Excerpt for Just Love Me 1 : A Best Friend's Brother Romance by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is entirely coincidental. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Copyright © 2016 by C. C. Cartwright

Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs



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I’m God’s gift to women. What can I say?

When I’m out and about, I catch the ladies checking out the goods.

I’m at the beach today, and my sister has her posse of friends with her.

One, in particular, is beyond beautiful, with a killer body to match.

"Justin, don’t you remember me?” she asks in the most sensual voice

I’ve heard in a long, long time.

"Sloane Hart, is that you?” I utter in disbelief. It’s my little sister’s best friend,

all grown up and filled out in all the right places.

Needless to say, I don’t waste a minute getting her alone.

After I take her out to dinner, I get her back to my place for a little slap and tickle session.

Things get hot and heavy and we’re just about to do the dirty deed

when I sense something isn’t right. She’s tense.

“Can you go slow and easy?” she asks timidly.

She’s a virgin?

I don’t mess with virgins anymore, not since high school.

Next. I’m moving on. I don’t want Sloane, dear Sloane, getting stuck on me.

After a couple of months, I’m usually done and over it. I tell her I’m doing her a favor.

The problem is that I can’t stop thinking about her. When I see other guys hitting on her, it makes my blood boil.

This can’t continue. Sloane Hart is getting under my skin.


I was invisible to him.

Justin Harlow is my best friend's brother,

and I’ve been in love with him for as long as I can remember.

Fast forward ten years later, and I’m at the Harlow family's beach party.

Justin has one killer set of abs and is devilishly handsome.

Mr. God’s gift to women notices me today.

The way his eyes rake over my body from head to toe tells me he wants me.

He says I’ve grown up and filled out in all the right places.

He’s dangerous for my heart and my body.

I know I’m in trouble.



I’m enjoying a day at the beach when my sister, Kylie, shows up with her little posse of girlfriends. None of them are much to look at except for one, and she looks vaguely familiar.

I admire her from a distance for a good part of the day. As I play volleyball with my buddies, she comes and watches. Of course, I put on a show for her. You see, I’m God’s gift to women. I have a hard, lean body, which I work hard at maintaining, and the chicks dig it. I see Kylie’s sexy friend looking in my direction.

We take a break and decide to cool off in the waves. While my buddies and I are body surfing, I see Kylie’s enticing friend standing at the water’s edge in her teeny weeny bikini. I decide to venture onto shore and approach her as I walk out of the water.

“Hi, Justin, don’t you remember me?” I hear a very feminine voice greet me as I walk up to her.

“Wait a minute—is that you, Sloane?” I finally realize who she is.

“Yes, don’t you recognize me?” She shoves me teasingly with her soft hands, making the skin on my wet chest sizzle.

“You’ve grown up,” I say, making no bones about eyeing her from head to toe. She actually blushes.

“So I’ve been told,” she says.

“How long has it been since I’ve laid eyes on you?” I eye her again.

“Too long,” she says in her seductive voice.

“What are you up to now?”

“I’m in my last year at Pepperdine,” she replies. So she’s still local for me, and my ears perk up . . . as well as other parts of my body.

“How about you?”

“I live and work in LA now,” I reply.

“Oh, that’s right. Kylie told me.”

The amount of sex appeal she packs in that petite frame of hers would have a guy hard in seconds. I’m already dying to get between those long, sexy legs of hers. I can tell she knows it by the way she moves and tilts her head and pierces me with those sultry, exotic eyes of hers. The way her lips move leaves me fantasizing about having them wrapped around me.

Her voice is the perfect combination of deep and throaty, yet it has a flirtatious lilt to it. Seriously, she could bottle it and sell it like an expensive perfume.

From eyeing her in her tiny bikini, which leaves little to the imagination, I peg her measurements to be 34-24-34. Pure perfection. She’s probably a C-cup, a large handful, which looks even larger on her svelte body. She catches me eyeing her like a dog eyes a bone. Yes, I want to consume her. But I have to approach this one just right. She definitely gets her share of attention and can pick and choose who she lets into her bed—that would be my guess.

Judging by the way she sways those curvaceous hips of hers, she ain’t no virgin. She has probably heard every line that a guy on the make can throw her way. I need to think of my approach, although I have never had a problem getting what I want from the female persuasion.

As we continue to converse, I can tell that, on top of her enticing physical attributes, she’s also articulate and smart. I find this to add to her appeal, not take away from it. I’m not like most guys. I need a girl who’s smart and will challenge me to hold my interest. She’s still in school, studying business law at Pepperdine.

I just graduated and set myself in a cool bachelor pad overlooking the city in one of those high-rise condos in Downtown LA. I just started working at Goldman Sachs as an up-and-coming investment banker.

As our beach party winds down, I manage to score Sloane’s number and a date with her for next Saturday night. I will be counting the days until I can get my hands on that sinful body of hers.



I’ve taken Sloane out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, and we’ve been dancing in the hottest club in LA. And although I’ve enjoyed her company, we’re back at my place and I’m more than ready to enjoy that luscious body of hers. I’ve been fantasizing about sinking myself into it all week.

Did you know that a guy thinks about sex, on average, about twenty times a day? There have been studies on it. It’s been proven, and I can vouch for that. I’m living proof of this theory.

Once I lure her into my bedroom, I move quickly, like a tiger does with its prey. I want to devour her. I’ve got her naked, and she’s splayed out on my bed with her long, silky hair falling across my pillow.

Now I’m perched right where I want to be, between her sinuous legs. I dive into her intoxicating scent. I roll my tongue over her sensitive bud, and she flinches up hard against my lips. I pull it into my mouth, and as I suck it in, my eyes watch her as she gasps and starts fisting my sheets. Her luscious tits arch up, and I can see her nipples peak. I continue my assault on her slick bud before I slide a finger into her.

