HOLDING ON TIGHTER is LIVE!
I’m beyond thrilled to release the 12th (and final) full-length novel in my Wicked Lovers series! It’s bittersweet to be finishing this series after a decade. I love these characters and will be forever grateful to the readers who have followed each and every book. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you enjoy this title, especially the juicy series epilogue (and the teaser for what’s next) at the end!
HOLDING ON TIGHTER
Wicked Lovers, Book 12
Jolie Quinn is a woman in charge. Her no-nonsense attitude has made her a rising star in the fashion world and her brand a household name among the Dallas elite. Nothing will stop her from achieving her goals—not even the gorgeous British security contractor who seems just as interested in seeing her personal assets as he is in protecting her professional ones.
After a tragedy left him broken, Heath Powell made a rule of staying unattached. But Jolie challenges him in a way he can’t ignore, and he isn’t used to backing down from a confrontation—especially when the reward for winning could feel so good. As passion blazes between them, the stubborn, confident beauty arouses more than his desire. She touches his heart.
When a mysterious enemy threatens Jolie and her company, Heath is the only person Jolie can trust to help. But working with him to save her business might put her dangerously at risk of falling in love…
“Look at me.” He waited until she turned to face him. His eyes glinted with a biting desire that left her breathless. “Let me rephrase. It’s likely we’ll have sex, probably for the rest of the night. In fact, if we do this, don’t expect to be well rested for your meeting tomorrow. I simply wanted to be clear that you don’t order me to fuck you. You don’t say when or where or how. That’s my role.”
She braced her hand on her hip. “Because you’re the big, dominant stud muffin? Look, that whole taking-orders thing is not how I roll. If you want me, come to the bedroom and we’ll be two consenting adults choosing to have orgasms in a way that mutually suits us both. Or we can drop the idea and you can go find some other nameless bimbo tomorrow night at that meat market of a bar.” She shrugged and tried to pretend his answer didn’t matter. “Your call.”
Heath didn’t say a word, just grabbed his gun and stalked closer, unwinding the towel from around his waist and dropping it to the floor. She gasped, her stare glued to his body. His olive skin, which she suspected was a throwback to some Italian or Spanish ancestor, stretched over bulging muscles, lean sinew, and hard bone. Everything about him looked powerful and determined. His body, his expression, his cock.
Jolie had hit the sheets with some hot guys in her life. Athletes, a few models, some high-powered business executives. Not one had made her breath catch or her heart race like this.
Had provoking him been a mistake?
She couldn’t think clearly when he urged her back against the wall and braced his forearm above her head. The gun clattered against the plaster as he leaned in and loomed above her. The nine-inch difference in their heights suddenly made him seem like a mountain. Though he wasn’t touching her anywhere, he bore a hole through her composure with his midnight eyes. They stripped her resistance while vowing untold pleasure.
Jolie heard rapid little pants filling the silence between them and was horrified to realize they were hers. She couldn’t make them stop. Instead, she settled her fingers on the hard slab of his chest, as if some part of her thought she could push him away if he overwhelmed her. But his stare told her it was too late for that.
With his free hand, he curled his fingers around her nape and pulled her closer. “You must be the most opinionated, guarded, difficult woman I’ve ever met. And I want you so badly.”
Heath bent into what was left of her personal space. His lips hovered just over hers. His hot breath caressed her. He didn’t kiss her, merely waited, studying her. She trembled, her heart thumping wildly, as he surrounded her with his scent, his masculinity, his desire.
“Are you ready?” he asked.
But as much as he overwhelmed her, Jolie couldn’t deny the desperate ache for him. “Yes. Hurry.”
“Maybe this first time. After that . . .” He smiled, leaving her imagination to run wild. “It’s going to take me all night to fuck you properly.”
Heath turned just long enough to set his weapon on the hall table beside her, then closed the distance between them again, bracketing both hands around her face. To her shock, he didn’t push his way into her mouth and plunder. He employed stealth as he slowly settled his lips above hers. He paused, breathing her in as if he wanted to catalog everything about her before he decided how to proceed. His patience nearly made her scream. They were naked. Her body was humming. She was breathless and aching and needy, damn it.
