That’s when I saw him. The most outrageously handsome, dark and brooding man I’d ever seen in my life. Up until that moment, I’d never really understood what all the fuss over guys was about. While all the teenage girls around me in school had twittered and preened, I’d rolled my eyes. Now, I felt like I’d been hit by a Mack truck. My knees weak, my pulse instantly racing, it wasn’t just the champagne that made me feel tipsy. I was grateful I was standing in a corner where I could lean against some structural support. From my dark, private spot I took him in, all of him. Standing well over six feet tall, he looked so big, so powerful in his stance with his feet splayed apart, hand in one pocket. Dark hair, dark eyes, massive shoulders tapering down into a slim waist. He stood next to the bar, surveying the scene like he owned the place. He didn’t look too much older than me, but he looked so much more experienced. A bit of stubble played along his strong jaw as if he hadn’t shaved for the party, too cool for that. He looked both perfectly at home in the midst of a wealthy gala and also above it all, glowering and rough. A shiver traveled down my spine. His hair had that careless look, tousled just enough as if some woman hadn’t been able to keep her hands off of him. I knew how she felt. I was so attracted to him it hurt. It wasn’t just me, either. I’d heard the phrase before: chick magnet. All he did was stand there looking impossibly gorgeous and strapping and women flocked over to the bar to make eye contact, fluff their hair, and offer a word or two of flirtatious small talk. I took it all in from behind my pillar, spying on him. I gave meaning to my own phrase: wall flower. I took pleasure in the fact that he didn’t seem interested in any of the women who threw themselves at him. He’d acknowledge them, offer a comment or two in return which would make them laugh and ruffle up their feathers. But then his dark gaze would return to the crowd. He’d sip his drink and, without a word, dismiss them. He was bored, I realized. Maybe he didn’t want to be there. Like me. I couldn’t help myself. I made my way over to the bar, too. He had a hypnotic pull I was helpless to resist. I had to draw closer. It wasn’t as if I thought he would be interested. I’d seen him dismiss women far hotter than me. This was L.A., after all, where young, gorgeous women grew thick on the vines. After the party got going there was bound to be some starlet or teen popstar who’d show up with her entourage, the “it” girl of the moment. Surrounded by buzz, that’s the type who had a shot at capturing his attention. Ordering another glass of champagne from the bartender, I felt acutely aware of his nearness. He stood so close now I could almost feel his presence, but I couldn’t bring myself to make eye contact. So I was shocked to hear his voice, deep and sexy like I knew it would be. “Hey, Red.” I blushed furiously. I’d heard that nickname enough times to know for sure he was talking to me. But the way he said it didn’t make me feel awkward or funny-looking. The way he said it made me feel hot. I looked up at him, shy, a nervous, electric tremble running through my body. “Are you having fun lurking around?” he asked. “What?” Shocked, my eyes widened. Had he seen me? “I saw you over there, hiding behind that pillar.” He pointed over to my former hiding spot. I bit my lip and winced slightly in embarrassment. “What are you up to?” he continued, teasing. “Are you trying to make sure you don’t make all the other women here jealous?” “What?” Apparently being next to him reduced me to one word and one word only. I definitely wouldn’t snare him with my witty repartee. But I couldn’t understand, was he giving me a compliment? He leaned down to me and I thrilled at it, he was so tall. At 5’8” I wasn’t exactly a giantess, but he made me feel so willowy and slender, delicate next to his massive frame. “They all wish they looked like you,” he whispered, conspiratorial. “You look fresh and young.” He swept one of my errant locks of hair behind my shoulder, baring my pale skin. “Innocent,” he continued, his voice low and seductive. I looked up at him through my lashes. He had a decidedly more predatory gleam in his eyes now. Much less bored than before. “It’s a currency here in L.A.,” he continued. Gesturing out to the crowd with his drink, he added, “If they could figure out a way to bottle what you have they’d do it in a heartbeat. Even if they had to kill you to make it happen.” For some reason, what he said made me laugh. I burst out with it, not at all delicate and ladylike, more like a peal of laughter ringing out. “You think I’m joking?” He looked at me with the hint of a smile. I hadn’t thought he could look any more handsome, but the sight of him amused almost took away my powers of speech. “No.” I composed myself, a hand to my chest, proud I’d managed to say more than ‘what.’ “I’m laughing because it’s so true.” “They’re vampires,” he observed, looking out at the crowd. “And they would drink my blood,” I agreed, standing by his side. Just like that, I went from outsider to insider. He made me feel special, like I belonged and I’d just about never felt like that before. We stood together, surveying the room from our own private world. He brought a hand to the small of my back and my whole body responded, a surge tingling through me. My stomach did a low, slow flip. If he could do that to me with just one hand, I was in trouble. Gently, he started leading me back over to the dark corner where I’d been standing. How much more I’d enjoy the quiet, private spot sharing it with him. “So, are you here tonight because of your deep concern for equestrian land conservation?” Sarcasm, I liked it. My native language. “I’m very passionate about equestrian land conservation,” I agreed in mock seriousness. “As soon as I figure out what it is, I’m going to become the president of this group.” “Yes.” He nodded as if I’d just said something very wise. “So true. The equestrian industry really needs our support.” “Is that what we’re raising money for?” I had to ask. “I think so.” His full mouth crooked up at the corner in wry humor. “Good.” I nodded back. “The industry matters a lot more than the horses.” “Who cares about the horses?” he agreed. “Horses-schmorses, I always say.” Instantly, I flushed with embarrassment. Why did I have to go and say something so dorky when we’d had a nice banter going, back and forth, making fun of it all together? But he laughed. “Yeah, I’m so glad we’re not at a benefit for animals.” “Please,” I agreed, as if totally annoyed at the thought. “And don’t even get me started about charities that help people.” “Like refugee children,” I added, as if the concept were preposterous. “Ridiculous.” We were both laughing now. When I’d first seen him, scowling and dark, I couldn’t have imagined him doing it, but he now gave me a full smile and I felt dazzled by it, unsteady on my feet. He brushed another strand of hair that had escaped my up-do and tucked it behind my ear. I shivered at his touch. “Why are you here tonight?” he asked me, almost sounding astonished at my presence. In a good way. “I got dragged here by my mom,” I admitted. “How about you?” He shrugged. He gave new meaning to the word “nonchalant”. I thrilled to his every move. “I’m spending Christmas break out here in L.A. with my dad.” “He lives out here?” “He splits his time between New York and L.A. His investments are all over the map.” How very jet-setting. But I could tell from everything about him, the tension in his body, the set of his jaw, the tightness in his voice, he didn’t want to talk about it. I understood that feeling, not wanting to talk about your parent. He looked down at me again in a way that made me feel like it was just the two of us in the room. Like he’d been waiting all night to meet me. “We should get together this week.” He swept his finger along my shoulder and I swore I’d never felt anything so good. I could feel where he’d left a trail, tingling and hot. In that deep, husky voice he added, “I bet we could have some fun.” Me—conservative, inexperienced, some might even say uptight—me, I had to fight the urge to bury my fingers in his hair and lick his neck. Standing that close, apart from everyone else, I could smell his musky, masculine scent and it made me dizzy. My lips parted. His did as well. He reached out again to my hair as if he couldn’t keep his hands off it, taking a strand between his large fingers, touching it as if it were expensive silk. “Like fire,” he murmured. I’d always felt embarrassed by my hair, but he made me feel like a rare, exquisite beauty. “What’s your name?” he asked. “Jewel,” I managed. My heart raced and I could feel myself start shaking slightly, so sensitive to his touch. He looked down at me like he wanted to devour me whole. With a flicker of nervousness, my eyes darted to the side, as if checking for an escape route. I felt so vulnerable, trembling next to his massive frame. We were so tucked away, no one could even see us where we stood. Anything could happen. “Jewel.” He repeated my name and made a low, appreciative noise in his throat. His thumb teased my lower lip. “I want to taste you, Jewel.” Right there at the party, behind a pillar in the dimly lit corner of our private world, he dipped his head down and kissed me. He started warm, gentle and sure, but then he pulled me closer, deepening our kiss, his mouth claiming mine. I felt a rumble in his chest as his tongue teased me, licking, dipping, hot and wicked. I heard a low moan and realized vaguely that it came from my throat. Pressed against him, my soft curves were a perfect fit against his rock hard, solid muscle. Heat grew in my core as he pushed me back against the wall. My hands snaked up into his hair, soft and sleek, his hand circling my throat as I tilted back to take in more of him, his tongue plundering my mouth. My breathing ragged, I clutched his massive shoulder. An animal lurked beneath that tux. His mouth searched me, urgent, down at my throat, licking and sucking my sensitive skin. He cupped the swell of my ass in his large, powerful hand and forced me against his body. I could feel his long, steel length hard for me. “You’re making me crazy,” he whispered into my ear. I’d never felt so wild, so reckless and crazed with lust. Maybe I’d had too much champagne? But I hadn’t felt drunk until he kissed me. Panting, I murmured, “I don’t even know your name.” My hands, feverish, marveled at the width of his shoulders, worshipped the wall of muscle through his shirt. “Tuck.” Rhymes with… His hands, hot, roamed me as if he couldn’t get enough, circling my waist, skimming my back as he panted into my neck. My blood simmered as his hands traveled slowly up my dress, so slowly up to the curve