Some of my favorite love stories are those where the characters have non-romantic histories – friends to lovers or siblings friends kinda things … and Ember Leigh’s newest looks like just my sort of book 🙂
A Bayshore Novel
by Ember Leigh
Genre: Contemporary Romance
There’s one rule in my family.
Stay away from the Daly brothers.
We were raised to know them as users. Manipulators. But I only ever saw Connor as the enigmatic senior hottie who dropped into fifth period to teach us about the perils of drunk driving.
So when my first big girl job out of college ends up with us working at the same company, it’s heart throb city all over again. Except he’s way ahead of the game. Successful, talented, put together. I’m just a frumpy twenty-something in a quarter life crisis who doesn’t know a glue stick from a makeup highlighter.
He would never want me, even though he’s all I ever wanted in secret. So when we cross paths one night at the bar and one drink leads to another, he slaps me with an offer I can’t refuse.
Accompany him back to Bayshore, flight included.
Only stipulation? Pose as his girlfriend.
Our families will flip, but I’m not strong enough to say no to those baby blues, especially if it means I’ll have a chance to spend the next two weeks with my adolescent heart throb.
Once the lights flick off, it’s just Connor and me in the queen bed. Barely clothed and lying there.
I measure my breaths for the longest time, trying to fake a steady rhythm while simultaneously listening to hear if he’s fallen asleep. We are not touching at all—in fact, I’ve scooted to the farthest reaches of the bed, curled up on my side, in a position that becomes uncomfortable approximately twenty seconds in. But I can’t move. Because we’re supposed to be falling asleep.
My mind races for what feels like hours. I thought downing all that moscato would help me fall asleep, but Connor’s weight on the other half of the bed erases any vestige of sleepiness. All I can think is, Male body nearby!!!! MALE. BODY. NEAR. BY. As if some sort of purity alarm is going off inside me.
Despite the elevated mental activity, I do somehow fall asleep. Because the next time I’m aware of anything, sunlight is streaming into the bedroom and I am warm.
The Dalys keep their house this side of frigid, but I’ve managed to make quite the nest in this bed. And man, it’s comfortable. Pillow-top mattress and all. I yawn, and when I nestle back into my comfortable spot, I realize my cheek has stuck to something.
I tilt my head, and my temple presses into something warm. Hard, even. I draw a deep breath, shifting beneath the sheets. They’re, like, 8,000 count or something and impossibly soft. My arm moves from its resting spot, and that’s when I notice it wasn’t resting on the bed.
I’m pretty sure I have my arm flung over Connor’s torso.
This makes the purity alarm start screaming again, and I jolt up.
Connor’s torso is beneath me. Not the neutral expanse of unoccupied bed as I had assumed.
No. His naked, perfectly toned and tan torso.
I blink, taking it in. And that unsightly spot on his chest?
Yeah, my dried drool.
My hand shoots to my face, and I can feel the crusty trail leading from my mouth. Oh please God, no. I bolt out of bed before he can wake up and see this. Or realize that I draped myself across him like a needy little nymph.
I stumble toward the bathroom attached to the bedroom. The early morning sunlight grates on my sensibilities, and I actually run into the doorframe before I make it inside. The door shuts much harder than I intend, and I wince inside. Bull in a china shop at eight a.m. over here.
I clean myself up as quickly as possible, brushing my teeth for good measure, and then snag my morning pee. I walk back into the bedroom, readier than ever to continue sleeping in.
Connor is sitting up in the bed, rubbing at his eyes. The sheets are gathered around his hips, and his belly creases as he leans forward slightly.
“Morning,” he says, looking at me with one eye pinched shut.
The sight of him is too glorious to comprehend. He is pure tousled bedhead and bleary baby blues. Half of him looks ready to flop backwards and keep sleeping.
“Are you getting up?”
“Yeah.” He yawns, then pauses before saying, “I had a dream we were spooning.”
I snort, but then I spot the dried drool on his chest and freeze. “You should take a shower.”
“Do I stink?”
“No, it’s just—” I have no good reason waiting in the wings for why. “I like to start my day with a shower. I thought you did too.”
“I do, actually.” He stretches and then finally rolls out of bed. And this is when I blessedly receive the answer to my question. He sleeps in boxer briefs.
Hallelujah, I’ve seen the flaccid outline of his cock.
He glances at me, and I jerk my gaze over to the suitcases. I must document this occasion in my journal. This is a major victory for sixteen-year-old me.
“Sorry,” he says. “Is this weird? I’m used to sleeping in my underwear, so…”
I look down at my puritan night ensemble: long pants, long-sleeved cotton shirt, and the lemur cartoons printed across all of it. “No, no. It’s fine. I would have slept in my underwear like I normally do too, but…” I gesture to my pajamas. “I just got these, so I need to wear them.
“They’re cute,” he says offhandedly, but what he probably means is, You’re weird. “Did you sleep well?” He pauses at the dresser. His calves are sculpted. His ass is comprised of two small melons. Every part of him is perfect, and I can’t help but stare.
I nod so hard I almost give myself an issue for my chiropractor to sort out. “Yes. Yes. Oh, yes. It was great. Had a great time. I mean sleep.”
Heat zips through me, though I can’t say why. Any sign from him I’m eager to translate into a profession of attraction, so it’s not hard to warp his words into something more. But I remind myself I’m being silly. Ridiculous, even.
We are work colleagues and, during our time in Bayshore, co-conspirators.
That is it.
So why is it so hard to remember?
Ember Leigh has been writing erotic romance novels since she was far too young. A native of northern Ohio, she currently resides near Lake Erie with her Argentinean husband, where they run an Argentinian-American food truck. In addition to romance novels, Ember also writes travel memoirs and occasionally updates a couple of blogs. In her free time, she practices Ashtanga yoga, hops around the world, and eats lots of vegetables.
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