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Authors: Amarinda Jones

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Hard Man

BOOK: Hard Man
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Hard Man

Amarinda Jones

 

The last place
Ashbea
Somers wanted to be was stuck at a shoe convention with her crazy boss, selling trashy shoes to drunken women. When
Ashbea
runs into the surly, hard-bodied Harry, things start to get exciting. After a few terse words, she finds herself skin to skin with him up against a wall in a hot, body-shaking moment. Maybe the convention isn’t so bad.

Harry only ever has one-night stands. Hot, wild sex with
Ashbea
was supposed to be just that.
In and out and over, with no regrets, just a passionate memory.
But Harry can’t forget the woman who held him so tight and close. He wants one more taste of her luscious body before he walks away. That is, if he can. There’s something about her that’s unforgettable.

Ashbea
isn’t sure what
Harry’s
problem is but she does know one thing. Sex with Harry Hardman is not something she’s about to give up without a fight.

 

An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

 

Hard Man

 

ISBN 9781419923098

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Hard Man Copyright 2010 Amarinda Jones

 

Edited by Helen Woodall

Photography and cover art by Les
Byerley

 

Electronic book publication March 2010

 

The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

 

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
 
(http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the authors’ imagination and used fictitiously.

Hard Man

Amarinda Jones

Dedication

 

Dedicated to every woman who has wanted more and refused to settle for less.
You are worth more, and a real man will see that and be grateful for it.

To Kylie and Sue for being Kylie and Sue.

And to my long-suffering editor, Helen Woodall, who never gives up.

 

 

 

Trademarks Acknowledgement

 

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following word marks mentioned in this work of fiction:

Barbie: Mattel Inc.

Vogue
: Advance Magazine Publishers Inc.

 

Chapter One

 

“You broke your heel! Oh my goodness what happened? Miss Marx’s head is going to explode when she finds out.”

The possibility of her employer’s head exploding was the last thing
Ashbea
Somers cared about.

I just had sex with a man I have never seen before and I feel amazing. It was so wrong and naughty but damn it was good. Hmmm, how could anything like that be bad for me?
Her ass burned and her legs were weak but despite that it had been the best fuck of her life. Not that she could tell Ida Stubbs, personal assistant to Mitzi Marx, that. Ida’s world revolved around kissing their mutual employer’s butt.
Or maybe I should rock her little world and tell her.
“Well, Ida, the heel shattered when I slammed my foot down in shock when the hottest guy I ever saw thrust the most divine cock into my ass. I was so full and overcome I nearly lost my balance.” Luckily the man had kept her and himself up. It had been the best fun she had found at the convention so far.

“Our heels never break.”

Ashbea
wasn’t surprised that the only word her colleague had made out was “heel”. Ida was an officiously loyal employee. She called Mitzi “Miss Marx” and not “bimbo brain” like the rest of the employees did at the office of Princess Mitzi shoes. Being a non butt-kisser herself,
Ashbea
still couldn’t work out why two days ago Mitzi had pointed one acid yellow talon at her and demanded that
Ashbea
attend the Melbourne come-fuck-me shoe convention representing the Brisbane
company
of Princess Mitzi shoes.
Oops, beg your pardon—the Shoe-Me convention. Shoe-Me, do me, fuck me—whatever.
It was all the same as far as
Ashbea
was concerned. The shoes were trashy and designed for one reason only.
For men.
No woman in her right mind would wear gaudy, six-inch heels unless she was Barbie or a drag queen. And, as much as
Ashbea
admired the longevity of the ambitious doll and the flamboyant style of the queens, they were about as plastic as Princess Mitzi shoes and her boss’s boob implants.

Ashbea
was
a nobody
in the Princess Mitzi kingdom. She worked as an admin assistant for Louise “the Barracuda” Radcliffe—so named for her ability to sell shoes to people at funerals and other devastating life events. The Barracuda had no conscience. “Shoes cheer women up,” the Barracuda would tell
Ashbea
as the order forms from places like Silent Moment Funeral Parlor landed on her desk. And sure, the Barracuda was recovering from that embarrassing accident when she fell into the open grave at the Holman service and hit her head on the shiny brass memorial dual bocce ball set that adorned the casket of Bernie Holman, but it was still weird Mitzi’s bloodshot eyes had singled the redheaded
Ashbea
out.

“Well, the heel broke, Ida, so get over it.”

“Oh my goodness.”

And there it was. The catchphrase of a woman who had probably only ever seen a cock of the two-legged variety roasted and stuffed and sitting on a platter with vegetables for dinner.

“Goodness had nothing to do with it.”

