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Authors: Roni Loren

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Caught Up in You

BOOK: Caught Up in You
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PRAISE FOR

C
AUGHT
U
P IN
Y
OU


Caught Up in You
is Roni Loren’s best book to date. An angsty backstory made beautiful by a hero who
doesn’t know how perfect he is. Don’t miss this Ranch treat!”

—Carly Phillips,
New York Times
bestselling author

F
ALL INTO
Y
OU

“Steamy, occasionally shocking, and relentlessly intense.”


RT Book Reviews

“Fast-paced and riveting with clever plot twists . . . Loren brings her characters
to life in an enticing and passionate story.”


USA Today

“Sexy suspense done right . . . It’s hot, it’s sexy, full of alpha dominant goodness,
and a thrill of a story.”


Under the Covers Book Blog

“The best of the series.”


Fiction Vixen Book Reviews

“An erotic romance with heart and serious heat.”


Romance Novel News

M
ELT INTO
Y
OU

“Quite a ride. The story is heartfelt and pulls you into the relationships with the
characters.
Melt Into You
takes the traditional version of romance and twists it so that the idea of three
individuals in a relationship seems perfectly right.”


RT Book Reviews

C
RASH INTO
Y
OU

“Loren writes delicious, dark, sensual prose . . . Multidimensional characters, a
very complicated relationship, and suspense combine to make
Crash Into You
unique and emotional—an impressive debut from Loren.”


USA Today

“Revved up and red-hot sexy, Roni Loren delivers a riveting romance!”

—Lorelei James,
New York Times
bestselling author of the Blacktop Cowboys and Rough Riders series

“Hot and romantic, with an edge of suspense that will keep you entertained.”

—Shayla Black,
USA Today
bestselling author of
Ours to Love

“A sexy, sizzling tale that is sure to have readers begging for more! I can’t wait
for Roni Loren’s next tantalizing story!”

—Jo Davis, author of
I Spy a Dark Obsession

“Sexy as hell, gutsy as all get out—
Crash Into You
has balls! Watch out. Roni Loren, just like the men in her books, knows how to keep
you up all night.
Crash Into You
is sexy as hell and goes into the dark places other writers shy away from. Loren
understands the dark beauty of D/s and treats her characters with respect even as
she takes them to the very edge of what they and the reader can handle. I can sum
this book up in one word: Damn!”

—Tiffany Reisz, author of
The Angel

“This steamy, sexy yet emotionally gripping story has the right touch of humor and
love to keep readers coming back for a second round.”

—Julie Cross, author of
Tempest

“A stunning first work. I read it straight through in one sitting, and I dare you
to even attempt to put it down.”

—Cassandra Carr, author of
Unexpected Top

Titles by Roni Loren

CRASH INTO YOU

MELT INTO YOU

FALL INTO YOU

CAUGHT UP IN YOU

Not Until You

PART I: NOT UNTIL YOU DARE

PART II: NOT UNTIL YOU RISK

PART III: NOT UNTIL YOU CRAVE

PART IV: NOT UNTIL YOU TRUST

PART V: NOT UNTIL YOU BEG

PART VI: NOT UNTIL YOU SURRENDER

PART VII: NOT UNTIL YOU BELIEVE

PART VIII: NOT UNTIL YOU LOVE

Specials

STILL INTO YOU

C
AUGHT
U
P IN
Y
OU

RONI LOREN

HEAT BOOKS | NEW YORK

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

For more information about the Penguin Group, visit penguin.com.

This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.

Copyright © 2013 by Roni Loren.

Excerpt from
Need You Tonight
copyright © 2013 by Roni Loren.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed
in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in
or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.
Purchase only authorized editions.

HEAT and the HEAT design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-62495-1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Loren, Roni.

Caught up in you / Roni Loren.—Heat trade paperback edition.

pages cm

ISBN 978-0-425-25992-4

1. Erotic fiction. I. Title.

PS3612.O764C38 2013

813'.6—dc23

2013009590

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Heat trade paperback edition / August 2013

Cover photograph: Abstract Tulle © Coka / Shutterstock.

Cover design by Rita Frangie.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance
to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is
entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume
any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

Contents

Praise

Also by Roni Loren

Copyright

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Title Page

 

ONE

TWO

THREE

FOUR

FIVE

SIX

SEVEN

EIGHT

NINE

TEN

ELEVEN

TWELVE

THIRTEEN

FOURTEEN

FIFTEEN

SIXTEEN

SEVENTEEN

EIGHTEEN

NINETEEN

TWENTY

TWENTY-ONE

TWENTY-TWO

TWENTY-THREE

TWENTY-FOUR

TWENTY-FIVE

TWENTY-SIX

TWENTY-SEVEN

TWENTY-EIGHT

TWENTY-NINE

EPILOGUE

 

Special Excerpt from Need You Tonight

PROLOGUE

ONE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

To my grandfather, Ron, who buys my books but (thankfully) doesn’t read them. Thank
you for always being such a supportive force in my life. I’m proud to be named after
you.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First, a giant hug of appreciation to my readers. Your support and excitement for
these books are the very things that allow me to keep writing them. I’m forever indebted.
I heart you all.

