Stranded by a hurricane. Check. Hotel secured. Check. Hot guy to share it with. Check. No, wait. Not him!
A tough girl with an awkward flirt-game, Claire has long ago given up on catching the eye of Irish hottie Conor and she refuses to change. If he doesn’t like her as is, then screw him.
A loner workaholic too busy to notice, Conor isn’t looking to nail the next chick–even one as hot as Claire–just his next bonus-earning presentation.
But when a hurricane strands them in Atlanta and they’re forced to shack up in the same hotel room for several days, things tend to get…exposed.
DESERVING IT is a steamy, standalone romantic comedy from RITA Winning and USA Today bestselling author Angela Quarles with a happy-ever-after and no cheating or cliffhangers.
I’m not horrified by that impulse. That’s not what’s making me pause.
What’s making me pause is the fact that I…well, paused. That’s not me. At least that’s not the me I strove so hard to become.
I’m the tough girl. One who expresses her wishes.
I wash my hands and dry them, taking my frustration out on the poor white towel. The flashlight on my phone is pointed straight up, as it rests on the counter, but it’s enough to see.
The thing is, if it was anyone other than Conor, I’d have said it just to get a reaction out of a male friend. And if it led somewhere, well, it depended on the guy, but I wouldn’t say no if it was all in good fun.
So why the damn pause? Some tough girl I am. My interactions with guys are always on my terms, and if they don’t like it, they can walk.
I yank open the door and smack into a large, hard, male body. “Ooof.”
Conor must have heard the door opening because he’s facing my direction. Which means all of my front is intimately pressed against all of his.
Oh, um, wow. His free hand settles on my hip, a warm, firm grip. “Chill the beans now there. Didn’t mean for you to take a hopper.”
God, I love all his expressions. A delicious, demanding heat coils through me, startling me of breath. I stand there stiff, as if contact with this hunk of Irish masculinity has inexplicably flash frozen me.
If I was a chick with a fully paid subscription to the flirt manual, I’d know what to do. Some coy word. Some signal that I’m interested.
I don’t want him to know. He can’t know. If he learns, and rejects me, I might be tempted to change.
That springs me away from him, all right. And…smack. My head hits the door jamb, and I bow forward.
He takes a step so that my head is now pressing to his chest—oh God, his chest—and he cradles my head, rubbing the sore spot. “Jaysus. That had to hurt.”
“It does.” The gentle touch of his warm hands, his fingers carefully sifting through my hair and massaging my scalp, is starting to ease the sting. Man, that feels good.
Which allows me to open my eyes from their screwed-tight position. And notice.
Is that… Is that a bulge in his jeans?
“It does hurt,” I repeat for some inane reason as that swirling heat from a moment ago narrows into a blazing arrow of need straight to my core.
“Is this helping, yeah?” he asks, his voice low and near my ear, as his fingers continue working their magic on the sting.
“Yes,” I breathe as I watch him grow harder.
Seeing his reaction? Knowing there’s a better chance I won’t be shot down…changes things. And I’ve wanted him for so long it’s getting ridiculous at this point. I mean, I should just go with it, right? I have to believe that my walls are strong enough that I won’t change into a dang doormat.
And because I am that tough girl, I lift my head. “Now. About that poker. Care to make it strip poker?
About Angela Quarles
Angela Quarles is a RWA RITA® Winner and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary, time travel, and steampunk romance. Her steampunk, Steam Me Up, Rawley, was named Best Self-Published Romance of 2015 by Library Journal and Must Love Chainmail won the 2016 RITA® Award in the paranormal category, the first indie to win in that category. Angela loves history, folklore, and family history. She decided to take this love of history and her active imagination and write stories of romance and adventure for others to enjoy. When not writing, she's either working at the local indie bookstore or enjoying the usual stuff like gardening, reading, hanging out, eating, drinking, chasing squirrels out of the walls, and creating the occasional knitted scarf.