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Breathless In Love (The Maverick Billionaires #1)(4)

By:Bella Andre & Jennifer Skully



“Was it good?” she asked in a gentle voice. The wind had gusted his hair into spikes and tangles, and she smoothed down the soft brown locks.

“The best.” Jeremy’s eyes gleamed, his gaze bouncing between her and Will, then finally settling on her. “Your turn now, Harper.”

She shook her head. Hard. “I’m not getting in that car.”

Will smiled winningly. Or cunningly. She honestly wasn’t sure at this point, her heart beating fast at even the thought of getting into the sports car with Will.

“I promise I won’t take you any faster than I did Jeremy,” he told her. “And you just saw for yourself that he didn’t come to any harm.”

Another easy promise. There was a challenge there, too. And for a moment of pure insanity, she wanted to take the dare, feel the exhilaration, inhale it. She wanted to go fast, feel the wind beating her face, feel her blood rushing wildly through her veins.

But she was not insane.

Safe. She needed to keep everyone safe. Not only Jeremy, but herself, too. Just because she might want something didn’t mean she could have it. Not if it was something that was bad for her or for Jeremy.

Unfortunately, the best refusal she could come up with in the face of both of them looking at her so expectantly was, “I’m wearing a skirt. There’s no way I can get down into that seat.” But even as she said it, a part of her—a really big part—wanted to take what he offered.

Just once, she wanted to close her eyes and race with the wind.

“I’ll help you.” Will held out his hand.

“It’s fun, Harper.” Jeremy had to add his two cents.

“Once around,” Will said, his voice low, his gaze deep, his hand still held out to her as if he had no doubt she’d eventually agree. “That’s all it will be. A fast ride that you’re going to love. I promise. Once around,” he said again, before smiling and adding, “Unless you want more.”

As if he’d known how close to the edge she already was, his coaxing words had her falling right into his blue gaze, like a cliff diver hurtling down to water as smooth as glass.

For the first time in forever, Harper wanted to forget about what was bad for her and just do what felt good. Which was why she finally said, “I’ll go with you for one turn around the runway.” She made sure to add as a reminder for them both, “But I won’t be wanting more than that.”

Only, she wasn’t sure he believed it any more than she did.





CHAPTER THREE


Oh yes, Will Franconi was dangerous. Extremely dangerous as he drew her to the passenger side of the car and her stomach fluttered with the hand-to-hand contact.

Harper hadn’t dated in over a year, ever since she’d realized that she was an easy target. Not only for men who wanted to get at her brother’s trust fund, but also because after so many years of working to take care of herself and Jeremy, she hadn’t had much time left over to nurture her other relationships. First she’d become involved with a man who wanted Jeremy’s money but not Jeremy. Why can’t you just send him to a home for people like him? he’d said. And then she’d rebounded into a relationship with a guy who had sworn he would always be there for her and Jeremy—at least until he’d found a far lower-maintenance woman. Jeremy’s heart had been broken when her boyfriend no longer came around to see him.

After that, Harper had decided love and marriage simply weren’t in the cards for her.

And that was okay. Because, honestly, she wanted to know for sure that Jeremy wasn’t going to be hurt by anyone else, rather than risk dating again.

Not that getting in the car with Will was akin to dating him, of course. She couldn’t imagine what a rich playboy like him would want with a completely ordinary woman like her. It was just that she hadn’t been this close to a good-looking man in a very long time. That had to explain why her heart was pounding hard and her skin felt flushed.

Will put her hand on the roll bar. “Hold on tight right here.”

Everything he said seemed to have a double meaning, turning something ordinary into something sexual. But she knew it had to be her sex-starved brain adding the extra meaning.

She lifted her skirt slightly to step inside, then slid down into the leather seat. Picking up the ends of the seat belt, she looked at them, unsure how the contraption worked.

“It’s a five-point racing harness,” Will explained as he got into the driver’s seat beside her. “Normally it would come up between your legs and down over your shoulders, but I think we can skip the leg harness for you today, given that you didn’t come dressed to drive in a race car.”

