Confirmed NYC bachelor Malcolm Fowlkes must marry within five days to satisfy the requirements of his father’s will. With an unsuccessful round of speed dating under his belt, he finally meets Caroline.
Caroline Mathers has never been interested in marriage, but she's willing to sacrifice that small detail to gain her ultimate desire: a baby.
Caroline and Malcolm complicate what should be a simple arrangement with an irresistible sexual attraction that quickly develops into a sizzling physical relationship. But such a rushed, unconventional relationship is bound to come with surprises. Though Caroline finds herself drawn to Malcolm, she doesn't have a chance to express herself before he finds out her secrets.
“You have a very relaxed grace to your step. You move easily.”
“Hhhmm, I didn't think you'd notice.”
She smiled. “I notice more than you think, Malcolm.” Her smile widened. “And I like what I see.”
Malcolm pulled her closer. “That makes two of us.”
The music changed, and Malcolm found that though he would have liked to say more he was too busy trying to figure out what to do with his feet. His confidence left him as the pace quickened and then stopped and started without warning. Caroline kept up effortlessly, twirling and gliding around him with the grace of a summer breeze, chuckling good-naturedly at his obvious and total confusion. Enjoying her body as it flowed toward him and then seductively away, Malcolm didn't think as his arm snaked out to pull her close, slowing her movements. He pulled her to him until her body was flush against his.
And although the music kept playing, faster and faster, and the dancers surrounding them twirled merrily, the world enclosed them, gradually slowing to a stop. Malcolm slowed with it, spinning Caroline in a gradually more languid circle, pulling her closer with every turn, until the two of them stood utterly still at the center of the dance floor.
And then he kissed her.
As he dipped his head forward, Caroline tipped hers back, and oh so slowly, he covered her mouth with his. Her lips opened easily beneath his, and the taste of her filled him, intoxicating him. But it didn't satisfy him. Instead, the kiss only inflamed his appetite, making him hunger for more of her. He deepened the kiss, cupping her face in his hands, tilting her head back further. Caroline acquiesced through all of it, curling her hand around his nape, running the other hand up the front of his chest. She returned his kisses with equal finesse and fire. For the life of him, he simply could not let her go.
He wasn't sure how long they stood there so entwined—perhaps seconds, perhaps hours—but when the music changed again, slowing down this time, their bodies began to move together instinctively. Rather than being lost, the moment was merely altered, allowing them to bask in the warmth their kiss had created as they turned and twisted with the music.
They danced for an hour, and then sweaty and tired, they climbed back onto the bus and headed uptown. Caroline sat with her head on Malcolm's shoulder.
“Did you enjoy it?” she asked.
“You know, I was a little hesitant and nervous when you first suggested it, but I loved it. It was a lot of fun. It was sexy. I was surprised at how much muscle concentration is required to dance. It looks so fluid and natural when others do it.”
“I'm glad.” Caroline pushed herself back into her seat and let her head loll to the side, enjoying the light bounce of the bus as it traveled up town. She'd expected to like Malcolm's company, but hadn't expected to think that she'd never want to live without it. As the weight of her thoughts surfaced in her mind, she shifted in her seat instinctively pulling away from Malcolm and folding herself more tightly into her own seat.
“You okay?” Malcolm must have felt her shift. The seats were a bit stiff, even for public transportation.
His voice pulled her out of her mind and into the present. “Sure. You hungry?” Christ, if she didn't remember her goal, she was never going to be able to seal this deal. Stay focused. Stay committed, she admonished herself.
“I could eat. But I could also shower.”
“Yeah, you smell.” They laughed, and Malcolm pushed his elbow in her direction.
“Shower then food?” Caroline asked. “I should make reservations. About 7:00, you think? We could do a little earlier, but not much later if we're going to get good seats.”
“If you make reservations, doesn't that guarantee seats?”
“For dinner, yes. For the entertainment afterward, no.” Caroline pulled her cell phone from her shoulder bag and began scrolling through her contacts.
“Oh, dinner and a show? Great idea.” Malcolm shifted in his own seat.
“Feeling a little stiff from class?”
“I think I might be getting too old for this sort of excitement.”
“Not too old, I hope. I have big plans for you.” She smiled even as she selected a number.
“Really?” Malcolm turned to her, an eyebrow raised. “How big?”
“Well, that depends on you, doesn't it?” Caroline looked him up and down, focusing a little longer on his crotch. The phone to her ear, she stifled a giggle, and she hushed him as he started to explain exactly what he was willing to guarantee.
“Want me to draw you a bath, old man?” Caroline chuckled as they stepped off the elevator and into the foyer of the penthouse. Malcolm had walked through the foyer and turned left to go to the master bedroom.
He looked over his shoulder and said, “Only if you're going to join me.”
“I don't see a problem with that.” Malcolm stopped and turned back toward her. He met her gaze with an intensity that made her shiver. “If you're not too tired. We've had a long day. I can certainly understand if you want some time to yourself.”
Malcolm closed the distance between them. “Today isn't about me. It's about the possibility of an ‘us’. And even if it wasn't, I can't imagine ever being too tired when the alternative to resting is spending time with you.”
Caroline found herself whisked off her feet and into Malcolm's strong arms. He leaned down and kissed her, drawing the air from her lungs. His masculine scent enveloped her. She pushed one arm under his to wrap it around his back, and the other reached across him and wrapped around his neck.
Shivers of anticipation raced down her spine, sensitizing every nerve in her body. She became aware only of her need for him.
Malcolm carried her to the bedroom, and though they were alone, he closed the door behind them. He leaned against the door and set her on her feet. Caroline began undressing as she slowly walked toward the bathroom door. She tugged her shirt off and tossed it aside. She paused long enough to kick away her boots before continuing on. By the time she reached the door her clothes laid a trail across the room and only her panties remained. Leaning provocatively against the door frame, her breasts bare and nipples erect, she said softly, “Your turn.”
Malcolm pushed himself off the door and walked slowly toward Caroline, pausing only when necessary to undress. By the time he reached her at the door, he was completely naked.
Posted by Unknown on 5th Nov 2012
An enjoyable, light contemporary romance with likable protagonists, this novel reads easily with flowing, realistic dialogue. I felt there should have been more build-up for the suspense elements – the basis for the conflict is mentioned early, then pretty much ignored through much of the story until the crisis. The chemistry between Caroline and Malcolm was so hot that I was a little disappointed to find out their relationship was actually so tenuous that a few hidden motivations and secrets could cause such havoc between them. I prefer better communication and less mind games, I guess. When all is said and done, though, this is an entertaining and uplifting story.
Malcolm has five days to marry or lose a substantial inheritance that would enable him to build a lasting tribute to his beloved mother, and provide a safe haven for women in crisis – a project particularly near and dear to his heart because of his father’s life-long negligence. Caroline is desperate for a child of her own but has no interest in a husband. Caroline likes being independent and self-reliant. Malcolm’s proposal seems like the perfect solution. He gets his inheritance, and she can become a mother.
Posted by Susan Macken on 27th Aug 2012
I have been reading this theme for years and I REALLY enjoyed this one! It has a solid storyline, GREAT sex, and a believable conclusion. There's a little mystery and suspense built in that makes it fun to read. Loved it!