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Authors: Roni Loren

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Melt Into You

BOOK: Melt Into You
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PRAISE FOR

crash into you

“Revved up and red-hot sexy, Roni Loren delivers a riveting romance!”

—Lorelei James,
New York Times
bestselling author of the Blacktop Cowboys series and the Rough Riders series

“Hot and romantic, with an edge of suspense that will keep you entertained.”

—Shayla Black, national bestselling author of
Mine to Hold

“A sexy, sizzling tale that is sure to have readers begging for more! . . . I can’t wait for Roni Loren’s next tantalizing story!”

—Jo Davis, author of
I Spy a Dark Obsession

“Sexy as hell, gutsy as all get out—
Crash Into You
has balls! Watch out. Roni Loren, just like the men in her books, knows how to keep you up all night.
Crash Into You
is sexy as hell and goes into the dark places other writers shy away from. Loren understands the dark beauty of D/s and treats her characters with respect even as she takes them to the very edge of what they and the reader can handle. I can sum this book up in one word: Damn!”

—Tiffany Reisz, author of
The Siren

“This steamy, sexy yet emotionally gripping story has the right touch of humor and love to keep readers coming back for a second round.”

—Julie Cross, author of
Tempest

“A stunning first work. I read it straight through in one sitting, and I dare you to even attempt to put it down.”

—Cassandra Carr, author of
Talk to Me

Titles by Roni Loren

 

CRASH INTO YOU

MELT INTO YOU

eSpecials

 

STILL INTO YOU

Melt into you

 

RONI LOREN

HEAT | NEW YORK

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

Copyright © 2012 by Roni Loren.

Excerpt from
Fall Into You
copyright © 2012 by Roni Loren.

Cover photograph of “Intimate Young Couple” from Thinkstock (119829937).

Cover design by Diana Kolsky.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

HEAT and the HEAT design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Heat trade paperback edition / July 2012

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Loren, Roni.

Melt into you / Roni Loren. — Heat trade paperback ed.

p. cm.

ISBN 978-1-101-56901-6

1. Open marriage—Fiction. 2. Triangles (Interpersonal relations)—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3612.O764M45 2012

813'.6—dc23

2011051846

 

 

To Mom and De.

Your wholehearted, unconditional support is the best gift a girl could ever receive.

I love you.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

Thank you to my husband, Donnie, who can always make me laugh and brighten my day no matter what’s going on. You’re my rock star. I love you.

To my kidlet: you amaze me daily with your awesomeness. And though you don’t realize it now, Mommy wouldn’t have had the chance to be a writer if you hadn’t come into my life and inspired me to give my dream a go. I love you.

To my grandfather, Ron: your drive and enthusiasm for all that you do have always been an inspiration to me. I’m proud to be named after you. Love you.

To my writer friends, Julie Cross and Jamie Wesley, who keep me sane and talk me off ledges.

To my agent Sara Megibow and editor Kate Seaver: you ladies make it a joy for me to “go to work” every day. Thank you.

To my online writer friends, who amaze me daily with your brilliance, your humor, and your kickass support for your fellow scribes. Y’all are definitely the coolest kids in the cafeteria.

And to anyone who picks up one of my books to read: I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. Thank you.

 

 

PROLOGUE

twelve years ago

Most of the time temptation climbs into your lap and
straddles you, demands you deal with it immediately. Give in or deprive yourself. Choose your adventure.

Jace’s general stance: Deprivation was overrated.

But he’d never faced this kind of temptation. The kind that seeped into your skin so slowly you didn’t even notice until you were soaked with it, saturated. To the point that every thought, every breath, seemed to be laced with the desire for that thing you shouldn’t have.

And right now that thing was nibbling flecks of purple polish off her fingernails.

Jace shifted on the rec room couch, pretending to look for the remote control, even though he could feel the damn thing digging into his hip. He had to do something to get her calves off his lap. Otherwise, she was going to feel exactly how much he hadn’t been concentrating on the horror movie. Or she’d assume he’d gotten the monster hard-on watching the teens get butchered on the screen. Although, thinking he got off on blood and guts might be preferable to the real reason he was sporting wood.

She tucked her legs to her chest and set her chin on her knees, staring at him with eyes so pale blue, they looked like silver dimes in the flicker of the television. Thunder rumbled outside and her gaze darted to the window behind him. Wary. “Maybe we should’ve watched that Jim Carrey movie instead.”

He hit Stop on the VCR, cutting off the eerie music to the closing credits, and resisted the urge to scoot closer to her, to curl around her lithe body and slay her fears like the dude in the movie had done for the heroine. Well, up until the guy’s head was lopped off. That he could skip. “See, I warned you it would freak you out. I shouldn’t have even let you watch it. It’s rated R. Too old for you.”

She snorted and shoved his thigh with her foot. “Said the nineteen-year-old who just finished his third beer.”

