The fourth installment in the tempting new erotic Every Part of You e-serial by bestselling author Megan Hart.
Passion has bloomed to love, but when Elliott's estranged father shows up back on the scene, he brings trouble with him.
The dating thing goes well at first, with both of them taking things slow...though their passion can't be contained. But when Elliott's stepmother tells him she's been in touch with his father, Elliott's past comes back to remind him that hurting other people is wrong. Despite Simone trying to tell him there's a difference between the sort of things they do in the bedroom and hurting someone in anger, Elliott again puts up an emotional block and Simone seeks refuge in a former lover's embrace.
About the Author
MEGAN HART is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of many romance and erotica novels, including Switch, Tempted, Deeper and Dirty. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children.
Megan Hart writes books. Some of them use a lot of bad words, but most of the other words are okay. She can’t live without music, the internet, or the ocean, but she and soda have achieved an amicable uncoupling. She can’t stand the feeling of corduroy or velvet, and modern art leaves her cold. She writes a little bit of everything from horror to romance, though she’s best known for writing erotic fiction that sometimes makes you cry.
Megan is the author of The Protector novels, including Dangerous Promise, Wicked Attraction, and Forbidden Stranger.
Read an Excerpt
How long had it been since Simone had gone on a date? A real date, with a man who picked her up at her door, brought her flowers and took her out to eat, then to see a live show. And then, after, to a fancy cigar-and-cocktail bar to listen to a pair of dueling pianos.
"A long time," was the answer to Elliott's question as she took the flowers from him and pressed her nose to the blooms, which were not cut, but live in a small pot. She grinned at him over the top of a spray of baby's breath. "A lot longer than it's been for you."
He held his arm out to her as they walked along the cobblestone street to where he'd parked his car. "You want to know how long it's been since a man took me to dinner and a concert?"
She knuckle-punched his arm and waited for him to open the car door for her. "You're such a giant dork."
Elliott waited until she'd slipped into the passenger seat, then leaned down to look into the car at her. "You're gonna have to do better than that if you want to insult me."
She thought about the nights she'd watched him in his office. "It hasn't been that long for you. You've been on lots of dates."
"I don't remember any of them," he said gallantly. "None of them mattered. This'll be like my first date, ever. Oh my stars and garters, you be gentle with me, now."
He pulled such an expression of mock innocence that Simone laughed and pummeled him again, but carefully, since he'd pulled out into traffic. Then she sat back in the seat, trying to relax. Peeking at him from the corner of her eye, she grinned.
"It's not my first date. It's just been a long time since I had a real one."
"Why is that?" Elliott guided his car expertly through the Philadelphia traffic.
"Nobody's asked," Simone said honestly.
He glanced at her. "You don't impress me as the sort of woman who waits to be asked."
She laughed, smelling the flowers again. "Depends, I guess. Haven't had time to date. Haven't cared about it. I had that semi-long-term relationship a few years ago, and it didn't work out. So ... I dunno. I guess I wasn't into it."
Tension curled between them, but he didn't ask for details. They hadn't talked about Aidan since the night Elliott had asked Simone if she'd fucked him, but that didn't mean it wasn't hanging between them. She'd have talked about it, if he asked. Simone had few secrets, and Aidan wasn't one of them.
But Elliott didn't ask. Instead, he reached for her hand and held it as he drove, letting go only when he had to in order to drive safely, and then he took it up again. The trip to Serrano's took only a few minutes from her place in Rittenhouse Square, but Simone sort of wished it could've lasted forever.
"We almost could've walked," she told him as he pulled into a tight spot in an expensive lot.
Elliott looked at her with a frown. "From your place? No. In those shoes?"
Simone looked down at her high-heeled pumps with a laugh. They had an inch-thick platform and four-inch heels. He had a point.
"You could've carried me when my feet started to hurt," she teased, though she'd been short her entire life and wore high heels like other girls wore sneakers.
Elliott leaned across the front seat, she thought to kiss her, though he only whispered his lips along hers "If that's what you needed me to do, I guess I could have."
"Such a gentleman."
He laughed and withdrew. "Wait. I'll get the door."
Elliott really was a gentleman, Simone thought as she waited, giddy, for him to help her out of the car. She took his arm to help her keep her balance on the uneven sidewalk, not because she really needed the help but because he offered it, and she wanted to touch him. Oh, did she want to touch him.
