Forever In Blue Jeans


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“Shit.” Shit. Shit. Shit. Cort couldn’t stop the word from repeating inside his head. He took a deep breath and opened his eyes again. He looked through the windshield, hoping the woman’s face and hair and body were different than the face and hair and body of the one he’d first glimpsed when he pulled up in front of the large house. It wasn’t. She wasn’t. All of it was the same, every last inch of every last feature he could see. “Shit.”

Did she recognize him? He hoped not. On the other hand, he hoped like hell she not only recognized him but remembered in great detail every moment from that one night, every moment up until the time she left while he was still blissfully, ignorantly snoring.

Shit.

He made a big production in the cab of his truck and was pretty sure he looked like a raving lunatic tossing notepads and pieces of paper up, down, and across the seat, but he really didn’t give a fuck. Especially not in front of her.

When he finally got out and proceeded to slam the door behind him to make a point, if only to himself, his boot slipped, and he nearly fell on his ass in the muddy red clay that was synonymous with the South. He gripped the door handle and held on for all he was worth, pulling himself up and locking his knees until he regained his balance.

“Careful there,” she called from the porch. “The rain we had last night hasn’t dried out yet, and that is some slick stuff you’re stepping in.”

Yeah, no shit. Instead of actually saying those words, he simply slid her a look that, had she been closer, would have spoken for itself. Another deep breath. A clenching of his jaw until it hurt. An almost painful grip on the door handle.

Slowly, Cort put one foot in front of the other and walked away from his truck. He kicked off what mud he could when he got to the small gravel-lined walk that led to the steps. She was waiting at the top, looking for all the world like she hadn’t a care and could wait all day. Too bad she hadn’t waited for him to roll over and wake up all those years ago in that Savannah hotel room.

Sweat slid down the center of his back. If it hadn’t been nine hundred degrees outside, he wouldn’t have the humidity to blame it on, but it was nine hundred degrees with likely two hundred percent humidity, and he didn’t have to come anywhere close to blaming it on the fact that her being his potential new employer and the best fuck of his life were the cause of his elevated internal thermometer.

He stopped on the next to last step, determined to look her in the eye. Not up at her, not down, but straight in the eye. They were going to be on equal ground here.

“Hello, Cort.”

Was that a “Hello, nice to meet you” hello or a “Hello, I remember you” hello? “Hello, Maribelle.”

She laughed, and the sound was both chalkboard with fingernails grating and the purest, most beautiful sound he’d ever heard. Well, save for the mewling kitten noises she’d made when she orgasmed or the sexy way his name sounded on her lips or…

“I don’t go by that name. You can still call me Blue.”

Okay, so she did remember. He hadn’t been expecting that, but it was fine with him. No pretense between them. He hated mind games. He remembered her and she remembered him. Didn’t mean he couldn’t be impartial, indifferent, and completely professional. “Very well, Blue. Shall we get started?” He nodded toward the house.

“You in a hurry?”

“Have plans later.” Not that it was any of her business that his plans consisted of drinking her out of his head.

Her smile never wavered. “Well, we don’t want you to be late. Follow me.”

Son of a bitch. Those were the exact words she’d said to him that night in the bar. “Follow me.” He hadn’t been able to think straight then, and he sure as hell couldn’t think straight now but follow her he did. Again.

It seemed he had a bad habit of repeating past mistakes. A habit he needed to correct in the very near future.

His wet dream was dressed in a pair of just above the knee cut-offs. They hugged her full hips and ass like a second skin. Her toes were painted a bright summer blue, like that of the sky above, and her feet were in a pair of sparkly flip-flops. She had on a lacey tank top looking thing that molded around her breasts–not too tight, not too loose–and he could just make out the outline of her bra.

Cort wiped a hand down his face. Jeezus H…

Her long black curls were tamed in pigtails that he wanted to hold in his fists as he fucked her from behind. She could keep the glasses on too. She had eyes the color of watered-down Jack and coke and they were brilliant behind the black-rimmed rhinestone glasses that might have come from an antique shop or her grandmother’s dresser. She had cream with a few drops of coffee skin, and he could make out a slight tan line around her ankles, one of which had a tattoo of a tree. He could just make out the ink of another tattoo on her back under the thin shirt she wore, though he couldn’t tell what the design was.

