Publication date: August 15th 2016
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
I’m Payton Blake. A successful, balanced twenty-something living the dream.
OK. So it’s a big, shiny-ass lie.I could be all of those things. If I had friends outside of work. And if I didn’t mainline watermelon slushies like they were a food group. It wouldn’t hurt if I’d had sex in the last year, either. (My best friend insists Jorge the Nightstand Boyfriend doesn’t count.)
But when you know where you’re headed, who needs to enjoy the ride? Even if part of me longed for a little between-the-sheets adventure, Max Donovan would be the last guy I’d call.Sure, he made the indie video game that broke the internet. His eyebrow piercing’s sexy, in an ‘are-you-in-a-band?’ kind of way, and fighting with him gets me off faster than Jorge on bezerker mode. But he’s arrogant. Presumptuous. Colder than a cactus and twice as prickly. And I’m not talking about his face, because the guy’s barely old enough to shave.None of it changes the fact that I crave Max Donovan like a watermelon slushy on a hot summer day.
I should ignore him. But I can’t, because he just became my biggest client. And whether he’ll admit it or not, he needs me even more than I need him.So what happens when the girl who lives to work goes head-to-head with the guy who was born to PLAY?Game on, Max Donovan.PLAY is a sassy standalone romantic comedy about life, love, and video games. For 18+ due to language and Kindle-incinerating steamy scenes.
The room felt like a sauna and was lit with warm, white-pink light from halogens overhead. A black leather bench ran the length of the back wall, and a modern white coffee table sat on top of a furry pink area rug. I tried not to think what might be in that rug as the brunette and I crossed to the bench, where Max Donovan was getting the mother of all lap dances from a gorgeous girl who was bendier than a Twizzler.
The chords from the music outside faded to half-volume as the door closed after me, shutting the four of us in.
“Hey, Max.” I settled on the bench two feet down, dropping my bag between us. I glanced at the brunette, wondering if she could sense my nerves, before I squeezed my legs together so the she could settle over me.
“Payton?” The shock in his voice, and his face, made the awkwardness worthwhile. “What the hell are you doing here?”
Max was sweating just a little, either from the heat of the room or the lap dance. The pink of the room made his eyes and hair darker, but the hard planes of his face and jaw, the angles of his body, were just as I remembered them.
“Looking for you. And here you are. Lucky me.”
His expression said he wanted to bolt for the door.
Or maybe shove me through it.
The girl dancing on me rolled her hips against mine, arching to stick out her full breasts and letting toned abs and thighs do all the work. The low synth in the background throbbed, providing a sensual backdrop for her movement.
I didn’t know much about strip club etiquette, but it was probably rude to ignore a girl for too long when she was literally shoving herself in your face.
“It looks like you’re here for the entertainment.” Max’s rough comment had my gaze snapping back to him. With the sleeves of his black button-down rolled up, I could’ve stretched out a hand and touched the muscles in his forearms.
Or his lips, just parted with the promise of the next scathing remark.
Or the metal biting his eyebrow.
“Don’t be jealous,” I breathed. “I’m just here for an update.”
“Which we can talk about someplace else.”
Despite the fact that a stunning girl was working him over—and me, for that matter—his gaze was fixed on my face. Looking a little too hard into mine. I remembered his words.
Everything’s a game. If you don’t know it, you’re losing.
“Let’s talk about it here.” I reached for the file folder between us. I’d barely flipped it open when determined fingers clamped around my wrist.
“What the fuck are you doing, Payton?” Max muttered. His skin seared mine.
I was trapped, and not just by his hand. His gaze was like a live wire, and I couldn’t have moved if my life depended on it.
“I’m protecting our investment.” My voice shook as I willed away the heat shooting up my arm.
And down my spine.
“So if I told your boss you were here, he’d give you a pat on the head for a job well done?”
I took in the angle of his chin, the challenge in his eyes.
Instead of pulling back, I leaned in, close enough to smell his spicy scent.
“I don’t give a shit what my boss thinks,” I murmured, thrilled to see him flinch. “This is between you and me.”
I expected Max to drop my arm. Or maybe to tighten his grip, an indication that he was losing his cool too.
What I didn’t expect was to feel his thumb drag up the inside of my wrist over my hammering pulse.
His gaze never left mine, and I let out a trembling breath. I was getting a lap dance next to the guy who was everything that pissed me off. The last thing that should have happened was getting seriously turned on.
It took me a moment to realize the girls had stopped dancing and were looking between me and Max in amusement.
“Why don’t we leave you two alone?”
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I love reading and writing about sassy, sexy, smart women and the guys who fall hard for them. Schooled is the introduction to my Travesty series about ambitious girls who chase their dreams of a fashion label from California to New York and back again.
My main household expenditures include books, coffee and chocolate, not necessarily in that order. Coffee = life (and I’ll defend it accordingly). I have two business degrees, neither of which I’ve leveraged into a fashion label.
Home is Canada plus occasional sunny winter escapes. Come find me on the tennis court, at the beach, on the web at www.piperlawsonbooks.com or on twitter @piperjlawson.
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