Bea Paxton is a free spirit. She loves her fledgling interior design business, having fun, and she loves men. But only temporarily. Rule #1 is no relationships, no love, no commitment. She likes being in charge. It's the only way to protect herself from getting hurt again.
Zane Price is the perfect candidate for a steamy time—beautiful, built, and British. Plus, he'll soon be moving back to England. Really perfect.
Well...except for the fact that he's her biggest client. And he doesn't play by her rules. Hell, no. He wants more. Much more. Which is definitely not on the agenda.
Unfortunately, his kisses are nothing short of toe-curlingly awesome. And he is distracting her—a lot—from doing her job.
She needs to stay away from him. Her livelihood depends on it.
But Zane always gets what he wants. And he wants Bea. But for right now? Or forever...?
Each book in the Slow Seductions series is STANDALONE:
* Casual Affair
* Sweet Attraction
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About the Author
Traveler. Reader. Beach-goer. St. Louis Cardinals fan. Pasta-obsessed. North Carolina resident. Sarcastic. Bit of a nerd.
Author of the Slow Seductions, Cruz Brothers, and Possession and Politics series, Melanie loves all things romance. From light-hearted comedies to sexy thrillers, she likes to mix it up, but loves her some strong alpha males and sassy heroines.
Go visit Melanie's website and sign up for her newsletter to stay updated on release dates, teasers, and other details for all of her projects! You can also follow Melanie on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.
Read an Excerpt
Just outside Washington, DC
Get over here so I can shove your pants down around your ankles and bury my face between your legs.
Beatrice Paxton stared dumbfounded at the sexy man mouthing those words to her. He did not just say that. No way.
But if he did ...
Well. It was a good thing her pants had a lot of spandex in them.
She shook her head, dragging herself out of the unfortunate sexual tailspin just as the man in question stood up from his crouch and lunged in her direction. Instantly, paint pellets came flying from all directions, all bright neon yellow and all aimed right at him. Bea watched as he returned fire, dodging and ducking with impressive agility.
He was like the paintball version of Braveheart.
She wouldn't lie. It was pretty hot.
Keep it professional, girl, she warned herself.
But she couldn't take her eyes off him. After all, she was only human. And as a female human, she couldn't help but wonder what kind of beast he might be — probably was — in the bedroom. If he could move that well with all those clothes on, then surely —
Pop, pop, pop.
She heard the guns of the other team firing like crazy and realized she needed to pull her head out of her ass and give the poor man some cover. But the second she eased around the wooden structure, something whooshed past her face — had to have been only a few inches from smacking her right in the eye — and she immediately scrambled back behind the wall.
"I was telling you to cover me while I circled around to that tree over there," he said with a grunt as he fell down next to her.
After mentally dousing her scorched panties with cold water, she was able to find her voice. "Sorry. Reading lips is harder than it looks." Understatement.
The man unknowingly rubbing his rock-hard thigh against her hip was Zane Price, COO of Envision Tech Industries. Wealthy bachelor. Badass businessman. Chris Hemsworth look-alike — no joke. But most important? Her potential new client, and a big one at that. Like, early retirement big.
"Bloody hell, I was pointing right at the tree."
And he was British.
Sexy posh accent and all.
Why she was being punished with so much hotness staring her in the face, yet had to abide by the "look but don't touch" rule, she couldn't begin to understand. Life could be so unfair.
"Okay, but that looked like some sort of military code, and I wasn't in the Marines," she told him. As he squatted beside her, she took advantage of his turned back and stifled a dreamy sigh. Those broad shoulders ...
He turned and looked at her with a knowing smirk. "Neither was I. But I've played many a video game in my time."
She quirked an eyebrow, unable to keep the grin off her face. "And video games translate to paintball ... how, exactly?"
He shrugged and winked. "Call of Duty. Champion back in my university days, luv."
Luv. Oh, the way that sounded rolling off his tongue.
She was almost positive she heard a tiger growling somewhere in her subconscious ... or was that her libido? Down, kitty.
Business meeting, she reminded herself.
"Well, my gaming sophistication may never have gone past Donkey Kong and Mario Kart, but I have played a lot of sports," she said, tossing a few glances around their makeshift structure to assess the rest of the battlefield. "And we need a game plan."
Part of her wanted to feel ridiculous being decked out in the bulky, protective paintball gear. This was supposed to be a job interview. Envision Tech needed to hire an interior designer for the redesign of their new home store, which was supposed to open in a few months. Bea and her sister, Felicity — co-owner of Paxton Designs — had both been surprised and flattered when they received a call from Zane Price's secretary requesting a meeting, and Bea had immediately jumped on board.
The next thing she knew, she was running around a field, shooting people.
Coolest. Business meeting. Ever.
Zane Price was clearly not your standard, conventional boss. That was just fine with her. She wasn't a standard, conventional kind of girl.
He shifted all the way around to face her, his blue eyes sparkling in the sunlight. "And what do you propose, Ms. Paxton?"
That deep voice of his made her insides feel like they were melting into her toes.
