No Rival, book 4
Using unmatched skill and intelligence, Kurt captures the attention of every partner he desires. His ability to confuse his prey keeps them captivated. This trick has never failed him. That is, until he meets McKenna. As an author, McKenna has gone to great lengths to ensure the details of her erotic books are airtight. When Kurt challenges one of her scenes, she doesn’t hesitate to take up his offer to prove his theory. The bad boy MMA fighter appeals to her on every level. Kurt’s intelligence stimulates her mind even as his touch sets her body on fire. In spite of those things, McKenna has no intention of adding her name to his list of ex-lovers.
McKenna’s odd behavior exasperates Kurt. She is an addiction he cannot shake. But somehow the two of them make the combination of his OCD logic and her unbalanced nature work.
Inside Scoop: There are a couple hot but brief male/male encounters as well as a handcuff scene that may have you reaching for the fan.
A Romantica® contemporary romance from Ellora’s Cave
By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, please exit this site.
An Excerpt From: UNBALANCED
Copyright © CHARITY PARKERSON, 2014
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
She wasn’t wearing shoes. Funnily enough, it was the first detail about her that caught his eye. At a table, in public, Kurt found her shoeless state odd. There were a thousand tiny things about her he should have noticed first. Without a doubt, her plain black t-shirt, yoga pants and the overall lack of effort toward her appearance allowed her to blend into the background. It shouldn’t have mattered. Kurt wasn’t usually so blind. None of those points stole an ounce of power from her beauty. There wasn’t a hint of makeup marring her face. Blonde curls piled on her head held in place by some sort of clip. Something about her eyes held him captivated. They were unfocused as they moved across the pages of the book she held between her hands. In spite of that, he felt sure she absorbed every word, only on a different plane than others would.
He moved closer. The lack of footwear became an obsession. Curiosity ate at him. He needed to know why. The coffee shop located inside a G. Richards’ Bookstore had a sign posted clearly on the front door. “No shoes. No service.” Once Kurt managed to snag the chair directly across from her, he bent at the waist. Under the guise of dropping a napkin, he peered under the edge of her table. Suspicions confirmed. His brows drew together in a frown as he sat up.
After a moment of staring at the corner, he couldn’t stand it any longer.
“Your feet are bare.”
Lifting her gaze from the book between her hands, she blinked several times. He could practically see her dragging her mind away from whatever cloud it was on.
“Your feet,” he repeated. “They have no shoes on them.”
“Oh. I’d forgotten.” She immediately dismissed him by returning to her reading.
“You’re inside a business. They serve food.”
She didn’t bother glancing his way as she responded.
“If that bothers you, I won’t mention the state of my underwear.”
He had to know. “Did you forget those, as well?”
That got her attention. A line formed between her eyes as if his question was too stupid for her to fathom.
“How does someone forget their underwear?”
“How does a person forget their shoes?” He shot back.
Tilting her head to one side, she seemed to think it over for a moment before responding. “Is this a trick question?”
Kurt scoffed as he reminded her of the obvious. “You’re not wearing them.”
Her mouth turned up in one corner in such a way his gaze immediately shot to her lips. “I’m aware.”
Unable to keep the exasperation from his voice, Kurt sighed. “You said you’d forgotten your shoes. It stands to reason then, you would know how one goes about it.”
Setting her book aside, she nodded slowly as if giving his theory due consideration. “Your logic is sound,” she admitted after a moment. Finally, they were getting somewhere. She immediately ruined it by adding, “Except, I said no such thing. Therefore, I cannot help you.”
There was a moment where he had nothing. He couldn’t recall a single incident where anyone had caused his mind to go blank. His brain was always on the move, slightly dissatisfied with his lot. She’d wiped him clean. Her blue eyes focused on him fully as if awaiting his next move. When he wasn’t quick enough, she released a heavy sigh.
“If you must know, when I got here I realized I had on two different colored shoes so I took them off.”
Without waiting to see his reaction, she flipped her book up between them, shutting him out. A part of him wanted to laugh at her confession. He was too fascinated. Not to mention, with his curiosity assuaged he really wanted to hear more about the rest.
“What about your underwear?”
