My Rating: 4.5 Sexy Stars
Genre: Erotic Romance, Humor, Women’s Fiction, Adult Contemporary Romance
Annaliese Harper knows that one tiny mistake can jeopardize a career before it’s even begun. Letting your boss find the extensive collection of porn on your personal laptop is one way. Sleeping with him is another. Liese manages to do both.
As the new librarian at a prestigious small-town private high school, Liese is drawn to her sexy, charismatic principal, Ryder Whitehall—an attraction she refuses to acknowledge given their relationship and her recent liberation from a delusional ex-boyfriend.
Liese is certain Ryder’s flirtation is the product of her sex-deprived imagination—until he discovers her digital porn stash during working hours and demands a private meeting. Behind closed doors, their attraction explodes into a dangerous, passionate affair that not only threatens their jobs and reputations, but most of all, their hearts.
Simply put, I loved this book because it was exactly what I was looking for: a relaxing, easy read with lovable, quirky characters; quick, clever, sexy yet tender dialogue; a healthy degree of suspense (without emotional gut-wringing); and very tastefully written – yet electrifying- sexual content. The chemistry between Liese and Ryder is palpable from page one, and builds to a very satisfying “climax” (pun intended). Each lead character has an element of ‘history’, not to mention a substantial amount of personal and professional risk, that holds them back; but their destiny is sealed from the beginning, and they know it.
What’s not to love? Nothing. Nothing at all. It is a charming, deeply satisfying read that should be on your TBR list for a day when you want a nice story that will wrap itself around your heart. If there was one thing I could change? I wanted more of these delightfully engaging characters, their back-story, and maybe just a hint more suspense with “the ex”. I am looking forward to reading other books by Helena Hunting – the ones already written and the ones yet to come. Very highly recommended.
“I’m sorry, sir.” Liese uncrossed her legs, smoothing her skirt over her thighs. He followed the movement with his eyes. She prayed he wasn’t propositioning her as a means to sink the final nail into the coffin of her career, but that the months of pretending the attraction between them didn’t exist had finally come to an end. “I’m not sure I understand.” God, she hoped they were done pretending.
“You’re an intelligent woman, Liese. I’m sure you can figure it out.”
She remained silent, trying to ascertain her position. Tucking her chin in, she looked up at him demurely. “So, to paraphrase,” she began in a conspiratorial whisper, “you’d like to have dinner with me so I can tell you about my masturbation habits? Would that be accurate, sir?”
Ryder’s eyes widened, evidently not expecting her to be quite so forthright. “When you put it that way—”
“It sounds inappropriate?”
“Everything that’s happened between us today has been inappropriate.”
Ryder raised his hand to cut her off. “Don’t misunderstand me. While I am very aware this is a dangerous path to take, I seem to have lost my ability to give a fuck. And after finding this—” He rose from the chair, gesturing to the laptop. “—I admit I would like to procure several of the other items available on this site. But I have to assume some may already be in your possession, rendering such purchases unnecessary. Again, we could discuss the items you do have as well, if you’d like.”
Liese blinked dumbly at him.
“Sorry, I ramble when I get excited. Of course, you already know that.” He leaned forward, his hands flat on the desk, the tick below his left eye belying his nervousness.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Liese replied. Her initial response was to jump at the opportunity, considering she’d been thinking about doing that very thing for ages. But the potential repercussions gave her pause. “Do you often proposition women this way?”
“Do you often doctor pornographic images of your superiors?” he shot back.
Liese rose from her chair, her eyes narrowed as she processed his body language. “Are you trying to blackmail me into fucking you?”
“You have no idea how much trouble you’re in.” His tone held none of the subversive humor that typically colored their private exchanges.
She swallowed thickly as he stopped in front of her. Even at his most relaxed, she found his presence intimidating, but the way he loomed over her now made her weak in the knees. The notion their relationship could be anything more than professional should never have entered her mind, no matter the temptation.
“I can explain.” Her eyes darted around the room in search of an escape she knew didn’t exist.
“Your office. Now,” he ordered, grabbing her laptop in one hand and her wrist with the other.
Even though she was horrified, his warm fingers wrapped around her wrist thrilled her. The pull she fought ignited, flashing across her skin like fire. And then she remembered this might be the end of her career. He propelled her into the library office and dropped the laptop on her desk. He released her wrist and shut the door, turning the lock.
“Do you have any idea—” His eyes blazed, the words cut short as he tugged at his tie. Liese watched nervously as he paced the room, his head down, fingers gripping the back of his neck, jaw working as he ground his teeth together. She couldn’t begin to imagine what he would do if he saw some of the other images she’d saved.
He gestured to the laptop. “What the hell was that?”
Liese jumped, a squeaky sound came out of her, and she clapped a hand over her mouth. Ryder rarely raised his voice.
It would be in her best interest not to reveal that her best friend had created a series of photoshopped pictures of the two of them in compromising positions. She also thought it wise not to say anything about the folder she’d created to store them, or how they fed her unhealthy infatuation with him. Or how they functioned as her primary source of masturbatory material.
“It was mostly a joke,” she mumbled.
“Do you think this is funny?” He looked incredulous as he towered over her, but his voice was smooth silk. Livid though he was, the tension between them pulsed like shock waves through the air.
“Not particularly, no,” Liese replied, refusing to look away for fear of appearing weak, or guilty. If she could maintain a facade of self-righteous indignation, maybe he wouldn’t touch her laptop again. In her peripheral vision, Liese noted the way his hands continued to clench and unclench at his sides.
“Where did that picture come from? Are there more?”
Much to her dismay, his palm settled on the laptop.
“I really wouldn’t—”
Ryder ignored her half-made request and flipped it open. It only took a few seconds for the screen to flicker to life and the advertisement to pop up. The gif played in a loop, the vigorous pumping continuing endlessly.
Liese sighed. “I don’t think there’s a way to explain this without it sounding incredibly bad.”
She buried her face in her hands and wished she could disappear as Ryder began to inspect the advertisement. Liese peeked through her fingers to watch him lean forward, hands splayed on either side of the laptop. Ryder squinted at the image, and then looked her over. His eyes moved down her body and back up, tracking her with an expression that bordered on predatory. Satisfied fascination knotted Liese’s stomach as the change took place: the undeniable draw she’d kept in check all this time echoed in his eyes. Some invisible line had been crossed, and Liese doubted she’d be able to return to the safety of the other side—the side where she pretended the attraction was all in her head.
“Please tell me that’s not you.” A note of aggression lent a sharp and bitter tang to the words. His fingers flexed against the desk, the tips turning white with pressure.
“It’s not my body,” Liese whispered, shaking her head.
“You’re quite sure about that?”
“Is that so?” He quirked an eyebrow, relief relaxed the tense line of his jaw. Ryder inspected the scene, apparently no longer fazed by the naked, gyrating bodies now that he knew she hadn’t made a porno and pasted his head on her previous partner. Ryder minimized the picture, allowing a series of folders to pop up on the screen.
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