In Laura Marie Altom’s scorching new Shamed novel, perfect for fans of J. Kenner and Tracy Wolff, a broken heart pushes a rugged loner to the breaking point—until a not-so-innocent affair changes everything.
When the woman he loves marries billionaire Liam Stone, Nathan Black swears off dating and playing by the rules. He’s also tired of being broke. His new gig as a male escort isn’t exactly legal, but the cash will help him build a solid future. Then there’s Carol Moore, Liam’s personal assistant. She and Nathan always seem to get paired up at Stone family functions—and always seem to end up in bed together. She’s definitely intriguing. But how could a good girl like Carol settle down with a screw-up like Nathan?
After Carol’s dreamy boss gets hitched, crushing any chance of them getting back together, she finds herself hooking up with the bride’s best friend. Nathan is hot, adventurous, and just a little bit dangerous. But when one of their sexy games goes too far, Carol discovers how out of control Nathan’s life really is. And before long Carol is forced to choose between her safe old life and the bad boy who makes her feel like the woman she’s meant to be.
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“I, Ella, take you, Liam, to be my lawfully wedded husband . . .”
If I heard one more word of the happy couple’s vows, I’d fucking hurl.
I stood on the fringe of their big event with my hands shoved in the pockets of the khakis I’d picked up at Goodwill. Why wouldn’t I want to look my best for the love of my life getting hitched to a billionaire who’s actually perfect for her, and can give her the kind of life of which I’ve never even dreamed?
Everything about the beachfront nuptials was perfection.
Gently lapping surf—check.
Violet-streaked sunset kissing the ocean—check.
Pillar candles lining the aisle and practically an entire freaking orchestra playing powdery-soft Vivaldi—check, check. Toss in thousands of white orchids and roses, wandering flamingos, a champagne fountain, a tent with tables heaped with food and a vodka-ice-luge carved into an enormous E & L, and the scene was straight out of a circus freak show of flashy wealth. Only the thing about Liam was that I truly believed not a bit of this was for show, or to prove he’d win a wedding-of-the-century dick-measuring contest, but because he loves Ella so much that in ways, he’d reverted to a little kid, eager to prove his love by buying her every single toy on her Christmas list—only it was July, and knowing Ella, the only thing she’d ever really wanted Santa to bring was love.
In Liam, I knew she’d found that and more, and the fact was killing me.
Seating for the hundred or so guests was an assortment of gold-toned sofas, love seats and chairs that had no business being on a beach, but somehow seemed as perfect as the rest of everything Carol—Liam’s longtime assistant—and a pricey wedding planner had thrown together.
I saw her now—Carol—standing on the opposite side of the aisle from me.
Her pale blue eyes shone with unshed tears. The barely-there breeze stole strands from her elegant blond updo, streaming them like golden seaweed across her mouth, but she stood stone-still, as though if she froze, maybe time would, too, and this wedding wouldn’t happen.
She used to have a thing for Liam the way I did for Ella.
Judging by her solemn expression, the way her full lips turned slightly down at the corners, I guessed she pretty much felt the same as I did—that this whole event sucked balls.
The happy couple now delivered personally written, wholly heartfelt vows. Joy. I loved Ella. I should be thrilled for her, so why did I find myself gravitating toward Carol, then asking, “Want to get out of here?”
For the longest time she remained motionless—a pale-skinned goddess whose gold-satin gown reflected the sun’s last gasp.
“Carol?” The music swelled as if cued by Ella’s happy tears. How had Liam done it? Built riches so vast as to have his own wedding soundtrack?
Carol finally looked at me. Her pain contradicted her beauty. Silent tears fell, polluting her cheeks with wavy black mascara trails. “Fuck me.”
“No kidding, right? I’m happy for them, but for us, this whole thing seriously blows.”
“Agreed—but I mean it, Nathan. Fuck me. Pound me so hard I forget tonight ever happened.”
“Wait, what?” Gaze narrowed, I cocked my head. She didn’t flinch. “Oh shit, you’re serious.”
She grabbed my hand, then dragged me down the shore, away from the wedding and toward the deserted house. After pressing the call button for the glass-fronted elevator that had been built into the Big Sur cliff, she shoved me against the nearest rock wall, slashing her lips across mine for a kiss far more brutal than erotic.
But then I got into it, the whole anti-wedding, pissed-off spirit of the thing, and I returned her ugly kiss with bold strokes of my tongue. My dick roared, and I cupped my hand to her ass, tugging her against me. She was taller than Ella—a good five-foot-eleven with heels—and satisfactorily ground against my six-foot-two frame.
The elevator signaled its arrival with a discreet ding.
The doors opened and we plunged this shit show inside.
Now, I took the lead, banging her against the car’s mirrored rear wall. I gave her neck a rough nuzzle before pounding the up button, then helping myself to the deep vee of her gown. She wore no bra and when I grazed her nipple, it hardened beneath my palm.
I dragged my lips up her throat and along the tender underside of her chin.
She groaned, grabbing for my fly, but the car lurched to a stop.
When the doors swished open, we tumbled out onto the hardwood floor of what typically was a combo movie/game room temporarily being used for wedding gift storage.
An ornate pool table with a red-felt top had been piled high with wrapped gifts.
I released Carol long enough to shove them aside. A few plummeted to the floor. Judging by the muted jingle of broken glass or clanging metal, they didn’t fare well. Fucking oops.
Right now, all that mattered was blocking pain with pleasure.
I barely even knew this woman, but for my purposes, she’d more than do. By way of returning her favor, I’d give her a fuck she wouldn’t soon forget.
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