* * * * *

Thirty minutes ago

 

“Hey!
Watch where you’re going!”
Ashbea
Somers felt like an elephant on stilts as she clutched at the wall in a vain effort to remain upright. That she worked for Princess Mitzi shoes was one thing. That she had to wear them was another. Her choice of shoe was flat and practical. Like her own feet. Princess Mitzi shoes were spiked and designed to maim. “You nearly knocked me over.” She regained her balanced and glared at the man who glared back at her. Tall, pissed off and brooding.
Great, a
Heathcliff
type, complicated and arrogant.

“You were in my way.” He stopped and assessed her, his eyes narrowing with suspicion. “Have you been drinking?”

Ashbea
squinted at his name tag. Harry Hardman, Convention Center Manager. What a stupid name.
If only I had been drinking to get me out of this convention hell for a moment.
If it hadn’t been Mitzi screaming orders and having to wear the ugly Princess Mitzi product then it was people like this guy pushing and shoving to get where they wanted to be. Conventions sucked. How did anyone do business at them? “Listen, Harry, don’t blame me for your rudeness.”

“Whatever,” Harry muttered as he took a few more steps and unlocked a nearby door.

It was the entrance to the “goodies room”. This was where suppliers sent cheap, labeled gadgets to hand out to the convention-goers hoping that a Princess Mitzi toe separator would induce the punters to squeeze their feet into the plastic hell of their shoes.

Ashbea
tottered behind him, clutching at anything that looked remotely solid as she went. Falling on her ass was not much fun after the seventh time. And no one walked away from her when she wanted a fight.
Ashbea
wanted to take out her frustration on someone—anyone—him. The last couple of days had been hell. “Are you always this rude?”
God, look at all the stuff.
Plastic advertising gizmos were piled high. It was the Aladdin’s cave of crap and yet people would kill each other to scoop up a bag of free, useless stuff. It didn’t matter what was in it as long as it was free.

“I’ve had a bad day, lady. Don’t make it worse.” Harry grabbed several bags of promotional material.

“Oh piss off. Do you think you’re the only one?” Man with attitude meets hormonal woman with sore feet. It was a no-brainer to
Ashbea
as to who would win. The only way this day could get worse was if there was no chocolate on her hotel pillow when she went back to her room tonight.

Harry turned on her. “Yes, yes I do. I have had dozens of screaming and giggling woman falling on their asses drunk as skunks to deal with. Add that to prima donna shoe sellers who make petty demands as if they are queens and I’ve had a gutful.”

Yeah, okay, he was right. All of that had been pathetic. What was it with convention people? All inhibitions flew out the window as the free food and drinks started to react. “So?”

“I don’t need another one.”

He meant her.
Lovely.
What a
wanker
. “Listen up, Harry boy.”
Ashbea
did her best to stamp up to him but her best involved stumbling on what appeared to be a box of toenail clippers and grabbing at him as she fell. Whoa! Hard man, hard body and green—no, hazel—eyes. They were kind of sexy despite the contemptuous glare.

“I’m listening. What?” Harry grabbed her upper arms to steady her. With one hand holding her against him he used the other to turn her name card around so he could read it.

Ashbea
?
What sort of a name is that?”

“You’re just a big old Prince Charming now, aren’t you?”
Ashbea
tried to push away from him but she knew in all likelihood she would lose her balance and fall on her butt. Her skirt was too short for that. It barely covered her ass as it was.
Ashbea
was still angry she had allowed Mitzi to whine and badger her into wearing it.

It’s about the shoes,
Ashbea
. We have to show them off.

I look like a tart.

And that’s the image we want to project. The inner tart is the essence of all women.

That was their dumb-assed slogan, thought up by their gin-sodden CEO, Mitzi. She was as cheap and as trashy as the shoes.
And this guy?
His assumption that her shoes matched her personality was wrong.
Ashbea
was not at all like some of the women at this convention.
I am boring and staid and just really tired. I have flat feet and I need flat shoes. I do not need smart-ass men.
Ashbea
looked at his lips. Great, kissable mouth though. She licked her lips. Shame he was such a prick.


Wanna
kiss me, bumblebee?” Harry once more had his hands around her waist, pulling her close. “Isn’t that why you come to these conventions?
To get lucky?”

Ashbea
pushed back from him.
“Bumblebee?”
She was more surprised at the name he called her than his insinuations about her character.

“Yeah.
You’re small and cute and I bet you pack one hell of a sting.”

