Since her youngest daughter left for college, Jasmine White found it increasingly difficult to resist her sexy-as-hell landlord and next-door neighbor, Pete MacDougal—Mac. Going out with another man seemed a good way to forget about Mac, but Mac’s reaction was more than she’d bargained for.
Drawing her into a world of passion, Mac shows her a side of himself that he’d kept hidden, a side that draws her in even deeper.
No longer trusting her own instincts, she fights to resist the irresistible.
Only after a confrontation with her ex-husband does she realize that she feels more secure with Mac than she ever had in all the years she’d been married. He teaches her that she can trust her own instincts, and their love frees them both to be themselves—and to have the kind of loving relationship they’d both always dreamed of.
Folding his hands across his flat stomach, Mac eyed her thoughtfully. “Apparently I haven’t been as clear as I’d intended. Did you honestly think I would tolerate this? Did you really think I would just stand aside while you went out with someone else?”
Jasmine’s jaw dropped. Blinking, she wondered if the small glass of wine she’d had with dinner had affected her hearing.
“You heard me.” Mac’s gaze sharpened. “I’ve been waiting for over a year for you to be ready for another man. I gave you time. I never rushed you, even though I could see you’d started to show some interest. Every time I advanced, you got nervous—so I waited.” Leaning forward, his forearms resting on his knees, he stared at her unblinkingly.
“I waited. And waited. I knew you were still reeling from your divorce and wanted to give you the time you needed. I wanted you to be ready.”
Jasmine could only stare at him, hardly believing the things he was saying. “What? You’ve dated dozens of women. You only flirted with me because you were trying to make me feel better.” Unable to sit still any longer, she shot to her feet. “I thought we were friends. Why’d you have to kiss me and ruin everything?”
Mac leaned back, studying her, his eyes filled with a hunger she’d seen in them before, but that he’d always masked almost immediately. Now, he didn’t even bother to hide it. It tugged at her, drawing her into a web of erotic seduction, a web she didn’t know how to escape.
The veil of politeness had been ripped away, leaving her faced with an intense man she barely recognized.
She found him even more exciting.
He smiled, a hard smile that didn’t even come close to reaching his eyes. “Jazz, you know as well as I do that it stopped being just friendship between us a long time ago.”
Jasmine frowned, shaken at the change in him. “You know I hate it when you call me that.”
For the first time, Mac smiled a genuine smile. “No, you don’t.” He came to his feet with a grace she’d always admired, his gaze steady on hers as he took a step toward her. “I haven’t gone out with another woman in over a year, and you know it. Do you really think I’m going to stand by and watch you go out with other men?”
Her breath caught when he took another step, her pulse tripping at the sensation of being stalked, startled at how it aroused her. Backing away, she lifted her chin, not about to let him see how much he intimidated her. Mortified at the arousal that grew each moment she spent with him, she struggled to keep her voice firm.
“That’s none of your business.”
Mac’s smile widened, the threat in his eyes making him even more intimidating. “Don’t kid yourself. Everything about you is my business. We both know that.” He took another step, and then another. “I’ve been watching over you and your daughters ever since you moved in.”
Jasmine moved aside, working her way back toward the sofa.
“Stop stalking me!”
Her heart raced, beating nearly out of her chest. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you. You’ve never acted like this before.” She’d never felt so aware of her femininity and found herself drawn to his raw masculinity like a moth to a flame.
He came closer, too close for her peace of mind. “I’ve never waited as long for a woman as I have for you. My patience came to an end the minute I saw you ride away with another man.” He took another step, not allowing her to put any distance between them. “I thought you would come to me when you were ready to have another man in your life—not go out with someone else. Last night things did change between us, and I should never have let you get away.”
His voice lowered. “Once again, I gave you time and distance. It’s a mistake I won’t make again.”
Shaken and a little confused, Jasmine took another step back, yelping when the backs of her knees hit the edge of the sofa and she fell backward.
He caught her, easing her down and taking the seat beside her. Sitting at the edge of the sofa and turning toward her, he effectively closed her in, making it impossible for her to escape.
Her skin tingled at his nearness, the awareness of his powerful body so close to hers filling her with breathless anticipation. Heat radiated from him, enveloping her in a warm cocoon of delight, one that made her pulse race and dampened her panties as the need for him became almost unbearable. The scent of warm, clean male surrounded her, filling her senses. Her nipples beaded almost painfully, the need for his attention making them achy and tight.
With one hand braced on the back of the sofa over her shoulder and the other at the arm at her other side, he leaned over her and smiled, a seductive smile, full of erotic intent.
His gaze lowered to her breasts as if he knew the torment he created, making them feel swollen and heavy. “Do you really think I’d wait all this time for you only to watch you take another man into your bed? You’re lucky he didn’t come in with you. I would have thrown him out on his ass and paddled yours.”
Fighting the alarm and surge of lust at the mental image of her naked and over his lap, Jasmine backed as far into the corner of the sofa as possible, giving him the cold look she’d used to keep men from bothering her for the past three years.
“I can’t believe you just said that to me. I’m not a child, damn it!”
Catching her chin when she would have looked away, Mac leaned in closer, his eyes glittering with hunger. “I’m very well aware of that, sweetheart. It would have been a very adult spanking, one you wouldn’t have forgotten soon.”
Bending closer, he brushed her lips with his, the searing jolt of lust that went through her making her nipples and clit throb. The warm caress of his breath against her lips seduced her into parting them.
“I want you, Jazz. I’ve wanted you for a long time, and if there’s going to be a man in your life, it’s going to be me.”