He glanced at the empty bottles on the side table. Yeah, he was batting a thousand on the responsible adult thing tonight. Good thing his parents had left him in charge. “I’m in college. Beer is part of homework.”

“Whatever. I’ll be rated-R approved in three months anyway.” She grabbed her Coke off the coffee table and sipped, drawing his attention down to her heart-shaped lips and the way they drew the liquid slowly from the bottle. “Hell, I’ll be porn approved.”

Fuck. That’s the last image she needed to paint on his brain. “No, you won’t. Gotta be eighteen for that.”

Lightning reflected off the silver ring in her arched eyebrow. “You would know, I’m sure.”

“I’m a guy.” Which should be enough of an explanation. “And don’t you dare watch any of that shit until you’re like thirty.”

“Oh, please. I’m not that innocent, Jace,” she said, yawning and setting down her drink. She rubbed her eyes with the heels of her hands, smudging her heavy kohl eyeliner until she looked like some gothic angel. “The couple I was placed with last time had a huge stash that their idiot sons always raided. I’ve seen my share of
bom-chicka-wah-wah
.”

“Oh, terrific. Glad you were supervised so well.”

“It was stupid. The guy actors were ugly and the girls were fake-looking.” She bumped his thigh with her bare foot again. “Kind of like those chicks you always date.”

He almost jolted when she touched him. He felt like that game Operation where any slight nudge sent a loud buzz through his system—only this buzz went straight to his dick. Every time he was around her these days was like this.

He’d almost gotten used to it, had accepted the painful state as part of his daily existence. Then two weeks ago they’d been goofing off in the pool. She’d sprayed him in the face with the hose, and he’d grabbed her by the ankle and pulled her into the water with him. When she’d surfaced, she’d been laughing—something as rare as a unicorn sighting.

He’d pushed her hair off her face, intending to dunk her again, but had gotten caught in the net of her laughing eye-lock. He’d hesitated. And in the space between blinks, she’d glided in closer to him, invaded his space, and kissed him.

And dammit, he’d kissed her back. Had let all the pent-up desire he’d harbored for her over the last few months pour into the kiss. So stupid.

He knew having someone live in his parents’ house for a year didn’t make her his sister. But he wasn’t dumb enough to think kissing her was okay either. Especially when she was still in high school. Man, if hell existed, he was going straight there.

He’d stopped the kiss when she’d pressed her body against his, her one-piece bathing suit not thick enough to insulate him from her every peak and valley beneath it. She’d swum off without a word and hadn’t mentioned it again, apparently voting to pretend it never happened. He’d seconded that vote.

But now he realized they were probably going to have to discuss it. Draw a nice little chalk line between them. He’d drunk the beer, hoping to get some liquid courage, but no such luck.

He scooted more toward the arm of the couch, away from contact with her feet. “The girls I date aren’t fake-looking.”
Not totally
.

“They sure as hell don’t look like me.”

Fuck no, they didn’t. They didn’t smell of cherry shampoo like she did either. Or smile at only his good jokes, not the lame ones. Or make him feel like he was worth hanging out with—not because of his money, or his rank on the college swim team, but just because. “No one looks like you.”

Her gaze shifted back to her chipped nail polish. “Yeah, well, not all of us can be supermodels.”

“Hey, that’s not what I meant.”

She swung her legs from the couch to the floor and stood. “I’m going to go clean this polish off and go to bed. Thanks for renting the movie, even though I think I’ll be sleeping with the lights on and the closet doors open tonight.”

“Hold up.” Jace grabbed her hand before she could escape, knowing he shouldn’t say what he was about to, but not okay letting her walk away feeling like she was somehow less than. “I’m serious. Those girls only wish they looked as great as you. Really.”

“You’re so full of crap I bet your eyes have turned brown with it.” She slipped her fingers from his grasp and hugged her elbows. “Don’t do this because of what happened in the pool. I have enough people doing the let’s-lie-to-make-her-feel-good thing. You’re the only one I’ve been able to count on to not bullshit me.”

Thunder rolled outside as if gathering energy off her building anger.

He leaned back on the couch, his hands out to his sides. “Chill, I’m not lying to you, okay?”
I haven’t really been sitting here all night watching you instead of the stupid movie. And no, I haven’t spent the last two weeks replaying how good it felt to kiss you that day. Or wondering what would’ve happened if I hadn’t stopped things.

She stared at him for a moment, eyes narrowed, like she was determining results on some internal lie detector.

He knew more discussion in this direction wasn’t going to lead anywhere good. If she kept prying, his feelings were going to slip out, especially with his tongue loose from beer. “You should go to bed.”

Her lips parted as if she was going to push the issue further, but then—thank God—clamped them shut and turned her back on him. “Good night, Jace.”

After he was sure she’d be done in the bathroom and tucked into her own room, Jace trudged upstairs to get ready for bed. He should’ve skipped brushing his teeth. The minute he stepped into the steamy, cherry-scented bathroom, his hard-on returned full force. She’d showered.