Lust flowed through his veins and he swallowed hard to stem the tide. He wished he could say it was just because he needed to get laid, but that would be a damn lie. He needed to get laid, oh yeah, but not just anyone would do. He’d been on that wagon for the last five years. No, he wanted this one, this woman who haunted him. He wanted to know if she was still as tight and unbelievably wet as she’d been all those years ago.

Her body had filled out a bit more than he remembered. She’d been lush before; she was just downright decadent now. She had the most spectacular curves. Most men might say she was plump. Hell, once up on a time he’d have said the same thing, but not now. Nope. Right now, he’d say she was just about…perfect. Shit.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

“Cort?”

Her voice dripped over him like honey, surrounding him thicker than the humidity in the air. His dick was harder than a fucking pole, and he wanted so badly to taste her lips. Both sets. He wanted to drink her in, then chase it with a perfect mint julep with her still spread out before him and breathing heavy.

And he needed to goddamn stop thinking like a lovesick bastard. That man was long gone.

He turned to her with what he hoped was a blank expression. “Yes?”

“Are you all right? You seem flushed, and you’re sweating.”

“It’s…warm.” There was no way he was going to utter the word “hot” anywhere around her.

“Then come inside. You’ll be surprised how nice it is even without air conditioning.”

She turned and walked through the already open, double front doors and down the long hall from the foyer. She was right. It was rather cool with the doors and floor-to-ceiling windows open and, the large oscillating fans pointed in strategic directions allowing cross currents to swirl around them.

That was outside his body, though. Inside, his body was still a raging inferno that had nothing to do with it being late spring in Georgia. Nope, it had everything to do with the woman who stood next to him with her hand on his arm and concern in her eyes.

“I…I’m fine.” He moved his arms slightly out from under her touch. “Just not used to the weather down here much anymore. Long sleeve work shirts don’t seem to be what I need to wear from now on.”

“Likely not.” She smiled up at him as though they both believed him. Damn. “Most men don’t wear shirts around here at all when they’re working. I suspect you’ll join in that trend soon enough.”

Was she flirting with him? He hoped to hell she wasn’t. He didn’t need her coming on to him. He just needed her to take about a hundred steps back and roll around in a pile of dirt. Maybe if she messed herself up a little, dirtied her face and body, she wouldn’t seem so tempting.

No, that wouldn’t work either. She needed to simply vanish into thin air. “I usually keep my clothes on in public.”

She looked him up and down, shaking her head, finally dropping her arm back down to her side. “A shame.” She turned and moved toward the back of the house. “There’s a breaker box in the butler’s pantry, but I don’t know if it’ll do you any good to look at it.”

It would, and it wouldn’t. He wasn’t really going to know much of anything until he got into the walls and was able to check the actual wiring itself. And if he could just keep his mind on work and not her…

His gaze strayed to her ass in those shorts. The thoughts he was having were sinful. Just outright sinful and should send him to Hell straight away. Not for the first time since arriving at her place, he wondered about the pictures Decker had told him about last night. He tried to not think about them, but he couldn’t help it. He wanted to know what she looked like naked now, especially since she’d gained a few more curves. He also wanted to know when she’d posed for pictures. Was it before or after they met? Was it porn or art? Was it her job? They’d never discussed work that night five years ago. When she’d looked at him at the bar and smiled, he couldn’t have cared less about what she might do for work. He–

“Cort?”

Dammit. He needed to get his mind back on the job at hand. One foot in front of the other, man. Remember? We had this talk. She’s nothing special. You’re a grown-up. You can do this.

He walked behind her, but in all honesty, he wasn’t sure he could do the job unless he got to do the boss too. He wanted her more than he wanted any other woman in recent memory, and that had disaster written all over it.

Blue with her sweet, Southern voice and her mass of raven curls and her curves… Dear God, her curves.

“You comin’?”

Oh yeah, he was gonna cum, over and over and over.

He turned the corner and found her standing in the middle of a room that was nearly the size of the bedroom he was staying in at Decker’s. Holy shit. It wasn’t like any pantry he’d ever been in, even down in Savannah. It was fuckin’ huge.

He joined her and turned in a circle, trying to take it all in as she talked. “All the china on the long wall belonged to my ancestors.” She gestured behind them, and he looked over his shoulder. “My grandparents were the last people to actually live in the house before my aunt opened it to the public. It’s rare to find entire sets. And as you can see, we don’t store food in here. There’s a food pantry on the other end of the kitchen. The crystal in here is original as well.”