Serrano's was narrow and old, a wooden bar along one side taking up so much space there was room only for one row of tables along the wall until you went to the back of the restaurant. Brick walls and tin ceilings that were typical of a lot of places in old-city Philly. They were seated at one of the small tables along the wall with a nice view of the street outside.
"I've never been here," Simone said as Elliott pulled out her chair for her.
She shook her head, looking around. "Nope. Do you come here a lot?"
"No," Elliott said after a minute. "But when you buy tickets for the concerts upstairs, you're encouraged to make dinner reservations because you get reserved seating upstairs. It seemed like a great place. But if you don't like it ..."
She laughed and covered his hand with hers. "I like it. What's not to like?"
"It's old," he said, looking around.
"Relax, Mr. Worry. I like it," Simone told him, and they shared a smile.
It would've been unrealistic of her to expect him to change overnight, but whatever had prompted Elliott to decide he wanted to make this relationship something more than just sex had definitely changed things. He'd called her every day for the entire two weeks before this official date, sometimes just to say good night, though they'd ended up talking for at least an hour every time before he'd begged off in order to get some sleep.
He'd been surprisingly easy to talk to, once he got started. And funny! The man was a laugh riot, with a dry sense of humor that nevertheless hit her in all the right places. There'd been times he'd had her giggling so hard she couldn't talk, and that was a rare accomplishment.
They'd covered topics from favorite flavors of ice cream to musical tastes, even hitting the forbidden ones like politics and religion. They voted for different parties but were on board with most of the major issues. Simone was Jewish but not observant, and Elliott was a confirmed agnostic who'd been raised with no church background. He'd gone to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and Simone had gone to Millersville, but both of them had gone with academic scholarships.
"Elliott," Simone said quietly after the waiter had taken their drink orders and gone. "This is nice."
"I'm glad you like it."
She could have guessed he'd be a good date. A man who made a habit of dating women only a couple times would probably be good at the ritual of it. The pomp and circumstance of first dates, Simone thought, but thinking that took away some of the pleasure she was getting from all the effort he was so clearly making.
"What changed your mind?" The words popped out, blunt and unbidden, and she cursed herself for not being able to simply sit back and enjoy what was promising to be a very nice evening.
Elliott sat back in his chair and looked serious. "About ...?" "This. About dating."
"You did," he said.
That answer should have been enough, but Simone had never been a woman to settle for half measures. She tucked a curl of hair behind her ear, then toyed with the basket of cheese crackers neither of them had yet touched. She took one and put it on her small plate, but didn't eat it.
"What about me?"
"Everything," Elliott said, and then the waiter returned with their drinks and the moment to pursue that conversation was lost.
It was just as well. They'd only started the night. There was no sense in ruining it with icky emotions, she told herself as they toasted, clinking their glasses together. She should just enjoy the night for what it was, not waste her time worrying about what it might be.
They talked so much their food got cold and they had to pass on dessert in order to make the show in time. Simone, giggly and warm from several of Serrano's signature cocktails, clung to Elliott's arm as they climbed the steep and narrow stairs to the Tin Angel. The concert space was a black box with a small stage to the front, a bar to the rear, and small tables crammed into the space in between.
"Can I get you a drink?" Elliott murmured in her ear when they'd been seated close to the stage.
Simone shivered at the touch of his breath along her ear and neck. The room was heavily air-conditioned, but that wasn't why her nipples had gone so suddenly hard. She leaned into him.
"I've had two already."
"Do you have a limit?" Elliott's lips brushed her neck as he spoke.
Her clit pulsed, her pussy throbbing. She crossed her legs, squeezing her thighs together. "Everyone has a limit, Elliott. Some people just have higher limits than others."
He pulled away just enough to look into her eyes. "And you know your limits."
"Yes." She smiled and nuzzled briefly at his cheek. "And I haven't reached them yet."
His hand pressed her knee for a moment, slipping beneath her dress to caress her bare flesh but not moving any higher. "I'll get you another drink. Same as from downstairs, if they have it?" "That would be ... delightful." Simone could hold her liquor, but she wasn't a heavy drinker and two cocktails made the world seem that much brighter.
Or it might be Elliott, she thought as she watched him wend his way through the maze of tables toward the bar. Elliott making her stomach flutter and heat spread all through her. Making her feel like she loved everything around her.
Don't, Simone, she told herself as she put both her hands flat on the table to keep them from shaking. Don't let yourself get carried away. This is one date, with a man who has admitted he doesn't do this. And yes, the sex is phenomenal, it's fantastic, it blew your fucking mind, but you can get sex from any guy.
But not any guy could give her everything the way she liked it.