Damn, she’s tight as a virgin.

She tenses. “Oh, Justin.” She moans, then opens her eyes and gazes down at me in surprise.

“Relax and enjoy,” I soothe. I’ve got her right where I want her, primed and ready for me. Soon, she’ll be begging for me. They all do.

I slowly crawl back up her curvaceous body, admiring the view before I settle my hips between her thighs. My steely shaft is ready and waiting to enter her slice of heaven. I take her lips in a scorching kiss that she deepens. She’s panting for me. I take my shaft and glide the tip along her slick folds.

“Justin.” She swallows as if she’s hesitant all of a sudden.

“What is it?” I ask.

“Can you go slow and easy?” she asks softly, her eyes searching mine.

“Sure,” I reply, a little caught off guard. I was just about ready to plunder her, but suddenly, something doesn’t seem right. I hear it in her voice, in her request.

“Sloane, this isn’t your first . . .” I stop mid-sentence as she starts to nod her head yes.


I want to scream, “No way! How is this possible?” But I hold back. I only let out a loud sigh. I can’t do this now.

“Wow.” I sigh, rolling off her and onto my back as I stare at the ceiling, cursing my luck.

“Justin, we still can, you know . . .” She trails off.

No, we can’t. I can’t be the one to take her V-card. Too much responsibility in that. She’ll get all clingy, and that’s the last thing I need right now. I know how I operate. Once I’ve had her, I’ll tire of her after a couple of months and move on. That’s how it’s always been, for as long as I can remember. I don’t want to do that to Sloane, especially if this is her first time. Man, hold it together. I need to think with my big head, not my little one.

Sloane rolls onto her side and teases me by dragging her fingertips down my chest and abs, and then she takes me in her warm, soft hand.

“Come on, big boy. Let me finish you off. Show me the way,” she purrs.

“How is it possible that a girl that looks like you, with a body that moves like that, is still a virgin?” Her eyes cast down, and she looks embarrassed by my question.

“I just want to really feel for the person I give my virginity to. Is that such a crime?” she asks.

Hey, don’t get me wrong here. I’ve always had a soft spot for my little sister’s friend. I always thought she was cute and sweet. Heck, I knew she was crushing on me. Then she showed up that day at the beach party, and damn, she had grown up into one tantalizing woman, sexy-as-sin in her skimpy bikini, which left me rock hard. All the guys noticed her that day. I saw them eyeing her all afternoon. None dared approach her but me.

“Sloane, I can’t do this.”

“You can’t or you won’t?” she throws back, looking wounded.

“I have to think about it.”

Who the hell just said that?

“Don’t think, just feel,” Sloane says seductively as she rolls on top of me, lifts off and starts kissing her way down my chest.

My cock twitches, and I know I’m in trouble.

I feel her long, black hair tickle my abs as she ventures down lower and lower, until I feel the heat of her breath moving along my shaft, teasing me slowly before she flicks it with feather-light, quick strokes up and down along its ridges. Just when I think I can’t take another minute of this torture, she takes me deep into her warm mouth.

“Ahhh,” I groan. She’s working me into a frenzy. I want to push her head down further onto me, but I manage to resist. It’s dear, sweet Sloane, after all. Now she moves back up my body and is straddling me, her face next to mine.

“I want this. I want you,” she says as her warm breath caresses my ear. Her pert nipples graze my chest, and I desperately need to be inside her, rocking her world right now. But a voice of reason keeps me from diving off the deep end and into her.

“No, Sloane, I’m not what you want. I can’t give you what you want.”

I try to talk some sense into both of us before we take the plunge.

“Oh, but I think you can,” she murmurs, her voice thick with want.

No, I know she wants more than what this would be for me.

I can’t let this happen.

I would never want to be the one to break her heart, the virgin’s heart, I remind myself.

“Get off me, Sloane,” comes out of my mouth, and it sounds harsh, almost cruel. I didn’t mean for it to come out that way.

She climbs off me and out of bed.

She looks beyond hurt and a little pissed.

She starts searching for her clothes.

“Take me home,” she barks out in an unrecognizable voice, and she won’t even look at me.

I feel like such a chump, but trust me, she’ll be thanking me later.

I drive her home in silence. What’s there to say?

We pull up to her building, and she gets out without a word, slams the door, and doesn’t look back.

Am I a fool to let that nice piece of ass walk away?

Damn, she’s more than a piece of ass, and you know it.

She’s Sloane, she’s special, and you know you’re not man enough for her.

She needs to be treated right.

I remind myself of this so that I will stay away from the temptation of Sloane Hart.



Once Justin drops me off from the world’s most humiliating date in history, I get into my bedroom, throw myself onto my bed, and have a good cry.

I was so elated when Justin called and invited me out for dinner. This was going to be a real date with Justin, the boy turned Adonis, who I’ve had a crush on for as long as I can remember. Can you imagine how I felt inside? While getting ready for the date, I was giddy with excitement.

Things were going so well, we were getting along, and I was having the best time. Everything just felt so right. To me, anyway. Once he got me back to his place, we started fooling around, and he practically had me begging for it with his tongue alone. I was going to give him my virginity tonight.

I was afraid to admit that I was indeed still a virgin. But I got so nervous when he was about to enter me that I couldn’t stop myself from saying something. When I did, his whole demeanor changed, and he threw it back in my face. What guy does that?

Maybe I wasn’t sexy enough for him. Maybe my inexperience showed. I get up and stand in front of my full-length mirror and stare at my body, then I cup my breasts. They seem decent sized. What didn’t he like? I’m going to bed now. I can’t try and figure out what he likes and doesn’t like. All I know is he doesn’t want me, and it hurts.