As always, thank you to my husband, Donnie. I wouldn’t want to live this life with
anyone but you at my side. You’re the best man I know.

To my son, you always know how to make mommy smile even when I’m so stressed I can’t
see straight. You with all your beautiful quirkiness and smarts helped inspire the
hero in this book. Never think you need to be anything but yourself.

To my parents, thank you for always being there for me no matter what. I love you
beyond words. And particular thanks to Mom for always listening to me ramble about
whatever is going on in my day. You keep me sane and grounded.

To my editor, Kate Seaver, thank you for all your guidance and support. I knew Kelsey
and Wyatt’s story would be a unique challenge. Your feedback was invaluable.

To my agent, Sara Megibow, thank you for your unwavering enthusiasm and support. You
are a great business partner, cheerleader, and friend.

To all of the team at Berkley and Penguin, thank you for doing so much to champion
my books.

To all the wonderful writers I’ve met over the past few years, you amaze and inspire
me. And a special shout-out to my NTRWA friends for being such an amazing group of
welcoming and supportive women.

And finally, to my go-to girls for when I need to vent, squee, or just have a fun
chat: Jamie Wesley, Julie Cross, Dawn Alexander, and Gen Wilson. And to Taylor Lunsford
for always being willing to beta read for me.

ONE

“You know, picturing someone naked this early in the
morning isn’t good for your health.”

Kelsey LeBreck leaned forward to get a better view through the kitchen’s pass-through,
smirking at Nathan’s jab but not tearing her gaze away from her subject. “Hush and
keep flipping his eggs.”

But of course her co-worker ignored that command. “I mean, think how long you’ll have
to wait before you can get home to your vibrator and imagine Mr. Tall, Dark, and Loaded
rocking your world. You’re going to be so pent up and distracted, you’ll screw up
everyone’s order.”

“I do that anyway.”
Except his. Never his
. Though, that wasn’t really an accomplishment, considering he always ordered the
same thing.

“Yet you still get better tips than Chandra.”

“I’m charming that way.” And desperate. When that tip meant the difference between
being able to pay for a tank of gas instead of riding the bus, she could channel so
much sunshine and sweetness, even the grumpiest customer couldn’t be mad at her for
long.

“Are the muffins ready to go in yet? Darryl’s going to be here any minute and you
know how he gets if shit is late.”

“Working on it.” Kelsey blindly stirred her muffin batter as she watched Wyatt Austin
adjust his glasses, fold his newspaper just so, and then spread out a stack of documents
on the table in front of him. He had a way of moving that was somehow graceful and
efficient all at once. Like he’d figured out the most streamlined way to do each and
every thing so that he could fit the maximum amount of work into every minute of the
day.

And maybe he had. God knows his schedule was more predictable than the sunrise. At
six fifteen every weekday morning, he would walk in the cafe with his newspaper tucked
under his arm and his own travel mug of coffee. He’d sit at the same table in the
far corner, the one that provided him both a view of the television on the wall and
the least amount of glare for his laptop screen. She knew that only because she’d
finally asked him one day why he chose that booth all the time. When she’d joked that
he sat there because it was her section, he’d just offered that enigmatic smile of
his—one that had promptly made her forget the last order she’d taken from the table
before him.

“You need to stop torturing yourself,” Nathan said from behind her, the sizzle of
the griddle playing soundtrack in the background. “From what I’ve heard, the suit
doesn’t date. And he’s not gay either. Believe me, I’d be the one serving him eggs
and sausage if he were.”

She snorted and finally looked back at Nathan. “Sausage? You’re going with that one,
really?”

He held his arms out to his sides and gave her a come-on-how-could-I-pass-that-up
look.

“How do you even know this stuff? And you, with the fetish for skater boys, would
go after Wyatt Austin, CEO-in-training? Please.”

“I love the shit out of that strong, silent type. They’re usually crazy good in the
sack. Like they’re saving up all that intensity just for you.” He shrugged and turned
over a row of bacon with his spatula. “And money never hurt anybody. I’m not above
being a kept man.”

“You’re a top.”

“And so are you, baby girl. But that hasn’t stopped you from your mad, passionate
love affair with Mr. In Charge.”

