FAKING IT NEVER FELT SO GOOD...
Promotions director Reese Regan isn’t a sex goddess and doesn’t want to be. But when she's offered a job with Sex Goddess, Inc., she must complete the company's wildly popular Sex Goddess 101 program. Trying only to avoid the unemployment line, not to become Chicago’s next seductress, she never expected the infamous “steps” might work.
Reese’s sexy, off-limits best friend Ben Hawk helps her “fake” her way through lingerie shopping, phone sex, and seduction lessons. The passion that flares between them might be hotter than their friendship can withstand. And the idea that he only wants the “new” her? That's definitely more than her heart can stand.
Will faking something so important cost her a chance at something real?
New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author Lexi Ryan’s novels have been described as intense, emotional, and wickedly sexy. A former college professor, she now writes full-time from her home inIndiana, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a neurotic dog. Find her on Facebook or Twitter to chat about books, TV, and her children’s latest antics.
Excerpt 1 (670 words)
“Good morning!” a sing-songy voice called from Ben’s front door.
Ben stood in the middle of his kitchen, sipping coffee and attempting to unglue his eyelids.
Reese strode into the room, her presence kicking his brain into gear better than a whole pot of coffee.
She wore a white tank, yoga pants that clung to the curve of her ass, and a smile way too sunny for a Monday morning.
Not for the first time, Ben imagined she wasn’t joining him fresh from her car but that she was joining him from his bed. She wouldn’t be wearing workout clothes but maybe one of his old t-shirts. She’d pad toward him in bare feet, cotton brushing the tops of her thighs, and she’d wrap her arms around his neck with the smile of a recently satisfied woman. He would slide his hands under her shirt and cup an ass cheek in each hand as he put his mouth on hers. Then they’d get a whole different kind of workout.
A dangerous fantasy. In the real world, Reese smacked a kiss to his cheek like she was greeting her little brother. To add insult to injury, she stole his mug out of his hands and took a gulp of his coffee. The soft moan of pleasure that escaped her lips played all too well into the images flashing through his mind. So did the way she closed her eyes and tilted her head back, pleasure running across her face.
Jesus. Ben tried to get a handle on himself, but, hell, he was only human, and Reese enjoyed a sip of coffee in a way that made a man think of slow, sweaty, thorough sex.
How was he supposed to avoid imagining the expression on her face as he teased her breasts? What sounds would she make when he ran his tongue across a hardened nipple? And when he ran his mouth down her stomach and tasted her between her legs, what sounds would she make then? Would she quietly open her legs for him? Or would she cry out in pleasure, tug on his hair?
She cocked her head, studying him but not seeing him. Reese saw a friend when she looked at him, not a man. And maybe for a while he’d only seen a friend when he’d looked at her. That was all he’d let himself see. But at some point he’d let his guard down, and now when he looked at Reese he didn’t just see. He wanted.
“Have a lot on your mind this morning?” she asked.
He nodded slowly, let his fingers brush over hers as he took his mug back. “You could say that.” He slugged back the rest of his coffee and headed toward the basement without preamble. Reese followed, humming softly under her breath, a sound low enough to slingshot his mind straight back to his fantasy, to the idea of her body under his hands. His mouth.
“Hey, grumpy,” she said when they reached the bottom of the stairs. She tugged on his shoulder until he turned to face her. “Anything I can do to improve your mood this morning?”
“I can think of a few things.” He couldn’t help himself. He let his gaze travel slowly down her body, lingering at her curves. His gaze traveled so slowly back to her face, he had enough time to picture every inch of her bare, exposed, ready for him. It was an image that was half fantasy and half memory.
When he returned his eyes to her face, a deep red blush stained her cheeks. “Ben!” She landed a soft punch to his solar plexus.
Ben lifted a shoulder in a half shrug. “You asked.”
“When was the last time you got laid?”
He knew down to the day, but he wasn’t about to share the truth with Reese—not when the date was just as significant in her life. “A few months.”
“Well, you need to do something about that.”
Excerpt 2 (396 words)
“I’m going to let Mark take me out.”
