“Possessive much?”

You don’t know the half of it. Jack permitted a feral smile. “Better learn that early on.” He pushed back and tucked the phone in her front shirt pocket. “Go upstairs and make your calls. I’ll be right up.”

Keely sauntered away.

Jack dug his cell phone out and brought up the engagement picture he’d forwarded to himself. It exemplified a couple who looked wildly in love. He reworded the text message and hit send all.

No going back now.

Three hours later, Jack punched his lace pillow for the millionth time. He could not get comfortable in this stupid, lumpy, midget-sized bed.

You can’t get comfortable because you’ve got a hard-on the size of a Louisville Slugger.

He stared at the rows of stuffed animals lining the bookshelves. Creepy damn things. Then he gazed at the ceiling, wide-awake.

He’d spent the last two hours trying not to gawk at Keely’s legs. Or her ass. Or her tits. Or the little slice of her belly that teased where her booty shorts gapped in the front. Or where the bottom curve of her butt cheeks peeked out in the back.

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What kind of man got hard from a pair of flannel shorts?

He did, evidently. She hadn’t been deliberately teasing him either. If Keely had slunk out of her bedroom in a skimpy Victoria’s Secret getup, he wouldn’t have reacted.

Right. Keely McKay could wear sackcloth and ashes and he’d be lusting after her.

She’d all but ignored him as she cleaned up the kitchen. Tidied up the living room. She’d handed him the remote to an older model TV. Talk about horrified—no big screen/flat screen and no cable. That’d change first thing tomorrow.

Then Keely bid him goodnight. At ten-thirty. Jack didn’t know what to do with himself. He could crack open his laptop, but work didn’t appeal to him. Wandering down to the local bar alone didn’t sound like fun. Watching TV was out. He set up his coffeemaker. Then he’d gone to bed.

And there he lay with his dick as rigid as rebar.

Every time he thought of something nonsexual, such as his conversation with Carter—which was little more than profanity laced threats. Or his conversation with Justin—which was little more than the accusation Jack had fucked up Justin’s relationship with Keely just so Jack could have her—the throbbing in his groin abated somewhat.


But then Keely, the sexy, sassy, sultry, sweet-smelling cowgirl from hell would float into his mind’s eye again and he’d be back to square one. Hard, horny. Hating he had no outlet.

Wrong. There’s no shame in beating off. No different than any other night in your pathetic sex life.

True. So Jack closed his eyes, spread his legs and took himself in hand. He imagined Keely easing that yellow tank top up, revealing the creamy expanse of her taut belly. In his fantasy, her belly button was pierced and a little silver cowbell jangled with every twitch of her curvy hips.

He stroked his cock from root to tip.

She tossed the tank top and cupped her tits. They were on the small side, but Jack wasn’t a tit man anyway. Her thumbs drew circles around the rosy nipples, brushing the tips until they puckered. She moaned and slid her palms down her belly, beneath the waistband of the flannel shorts, swinging her hips with gusto. Her long black hair whipped from side to side as she shimmied the shorts off. Her pussy was shaved except for a tiny strip of black hair. She traced the line of her slit with a slender finger, parting the delicate pink lips.

Oh fuck yeah. His hand on his cock moved faster.

The phantom image of Keely drifted forward, her come-hither stare locked on the movement of his fist as he beat off. She placed her left foot on the footboard, giving him an unobstructed view of her glistening sex. She thrust her middle finger into her cunt and moaned softly as she pumped it in and out.

Showing him the wetness, biting her lip as she pleasured herself in front of him.

When she started grinding the heel of her hand into her clit and pinching her nipple, the slap slap slap of Jack working his cock became louder. Keely pulled her fingers from her juicy sex and sucked them into her wicked mouth.

Jack lost it, furiously pulling on his cock until his release spurted out and coated his hand.

After he’d caught his breath, he opened his eyes. Alone in his room, whacking off to an illusion again.

But damn, what an illusion.

What if it weren’t? Once the news of their engagement spread, everyone would assume they were sleeping together. What if he could have Keely as his sexual playmate for a little while?

Right. Keely would totally go for that. Never mind the fact they couldn’t stand each other. And at least in his delusion Keely hadn’t spoken and ruined it, like he was sure she would in real life.

No. It was better to have the fantasy in this case.

Mind made up, Jack finally relaxed enough to drift toward sleep.

