I am a huge fan of the Stewart Realty series by Liz Crowe. Mutual Release is the 7th instalment in the series it looks AMAZING! I highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a HOT sexy series full of sexy HOT characters! Check out this FAB excerpt and YouTube video . Make sure to add Mutual Release and all of the Stewart Realty series to your TBR 🙂
She sighed, her long-neglected body and mind starting to melt into this man, Evan who listened and drew the most amazing confessions from her. “I haven’t had sex with a non-battery-operated device for—” She frowned, embarrassed. “—nearly five years now.” She lifted her half-empty bottle to him as tears pressed the backs of her eyes. The not-so-minor detail about the few times she had had sex before that, being either forced on her or as a form of manipulation by a professor, she kept to herself.
“Huh,” he said, putting her foot back on the blanket and moving around so that he sat with his legs crossed, facing her. “I sensed that about you. I also need you to know that I sense something else about you. Something that is dark, alone, and frightened… of me.”
She spluttered when her sip of beer went down her windpipe. “I’m not afraid of anything or anyone.” But her voice broke, betraying her. She sucked in a breath and looked away, then scrambled to her feet, needing some sort of motion to dispel the tempting tension building between them, and the small lick of fear that was taking up residence at the base of her skull.
Leaving her shoes on the blanket, she picked her way across the grass to the edge of the Huron River. The booze hit her brain then, making her sway, which pissed her off. On her worst day she could drink most men under the table and have enough left in her for a nightcap. But she was self-aware enough to admit that he was right. She was scared, but what the smart, funny, handsome, and potentially terminally romantic man did to frighten her remained elusive.
The sun beat down, heating her shoulders and face. The unusually warm day seemed just another piece of this surreal alternative universe she’d entered in the last few weeks. Clenching her hands into fists, she stared at the rocks in the shallow, still water, then stepped out onto the first one, righting herself with a wave of her arms. Distance… she needed more of it between them. She could not allow herself to go wherever it was he seemed to want to take her. Her inner control freak was screaming at her to run, fast, and not look back.
By the time she hit the middle of the widest part of the river, she looked over her shoulder. Evan stood on the shore, hands in his pockets, watching her, his face amused but with a touch of that pensiveness she’d noticed once before. “You’re gonna fall in,” he yelled to her.
“No, I have excellent balance. I can climb a sheer cliff wall. Did you know that, Country Club?” She turned, crossed her arms, and glared at him. “I ski black diamond slopes, ride roller coasters backwards at night, race jet skis on Lake Michigan, and spent last summer learning how to drive on a racetrack with Danica Fucking Patrick.” She pointed at him, knowing it was a mistake the second she did it, as her off-kilter, buzzy equilibrium slipped along with her foot, landing her ass-first in the muddy water.
Tears hit her eyes when she bit down on her tongue hard enough to draw blood. The sting of embarrassment nearly matched the bite of the rocks on her palms and the jolting pain in her neck and back. “Fuck,” she muttered, astonished at herself.
Evan laughed so hard he almost fell over. She frowned, watching him, then felt a giggle burble up from her stomach. Putting a hand over her lips she tried not to let it fly, but it was too late. She was not a hundred percent sure if she were laughing or crying by the time she saw his hand and heard his voice.
“C’mon, daredevil, let’s get you out of the river.”
She put her hand in his and gave a hard yank, making him stumble and go down on his knees in the mud next to her.
She laughed, then screamed when he heaved a handful of mud at her and it smacked into her cheek and slid down her neck. “Oh God, gross!” she exclaimed, as she dug her fingers into the soft silt. Pretending that some got in her eye, she looked away, until he crouched next to her, his hand on her shoulder.
“You okay? Oh, fuck!” He yelped when she put two handfuls of the nasty, smelly stuff right on his cheeks, wiping her hands down his neck and shirt, then pushing him backwards onto his butt. “Bitch,” he muttered, as his smile lit the corners of her brain. When he leaned over to yank her close and kiss her while they sat in the stupid river, she provided no resistance whatsoever.
But he kept it short, sweet, and left her wanting more. His tongue was gentle, only just breaching her lips before he broke away, smiling before plopping a handful of mud in her hair. He leapt up and splashed away, leaving her quivering and doubting her sanity.
This is nuts. You can’t do this, not with him. Something about him will change you, make you different. And you have spent too many years crafting this strong persona out of the ashes of your shitty beginning. Don’t do it.
She continued to berate herself as she stood, dripping, mud-splattered, and confused. He made it to the riverbank and stood, just as filthy as she, and with a look in his eyes that mirrored exactly what she was feeling. She shook her head and picked her way towards him. Laughing, he backed up, keeping plenty of distance between them.
“Damn you. Look what you made me do,” she whined as he handed her a few paper towels to tackle her messy self. A tear slid down her cheek, startling her. And Evan was there, tilting her chin up to meet his mud-smeared face in an instant as if he had heard it somehow, had known what she required. “Let go of me,” she said, but he tightened his thumb and forefinger grip on her in response. She froze, staring into his eyes. He looked firm, in control, and… safe. She felt her body loosen ever so slightly. He smiled and ran his other hand down her arm, picking up her hand and putting it to his lips.
“Now, see? Isn’t that better?” His low, rumbly, sexy voice settled in her chest, and something in her quieted. The clanging, near-constant noise in her own ears was gone, replaced by Evan’s soft whispers. His lips were at her ear. “I know you, Julie Anderson Dawson. I know your daredevil façade is bullshit, but very sexy. Someday,” he pressed his lips to her neck, making her close her eyes and inch nearer, needing the warmth of his body against hers, “I want you to show me who you really are.”
His fingers wound in her damp hair, his lips moved down her neck, and she let him, wanting him so bad she felt as if she would shatter into a thousand pieces if he didn’t. Then he stopped, let her go, and stepped away from her.
“But…,” He ran a slightly shaking hand down his muddy face. “… as you like to remind me, ‘we,’” he pointed back and forth between them, “are not a possibility. Not if your company is going to work with mine. So….”
He held out his right hand. She stared at it while her poor overworked brain that was stuck firmly in the “horny” mode tried to understand what the hell he was. She glanced up, noted the determined look on his face, and then shook his outstretched hand.
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