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Excerpt from Julia London'sThe Perfect Homecoming

Emma flipped on the light in the room. She dipped down and studied the wine in the cooler, selected a bottle, and stood. She turned back to the door, intending to leave.

But Cooper blocked the way. He was leaning up against the jamb, his arms crossed over his chest. His cool gray gaze was fixed on her. Emma’s blood began to swirl. He was not looking at her with casual interest, but with heat.

What was he doing? Did he want to kiss her?

Of course he wanted more. He’d seen through her, seen her hurt, and wanted to exploit it, right? Isn’t that what men like him did? Try it, she thought. Moments like these were where she excelled. The sexual interest of men was her base of operations from which she’d launched her assaults for the last several years. She walked to the door and tilted her head back, staring up into eyes that were now all gray shadows. “What are you doing?”

“Not sure,” he admitted.

Emma shifted the bottle of wine to the crook of her elbow and with her free hand, traced a line down his chest. “What would you like to do?”

He caught her hand and pressed it against his chest — hard. “I’d like to ask you to stop treating me like some poor dumb asshole. What are you so damn afraid of?” he murmured.

The question jolted her awake. She tried to take her hand back, but he held it firmly. “Maybe you should go, Cooper. You know, pack up and get out of town.”

“I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere tonight,” he said calmly, as his gaze moved down her face, to her mouth. He touched the corner of her lips with his finger. “Snow’s coming down pretty good. So try and lighten up a little, will you?”

Her blood stirred more. Kryptonite. It was happening; her body was betraying her, responding to this gorgeous, overly confident and damn it, too masculine man. “What’s a little snow? Maybe you should go now, before it gets too deep.”

A smile slowly curved his lips. “You’re a funny girl, you know that?” He ran his thumb over her bottom lip. “Sometimes I think you want a friend, and in the next moment, I think you don’t. Sometimes I think you want me to make love to you. But then you talk and ruin the moment. I’m not sure what to make of you.”

“I’m wishy-washy,” she agreed. “But why do you care?”

Cooper arched a brow with surprise. He caressed her cheek with his thumb. “Honestly? I don’t know.” He touched her lip with his thumb again, resting it there.

Emma lightly bit his thumb, hard enough to startle him. when he withdrew his hand, she dipped beneath his arm, putting some space between them, getting away from that heat. She left him standing there and walked back into the dining room with the wine, hoping to hell she wasn’t glowing.

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