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Authors: Lynn LaFleur

ScandalandSin

BOOK: ScandalandSin
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Scandal and Sin

Lynn LaFleur

 

First in the
Men With Tools series.

 

Rye Coleman falls
in lust with Alaina May the first time she walks into the office of his
construction firm. During the tour of the old house that she wants to renovate,
that lust takes over when Alaina falls on a broken step, right into his arms.
Sex is hard and fast, and he imagines a lot more of it—until she tells him
she’s the sister of the woman who humiliated him in front of the entire town
three years ago.

Rye accepts the
remodeling job, but refuses to have anything personal to do with Alaina. He
can’t be sure she won’t treat him like her sister did. But Alaina is determined
to convince Rye she’s nothing like her sister. A picnic meant to thank him for
his hard work turns into the first of many nights of lovemaking.

A murder from
seventy-five years ago, a ghost in the old house and a modern-day man
determined to stop the remodeling threaten the blossoming love between Rye and
Alaina.

 

An Ellora’s Cave Romantica
Publication

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

 

Scandal and Sin

 

ISBN 9781419929632

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Scandal and Sin Copyright © 2010 Lynn LaFleur

 

Edited by Raelene Gorlinsky

Cover art by Syneca

 

Electronic book publication December 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.

Scandal and Sin

Lynn LaFleur

Trademarks Acknowledgement

 

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

 

Botox: Allergan, Inc.

Dr Pepper: Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.

Harley: H-D Michigan, Inc.

It’s a Wonderful Life
: Republic Pictures

Liquid Paper: Liquid Paper Corporation

Post-It: 3M Company

Sonic: America’s Drive-in Brand Properties,
LLC

Tarzan: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.

Visa: Visa International Service
Association

 

Chapter One

 

April 4, 1937

I watched him yesterday afternoon. He
stood in the doorway of the bank and ogled every woman who walked past him. He
tipped his hat as a gentleman would, but I could see the evil in his eyes. Some
women returned his smile, some avoided looking at him, some stepped into the
street to keep from walking close to him. I saw fear on some of the women’s
faces. They wouldn’t be afraid of him without a reason.

I don’t like the way he looks at Laura.
I see that same evil in his eyes when he is around her. I’ve told Laura that,
but my sister always tells me I am imagining things. Laura is so trusting of
everyone, so sure the good in a person always outweighs the bad.

I don’t think he has any good in him at
all.

* * * * *

Present Day

“Yes, Mrs. Olinghouse,” Rye Coleman said
into the telephone receiver. “The doors were delivered about an hour ago. My
crew will be out first thing in the morning to install them.”

“Not before eleven o’clock. I have a
breakfast meeting. Your crew may come tomorrow afternoon.”

Rye was glad Bella Olinghouse couldn’t see
him roll his eyes. He did his best to be considerate of other people’s
schedules and work around them, but Mrs. Olinghouse was always a pain in the
ass. The elderly widow had way too much money and thought that gave her the
right to inconvenience everyone around her. “No problem, ma’am. I understand
about meetings. Unfortunately, my crew won’t be able to install the doors
tomorrow afternoon. They’re already booked.”

“Oh.”

He pictured Mrs. Olinghouse lifting her chin
and sniffing in disdain. He’d feel sorry for her if he didn’t know she loved to
make people bend to her will. She took after her father that way. The ornery
bastard had lorded his money and power over everyone in Lanville until the day
he died.

“You aren’t the only construction firm in
the area, Mr. Coleman. Perhaps I should order the doors from someone else.”

Since she’d paid for the doors in advance,
Coleman Construction wouldn’t be out any money should she decide to use another
contractor. Rye doubted it would come to that. Bella had threatened to take her
business elsewhere in the past when Rye didn’t jump at her command. She never
had. “You’re welcome to do that, ma’am. They’re a custom size and it took four
weeks for them to arrive. It’ll take at least four more weeks for another firm
to get them.”

“Oh.”

Rye knew she wouldn’t want to wait any
longer. She’d already waited a month for her fancy French doors.

“When could your crew install the doors,
Mr. Coleman?”

He looked toward the entrance when he heard
the bell over the door jingle. His brother, Dax, came inside, dressed in a
paint-spattered T-shirt and faded jeans. Rye motioned him forward. “Thursday.”

“That’s two days from now.”

“That’s the best I can do, Mrs.
Olinghouse.”

