Man of the Month 7
Sometimes one night just isn’t enough.
Though they see each other only once a month, Amanda’s sweet body and wicked ways have been driving Derek wild for over a year.
And now that he’s moving to Austin, Derek is determined to have Amanda in his bed permanently.
There’s only one problem: Amanda’s happy with their current arrangement. Can Derek convince her a lifetime of nights together will be so much sweeter?
Meet Mr. July … he’s determined to heat things up.
Each book in the series is a STANDALONE novel with NO cliffhanger and a guaranteed HEA!
But even so, you won’t want to miss any in the series. Because then you can answer the question…
Who’s Your Man of the Month?
Turn Me On is Story # 7 in the Man of the Month series.
Turn Me On - Buy Now
About this StoryPublication Date 04/17/2018 Story Type Book Series Man of the Month Place in Series Story #7 Genre Contemporary Romance
More About This Story
When a group of fiercely determined friends realize their beloved hang-out is in danger of closing, they take matters into their own hands to bring back customers lost to a competing bar. Fighting fire with a heat of their own, they double down with the broad shoulders, six-pack abs, and bare chests of dozens of hot, local guys who they cajole, prod, and coerce into auditioning for a Man of the Month calendar.
But it’s not just the fate of the bar that’s at stake. Because as things heat up, each of the men meets his match in this sexy, flirty, and compelling binge-read romance series of twelve novels releasing every other week from New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner.
“With each novel featuring a favorite romance trope—beauty and the beast, billionaire bad boys, friends to lovers, second chance romance, secret baby, and more—this series hits the heart and soul of romance.” —New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips
Last year, in July
“Honestly, Amanda, I’m fifteen hundred miles away,” Jenna Montgomery said, her voice as clear as if she were sitting on the next barstool at The Fix on Sixth. “How am I supposed to assess the situation in Austin all the way from Los Angeles if you don’t give me anything to work with?”
Amanda Franklin bit her lower lip, forcing herself not to giggle into her smart phone. Assess the situation? The way Jenna was talking, you’d think they were engaging in espionage.
Then again, maybe they were. She’d seen enough movies to know that espionage was a game that centered around a dangerous dance where any misinterpretation of signals could get you killed.
Sounded pretty much like dating to her.
“Is he cute?” Jenna asked.
“Would I be calling if he weren’t?”
“Good point. What’s he doing now?”
“Tiffany’s working his table. He just ordered something. I think—Oh! He wears reading glasses.”
“Is that bad?” Jenna asked.
Amanda made a low growling noise. “Nope, and especially not with this guy.” He’d been holding the menu when he’d first caught her eye, and she’d assumed he wore glasses as a matter of course. But he’d set the menu aside, then taken off his glasses and tucked them into a case.
At the same time, he’d shifted in his chair. For the second time that night their eyes had met, and she’d been rendered breathless by a pair of pale gray eyes that reflected a heat that belied their stone-cold color.
“That’s twice,” Amanda said, picking up her Jalapeño Margarita, then putting it right back down when she realized she’d already drained the thing. “This guy. He’s…”
“What?” Jenna pressed, as Amanda trailed off, unable to find the right word.
“Intense, I guess. I mean, those eyes are the kind you swipe right for, you know?”
“And you don’t think it’s your imagination? That he’s checking you out, I mean. You said he was sitting with someone. He’s not on a date and scoping you out, is he? Because that translates to asshole, and you don’t want to go there.”
“I don’t think so. He’s sitting with a gorgeous black guy sipping a whiskey. But I’m not getting a vibe that either of them is gay. On the contrary, I’m getting a dancing lady parts vibe.”
“From Mr. Glasses?”
“From both of them, but Glasses is the one who knows I’m alive on the planet. Mr. Whiskey hasn’t looked at me once. Glasses has taken a couple of peeks. It’s kind of…” She trailed off with a shrug even though Jenna couldn’t see her.
“Hot,” Amanda admitted. She couldn’t explain it. But there really was something in the way he looked at her that made her tingle in all the right places. And she had to assume it was because of him. Because goodness knows he wasn’t the first guy to shoot her a smoldering glance across the bar.
“You should go for it,” Jenna announced. “Or, actually, never mind. Damn. I wish I were there. Doing the BFF thing from long distance sucks.”
“It does,” Amanda agreed. “But what were you going to say?”
“I don’t remember.”