“It’s remarkably well preserved.” His compliment was genuine and heartfelt. History was one of his favorite subjects and when he had the time or inclination, he often preferred watching one of the documentary channels on television. He was a bit of a geek that way.

“My family took great pride in making sure our history and roots were preserved for future generations.”

“What kind of plantation was it?” He wished he’d had time to research it on his own before coming out to meet her, but he hadn’t gotten into town as early as he’d hoped. Neither Decker nor Buck could stop talking about the town they’d moved into and decided to call home. Cort hadn’t had a chance to explore that either.

“Pecan. They planted a little cotton, even a little tobacco, but pecans were the moneymaker crop. So, what little cotton there was, they milled at a nearby cotton plantation nearby. My great-great-grandmother was a seamstress, among other things, and would make bedding sets. She’d hand stitch everything. People used to come from all over the South and buy from my family. When the war came, she would stitch uniforms, tents, and even men back together again. She taught her daughters, and they taught their daughters and so on down to me. I’m the last one.”

Her smile was sad and he found he had to fight his instinct to reach out and pull her in, to offer her comfort. “You have no other family?” He couldn’t imagine how lonely that much be for her. He had a brother, a sister, parents.

“No. My aunt died a few years ago. It’s why I–” She pursed her lips tight and shook her head, making her pigtails dance against her shoulders.. “My parents passed away when I was a baby.”

He didn’t want to feel bad for her. He didn’t want to feel anything beyond hunger for her, and hell, he didn’t even want to feel that for her, but he did. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. It’s one of those crappy things life hands you. I had a good life with my aunt. She’d never had kids of her own and we were very close.”

“You said, among other things. What else did your family do?” he asked, drawing the conversation back to something a little less personal. Cort didn’t want to like her, didn’t want to like listening to her talk about her family or her life. There were a lot of things he didn’t want when it came to her, but what he did want, was to lay her out on the floor or counter or bed, fuck her breathless, then walk away with his seed sliding down her thighs. He wanted to hurt her as she’d hurt him.

But every word out of her mouth was ruining it and he was falling back into that comfort and ease he’d first felt with her.

Shit.

She laughed and leaned in, close enough he could smell faint traces of vanilla and coconut. He tried to concentrate on the scent of her but was captured instead by the mischievous grin and twinkle in her eyes. He was done for. His heart plummeted right down to his feet even as his dick promised serious retribution if he screwed this up before it had the chance to screw her.

Holy. Fucking. Hell.

“My great-great-grandmother made cakes. Special cakes. Medicinal cakes. But everyone knew what they really were. Drunk cakes.” She walked out of the pantry and came back almost immediately. “Oh, I forgot. The breaker box is there, behind that shelf unit.”

Cort followed the direction she was pointing her finger in. ‘There’ and ‘that shelf unit’ was the one that held the crystal. Great. It’d all have to be removed before he could possibly think about moving the cabinet.

He took some notes on the pad of paper he always carried with him to jobsites, knocked on each of the walls, did a quick inspection of the very outdated wall switches. Pulling a small screwdriver from his pocket, another thing he carried with him to all jobsites, he unscrewed the plate to have a look behind it and made a few additional notes. He stepped out of the pantry and inspected the outlets along the walls.

Pantry indeed. “Are any of the rooms current with electrical codes?” he asked without looking up.

“Only the kitchen right now. I use it for large batch baking.”

When he turned around, his gaze found Blue standing at a large butcher-block island in the center of the room slicing a pound cake. Geez, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d had pound cake. She looked over the rim of her glasses at him, and grinned again. His heart hadn’t returned to his chest since she’d done that a few minutes earlier, and it didn’t appear that it was going to any time soon.

“Why didn’t you have the rest of the house done then?” And saved us this awkwardness of having to see one another again?

“Most of the money for the renovations was still tied up in red tape. It’s only recently become available to me to use freely. Now this,” she said, holding up a large slice that looked to weigh more than the plate it sat on, “is my family’s secret recipe.”

The pride in her voice was unmistakable. She held the plate toward him, and he reluctantly took it. After all, it was just cake. What could it hurt?

*** *** ***

Blue hid a smile as she watched the man across the island from her. He was turning the plate, this way and that, and even took a good sniff of the cake and scrunched up his nose. She couldn’t blame him. The alcohol in it was quite strong.