Small?
Was he drunk? She was all hips, boobs and ass.
Cute?
No, not exactly what her last dalliance had called her. He had intimated she needed to lose weight.
Ashbea
had compromised. She lost him instead. And sting? Oh yeah.
Ashbea
could do that if pushed. “Clearly you jest.” The look in his eyes suggested it but there was no corresponding smile on his lips. He was the sort of man she looked at and kept looking, trying to work out. “And let me go.” Maybe that request was a little late in coming but that she remembered it was the main thing.

“I want to kiss you.”

“Even though I’m a lecherous drunken woman looking for an easy lay?”
Which was hysterical as it had been well over twelve months since she had seen a real cock and not a purple neon one that needed batteries.

“My kind of woman.”

Ashbea
wasn’t sure whether to be offended or amused. He seemed pissed off at her yet he was flirting. What was it with men like this? She wanted to slap him one minute and kiss him the next. “Oh please, I’m no one’s woman but my own.”

“Perfect.” His head lowered to hers.

“What are you doing?”
And why am I so breathless?

“I am going to kiss you.”

“Oh…” And then Harry kissed her and all thoughts of telling him off dissolved as his lips touched hers. “
Uhh
…”
Ashbea
muttered as she clutched at his shoulders. This was not what she expected. That he could kiss like the devil did not surprise her. That she wanted to kiss him back did. This was so unlike her.
Ashbea
was normally very careful and choosy. She did not kiss just anyone. Maybe he was right. Maybe conventions did bring out the sluttish side of a woman.
Ashbea’s
hands started roaming the muscles of his back.
Her fingers stilled momentarily at the hard ridges of tissue she felt beneath the fabric. They vaguely registered as scars but none of that mattered. What did was her breasts were flattened against his chest and his hands were on her ass and for the first time in a long time she felt alive and sexy and it had everything to do with the man kissing her.
Ashbea
pulled him
closer,
ignoring the warning bells she heard ringing in her mind urging her to push him away. Their clanging sound could hardly be heard over the mad pounding of her heart. It was so wrong to kiss a stranger like this but then how did people stop being strangers in the first place?

“Bumblebee?”
Harry’s
voice was husky and urgent as he pushed her back against the door, slamming it shut.

“I should not be doing this.” That was obvious. Problem was her hands were on his belt and that made her words seem silly.
But then I have not been silly in such a long time.
“I’m not having sex with you.” The leather slid from the buckle. And, if she was honest with herself, having hot sex with a man she would never see again was one of her wildest fantasies.

“Aren’t you?”
Harry’s
hands were pulling up the matte red tank top she wore. He threw it over her head and started to work on her bra.

Oh dear God.
His hands felt amazing on her flesh. All her nerves jumped with excitement. “No,”
Ashbea
muttered as unzipped his fly.
Or am I?
This was the first time she had ever undone a man’s trousers.
And I like it.
It gave her a power she’d never felt before.
Ashbea
had control and could do whatever she wanted. That had never happened with a man before. “Do you want to have sex with me?” Her inner thighs were wet with need.
Ashbea
was in the goodies room and all she wanted at that moment was hard, hot cock.

In answer
Harry’s
mouth dropped to her breast and he sucked her lace-covered nipple.

Ashbea
whimpered and put her hands behind her back to undo her bra. Oh yeah, they were going to have sex.

Harry’s
hands cupped her breasts and his eyes locked on hers. “It’s been a lousy day for both of us. Let’s end it on a high and make a nice memory neither of us will forget.”

“Nice?” That sounded a bit boring though his large hands caressing her breast were anything but boring.

“You taste nice, you feel nice.”

“Just nice?”
It was a bit of a letdown but it did describe her sex life—nice, bordering on okay.

Harry caught her hand and placed it on his groin. “Okay, you’re incredibly
fuckable
and I am as hard as rock and I want to be between your thighs and inside you more than anything. Is that better?”

Oh yeah, much better.
She slowly massaged his cock through the fabric. This could be all hers for the asking.

“Ever had sex with a stranger?” His voice was low and ground out as if he was trying to keep control.

“No, but I’ve always wanted to.”

“Have you?” Harry looked intrigued. “So you’re a bad girl at heart?”

Ashbea
almost laughed. No, she was queen of the mundane. “No, but I want to be just once.”

Harry leaned in, pressing her to the door. He whispered against her ear. “What have you always wanted to do with a lover but never felt game to ask for?”

His voice gave her chills and
Ashbea
shivered at the thought of what he was offering her. There was one thing she wanted to try. “Do you have a condom?” While lust was surging through her veins she was not insane. Stranger sex was one thing. Pregnancy and disease was another.

BOOK: Hard Man
11.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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