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Lovely Little Liar

J. Kenner

  Lovely Little Liar




  About Lovely Little Liar

  The Blackwell-Lyon Series

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14


  Meet Cayden in Pretty Little Player

  Meet Connor in Sexy Little Sinner

  Who’s Your Man of the Month?

  Stark Security

  Meet Damien Stark

  Also by J. Kenner

  About the Author


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  by J. Kenner

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  She’s not the woman I thought … but dammit, she’s the woman I want.

  * * *

  I never thought of myself as cynical, but getting dumped at the altar changes a man.

  * * *

  Now, I’m all about my job. About building my business and getting on with my life. Don’t get me wrong; I still love women. I love the way they look. The way they smell. The way they feel. Especially the way they feel. And I’ve pretty much made it my mission to give each and every woman who shares my bed the ride of her life.

  * * *

  But getting close? Getting serious? Giving a woman my trust again? Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

  * * *

  Or so I thought.

  * * *

  Then I met her. It’s funny how things can change in a heartbeat. How one case of mistaken identity can change everything. But there she was, all business and completely uninterested in me. And damned if I didn’t want her. Crave her.

  * * *

  Most of all, I wanted to help her. To keep her and her sister safe. But the more I get to know her, the more I want her. The whole package. The complete woman.

  * * *

  And the miracle is that she wants me, too.

  * * *

  Trouble is, we’ve both been burned before. Now, I know one thing for certain—the only way that we’ll survive the heat that crackles between us is if we both find the courage to leap into the fire together.

  * * *

  Lovely Little Liar is a novella originally published as Bitch Slap. Minor edits, such as expanded scenes, have been made to this book.

  The Blackwell-Lyon Series

  Lovely Little Liar

  Pretty Little Player

  Sexy Little Sinner

  Lovely Little Liar Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Julie Kenner

  Lovely Little Liar is a novella originally published as Bitch Slap. This book contains minor edits and some slightly expanded scenes.

  * * *

  Cover design by Michele Catalano, Catalano Creative

  Cover image by Annie Ray/Passion Pages

  Digital ISBN: 978-1-940673-97-4

  Print ISBN: 978-1-940673-96-7

  Published by Martini & Olive

  v. 2018-11-4

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

  Lovely Little Liar is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or establishments is solely coincidental.

  Chapter One

  I don’t believe in relationships, but I do believe in fucking.

  Why, you ask? Hell, I could write a book. The Guy’s Guide to Financial, Emotional, and Business Success. But honestly, why bother with a book when the thesis boils down to just four words: Don’t Date. Just Fuck.

  Hear me out.

  Relationships take time, and when you’re trying to build a business, you need to pour every spare hour into the work. Trust me on this. In the months since my buddies and I launched Blackwell-Lyon Security, we’ve been busting ass twenty-four/seven. Working assignments, taking meetings, building a rock solid client base.

  And our commitment’s paying off. I promise you our roster wouldn’t be half as full as it is now if I was spending chunks of prime working time answering texts from an insecure girlfriend who was wondering why I wasn’t sexting every ten minutes. So skip the dating and watch your business flourish.

  Plus, hook-ups don’t expect gifts or flowers. Drinks or dinner, maybe, but a guy’s gotta eat anyway, right? There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but you can come close to a free fuck.

  But it’s the emotional upside that’s the kicker for me. No walking on eggshells because she’s in a bitchy mood. No feeling trapped when she demands to know why poker night was more appealing than watching the latest tearjerker starring some tanned metrosexual sporting a man bun. No wondering if she’s banging another guy when she’s not answering her texts.

  And definitely no falling into a deep, dark pit of gloom when she breaks your engagement two weeks before the wedding because she’s not sure she loves you after all.

  And no, I’m not bitter. Not anymore.

  But I am practical.

  The truth is, I like women. The way they laugh. The way they feel. The way they smell.

  I get off on making a woman feel good. On making her shatter in my arms and then beg for more.

  Like them, yes. But I don’t trust them. And I’m not getting fucked over again.

  Not like that, anyway.

  So there you go. Q.E.D.

  I don’t do relationships. I do hook-ups. I make it my mission to give every woman who shares my bed the ride of her life.

  But it’s a one-way street, and I don’t go back.

  That’s just the way I roll. I walked away from relationships a long time ago.

  So as I pull up in front of Thyme, the trendy new restaurant in Austin’s upscale Tarrytown neighborhood, and hand the valet my keys, all I’m expecting is business as usual. Some causal flirting. A few appetizers. A solid buzz from a little too much liquor. And then a quick jaunt back to my downtown condo for some mid-week action.

