Title: Defiant Temptation
Series: Harden #3
Author: Lynn Stookes
Genre: Adult, Suspense Romance
Published: March 24, 2017
Harper Andrews hasn’t had it easy; abandoned by her mother, dated a scheming boyfriend, and fought for her father’s life against cancer. But she’s always prevailed, until now when her world seems to be falling apart.
Tristan Page never loses control; not at the death and reemergence of his sister’s cheating husband, the attack on her life, or even when his company seems to be failing. He’s always in command of his actions until one woman threatens to make his world spiral.
Tristan plays on Harper’s last nerve.
Harper tries Tristan’s patience and self-control.
Forced together, in a search for her mother, they battle their attraction for one another. Harper wants him. Tristan wants what he can’t have.
Can they defy temptation or will their explosive chemistry set them on a path for self-destruction?
Defiant Temptation Excerpt © Lynn Stookes 2017“What ya’ doing man?” Blake questions.
“Working on a case,” I fib. I am working on a case, but he doesn’t need to know it involves waiting outside Harper’s campus while she finishes her classes.
“You sure about that?”
“Yeah,” I pause. What does he know? “Why? What’s up?”
“Oh, you know, nothing,” he chuckles. “Mrs. Nelson stopped by the station today.”
“Yeah? Everything okay with her?”
“She’s perfectly fine,” his voice cracks with a laugh.
Sawyer’s voice booms over the line, “Is that Tristan?”
“Yes.” I hear shuffling in the background.
“You asking about Mrs. Nelson?”
“I’m trying to if you would shut your mouth,” Blake retorts.
“Put it on speaker,” Sawyer demands.
“Such a demanding little shit,” Blake mumbles.
“But you love me anyway.”
“If you didn’t make Dani happy, I’d probably find a dark hole for you.”
I chuckle at the banter between two of my best friends. We’ve always had an easy friendship, even though our lives couldn’t be more different. Blake has a large loving family; I just have Kylie, and now Dani; Sawyer has an alcoholic father he doesn’t see much. Such different upbringings, but we’ve always been close. Even after years away, it was easy to pick up where we left off.
“Hey, Tristan,” Sawyer says into the phone.
“What the hell do you want?” I counter, dreading what they have to say. If it has to do with Mrs. Nelson, it’s nothing good.
“Like I was saying, we had a visit from Mrs. Nelson today,” Blake explains.
Sawyer chuckles, “She had a story to tell us.” Another laugh bursts from him. “She wanted us to talk to you.”
“About your discretion.” Blake joins in the laughter.
“Discretion?” Confusion runs through me. I have no clue what the old bird is talking about.
“She saw you and Harper pull out of Harry’s place early this morning,” Blake explains.
“Too early for anything pure,” Sawyer snorts. “And your devious ways will get Ms. Innocent Harper into trouble. You better make an honest woman of her.”
That damn old woman. What the hell is she doing? Watching my every move? I remain quiet, hoping they’ll move on, but knowing better.
“Is it true?” Blake asks, trying to contain his amusement.
“Are your devious ways corrupting the innocent Harper?” Sawyer questions.
“No!” I shout, frustration rushing through my veins.
“Banks wasn’t happy when he heard the news from Mrs. Nelson,” Blake comments.
“Apparently, it wasn’t the first time she caught you in a compromising position with Harper,” Sawyer adds.
“Something about you leaving her apartment after an afternoon nookie session.”
They’re ganging up on me. I’m never going to hear the end of this unless I shut them down.
“For the last fucking time, there’s nothing happening with Harper. I got suckered into giving her a ride this morning by Harry,” I say, and to make sure my point is made, I add, “Why would I waste my time with a girl like her? She probably doesn’t even know what to do with a dick. Have you looked at her? She has virgin written all over her face.” The words make my stomach curl, but I need them to drop it. “Besides, she’s not even that cute. I like my woman with curves. Harper is a walking stick. It’d be like fucking a board.”
The small gasp behind me has me instantly regretting my words.
“Gotta go,” I say into the phone and put it in my pocket without waiting for a response. Slowly, I turn.
Harper stands before me, a flaming beauty, seething with anger. Her gorgeous red hair is in a tight ponytail, her eyes brimming with unshed tears. Fuck.
“Harper,” I whisper, reaching for her.
She takes a step back, holding her books close to her chest.
“I…uh…” I stutter, trying to think of an excuse. “I never meant for you to hear that.”
I definitely said the wrong thing because a notebook barrels towards my head. I quickly duck, avoiding it, but not quick enough to dodge a textbook hitting me in the eye.
I reach up, grabbing my eye as the book hits the ground, breaking the seam, pages flying away. She threw books at me. Hard. I look at Harper with my good eye. Her hand is on her chest, shock on her face.
“Are you happy now, Harper?”
“I didn’t…” she begins.
“Didn’t plan on throwing a book at my fucking face?” I growl. “Didn’t plan on acting like a child?”
I take a menacing step towards her, and she quickly retreats, a hand keeping distance between us.
“What, Harper? Don’t tell me you’re scared because you heard something you didn’t want to hear. The truth.”
If I’m going to be a dick, might as well go all in, right?
Harper hisses. “Screw you, Tristan Page! You’re nothing but a chauvinistic dick. I don’t know why I ever wanted you!” She pokes my chest, emphasizing each word. “You’ve made it abundantly clear that you are…you are…”
“Come on, little girl,” I egg on. “Spit it out. What am I?”
Her amber eyes meet mine, dancing like they’re on fire. Fuck if her pissed off isn’t hotter than shit. I seriously screwed up. Her breathing is heavy and ragged, pushing her small but perfect breasts towards me, barely brushing my chest.
“You are,” she pauses, “Nothing. You’re absolutely nothing, Tristan Page.”
She tries to walk away, but I pull her arm, forcing her between me and the truck.
“Nothing?” I question, her words hitting too close to home. “Really?”
Her breath hitches, arousal dancing in her eyes. Before I can stop myself, my mouth is on hers, brutally taking what I want. I nip at her lips, begging her to let me in. I move my hand from her hip, tracing her skin until I brush the swell of her breast. She gasps, allowing me the entrance I crave. I sweep in, devouring her sweet taste, knowing I could easily get addicted.
Harper whimpers when I push her against the hood. My body is so rigid that I literally ache. My erection rubs against her stomach, and I lift her, wanting our bodies to match up. Her leg wraps around my waist. I rock into her, but distant whistles and cat calls filter through my lust induced haze.
Harper must hear them, too, because she pulls back, breaking the best fucking kiss of my life. Avoiding her eyes, I look around at an audience. People even have their fucking phones out, taking pictures and videos.
Lynn Stookes was born and raised in the amazing state of Texas, where she currently resides with her husband of five years. They have one rambunctious four year old son and three furry children, who create the chaos she couldn’t live without.
One day, Lynn took her passion (maybe obsession is more apt) for romance books and mystery shows and wrote her first romantic suspense novel, Fatal Obsession, Book 1 in the Harden Series.
When Lynn isn’t writing or working her day job, you can find her reading on her Kindle, spending time with her family and friends, or playing on Facebook. She loves running, coffee, and country music in no particular order.