He groaned as images of her slipping out of her clothes right where he stood assailed him. Water sluicing down over her every curve, washing away all that makeup and leaving behind that natural beauty so few girls seemed to have. Her hands sliding soap over her naked body, touching, exploring.
Fuck
.

He brushed his teeth with brutal force and shoved his toothbrush back in its holder, fighting the temptation to climb in the shower and let the fantasy run wild while he stroked himself. He’d done it before with her on his mind. But he knew it wouldn’t provide any real relief. It’d only key him up more, and all he wanted to do right now was fall into bed and crash. At least if he was sleeping he didn’t have to think about the girl two doors down.

He made his way to his bedroom and flipped on a lamp. The room flooded with warm light, but then flickered off, the distinctive sound of everything electronic in the house going from a whir to dead silence following it.
Ah, hell
.

He crossed to the far side of the room and pulled back the curtains on the pair of large windows, lighting his room with the flashing of the storm. With wind like this, losing electricity had been inevitable. Now he wouldn’t even be able to distract himself with TV to help get to sleep. He stripped down to his boxers and slipped between the cool sheets.

Stared at the ceiling.

This was going to be a long night.

He counted the seconds between the bolts of lightning and the boom of thunder—the space between getting less and less. The worst of the rain would pass over them soon. But he feared his throbbing hard-on wouldn’t fade quite as quickly.

He tossed from one side of the bed to the other, trying to think of something—anything—besides the girl down the hall. Even replaying some of the gory scenes from the movie they’d watched didn’t help. Nothing could shake the image of her standing there—smudged eyeliner, faded sweatshirt, and a jaded smirk that told him she really didn’t believe she was beautiful.

Didn’t realize he couldn’t even concentrate when she was near.

He flopped onto his back with a strangled sigh. He would never fall asleep at this rate. Not with his brain on an endless loop and his body staging the boner from hell. Resigned, he let his hand track down his abdomen and below the waistband of his shorts, imagining that it was her delicate, purple-polished fingers wrapping around his cock instead of his large hand.

He groaned as he stroked up the length and ran a thumb over the tip. God, how many times in the last few months had he thought of her this way? He couldn’t ever remember aching for someone like this. Sex was sex. Girls were girls. Both had always come easy to him. Neither was something to get all knotted up about. Why was she so different?

Her name whispered off his lips as he brought himself closer to release, and the windows rattled with the next roll of thunder. Jace almost missed the faint
tap tap tap
sound mixed in with it. The noise came again. He tilted his head, listened. Another knock and then his door cracked open a sliver, a beam of light peeking through. “Jace?”

Fuck, fuck, fuck
. He pulled his hand from his shorts and squinted in the glare of the flashlight. “Yeah, I’m here. What’s up?”

“Can I come in?” she asked, her voice swallowed by another rumble outside.

Hell no!
He sat up on his elbows, making sure he had enough blankets over him to cover what was beneath the sheets. “You okay?”

She stepped fully into the room and clicked off the flashlight. “Do you have any matches or a lighter? I  . . . I know it’s stupid, but the dark still freaks me out and I want to light a few candles.”

He frowned. “No, sorry, I don’t. I could go look downstairs. There may be some in the kitchen.”

“No, don’t get up.” She took another step toward him, the flashing from the windows lighting her in strobe effect, each blink giving his eyes something new to torture himself with. Bare legs. Short gym shorts. Damp hair. A tank top so thin he could see the shadow of dusky pink nipples beneath it.

But where he lost it was when his eyes locked with hers. The longing he felt in his own chest reflected in her pale blue stare. He tried to clear the knot that lodged in his throat. “It’s fine. I don’t mind.”

“I don’t want to go back to my room, Jace,” she said, something very different from fear lacing her words.

His tongue grew thick in his mouth. “Well, you can’t stay in here.”

Another step closer, now within arm’s reach of him. “Why not? No one will be home until tomorrow.”

He groaned and raked a hand through his now sweat-dampened hair. “Because . . . Jesus, you know why.”

“Because you think I’m pretty.” The corner of her mouth lifted despite the obvious nervous edge tracking through her tone.

“Don’t do this,” he said, not sure if the words were directed at her or himself.

“Come on, I want to know.”

“Yes, because I think you’re pretty.” He looked toward the windows, breathed. “Because I damn near lose my mind every time I’m near you lately.”

Her breath escaped in a sharp little puff, and the thunder rolled between them, electrifying the air.

He hardened his tone, hoping she’d run for the door. “Go back to your room. We’re playing a dangerous game and doing the right thing has never been my strong suit.”

“That’s what I love about you,” she said, sitting down on the bed, ignoring his warning. The curve of her hip brushed against the back of his hand. “You’re the only one in this family that seems to live in the moment, to take risks.”

Yeah, and his family hated him for it. He closed his eyes, trying to shut out the vision of her, but her scent wrapped around him just the same, awakening every nerve in his body.

BOOK: Melt Into You
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