BOOK 3 OF THE ST. FLEUR SERIES
BARNES & NOBLE | IBOOKS | KOBO | AMAZON
Add Duplicity to your TBR on GOODREADS.
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Interracial Romance
A man looking to outrun the ghosts of his past and an independent woman used to being left behind…
Beautiful bar owner Jaime Lynn Walker has lived her life under the impression that everyone leaves… It’s all she’s ever known. After opening a pub in St. Fleur, she roots herself into the town and its community, making her question if her mantra was all wrong.
When a handsome stranger walks into the bar looking for a job, she knows hiring him is a bad idea, but it doesn’t stop her. Giving in to their powerful attraction, she accepts his invitation to explore the passion brewing between them—and is reminded that not everyone is meant for happily ever after.
Haunted by the memories in his hometown, and everything he was forced to leave behind, Jesse Slade leaves New Orleans in search of peace. What he finds instead is the light to his dark, the calm to his storm. Jaime Lynn chases the past away and turns his nightmares back into hopes and dreams.
Happiness nearly slips through his fingers after Jaime Lynn suddenly pulls away and leaves Jesse wondering what he did wrong. Appearances can be deceiving, and just when the truth comes to light and the stars finally align for them, Jesse is given a chance to reclaim a part of his life he thought was lost forever.
Will their second chance at love be able to weather their pasts?
Jaime Lynn wiped the sweat from her brow as the music slowed and The Temptations “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” started. Each couple paired off, and the men made fools of themselves for their women. Feeling like the odd man out, Jaime Lynn slowly backed away and hit a wall. Jesse’s familiar scent invaded her senses at the same time he grabbed her hips and held her back to his front.
The feel-good atmosphere, the drinks she’d already consumed, and his smell were to blame when she melted against him. Closing her eyes, she swayed to the short classic.
Disappointment filled her when he released her and cold air struck her back. Then his fingers linked with hers and her mouth dropped when she recognized the new song. Jesse now stood in front of her singing along to Boys II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You.”
Looking around as embarrassment filled her, she caught Charlotte Mae’s smile and wet eyes. Jesse pinched her chin and forced Jaime Lynn to focus on him. The man could sing, and not just carry a tune either. On a normal day, his voice—if she didn’t put her walls up—made her want to strip down and beg to be taken. At this moment, his voice did things to her body and mind she couldn’t process. She wouldn’t even consider what this was doing to her heart.
He pulled her front to his, and she felt the warmth of his hands on her hips as his hardness pressed against her. Giving in to the moment, she placed her head on his chest and swayed as he finished singing. She promised herself she would step away after the song but found herself trapped.
Jesse’s breath caressed her ear. “I have no idea why you think you would have to share me.”
Jaime Lynn’s back stiffened. She glanced at her friends, searching for Andrew. Jesse’s hands captured her face, and unable to do anything else, she looked into the dark depths of his eyes.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said before he captured her lips, his soft against her hard ones as she struggled to fight the emotion.
Her resolve softened the moment his tongue licked the seam of her lips. Guiding her head, he positioned them and dove in, deepening the kiss. Jaime Lynn grabbed handfuls of his shirt, holding on until her fingers hurt. Their tongues explored each other’s mouths, tasting, devouring, and savoring.
The music and their friends were forgotten as Jaime Lynn burned up, the kiss consuming her in a flash of desire and need. His thickness pressed against her, and his growl affected her on a level she didn’t understand. She released his shirt and wound her arms around his neck, fusing him to her.
Jaime Lynn’s body was on fire. Her clit throbbed with need. The fabric of the dress rubbed against her hard, pointed nipples. She needed Jesse more than her next breath. Releasing the hold on his neck, she ran her hands down his chest, popping one button, then another. Jesse released her hips and stopped her hands from their downward path. His tongue retreated, and his lips soothed hers until he stopped altogether. Forehead to forehead, she listened to their ragged breathing. The thick fog of desire that surrounded them began to disappear.
“Walker,” he whispered, “look what you do to me. If you would only let me in, you’d see you’re it. There is no one else. There hasn’t been anyone else for a long time.”
Pulling his face back, he forced her to look at him. She heard his words, but her mind remembered what she’d seen. Her head shook, the move small but she knew he didn’t miss the meaning.
“I need to go refill drinks,” she mumbled and stepped away. The warmth of his body no longer keeping her warm, she rubbed her now-cold arms. They always leave, she reminded herself.
“Damn it, Jaime Lynn,” Jesse growled and pulled her close.
“Let go of me.” Her voice was hard to her own ears. Movement caught her attention as Noah stepped toward them.
“What the fuck did I do? Tell me right now what horrible thing I’m guilty of,” Jesse said, his fingers firm as they dug into her hips.
The hold didn’t hurt, but she didn’t like it. “Let go of me!”
“Jesse, let go of her, man,” Noah said.
“Damn it, Jaime Lynn. What the fuck did I do?” Jesse roared.
Jesse’s eyes flew open as he released himself and moved to a protective stance. “What are you doing here?”
His gaze moved down her body in a caress. She saw the flash of pleasure before he put up walls to protect himself from her hurtful inaction and words. Unable to speak, her mind was jumbled over Jesse’s naked form and the fact that he had been pleasuring himself. Jaime Lynn stepped into the spray and Jesse moved back. His back hit the wall with nowhere to go.
Jaime Lynn took in his body, the muscles covering his chest and arms down to his sculpted abs. His beautiful, thick length stood proudly as her eyes roved down his thighs to where wiry, black hair covered his legs.
Confusion flashed over his face, replacing the desire in his gaze, as he repeated, “What are you doing here, Jaime Lynn?”
Nerves froze her in place, the words right on the tip of her tongue. No matter the limbo state of their relationship, Jesse was a constant in her life. They may have danced around their attraction for far too long, but the idea of him not being there at all scared the crap out of her. There really was no one else she was willing to risk her heart for.
Jesse’s warm hand cupped her face, and the memories floated away with the touch. “Are you okay?”
His deep voice rumbled and traveled down her body like a caress. No. She couldn’t do this to herself. Jaime Lynn stepped back, her heart cracking along where she forced it to seal.
“Yeah, are you done playing Dad to them?” she said with more bite to her words than she intended.
Jesse placed his hands in his pockets, and she watched the old shadows surface once again. “He’s being reckless.”
“You’re acting like an old man. Rocco had full—” She watched his eyes harden in a way she had never seen before, startling her. “You know what? It doesn’t matter. I need to get to the wedding before I miss it.”
Stepping away from Jesse, she took two steps toward the large wooden door when his large hand grabbed her arm.
“Jesse,” she warned, shocked that he would stop her.
“Walker.” Even years later, the nickname soothed her. It was theirs and he never used it around others. “It scared me, okay? We all love those women. No one should ever bury their loved one because of someone else’s recklessness. It would destroy Noah, Marc, and Lexi. Hell, it would destroy JJ, and she refuses to do anything about Rocco.”