The next morning, I wake up, my eyes still swollen from last night’s crying fest—but it’s a new day.

“How was your date with Justin?” my roommate, Emily, asks. Then she takes one look at me with my swollen eyes and says, “That good, huh?”

“Yeah, he didn’t want me,” I admit.

“How is that possible? Just look at you,” she says, trying to be nice.

All I can do is shrug. “Go figure. I give up. I’m throwing in the towel on this one.”

“It baffles me, honestly,” she says.

“Hey, it is what it is,” I say, pouring myself a mug of coffee.

“Man, if this is what happens to you with your beauty and body, there is no hope for me . . . ever,” she half-jokes.

“Stop it, Emily. You’re freaking adorable.”

“Yeah, yeah,” she replies with a wave of her hand.

“What makes it worse is that I have to see him again today. I promised Kylie I would come down for a barbeque this afternoon. I so hope he’s not there. I will feel so embarrassed and humiliated.”

“Sloane, you have nothing to feel embarrassed about. You go down there looking smoking hot—like you always do—and find some other guy to have a good time with. Do you hear me?” Emily says, trying to lift my spirits like the good friend that she is.


Emily and I arrive at the Harlow house at the appointed hour. I brought Emily for moral support. I see Justin’s car parked in the driveway, and my heart sinks.

“Come on, Sloane, you can do it,” Emily says to me as she sees me staring at Justin’s car.

“God, why does he have to be here?” I pout.

“Because it’s his house.” Emily states the obvious.

“Let’s head down to the beach. Kylie texted me and said that’s where they all are right now.”

There’s a good crowd this afternoon, the usual suspects and a few I don’t recognize. I find Kylie and give her a hug, and she greets Emily. I look around for Justin, and he’s playing volleyball with three other guys.

“Come on, let’s go lay out and work on our tans,” Kylie says, and we follow her to her umbrella and beach chairs set up by the volleyball court.

I take off my dress and adjust my string bikini so nothing is hanging out and everything is appropriately covered before I lie down on my towel—just as a ball lands right next to me, spraying my face with sand.

“Hey,” I object.

“Sorry about that,” a deep, masculine voice says apologetically. I look up into the most incredible blue eyes I have ever seen. Who is this?

“No worries,” I stammer out, and Kylie giggles at me. The guy trots off back to the court.

“Stop laughing, and WHO is that?” I don’t hesitate to ask.

Maybe Emily was right in that I should find someone new to have a good time with.

“Pretty hot, isn’t he? He’s a friend of Justin’s from work. His name is Connor Love,” Kylie replies with a straight face.

“You’re joking about his name, right?” I say, half-laughing.

“No, seriously, that’s his name. Kind of funny, isn’t it? But from the looks of him, I bet he could dish out some serious love,” Kylie teases. She’s right on that one. “I see him looking at you.”

“Stop it, he is not.”

If he is, then I welcome the attention.

I definitely need the ego boost after last night’s debacle.

I’ll die if Justin tells his buddies how undesirable I am and that I’m still the dreaded virgin.

As the sun goes down, Andre, the Harlows’ personal chef, starts getting the fire burning. We gather around the picnic tables by the fire pit. I put my dress back on and a sweater, as it’s starting to get a little chilly. I catch myself stealing glances at Justin. I eye his chest and his delicious abs, in particular, remembering kissing his smooth skin and the way his tongue felt down there. Stop it, Sloane. He doesn’t want you. Get over it.

“Hi, I’m Connor,” Mr. Blue Eyes says, coming up alongside me with all the confidence in the world.

“Hi, Connor, I’m Sloane,” I say in a friendly tone, even though he makes me a bit nervous.

“So, you’re friends with Kylie?” he asks.

“Yeah, we’ve been friends forever,” I reply. “How long have you been friends with Justin? I haven’t ever seen you at one of their parties before.”

“We met at Goldman Sachs. We started together. Do you want to take a walk before dinner?”

“Sure,” I agree, and we break away from the group. Then, suddenly, Justin is in our faces.

“Where are you two going?” he says almost confrontationally.

“Hey, man, just for a walk before dinner. Is that a crime?” Connor says, not backing down.

“Don’t be gone long. Dinner is almost ready,” Justin huffs out and lets us by.

“What’s his problem?” I ask Connor as we walk away from the group.

“He seems oddly possessive of you. Do you know why?”

“I have no idea. We’ve known each other forever. Maybe it’s a big brother protective thing going on,” I say, trying to play off that angle. That must be what it is, because I know he can’t possibly be jealous. You only get jealous when you want that person, and I know for a fact that he doesn’t want me.

I learn that Connor went to Cornell and just moved out here to start with Goldman Sachs as an investment banker. Looks and brains. I like that combination. He sounds like he’s doing well. We head back and join the group. I’m famished by now. We fill our plates, and Connor sits with us girls.

I barely look at Justin, although I sense he is nearby and staring at us. After dinner, I’m in the mood for s’mores, my absolute favorite dessert.

“Come on, Sloane, let’s roast the marshmallows for our s’mores.” These are the first words Justin has spoken directly to me since I’ve been here. I’m pissed with him. I don’t even respond. He hands me two marshmallows and the skewer. “Come on,” he coaxes again, and I can’t be rude, so I get up and follow him.

We sit down next to each other companionably, even though I’m feeling anything but companionable toward the man who rejected me last night.

“Look, Sloane, I’m sorry about last night,” he says softly.

I just continue to stare into the fire, refusing to look at him. The feeling of humiliation is washing through me again. I don’t want to talk about last night.

“I don’t want to talk about it. Forget it,” I clip out.

“You should be thanking me anyway,” he continues.

“Yeah, whatever.”

“I’m saving you from heartache,” Mr. Egomaniac goes on.

