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Taming His Tutor
By Natalie Anderson, Shannon Godwin
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 Natalie Anderson
All rights reserved.
"The 'vixen' is irresistible to men. Full of allure, culture, mystery, she's utterly magnetic. With some practice you can be —"
Oblivious to the people on the sidewalk beside her, Abbi Hayes touched the forward arrow on her cell. She had the definitions down already; she wanted the sexual nitty-gritty — what moves she needed to make a man's eyes squeeze tight as he shouted with pleasure, all control abandoned as a cataclysmic orgasm shafted through him. How she could be the best he'd ever had ...
Okay, it wasn't her ultimate ambition in life, but it was the one currently dominating her thoughts, because being dumped hurt. Especially over something as personal as sexual performance. Her ex Scott had awarded her the "Most Boring in Bed" title as his parting gift. She told herself he was just being a jerk, but the doubts had niggled. And then the veracity of his words had been proven by her first post-breakup one-night stand. Her only one-night stand. Disaster was too mild a word for that encounter.
Abbi hated performing poorly in any aspect of her life, but this?
So private. So crushing.
But she was on it. As with any other area in her life, her tried and tested formula for improvement was to research extensively, then put together and present her counterargument. She refused to fail again. Never again.
Except beneath her fighting talk, fear curdled. How exactly was she going to magic up some kind of inner sexual power? Like, really?
Research, that was the way.
And right now, Sasha Fox, X-rated silver-screen icon and author of the best-selling e-book Foxy Files, was on hand, or rather in Abbi's ear, instructing her in some of the more risqué skills she wanted to acquire.
Abbi upped the volume as she walked the last few minutes from the cable car to her office.
"Discovering his most erogenous zones. These are his nine instant-response hot spots. Touch him in any of these places and I guarantee he'll —"
This was more like it. Abbi picked up her pace, fitting in a quick tightening of her pelvic floor muscles as she started to cross the road with barely a glance either way. She wanted to learn at least one useful maneuver before spending the day on the IT upgrade — though her boss wouldn't mind her keeping the audiobook on as it was a Saturday. The vixen research had a double-pronged purpose anyway. Personal up-skilling aside, she was building a value-added app for Gloss, the women's lifestyle magazine she was IT manager for. It had to be ready for the magazine's big third birthday bash just under a fortnight away. The app was slated to be a key giveaway at the A-list-only event. Ironic, given those A-listers were hardly going to be in need of the advice, but Abbi hoped her app would go beyond being a party favor. Once available for download, it'd be a click-by-click guide for the shy, single girl on how to get her guy — enabling even the most awkward woman to garner some positive male attention. Not just sex tips, but dress tips, self-confidence tips, exercise tips ...
But sure, it was the sex tips Abbi was working on first.
As Ms. Fox explained the sensitive areas on a man's neck, Abbi pondered a catchy app name the marketing bods would love — "Vixenator" wasn't it.
Entice? Ensnare? Ensla —
A sudden blaring sound drowned out the sex star's sultry tones, and in the same second someone seized Abbi's upper arm — hard. In a heartbeat she was hauled the last few paces over the road. Gasping, she tried to run, but hell — were her feet actually touching the ground?
"Hey!" Startled, Abbi squeaked as she bumped hard against one very large, immovable object. She stumbled up onto the sidewalk, regaining balance. One earbud fell as she quickly twisted to pull her arm free from that large, strong grip. "What are —"
"Honey, you're gonna land your sweet ass in a whole lotta trouble if you don't start paying attention to your surroundings."
Land her what in — what?
Abbi stared up at the guy who'd called her out. Stunned, breathless, she lost brainpower the second her gaze locked on his. It didn't help that in the microsecond it took to look all the way up to his eyes, she absorbed his astounding particulars. Ultra-tall, ultra-broad shoulders, ultra-gorgeous ... the man had "superathlete" stamped all over him. He'd just single-handedly, literally, yanked her three meters and wasn't batting an eyelid ...
Oh, those eyes. They gleamed like emeralds, sucking her in. The guy was totally fanfic worthy.
"What's with the jaywalking?" he asked, a smile softening his rapid speech. "You nearly got yourself hit. You didn't hear that guy slam on the brakes? The horn?"
Abbi blinked. Horn?
Do not look down. Do not look down and check him out again. Not his neck or his chest or his ... horn.
Her damn peripheral vision kept updating her anyway. Blue jeans. Faded red tee. Tan on that lickable neck. Thick dark hair, a little on the long side. Stubble. That smile — the sort that made a woman's toes curl with sexual awareness. And she couldn't help but wonder if that horn would be as ultra as the rest of him?
But as Abbi oh-so-determinedly focused on his green eyes, recognition hit.