At seven o’clock an unfamiliar screeching whir woke Keely. She jumped out of bed in her underwear and a camisole and raced into the kitchen, figuring an appliance had exploded. But the noise was from some fancy-ass coffee pot. Beans were grinding, steam billowed, water hissed and popped. A loud click and the aroma of hot, fresh coffee rolled out.

Keely’s mouth watered.

“A thing of beauty, isn’t it?”

Jack’s deep, scratchy morning voice sent a pleasant tingle down her spine.

“It’s awful damn noisy. Does it bake muffins too?”

“Doesn’t need to. It makes the best coffee in the world and you’ll forget all about muffins once you get a taste. If you ask me real nice I might even let you have a cup.”

“If you ask me real nice, I might even let you borrow a cup.”

“This one—” he plucked a mug from the dish rack, “—will be just fine.”

She ripped her favorite cup out of his grasp. “Huh-uh. Find another one and keep your paws off this one.”

“You always this cranky in the morning?”

“Yes. Get used to it.”

“Maybe you should go back to bed.”

“Fine.” Keely spun on her heel and slammed her bedroom door. She set her favorite UWYO mug on the nightstand and threw herself on the bed.

Dammit. She did not want to share her apartment or anything in it with Jack. Not coffee. Not small talk. She would never survive this fake engagement. Never. She might as well march right back out there and give him back the ostentatious ring along with a really nasty piece of her mind.


She lifted her head and glared at him. “What?”

“I was kidding about sending you back to bed. Did you want coffee?”

What the heck? Why was Jack being nice to her?

Just go with it.

Keely inhaled a slow, deep breath. “Sure. Just let me throw something on.”

Jack’s gaze systematically inched up her body. When their eyes met, the heat and interest she saw floored her. “No need to get dressed on my account. In fact, all you really need is your special cup, cowgirl.”

“You suggesting a clothing optional coffee klatch?”

His answering smile was decidedly wicked. “Works for me.”

The man was succeeding at keeping her off balance.

She detoured to the bathroom and brushed her teeth, but didn’t attempt to fix her bedhead. In the kitchen area, she sat across from Jack at the small dinette set.

He poured coffee from an insulated silver carafe. “I don’t think I asked you last night if you’d set up a meeting time with Chet and Remy today.”

“We’re meeting with them at two.”

Jack frowned. “I was hoping to get it out of the way first thing this morning.”

“They’re working on a job outside of Aladdin and that was the earliest they could get away.” Keely blew on her coffee before she took a sip. Oh. It was heavenly. Not too bitter, not too bland. She took another sip. Yep. Second one just as good as the first.

“You like it?”

“Mmm-hmm. However, I find it…interesting that of all the items you could’ve brought from your place in Denver, a coffeepot topped the list.”

“Not just a coffeepot, a coffeemaker,” he scoffed. “The premier all-in-one brew system using the French press method. And I only buy free-trade Guatemalan coffee beans which makes the entire coffee experience nearly—”

“Orgasmic?” she supplied.

“A dirty and mean sense of humor first thing in the morning. I may learn to like you yet.” He smiled when she stuck out her tongue at him. “After I call the cable company and get us hooked up to the twenty-first century, I’ll head over to Spearfish and pick up a new TV before the two o’clock meeting.”

“Why? I don’t watch much TV.”

“I do.”

“How often do you plan on being here?”

“As long as it takes.”

“I’m assuming the boob tube is going in your bedroom?”

“Where would I put it amidst all those stuffed animals?” Jack shook his head. “It goes in the living room.”

Don’t argue. He’ll just remind you he owns the apartment and can put anything wherever he damn well pleases.

“Whatever. I’m hitting the shower.” Maybe it was petty, but she stayed under the spray until not a drop of hot water remained. She smeared in her favorite lotion—Sky Blue Lilac Dreams—from head to toe, and ran a comb through her tangled hair, calling it good. Most days she didn’t fuss with her appearance. No exception today because she did not want Jack Donohue thinking she’d duded herself up for him.

Normally she’d walk naked to her bedroom, but with Jack here… Her inner bad girl urged her to saunter buck-ass nekkid right past him. Her inner good girl primly reminded her to cover herself so not an inch of skin was visible.

Her inner good girl won for a change. She wrapped a towel around her torso before she scooted into her bedroom.

Keely had just finished dressing when she heard loud knocking on the door. Early for visitors but she knew who’d popped by unannounced. Without guilt.