“Yeah, I know. You’re God’s gift to women. Thanks for saving me from you,” I say, full of sarcasm that I didn’t know I had in me.

“That’s not what I mean,” he says defensively.

“Look, I get it. You don’t find me desirable. That’s fine, but must you rub my face in it?”

Why am I even engaging in this conversation?

“Sloane, you don’t get it.” He stews.

“Enlighten me, then.”

“Not here, not now,” he replies.

“Whatever. Be cryptic then.”

My marshmallows are done, and I stand up to go and find the chocolate and graham crackers. He follows me. I just can’t shake him. Once we put our s’mores together, he says, “Come walk with me.”

“No.” I refuse to be humiliated and ridiculed yet again by him and his words of explanation as to why he finds me undesirable and not good enough to sleep with.

“Sloane, don’t be like that. I want to explain where I’m coming from, and you will thank me. I promise.”

“Justin, don’t bother making any promises to me. Just don’t bother with me at all anymore. Deal? All you do is make me feel bad about myself,” I say, looking down at the sand while I’m trying to enjoy my s’more.

He takes my hand in his and starts pulling me toward the ocean. I don’t want to make a scene, so I go along grudgingly. We walk along in silence, eating our s’mores. I calm down a bit and think how nice this feels for a brief moment, knowing this will never be real. He’s about to explain to me why he doesn’t want me. Once we get out of view of the party, he stops. I keep my eyes cast down, watching the water as it rolls in and out to sea. I wish I could roll out to sea, rather than having to be here and listen to what Justin has to say to me.

“Sloane, look at me,” he says.

I swallow and let my eyes meet his. I’m still crushing on him in spite of what happened last night, in spite of the rejection.

“Look, all I know is that once I sleep with a girl, it never lasts much past a couple of months. That’s just how I’m wired. I realized once you told me you had never let any guy have you that I knew you deserved way better than I could give you. So I’m saving you for the right guy. Does that make any sense?”

I stand and stare at him, pondering his words. Even if it’s just a couple of months, I’ll take it, but I don’t dare say it out loud. I still want him. What hot-blooded female wouldn’t? Look at the guy.

“I guess I knew you don’t really do long-term relationships. Maybe I’m not looking for long-term.”

Did I just say that?

“Trust me, Sloane, you don’t want me and what I have to offer.”

“Maybe I do.” Shut the hell up, Sloane. Stop begging. Walk away now. “Forget I said that. Let’s just—” I stammer.

His lips are on mine, taking a kiss from me, and I surrender into it, hating myself for it.

“Damn it, Sloane, you’re irresistible, and I realize that I don’t want anyone else near you.”

“Really? You sure were able to resist me last night. You wanted me off you, if I recall correctly.” His words still sting. Why am I still standing here, letting him heat me up yet again and tease me just to push me away?

You’re a first-class fool, Sloane Hart. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Walk, girl. Start walking away. I turn to leave, and he grabs me by both arms and pulls me in for another hard and desperate kiss. My lips part for him and that talented tongue of his. I want his tongue on my most intimate places again. I break away and wipe his kiss off my lips with the back of my hand.

“Stop. I won’t be a fool again, Justin. Just leave me alone. Stop teasing me. You don’t really want me,” I spit out at him.

He grabs my hand and presses it to the steel pipe in his shorts.

“Does this feel like a man who doesn’t really want you?”

God, I have the sudden urge to drop to my knees this minute and suck him in. He’s turning me on and making me so wet between my legs. The temptation is unbearable. He knows exactly what he’s doing. But I let out a wicked laugh.

“What’s so funny?” he asks, letting me pull my hand away.

“Any guy can get hard from a kiss. Look, let’s go with your first instinct, Justin, and that was for me to ‘get off you’. Let’s leave it at that, shall we? Go find some other girl to relieve you tonight, because it won’t be me.” I stalk off, and this time, he doesn’t stop me.

Boy, he was right to save me from him and all of his delicious heartache. We haven’t even slept together, just some fooling around, and my heart is already breaking. Imagine if I did give him my virginity. I would be an absolute mess when he was through with me.

He’s right. I should be thanking him.



Why does she have to look so smoking hot today in yet another barely there bikini that shows off all of her amazing attributes?

When she showed up, all of my buddies’ jaws dropped and the volleyball game ceased for a few minutes—at least until she took off her beach cover-up. Then they were literally drooling out the sides of their mouths.

My hands clenched into fists.

Not a single one of these dogs had better try anything with Sloane. She is strictly off limits to any of these bad boys.

Then Connor goes and tosses the ball in her direction, making it land right by her. I’m sure he wanted to get an up close and personal view of her incredible curves.

Pisses me off.

“Hey, come on, Connor, knock it off. Let’s play,” I call out to him from the other side of the net.

“That’s exactly what I’m trying to do, bro,” Connor throws back at me with a knowing smile.

Burns me.

“Ok, come on, then. Serve the damn ball,” I reply heatedly.

As the sun goes down, Andre starts the fire and gets dinner ready for us.

I see Connor approach Sloane, and she starts flirting with him.

Why the hell is Connor making a play for her? I feel like screaming, “Back off!” to his face.

When I see him try to get her alone, I have to try and stop them, but it’s to no avail.

Then after dinner, it’s my turn to try and explain myself to her and get her alone. What am I doing? What do I want here? Last night, I thought I had decided she was off limits for me. I wasn’t going to go any further down that road once I found out she was a virgin. I’ve known Sloane for so long, since she was in her tween years.

She has morphed into a beautiful and incredibly sexy woman. I literally can’t take my eyes off her, especially when she’s in a barely-there bikini. I imagine doing all kinds of things to her body made for sin. The ironic thing is that she has saved herself, for some reason beyond me. How can a body like that still have not experienced the pleasures of the flesh? It baffles me, quite frankly.