She knew him.
Oh. My. Where had her brain been hiding?
In the same instant, he frowned. His head tilted as he looked even more intently at her. "Don't I know you ...?"
Where was the rock to go crawl behind when you needed it? Abbi's heart sank. Most of her classmates would never recognize her — not because of some dumb new dress, but because they'd never bothered to look at her at school long enough to remember her now. Dispiritedly she couldn't help starting a mental count ...
One, tw —
"Abigail Hayes." He pointed at her.
She couldn't believe he'd figured it so quick.
"Abigail 'Math Champ' Hayes," he clarified, blinking a couple of times.
Then his smile reappeared, bigger, more irresistible — the smile that had always made her toes curl back in high school.
"Hello Joe 'Basketball Champ' Fuller," she replied, amazed she sounded as collected as she did. Because this was Joe "So Freaking Sexy" Fuller, and he was even more freaking sexy now that he was a decade older and had fully filled out the potential of that height and those shoulders.
Then again, rumor had it he'd been fulfilling fantasies every which way back in high school, too. The crude stories the cool girls like Elle Manning had shared when they thought no one was around to hear? Given Abbi had been "no one," she'd overheard Elle tell how huge he was and how she'd nearly choked going down on him.
Elle Manning had been one of many girls who'd hit their knees for Joe Fuller, and she'd let her friends know just how much stamina he had. One by one they'd lined up, eager to find it all out for themselves.
Abbi's only surge of popularity at school had been three months prior, when she'd had to tutor new-to-school Joe in the math he'd missed out on because his revolving-door foster home placements had meant too many schools in too short of a time.
It had taken only six sessions for him to catch up. Joe Fuller wasn't stupid.
Elle and her gang had ditched Abbi the second they realized she had no insider info to offer. It wasn't like she and Joe ever talked anything other than math. He'd been utterly focused on coming to grips with equations, definitely not with getting a grip on her. Not that she blamed him. Back then she'd worn a sloppy scarf-and-sweater combo, had braces on her teeth, and had hidden behind her overlong bangs. With the math brilliance bit, she'd hit all the nerd-alert buttons.
She'd been invisible.
And within weeks he'd had the likes of Elle to amuse himself with.
So yeah, Abbi was stunned he'd recognized her at all today. But he seemed equally stunned.
"What've you been doing this last decade?" He faced her square-on in the middle of the sidewalk, apparently not giving a damn that someone might want to pass. He just asked the question, real casual, in that that low-slung, sexy way. "You look really great."
Oh. She remembered. She'd followed the dress tips of her own app and had her clothing made-to-measure. Her workmate Nadia had sent her to her favorite seamstress a month ago. Today was the first day Abbi had braved wearing one of the dresses she'd had made. She'd wanted to get over how self-conscious she felt wearing it and had figured that a Saturday was the perfect day to try as she was less likely to see someone she knew. She'd figured wrong. And while the dress covered — up to her collarbones, down to just below her knee, with three-quarter-length sleeves — it clung to her curves.
They were the real reason she needed personalized tailoring.
"Thanks," she answered, quickly clearing her throat to be able to add, "You too."
That was no mere courtesy response. He did look great. Fucking great. He always had. And she'd always been lost for words around him. Words other than math instruction that is. Uh-huh, she was that pathetic.
"It's been a helluva long time," he said, still not moving from his place bang in the middle of the path.
"Yeah." Nine years since they'd spoken, though less since she'd seen him. But he didn't need to know about the couple of times she'd been in the crowd to watch him play basketball. NBA stars had enough groupies, right? Given Joe had been young, hot, and successful girls-wise before he hit the big time, he'd surely had more than his fair share. He'd gone to college on a sports scholarship, only to leave at the end of the first year to go into the draft. He'd been a first-round pick and catapulted into the millionaire bracket just like that.
"You're living here?" he asked.
"Yeah," she muttered. In central San Francisco. A while away from the refined, leafy suburb where they'd been at school, but this city was her home now. She nodded, pulled herself together enough to answer more. "Working down the street."
"On a Saturday?"
Was he teasing or pitying? She lifted her chin. "Not so bad — I like my job. You?"
"Love it. Work all the time," he answered with an amused glint — and genuine tone.
That made her smile. "Even Saturdays?"
"And Sundays." He nodded piously. "You impressed?"
"No." She chuckled. "So what are you working at all the time?"
"I've got a fitness center, in the process of opening another."
It figured he'd still be doing something mega-sporty despite his NBA career ending after the hideous on-court accident that broke his leg.
"You're not still playing?" she asked, wincing as her voice skidded into husky territory. He looked it — fit enough to run back-to-back marathons, strong enough to scoop her up without breaking into a sweat. Agile enough to —
"Playing?" His voice dropped in a playful imitation of hers. But his expression was more than playful, it was wicked.