Dax also rolled his eyes as he slouched in
the chair before Rye’s desk. Rye grinned. Dax and his other brother, Griff, had
dealt with Bella Olinghouse enough to know how difficult she could be.

“I suppose Thursday will be fine, if that’s
as soon as you can do it.”

“Would you prefer morning or afternoon?”

“Two o’clock works best for me.”

“Two o’clock it is. See you then.”

Rye hung up the receiver to Dax’s laughter.
“The old biddy got you again, huh?”

“Actually,
I
got
her
. I
refused to give in to her. This time, I made her play by
my
rules.”

“Good for you. If more people in this town
didn’t bow down to her, she’d probably be a lot nicer.”

“She’s a lonely woman, Dax. She doesn’t
have any family here. Her children moved away a long time ago.”

“That’s her own fault. Who would want to be
around her for longer than ten minutes? You know that feeling you get when
someone scratches a chalkboard?” He shuddered. “That’s how I feel around her.”

Rye studied the carbon copy of himself
sprawled in the chair. Dax’s hair was longer and a neatly trimmed beard and
mustache covered his face. Otherwise, people wouldn’t be able to tell them
apart. His mother had delivered them via Caesarian section, so he was two
minutes older than Dax, four minutes older than Griff. Being one of triplet
brothers meant very little time to himself while growing up. Rye had resented
his brothers for the lack of privacy. Now, he couldn’t imagine his life without
them.

He felt sorry for anyone who didn’t have
family close by.

“Is the courthouse done?” Rye asked.

Dax nodded. “I put the final coat on the
ladies’ room half an hour ago. It looks really good.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from you.”

Dax shifted in his chair and rested his
ankle on the opposite knee. “So, what’s next?”

“Nothing until Thursday morning. That’s
when we start on the mayor’s house.”

A wide smile crossed Dax’s lips. “You mean
I have a whole day off? I can sleep in tomorrow?”

Rye chuckled. “You have a whole day off.”

“Hot damn!” Dax clapped his hands. “Now I
have to find someone to spend the night with so it’ll be worth sleeping in.”

“I doubt if that’ll be a problem for you.”

“Nope. I just have to figure out which
lovely lady I’m going to grace with my presence and my body.” Dax grinned
wickedly. “See you later, bro.”

Still chuckling, Rye watched his brother
stroll to the door. Dax turned the knob at the same time as a woman’s face
appeared in the glass pane. He opened the door and stepped back so she could
enter. She looked surprised, as if she hadn’t expected anyone to be on the
other side.

“Excuse me,” she said in a soft, lilting
voice.

“No problem. You can run into me any time.”

Rye recognized the interest in Dax’s eyes
from across the office. Rye didn’t interfere with his brother’s love life,
except when it came to business. He didn’t approve of Dax coming on to a
potential customer. “Dax,” he said in his “big brother” voice.

“Yeah. Right.” He shrugged one shoulder and
grinned again at his brother. “You can’t blame a guy for trying.” He waved at
Rye. “Later.”

Rye slowly stood and stared at the woman
who had entered his office. An oval face, big brown eyes, high cheekbones, and
full lips combined to make her stunning. Wavy auburn hair fell past her
shoulders to curl over full breasts. She wore a plain brown T-shirt and jeans
that gently hugged her generous curves.

His heart thudded in his chest, blood
rushed toward his cock. It’d been a long time since he’d reacted so strongly to
a woman.

You just reprimanded Dax for coming on
to a customer. Business and pleasure don’t mix.

She gazed at Rye, frowned, and looked back
out the door’s window. He assumed she was looking at Dax. People who met them
for the first time often thought they were seeing double. It was even more
interesting when Griff was with them.

“My brother,” he said, adjusting his fly
while her attention was focused on Dax.

“Apparently.” She turned back to him. “The
resemblance is amazing.”

“We’re two of triplets. Our other brother
looks just like us.”

Rye doubted if she’d come in here to talk
about him and his brothers. Finding out what she needed would also help him get
his mind off his burgeoning hard-on and back to business. “How can I help you,
Ms.…”

“May. Alaina May.” She approached the desk
and held out her hand for him to shake. “I’m looking for Mr. Coleman.”

Alaina. Not exactly a common name. A vague
memory flashed through his mind of a girl named Alaina, but he couldn’t
associate a face with the name.

Rye jerked himself back to the present.
“You found him.” He took her hand. It was soft and warm, with medium-length
fingernails painted a pale coral. He had the strongest urge to raise her hand
to his lips and kiss the back. “Rye Coleman at your service.”