"See that ditch to the left of the building?" she asked around her suddenly dry mouth, forcing herself to focus.
"I say everyone takes up positions there and starts shooting, which will draw their team to take cover behind that hill." She pointed. "Then you and I will circle around through those trees over there," she said, moving her finger to indicate. "There's an opening about a hundred feet directly behind the hill that will give us a clear shot at their backs while they're distracted by the fire coming from the ditch."
Price searched the expanse of the field, contemplating. "Which would sandwich them in."
She nodded. "Exactly."
He looked back at her with both eyebrows raised. "Not bad," he said approvingly. "How do you know the opening is there?"
She shrugged, secretly proud of herself that she was impressing him. "I saw it earlier, when the game first started."
If he had thought for one minute that she would be in any way intimated by him, he was about to be sorely mistaken. Well, truthfully, she was intimidated by him, just not professionally. But getting smacked in the face by movie-star good looks and a magnetic personality tended to be a bit intimidating.
"All right, Ms. Paxton," Price responded. "We'll try it your way." The smirk spread into a full-blown smile, his white teeth temporarily blinding her.
She watched as he worked his way over to another shelter where a few of their teammates were hiding and explained the plan. Seconds later, he was back, approaching her on his hands and knees. It reminded her of the way lions stalked their prey in the African bush.
Definitely a beast in the bedroom. Had to be.
"After you," he told her, waving a hand out in front of him.
Checking that the coast was clear, she quickly crawled out from behind their cover and dashed for the tree line up ahead.
Pop, pop, pop.
Pellets whipped past her face and sailed over her head as she forced herself to crawl faster. She tried to return fire, but her gun strap was twisted under her and she couldn't get to the trigger. A familiar rush of adrenaline coursed through her body, fueling her movements.
She lived for stuff like this.
She wouldn't necessarily say she was an adrenaline junkie. She just liked to be active and push her body to the limit. She didn't want to admit it, but the fact that Zane Price had chosen this — and that it was clearly his type of thing — was a huge point in his "plus" column.
Breathing heavily but unable to wipe the smile from her face, she reached the edge of the tree line and looked down at herself, taking stock.
"You hit?" she asked him after she didn't spot any yellow paint on herself.
There was a moment of silence before he murmured, "I don't think so."
His voice sounded weird — softer, like he was in a trance or something. She peered over her shoulder to get a good look at him and make sure he hadn't hurt himself in the scuffle.
But he wasn't hurt.
He was just staring at her.
Or, more accurately, at her ass.
She wasn't quite sure how to react. On one hand, she didn't want to set feminism back fifty years and flutter her eyelashes at him in appreciation. On the other, she wasn't about to deny that she liked him looking at her with growing lust shining in those baby blues. Because she did like it. In a big, pathetic way.
"Something on your mind, Mr. Price?" she asked with a note of challenge in her voice.
His gaze flew up to hers, looking all sheepish and irresistible. "Oh, I've got plenty on my mind, Ms. Paxton."
Oo-kay. She didn't quite know how to take that.
Fighting to keep her voice from squeaking, she replied, "All business, I hope."
But not really.
Those damn lips of his curved up in amusement. "For some reason, I'm finding that rather difficult. Perhaps a change of scenery will help."
As she was trying to decipher that cryptic statement, he walked slowly toward her. His eyes never left hers as he came closer and closer, his expression heating when he turned his focus to her mouth.
Was he about to kiss her, or something?
Should she let him?
On a scale of one to ten, exactly how big of a slut would she be if she let him take her right here on the grass?
That's a big fat ten right there.
You couldn't get more unprofessional than that.
Not that she cared at the moment. So she remained in place, waiting for his next move. And just as she was about to make it easier on him and lean back against the nearest tree ... he walked right past her. And kept going.
"Ah, yes," he mused, sounding satisfied. His back was to her as he continued farther into the trees. "This is much better."
Because you no longer have an ass to ogle?
Although, now she did. As a matter of fact, his was a very toned, very tight ass, all there for her ogling pleasure. The cargo pants he wore pulled enough that those firm muscles were clearly defined through the material as he moved through the wooded area, his movements sleek and fluid like a panther's.
God, she'd always had a thing for butts.
And Zane Price had one that she just wanted to sink her teeth into.
Yes, this position is much better, thank you.
The sight helped to quash her fleeting disappointment that he hadn't touched or kissed her.
All of sudden, he paused and bent over to tie his shoe. Unable to peel her eyes away, she stood there transfixed, embarrassingly aware that she was gawking like a mindless idiot.
But come on. It was like eye candy for the horny mind.
Naturally, that was the moment he glanced over his shoulder and caught her staring — exactly as he'd been busted only moments before. He had so done that on purpose. She tore her gaze away and felt her cheeks go up in flames.
Of course, he burst into laughter. The jerk.
"Sorry, luv," he said between chuckles. "Did you need a moment to collect your thoughts? All about business, I'm sure."
With as much dignity as she could muster, she crossed her arms over her chest and stared him down. "You know, where I come from, it's not polite to address a lady's embarrassment."