That had to stop.
He was getting to her too fast, but she didn’t know how to stop reacting. And he hadn’t actually kissed her yet, merely teased. Her reactions were unacceptable.
Jolie jerked her face away. Almost instantly, she missed the intimacy of their closeness. It made sense, she reasoned with herself. She’d worn out a couple sets of batteries since she’d been this near another human being.
But trying to fool herself was pointless. This desire eating at her composure and sucking her resistance dry wasn’t like anything she’d ever experienced. Towering and terrifying, yes. But damn if she didn’t feel beyond eager to melt into this man and let him take whatever he wanted.
Heath didn’t pull her mouth close to his or chide her coyness. Instead, he pressed long, lingering kisses to her cheek, her temple, her forehead, then back down to her throat. “I don’t think anyone has ever properly worshipped your body. I intend to change that.”
Jolie’s blood caught fire. She swallowed.
Anticipation. Apprehension. Arousal. The mix bloomed in her belly, burst in her head.
She couldn’t stop herself from angling her face closer and rubbing her cheek against his. He cupped her face and she exhaled, pressing herself to his big, solid form.
He’d barely touched her and he was already undoing her. Normally with a guy, she got naked, enjoyed half an hour of adult time, managed an orgasm or two, and was mentally scrolling through her to‑do list before she’d even finished dressing. With Heath pressing her into the wall and his lips working against her jaw, his breaths in her ear, she could barely remember her own name.
“Just kiss me already,” she managed to get out.
Heath cradled her face. With a burning, solemn gaze, he held her still. Every cell in her body strained for more. He tsked. “So impatient.” Before she could shoot back a snappy reply, he bent and brushed his lips over hers— a second of bliss. Then he backed away, dragged in a shaky breath. His battle-hardened hands still held her in an inexorable grip, trapping her against the wall as he hovered over her and inhaled her slowly.
Jolie couldn’t stand it anymore. She clutched his head, thrusting her fingers into the dark spikes of his hair, and surged up to cover his lips with her own.
She could almost sense his triumph, and Jolie realized he’d played her, ramped her up. And she’d tipped her hand, walking right into his trap.
A moment later, he forced her lips apart and surged inside as if it was his right to take every inch of her. He swept through and slid deep, savoring her like she was the sweetest morsel he’d ever stroked with his tongue. He kissed her as if he refused to let her go.
With a whimper, she melted, clinging, in desperate need of an anchor. She’d worry later about how she would recover from this total breakdown of her defenses. Right now, his touch felt once‑in‑a‑lifetime. This thing between them engulfed her, consumed her whole. She craved even more.
Heath eased back, nipped at her bottom lip, then dragged in a harsh breath. “Wrap your legs around me.”
Jolie didn’t question him. She let Heath drag her up his body and clutched him with her thighs as he snatched up his gun from the nearby table and stalked down the hall.
Inside her bedroom, her relaxing music had given way to something with a dark, steady beat. It sounded primal. Sexual.
As he dropped her onto the bed, he set his weapon on the nightstand and bent to her. Jolie didn’t wait. She surged up to meet him halfway, arms tangling around his neck, legs hooking around his waist again, as she crashed her lips onto his once more. Hungry and urgent, she devoured him, demanding everything he could give her.
Heath had other plans.
He jerked free from her embrace and grab and grabbed her wrists in an iron grip. Then he pinned her arms to the mattress and pressed his forehead into hers while he held her down and settled himself in the cradle of her thighs. “You’re very impatient.”
“You want me. I want you,” she panted. Every hard inch of him covered her. “We agreed to have sex.”
“Yes, a night of it. But you can’t control this. It won’t happen on your timetable. I won’t put my cock inside you in the next three minutes because you’re too twitchy to wait. I’ll fuck you when I’m sure the only thing you’ll give me is your utter and complete surrender.”
His words detonated inside her. Jolie had never been afraid she would give a man too much of herself.