  What I get instead, is her.

  Chapter Two

  “Well, then, I need you to make an announcement.” The leggy brunette’s voice belongs to a woman used to giving orders. “He must be here by now.”

  Legs is standing in front of me at the hostess stand, her back turned so that all I can see is a mass of chestnut brown waves, a waist small enough for a man to grab onto, and an ass that was made to fill out a skirt. In front of her, a petite blonde clutches a stack of menus like a lifeline as she gnaws on her lower lip.

  “Well?” Legs’ voice is more demand than question.

  While the hostess explains to Legs that the restaurant really isn’t set up for announcements, I glance at my watch impatiently. The traffic on Sixth Street had been more of a bitch than usual, and I’m running five minutes late. An irritating reality considering that I’m habitually prompt, a remnant from my military days. I’ll cop to a lot of vices, but tardiness isn’t among them.

  Legs, however, is going to make me even later, and I frown as I glance toward the bar
area to my left, looking for any unaccompanied woman who might be “J” from the 2Nite app. But there’s no one sitting alone who looks like she’s waiting for “PB” to join her.

  It’s my first time using this particular app, and its schtick—because they all have a schtick—is that all contact is anonymous until you actually meet your date. That’s fine and dandy, but it makes connecting difficult. After all, would she really have left her name as J at the hostess desk? Because I’m going to feel like an idiot if I have to call myself PB.

  Then again, I’ll be lucky to have the chance to call myself anything at all, because Legs is spending so much time harassing the hostess that the restaurant will be closed before I can ask about J or claim a table.

  “—except I already told you that I don’t have his name,” Legs is saying as I tune back into their conversation. The corporate warrior tone has faded, replaced by frustration and, I think, disappointment.

  As for the hostess, she now looks even more frazzled.

  “All I know is that he works for a security company—”

  Ding, ding, ding. Folks, we have a winner.

  “—and he should already be here.”

  “J,” I say confidently, stepping up beside her. “I’m Pierce Blackwell.” I pull a business card from my wallet and hand it to her when she turns to face me.

  “Of Blackwell-Lyon Security. PB,” I add, just in case that’s not absolutely clear. “I’m very happy to meet you in person.”

  And that, frankly, is one hundred percent true. Because while the rear view might be amazing, from the front, my date for the night is even more stunning. Her dark hair frames a pale face with skin so perfect I have to force myself not to reach out and stroke her cheek. She has a wide mouth that was built for naughty things, and the kind of curvaceous body that lets a man know he has a real woman in his arms.

  “Oh.” Her voice is a little startled, and her amber eyes are wide with surprise. She’s dropped the stern tone she’d used with the hostess, and I see relief in her eyes. I guess she thought I was going to stand her up, despite the fact that she doesn’t look like the kind of woman who gets stood up often.

  And her obvious relief that I’ve arrived suggests a vulnerability I wouldn’t have guessed from listening to her interrogate the hostess.

  Honestly, I like the contrast. It suggests a strong personality wrapped around a soft, feminine core. In other words, a woman who knows what she wants from a man, but isn’t afraid to let him take control.

  Did I mention I like taking control?

  My card is still in her hand, and she glances down as she reads it, her thumb softly rubbing over the raised lettering in what I think must be an unconscious motion, but still makes me imagine the brush of that thumb over my hand, my mouth … and other much more interesting places.

  She lifts her head. And in the moment she meets my eyes, I’m certain that I see a familiar spark. The kind of heat that means we skip the appetizers, slam back a quick get-to-know-you drink, then barely make it back to my condo with clothing intact.

  I know women like the way I look. Dark blond hair, a body that’s in prime shape at thirty-four thanks to military training and my current job’s requirements, plus blue eyes that have been known to draw compliments from strangers.

  So the heat I see on her face doesn’t surprise me. But then I blink, and damned if that fire doesn’t disappear, her eyes going completely flat. As if someone flipped a switch.

  What the hell?

  Was I hallucinating? Fantasizing?

  Or maybe she’s just doing her damnedest to fight an intense, visceral lust.

  But why would she? She came here tonight wanting the same thing I did. One night. A good time. And absolutely no strings.

  Honestly, it makes no sense. And right now, the only thing I’m certain of is that the desire I saw on her face is gone. Poof. Just like a magic trick.

  No heat. No fire.

  No goddamned interest at all.

  “So, will that be two for dinner?” the hostess asks brightly. “The wait’s about forty-five minutes in the dining room, but there are a few tables open in the bar.”

