What happens on the road stays on the road. Right? That is, until Jade Hollingsworth's first ever—and toe-curlingly awesome—one-night stand turns out to be Hunter Sparks, the contractor she hired via email to remodel the swimwear shop she bought sight-unseen in Shell Grove, South Carolina. A fresh start in a new place where no one knows her name means she can finally gain control over her life and find some inner peace.
Ha. Fat chance of that when Hunter informs her he can't take the job...then brazenly comes onto her. Seriously?
Hunter wants nothing more than to carry on their steamy affair, but has to keep it on the down low. If he helps Jade with her shop, he risks losing the biggest contract of his career, everything he's worked his whole life to achieve. The trouble is, he can't keep his hands off her...
Each book in the Slow Seductions series is STANDALONE:
* Casual Affair
* Sweet Attraction
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
Dr. Phil could kiss her ass.
Jade Hollingsworth scowled at the road in front of her, her insides quivering with anxiety as she drove down the highway. What had the good doctor said during the one episode of his show she had ever watched?
You can't play the game of life with sweaty palms.
Well, she was sure as hell playing the game of life now.
And her damn palms had never been sweatier.
But none of this was a game. And she should never have listened to a TV psychologist in the first place. It would have been a lot more helpful if the dude had shared what to do when your palms got so sweaty you could barely maintain your control on the steering wheel of life.
Buy a stronger antiperspirant?
The drive from Washington, DC to Shell Grove, South Carolina was over seven grueling hours. After driving five, she was on the verge of throwing up her greasy fast food dinner. Not because she was carsick or had the flu. No. She was ready to toss her cookies because of the huge, life-altering decision she was making.
Although, Dr. Phil never told her to open up her own swimsuit shop in a strange town where she didn't know a single person.
But he'd implied it with the whole sweaty palms comment.
She would have been a coward if she didn't do it, right? And she didn't want to be a coward. So, she'd said sayonara to her bitchy boss at the swanky bakery where she'd worked in downtown DC, flipped off all the asshole customers she would never have to deal with again, slammed the door on her hated stepmother and pig of a stepbrother, and packed up her car for greener pastures.
Actually, she didn't know what the pastures were like in the coastal town of Shell Grove, because she had never seen the town in person before. Everything she knew about it was based on internet research. Her Realtor had found her a house there and a storefront for her swimsuit shop. But other than that, she might as well have been moving to Timbuktu.
Was it risky? Definitely.
Could she fail? Absolutely.
Was she terrified beyond all belief? You bet your ass.
It hadn't been her intention to start this journey off on such a melancholy note. But hey, no one had ever accused her of being an optimist before. Maybe a realist. After all, failure was a real possibility, and she had to prepare herself for —
She had to pull over.
Thankfully, she spotted a decent-looking hotel chain at the next exit and whipped her five-year-old BMW convertible into the parking lot. After turning the ignition off, she fought to get herself back under control by taking deep, calming breaths.
She could do this. She had to do this.
She had taken far too many steps to get where she was, and she couldn't turn back now.
She glanced over at the shoebox in her front seat. The meager cardboard box held all of her most prized possessions, which was why she hadn't risked it to the fates of the rickety moving truck that had picked up her furniture the day before. The contents of the box haunted her, always making their presence known in her subconscious.
She had to pry her eyes away.
Focusing back on the hotel, she pushed out a heavy breath.
Time to sleep in the bed you made for yourself, sweetheart.
Having left DC much later than she'd planned to, night had already fallen, and besides, the moving truck wouldn't be at the house she'd rented in Shell Grove until the next morning. So, she had some time to kill.
Two more hours on the road didn't sound as appealing as drinking her worries away in a bottomless glass of wine. Or vodka.
She grabbed her luggage and purse, checked herself into a standard room with a queen-size bed, and trotted back down to the hotel's restaurant-slash-bar. She didn't bother changing out of her high-waist shorts and crop top because one, it was hot, and two, she didn't give a rat's ass what she looked like. Okay, so maybe she'd touched up her beehive ponytail just a little. And she may have reapplied her trademark plum lipstick. But so what?