When she started fumbling with the hooks and levers on the harness, he said, “Let me help you.”

The next thing she knew, he was settling a strap over her shoulder, his fingers brushing her collarbone as he brought it down across her chest. Thrill bumps raced across her skin with the near contact. She inhaled his scent—shampoo and soap and very sexy male—and her body tingled. Pulling the harness down to her lap, he flicked the latch closed with a snap, and she felt the pressure of his touch just below her belly. Low enough—and intimately enough—that her pulse rate shot up.

As he started on the other strap, his fingers skimmed the air just above her breasts, not quite touching, but barely short of a breath away. Harper didn’t look up, didn’t dare meet his gaze, just in case he realized the effect he was having on her. He snapped the second latch, buckled the belt across her lap with a simple flip of the two pieces she’d already connected, then cinched the strap.

Had he spent this much time getting Jeremy into the harness or putting the shoulder straps on? At this point, her head was spinning so much from his nearness and all the almost-touches that she honestly couldn’t remember.

“Comfortable?” With the sun behind him, his eyes were shadowed, but she could have sworn heat sparkled in their depths.

“I’m fine.” Her answer was low, breathy, too close to a moan. She cleared her throat. “I’m great. Thank you.”

He pulled back slowly, his gaze still dark and intense, making her pulse beat even harder. After he secured his belt, he started the engine with a roar, and put a hand on the gear shift. “Ready?”

With a man like him, she didn’t think she’d ever be ready. But she managed a nod.

He took off with a burst of speed, and she hung on to the door with one hand, clutching the seat tightly with the other, down by the gear box where he wouldn’t see.

“Don’t worry,” he yelled over the rush of wind, “I won’t go too fast.”

Didn’t he get that everything he was doing was already too fast?

Her hair whipped around her face, and she had to let go of the seat to pull it back. She needed two hands to bunch the thick locks at the back of her head, out of her eyes and her lipstick. She was flying free beside him, held in only by the harness, as the wind screamed past her ears.

And he was smiling, watching her.

“Look at the road,” she shouted at him.

She felt him brake as he went into the turn at the end of the runway. It felt like they were going too fast, but the back end didn’t slide as he went into the second turn, heading down the opposite runway. Her body swayed and jostled in the leather seat. She could taste the salt air on her lips. In the distance, she could see Jeremy jumping up and down, punching his fist high.

Will went faster and faster, making her blood pound in her ears and the wind beat against her chest. She should have told him to slow down, to stop and let her out. She should be calling him a maniac, even screaming at him.

Yet right then, Harper had the insane urge to raise her arms in the air like a teenager on a roller coaster. A crazy voice inside her whispered, Do it.

Unable to resist the pull of excitement and the thrill of the speed racing through her, she let herself go, throwing her hands up and her head back.

It was as exhilarating as it was terrifying. Maybe it was the combination of fear and danger and the pure joy of soaring through the air that made her feel so alive, with every nerve firing.

Or...maybe it was the man beside her.

* * *

Harper was utterly gorgeous, the sun sparkling in her wind-tossed hair, ecstasy glowing on her face. She didn’t shout or cheer—but she did hold up her arms. And she smiled.

The most beautiful smile Will had ever seen.

He wasn’t even near freeway speed, yet the shriek of the motor, the rumble of the pipes, and the open sky above them made it seem as if the car were flying at over a hundred miles an hour.

Just as he’d promised, he took her around only once. He didn’t want to push her limits.

Not yet, anyway.

While harnessing her in, it would have been so easy to touch her, to let his fingertips graze her gorgeous skin. His heart had hammered with the desire to put his hands on her. Even now, his fingers sizzled with her heat, and her sweet scent filled his head. But he could tell that she wasn’t like the women he usually spent his time with—women who knew the score and were in it for what they could grab before he moved on.

Harper Newman was different. And he liked that, liked knowing that wooing her would be unlike anything else he’d ever done in his life. Even if a voice in his head reminded him that he shouldn’t be looking for anything more than a quick roll between the sheets with her.

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