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My Secret Fantasies

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«My Secret Fantasies» - Джоанна Рок

My Secret Fantasies TV reality star Miranda Cortland has escaped the media frenzy of LA and started writing a naughty novel. But, with every sexy scene she writes, things heat up with her gorgeous landlord, Damien Fraser. Now the hero in her book is starting to look like Damien, but, when real life and fiction collide, it could cost Miranda all of her dreams.
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It was as if I’d been shocked …

Damien’s big, strong body blocked out the glow of the fireplace, until all I saw was him. I swallowed hard. Vaguely, I wondered if I’d combust on contact.

Then, his lips were on mine and all that weird, anxious energy in me quieted. Those warm hands were on my waist, his fingers straying to the bare skin beneath the hem of my shirt. He steadied me as he kissed me, holding me still while his lips moved in a tantalizing dance over mine. Soft at first. And then, with a brief flick of his tongue along the seam of my lips, things turned sexy.

Hot.

Damien knew how to kiss. He savored me like fresh fruit at harvest time, tasting, nipping, licking. He made me feel delicious. He let me absorb every detail of the kiss at my own speed until I was comfortable.

No, not comfortable. Hungry …

My Secret Fantasies

Joanne Rock

www.millsandboon.co.uk

While working on her master’s degree in English literature, JOANNE ROCK took a break to write a romance novel and quickly realized a good book requires as much time as a master’s program itself. She became obsessed with writing the best romance possible, and sixty-some novels later, she hopes readers have enjoyed all the “almost there” attempts. Today, Joanne is a frequent workshop speaker and writing instructor at regional and national writer conferences. She credits much of her success to the generosity of her fellow writers, who are always willing to share insights on the process. More important, she credits her readers with their kind notes and warm encouragement over the years for her joy in the writing journey.

For Lisa Manasier,

who made me kale chips while I wrote,

who has encouraged me in more ways than she knows,

and who has always had my back.

I love you like a sister.

Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Epilogue

Excerpt

Prologue

“Is anyone there?” Shaelynn called, knocking on the door of the only house she’d seen after hours of walking through the cold, snowy dark. Her snowmobile had died miles from her hotel, crashing nose-first into a frozen stream. She’d lost her cell phone.

This Colorado getaway had stopped being fun and started being scary when she could no longer feel her toes. She had to get inside and get warm...fast.

“Hello?” She banged on the door again....

MY FINGERS HOVERED over the computer keys as I paused to reread what I’d just written. While my fictional heroine shivered in the mountains, I sat in my vacant L.A. apartment. All my worldly possessions were already packed in the SUV, and I was leaving town tomorrow. For tonight, I deserved a fun distraction. Ever since I’d taken it into my head to write a naughty novel, I’d been having a great time with my characters.

The world of steamy fiction was a vast improvement over my job as a struggling actress—a job I’d finally realized didn’t suit me one bit. And writing was far, far better than my awful experience on a popular reality series that had made me one of the most gossiped-about women in Los Angeles. Most of all, I had the sense that penning this book would finally heal some demons I’d been running from ever since I’d left home at eighteen. Closure on that dark chapter of my life was long overdue—especially since running from it had only made the past implode.

Drumming my fingers lightly along the keys, I forced those thoughts aside to concentrate on what happened next in the story, while on another screen, I waited for a reply on my instant message regarding a piece of property I wanted to see tomorrow. This business deal could give me the time and freedom to finally write my book. I’d scrimped and saved, living like a pauper, to finance the next phase of my life. Now that I’d won that reality game show series, I finally had enough starter money to get to work on my dreams. And not a minute too soon, given how much grief I’d taken because of the show ever since filming ended three weeks ago. Given how much grief a long-lost boyfriend was trying to create for me.

Shuddering, I turned back to the story.

“Is anyone home?” Shaelynn called one last time before she trudged through the knee-deep snow, her legs shaking from exhaustion and cold. Maybe she’d have better luck at the back door.

Shoving through the negligible barrier of an overgrown boxwood hedge, she peered around the back corner of the cabin. Another exterior light burned, just like in front. But inside, the place looked completely dark. Hopelessness threatened to swamp her as she banged on that door, too.

“Help!” she called, her voice echoing in the sharp cold. “Help!” She backed up a step so she could yell at the whole house.

And rammed right into a low wall.

“Oof,” she muttered, slipping. She grabbed on to the structure to keep herself from falling. Only to realize it wasn’t a wall at all. It was a hot tub.

Built into the cabin’s raised deck, the tub had a thick, insulated leather covering. A thin trail of steam wafted from the seam where the cover met the cedar siding.

Heat. Warmth. A guarantee of survival.

All those things awaited her there beneath that tarp. Who would call it trespassing when she was at risk of freezing to death out here?

Mind made up, Shaelynn tugged off her coat and unbuttoned her blouse with stiff, shaking fingers....

I imagined myself there in the crisp, clear air of the Rockies, sliding down among the hot jets of an outdoor spa. It was possible half the fun of this book was the access it gave me to the kind of life I’d always dreamed about. A sensuous life full of great sex was something I’d never quite managed in the real world. Far from it. I’d dropped a few dress sizes since high school, thinking I’d get over some of my insecurities by changing the external stuff.