If she was going to attend her own pity party tonight, she wanted to be dressed for the occasion. She wasn't completely devoid of pride.
Dignity, maybe, but not pride.
She made a beeline for the bar and immediately flagged down the bartender. "Dry martini and a shot of the best stuff you have," she told him. "I don't care what it is."
He tossed her a half grin. "The last woman who said that to me, I ended up marrying."
Jade glanced down at his bare ring finger. "And that charming smile wasn't enough to keep her around?"
He chuckled, the sound coming out gravelly, making him seem older than he was. She'd bet he was a smoker.
"No, the smile was fine with her. It was my rule of monogamy that wasn't."
"Sounds like you're better off."
He winked. "My thoughts exactly. Let me get those drinks for you." He sauntered down to the other end of the bar where he pulled a bottle filled with amber liquid off a shelf.
She hoped he wouldn't try to make conversation with her all night. He was cute, though she suspected there was too much manscaping going on down under for her liking. And although he seemed nice and looked to be about her age, she was going to spend the rest of her evening giving herself one hell of a pep talk. She simply had no time — or motivation — for polite chitchat or subtle innuendo.
The bartender dropped off her drinks. "Let me know if I can get you anything else." She was relieved when he walked off without another word.
As she sipped her martini, letting the alcohol slowly slide down her throat, she took the opportunity to scan over the other patrons. There were a few couples scattered around the restaurant area, other individuals seated by themselves — traveling on business if she had to guess — and a table of three older gentlemen in the bar area. Surprisingly, she was the only one actually seated at the bar —
Except for him.
Her attention caught on the hulking figure who sat at the end corner of the bar, facing her direction.
The guy was ... big. Not, I pump iron three times a day and pop steroids like M&M's big. More like, I work my ass off for a living and this is the result big. And judging by his lack of suit and the beer bottle in front of him, she had a feeling he was not someone who pushed papers behind a desk all day.
He probably looked better in that fitted T-shirt than he would in a suit, anyway.
She was trying to get a better look at his face when his head suddenly turned and his eyes connected with hers. Flustered, she quickly averted her gaze and focused on the television in front of her.
Had he caught her staring?
Probably, because that's how her day was going.
She hadn't gotten a good look, but from what she'd seen, the guy was well proportioned. His jaw had appeared as strong as the rest of his body, and she'd definitely noticed a five o'clock shadow peppering his cheeks. She tried peeking out of the corner of her eye to get another look, but he was just a dark, blurry mass. And she was too embarrassed to actually turn her whole head again.
But she could feel his eyes on her.
She didn't have to get a good look at them to know they were glued to her, searing through her. It was strange. She hadn't really seen his face to know what he actually looked like, and all he could see of her was her profile. But she knew his gaze was intense. She could feel the way he was studying her, and a thrill shot through her.
What are you doing, Jade?
She had just told herself she wasn't there for conversation or flirting. She had to move to her new life tomorrow, and more than anything, she had to get her fears under control. At the reminder of what she had gotten herself into, she tipped her head back and downed the shot of ... oh yeah, that was whiskey. Gah.
Her attention was once again drawn to the Incredible Hulk when the bartender went over and asked if he wanted another round. She took advantage and subtly watched their exchange.
"I'll have another Bud," the guy responded, the deep rumble of his voice easily reaching her ears.
She was already in love with the South.
If all men down here had an accent like that, well ... conversing with the opposite sex certainly wouldn't be a hardship.
As if he was as aware of her as she was of him, the Hulk's gaze flew back to her the second the bartender walked away. Dammit. She had been too distracted by his voice to pay attention.
She knew he'd caught her that time.
And was he grinning at her?
She thought she'd detected a small quirk of his lips just before she darted her attention back to the TV.
She squirmed in her seat, feeling like an animal at the zoo, making her hyperaware of herself and everything around her. It was that feeling like when you wanted to check every five seconds to make sure your boob wasn't popping out even though you knew it was impossible. Or make sure you didn't have food in your teeth even though you hadn't eaten anything. Or that your lipstick wasn't smeared from cheek to cheek like the Joker.
