Marble isn’t the only thing that’s hard at this museum.
His body is as chiseled as Adonis. His lips are as sculpted as David. And his ego is the size of the Guggenheim.
You know the type—wolfish smile and the gravity of a black hole. The kind of man who sucks all the air from the room the second he enters it. My cocky boss thinks this internship was wasted on me, and he doesn’t hesitate to let me know.
But he’s wrong, and I’m going to prove it to him. If I can stay away from his devil lips, that is. Lips that cut me down and kiss me in the same breath, leaving me certain he’s on a mission to ruin my life.
And maybe my heart.
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He smirked and flipped up his sunglasses.
“You’re early,” I clipped.
“I would have had my assistant text you, but she’s currently bedridden.”
“You could have texted me.”
“I didn’t have your number,” he said simply.
His eyes shifted to look behind me, and I turned to find my friends standing me in a row with my suitcase in front of them, my messenger bag on top, and fake smiles on all their faces, lips together, their judgment about as quiet as a foghorn.
“These your roommates?”
“Yup,” was all I said as I turned and took my suitcase, hugging each of them down the line with promises to text when we landed. And then I turned to Court, rolling my suitcase in front of me like like a riot shield.
I tried to pick it up to carry it over the threshold, but it was heavy, and before I could get far, he’d swept it out of my hands like it was a loaf of bread and not fifty pounds of mascara and shoes.
I waved at my friends, who offered encouraging smiles and hand gestures, and I closed that door, immediately regretting every decision I’d made to bring me to the moment I turned around.
He stood at the door to the backseat, holding it open for me like a gentleman, which I knew he was not. But the look on his face of regret and deference, under the hard shell of his brooding, was almost too much to bear.
So I did the only thing I could.
I ignored him.
I ignored his gorgeous lips as they tilted and the sleek cut of his jaw as I walked past him. I ignored the sight of his long legs as he climbed in next to me and the smell of him that made me want to grab him by the lapels of his jacket and bury my nose in his chest.
The driver took off, and I busied myself in my bag, looking for my headphones and book.
His eyes were on me. I pretended like I didn’t notice.
“You’re not wearing lipstick,” he stated.
Headphones, headphones, headphones. “It’s an international flight, Court. Of course I’m not wearing red lipstick for a ten hour flight.”
A pause. “Rin, I—”
Aha! I popped in my earbuds the second they were in hand.
His lips flattened, his face unamused. Rin, his lips said, but I smiled and shrugged, pointing to my ears.
“Noise canceling,” I said way too loud.
His chest rose and fell with a sigh I couldn’t hear—I’d already turned on music, a playlist we’d built the night before geared toward resisting douchery and unwanted-slash-totally-wanted advances—and he reached into his own bag, a leather affair at his feet, his hand disappearing into the bag and reappearing with a book, which he handed to me.
He watched me with his expression shrouded as I paused, my eyes on the offered book. An image of Penitent Magdalene by Tintoretto filled the cover, and I met his eyes, pulling my earbuds out by the cord.
“I thought you could use this. For your proposal,” he said, giving nothing away. “I…A colleague of mine wrote it, so if you have any questions, I can connect you. If you want.”
I took it from his hand, surprised and disarmed. “Thank you,” was all I said. He opened his mouth as if to speak again, but closed it, and with a nod, he reached back into his bag for his own book. Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake.
I put my earbuds back in place, trying not to bite my lip, but it found its way between my teeth despite the effort at the sight of him sitting there, dressed like that, reading Margaret Atwood. After giving me a thoughtful gift, a book he knew I would want, one I would need for my dissertation.
Court Lyons made about as much sense to me as a scrambled up Rubik’s Cube.
I leaned against the door as I flipped through his gift, doing my best to sort through the rush of questions and confusion as Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s sang about being cheated by the opposite of love. And I found I knew exactly the feeling.
About the Author
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey.
From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.
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I’d lived a privileged life, in the lap of luxury and surrounded by family. It had felt like I was on top of the world…until tragedy struck.
My sense of loss felt bottomless, and I struggled with it every single day. Finding my path back into the light seemed impossible.
But then I met Faith—she was smart, sexy, and out of my league even though she didn’t have a penny to her name. We grew up in different worlds, but somehow we fit perfectly together.
Except neither of us had counted on learning that our connection was more profound than we knew.
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“You feeling okay?” I murmured in Faith’s ear as I pulled her closer. We were watching a movie, cuddled on the couch together. I was leaning back against the cushions in the corner, and she was between my legs with her head on my chest. But she wasn’t relaxed like she should be after a day out shopping with my mom. She was so damn tense she was practically vibrating with it.
I slid my palms up her arms, pleased as fuck at the goosebumps that followed in the wake of my touch. There was no denying that she still responded to me with the same fierceness she had since we first met. But there was also no denying that something was wrong with Faith. She’d seemed off ever since we got situated on the couch a few hours earlier. I wasn’t sure what was bothering her, but it felt like she was pulling away from me.
When she’d moved in with me a couple of weeks ago, life had seemed as close to perfect as it could get. We had our college degrees. My dad gave me a week off before I started my new job at his company. Living with me meant Faith could continue on for her master’s degree without worrying about money. It was a big fucking deal that she was willing to let me take care of her that way since she was so damn self-sufficient.
My tough girl had finally taken down some of her walls and let me in. She’d even found the courage to admit she loved me.
But no matter how often she said those three little words, I still felt like she hadn’t let me all the way in. I figured it’d take time, and I needed to be patient with her. To remember she wasn’t used to being loved by anyone and didn’t know how to handle it.
Normally, I was okay with that. But tonight it was almost as though she was scared. And if my tough girl was afraid of something, then it was my job to make her feel safe. Which would be a hell of a lot easier if I knew what I was up against; only Faith wasn’t giving me much to go on.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rochelle Paige is the Amazon bestselling author of more than twenty books. She absolutely adores reading and her friends growing up used to tease her when she trailed after them, trying to read and walk at the same time. She loves stories with alpha males, sassy heroines, hot sex and happily ever afters. She is a bit of a genre hopper in both her reading and her writing. So far she’s written books in several romance sub-genres including new adult, contemporary, paranormal and romantic suspense.
She is the mother of two wonderful sons who inspired her to chase her dream of being an author. She wants them to learn from her that you can live your dream as long as you are willing to work for it.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/ Rochelle-Paige/e/B00HEWGCFY
PERFECT LOVE STORY was just that…the PERFECT LOVE STORY! Beautiful, touching, charming, devastating, magical, and hella’ sexy, once I started, I couldn’t put it down for the life of me, nor did I ever want to. – Shayna Renee
Perfect Love Story is a step away from Natasha Madison’s typical romantic comedy, and she does an incredible job of delivering a poignant, emotional and sigh-worthy romance – Mary Dube USA Today HEA
Natasha Madison does it again! Perfect Love Story as so many feels. The title of the book is perfect bc this was the perfect love story. – Tara Sexy Book Diva
Perfect Love Story is exactly that. Beautifully, unbelievably perfect. This is one of those books that digs deep right into your heart. – Britt Red Hatter Book Blog