She sighed and turned back to her batter, grabbing a ladle so she could scoop it into
the muffin tins. It
was
a mad, passionate love affair. He was the absolute perfect boyfriend for her right
now. Delicious to look at, panty-dampening to fantasize about, and completely and
utterly unattainable.

Nathan set a plate next to her and slid the egg white omelet and two slices of turkey
bacon onto it. “Order up. Now, if you’re not going to give up on this crush, why don’t
you take this plate over there and ask the guy out?”

She spun to face him, muffin tray in her hand. “Did you forget to take your meds today?
I’m a waitress and wannabe baker. His family owns an entire company.”

“So the fuck what? He has more money than you. Big deal. Doesn’t mean he’s better
than you. In fact, he’d be a damn lucky bastard to get a date with you. Hell, I’d
take you out just to get these secret muffin recipes of yours.”

She handed the pan to him, picked up Wyatt’s plate, and kissed Nathan’s cheek. “Thanks,
hon. But if I’ve learned one lesson in life, it’s that fantasy is always better than
reality.”

He gave her a sly smile. “But fantasy can’t have breakfast in bed with you the next
morning.”

No. But it also couldn’t break your heart.

Or break
her
.

Kelsey turned on her heel and pushed through the kitchen’s swinging door. Time to
serve breakfast to her imaginary boyfriend.

* * *

Wyatt sipped his coffee and flipped through the reports
he’d printed out last night. The profit margin was still in decent shape, but their
client numbers had suffered a significant dip over the last two quarters. Their competitors
Merrill and Mead were doing some mighty fast talking and had stolen two of Austin
and Associates’ top clients—two clients who Wyatt had been making a shitload of money
for. So God only knows what Tony Merrill had promised them to get them to leave. Or
maybe Merrill was outright spewing lies about A&A. That’d be his style. The whole
thing was giving Wyatt a twitch and a headache.

“Egg white omelet with spinach and cheddar and two slices of turkey bacon, extra crispy.”

Wyatt looked up from the papers, momentarily startled at the interruption.
Damn.
Usually he made a point to watch Kelsey’s swaying walk over to his table, and he
felt a pang of disappointment over missing the morning highlight. That walk and smile
were a big part of the reason he’d started driving four blocks past his building to
eat breakfast at the Sugarcane Cafe.

His brother, Jace, had introduced him to the place and to Kelsey a few months ago,
and Wyatt hadn’t been able resist the temptation of being served by her each morning
ever since. The woman could make that retro blue-and-white diner uniform look as sexy
as high-end lingerie—not that it had stopped him from picturing her in the latter
anyway. “Thank you, Kelsey. This looks great.”

“My pleasure. Anything else I can get you, Mr. Austin?” She smiled with a head tilt
that made her blonde ponytail swing behind her.

He’d imagined very, very naughty things involving that ponytail one too many times.
Cool it, Austin
. “Tell me about the muffin du jour.”

She leaned over and grabbed the discarded sweetener packets he’d used in his coffee,
inadvertently giving him a glimpse of the golden curved flesh peeking through the
collar of her shirt. “Of course. Thinking of breaking tradition and ordering one today?”

He raised an eyebrow.

She shook her head, but there was humor glinting in those blue eyes. “It’s fresh raspberry
made with a touch of vanilla and a citrus-infused simple syrup poured over the top
to make them extra moist and tart.”

“Sounds delicious.”

“But you don’t want one,” she said, confirming his standard answer before he could
give it. “You know, one day I’m going to bake one that sounds so enticing, you’re
not going to be able to help yourself.”

“Is that right?” he asked, fighting a smile. Truth was, he didn’t eat sweets that
often. He kept his diet as regimented as his schedule. Discipline in all things. But
he loved hearing her describe her food and watching the pure pride that starched her
shoulders and brightened her eyes.

“Yep. It’s a personal mission of mine,” she said resolutely, her hand on her hip.

“What is?” he asked, leaning forward onto his forearms, holding her gaze. “To tempt
me?”

Her eyes held his for a long beat before they shifted away. She pressed her lips together,
smoothing her gloss. “Um . . .”

He realized too late how low his words had come out, how laced with innuendo. He quickly
straightened in his seat, dragging his attention back to his work in front of him.
Too young. Too sweet
.
Too messy
. “Bring me one of those muffins, Kelsey.”

There was dead air for a moment, as if she were righting her thoughts, then she said,
“Oh, of course. Right away, sir.”

But when she turned on her heel to go, a soft curse passed her lips. She spun back
around, and he looked up to find her wearing a please-don’t-hate-me expression. “What’s
wrong?”

She peeked back toward the kitchen. “I forgot. They won’t be ready for another fifteen
minutes. I got in a little late from my overnight job and didn’t get them started
on time.”

