Wild Hungry Hearts
Friends to Lovers . . .to Forever?
Esme Esterbrook had always carried a torch for her gorgeous, sexy best friend Jude Beckett, even though she kept that secret locked away from the rest of the world, most especially Jude. When they unexpectedly meet up in a hotel elevator as adults, some serious fireworks go off between them. Esme wakes up the next morning, horrified that she’s ruined an amazing friendship. She panics and runs from Jude. But now, a mysterious family meeting has called her back to their hometown . . . and she’s about to be reminded that there’s no hiding from a determined Jude Beckett.
Jude had learned long ago to lock down his lust for Esme. He’d suffered the loss of both of his parents at a young age. Esme became not only his best friend during that turbulent time, but his mainstay . . . his link to the joys of childhood and a normal life. He couldn’t afford to make a mistake and lose Esme as a friend. But as he watched her dance for him in the hotel that night, he realized something had changed between them. He dares to touch her. It’s a choice that will burn him to the core . . . and change him forever.
Amidst the shocking truths that are being revealed between their two families, and an old, deeply regretted mistake, Jude and Esme have to find a way to connect in a whole new way. To discover if friends-to-lovers is a fantasy, or a happily-ever-after reality, they’re going to have to risk everything . . . including their hearts….
Read an Excerpt
Friends to Lovers . . . to Forever?
Esme. Beautiful, risk-on-a-stick. Esme.
It struck him in some distant part of his brain that something had changed. That was why he wasn’t having his usual withdrawal response from animal lust when it came to her. Then it hit him, what was different. It was the way Esme had looked earlier when he’d told her part of him still couldn’t accept that his parents were gone. Her big, shining eyes had sliced right through his defenses against her. It was still Esme, of course. But her grief over her dad’s loss had opened her up to him, somehow. Revealed her in a new light.
He’d looked into her in that moment, and seen himself. Seen both of them. And something had tightened inside him.
He stood up and began to walk slowly around the coffee table, never taking his gaze off her. She followed him with her stare and her pulsing body, turning on the table as he circled it. He read a kind of focused, burning anticipation on her face. He’d seen that expression before, while she’d readied herself to make an especially hard jump on her skate or snowboard, or the time she’d accepted a dare from one of their idiot teenage friends to do a double somersault into Tahoe off a rock cliff. Jude had forbidden her to do it—there was some boulders at the lake bottom, and he couldn’t be sure how deep the water was—but Esme rarely backed down from a dare.
Even when she knew it was bad for her.
He lunged, snagging the remote control and muting the volume. The sudden silence and the sound of the remote clacking down on the dresser rang in his hears. Esme went completely still. Slowly, he walked toward her. He came to a halt on the far side of the table, facing her. He reached out, cradling her curving, compact hips. A thrill passed through him at the sensation of her tight, vibrant body in his hands. It was likely his imagination, but he felt heat emanating from her core.
She was going to scorch him.
“Who’s the guy trying to call you?” Jude asked gruffly.
All traces of amusement had vanished from her face. He realized he’d sounded serious. Demanding, even.
“He’s nobody,” she whispered. “He doesn’t mean anything.”
“And you were thinking I’d be a good substitute for this guy that doesn’t mean anything, is that it?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she scolded, but he heard the slight tremor in her voice. “You’re . . . you. Of course you mean something.”
She took a step toward him. He stared up at her. Sexy-as-hell, golden brown hair with blonde highlights tumbled across her breasts and fell short of her waist by just an inch or two. A light sheen of perspiration shone on her throat. That blazing quality had returned to her finely wrought features. He felt something release inside him, some old, carefully tended lock snapping open.
He leaned forward and pressed his nose and lips against the crotch of her pants.
A convulsion of lust shook him when he inhaled. Leather and sweetness and sex. Esme. He felt her fingers in his hair, heard her choking sound. Years of suppressed desire rushed through him like a torrent through a shattered dam. For a second, his vision blurred and darkened.