Amanda wrinkled her nose. “I smell bullshit.” She swiveled the bar stool away from the table so that she was facing the bar, then signaled for Reece to bring her another. One of the bar’s managers, he was pouring tonight. “Just tell me,” Amanda said into the phone, once again turning her attention to Mr. Glasses.
“I don’t know,” Jenna said. “Rebound guys can be cathartic and all, but you’ve been—”
“I didn’t say that!” Jenna squealed at the same time that Reece slid a fresh margarita in front of Amanda.
“Who’s whoring around?” he asked.
“Jenna,” Amanda quipped, surprised by how quickly and intently his expression darkened.
“What the hell?” Jenna sputtered. “Who are you talking to?”
“Your BFF who ranks higher than me. I need to get out of here soon, so I’m going to let you guys gossip while I slam back my drink.” She and Jenna said their goodbyes, and she passed the phone to Reece.
Reece grinned as Jenna said something, and Amanda silently motioned for him to bring her the check. Since the two of them could easily talk forever, she figured it was better to go ahead and get it now. Then she took a contemplative sip from her margarita and went back to watching Mr. Glasses.
The words swished around in her head like cartoon ghosts with long, wispy tails.
I didn’t say that, Jenna had said. But maybe she should have. Maybe it was true.
With a sigh, Amanda took another sip, enjoying the fiery tang, so much more pleasant on her tongue than the aftertaste of her mistakes.
The truth was, Leo had pretty much destroyed her. And, yes, it had been over nine months since she’d even spoken to the bastard, but that didn’t change how much his betrayal had hurt. Her friends only knew that it had been a bad breakup. Even Jenna didn’t know that Amanda and Leo had been planning to elope.
But then he’d dropped the bomb, and suddenly she was staring at a man she didn’t even know. A man who was saying words like “mistake” and “carried away” and “romantic haze.”
Bottom line, everything they had shared had been one big illusion as far as he was concerned. It wasn’t really love. He’d never loved her.
Boom. Mic drop. Cue the violins.
And to add insult to injury, she’d lost serious ground in her real estate career because her previous boss had feared that she was going to turn domestic and lose her edge. Instead of offering to sponsor her broker application and pass her his portfolio of clients and leads when he retired, he’d handed it off to an eager single male agent. Not that he’d admitted as much out loud, but Amanda wasn’t an idiot.
Then again, maybe she was. She’d fallen for Leo, hadn’t she?
Which was why Amanda now looked, but didn’t touch.
Okay, not true. She totally touched. But she rarely bought the merchandise.
As a real estate agent who focused on high-end properties, networking came with the territory, and so Amanda went out a lot. Dates, business meetings, casual cocktails. Whatever you wanted to call it. With men, those types of meetings often led to a sweet commission, and she was just fine with that. Good for her business and good for her ego.
As for getting naked … well, most of her friends thought she was promiscuous, just because she had a seriously naughty sense of humor. She didn’t bother to correct them. What was the point? Even Jenna didn’t know the extent of how much Amanda didn’t fuck around.
The truth was, when Amanda let a guy into her bed, it was only when she was absolutely certain that there was no chance that the night would turn into a thing or that the thing would turn into a relationship.
She was still too anesthetized from cleaning up the wounds from her last relationship. No way was she going under the knife again that quickly.
Besides, why would she sacrifice her best business tool—her status as a single woman—so early in her career? Hell, Leo had done her a favor. She’d been struggling until they’d broken up. Now her bank account was full and shiny.
Yup, her life was finally back on track. All was good. No tweaks needed.
Which meant she needed to stay away from Mr. Glasses. Because she could already tell that there was something compelling about him. Something that would be hard to walk away from. And right now, Amanda simply wasn’t at a point in her life where she wanted to stick.
Looking, however, was perfectly acceptable, and as Amanda nursed the last sips of her Jalapeño Margarita, she watched Glasses and Whiskey rise, shake hands, and then head for the door. Friends, she decided. Connected by a business relationship that had turned into genuine friendship. They probably didn’t golf together, though…
She frowned, considering. Cycling, she decided, scoping out their lean, muscled bodies. They got together and went cycling. She’d bet her reputation on it.
Her ability to read people was her secret weapon in the world of real estate, and she hardly ever missed. Leo, of course, had been one very big exception. She’d met him when she sold him a house in West Lake. And she’d missed reading him by a mile.
She swiveled back to the bar, intending to grab her phone and pay her bill, but while her phone was there, the check wasn’t.
Once again, she caught Reece’s eye and signaled for the check.
