Author: Kelly Jamieson
Release Date: July 28/15
This boyfriend business is about to get a whole lot more personal…
Event planner Lexi Mannis has a busy life in Chicago—too busy to have a boyfriend. For special occasions, she has her Stand-In Boyfriend, Mac Northrop. Mac offers (almost) all the perks of a real boyfriend—furniture assembly, a date to big events, and someone to cook for. But they’ve never been “with benefits”…until one wickedly hot night crosses the line.
Mac’s been in love with Lexi for ages. He knows he should probably end it, but dammit, he just can’t. When things get deliciously down and dirty, Mac is certain that he’s made the leap out of the friend zone…until Lexi decides she wants to remain friends. With benefits.
What Lexi doesn’t know is that she’s running out of time. And if she won’t promote Mac to Real Boyfriend, she might just lose her Stand-In Boyfriend to someone else…
Author Bio: Kelly Jamieson is a best-selling author of over thirty-five romance novels andnovellas. Her writing has been described as “emotionally complex”, “sweet and satisfying” and “blisteringly sexy”. She likes coffee (black), wine (mostly white), shoes (high) and watching hockey!
Mac sat on the floor in Lexi’s living room Sunday afternoon with pieces of furniture spread out around him.
“You need to read the directions,” Lexi said, sitting cross-legged on the couch.
“No I don’t.” He totally knew what he was doing. Thank Christ, because Lex was useless. Gorgeous. Smart, absolutely. But not when it came to building furniture.
“How did the party go last night?” He peered at a dark square of laminated fiberboard.
“Oh my god. Don’t even ask.” She fell back into the couch cushions, closing her eyes.
“What?” He frowned.
“It was a total nightmare. You know how I couldn’t get hold of the caterer?”
“Yeah.” She’d mentioned it last weekend when they’d bought the Ikea furniture, which was too heavy for her to carry alone. He’d figured she’d reach them eventually.
“Well, I never did find them. They’ve apparently gone out of business or something, and I had to find someone else last minute.”
He set down the Allen wrench and gave her his full attention. Her red-gold hair tumbled in waves around her shoulders, and even dressed in a baggy sweater and leggings, she looked sweet and sexy. He watched a host of emotions scroll across her face as she talked, her green eyes getting shiny, her pretty mouth trembling. When her voice quivered, his chest clenched. Fuck, she’s really upset about this.
“And then he grabbed me and tried to kiss me.”
Mac’s body jolted, and his forehead tightened. “What the fuck?”
“Apparently he would overlook everything and still pay me if I let him nail me in the cloakroom.”
“Jesus fucking Christ.” Mac leaped to his feet and strode three steps to the couch. He dropped down beside her. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” She sighed. “I kneed him in the nuts.”
Mac choked. “Oh.”
“Right in front of his wife.Happy birthday to her.”
“Fuck, Lex… He touched you?” Rage rose inside him in a scorching blast. “Who is this asshole? I’m gonna—”
“No, you’re not.” She touched her fingers to his lips. “I’m fine. He was so drunk he probably would’ve had whisky dick anyway.”
“What the hell do you know about whisky dick? Never mind.” He closed his mind off to the idea of Lexi and another guy’s dick.
“It’s done. It was an epic disaster, but it’s done.” She sighed. “And possibly so is my business.”
“Bullshit. Your business will be fine.” He reached out and pulled her in for a hug.
Probably a mistake, because his body responded to the feel of her soft curves against him with a familiar stirring down south.But damn, she was upset, and he wanted to make her feel better.
“It’ll be fine,” he murmured, his cheek against her hair. “It was only one party. None of it was your fault.”
“Of course it was. I’m the event planner. It’s up to me to make sure everything goes perfectly.”
“You didn’t know someone was going to steal the gifts… And the caterer would go out of business… And your client was a drunken lech… But, heck, you said the cake was good.”
She huffed out a laugh. “Thank you, Mac. I can always count on you to put things in perspective.”
He grinned and gave her a squeeze. “Your business is a success because you’re good at what you do. You know it. I know it. And so do all of your clients.”
“I’ve told you before, you need to sell yourself better. Don’t be modest. You are good at it. You love planning and making lists. With your business background and the cool ideas you come up with, plus the fact that you’re so anal—er, I mean, detail oriented—of course your business is a success. And it will continue to be.”
“I shouldn’t have let that guy take the gifts.”
“You had no idea he was a thief.” He squeezed her again. “Come on. Don’t beat yourself up over things you couldn’t control.”
She pulled back and gave him a watery smile. “Thank you.” The warm softness in her eyes had his gut twisting. “Okay. You made me feel better. Now.Back to my furniture.”
Jesus. The idea of some fuckwit groping her made his stomach churn and his fists clench. How was he supposed to forget that and build a fucking dresser? He sucked in a long breath through his nose and then exhaled. “Right.” He moved off the couch, his blood still running hot. She was okay. Well, she’d hurt the guy, so there was that.
He lowered himself back to the floor to resume the construction project.
Moments later, Lexi said, “That’s such a tiny little tool.”
“That’s not what my last girlfriend said.” He looked up and met her eyes, and damn, he loved the smile and the choked laugh she gave. He grinned back at her.
They were friends.