No dice. Now I would tackle those hang-ups through my book, where I could live out a vicarious existence of someone who was hot and sexy.

First fiction. Then real life.

Speaking of which...

Steam wafted up Shaelynn’s cheek like the touch of a phantom lover. After half an hour in the hot tub, she’d finally started to feel warm again. Her toes had quit throbbing. She’d quit jumping at every sound in the woods and had turned the jets on full blast. Now, the heat relaxed her. The pure decadence of being naked beneath the water made her whole body feel deliciously languid.

Tilting her neck back on the headrest, she stared up at the stars and breathed deep.

Until the sound of a dog barking made her sit up.

She listened hard, switching off the pump for the hot tub jets so she could hear better. Had she imagined it?

The bark came again. Closer. Followed by the definite crack of twigs and movement of something—something human sized—in the woods nearby.

Panic sliced through her as she detected the shadow of a man approaching. Should she sit still and pray he passed? Shout for help even though she was miles from anywhere and her phone was lost in the snow?

Before she could decide, the tall, masculine shadow emerged from the trees, scattering soft clouds of fresh powder with each step of his snowshoes. Dear God, what if he lived here?

She shook her head. Of course he lived here. Why else would man and dog be making a beeline straight toward her? There were no other houses for miles around. If she hadn’t been naked, she might have darted out of the tub to hide. But she was most definitely naked and her clothes were on the other side of the small deck.

The dog spotted her first, barking like mad and big as a bear.

“Rex, heel,” the man’s deep voice called, quieting the animal before he asked, “Who’s there?”

Broad, square shoulders took shape in the moonlight, along with a gray canvas coat unbuttoned despite the cold.

“Um.” Shaelynn cleared her throat, nerves making her sound shaky. “I broke down a couple of miles away. Your light was the only one I saw and when you weren’t home...”

She trailed off, distracted by the sight of the man as he slowly walked closer, and the glow of the back porch lantern illuminated his features.

Hazel eyes. Thick, dark eyebrows. A chiseled, aristocratic face that could be Mediterranean. An arresting face. Strong. Handsome. He huffed out a breath of warm air, the light cloud swirling for a moment until it vanished into the cold.

“You needed to warm up,” he finished for her, his eyes roaming over the deck where her clothes sat in a pile, then returning to her. Lingering.

Her heart beat faster. She swallowed past her dry throat.

“I’m sorry. I can go. But I lost my cell phone in the snow and I’m—”

“You can use my phone.” The man ventured closer. The deck was a few feet off the ground, but the snowfall put him on even footing with the base of the tub. His eyes locked on hers, stirring something deep inside her. “And my towels.”

A slow, half smile lifted the corner of his mouth. Maybe she should be afraid. But fear was the last thing she felt as he sauntered up to the side of the spa.

Did he know she was nude? She glanced down, grateful she hadn’t put the underwater light on. Pulse thrumming wildly, she withdrew her hand from the water, because touching this tall, sexy stranger was definitely not optional. She suddenly craved the feel of him....

Bing!

The chime of an instant message rang, startling me from Shaelynn’s hot tub adventures just when things were about to get interesting. I had to stop to fan myself, visions of the sexy stranger enticing me as much as they affected my heroine.

How come I never met gorgeous strangers who made me melt with a glance? Forcing my thoughts from the hot tub, I looked down at the incoming note.

I can meet. The message was from “Damien Fraser, Fraser Farm.” 6:00 p.m.

Okay. Guess that meant I had a plan for tomorrow. I’d worked hard to make it as an actress in L.A., but after five years, I was more than ready to move on. I’d never been cut out for Hollywood, but it had seemed like the thing to do when I’d been eighteen and desperate to escape the crap-storm of my life back on a small farm in Nebraska. I’d ended up enjoying my waitress job at a tearoom far more than acting, and became fast friends with the owner, Joelle. I’d learned how to cook, and to indulge my love of food in a way that didn’t involve scarfing down pastries. At least not too often.

I definitely would have kept on at the tearoom for a few more years if it hadn’t been for the complications and notoriety that Gutsy Girl brought with it. Reporters dug into my past and found out details that I was uncomfortable with. My sister’s ex-husband—who’d always liked me a little too much—had made a few calls that had me itching to disappear again. I could not afford to have Rick show up on my doorstep and start messing with my head. Now that my sister had given him the boot, he seemed even more unstable. Scarier. Besides, I’d fought too hard to pull myself together after the ways he’d torn apart my self-confidence. And my family.

Now I just really needed to get out of L.A. and write my book. If I could pen the kind of relationship I wanted to have in real life, maybe I could finally excise the past. The hero in my story was going to be a turning point for me. If I could dream a new, healthy relationship, I could eventually make it happen, right?

So I saved my manuscript and shut down my computer, wishing I’d come up with a name for the guy on snowshoes in my story. He felt so alive, so familiar. Like a safe haven from all my real-world craziness.

As I set my laptop on the floor next to my sleeping bag in the echoing apartment, I tried not to think how lonely I must be to have fallen for a character in my own book.

.

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