Only this time, in the heat of the moment, what does she do?

She laughs at me while her hand is on my raging hard on. Do you know how it makes a guy feel when a girl laughs at him while she’s holding his manhood in her hand? Trust me, it’s not a good feeling. She took some of my manhood with her when she walked away from me tonight—I’ll tell you that much—but maybe I deserved it.

Let her walk away for good, Justin. You’re saving that sweet girl from heartache. She’s becoming hard to resist, but I don’t want her hooking up with Connor. He’s worse than I am when it comes to women. He would chew her up and spit her out.

I have to let the rise in my shorts go down before I walk back to where the group is gathered. When I do get back, Connor is hovering around Sloane with his phone out. I’ll be damned if he’s getting her phone number.

“Hey, Connor, can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Excuse me, Sloane,” Connor says, trying to act like the gentleman he is not.

“Sure,” she says back to him with a flirtatious smile.

“You can’t take her out,” I come right out and say to Connor once we’re out of earshot.

“Oh? And why not?” he says with a sly smile, and I just about want to punch that smile off his face. What reason on earth can I give him?

“Because I’m interested in her,” I blurt out.

“Really? You never said anything before.”

“I’m telling you now—she’s off limits to you.”

“Why don’t we let her decide? She gave me her phone number, which leads me to believe if I called her, she would go out with me,” Connor says.

“Look, Sloane is special. You can’t just use her for your pleasure and then cast her aside.”

“Oh? And what were you planning on doing with her?”

Guilty as charged.

“That, my friend, is none of your business.”

“Alright, I’ll back off,” Connor agrees.

I glance over at Sloane, and she’s glaring at me. Connor says his goodbyes to everyone and walks off to his car.

“How dare you? Did you just tell Connor not to call me?” Sloane breathes fire at me.

“He’s not right for you. I know that much,” I reply.

“You have some nerve, Justin. I can’t tell you how angry that makes me. First, you don’t want me, but you won’t let anyone else have me either,” she whispers.

She looks like she’s on the verge of tears.



At the office this week, I have trouble concentrating. All I can think about is Sloane and how upset and hurt she was the night we parted ways at the beach. Knowing I was the jackass to cause her to feel that way has left me riddled with guilt. I want to make it up to her. I even followed her to her place that night, but the smart girl wouldn’t let me in. I guess I’m glad. We both know what would’ve happened.

Why the hell can’t I stop thinking about her and her sinful curves and the sensuous way she moaned when I was feasting on her? And damn, the way she sucked and licked had me almost going over the edge.

Stop it, Justin. Now you’ve got a tent in your trousers.

“Hey, lunch today?” It’s Connor, the last person I want to see today. I’ve been purposely avoiding him.

“Yeah, sure, give me a few and we can go.” I agree to have lunch with him, but first, I need to let my tent subside. I cuss to myself under my breath.

“How goes it?” Connor asks once we’re sitting down and eating lunch at the local sandwich place, which is within walking distance of our offices in Century City.

“You know you’re breaking the man code, right?” I ask.

“What?” Connor plays stupid.

“Sloane,” I say in reply.

“Oh yeah, Sloane,” he says, and he gets this silly grin on his face.

“What’s so funny?”

“She called me,” Connor replies.

My fists clench under the table.

“This morning, she called my office,” he says.


Now I’m the one asking the stupid questions.

“Why do you think?”

“You aren’t taking her out, are you?” I ask, trying to keep my cool.

“I haven’t decided,” Connor replies, and I look away.

I’m seething.

“Look, Justin, she makes it sound like she’s not dating anyone, so what’s the harm if I take her out?” he asks.

“I told you she’s special, and I’m interested in her.”

“That’s not what she intimated.”

“What did she say?” I ask.

“Well, when she hinted about getting together this weekend, I came out and asked her if anything was going on between you two. She gave me an emphatic no. She said there was absolutely nothing going on between you. She was basically giving me the green light.”

I sit there and look off into the distance, knowing there’s not a thing I can do about it. I know for a fact that Connor is fooling around with one of the assistants at the office.

Get a grip, Justin. Find yourself a date this weekend to relieve the pressure that’s been building in your briefs all week.

“Yeah, whatever. Do what you like. But know I’m not happy about it. Like I said before, you’re breaking the man code.”

We finish our lunch in silence.

Once I get home from work tonight, I feel restless. I toss and turn all night.

The mere thought of her giving herself to a guy like Connor is eating me up inside. It really should be me, but it can’t be me. I know myself. It won’t last, and Sloane deserves more than Connor or I can give her.

I need to talk some sense into her.

I’ll try one more time, in person.



Justin has now made me determined to lose it to the next guy that comes along. No more saving myself for love. That’s a pipe dream.

Justin made me feel like a freak of nature just because I’ve been saving myself. He made me feel like I wasn’t sexy enough for him or anyone else, for that matter.

Just when my confidence was at an all-time low, his hunky friend was nice enough and seemed interested in taking me out. Maybe Connor could be my first. At this point, I don’t care if I’m in love or not, even though that’s how I always dreamed it would be.

I wanted to be in love with the man I gave my first time to.

Is that such a crime?

Justin made me feel like it was, so forget it then. I’m on a mission now, and I choose Connor Love. He’s a hunk of hotness and seems ready and willing. If he listens to Justin and doesn’t call me by the end of the week, I’m calling him at work. It’s out of character for me, but thanks to Justin bruising my ego, I’ve become a girl on a mission to prove to myself that I’m desirable.


I just got back from the hardest business law exam, and my brain hurts. Sometimes, I wonder why I chose law, as it doesn’t come easy to me, but I’ve always dreamed of being a lawyer, so I’m determined to achieve my dream.