She sat there sipping her martini, staring at the TV while she fought to block the mysterious stranger out of her mind and concentrate on what she had to do over the next few days.
Tomorrow, she was moving into her new house in a new town.
Tomorrow afternoon, she was going to meet with her contractor.
Actually, she was going to go cuss out the jerk of a contractor who had just quit on her.
The guy hadn't even started the renovations at her swim shop yet, and he'd sent her an email — earlier that morning — explaining that he couldn't do the job due to time constraints. He'd offered his apologies and recommended a few other companies in the area. But his half-assed apology did nothing to assuage her irritation. She didn't have the time or money to waste on finding someone else and going through the entire process again.
She was going to track down the d-bag and — if she could keep her temper in check — somehow convince him to change his mind. She was done getting walked all over by people who thought they could control her life. Done with people who didn't give a damn about how much their selfish actions hurt her. Done with getting her heart broken by people who cared more about money and prestige than simple human feelings.
Done. Done. Done.
But for now, she was going to let all that fuel her pissy, the-world-is-ending attitude, because it was therapeutic.
After she handled the issue of that jerkface, reneging contractor, well, then she was going to make some new friends.
Okay. That was a good start.
See? All she needed were a few minutes to gather herself and she would be fine —
The bartender placed another martini down in front of her. She looked at him in confusion, then down at her empty glass. Huh. When had that happened?
Her fingers reached for the stem as she mumbled, "Thanks."
He tipped his head toward the Hulk. "From the gentleman."
Cautiously, she turned in the man's direction and watched as he slowly raised his head and locked eyes with her. Her heart pounded as they gazed at each other, neither smiling nor moving an inch. She experienced tunnel vision as she got lost in his dark eyes. There could have been a Chinese New Year parade traipsing through that bar and she wouldn't have noticed.
Play it cool, girl.
It took more effort to smile than it should have. But she pulled it off, raising her new glass to him in thanks. He returned the smile, tipping his beer bottle at her in salute. As he took a drink from it, his eyes never once strayed from her. She was mesmerized by the way his throat muscles bobbed when he swallowed. And when his hand rose to rub across his chin and move over his jawline, she about drooled dry martini all over herself.
How could one small movement — and not even a provocative one — be so damn sexy? The next thing she knew, he was pushing up off his stool, grabbing his bottle, and slowly making his way over to her.
Oh my God.He's coming over.
Okay, no big deal.
She could talk to an intimidatingly gorgeous man like him. No problem.
Just don't do that weird giggle thing you do when you're nervous —
"Hi," he said in a low, smooth tone.
She swallowed thickly, clearing her throat. "Hi."
"Mind if I sit here?" He pointed to the stool next to her.
He could have shown her the toenails he'd removed from all thirty of his murder victims and she wouldn't have minded.
"No, go ahead," she replied, waving at the stool. She tracked his movements as he sat down, bringing his body closer to hers. Maybe too close. Not close enough. "Thanks for the drink, by the way."
"You're welcome." His expression held amusement. "Looked like you needed it."
She cringed. Great. Did she look like a lush or something?
"Is it that obvious?"
He leaned forward and rested his elbows on the bar. "That you seem to be having a rough day? A little bit."
She sighed, wondering why he'd even bothered coming over at all, if she looked like a hot mess. Because, apparently, she did. "I was afraid of that."
He chuckled lightly. "Don't worry. You didn't have Resting Bitch Face or anything like that."
Her gaze snapped up to see his mouth spreading into a wide grin. Okay, he was teasing her. To most women, that would have been obvious. But Jade had enough experience with assholes to know that a lot of people who said things like that meant them in the most insulting ways.
"Well, that's a relief," she said, taking a long sip of her drink. "Because if I did, I'd have to really question your motives for coming over here."
He released a full-bodied laugh. She couldn't help but appreciate the way it made the lines of his face relax.