He frowned. “You work an overnight shift and then spend all morning here?”

“I only do the other job a few nights a week,” she said hastily. “Usually the timing
works out, but there was an accident on the interstate this morning and . . .”

He held up a palm, silencing her. “I’m not worried about muffins not being ready,
Kelsey. But I am wondering when you find time to sleep and take care of yourself.
And frankly, I’m a little concerned that you’re driving a car and working in a kitchen
with no rest. That’s dangerous.”

Her gaze darted downward, a pink tinge washing over her cheeks. “It’s fine, really.
I’m used to crazy schedules and don’t really need a lot of sleep.”

“And both jobs are necessary?”

She looked back at him, and he could see her lingering embarrassment over the conversation.
He should be polite and let her off the hook. Her personal business was her own. But
the thought of this vibrant girl working herself to the bone to get by wasn’t sitting
well with him.

“I’m saving up for culinary school. This job pays for the basics. The other goes into
my school savings.”

“I see.”

“Excuse me,” a nasally voice called from a few tables over. Snapping fingers accompanied
the annoying interruption. They both turned. A pinched-mouthed woman had her bony
hand in the air, trying to get Kelsey’s attention and beckoning her like she was an
errant puppy. “I’m out of coffee.”

Wyatt sent the woman a quelling look, and she quickly looked down at her cream-cheesed
bagel with a
well-I-never
huff. He brought his attention back to Kelsey. “Go ahead and take care of your tables.
God forbid anyone has to wait a second for something. And let me know when the muffins
come out.”

“Yes, sir,” Kelsey said, clearly relieved to be released from the conversation.

And though he was always at his desk by seven sharp, he lingered over his omelet today,
taking the time to enjoy the hum of conversation around him and the sight of his favorite
waitress doing her job.

Kelsey checked on him once and brought fresh coffee, but in between that, she was
a nonstop machine of smiles, banter, and serving prowess. Even when she got something
wrong, Wyatt watched in fascination as she won the person over to her side. Hell,
she had one older man smiling and apologizing to
her
when she served him oatmeal instead of cheese grits. He’d patted Kelsey’s arm and
joked that his wife must’ve put her up to it since he was supposed to be cutting back
on calories anyway.

It was like watching a master-level demonstration in social sparkle. If he had to
make all that small talk and feign interest in all these people’s woes and requests,
he’d lose his fucking mind. But Kelsey seemed to thrive on it, like she fed off the
energy in the diner. She was magnetic to watch.

By the time she made her way back to him with the fresh-out-of-the-oven muffin, his
reports and laptop had gone untouched. She set down the plate and laid a fresh napkin
next to it. “Hope it doesn’t disappoint after all this time.”

“Oh, I have no doubt it will have been worth the wait,” he said, watching her instead
of looking at the muffin.

“Anything else I can get you?”

A hotel room and an hour of your time.
Maybe two hours. Or a weekend.
But he shook off the tempting thought. Yes, he came here every day to enjoy the presence
of his pretty waitress. But he’d always done it with the knowledge of look but don’t
touch. Like enjoying a fine piece of art. Meant to be observed, appreciated, even
turned on by, but not meant for consumption. Beyond the fact that she was probably
at least a decade younger than his thirty-seven years, Wyatt had learned to steer
clear of the ones who nudged that old, buried desire that lay sleeping in the recesses
of his past. And Kelsey didn’t just nudge it; she fucking assailed it.

“No, this will be all. Thank you.”

“Enjoy.” She gave him a bright smile and sauntered off, the walk just as impressive
from the reverse angle. He liked that she moved around with the confidence of a woman
who knew she drew attention from the opposite sex and was okay with that—no apologies
or self-consciousness. She wouldn’t be the type to insist on doing it in the dark.

Awareness stirred below his belt as he imagined peeling her out of that uniform, tasting
that pink-glossed mouth. He shifted in the booth. God, he needed to make some time
to get laid. His body was reacting like a fucking teenager drooling over the head
cheerleader. Ridiculous. Ever since his colleagues-with-benefits thing had ended with
Gwen two months earlier, he’d been working too much to seek out anyone else. But if
he didn’t set something up soon, he was going to have to stop coming here and putting
temptation in front of himself.

He watched Kelsey maneuver toward the front of the restaurant as he broke off a piece
of the muffin and put it in his mouth. Wow, that was good. Moist and still warm and
not too sweet. The balance of flavors was complex enough to stand up in one of those
frou-frou bakeries where they charged you six bucks for a pastry. No wonder the girl
wanted to go to culinary school. He was no chef, but he recognized skill when he tasted
it. And she was wasting that in some hole-in-the-wall cafe.

Not your business,
his mind warned him.

BOOK: Caught Up in You
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