The Perception by Adriana Locke
There is no greater burden than a secret, and Kari Stanley has been carrying one alone for a long time. But fate intervenes in the form of a broken down car and the kind offer of assistance from a handsome stranger with a sweet, southern drawl. In exchange, all she has to do is go to dinner with him. Temptation was never so sweet.
Max Quinn has secrets of his own. His good deeds aren’t just a product of his southern upbringing; they’re his atonement. As one dinner turns into two, he realizes that Kari just might be his salvation.
As they struggle to find their path together, their secrets weigh heavier on them. Will they be able to trust one another with the truth, or will their secrets keep them apart forever?
I leaned against the doorframe and watched him.
Max hadn’t heard me enter. He was sprawled across the bed, a pair of crimson red boxer briefs the only thing covering his divine body. His abs muscles rippled as he played with Titus, the puppy he found abandoned on a job site. In typical Max fashion, he brought the puppy home. Titus slept on Max’s chest that night, obviously in love with him from the start. I couldn’t say I blamed him – it was my favorite spot to snuggle, too.
Max rolled the chocolate-colored puppy a few times, his large hand bigger than the puppy’s head. Titus rolled across the bed and Max chuckled, stretching out on his back. The dog padded across the blankets and plopped down beside him, panting from the play. Max reached over and stroked his stomach. “How are ya, boy? You like this, huh? You like playin’ with me?”
“I’m not sure how anything wouldn’t like you touching it like that,” I laughed, walking into the room.
Max popped up on his elbows and smiled sexily. His dimple shining in his cheek, his hair a wild mess, he looked downright edible. “Get your ass over here and I’ll touch you like that, too.”
I shrugged off my robe and tossed it onto a nearby chair. “I don’t want to interrupt …”
“Woman,” he growled, picking up the puppy and sitting it gently on the floor. Titus whined immediately, his little cobalt blue eyes sad. Max reached down and petted him. “Be good and go on.” He nodded his head towards the fluffy pillow he bought the dog and Titus obediently walked over, marched in a circle, and laid down.
Max shook his head and sighed. “If only I could get you to listen half as well as that dog.”
“Not a chance, babe,” I laughed. I stood between his legs. He wrapped his arms around my waist and nuzzled his face into my abdomen.
“I bought you all of those things to sleep in and you are wearin’ my old Sun Devils shirt?”
“I like this shirt. It’s all cozy and soft and it smells like you. And I took all of my things to my house to wash yesterday.”
His shoulders slumped. “Would it do me any good at all to point out the ridiculousness that you don’t live here?”
“Nope,” I said, grabbing his hair and pulling his head back so I could see into his emerald eyes. They were so easy to get lost in. I had found myself on the verge of agreeing to things I knew better than to agree to when gazing into them.
He grabbed my thighs, pressing his fingertips into my bare skin. His touch, coupled with the earlier unobstructed view of his body, made me ache with want.
“It wouldn’t do you any good at all to go there,” I continued, “but it might do you some good to go here.” I grabbed his right hand and placed it between my legs. He rubbed his thumb over my opening, the fabric of my panties pressing into my wetness. I pushed my body against his hand, needing the friction to ease the buildup that was beginning to grow out of control.
Max withdrew his hand and placed both of them on the backs of my legs, pulling me closer to him.
“What are you doing? I want you. Now,” I all but begged.
“I know you do, sweetheart. But I want to slow down a minute.”
I looked at him in disbelief. “I don’t want to slow down. I want you inside me.”
“And I want to be inside you,” he said, his voice deep and rough. I could hear the need in his tone, mirroring mine. He ran his hands up the backs of my legs, setting my skin on fire, until he reached my backside. He cupped both cheeks in his hands. “I always want to be inside you. But I want to enjoy your body. This,” he said, squeezing my ass, “should be appreciated. Let me love on you a minute.”
Get a taste of Max and Kari in The Exception:
Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, she has created her own.
Adriana lives in the Midwest with her family. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. Her favorite things include sunshine, candy, and random quotes.
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