"Oh, I've become very adept at spotting that look, and trust me, I would have steered clear," he said, his hand once again scratching his stubbled chin. "You just looked like you needed to unwind a little."
She lifted an eyebrow as she shifted her stool to the side, facing more of her body in his direction. "Very astute."
"That's what they all say." He winked and she had to smile. "I have a sister. So, recognizing those types of looks from an early age became a means of survival for me."
She laughed. "Are you saying that a big guy like you is afraid of his sister?"
The look he sent her was full of mock horror. "You would be, too, if you knew her. I barely escaped my childhood home with my life."
She laughed harder, shaking her head. Maybe this was what she needed to really take her mind off everything. A nice conversation with a funny, charming stranger.
Admittedly, she hadn't had one of those in a long time.
"So, what brings you to this particular bar this evening?" he asked.
She was about to respond with the truth but paused.
He could actually have a toenail collection in his pocket. Weren't a lot of serial killers normal-looking, unassuming people? Best not to risk being ax-murdered, and just stick to vague facts.
"Just passing through," she responded. "You?"
He narrowed his eyes, and she knew he could sense she wasn't going to reveal much. Wisely, he followed her lead.
"The same, I guess." He took a drink, studying her over the bottle. "So, does that also mean I don't get to learn your name?"
She touched the tip of her nose with her finger. "Like I said, you're very astute."
He nodded, and the corner of his mouth twitched. "Okay. What is it you do for a living, Red?" His gaze traveled over her mane of bright red hair, looking pleased with himself.
"Original," she muttered.
He sent her another wink. "I'm a simple man, what can I say."
She thought about how to answer his question without being too specific, and went with, "I'm an entrepreneur. I own my own business."
His eyes turned thoughtful, though he didn't press. "I have a feeling that's all I'm going to get about that, so we'll move on. And since I know you're going to ask, I'm in construction."
Sounded about right. His body sure as hell showed the fruits of his manual labor.
"You like your job, Bob?" she asked.
He choked on his beer. "Bob?"
She nodded. "Yeah. You know, like Bob the Builder?" She flicked her wrist in an absent wave, feeling the effects of the alcohol. "Plus, it rhymed with job."
His expression turned wary. "I'm not sure what it says about me that I remind you of a children's toy."
Excerpted from "Sweet Attraction"
Copyright © 2018 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Holy nuts what a fantastic, fun, butt whooping, Bob the Builder book this is!! I absolutely loved it! This is one book you don't want to pass up! I laughed, got mad, fanned myself (more than once), dreamed about Hunter with his tool belt slung low, while I loved Jade aka Red as "Bob" nicknames her, her leaving her money grubbing, scary step family behind and heading to coastal South Carolina to open her own business. Big leap for her. Huge leap. After driving 7 hours she's tired decides to stop and get a hotel and hits the bar for a much needed drink and meets the largest man she's ever laid eyes on. And ladies he is hot. So he buys her a drink, he nicknames her Red because of the color of her hair and she names him Bob, because he tells her he's in the construction business. I think I snorted at that little exchange. They were hilarious. Melanie, you can really write a great dialogue !! So Bob spends the night with Red and sparks fly. Red cuts out early, she's got a lot to do when she gets to town and at the top of her list is to hunt down that low life contractor who tells her via e mail he can't do her renovations to her shop. Just like that. So she's stuck and angry. So when she hunts down Hunter. Yes I said that. Let the games begin. She's all moved into her house, but she needs help opening her business. Hunter thinks he's doing her a favor giving her the name of a few guys who could help her. Another perfect scene. She meets Hunter's sister and cousin who's got a thing for Hunter's best friend Finn. Finn owns the cool bar in town. What Hunter doesn't tell Jade is why he can't do her work. And that's the thrust of the whole plot. The building romance between Jade and Hunter that was really amazing and the slut-o-matic ex who dangles a work carrot in front of Hunter. I loved Hunter's relationship with his family and parents. His Dad, I loved the guy. Maggie is well, a little out of control. But she's the other half of Mia, they are inseparable and I can see a book coming with Maggie and Finn. I loved the way Jade decided to take control of her family situation. When the hammer fell in this one, ouch! Hunter needs to put on his big boy pants and man up. The book has a great flow and the characters quickly become your friends! I can't say enough about this book. I gobbled it up in out sitting. Bravo Melanie! Fantastic! More than 5 stars!!! **arc from NetGalley and Entangled** Big thank you to Entangled! *I received an advanced copy of this book for review. The above is my honest review and the opinions therein are my own.*