I’m fixing myself some Kraft macaroni and cheese from the blue box when there’s a knock at my door. It startles me. Emily isn’t home, and it makes me uneasy.

Who could that be? I wonder. I walk over to the door and peer out the peephole. Ugh, what’s he doing here?

“Justin, what are you doing here?” I ask rudely, one hand on the doorknob and one hand on my waist.

He waltzes in right past me.

“Won’t you come in?” I say sarcastically and close the door behind me.

“I came to talk some sense into you.”

He’s a little pissed and treating me like a child—like his little sister’s friend.

I don’t have a bra on, and I catch him staring at my chest. My nipples harden under his heated gaze, and my breath picks up a notch.

He’s the one I really want, not Connor. Justin fills my body with lust and desire just by the way he looks at me. He needs to leave. I notice him look away and shake his head.

“Justin, you need to leave,” I say with breathlessness to my voice. It’s all I can do to keep my hands to myself.

Do you have any idea how long I have wanted this man?

Stop it, Sloane. He doesn’t want you that way.

“Not until I say what I came to say. You can’t go out with Connor. He’s a total womanizer and player. He will eat you up and be done with you in no time. He never sticks around. It’s all a conquest thing for him. I’m warning you,” he says firmly.

“Did you tell him I was a . . .?” I huff out, letting him fill in the blank.

“No, of course not. I did tell him you were special, hoping he would stay away from you, but then he told me you called him.”

“I did.”


“Because I needed an ego boost, alright? You left me feeling like something was wrong with me, like I couldn’t get a man to sleep with me. Well, I intend to see if I can. No more sweet virgin for me,” I say defiantly.

“And so you’re just going to give it to him—just like that?” he barks out with a snap of his fingers.

I don’t give him an answer as I walk into the kitchen to check on my pasta. “It’s none of your business what I chose to do, now is it?” I reply without looking at him as I stir the pot on the stove.

He stares at me from the living room.

“What are you eating, macaroni and cheese from a box?” he asks, picking up the box and looking at it in distaste.

“It’s all I had in the house and it’s good,” I reply in my own defense. “Not everyone has an unlimited budget.” I turn my steely gaze on him.

“Go get dressed, and put a bra on, for God’s sake. I’ll take you out for a proper dinner,” he says, turning alpha male on me.

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re bossy and demanding?” I ask, crossing my arms across my chest.

“Only my mother. Now get dressed before I reach over and squeeze your tantalizing attributes,” he teases as his eyes shift to my chest.

I know I blush as my cheeks feel like they’re on fire.

“We wouldn’t want that to happen, now would we?” I tease back, brushing past him, making my chest graze his arms.

I head into my room with a grin across my face. He makes me so mad, but I still love him. Secretly, I wish he would follow me into my bedroom and take me right now.

I walk into my closet and look across my hanging clothes for something to wear. I settle on my latest go-to outfit, skinny Joe’s jeans, an orange sleeveless blouse and a textured white fabric moto-style jacket. I don’t think I will wear a bra . . . just to annoy him.

Running a brush through my hair, I then apply some makeup and finish my look off with some plum lip-gloss. I admire myself in the mirror, reminding myself that I’m sexy and can attract a man if I really want to.

“I’m ready,” I announce, walking into the living room. Justin looks at home on my sofa, flipping through the latest issue of US magazine.

“You look nice.” He actually gives me a compliment.

He takes me to this hip and trendy upscale pizza place in downtown Brentwood.

“How’s school going?” he asks over dinner.

“I had this killer business law exam today. My brain still hurts from it. I’m exhausted from studying late last night.”

“So your passion is law?”

“Yes, I’ve always dreamed of being a lawyer.”

“You were always the smart and driven one between you and my sister.”

“Kylie is the artsy one. I’ve always been the nerdy, brainy one,” I reply.

“Sloane, my dear, you are far from nerdy.”

“Yeah, yeah, tell me more.”

“Seriously, you have it going on. Trust me on that one,” he says, eyeing me like a wolf.

“Spare me, okay?”

“Look, I’m sorry if I affected your confidence, but trust me on this one—you’re so scorching hot now. At the beach, in your bikini, didn’t you see all my friends drooling over you? They stopped playing volleyball the minute you walked up, and when you took your cover-up off, they were left speechless.”

“Justin, shut up. Now you’re going overboard. You’re so full of it.”

“I kid you not,” he says.

I tuck my hair behind my ear, and my face heats up from his words. He’s just saying that to try and make up for rebuffing me the other night. He looks so good, sitting across from me relaxed and being his usual, charming self. I wish we could work out, but he’s fighting it. Who am I to beg him? I will never beg.

We reminisce about when we were younger and the silly things we used to do. I used to always try and get his attention during those awkward preteen years. I cringe inside when I think about how dorky I was back them.

“So, you’re not going out with Connor this weekend, right?”

“I can’t make you any promises.”

“Go out with me instead.”

“No, thank you.”

“Why not?”

“Been there, done that. You had your chance.”

His eyes penetrate mine from across the table.

“Sloane, I’m warning you to stay away from Connor.”

“I’ll do as I please.”

“Do I have to put you over my knee and spank you?”

“Now that sounds tempting,” I tease seductively, dragging my tongue across my lips as Justin watches my tongue. I see him swallow hard.

“Let’s go,” he says gruffly.



When I got to Sloane’s apartment tonight and she answered the door braless, I just about died. I wanted to ravage her right then and there. It was all I could do to resist the temptation that is Sloane Hart.

She was stubborn and wouldn’t listen to reason. She still wants to go out with Connor, and I was so desperate to stop her that I asked her out. She turned me down. She said I’d had my chance, and she was right on that one.

Why am I such a jerk around her? Why have I become so fucking possessive of her? What’s up with that? I suppose it’s because I’ve known her for so long and she’s Kylie’s friend. A little bit of a big brother thing going on . . . that’s it, right?

