Title: Hard Crush
Author: Mira Lyn Kelly
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 6, 2018
HARD CRUSH is a sizzling standalone romance from USA TODAY Bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly.
A jaded billionaire.
The girl who got away.
A second chance has never been so sexy.
Technology has it out for me. And Iâm not talking about my ever-ailing phone or the temperamental Smart Board in my classroom. Iâm talking about the internationally hailed âTech Geniusâ formerly known as the boy I used to love.
It was bad enough seeing that cocky smile staring back at me from my newsfeeds, the gossip sites, andâfineâthe scorchingly hot menâs fitness magazine I bought in a moment of weakness. But now heâs back home, teasing me with the memories Iâve tried to leave behind, crowding into my space and taunting me with the kiss I canât resist. I know itâs only a matter of time before I lose him again. Heâs already told me he isnât staying, warned me heâs changed. I know better than to let him get too close, so why canât I push him away?
They call me a visionary. An innovator. Hell, last week a headline touted me as the billion-dollar geek keeping Silicon Valleyâs panties wet. Try living that down. Strip away the media BS, and Iâm just a tech-minded guy with my eyes on the future and no time for a past I can't change. So what am I doing following the sweet sound of its laugh back to the woman who passed on our chance at forever?
I tell myself all I want is to say hello. To see her smile. Just a few minutes to pretend weâre still the âusâ I thought would never end. But once I've had a taste of the too tempting woman she's become, a few minutes isnât enough.
The man I am today is used to getting what he wants, and I want her.
The problem? She wants the guy I used to be.
Ten years later, all thatâs changed isâ¦ everything.
I take her hand and remember the thousands of times Iâve done it before. âIâm glad we got to talk. Itâs been too long.â
A few strands of her hair catch in the breeze and I tuck them behind her ear. Only just like with hearing my name and holding her hand, the tactile sensation from the soft strands between my fingers stirs up memories I thought safely put to bed. It gives me ideas I shouldnât be considering.
âHank?â Abby whispers, quiet and confused. âWhat are you doing?â
Losing my mind. âGiving us a better goodbye.â
My fingers curl in so the backs of my knuckles stroke her soft cheek. This is so messed up. I know what Iâm doing is wrong, but sheâs looking up into my eyes.
I kiss her.
By adult standards, it isnât much of a kiss. A single brush of my mouth against hers and a lingering contact Iâm not quite ready to give up. And yet that barely-there kiss has my heart slamming against my ribs and fire racing through my veins.
Itâs like Iâm fifteen again. Except instead of this being my first kiss with Abby, itâs our last, and I donât want it to end.
Iâm not talking about not wanting it to end like I didnât want all the other Abby stuff to end before.
No, this is different.
I. Donât. Want. This. To. End.
But too soon, that soft clinging contact is gone, leaving only the warmth of her breath against my lips.
I open my eyes, realizing Iâm not the only one still holding on. Abbyâs free hand, the one that isnât still trapped in mine, is wrapped around my tie.
She hasnât let go.
A shadow passes over her eyes. âYouâre not in Chicago for good.â
She isnât really asking, but she wants to hear me say it anyway. She wants to remind us both that fundamentally nothing has changed. That we need to stop this before it goes too far, and hell, I know sheâs right.
âIâm not. Tomorrowâs just a business trip, but all indications are Iâll be out of Chicago in a few months if this deal goes through.â And even if it doesnât, there will be something else. Thereâs always something else.
Itâs the deal breaker that lost me this woman ten years ago. After the way Abby grew up, she couldnât watch me leave and she wouldnât wait for me to come back. I didnât understand until it was too late the first time around, but now I do.
And with her in my arms, itâs good that neither of us loses sight of the fact that this fundamental difference between us hasnât changed.
She nods her understanding, and I wait for her to take a step back, for the shake of her head and quiet laugh. Only it doesnât come. Instead, her eyes drop back to my mouth and the world around us starts to slow. Because I know that look. I fucking love that look.
But this has to be a mistake. We arenât teenagers. We arenât starting something new.
So what am I doing, uncurling my fist to sift my fingers into the dark silk behind her ear? Using that hold to tip her head back? Waiting until her heavy-lidded stare finds mine again?
What am I doing?
Only it doesnât matter what Iâm doing, because then Abby is the one tugging at my tie to bring me closer. Sheâs the one murmuring her agreement that this is a much better goodbye a scant inch from my mouth.
Sheâs the one short-circuiting my brain, and now the only thing Iâm thinking is that I can do much, much better.
This time when my lips meet hers, thereâs nothing barely-there about it. I kiss her hard, gathering her close, then closer still as she opens beneath me with a shuddering gasp I feel all the way through me.
Her fingers knot in my hair, then race over my shoulders and neck. Christ, her touch is electric, building the charge in my chest by the second.
Weâre breathless and frantic. Devouring each other with a hot need that edges the line of control.
Just another minute and weâll stop.
Just another taste.
My hand wraps in her hair and she moans around the thrust of my tongue.
The part of my brain thatâs still functioning is rolling through the dataâ¦
Weâre in a parking lot.
The press is camped out on the other side of the school.
I donât do serious, and this is the girl I learned how to love with.
We should stop. No maybe about it.
But Abbyâs breasts are pressing into my chest as she wraps her arms around my neck, and now thereâs another part of my brain speaking upâ¦ and this is the part I know better than to listen to. Itâs the part that dirty-talked me into climbing up the old oak outside Abbyâs bedroom windowâ¦ when her parents were home. Itâs the part that swore up and down security wouldnât notice if I let myself back into the lab at MIT after hours just to finish my experiment. And right now, itâs casually noting the parking lot is empty.
Itâs asking me why, if the press knew we were back here, they arenât calling my name to score a frontal face shot.
âHank,â she gasps, and thereâs no more mental chatter. I press her against the car, pinning her with the weight of my body.
Hard core romantic, stress baker, and housekeeper non-extraordinaire, Mira Lyn Kelly is the USA TODAY bestselling author of more than a dozen sizzly love stories with over a million readers worldwide. Growing up in the Chicago area, she earned her degree in Fine Arts from Loyola University and met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italyâ¦ only to discover heâd been living right around the corner from her back home. Having spent her twenties working and playing in the Windy City, sheâs now settled with her husband in rural Minnesota, where their four amazing children and two ridiculous dogs provide an excess of action and entertainment. When she isnât reading, writing, or running the kids around, she loves watching the Chicago Blackhawks and action/adventure movies, blabbing with the girls, and cooking with her family and friends.
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