She blinked. “You can’t be Mr. Coleman.”

Rye raised his eyebrows. He almost laughed
at the shock in her wide brown eyes. “Why can’t I?”

“You’re too young.”

“Should I be flattered or insulted?”

She released his hand and curled her
fingers into her palm. She’d been as affected by their hands touching as he
had. “You own Coleman Construction?”

“Yes, along with my brothers.”

“I assumed you’d be older. Your reputation
is outstanding.”

Rye tipped his head. “Thank you.” He
motioned toward the chair Dax had recently used. “Please, sit down.”

She did, crossing her legs and tossing her
hair over one shoulder. He recognized the get-down-to-business look in her
eyes. Rye returned to his chair and waited for her to speak.

“I want to purchase a house here in
Lanville. I’d like to get your opinion on refurbishing it.”

“You’re moving to Lanville?”

She nodded, her eyes sparkling with
excitement. “I’m going to turn the house into a bed-and-breakfast.”

Rye thought that was an excellent idea. The
small town had two bed-and-breakfasts, but a lot of tourists passed through
their area in the summer to visit the state park. The park was the largest in
the area and drew hundreds of people, especially in the summer. Tourists often
had to go to nearby towns to find a place to stay since the two B-and-Bs filled
up fast. It would be much better for Lanville’s economy to keep those
tourists—and their money—in town.

“I know I have to check on zoning and all
that legal stuff, but there’s no reason to do any of that if the house can’t be
repaired.”

“Where is the house?”

“On County Road 311.”

Rye knew every road in the area because of
his business. There was only one house on that road that wasn’t occupied. “You
aren’t talking about Stevens House, are you?” Rye sat up straighter in his
chair. That house was the last place in town he wanted to refurbish. If it were
up to him, it would’ve been demolished years ago. “Ms. May, you don’t want to
buy that house.”

The excitement in her eyes dimmed, to be
replaced by confusion. “Why not?”

“It hasn’t been lived in since…” He stopped
and tried to remember so he could tell her how long it’d been vacant. “I’m not
sure of the exact year, but it’s been at least fifteen years. I don’t know why
it hasn’t fallen down.”

“It definitely hasn’t fallen down. I looked
at it this morning.” She uncrossed her legs, leaned forward and gripped the
edge of Rye’s desk. “I can see so much potential there. It makes me think of
the house in
It’s A Wonderful Life
. Did you ever see that movie?”

“Only about two dozen times. It’s one of my
mom’s favorite movies.”

Alaina smiled. “Mine too. I’m a sucker for
a romance.”

Her smile suddenly faded. Straightening her
shoulders, she sat back in her chair, once again all business. “Can it be
refurbished, Mr. Coleman?”

“Rye, please. Yes, it can probably be
refurbished, but I’ll have to look at it to be sure.”

“When can you do that?”

“Ms. May, have you contacted the owner
about purchasing the house?”

“If you’re Rye, I’m Alaina. I haven’t
talked to the owner yet. But that won’t be a problem. I can be very
persuasive.”

Rye didn’t doubt that. Self-confidence
practically oozed from the young woman. However, he doubted if Alaina May had
ever dealt with someone as unreasonable as the person who owned Stevens House.

For now, he’d go along with her and check
out the house since it was so important to her. He looked at the large schedule
on his desk that listed all his employees’ names and where they were to work
each day. He was supposed to have lunch with the sheriff at one o’clock, but
that was pleasure, not business. Instead, he could grab a quick bite and meet
Alaina at Stevens House in an hour.

He didn’t want to step through the front
door, but business came before his own bad feelings about that house. “How
about one-thirty to look at the house?”

“One-thirty will be perfect.” Her smile
returned when she stood. “I’ll see you then.”

Rye admired the gentle swing of her
denim-covered ass as she walked toward the door. Alaina May had a very nice
body…one he wouldn’t mind taking several hours to explore.

Some men liked a woman to be model thin.
Rye preferred curves, and lots of them. He’d much rather hold onto a plump
bottom than be jabbed with sharp bones when he made love with a woman. He
especially loved large breasts…caressing them, sucking the nipples, sliding his
cock between them.

Alaina May’s body would give him a lot of
pleasure in bed. Or on his desk. Or up against the wall.

Something about her seemed so familiar. He
knew he’d never met her before today. He would’ve remembered that mane of
auburn hair and those big brown eyes.

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