Abbi's throat closed. Oh hell, she hadn't meant it like that. Flustered, she stared up at him, lost in his intense expression. How could she say anything more when he looked at her like that? Right into her eyes, as if he could see through to the way her brain was frying in his presence?
"You really do look amazing," he murmured.
Oh, the guy knew his power. And relished it.
Abbi swallowed hard. Every article she'd read so far talked about confidence being key. Ha. Cultivating confidence wasn't easy when your bedroom style had been shredded. But she couldn't stand here floundering like some pathetic fish on a hook. Damn it, she did have some assets, even if she knew they couldn't be relied on for anything but initial attention. Maybe she ought to try the "fake it 'til you make it" tip?
She pulled her shoulders back, letting her curves thrust out a little more, and tried to engage her supposedly genius brain. Surely she could act a part for a minute? It wasn't like she was going to see him again anytime soon. If she fluffed it, it wouldn't matter, right?
He shook his head slowly, his eyes still glued to hers. "I think it's your hair —"
"It's the pole dancing," she cut him off. Half sassy, half piqued. She might as well go wholly out there.
His entire body snapped, he lifted another inch in height, his biceps bunched, and now those melt-me emerald eyes sharpened to lasers. His gaze dropped to her chest before it quickly flickered back to her face. "That's what you've been doing?"
Pleasure rippled within her at his reaction. "Best form of exercise I've found."
His brows lifted and he slowly shook his head. "Second best," he said softly.
That had been the guy's number one priority. Nothing came before the game. Certainly not relationships. That'd meant misery for all the girls he'd played at school.
He paused, his lips curving. "I like to basket some balls, sure."
His answer was pure auditory tease. Yeah, he was the same cocky player and slayer, only even more potent what with the years of experience.
"You always liked to play any chance you got," she said.
"Whereas you were the more cerebral type back then." He angled his head, studying her all the more intently — as impossible as that felt. "But now you're all geared up for the physical?"
She let her brows lift a little in a mirror of the teasing look he'd given her just before. "Seems so."
Was she actually doing it? Talking flirty with a guy for the first time in her life? With the guy who worked hard and — rumor had it — screwed harder than anyone she'd ever known?
He stepped closer. "How physical?" he asked.
Her gaze was locked in his. Ensnared. He was so damn tall. Suddenly her mind absolutely blanked. She couldn't think, speak, move.
She gazed up at him. His words hit her like bullets over the rushing thud of her heart.
"We're talking sweaty?" he asked, soft but so lethal. "Fast?" He moved another step closer. "Rough?"
Ooookaaay. Uh. Yeeeeaah.
She had to tilt her chin higher to keep her focus on him. The cool morning breeze brushed her neck. A shiver whispered down her spine. She lowered her gaze a few inches to his mouth. His wide, full lips were ripe for nipping.
"How hard do you like things to get, Abigail?"
"I —" Can't think.
She touched her tongue to her dry-as-dust lips. Her nipples were harder than titanium right now, and frankly hurt. They needed soothing to take the ache away. Some kind of hot, wet soothing. She stared some more at his mouth. Touched her tongue again to her lips without thinking, only wanting to feel.
"Excuse me. Sorry." A random pedestrian jostled past.
Dazed, Abbi briefly glanced after the passerby; actually, there were three of them, taking up all the sidewalk ...
Finally she snapped out of that insane sensual haze.
She looked back at Joe, stunned again as she absorbed her own reaction. Since when did she want like this? So fast and hot and crazy. She'd never felt this for Scott. Never ached to rip his clothes off and rub herself against his abs — and below. Certainly not within five seconds of laying eyes on him. She'd never wanted to press herself forward like some kind of sexual offering. This total insta-lust wasn't normal, was it?
She froze. Maybe it was? Maybe this was why Scott had said sex with her had sucked? Because she'd never wanted him like this?
"How hard do you want me to get?"
Joe's words ricocheted through her body, stoking the fire that had so swiftly flared. Her focus shot back to his eyes. She felt branded. From skin through to bone, desire burned. But she was paralyzed — her brain, body, every bit of her.
Too hot. Too crazy.
Damn. She hated being unable to think. Hated being rendered speechless. It rarely happened; she rarely let it happen. Because it wasn't her — she wasn't literally dumb in this way.
"You shouldn't say things like that," she muttered jerkily. Why had she thought talking sexy would be a good idea? Too much. Too soon. She was on a learner's license — she shouldn't be trying to drive a Ferrari.
Excerpted from Taming His Tutor by Natalie Anderson, Shannon Godwin. Copyright © 2014 Natalie Anderson. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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