“Already taken care of,” he said, but he was midway down the very long bar, and she was sure she must have misunderstood him.
“Sorry, come again?”
He moved closer to her, then nodded across the room, to where Tiffany was pocketing the tip from Mr. Glasses’s now-abandoned table.
She almost laughed. At least now she knew that she hadn’t been imagining his interest. Still, what a lost opportunity.
It was past six now, and she considered staying and ordering some of Tyree’s amazing appetizers and calling them dinner, but she was feeling strangely at loose ends. She wanted to move. To walk. And so she slipped her phone into her purse, waved goodbye to Reece, and headed toward the door.
The moment she turned west on the sidewalk, she saw him. Mr. Glasses. He stood just past The Fix, ensuring that anyone inside the bar couldn’t see him. And though he held his phone in his hand, as if he’d been checking messages only moments before, now all of his attention was focused on her.
“Another fifteen minutes, and I was going to go back in.” He spoke with a Texas drawl so slow and rich, it was almost a caress. It certainly felt like one to Amanda.
With effort, she kept her cool. “Were you waiting for me?”
“I guess that depends on whether you’d find the answer creepy or endearing,” he said, and she burst out laughing.
“Let’s go with door number three,” she said. “Interesting.”
“I can live with that.” He took a step toward her, his jeans hugging his thighs as he moved. He wore a white button down, and she could see the outline of a plain T-shirt underneath it. Business casual, Texas-style. He wore his hair closely trimmed, and a dusting of beard stubble highlighted a strong jaw.
The man was a looker, no doubt about that. But it was his eyes that truly caught Amanda’s attention. A pale gray that seemed almost silver when they caught the light and were now focused on her with an intensity that was almost a physical caress.
His brows rose. “Why can I live with that?”
She smirked. “Why were you waiting for me?”
The corner of his mouth curved up, and she saw the answer in his eyes. A flare of heat. A spark of desire. There was a world of seduction in that look, and she felt the power of it curl through her, warm and enticing.
“Can I buy you a drink?”
She wasn’t sure what she expected him to say, but considering the way the air was currently crackling between them, it wasn’t that.
Amused, she looked back over her shoulder to the windows of The Fix. “I think you just did.”
“Good point. You’re welcome.”
Laughing, she nodded. “And yes. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, and I can offer other options. Whiskey, for example. Or Amy’s Ice Cream.”
“Tempting,” she admitted, laughing at the juxtaposition.
His eyes caught and captured hers. “Or we could simply talk. Just name your pleasure. What do you say?”
She drew in a breath, aroused by the innocent words and the not so innocent tone in which he’d delivered them. She slid her hands along her skirt, drying her palms . “Why?”
His lips twitched. “If you don’t know, the answer is probably no. Too bad for me.”
She considered lying. After all, this guy was too appealing—she could tell that right away. It would be too easy to enjoy his company. To get twisted up in something inconvenient and complicated that she neither wanted nor needed right now.
But then he smiled, and she found herself smiling back. “Yeah,” she said. “A drink sounds great.”
He nodded toward the door. “After you?”
As much as she loved the drinks at The Fix, she was tight with too many people there. By the time she and Mr. Glasses parted ways, Reece would have undoubtedly called Jenna, and Amanda would have half a dozen texts or voicemails.
“Got another suggestion?”
“I do,” he said. “How about the Winston Hotel?”
“Perfect.” The Austin location of the Texas-based international chain of high-end hotels was only a short walk from The Fix and boasted an elegant bar. “I’m Amanda, by the way.” She extended her hand.
He took it, and a coil of pure lust curled through her. Yeah. There was definitely chemistry. “Derek,” he said, and from the tone of his voice she couldn’t tell if he’d been equally affected by their connection. But he held her hand a little longer than etiquette required, and when he finally pulled away, Amanda had to fight a tangible wave of disappointment.
“Are you local?” she asked as they walked down Brazos toward the river
He shook his head. “No, but I love Austin. I come here a lot for business. That’s why I’m here now, actually.” He paused long enough to catch her eye. “I leave for Dallas tomorrow morning.”
“Oh.” Most women wouldn’t perk up when they learned their date for the evening was geographically undesirable. But Amanda was not most women. And as far as she was concerned, Mr. Derek Glasses’s appeal had just spiked up a notch or two.
She smiled at him. “Then I guess it’s lucky we met.”
“Yeah,” he said, looking at her with the kind of undeniable heat designed to make a woman melt. “Very lucky, indeed.”