MéNAGE À TROIS?
Librarian Olivia Cooper, daughter of the town drunk, will do almost anything to gain respectabilityeven marry wealthy, but oh-so-dull, Adam Rutledge. But the night of the local costume party, Adam's anything but dull. Suddenly her would-be fiancé is daring, dangerous and very, very sexy. Only, Olivia never guesses that the right chemistry will lead her into the wrong bed. Rebel Luke Rutledge thinks he's only saving Olivia from his brother's greedy machinations when he takes Adam's place at the party. But once Olivia is in his arms, Luke can't think at all! The attraction is immediate, the sex explosive and the truth disastrous. Olivia might have wanted Adambut she can't keep her hands off Luke. So what else can this bad boy do but seduce her into saying yes?
About the Author
After a varied career path that included barbecue-joint waitress, corporate number-cruncher and bug-business maven, Jennifer LaBrecque has found her true calling writing contemporary romance. Jennifer lives in suburban Atlanta with a Chihuahua who runs the whole show.
Read an Excerpt
By Jennifer LaBrecque
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Chapter OneOlivia shifted on the cold concrete bleacher, and closed her eyes in bliss. Snuggling deeper into a sweater delivered earlier in the week by the church charity group, she absorbed the moment. The bite of a brisk autumn night. The rallying charge of the marching band overlaid by the cheerleaders' chant. The glare of lights illuminating the field in an otherwise dark night. The smell of popcorn, hot dogs, and the occasional waft of hot cocoa. The collective surge of excitement in the stands and on the field.
"Earth to Olivia." She blinked her eyes open to find her best friend Beth's freckled hand waving in front of her face.
"I love football games."
Beth sighed and dreamily eyed the second string quarterback parked on the sidelines. "Yeah. Doesn't Chuck Lamont look cute in his uniform?"
Olivia rolled her eyes and grinned. The question was purely rhetorical. Beth didn't expect an answer.
A frisson of awareness tingled against the back of her neck - the feeling that someone was looking at her. She turned her head. A rowdy group hovered at the edge of the bleachers, drawing several disapproving glares from parents in the booster section. Her gaze skidded to a stop as it locked into the bright blue eyes of Luke Rutledge who stood slightly apart from his crowd. Tough.
Wild. Older. Her stomach flip-flopped and her pulse ran amok, even as a wave of self-consciousness washed over her. He quirked onecorner of his mouth in a smile.
If she absolutely didn't know better, she might, for one wild flight of fancy, think one of the sexiest bad boys in the senior class was flirting with her mousy, bookworm self. She attempted to smile back. Her awkwardness produced something much closer to a grimace.
Burning with self-consciousness and an attraction much more intense than the benign crush she'd had on Barry Elwell last year, she glanced away before she made a total fool of herself.
What had seemed like minutes must have only been seconds. Beth remained fixated on second-string Chuck Lamont. Olivia peeked from beneath lowered lashes at Luke. He stood, laughing with his friends, oblivious to her presence. What if some of them had seen her mooning at him? Was that why they were laughing? She shivered into her sweater. Forget it. She read too many books and possessed too much imagination.
"So, who wants the scoop?" Amy Murdoch's voice drifted two rows back to Olivia and Beth. Lucy Jacobs and Melissa Bowers, sitting on either side of Amy, squealed their excitement.
Beth screwed up her face, imitating them. "They sound like greased pigs in a race," she muttered to Olivia.
Grateful to concentrate on something other than her imaginary exchange with Luke, Olivia snickered. "Yeah. Kind of." Amy, Lucy, and Melissa were the reigning queens of sophomore cool. You only had to ask them.
"Tammy Cooper ... health department ... birth control pills ..." Even though Amy lowered her voice to a conspiratorial level, bits and pieces drifted up to them. Lucy and Melissa visibly gasped.
"... trashy ..." "... in her blood ... their mother ran ... another man ..." "... Olivia ... honor society ... same way ... born that way."
Olivia blinked hard to stem the tears stinging her eyelids, her flesh crawling with humiliation. It didn't take a rocket scientist to fill in the blanks between the snatches of conversation.
Driven to escape, Olivia surged to her feet. "Bitches," Beth muttered, eyeing her cup of steaming cocoa and their well-groomed tittering backs with intent. "Meet me in the bathroom. I've got business to take care of."
Olivia stumbled off the bleachers and dashed behind them, desperate to find a dark place to hide. She forced air into her lungs in great shuddering breaths. The words chased around in her head, searing her with their poison.... born that way ... Olivia ... same way. She huddled in the dark, against the cold concrete.
Olivia looked up at a movement. Luke Rutledge stepped into the shadows with her. Olivia's heart hammered. She dashed at the trickle of tears behind her glasses with her gloved fingers.
"Olivia? Are you okay?" His big hands cupped her shoulders. A tremor of recognition rippled through her. She hadn't imagined the look they'd shared earlier.
"I'm fine." Her voice squeaked out. She ought to feel threatened. Luke stood six feet tall with broad shoulders and it was dark beneath the bleachers. Instead, he seemed genuinely concerned, almost comforting - totally at odds with his bad boy image.
"You're sure?" He rubbed small circles against her shoulders with his gloved hands. Even through the layers of gloves, coats, and sweaters, his touch left her tingling in a way she'd never felt before.
She shoved her glasses more firmly onto her nose. "Really. I'm okay." Her breath lodged in her throat. She'd never realized how a boy smelled up close. Different than girls. Interesting. Exciting.
"Good." Other girls might've seen it coming, but surprise rooted her to the spot when he pulled her closer and kissed her. She'd dreamed about kisses. She'd read about kisses.
None of it had prepared her for the real thing. His mouth pressed against hers, hot and hard. She leaned into him and kissed him back, giving in to the spontaneous need flashing through her.
... born that way ... Olivia ... same way. They couldn't be right, could they? But this was exactly how girls from the wrong side of the tracks behaved. Was that why he'd followed her? Kissed her? She was easy? Trashy?
Horrified, she wrenched away from Luke. She ran out of the shadows as fast as her trembling legs carried her.
She was not that way. She wasn't and she'd prove it. To them. To him. And to herself.
Excerpted from Barely Mistaken by Jennifer LaBrecque
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.