Another thing she couldn’t do was believe he was actually sitting there. Of all the men in the world, this one shows up at her door as Decker and Buck’s electrician friend. He was still just as gorgeous as he’d been that night in Savannah when she’d picked him up in that bar on the river. His hair was a little longer in the front, his eyes were still that bottomless dark chocolate brown, and his scruff, which given that it was early still in the day must have been on purpose, made him so much sexier than the clean-cut, close shaven man she’d shared beer and sex with. Though, damn, she’d take either version of him any day of the week

He wore those really nice but casual work pants, creased down the center of the leg where an iron had been taken to them, along with a crisply ironed button-down blue cotton shirt, the sleeves of which were rolled up his forearms, revealing muscles, and hair that matched that on top of his head.

But that he was there, in her house, in her kitchen…

He remembered her. She knew it the moment he drove up and spotted her. He remembered that night, and he remembered what she’d done. Coward. She’d taken the coward’s way out and left while he was sleeping. She hadn’t wanted to, but after sex with him, talking with him, laughing with him, it really was the only option she had. She didn’t get close to men, didn’t get close to anyone really. She had Rosie and her aunt who’d passed away. Well, and there was Neil too but being his best friend hadn’t been her decision or choice. He just kind of wormed his way in and refused to leave. But Cort… She didn’t know what to do about him now, anymore than she knew what to do about him then. She wasn’t the fairy-tale believing kind of woman and had never believed in love like that for herself until she saw Cort walk up to the bar.

And then she’d left him, snoring softly in that big comfy bed in that fancy hotel. Of all the sex she’d ever had, that had been one to make her sing. Every time he’d touched her, her blood boiled, and she teetered on the edge of orgasm. Every time he’d whispered against her skin, she spread wider and lifted higher. Every time he’d looked at her, she ached all over from her head to her chest to her belly to her pussy to her toes. He was the one, she knew it as surely as she knew her own name, and she’d run so far and so fast.

Damn fate for throwing him back at her.

His fork clinked against the china plate and drew her full attention back to him and the piece of cake. Blue watched him take a bite; then she giggled when he sputtered as the alcohol hit the back of his tongue. She promptly handed him the glass of water she had waiting.

“Christ.” He continued to cough, and his eyes began to water.

He took a few sips of the water, then gulped down the entire glass. “What’s in that thing?” he asked, pointing to the piece of cake with his fork, staring at it as though it might bite him.

In a way, it had, she mused.

“That is a vanilla bean and cream cheese bourbon cake, except I didn’t have bourbon on hand when I made it last night. I had to use dark spiced rum. It’s the buttered rum glaze that really gets you, that adds the extra kick.”

“You might want to warn a guy next time.”

Blue took the glass and refilled it. She handed it back to him with a grin. “And miss that reaction? Not on your life.”

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This kind of heat won’t be extinguished.

Cort is in Blue Ridge for a job. He plans to catch up with old friends and enjoy the challenge of rewiring a plantation home for a new client. What he didn’t plan for was running into the woman he had an explosive one-night stand with five years ago.

Blue can’t believe the man who’s come to fix her wiring is the same one she met in a Savannah riverfront bar five years ago. Memories of that hot night together still cause tremors, but the chill in his eyes reminds her how that night ended, how she left him to wake up alone the next morning.

But this time, Blue has nowhere to run. Heated words and some angry sex should be the end of it all. But this kind of heat isn’t extinguished easily.

Warning: Between the sheets you’ll find meddling friends, drunk cakes, a corset tattoo, and a Southern plantation. But, what you really need to be on the look out for is a heroine laying siege to a hero with nothing but her sassy mouth holding him against the door…

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Fast Facts

Series: Blue Jeans and Hard Hats, Book 3

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Imprint: Brazen

Genre: Contemporary/Erotic Romance

Length: Category

Page Count: 230

Format: eBook

ISBN: 9781640632417

Books

Printable Booklist

Printable Series List

Blue Jeans and Hard Hats

Simple Need Series

Lone Star Sweets Series

Bad Boys Of Racing Series

Denali Heat Series

Connected Titles

Masked Series

The Bar Next Door Series

Single Titles

Other Books In The Series:


Sweet Caroline

Book 1

Cracklin’ Rosie

Book 2