Shit, she thought again as Elliott headed back toward her with two drinks held high to keep them from spilling. He saw her looking and smiled from all the way across the room, and everything inside her went as tightly knotted as a fist.
He turned her inside out with just a smile. Oh, she was in so much trouble. Yet there was no way to keep herself from returning that smile when he got back to the table or from letting him kiss and nuzzle her cheek when he set it down. No way not to let him hold her hand all through the concert, their fingers linked and his thumb passing back and forth over her palm until she thought she might start levitating from the sexual tension every single stroke sent between her thighs. She didn't need another cocktail to be drunk, not when being with him had so intoxicated her.
She'd never heard of the performer onstage, a young guy with a beard who played the acoustic guitar and sang like a dream. She liked his music, songs of falling in and out of love. She could totally relate. But it was hard to concentrate on the singer when every single touch from Elliott had her imagining all the ways he was going to touch her when they got back to her place.
Which was why, when he walked her to her front door and she fumbled with her keys, Simone opened her door but did not go through it. She stood on the small front stoop while Elliott stayed on the sidewalk, and that few inches, along with her heels, made her taller than him. She put her hands on his shoulders and looked into his face.
"I had a great time tonight," she told him.
Elliott smiled. "Me, too."
They stared at each other.
Everything inside her strained toward him. She'd already had this man naked and fucking her. Making her come. Making her hurt, which was even better. And now, all she could do was lean forward to kiss the corner of his mouth, light as a butterfly kiss.
"Good night," Simone whispered against his mouth.
She waited for him to ask to come inside, and wondered if she'd let him, when he did. The kiss lingered without growing deeper, each of them breathing in the other until Simone thought she would go crazy with the waiting. His hands settled briefly on her hips, fingers tightening.
Then he let go and stepped back.
It took every bit of strength she had, but she pulled away, too. They stared at each other for a few seconds before she said, "Thanks for the best date, ever."
Elliott blinked, then nodded with a slow smile that heated every bit of her. "Good night, Simone."
Then, before she could regret it, she went inside and closed the door.
"Where's Harry? Where's he gone?" Molly's voice, querulous, penetrated the hallway outside.
"She's having a bad day," Betty, the day nurse, said sympathetically. She squeezed his arm.
Elliott, flowers in hand, almost turned around and walked away. Molly wouldn't even know it if he did. And Betty, so what if she judged him? Surely there were lots of residents here whose families never came to visit, and even if they did, it wasn't as often as Elliott managed to. The only person who'd really be disappointed in him if he left without seeing her would be himself, and Elliott had disappointed himself plenty of times.
"But she was asking for you, earlier," Betty said.
Elliott sighed. "I rank up there with the dog, huh?"
"I'm sure you mean more to her than that." Betty gave him another sympathetic smile and went down the hall.
In the room, Elliott found Molly staring out the window with her mouth open and a silver hanging strand of drool shining in the late afternoon sunshine. She blinked slowly, then closed her eyes. Her lashes made shadows on her sallow cheeks. Her hair had gone more gray.
"I'm dying," she said.
"We're all dying from the moment we're born. That's all we do our entire lives, is die." Elliott pulled the wilting flowers from the vase and dumped them in the trash, then replaced them with the fresh ones, the way he did every week.
When he came back from the bathroom with the vase of fresh water, Molly was staring at him. "Why are you so morbid?"
"Learned it from the best, I guess," he said with a shrug and set the vase on the dresser before pulling up the chair closer to the edge of the bed.
"I hate those flowers, you know."
Surprised, he looked at them. "Why? I thought you liked daisies."
"They sit on that dresser and die, day by day, reminding me that I'm dying, too." Molly coughed, the sound thick and wet.
"Hey," Elliott said softly. "Don't."
She might have been having a bad day earlier, but now she leveled him with a familiar piercing stare. She could so easily make him seventeen again, a long-haired, skinny kid in shoes with holes and dirty jeans, showing up on her doorstep with nothing to offer but his father's last name. She smiled at him, though, that same warm grin. It was crooked, now, pulling on one side of her face in a way that had gotten much worse over the past few months.
"I might be a morbid old bitch, but I have the right, don't you think?"
Elliott sighed. "I won't bring you flowers anymore, if you don't want me to."
Molly shifted restlessly, her hands moving on top of the crisp white sheets. Her hands had always been strong. Capable. Big knuckles and freckled skin. She'd been able to fix a drain, knit a sweater, and make an apple pie with those hands. She'd cut Elliott's hair with those hands, and now she could barely hold a glass to drink from.