Stop fooling yourself, Justin. You don’t like her like a big brother, and you know it, as evidenced by your freaking hard on every time she’s near. Yet, I left her feeling undesirable, and she is anything but undesirable.

I’m pissed at myself, because now I’m the reason she has become determined to give it up to the next guy who comes along. I won’t let that happen, but honestly, how can I stop it, as hard as I might try? All I’m doing is banging my head against the wall.

“Hey, Kylie,” I say after she picks up her phone.

“Hey, Justin. Why are you calling? You never call me,” Kylie says in greeting.

“Can’t a big brother call to check on how his little sister is doing?” I reply.

“Cut to the chase—what’s up?”

“Alright, how’s your friend, Sloane, doing?” I dare to ask.

“Fine, why?”

“Oh, no reason. Is she going out with my friend, Connor, this weekend?”

“I don’t know. She did say she was going to call him if he didn’t call her. That’s so out of character for her, to chase after a guy. Usually, they’re the one’s doing the chasing. Chasing after her. Why do you care?” Kylie asks, full of sass for me.

“No reason,” I reply.

“Bullshit. Are you interested in her after all these years? She used to have the biggest crush on you. You knew that, right?”

The operative words there are used to. “Yeah, I had a feeling. She looks pretty amazing now, I must admit.”

“Hey, Justin, leave her alone. I’m warning you, I don’t want you hurting her. She’s still pretty innocent, one of those girls who’s saving herself for what she deems to be true love. She’s really picky about the guys she’ll give the time of day to, so you’d better watch it.”

“Yeah, I figured as much.”

“Don’t you dare go there with her,” Kylie scolds.

I know she’s right on all counts. I need to go and take a cold shower and peruse my phone app for a girl to keep me company this weekend.

Unfortunately, the only girl I’m in the mood for is off-limits.

My fingers dial Sloane’s number.

“Go out with me on Saturday,” I ask Sloane, who is on the other end of the line.

“Who is this?” she asks.


“Hmmm, maybe if you asked me rather than told me what to do, I would consider saying yes,” she replies, and I can hear the smile behind her voice.

“Would you like to go out with me on Saturday night?”

“What did you have in mind?” she asks, not making this easy for me. She may be a virgin, but she knows how to play the dating game and tease the hell out of me. She’s making me work for it now.

“Dinner, maybe hit a club afterward. If I recall correctly, you like to dance.”

“Yes, I love going to clubs any chance I get, which hasn’t been that often as of late.”

“So, is that a yes?”

“I suppose.”

“Don’t sound so enthusiastic,” I say in my deadpan voice. She laughs.

“Alright, Justin, I would love to go out with you on Saturday. What time are you picking me up?”

“How does six sound?”


“See you then.”

“Looking forward to it.”

Damn, what am I getting myself into?

Hopefully, I will be getting myself into Sloane Hart.

All I know is I’m torturing myself and doing something I know is wrong—wrong for her and wrong for me—but I just can’t stop myself.


“You can just drop me off,” Sloane says as I pull up in front of her building. Dinner and the club were a good time, but now I’m going to get what I came for, the whole reason I wined and dined her.

“No, a true gentleman walks his date to the door,” I say, pulling up along the curb, where I kill the engine and open my door.

“A true gentleman takes what he’s offered,” she says with a hint of sarcasm.

Ouch, that hit below the belt.

“And besides, this is not a date,” Sloane comments.

“How do you know? What makes you say it isn’t?” I ask.

“Trust me. I know you’re no longer interested in me, so this is not a date. You don’t have to worry. I won’t be crushing on you anymore. I got your message loud and clear last weekend.”

As I follow her up the stairs to her apartment, she looks enticing in her skintight short skirt, which clings to her every sinful curve. She wore it for my benefit, no doubt, to tease the hell out of me. The way she sways her hips has me hypnotized. Once we stop outside her front door, it gets awkward.

“Well, goodnight, Justin. Thanks for dinner,” she says softly.

I go in for a kiss, almost out of habit.

She backs off a little, not letting our lips make contact.

“What are you doing?” she asks.

“Trying to kiss you.”


“I don’t know. Out of habit, I guess,” I reply, and instantly, I know I just put my foot in my mouth.

“Justin, you’re a player, aren’t you?” she asks.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.” Why am I such an idiot around her?

“You were right on the beach when you said I should be thanking you. Thank you for not taking me up on my offer last weekend. You knew best after all,” she says.

“To save you from me?” I ask.


“Well, I changed my mind,” I reply, leaning into her and whispering in her ear. My lips brush against her neck. “Let me come in.”

I can sense her body responding to me. I want inside after all.

“Maybe I’ve changed my mind now,” she says, not sounding very convincing.

“I’ll make it worth your while if you let me come in.”

I press my lips against her neck, right below her ear, and then suck her earlobe into my mouth. She lets out a soft gasp.

I know I’m making her wet. I want to venture up her skirt with my fingers and check for myself, but I know I need to go slow with this one.

“Justin, I can’t take your mixed signals.”

“Am I sending mixed signals now? I think you get my message, don’t you?” I say, pressing my body against hers as her back presses against her door. “Are you going to let me come in?”

Sloane closes her eyes, trying to refuse me.

But no girl ever refuses me.

My hand rests on her thigh, and I inch it up slowly until my palm reaches her bare cheek. She’s either wearing a thong or no panties at all.

“Justin,” she breathes out, and I know for a fact that she wants me. She looks up at me with her big brown eyes and I melt. She is so fucking gorgeous, and those lips of hers are parted, begging to be kissed.

“What’s it going to be, Sloane? Are you going to let me in?”

We both understand my double entendre.