His laughter died, though the glint in his eyes remained. "And just where is it you're from?"
"The South. Alabama to be exact. Men down there actually have manners. You could learn a thing or two from them. Aren't you Brits supposed to be, like, extra polite or something? Gentlemanly, and all that?"
He huffed, a gleam forming in his eyes that she couldn't quite put a name to. "I can be a regular Prince Charming when properly motivated. Although, if we're already assigning pet names, I'm partial to being called Master. Lord Sexy Pants also has a nice ring to it."
She wanted to roll her eyes, but a short laugh escaped instead. "Are you always this insufferable?"
He cocked his hip to the side, looking more attractive than any man had the right to be. "I prefer to think of it as charismatic."
"I'm sure you do," she drawled, her southern accent coming out in full force. "But maybe we should at least try to keep things professional. This is a job interview, after all." And as much fun as she was having with him, it was never a good idea to flirt with clients. Or potential clients.
Okay, maybe she'd flirted a little with this one. But she definitely wouldn't let it go any further than that. Getting personally involved with a client was at the very top of her list of things never to do.
Followed closely by running a half marathon the day after a Cinco de Mayo pub crawl. True story. Tequila es el diablo.
"Not really an interview," he said, surprising her. He thrust his arms out. "Does this look like an office?"
She glanced around, taking in the surrounding trees. "No."
He waved down at his body. "Does this look like a business suit?"
He probably looked damn fine in a tailored suit.
He lifted his paintball gun, tipping the barrel toward her. "And this bloody well isn't a briefcase. Professionalism isn't exactly one of my strong suits. It's just us out here. No interview. No discussing projects or expenses. Just me and you talking and having fun."
That confused her a bit. "Then, how do you know if I'm the right fit for the job?"
A look suddenly took over his whole face. It was something ... naughty ... and maybe a little dark. "I have my ways."
Oh, boy. Time to bring the conversation back on neutral ground. She pushed past him, once again taking the lead, with him close on her heels.
"Paxton Designs doesn't just do residential projects, by the way," she said, needing to get her mind back on track. "We have a pretty extensive commercial property portfolio, as well."
His deep chuckle set the hairs on the back of her neck on end.
"I'm aware. I did my homework."
Of course he did. One didn't get to be COO without being thorough.
"Without knowing the exact layout of the building —" she began.
"Not an interview, remember?" he said, cutting her off. "No work talk. This isn't your sales pitch."
Okay. But she had no idea what else to talk about if work was out of the question.
"What do you like to do for fun, Beatrice? May I call you that?"
She hated her full name.
"Of course." She took a deep breath. Okay, simple conversation. She could do this. "Um. Well, I like running. And ..." Wow, she actually had to think about it for a second. "And playing sports when I can. Going out dancing with my friends. Antiquing with my sister. I just like to be active, I guess. I'm not one of those people who can spend all day binge-watching Netflix. I'd go insane."
His rich laugh sounded by her ear. He'd moved closer, reaching up to move a branch out of her way when she almost clotheslined herself on it.
"I agree," he replied. "I prefer sports, too." Another moment of silence passed, then, "You like to dance, huh?"
Had she imagined that drop in his voice? "Yeah, I do."
He made some sort of humming noise in his throat. "Got a favorite place you like to go in the city?" She looked back at him questioningly, and he grinned. "I'm still relatively new here. Some suggestions would be nice."
Ah. She thought maybe there'd been an ulterior motive in the question. Damn. "Well, I like Sapphire, over on —"
She choked over her next words, sucking in a breath as she tripped on a big rock hidden by leaves. Oh, shit. She felt herself plunging toward the ground and prepared for the impact. But instead of the sharp bite of dirt and gravel on her hands, she felt a strong arm wrap around her waist, keeping her upright.
He pulled her back against his hard chest, his warm breath tickling the skin below her ear. "You okay?"
She couldn't even remember what had happened before he grabbed her. She just nodded, muttering, "Fine," and silently reveling in the feel of him wrapped around her. The musky, spicy smell of him permeated her senses, the effects making her dizzy.
His arm tightened. "Falling for me already, huh?" he whispered in her ear.
She swallowed thickly as she felt him bury his nose in her hair, and heard him breathe in deeply. She closed her eyes and imagined turning around and giving in to her sudden, irrational desire for him. Allowing her primal instincts to take over her sensible logic.
"You know that professionalism we talked about?" she murmured.
She stepped regretfully out of his arms. "We both really need to work on that."
She turned around and instantly wished she hadn't. The look on his face emanated blatant, raw lust from every one of his features — his pursed lips, his tight jaw, his darkened eyes as they roved down her body and paused on her heaving chest.
Damn. Why was she breathing so hard? And popping out with beads of sweat? It wasn't that hot outside.
He looked like he wasn't faring much better as he stood watching her intently. His body remained tense for a few more seconds, then slowly his limbs began to loosen and that annoying grin reappeared on his face.
Excerpted from "Casual Affair"
Copyright © 2017 Melanie Munton.
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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