Oh. Hello lust. “The thought of nailing you has me equally intrigued.” She offered him a coquettish look. “Are you a breast or a thigh guy?”


That caught him off guard enough his gaze actually dropped to her chest. “Ummm. What?”

“Or chicken?” she taunted softly.

His hot eyes returned to hers. “My favorite food is not chicken. It’s not a nice juicy rump…roast, although I admit to being more of a butt man than a breast man.”

Keely blinked. She was quickly losing control of this conversation.

“I’ll give you one more chance to nail me,” Jack said with a sexy rasp.

“Only one?” she cooed back.

Jack’s hungry gaze zeroed in on her mouth. “Playing fast and loose will only encourage me to play the same. Be certain you’re prepared for what that entails.”

Yikes. “Speaking of favorite foods, I’m betting yours is some kind of wild game that fits with your personality. Boar?”

His lips lifted. “Wrong. This round goes to me. My favorite food is homemade meatloaf. Followed closely by mashed potatoes and gravy. Followed closely by corn on the cob.”

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“Holy crap. That’s so…Midwestern of you, GQ.”


“Very.” Down home cooking appealed to Jack more than haute cuisine? Man. He’d surprised her like four times today. “Your turn to guess. What’s my favorite movie?”

“Easy. The Princess Bride.” He grinned. “What’s mine?”

“The Jerk,” she shot back.

Jack laughed. A deep, rumbly, sexy sound and she caught herself wanting to smile and sigh at the same time.

“Try again.”

“Jackass?” she tossed out.

More laughter.

“Okay. I give.”

“True Lies, ” he said.

“That seems appropriate.”


Keely fiddled with the straw, rolling it back and forth in the condensation.

Jack snatched her hand, stopping the fidgety movement.

Talk about big hands. Not soft, girly hands either, but rough. Manly. His fingers were long and thick, sprinkled with just enough dark hair to be masculine, not apelike. God. It’d been forever since she’d had a real man’s hands stroking her bare skin. Would Jack be gentle? Teasing? Or forceful?


She shifted her gaze up. The curiosity or guilt he saw in her eyes caused a spark of heat to flare in his.

Jack stretched across the table until their mouths were a kiss apart. “We’re fucking kidding ourselves that we can keep this platonic for much longer.”

The growly timbre of his voice destroyed any smartass comment she might’ve conjured. She wanted to hear that growling noise against her throat, in her ear, on her belly, on the insides of her thighs.

“Don’t look at me like that,” she breathed.

“Like what?”

“Like you want to—”

“Isn’t this sweet, you two lovebirds holding hands and whispering naughty nothings to each other.”

Keely looked up at India with murder in her eyes.

Jack recovered quickly. “India. Nice to see you looking so…round. Congratulations.”

“Oh, bite me, Donohue. Babies rock but pregnancy sucks.” India cocked her hip against the side of the booth. “Since you’re gonna be part of the family now, I expect my rent won’t go up. Ever. Especially in light of the fact you withheld the information about being our landlord.”

Jack muttered something about false expectations.

Now this was better. Watching Jack get raked over the coals for a change.

“How are the engagement party preparations going?”

Talk about a short attention span. “Mom is doing everything. Jack’s mother is coming Friday to help.

We’re staying out of the way.”

“So how is it that you guys ended up together?” India asked.

Keely changed the subject. “You feeling okay?”

“Fine and fucking dandy. Fat as a frog. You’ve gotten worse at deflection, by the way, so suck it up and answer my question.”

“Pregnancy has made you mean.”

“Meaner. Start talking about how this love match came about.”

“We’re blaming you and Colt.”

Jack went board stiff across from her.

“What did we have to do with it?” India demanded.

“Your wedding reception was the first time Jack and I acted on our attraction to each other, wasn’t it, darlin’?”

He nodded and kissed her hand.

“Once we started working together…it was pointless to resist.”

“It was destiny,” Jack murmured.

“This sappy crap is making me want to barf,” India said.

The waitress dropped off their food. “India, your order is done. I’ll get it and meet you at the register.”


“Is it your night to cook?” Keely asked innocently.