  “That’ll be fine,” I say, determined to get this evening back on track. “We’ll probably stick with drinks and appetizers.” I look to her for confirmation, but she’s frowning at her phone and doesn’t look up again until we’re seated.

  “The drinks here are good,” I say as the hostess leaves us with the bar menus. “I live downtown, so I’ve been coming here a lot since it opened. How about you? Been here before?”

  One perfectly groomed eyebrow arches up in a way that I find incredibly sexy, despite the fact that she’s obviously annoyed. “I’ve only just arrived in town. When would I have had time?”

  “Right. Good point.” Now I’m just being conciliatory, because how am I supposed to know when she moved to Austin? I read her profile and there wasn’t a single word in there about her being new to town. But my only other option is to tell her flat out that tonight is a bust, and then get the hell out of there.

  Except I’m not ready to give up on her yet. Because despite our off-kilter start, there’s something intriguing about J. And I know damn well that I saw a spark of interest in her eyes. And so help me, I intend to get it back. Because, hey, who doesn’t love a challenge?

  “Speaking of time,” she says. “Under the circumstances, I feel I need to be completely honest.”

  “Go for it.”

  “It’s just that I didn’t appreciate being kept waiting,” she says. “Punctuality is extremely important to me.”

  “Me too.” That’s true, but I’m surprised she’s getting bent out of shape for a mere five minutes. Still, at least we’ve found one tiny patch of common ground. “I’m almost always early. I’d blame the traffic, but honestly I should have left the office earlier.”

  I flash my most charming smile. It hasn’t failed me yet, and thankfully tonight is no exception. She relaxes a bit and leans back in her chair, her finger tracing the leather edge of the menu.

  “I’m glad to hear it. You’ve seemed lackadaisical about the whole thing so far. It’s not the attitude I’m used to.”

  I reach across the table and take her hand. It’s soft and warm, and my cock tightens in response to a fresh wave of lust. She may be prickly and inscrutable, but she’s also fiercely self-assured, and the combination is seriously hot.

  “Sweetheart,” I say. “I may be flippant about a lot of things, but never about this.”

  “Sweetheart?” She tugs her hand free of mine, and I couldn’t have gone limp faster if she’d dunked me in a barrel of ice water. “And you called me J, too? I mean, what? Are we starting a hip hop band?”

  “We could,” I quip, trying to regain my balance. “PB and J. You have to admit it works.”

  I laugh, because it does work. And why the hell is she griping at me, anyway? If using initials irritates her that much, she should have picked an app other than 2Nite.

  “Just call me Jez,” she says. “Or Ms. Stuart if you prefer to be more formal.” She’s sitting up straight now, and I’m thinking that she couldn’t be more formal if she tried.

  “Jez,” I say. “I like it.”

  “It’s short for Jezebel, obviously. And of course our parents named my sister along the same theme.” She leans back, clearly expecting a response.

  “Parents will do that,” I say, since I’ve got nothing else. Let’s just say that talk of parents and siblings isn’t usually par for the course on these kinds of dates.

  Still, it must have been the right thing to say, because she smiles, and it’s the kind of smile that lights her whole face. And even though I don’t do full nights—not ever—I can’t help thinking that it’s the kind of smile I’d like to wake up to.

  “Listen,” she says, “I know I may seem formal and demanding, and that can be a little off-putting for some people. It’s just that I take all of this very, very seriously.”

  “I get th
at.” I mean what I say. After all, I know that I’m a nice guy, but a woman has to be careful who she goes home with.

  “I’m glad you understand,” she says as the waiter comes up to take our order.

  I hand the waiter my menu. “Angel’s Envy. On the rocks. And the lady will have…?”

  “Club soda with lime.” She meets my eyes as the waiter walks away. “I like to keep a clear head.”

  Okay, sparks or not, this woman is exasperating. “Honestly, right now, I’m thinking I should have ordered a double.”

  Her mouth tightens with disapproval. “Fine. But I hope you have a clear head when it counts. I expect complete attention to detail.”

  I hold her gaze for ten full seconds. And then—because at this point I have nothing to lose—I slowly let my eyes roam down. Her usually full lips, now pressed together in a thin red line. The soft curve of her jaw. The tender slope of her neck.

  Her top button of her silk blouse has come open, and I can see the curve of her breasts spilling out over the cups of her pale pink bra. I pause just long enough to imagine the taste of her right there. The feel of her soft skin against my lips. And the way her bossy, severe voice will soften when she writhes beneath me and begs for more.