BAD REPUTATION by Melinda Di Lorenzo
~ SYNOPSIS ~
~ SYNOPSIS ~
Joey is charming as hell and boy-toy hot. He's not ashamed to admit that he's cultivated a bit of a reputation. Daddy's money. One night stands. Zero apologies.
Tucker is a nice girl from the wrong side of the tracks, and she's got a reputation too. No money. No men. And zero tolerance for jerks like Joey.
When their two worlds collide, sparks and parking tickets fly, secrets come to the surface and heartbreak seems like a given. Unless, of course, love and forgiveness can find their way through and give Joey and Tucker a chance they never thought they'd have.
Bad Reputation is a New Adult Contemporary romance with mild heat, lots of laughs and a few tears.
~ PURCHASE ~
~ EXCERPT ~
From Joey's POV:
I didn’t even notice Tucker until I was only three feet away. Her hair was tied back into one of those severe-looking buns again, and she was dressed in what appeared to be oversized workout gear.
What the hell is she wearing? I wondered.
Then I clued in.
The loose t-shirt, tied in a knot at her waist, and the baggy pants, hanging enticingly off her hips – were mine. My mouth went uncharacteristically dry. Just the thought of her skin on the inside of my clothes was enough to drive away my headache.
I watched her as she struggled to hoist a heavy bag over the back of her van. The bag landed with a thud, the back end hanging from something I couldn’t see. Tucker leaned forward to shove it further in, and the t-shirt slid up, exposing the smoothness of her back. She made a frustrated noise and tried again. The bag was clearly just out of her grip.
I should’ve been helping her.
I’d never been so turned on by so little skin before.
Tucker stood on her tiptoes and strained against the back of the van. Her pants slipped down, revealing an inch of hip. She still couldn’t get the bag to budge. Even though her face was red from the day’s work, and even though there was a bit of sweat on her forehead, she kept trying. I liked her determination.
I needed to make the space between us smaller. As small as possible, in fact.
I stepped up behind her, and murmured, “Looks like you could use hand.”
She jumped back with a startled yelp. I steadied her by placing one hand on that exposed spot on her back that I’d been admiring. It was as soft as I hoped.
“Easy there,” I said. “Wouldn’t want you to fall and rip my favourite clothes.”
I reached easily over her shoulder, and gave the bag a solid tap with my palm. It slid into the van with a thump.
With a red face, Tucker pulled away from me and straightened my t-shirt over her stomach.
“These are your favourite clothes?”
“Well,” I teased. “They are now.”
“I wasn’t expecting to see you,” she told me.
I raised an eyebrow. “So you thought you’d just help yourself to an outfit? Should I check your purse for silverware, too?”
“I didn’t steal them!” she protested. “Your house manager gave them to me.”
I tapped my chin with mock thoughtfulness. “So you weren’t rifling through my underwear drawer?”
I didn’t think her face could get any redder, but somehow it did.
“Of course not. And I have to go,” she said stiffly. “I left the bill with your house manager.”
She dug her keys from her purse and took a step toward the driver’s side door.
“Tucker, can I ask you one thing before you leave?”
She paused. “What?”
I grinned. “Did you subtract the cost of my clothes from your bill?”
“Right after I tacked on the cost of driving you to the hospital,” she retorted. “Speaking of which…Shouldn’t you be off somewhere with Amber?”
I frowned. “With Amber? Why would I be somewhere with Amber?”
“Because she’s your girlfriend. Or one of them, anyway. And she did call you. I just figured she’d pick you up.”
“I didn’t want her to pick me up, and she’s not my –“ I cut myself off as I connected the dots. “Oh. You’re jealous.”
“I’m not jealous!”
She tried to sneak by me, and I put a casual hand against her van, blocking her path. She tried to go around, but I brought the other arm up too, so that Tucker was between them. She could’ve ducked down and gone under. She could’ve shoved me away and I would’ve yielded. Instead, she brought those brown eyes up to meet my gaze.
“I want you to get it into your head that I'm not going to wind up as one of your trophies,” Tucker stated.
“People like trophies,” I pointed out in a low voice.
“Maybe. But there’s a difference between liking one and being one.”
The tilt of her head brought her lips almost close enough to kiss. I bent my elbows, inching closer. She didn’t shy away.
“Remind me…Why are we in a fight?” I asked.
“We’re not in a fight.”
“Seems like we are.”
“We have nothing to fight about. We don’t know each other well enough to fight.”
"Then why do I feel like you're punishing me for something?”
“What would I be punishing you for?"
In reply, I leaned forward and dragged my mouth across hers slowly. I teased her lips open with my teeth and darted my tongue across her teeth. Her back arched in response, bringing her body flush against mine. Through the fabric of her shirt, I could feel the hardness of her nipples and the increase in her breathing.
Her hands found their way to my waist, and she held on tightly as I dug my fingers into her hair and tugged it free. The tumble of red across her shoulders, soft, shiny, and lightly scented, drove a wave of heat straight to my groin.
I grabbed a hold of her knee with one hand and her rear end with the other, and lifted her from the ground. My lips sought her throat, then her chin, and at last her lips again. I kissed her hard enough to make her moan, revelling in the desperate way she clung to my shoulders.
Instinctively I knew that if I didn’t stop right that second, I wouldn’t be able to.
~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~
Melinda Di Lorenzo
Creating happily-ever-afters, one page at a time!
Melinda writes in her spare time - at soccer practices, when she should be doing laundry, and in place of sleep. She lives on the beautiful west coast of British Columbia, Canada, with her handsome husband and her noisy kids. When she's not writing, she can be found curled up with (someone else's) good book. In her spare time, she Googles herself and makes up holidays to celebrate so she can crack a beer. Her writing motto is: Write with just enough of the real to make the reader say, “Hey, that could be me!” and just of enough of the fantastic to make the reader say, “Hey, I WISH that was me!” Melinda A. Di Lorenzo is the author of 5 full-length novels, including 2 independently published titles, 2 titles with Harlequin, and 1 title with The Wild Rose Press. So far anyway…
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