of my breast. I sucked in my breath, my eyes closing as he brought his thumb up to lightly tease my heaving mounds. Instantly, my nipples hardened, two points pushing against the fabric. His molten eyes drank me in. “You like that, Jewel?” His deep and wicked voice, so secret and dirty, he made me so wet just from the sound of it. The way he looked at me, licked his lips as he feasted on the sight of my arousal. What would it feel like to have those full, hot lips on my breasts, to feel his tongue on my skin, sucking my aching nipples? In a remote region of my mind I tried to remind myself that I was still in public, at a party, and I didn’t do this kind of thing. I was cautious, reserved. I left parties early, didn’t give out my phone number. But then he kissed me again and my entire brain lost its reception in white-hot static. Owning me, his hands cupping my breasts, his breath ragged and hot against my throat, he continued his light, teasing strokes. Heart fluttering, pulse pounding, I sucked in my breath and bit my lower lip, my eyelids half-closing as I needed more, more contact, more of his hands, his heat, his skin on my skin. His gaze stayed on me, mesmerized by my response to him. In that sinfully sexy voice of his, he asked, low and husky in my ear, “Have you ever been bad, Jewel?” Trembling against his hardness, I couldn’t think. My sex clenched tight at his words, slick heat building within me. I couldn’t process what was happening. “What do you mean?” His voice stroked me, soft as silk, “I get the feeling you’ve always been a good girl.” His thumb and forefinger found my nipple, aroused, pressing against the fabric of my dress. I arched my back into his touch, still so light and teasing. Dark eyes intent on my face, drinking in my reaction, he pinched. My mouth parted in a gasp and I closed my eyes in the onslaught of sensations. How could it hurt and feel so good at the same time? It was as if my breast was wired directly down between my legs, making my sex throb and glisten with need. “I think you should be bad with me, Jewel.” He dipped his mouth down to my sensitive throat, trailing hot kisses against my skin, “Delicious,” he murmured as he stopped to lick and suck, swirling his tongue. Pressed up against the wall, panting and unable to think straight, I felt like Little Red Riding Hood with the big bad wolf. If the wolf had been hypnotically sexy as sin. He ground his hips against me and through our clothes I could feel his heavy, thick cock. He was huge. A moan escaped my lips, true, real lust clenching its fist around me for the first time in my life. I wanted this man. No, I needed this man. I needed him to do all the things I’d only read about, right there, right then, up against the wall. A hot palm down at my hip, searing me through my dress, so close to where I throbbed but not close enough, he asked, “Are you getting wet for me, Jewel?” I panted and twisted under his grasp, wanting more of him, needing more heat, more pressure. “Right here at the party?” He tormented me, moving his hand ever so slightly down, then grasping the hem of my dress to inch it slowly up. “Naughty girl,” his dark voice rasped at my ear, his tongue flicking along my lobe, biting then sucking the sensitive flesh. Moaning, I arched my back, pressing my breast into his hand, impatient, needy, wanton. I’d never been so reckless. I’d never felt so good.
Off Limits: A Stepbrother MMA Romance by Callie Harper Tuck I like to fight and I like to fuck. Now’s my shot to fight for real, step out from my billionaire father’s shadow and be my own man. This summer’s all about going after my goal of becoming a pro MMA fighter. The problem is the girl I want to fuck. She’s driving me crazy with her little yoga outfits, her creamy skin, luscious curves and wide-eyed innocence. Normally, I’d hit it and quit it, get her out of my system and focus. But she’s my fucking stepsister. And she hates me. This summer we’re supposed to spend eight weeks together living under the same roof. I need to taste her. I won’t rest until she’s writhing beneath me, begging me to let her come. I’m a man who gets what he wants, and what I want now is Jewel. Jewel I want him so bad it hurts. I’ve never felt this way before. I’ve never had a problem keeping my distance from bad boys. The more muscles, tats and testosterone, the more I ran the other way. I learned my lesson, growing up with a trainwreck of a mother. Until now. Tuck makes my panties melt. He keeps me up at night, twisting in the sheets, obsessed with fantasies while I touch myself. But he’s my stepbrother. And he’s an alpha, dominant asshole. We’re sharing a house and he’s walking around shirtless, every inch of him ripped with hard muscle, sweaty after his brutal workouts. I don’t think I can hold out much longer. I’ve always been the good girl, but he makes me want to be bad. ***Off Limits is a standalone stepbrother romance novel with a HEA (85,000 words).
Releasing December 14th
All Right owned by Callie Harper
Callie Harper writes contemporary romances so hot they may melt your ebook. You’ve been warned.
She is powered by coffee, wickedly sexy bad boys, and all things funny, intentional or otherwise. She is the author of OFF LIMITS to be released 12/15 and the BEG FOR IT series which will start being released in January 2016.
She lives in the gorgeous Bay Area with her family.
Connect with Callie at: