Barenaked Jane by Deanna Lee | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Barenaked Jane

Barenaked Jane

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by Deanna Lee
     
 

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Jane Tilwell has a take-charge approach to life. That means dealing head-on with Mathias Montgomery, security expert and future brother-in-law to her boss at the art gallery. Surprising him during the middle of a planned "break-in," she can't deny the excitement she feels as he pins her to the floor. He's all alpha-male: arrogant, sexy, and rock-hard solid—

Overview

Jane Tilwell has a take-charge approach to life. That means dealing head-on with Mathias Montgomery, security expert and future brother-in-law to her boss at the art gallery. Surprising him during the middle of a planned "break-in," she can't deny the excitement she feels as he pins her to the floor. He's all alpha-male: arrogant, sexy, and rock-hard solid—in oh so many ways. And when he turns up at her apartment and invites himself in for a weekend of non-stop sex, Jane knows she's found her match. The heat of his body arouses her and his kisses leave her aching for more. Who is this incredibly sensual man? Why does he know her body so intimately? How can he bring her such seductive pleasure? To answer each and every question, Jane lays herself bare—ready, naked, and willing. . .

"Lee hits the mark again and again. . .in a class by itself." —Romantic Times (4 1/2 stars G, Top Pick) on Undressing Mercy

WARNING! This is a REALLY HOT book (Sexually Explicit).

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780758214867
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
05/01/2007
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.56(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.74(d)

Read an Excerpt

Barenaked Jane


By DEANNA LEE

APHRODISIA BOOKS

Copyright © 2007 Deanna Lee
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-1486-7


Chapter One

Life doesn't play fair. In fact, it cheats, lies, and steals its way through a person without a single thought to the consequences of its actions. Since I know this, I really shouldn't have been surprised to find myself in my situation. Flat on my back, beneath a strange man.

Since he probably outweighed me by at least a hundred pounds, struggling would've been a waste of energy. How many minutes had passed since I'd heard something outside my office and had gone to investigate? I should've stayed hidden after I'd called the police. Instead, I'd stalked out of my office, determined to give the intruder a piece of my mind and maybe kick his ass in the process. I'm really not a stupid woman, honest.

The man had fended me off effortlessly and tossed me on the floor as if I weighed nothing. Every minute of my training at the police academy in Georgia and hours of kickboxing lessons had proved useless in a matter of seconds. The man, whomever he was, hadn't hurt me more than it was necessary to subdue me, and he was putting off an air of shocked frustration.

He was built well, firm muscle and sleek warm body pressed all over me. It had been, for a few seconds, sort of exciting. Then, since I'm normal, panic set in. Being underneath a man was one of the most vulnerable situations awoman could be in. I was exposed to all manner of physical insults. As yet, he'd done nothing but hold me down and growl with frustration.

"If you promise not to hit me, I believe that we can both get up without causing each other further harm." His voice was soft in my ear. I thought for a second that his lips had brushed against my earlobe.

I took a deep breath and turned my head abruptly away from the sound of his voice. The pitch-black room offered me not a single advantage. I glanced toward the flashlight he'd had; it lay a few feet from us pointed, of course, in the opposite direction.

"I'm going to punch you in the face as hard as I can." And I was. My fingers balled into a tight fist just thinking about it.

"Lady, you're trying my patience." He lifted his head away from mine and sighed.

Trying his patience? He was holding me down on the floor and I was the one being aggravating? "The last man that spent this much time on top of me was at least trying to make me happy." I bucked upward against him and hissed in frustration.

The man stilled completely and then to my utter amazement started to laugh. "Jane?"

His use of my name shocked me into being still for a few long seconds. Who the hell was he and why did he feel comfortable enough in his knowledge of me to use my first name? "Get the hell off of me." I jerked at my hands and tried to push him off me. It was like trying to move a wall.

"Promise not to hit me," he demanded, his voice soft with amusement now.

"Like hell I will. You break into my workplace, sneak around like a thief, and then hold me down on the floor ... and you honestly expect me not to hit you?" I was going to hit him and enjoy it.

"I'm not sneaking around like a thief. If I'd been sneaking around you wouldn't have known I was here," he responded, his voice tinged with disappointment and something that sounded a little like embarrassment.

"But you did break in." Why the hell was I arguing with a thief? "How dare you break in here! This gallery is a nonprofit organization and all of its proceeds go to the Holman Foundation. I can't believe anyone would be so low as to steal from a charity." Jerking against him again, I gasped and winced when my hip protested. A sharp pain dug through my hip, down the thigh muscle all the way to the knee. "You're hurting me."

"No, you're hurting yourself," he snapped. "And for the record, I've never stolen a single thing in my life."

"Not one thing?" I didn't believe him for a second. Everyone has stolen something.

"Never."

"Office supplies from work?"

"No."

"Candy when you were five?"

"No."

No one beats me at this game. "A pen from a bank?"

"I ... bloody hell, woman. Pens from banks don't count."

"Did you pay for it?"

"No."

"Was there a sign that said 'Please take our pens you thief'?"

"No," he ground out through clenched teeth.

"Then don't tell anyone that horrible lie again. You have stolen something," I responded, smug.

"I am not a criminal."

"You broke into this building," I reminded, aware that I was probably very close to pushing him too far.

"Yes. It's my job." He lifted off me and pulled me roughly into a sitting position. "You're Jane Tilwell. You have brown hair with blonde highlights that is cut way too short for a woman, blue eyes, and you're the assistant director of this gallery."

"Too short?"

"That's what I said."

"You don't like the highlights?" I frowned. My hair stylist had caught me in a weak moment.

"I liked your natural color better."

"Well, who the hell cares what you think?" I jerked at one hand and was surprised when I broke free. I slapped him across the face and would've done it again if he hadn't grabbed my arm. "Let me go."

He pulled me forward abruptly to keep me still and demanded, "Don't you want to know who I am?"

"No. I want you to get your ass off me." I used my arms to shove at his chest, but it did no good. "Get off me."

"We wouldn't be in this position if you hadn't attacked me."

"I was defending myself." Well, not true. I had attacked him, but I was defending the gallery, and that meant a lot to me even if it had been a stupid thing to do.

"You were risking your life over a thing." He jerked at my arms a little as if to shake me. "A thing. A few scribbles on a piece of canvas that only have meaning because rich snobs think they do. My five-year-old cousin could've painted that crap for all anyone knows. You're just lucky that I'm not a criminal."

"Don't you dare lecture me! You don't know a damn thing about me or how important this place is to me. You've no right whatsoever telling me what is and is not worth fighting for." I jerked back but didn't break free of his grip. "You're also holding me hostage. From my point of view, you're passing from illegal entry with intent to commit grand larceny into felony kidnapping."

He got to his feet abruptly and pulled me to my feet in a single breathless second. "I've never hit a woman in my life, but if you even think about kneeing me I'm going to knock you out."

"I wouldn't kick you in the crotch."

"That's a relief to know."

"As far as I know, your cock could be the only thing you've got going for you." I pulled free of his hold and would have punched him if he hadn't backed away. Almost immediately, I missed the heat of his body. That was irritating. I had no business thinking about a criminal that way. "Turn the fucking lights on."

"Nice language."

"I can say a lot worse, asshole." And I probably would. The man had knocked my world off kilter in more ways than one, and I had a lot to say about that.

In the dark, and now from a few feet instead of inches, I could barely keep track of his movements until he picked up the flashlight. I watched the beam of light run across the wall to the left of him until he encountered the light switch.

I blinked against the light as he flipped it on before settling my gaze on him for the very first time. And his dick wasn't the only thing he had going for him. He looked like sin. Rich, chocolate sin. He was at least six feet, and the dark jeans he wore hugged against a trim, tight waist.