After her father's passing, and having the vultures constantly lurking around her trying to get their hands on her inheritance, Jade Hollingsworth decides it's time to leave town and have a fresh start at life, so she picks a random spot on the map and makes a plan for a new life in South Carolina. Her plan is to open a swimwear shop, so she sinks her savings into a building, lines up a contractor, and is hoping everything will be ready to go when she gets to town. But unfortunately for her the contractor she hired to help get her new business ready to go decides to back out at the last minute with a rather lame excuse of why he can't help her. Now she is stuck between a rock and a hard place... she needs a new contractor as soon as possible, or her little dream will never take flight! Along her journey to South Carolina she meets a sexy stranger named Bob in a bar, and before she really knows whats happening she is agreeing to a one night stand in a random hotel room. Little does she know her stranger isn't really a stranger at all... he just so happens to be the contractor that left her hanging! Once she makes that little discovery things between them start to take an interesting and complicated turn, and if that isn't enough to deal with, the annoying ex-step mom she left behind decides to start reeking havoc on her life too! Sweet Attraction is a sizzling little tale that will grab your attention from the first page and hold on tight until the last! I was venturing into new territory with this one, and I have to say I really enjoyed the new adventure, this new to me author offered up a story that was filled with drama, humor, and steamy scenes that curled my toes and left me excited for more!! You couldn't help but like these well crafted characters, they had amazing chemistry, their banter was hysterical, and they knew how to crank up the heat! Highly recommend this hot little tale, it's sure to bring on the feels, make you laugh and leave you highly satisfied!! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this title.
If you’re in the mood for a sweet story with the heat cranked up, then Melanie Munton delivers. Our heroine, Jade, has uprooted her life in D.C. after the loss of her father to restart her life in South Carolina. She put her finger on the map and literally chose a town to start a business and move (yep, we must take that fictional leap with the author that anyone would actually do this without market research and site visiting to set up a business). She’s on her way down (the big move day) to deal with the disaster of a contractor who backed out of the build-out of her new beach wear store. On her way down she has a very hot one-nighter with “Bob” who later turns out to be the contractor, Hunter, who’d backed out of helping her. Yeah, there’s a couple fate certainly conspired to put at odds from the start, but their chemistry’s so explosive they can’t keep their hands off each other. These characters have a lot of steam to fill the pages as they navigate their personal and professional lives. We’ve got Hunter’s evil ex-girlfriend lurking and pulling strings on Hunter’s professional life. We’ve also got Jade’s horrid step mother and step brother who're trying to steal her trust fund and continuously make appearances and threats. All this comes together to create a fun adventure before these two work things out. The only aspect that seemed a bit forced was the issue of Jade having trouble loving because of her father’s relationship with her stepmother. Seemed kind of dumped into the story and wasn't necessary for the characters. Aside from this, the author does a great job bringing to life these characters. Did I enjoy the read? Yep, read it in a day. Would I recommend you pick this up: heck, yeah, if you need a quick weekend read.
After a lifetime of suppression, Jade is finally finding her voice. A fresh start in a new environment is only the beginning of her independence. If only she can keep her new career path on track. One sexy, yet infuriating contractor is giving her a run for her money while setting fire to her long dormant hormones. Hunter feels lust at first sight when he crosses paths with a red headed temptress in a bar. When that temptation turns out to be a hazard to both his professional and personal life, he'll have to decide if their attraction is worth the risk. Sweet Attraction is a the perfect temperature for a heatwave of fun.