His jaw ticked. “Don’t be stupid, Reese.”
He cut her off with his mouth. He cupped her face in his big palm and brushed his lips across hers. He was warm and gentle.
And from the first brush of his lips, she wanted more.
Maybe tomorrow she’d blame the tequila or maybe she’d blame the lingerie shopping or the dirty stories she’d been logging into her notebook. Maybe she’d blame their tragic beginnings and her endless months of waiting for him to want her, but right now she didn’t even need an excuse. She moaned against him, loving the feel of his mouth, the light scratch of his scruff. Ben was so painfully male. A hot and delicious, long-denied craving.
Ben slanted his mouth over hers and slipped his tongue inside. He tasted like beer. Like male. Like something wicked and addictive. He wasn’t one of those rushed and sloppy kissers. He kissed like it was making love. Like he had all the time in the world. Like his most important task was kissing her. It was a kiss she’d known once and had never forgotten.
He slid his hands under her jaw and into her hair.
Reese grabbed a fistful of his shirt in her hand and pulled him closer, thinking of his eyes on her in the dressing room, thinking of the only other night they’d kissed.
He slid a hand behind her ass and lifted her, pressing her between the wall and his body and nestling his hard-on right between her legs. She gave a moan of approval and rubbed her tongue against his, exploring his mouth for all she was worth. She reached around his neck and slipped her fingers into his hair, tugging gently. Groaning, he pressed himself even closer to her. She cursed the day denim was invented. She wanted closer, closer even as part of her brain told her this was a mistake, told her to end this before they ruined everything.
He tore his mouth from hers and latched onto her neck. Sucking, nibbling, tasting until her eyes closed and she arched into him.
His teeth grazed the shell of her ear. His breath was hot as he whispered, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my brother help you with the best parts of this program.”
Excerpt 3 (429 words)
With a forced smile, Reese withdrew an envelope from her purse and handed it to Ben. “Apparently, Sex Goddess equals dirty.”
“Is this your next step?” He stifled a grin. “Please tell me she’s making you burn your bras.” He signaled to the door with his thumb. “I think I have some lighter fluid at the house.”
“What? Of course she’s not.” She scowled. “I hope not.”
Ben’s eyes dropped south for a second. “You know, bras are a sign of repression. Liberate the breasts and liberate the woman.”
She rolled her eyes. “Stop being a dork and read the letter.”
Ben frowned. “You’re taking this program more seriously than I thought you would.”
“No, I’ve just gotten really good at faking it.”
“The new outfit doesn’t look fake. Or the makeup.”
Balls clacked at the pool table behind them and the Bears game played on the big screen.
“So, I like looking sexy. Women like to be wanted, Ben. It comes standard with the estrogen.”
“And men didn’t want you before you started taking Halie’s Holy Steps?”
“Most of which I’m faking,” she reminded him. She waved a hand dismissively. “Just read it.”
“The phone sex didn’t seem fake,” he said softly. Neither had her hand in his or the way she’d squeezed his hand when Sydney played her solo.
A red tinge crept up her cheeks. Satisfied, Ben turned to the letter.
Say goodbye to your panties. For the next week, you’ll be going commando, forcing your mind to acknowledge the parts of your body too often left as an afterthought.
He grunted. “No wonder my guys want their wives to sign up.”
“Spoken like a true male. Foregoing underwear isn’t sexy, it’s unsanitary.”
He shook his head. “It’s sexy.”
“What if I’m doing yard work?”
She crossed her arms and her cheeks flushed. “Or I’m working out?”
Reese leaned forward. “Or I want to wear a skirt?”
Ben narrowed his eyes. “Now you’re just tormenting me.”
She shook her head. “I don’t need to go commando to acknowledge my female parts.”
Leaning back in his chair, Ben folded his arms across his chest and studied her. Why was she taking this program so seriously? The kiss? The phone sex? He wasn’t complaining, but couldn’t she have just as easily fabricated a story for Halie?
They were the questions that were starting to niggle at him. Despite what Reese said, this was about more than a job.
He handed back the letter and only let himself ask one question. “So, when do the panties come off?”