I looked over his face, taking in the smooth lines, full but masculine lips, and the slight slant at the corner of his eyes. He was beautiful and it was irritating. What man needed a face like an angel?

The man was insanely attractive, but even good-looking men can be psychos. I backed up a few steps from him and surveyed my surroundings.

We were in the middle of the second floor where Shamus Montgomery's latest collection was being displayed. There wasn't a single thing in the room I could pick up and use for a weapon, except for his flashlight. I glanced toward it; he held it tight in his hand.

"Don't even think about it."

I met his gaze and took another step back. "What are you doing in here if you don't plan to steal anything?"

"I'm doing my job, as I've already explained."

I could've laughed. "Who the hell has a job that involves breaking into art galleries?"

"Mercy Rothell hired me to test the security of the gallery. My name, Ms. Tilwell, is Mathias Montgomery," he said, delivering his news with an understated arrogance that was so irritating and yes, attractive, that I could barely stand to look at him.

Mathias Montgomery.

Great. Just great. Of all the would-be thieves that I had to go attack it just had to be the older brother of my boss's future husband. It was one of those moments when I wished the floor would open up and swallow me whole. How many times had Mercy discussed the security of the building with me in recent weeks? Too many to count, as it had become her favorite subject after she'd become director.

Since James Brooks had put her off repeatedly, she'd been plotting drastic measures. I hadn't thought it would include a mock break-in. Well, she'd certainly found a way to get his attention.

"I didn't realize you'd already made the move to Boston." I grimaced at the weakness I heard in my words.

He pointed one finger at me. "You just can't go around-"

"Don't lecture me. I'm a grown-ass woman, and if I wanted to be lectured by a man who thinks he knows what's good for me I'd have stayed in Savannah under my brother's thumb. Besides, I thought you were a thief." Getting my back up about something made me feel better. I straightened my shoulders and glared at him.

"Why? Because all black men are criminals?" he demanded, his tone just a hair from being petulant.

"No, you jackass, because you were skulking around an art gallery dressed in dark clothes with a flashlight." I crossed my arms over my breasts, disappointed that I would resort to such a defensive gesture, and glared. "What? Do you think all southerners are racist?"

"Of course not."

I tilted my head and looked him over. He really was quite pretty, for an asshole. "I called the police."

"Great."

"It's your own damn fault." I turned on my heel and walked away. "You'd better be able to produce identification, Mr. Montgomery, or I'm going to see you handcuffed and charged with criminal trespassing, attempted burglary, and assault."

"Lady, you assaulted me!"

"That's not the way I'm going to tell it." I stalked toward the stairs that led up to the administrative floor.

He'd certainly proved that the gallery's security was bad. Beyond bad, which put me on edge. I'd honestly never worried about my safety in the gallery. We have six guards during the day and one at night. I turned abruptly and glared at him. "What did you do to Wendell?"

"He's not here."

"Excuse me?" I tucked my hands behind my back to keep from putting them on my hips. How dramatic would that have looked?

"Your so-called security guard left the parking lot more than twenty minutes ago and hasn't been back. I've been watching this place for a week, and he's done the same thing every night." He glared at me as if it were my fault. "You're just lucky it was me casing this place and not someone with more sinister motives."

"Great." I winced at the sound of sirens. It had taken nearly fifteen minutes for a police response. "Well, I guess I can be fortunate you aren't a criminal."

"You'd best call Mercy and the owner."

Yes, indeed. I was never, ever going to live this down. Miserable, I went up the stairs and headed toward my office. I turned at the stairs and looked toward him. "You'd better not go anywhere."

"I wouldn't dream of it."

"So, let me get this straight."

By this time, I had both hands covering my face. It was the third time I'd had to repeat what had happened, and this time it was for James Brooks-the owner of the gallery and the only man in recent memory that intimidated me. I hated that I had disappointed him.

"You're working late, again. At some point, you realize that there is a stranger in the building. Instead of tripping the alarm, calling the police, and locking your door-you call the police and then set out to apprehend him on your own."

"I acted without thinking." But admitting that I did something stupid wasn't exactly my strong suit, and I knew that I didn't sound nearly as contrite as he would have liked.

"You certainly did."

I dropped my hands and met his gaze. "It was a mistake."

He glared, but I could tell he was far more disappointed and worried than angry. "It certainly was."

"Mr. Brooks ..."

"Don't 'Mr. Brooks' me, Jane. You could've gotten yourself killed."

"But I didn't."

"That's really beside the point." He stood from the chair he'd been sitting in like a king and glared pointedly at me. "This place is important to me and it was important to my mother. She dedicated her life to it, and I do in turn to honor her memory. Having said that, I'll say this. Nothing in this place is more valuable to me than the lives of the people who work for me. If this were to ever happen again I would expect you to hide and wait for help. Do you understand?"

"Perfectly."

"Good." He sighed. "Now, Mercy is going to come in here and pamper you like women do. I'm going to get a drink because you've scared ten years off my life." "I'm not weak."

"No. You aren't." He leaned against the side of my desk, reached out, and tilted my face up until our gazes met. "You're also quite priceless to me, Ms. Tilwell. Remember that."

I sat back in my chair and watched him walk out of my office into the bull pen. He'd knocked the wind out of my sails. "Damn it."

"What a dirty mouth you have."

I looked up and offered my friend and boss, Mercy Rothell, a smile. "Hey."

"So, GI Jane, I'd lecture you if I didn't know James had already done it." She glanced out into the bull pen where he was talking with Mathias Montgomery. "You also gave him quite a scare."

"It was a stupid thing to do." I held up my hands in a sign of defeat and then relaxed back in my chair.

"Granted." She sat down in the chair that James had abandoned. "So, just how long did the two of you tumble around on the floor?"

I flushed and then bit down on my lip. "Mercy."

"What? So you weren't sprawled underneath him for several minutes?"

"You make it sound tawdry."

"I was just hoping."

"I thought he was a criminal."

"A pretty fine criminal, I'd say." She grinned. "The good thing is that James is so rattled that he's agreed to upgrade the security in the building and get us a new security firm contract."

"I wasn't sprawled."

"Sure sounded like you were." Mercy laughed when I glared at her.

I glanced out toward the men. "He is pretty."

"I've come to think all the Montgomery men are."

"Why didn't you tell me he was here?" Well, that sounded childish. I hated being whiny; it totally conflicted with my internal image of myself.

"I didn't know. If he'd told us he was coming to do it tonight, we might have altered how we do things. An honest assessment of the business was important to determine our security needs."

An honest assessment. "In retrospect, he's not a very good burglar. He made enough noise to wake the dead."

She laughed. "That can hardly be a detraction."

"When you and Shame talked about him, neither of you mentioned how arrogant he is."

Mercy grinned. "I sort of like arrogant men. He spent four years in the army and six in the FBI before he went into the private security sector, so maybe there is an aura about him. As if he knows how capable he is." She stood. "Now, I'm going to go home and crawl into my bed. I'll see you on Monday."

At least I had the weekend to recover. I glanced out toward the bull pen just in time to see James wave good-bye. "Hey, I'll walk out with you."

Mercy laughed. "Actually, I think your burglar isn't quite finished with you."

I watched, exasperated, as she greeted her future brother-in-law with affection and swished away. They'd left me alone with him. It was obvious that I needed to choose friends and employers more carefully in the future.

Careful not to look in his direction, I picked up my purse and headed toward my office door. He was standing just outside of it and let me get just about a foot past him before he took my arm and brought me around to face him.

"Mr. Montgomery, I assure you that I've been manhandled about all I can handle this evening." I looked pointed at his hand and then met his gaze. "I think it might be best if you gave me some space."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Barenaked Jane by DEANNA LEE Copyright © 2007 by Deanna Lee. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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