Fresh off of the most humiliating romantic disaster of her life, Gwen sees no reason not to get tipsy and throw herself at her sexy bad boy neighbor. But she never expected their one night stand to have consequences that would keep them together...or for his concern to turn into something that feels like it could last.
Dominic Brady has always admired Gwen from afar, and now that she’s single, he has no reservations about saying yes to one wild night. Soon he’s interested in a real relationship. But when their future is uncertain, Dominic is determined to show her that he takes care of what’s his. And that no matter what happens, he’s one man she can’t lose.
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“You did it how many times?” Crystal asked in disbelief.
“Um . . . three not counting the—other stuff,” Gwen replied, knowing her face was probably redder than her hair by now. She wasn’t one for sex talk; well, mainly because she never had any good enough to share . . . until Dominic.
“I love the ‘other stuff,’” Mia purred, fanning herself.
“That’s such bullshit,” Crystal pouted. “My ex told me it was bad for a man’s system to come more than three times per week. He never—and I mean never ever—did it more than once per night and even that was a letdown.”
“How about other men you’ve dated?” Gwen asked, curious.
“What other men? My parents were so strict with Ella and me that we really didn’t get to date much. Bill attended our church and was a carbon copy of them so they were constantly pushing us together from the moment I turned eighteen. I swear I think they secretly arranged the whole marriage. I was so desperate for freedom that I went along with it, and before I knew what was happening, I was married to the male version of my mother.”
“Oh wow,” Mia winced. “I’ve heard a few stories about her from Suzy. She’s . . .”
“Batshit crazy,” Crystal offered. “Yeah, you can say it. I love the woman, but she acts freaking nuts most of the time. She has barely spoken to me since I divorced Bill. To her, I’m completely in the wrong, and she wants me to beg him to take me back.”
“Do you miss him?” Gwen asked, noticing an underlying hint of pain in her friend’s voice.
Expelling a breath, Crystal said, “I miss the idea of him. For so many years, I did everything I could to make him happy. I thought if I could be the perfect wife then our relationship would improve. Only that never happened. Both he and my mother had been pressuring me to have kids, and I just couldn’t go along with it. I knew if I did then he would have me trapped forever. It forced me to finally accept that I was miserable. I gave him an ultimatum to change and he tried for all of five minutes. A few months later, I packed my bags and left him. So . . . in answer to your original question, I have no experience outside of my relationship with him.”
Mia threw an arm over Crystal’s shoulders, giving her a brief hug before saying, “Well, I’ll go ahead and tell you that men are definitely capable of coming more than a few times a week without breaking their plumbing. You just need to find the right guy.”
“Hey, how about the one you kneed in the crotch a few weeks ago? Didn’t you say he was cute before you emasculated him in the parking garage?” Gwen joked.
Dropping her head, Crystal shuddered. “Oh God, you mean Gage.”
“Doesn’t he work with Dominic?” Mia looked intrigued.
“Wait. That was Gage?” Gwen asked in disbelief. She remembered Gwen telling them all about the incident but didn’t remember her mentioning the man’s name.
“Yeah, that’s him,” Crystal groaned. “He had asked me out a few times before I shoved his balls up around his neck. I mean, it wasn’t on purpose or anything. I had worked late that evening and was walking through a mostly empty parking garage when someone suddenly grabbed my shoulder. I thought I was being mugged so I did one of my self-defense moves and kneed him right in the baby-maker. That shit works, too, because he dropped like a stone. I looked down right before I took off and recognized him instantly.” Looking dejected she added, “He’s avoided me like the plague since then.”
“Well, duh,” Mia laughed.
There was an interested male chuckle from behind them.
Gwen whirled around in her seat to see Dominic standing behind her looking equal parts curious and amused. “I . . . oh . . . hey.”
“Hey, babe,” he said in reply before dropping a kiss on her upturned lips. “Hi, ladies,” he turned to greet her friends.
Crystal kicked her under the table snapping Gwen out of her daze long enough to introduce her friends. “Dominic, this is Crystal and Mia.” He shook each of their hands, and she noticed both of her friends swooning under his handsome gaze.
Returning his attention to her, he said, “I dropped by your office on the way out to see if you needed anything. Sorry. Things were a bit hectic this morning and I missed bringing you coffee.”
“That’s okay.” She fidgeted under the watchful eyes of her friends.
“How about dinner tonight?” he offered as he rubbed lazy circles on her shoulder. She wished he would stop touching her because she was only seconds away from panting with desire for him. He had magic hands with a direct link to her clit.
“Oh, I can’t. I’m babysitting for Shannon tonight.” Shannon was a neighbor, as well as a single mom. She worked at a local hospital and sometimes had problems finding a sitter when she worked the evening shift.
“The Shannon who lives a few doors down from you?” Dominic asked, which surprised her. She should have known that someone in his line of work would make it his business to know the people he lived next to.
“Yes, that’s her. I help her out with Megan and Maddy occasionally.”
“I know,” he said, again surprising her. “I’ve seen you with them on the complex playground. How about I pick up some pizza and come along? Do you think the girls would like that for dinner?”
It was on the tip of her tongue to warn him about how rambunctious the kids were when she suddenly thought better of it. Maybe he needed a reality check on how tough it could be to spend the evening with a couple of little girls who looked like angels yet acted more like devils most of the time. The poor man would probably run screaming for his life after the first hour. Trying to hide her smirk she said, “I think that’s a great idea. The girls just love pizza. I’m supposed to be at Shannon’s at six so why don’t you come on by when you get home?”
“Sounds great, babe,” he said as he dropped another kiss on her lips. “I’ll see you this evening.” With those words, he walked toward the front of the restaurant and picked up a couple of to-go bags before waving a final time on his way out the door.
“You totally just set him up.” Mia shook her head. “I’ve heard you talk about those kids before.”
Leaning back in her chair, Gwen couldn’t stop the evil laughter that escaped her throat. “Ladies, it’s time to separate the men from the boys before I go any further. If he makes it an hour tonight, then I’ll know that he’s got more staying power than my last three boyfriends combined.”
“And if he doesn’t?” Crystal asked, playing devil’s advocate.
“I’ll just use him for sex, without relationship potential.” Gwen rubbed her hands together, suddenly looking forward to babysitting more than she ever had before. Come on, Maddy and Megan, don’t let me down now.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for the Danvers Novels
“Wonderful…Landon’s foray into contemporary romance has just the right amount of angst, sass, sexiness, humor, and of course romance.”—Fresh Fiction
“If you like the Cinderella-style story, this modern day version is sure to be a hit.”—Once Upon a Twilight
“A hot, sweet, good ride.”—Under the Covers Book Blog