“Ooh, you’re as funny as my husband. I’m starved all the freakin’ time.” She shouted, “Hey, Bea, throw in like a dozen cookies too, willya?”

With that India waddled away.

“Pregnant women are so easily distracted by food.”

Jack frowned at her. “Is there any place we can go in this town without running into one of your relatives?”

“Nope.” Keely released his hand and reached for her steak knife, half-resentful, half-glad India had ruined the moment.

Jack wasn’t surprised they finished the meal in near silence. In near record time too.

He paid the check and Keely headed upstairs to the apartment. The thought of watching her sexy ass shake as those long legs climbed the stairs made his dick hard.

Damn her relatives. She’d almost admitted she wanted him as much as he wanted her. He was to the fuck it point—he was fucked if he did and fucked if he didn’t fuck her. Might as well grab some smokin’ hot sex while he could get it.


“In the living room.”

She’d curled up in her favorite corner of the couch and flipped through the three channels. “When is the cable company supposed to be here?”

“Tomorrow. Between eight and noon. Will you be around?”

Keely’s gaze flicked to him. “Why? Aren’t you gonna be here to take care of it since it was your idea?”

Jack plopped on the couch. “Things went to shit today and I’m flying to Iowa first thing in the morning to straighten it out. I’ll be back Friday night, Saturday morning at the latest.”

“Whoa. Wait a second. Saturday night is our engagement party. You cannot miss that! The whole reason we’re having the stupid party is for people to think we’re getting married. Do you know how humiliating it’ll be if you don’t show up—”

“I’ll be here, okay?”

“You’d better be. I mean it. So help me God, Jack Donohue, if you aren’t standing beside me wearing a fake-ass smile to rival mine, I will track you down and flay off every bit of your yellow skin with a bullwhip.”

Her lack of faith in him rankled. “Don’t threaten me.”

“It’s not a threat. It’s a promise.”

“Big talk, tough girl.”

“Just sayin’…” She turned away.

“Give me the damn remote.”

“Fine.” Keely threw it at him.

After ten minutes of enduring an insipid sitcom, she spoke. “Where does jetting off to Iowa leave my project this week?”

Her petulance wasn’t from the interruption in the restaurant, but a business-related snit? That annoyed him even worse. “It wouldn’t matter if I were here or not at this stage. I’ve stuck around because I was cementing our cover.”

“Anxious to get back to your fast-paced lifestyle in Denver?”

“Yeah, some great lifestyle. I’ve been busy trying to play catch up the last couple years after everything went to hell. Living high on the hog hasn’t been my number one priority.” He looked at her, wondering if he sounded bitter to her. “What?”

“Which is worse? The fact she left you for him? Or losing the partnership?”

No one had ever asked that question. “Both. Everything tumbled like a house of cards.”

“Did your folks meet her?”

Jack laughed. “Are you kidding? Talk about an episode of Green Acres.”

“So you’re embarrassed about bein’ raised on a farm?”

“Yes. Could we please—”

“Why? Justin wasn’t embarrassed.”

“Justin was a rodeo cowboy and it fed into his persona. I’m an architect and it detracts from mine. Big difference. How many guys did you bring home to meet the parents?”

“Point taken. But not bringing dates here wasn’t because my rural roots mortified me. Mostly I was embarrassed about the kind of guys I’d been dating.”

Her honesty shook him to his core and spurred him to follow suit. “Look. My parents didn’t know anything about Martine except I dated her and we broke up. They didn’t know why my partnership with Baxter hit the skids either. None of it mattered because my dad had a fatal heart attack a month later.”

“Is that why Justin dropped out of the PBR tour?”

“Yeah. He’s taken over running the farm, which is what he and Dad always wanted. None of us expected it’d be so soon.” It infuriated Jack that his dad had worked himself into an early grave. Infuriated and saddened him. “Anyway, Justin keeps an eye on Mom.”

“Do you ever help out?”

“If you mean throwing money at them out of guilt, yes. If you mean sitting in the combine or—” going home to face my past, “—slipping on a pair of coveralls and shoveling manure, no.”

“So they don’t know—”

“No. I keep my business and personal lives separate,” he said curtly.

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