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Dirty Little Secret (Forbidden Desires #1)
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The start to a sexy new series from New York Times bestselling author, Kendall Ryan…
She’s much too innocent for me, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting the sweet, young librarian. I’m dominating and possessive, and my control streak runs a mile wide.
The way she looks at me—like I’m one of the heroes in the books she loves, like I’m broken, and she wants to be the one to piece me back together—it only complicates things further. I’m nobody’s hero.
But there’s no denying my tragic past reads like one of her favorite literary classics. It’s raw. Visceral. Captivating. And together, we’re a perfect mess.
How can I resist when the sexual sparks zapping between us set me on fire? The need to control, and claim her force my walls to come tumbling down, but when she learns about my dirty little secret, will my world come crashing down with it?
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Dirty secrets. We all have them. We guard them fiercely, protecting them like a mother does a precious newborn infant, cradled to her chest, away from the world’s prying eyes. Yet those dark, forbidden desires we crave won’t stay hidden for long. They have a way of coming out—usually at the most inopportune time.
I knew all that, and yet . . . I watched them from a distance, knowing they’d be perfect together. They were two halves of the same whole. He was broken beyond repair. She was so familiar, reminding him of something he desperately wanted to fix. I knew she’d be perfect for him.
In the end, the chain of events this would to set off would be fucking massive, yet I was powerless to stop it. Instead, I was there in the middle of it all, stoking the flames and praying they didn’t take me down with them.
My entire morning revolved around this thirty-second encounter. And if I timed it poorly and missed it? My whole day would be shit.
I needed it like a shot of adrenaline to start the day.
Every morning, careful to make sure my makeup was perfect and my hair was in place, I’d stop at the coffee shop on my way to work. I’d linger, staring at the rows of gourmet pastries and handcrafted mugs.
And every morning, promptly at ten to eight, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Sinful strolled inside and ordered a double shot of espresso to go.
Our routine had gone unchanged for the last ten months, and even though I cherished every second of our time together, we’d never spoken a single word. Hadn’t even made eye contact. For all I knew, he thought I was one of the commuters grabbing a mug of something hot and strong on my way to work. Just like him, I assumed. Or worse, maybe he didn’t even notice I existed.
Until one morning, I’d stepped into line behind him and, for some inexplicable reason, he’d turned and looked deep into my eyes. I couldn’t say how long the eye contact went on, probably only a fraction of a second. But even so, I felt like my lungs would collapse from the weight of his hazel stare boring into mine.
Since then, I’d tried a few times to recreate the moment, to wear some new perfume that might catch his attention, or pull my brown hair into a different style that might catch his eye. But nothing had made a difference. No, I was certain he didn’t even know I existed. Which was for the best, since I was pretty sure this was borderline stalking.
But then, that had been before everything changed. It was the precursor to something that would alter my life forever. Something that would make everything richer and sweeter and deeper . . . only to have it all fall apart, leaving me to piece together the shattered fragments.
Luckily for me, though, every instant was etched perfectly into my memory, even now as I struggled to decide if it felt more like a curse or a gift.
That morning, the scent of roasting coffee beans had filled the air, and steam formed inside the windows from the warmer-than-usual foggy September day.
I was standing in the corner, admiring the new array of teas for the fall, when the door chimed behind me, forcing me to turn around and look for the man I knew would be there.
He was dressed in his charcoal-gray suit—one of my favorites. The fine material stretched across his sculpted biceps and wide shoulders enticingly. His crisp dress shirt was navy, contrasted by his silver tie. Every inch of him was polished. But it was the scowl painted on his chiseled features that made my knees weak.
In the months since I’d first seen him, I’d imagined a life for him, even come up with a few names and rough ideas of what his office and apartment might be like. I never saw what he drove, but I was certain it must be something fast and sleek.
As for his job, I was sure he had a high-powered career as a corporate attorney or a stockbroker, or maybe a real estate investor. Something where he was in control, and his powerful body and almost overwhelming presence could do most of his talking for him.
“Espresso—” he said, his voice rough but sensual, deep and intoxicating. I’d often imagined the way my name would sound rolling off his tongue.
“Double shot, to go,” the barista finished for him, smiling.
It seemed I wasn’t the only one who had him pegged. The man was nothing if not predictable.
He gave her a curt nod, his gaze drifting to the smartphone in his hand that had just let out a demanding ping. From where I stood a few feet from him, I glanced over, trying to get a peek at the background of his screen to see if there was a picture of him with a woman, or maybe one of a child set as his screensaver, but no. Just the standard factory presets.