She ignored him. He bit back a smile. His mind whirled back to life and he searched for a new way to insert himself into her company. Tilting his head, he read the title blocking her eyes from his gaze. The Ins and Outs of BDSM. Catchy title. Switching his gaze to the other items scattered across her table, he took note of another book on bondage as well as some handwritten notes. As far as he could tell by what she’d scratched out, she was either intent on rocking some dude’s world or plotting one hell of a murder.
He braced his elbows on the table, lowering his voice where only she could hear. “I have handcuffs back at my place.”
She set the book aside. Mimicking his pose, her eyes shone with mirth as she pitched her voice low, as well. “I have a Taser in my handbag.”
Holding back his laughter, Kurt didn’t miss a beat. “Kinky,” he said, adding a wink. “I like it.”
Snorting, she slapped her hand over her mouth and nose as if she couldn’t believe what she’d done.
“I’m Kurt,” he offered before she could escape into her mind again.
He had handcuffs. She bet he did. The only statement Kurt had made that McKenna found surprising was that they were back at his place. The in-your-face piercings, tattoos and biker boots look had her expecting him to whip them out right then and slam them down on the table between them. Why did she attract all the weirdoes? She was the weirdo whisperer. They found her everywhere she went. Of course, she was the real dumbass in the equation because she’d given him her name.
“Are you studying to become a Madam?”
“Where are you from?” It wasn’t an attempt to block on McKenna’s part. She really didn’t want to talk about her work with a stranger but he had an odd accent. Perhaps it was more that he didn’t have an accent at all yet he spoke as if English was not his first language.
“Here and there.”
He was wasting her time. She didn’t like time stealers.
“I have things to do.” The words popped out. It happened more often than she liked. Still, she didn’t know him. Why should she be thrust into polite conversation? Deciding she shouldn’t, McKenna pulled her notebook closer. She didn’t know where her pen had gone.
“Are you looking for this?” A triumphant smile lit his face as she spotted her pen between his fingers. He turned it over in his hands and peered closer at it. “Hmm, McKenna Jones, Bestselling Author. Interesting. Am I to assume you are the McKenna Jones who is referenced on this pen?”
An inner groan sounded loud inside her head. She wanted to kick her own ass. The pens were meant for fans but nine times out of ten, she ended up keeping them for herself. She went through a lot of ink. Of course, it had never occurred to her they would lead a psycho to her door.
This time she was blocking. “How am I supposed to be responsible for what you assume? You are a grown man.”
His eyes hooded at her words. Damn. Hadn’t being an erotica author taught her anything? It was hard work weighing her every response to make sure it couldn’t be misconstrued once it left her mouth.
“You haven’t seen the whole package…yet. I’m still capable of growing a bit more.”
She could stab him in the eye. Well, probably she couldn’t but she could make him her bitch in her next book.
His eyes lit with challenge. “How do you intend to make me your bitch?”
Oh dear. She really needed to pay closer to what her mouth was doing while her mind was otherwise engaged. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
His lips parted as if she’d shocked him speechless with her blatant lie. Lying was her job. Why were people surprised by it? He made an obvious attempt to recover.
“You just…” he paused and a new light entered his green eyes. “Oh. I see. You’re crazy.”
Ouch. McKenna dropped her gaze to the notebook shutting him out. This was why she didn’t like people. They didn’t understand. A word she’d written earlier caught her attention. Everything else disappeared. She needed to Google fetishes. These books weren’t helping. There wasn’t a single reference to any of the unique fetishes people had. She really wanted Luke to have some freaky thing he enjoyed doing in the bedroom. Of course, it couldn’t be anything too strange or she wouldn’t be able to help Lacey fall in love with him. Damn. Sometimes it was hard making characters do what she wanted. Every time she thought she had the storyline figured out one of them would end up falling for a side character instead. This damn deadline was staring her in the face. Everyone wanted the sexy fireman to end up with Lacey. Neither of her stubborn characters wanted to listen to her.
McKenna was halfway through packing up her belongings before she realized Kurt was gone. An unexpected pang hit her in the chest. It was stupid. Her mind was crowded with people who wouldn’t quit talking long enough for her to have any peace. Sliding her notebook closer, she moved to flip it closed but at the last second, she spotted two words written on the page in someone else’s handwriting.
The twinge hit her again. Reaching up she rubbed the spot in her chest that was aching. It was ridiculous she should be so lonely when she was never alone. The words blurred and McKenna blinked back tears. The bastard had stolen her pen.