"He's —" Harry, Molly's raggedy spotted mutt, had died five years ago, before she'd moved into Morningside House. "Harry went to live on a farm."
"Is he happy there? Chasing chickens? Digging in the garden?"
Harry, to Elliott's knowledge, had never chased anything. The dog had been fat and lazy its entire life, with a permanent, slobbery grin. "Yeah. He's happy there."
"Good," Molly said on a sigh. "Good, good."
He thought she'd fallen asleep, but when he got up to go, her eyes opened. Elliott paused. Her gaze had gone unfocused and distant, but she was smiling again. At least there was that.
"Yeah," he said quietly, sitting down again.
"You're a good boy. A good son. Don't let your dad tell you otherwise, you hear me? Or that woman."
That woman, he knew, was his mother. He'd never been offended by Molly's term for her. She hadn't been much of a mother to him.
"I never had my own kids," Molly said.
"I know, Molly."
She sighed and shuddered a little. Beneath the sheet, her legs moved, and Elliott was suddenly and terribly reminded of Harry. How the dog would run in his sleep. It was a horrible thing, to think of Molly the way he did a dog, even if he thought she'd laugh at the comparison.
"Couldn't have 'em. Did you know that?"
"I didn't know." He'd always assumed she'd just been smart enough not to get knocked up by his old man, if he'd ever thought of it at all, and he'd tried to avoid thinking of anything remotely resembling Molly's intimate life with his father.
She sighed again, clearing her throat. "I never wanted kids, to be honest. I had five brothers and two sisters, and I was the oldest. I changed more diapers in my lifetime than anyone should ever have to. No, I didn't want kids. But I got pregnant, once. Me and your dad had been married for about five or six years at that point. We didn't have it great, but it wasn't as bad as it would get. And I thought he'd be mad about the baby. You know? I figured he'd be pissed, but he wasn't."
It had become a rare thing for Molly to talk this long on any subject, but for her to say something nice about his father was even more uncommon. He didn't want to listen to it, actually. He didn't want to hear about his father at all, even if it wasn't a profanity-laced rant.
Molly looked at him. "He wanted a son, he said. Real bad. He wanted to take him fishing, and to baseball games, and play catch in the backyard. All things his own dad hadn't ever done with him. 'Mol,' he said. 'I'm not gonna be a fuckup like my old man. I'm gonna be a good father.'"
Excerpted from "Every Part Of You: Denies Me"
Copyright © 2014 Megan Hart.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.
Table of Contents
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Simone Kahan is an emotional person. When she loves, she loves hard. So whatever had prompted Elliott Anderson to decide he wanted to make their relationship something more than just sex had definitely changed things between them. Hardly able to remember when she'd last gone on a date—a real date, with a man who picked her up at her door, brought her flowers and took her out to eat, then to see a live show—Simone fears she could all too easily get lost in Elliott, having not felt this way about someone in a very long time. Spending time with Simone takes priority over most everything for Elliott, with so much changing, so fast.… The dating thing goes well at first, with both of them taking things slow…though their passion can’t be contained. But when Elliott's stepmother—the woman who’d taken him in when his own mother had tossed him out and his father had disappeared—tells him she’s been in touch with his estranged father, the ghosts of Elliott's past come back to haunt and remind him that hurting other people is wrong. And despite Simone's attempts to tell him there’s a difference between hurting someone in anger and playing with pain in the bedroom to give someone pleasure, Elliott, once again, puts up an emotional block, leaving her to seek refuge in the arms of a former lover’s embrace. Though my least favorite of the five installments, I'll happily give the author praise for providing a wealth of information about Simone and Elliott's respective pasts in such a short span of pages. Unfortunately, any satisfaction I felt at learning more about these two quirky characters was quickly negated by the frustration I felt at Elliott's inability to communicate with Simone about his fears and insecurities. Oh, and then, there was the emotionally devastating cliff-hanger ending in which Simone runs off to Aiden instead of giving Elliott time to process all of his thoughts and feelings. And while I don't agree with his actions, Simone knew going into this relationship that Elliott was an emotionally unavailable mess. Gah! I don't know why I put myself through serial reads.
This installment gives us both Simone and Elliot's weaknesses. They both royally screw up. Elliot pushes Simone away by being cruel. She deals by running to Adrian. If there wasn't another book in the series I would scream for them to get it together already. Wait, I am anyways! Thank you St. Martins Press and NetGalley for ARC.