“Are you sure you want in?” she asks way more suggestively than any virgin should.

“Yes,” I reply firmly.

“Sorry. Goodnight, Justin.”

She turns and unlocks her door, walks into her apartment alone, and closes the door.

Shot down Harlow.

When was the last time that ever happened?

Sloane is a smart girl, not letting me in.




“Hi, Sloane.”

“Oh, hey, Kylie.”

“Do you want to come with my family to Carmel for Car Week?

“When is it?”

“In a couple of weeks, mid-August. We are going to head up on Wednesday, the fifteenth.”

“Sure, that sounds like a fun time.”

“My parents are renting a house in Carmel. We’ll have our own room.”

“Cool,” I reply, wondering if Justin is going, but I don’t dare ask Kylie. She has warned me off her brother time and time again.

She knows he wouldn’t be good for me.

“Justin is coming and bringing one of his hot friends,” Kylie says.

“Who, Connor?” I ask, although if he knows I’m going, I doubt he would bring Connor.

“No, his friend, Scott, from college. He’s definitely swoon-worthy, let me tell you.”

“I will have to see for myself.”

“Trust me on this one.” Kylie laughs.

“We’re going to ride up with my brother and Scott. We’ll swing by and pick you up that Wednesday morning.

“Okay, great,” I say, trying to sound enthusiastic.

I have my reservations about being in a car with Justin for six hours and sharing a house with him for five days, but I don’t share that with Kylie.


They come and pick me up on Wednesday morning, and when I get outside to the car, Justin is standing at the back of his car with the trunk open.

Even though he has his mirrored aviator sunglasses on, I feel him eye me from head to toe. I’m wearing a short crop top and tight white denim shorts for him to feast his eyes on.

“Hey, beautiful,” Mr. Charming says in greeting.

“Hey, yourself,” I reply. I’m so tempted to give him a peck, but I think better of it. He takes my duffle bag from me and tosses it in the trunk. Being the gentleman that he is, he opens the car door for me to sit behind him and next to Kylie in the back seat.

“Hi, Sloane. This is Scott Morris, Justin’s friend from college,” Kylie says, greeting me and introducing me to Mr. Swoon-worthy. He’s pretty cute, in a boyish sort of way.

“Hi, Scott,” I say, and he returns the hello.

“I like what you have on. Is it new?” Kylie comments on my outfit.

“Thanks. Not really,” I reply as I sense Justin looking at me in the rearview mirror.

I still want him, of course. I will always want him, but I realize the real Justin is unattainable. I have had a glimpse of some parts of him, but he seems unwilling to give himself fully to any girl. For some reason, he holds back. He has told me he doesn’t do long-term relationships and that he tires of girls quickly, so I can’t ever give my heart to him. For me, it’s a lot easier said then done. That’s why we won’t take it any further. We can’t.

Resisting the temptation that’s sitting in the driver’s seat and taking me to Carmel this weekend will be difficult. This will be a tough five days.

Kylie has no idea that Justin and I went out a couple of times. I would never hear the end of it if she knew. She is so against us ever being together.

Our drive along the coast is breathtaking. We stop along the cliffs overlooking the water to take pictures like tourists. Kylie and I take selfies with the view behind us, and I can feel Justin taking me in as the wind whips through my hair.

Likewise, I find myself admiring his delicious backside as we walk back to the car. Oh, how I want to grab his buns in his just-tight-enough jeans, but I don’t dare. Kylie walks ahead and is doing her best at flirting with Scott, and he looks like he’s enjoying it.

Justin and I hang back a few paces from them.

“Those are pretty short shorts you’ve got on, Miss Sloane,” he says huskily.

“I wore them for your benefit.”

He takes me by surprise and wraps his arm around my waist. His hand lands across the bare skin under my crop top. He delicately lets his thumb skim my breast through my lacy bra. “Hey, Mr. Harlow, keep your hands to yourself.” I whisper so Kylie doesn’t overhear.

“This is going to be a tough five days,” he says close to my ear.

“My thoughts exactly. I should’ve never agreed to come.”

“I, for one, am glad you did,” he says with a smile that shows off his dimples.

We all get back in the car for another couple of hours up to Carmel. I drift off to sleep and dream of Justin. Long car rides always lull me to sleep.

“Wake up, Sloane,” Kylie says as she gently rubs my arm.

We are driving up a long, winding driveway, and then the charming Carmel Highlands home they’re renting comes into view. The house is an enchanting old world stone home, and once you go through the front door, you immediately get swept away by the spectacular ocean view from the huge bay windows in the living room. It’s a private and secluded retreat.

Kylie’s parents have already been here a couple of days.

“Hi, kids, how was the drive up?” Mrs. Harlow comes to greet us. Justin and Kylie have the nicest parents. I love them, and they treat me like a daughter.

“Sloane, dear, it’s good to see you.” Mrs. Harlow gives me a warm hug.

“Hi, Mrs. Harlow. This house is amazing. Something smells good,” I say.

“Dad is grilling some steaks, and I have scalloped potatoes baking. We thought you kids would be hungry.”

“Famished, Mom,” Justin answers for all of us.

“Come on, Sloane. Let’s put our stuff in what will be our room,” Kylie says.

“Yes, come on, girls. Let me show you to your room upstairs,” Mrs. Harlow says, and we follow her through the sprawling four-bedroom home.

Once we put our things down, we head out to the deck in the backyard and admire the awe-inspiring view of the Pacific Ocean.

“The view here is spectacular, Mr. Harlow,” I say as I walk up to Kylie’s dad, who is manning the grill.

“Hi, Sloane. Glad you could join us.”

We all sit down at the large table on the deck, and Mr. and Mrs. Harlow have a fabulous dinner prepared for us. Justin sits next to me, and I feel his presence throughout the entire meal.

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