Authors: Heidi Lynn Anderson
Curvy Ann Griffin has a secret—she’s in love with her
longtime best friend and business partner Joe Mathews. After suffering through
a date from hell—which definitely wasn’t worth putting on her strangling
shapewear for—Ann heads home. How was she supposed to know the night would end
with her throwing herself into his arms and allowing him to fulfill her every
What’s a guy to do when the woman he loves kisses him
senseless? Go with it, that’s what. For more than a decade, Joe has fought back
his needs for the voluptuous beauty. In his mind, the only thing missing in
their relationship was the ability to explore every inch of her luscious body.
Although sleeping with Ann could destroy everything they
have, Joe won’t allow that to happen. He knows they’re made for each other. Now
he only needs to convince her.
contemporary BBW erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave
“What the hell was I thinking?” Ann Griffin said as she
tugged at the Lycra shapewear cutting off her circulation. She smoothed the
black wrap dress over her hips and collapsed into a kitchen chair. “Remind me
never to accept a date from a guy who’s just broken up with his girlfriend ever
Leaning down, Joe Mathews pressed a kiss onto Ann’s cheek.
“You should have stayed home with me.”
The soft brush of his lips heated Ann’s blood to boiling.
Air jammed into her lungs. Every inch of her body burned with fresh yearning
and mixed with desires she’d spent the evening trying to suppress.
Ever since he’d sat next to her in Business 101 over a
decade ago her hormones had been doing the tango. Up until now, she’d been able
to stamp down her lust for her best friend. But lately her need for him blazed
inside her like an inferno needing something to consume. If she wasn’t careful,
it would consume
She forced out the breath stuck in her chest. “Why didn’t
you go out tonight?”
“The Patriots were playing the Jets.” Joe moved to the
butcher-block countertop and opened a pink pastry box. “I take it your date
didn’t go so well?”
He sliced a huge piece of double-chocolate cheesecake and
set it in front of her.
“It was awful.” She pushed the yummy temptation back across
“That’s what you get when you go out with a guy based solely
on his looks.”
“I didn’t go out with Scott for his looks.” The sad fact was
she needed space from Joe so she didn’t jump him in the hallway between their
“Yeah, right,” he said.
She leaned on her elbows and sighed. “He seemed nice when we
talked at the gym,” Ann said, referring to the business the two co-owned. To
her way of thinking, if she had to suffer though the misery of dating someone
who wasn’t Joe she might as well have something nice to look at.
“I’m sure he was.”
“Okay,” she admitted. “It didn’t hurt he was shirtless when
we were talking. Maybe I don’t have the best judgment when I’m at your place of
business.” She laid her head on the table. “I should just wait until after
closing to do the accounting paperwork.”
“Mr. Perfect’s is your business too.” Joe’s strong hands
clasped her shoulders and started to massage. “Besides I need all the help I
“I’m just a silent partner.”
“There’s nothing silent about our partnership.” His finger
worked the knot at the base of her skull. ”God, you’re tight.”
A moan slipped past Ann’s lips. The needy pull in her core
deepened with every caress of his fingers and her pussy filled with moist heat.
She should let her hormones have their way. Perhaps then she wouldn’t be
soaking through her shapewear on a daily basis.
Ignoring the throbbing pleasure between her legs, she lifted
her head. “The gym has the revenue to hire someone to help you out, you know.”
“Why? It’s fine the way it is.”
The butterflies dive-bombing her stomach every time she was
around Joe told her everything wasn’t fine. “For you maybe.”
Shit, did I say that out loud?
“Are you saying our arrangement isn’t working for you
anymore?” Joe squeezed the back of her neck and tilted her head up. “I’ll find
someone if you want.”
The concern filling his beautiful sea-green eyes tore at her
soul. It wasn’t the gym’s fault she couldn’t keep her hormones under control
anymore. “I love helping you build your dream.”
“Then what is it?”
Hoping he couldn’t see what his nearness did to her, Ann
forced herself to smile. “If I wasn’t bombarded with testosterone-enhanced
bodybuilders all the time, Jerry from the office might look better.”
“The testosterone levels in the gym are all your fault.” He
pressed his sexy lips to her forehead.
Straightening, Joe lifted his broad shoulders. “It’s true.
When you rush into the gym, all flushed in your smart business suits and
sensible heels, the testosterone levels spike.”
Lust clawing at her core, Ann swallowed the need to ask if
testosterone spiked when he saw her. She shifted in her seat, hoping to dull
the burning need coursing through her.
Joe moved back to the counter, cut another piece of
cheesecake and set it in front of her. “You could use this.”
“I can’t.” Ann pushed the plate away.
“Why? It’s your favorite.” Joe sat. “Did you have a big
“No, Scott took me to that new raw food place.” Sighing, she
rubbed at a wrinkle creasing the vintage lace tablecloth covering the old
“Pussy. A real man would’ve taken you out for a steak.”
Talking about her bad date steadied her overactive hormones.
“I would have settled for a salad on a plate bigger than a teacup saucer.”
The dimple on his right cheek winked at her. “So, dinner was
a bust.” He wiggled his sexy eyebrows. “What about conversation with Scott’s
“If you don’t mind hearing about how wonderful his ex was
and how if I lost thirty pounds I would be as hot as she was, it was fine.”
Frowning, he grabbed a plate of cheesecake and jabbed his
fork into it. “You’re fine just the way you are.”
“Scott didn’t seem to think so.” Ann rubbed a hand over her
belly. “For two hours I had to listen to how much better-looking I would be if
I stayed away from carbs and worked out more.”
The fork Joe held in his large hand clattered against the
Fiestaware plate. “When he comes into the gym on Monday, I’m going to kick his
For the first time since she got home, Ann relaxed. “Don’t
do that. We need his business.”
“Fuck his business.” Joe tapped her plate. “Eat up.
Cheesecake has protein and calcium.”
“Make sure you tell my hips that in the morning.”
“It can’t be all bad.” Lifting his arms, Joe stood. “I eat a
piece every day and look at me.”
Her gaze roamed over all six-foot-two inches of his finely
honed frame. She poked her finger into the whipped cream topping of the
cheesecake as her stomach clenched—as it did every time she set eyes on him and
his mega-muscles. “Aren’t you cold without a shirt?”
“Not with you around.” Handing Ann a fork, Joe folded
himself into the chair across from her and dug into his cake.
Ann rolled her eyes. “Oh, whatever.” The man turned eating
dessert into a sexual experience. If her pussy got any wetter, there would be a
spot on her seat cushion. “God, I need a drink.”
“We have margarita mix and a new bottle of tequila.”
Maybe Cuervo would numb her desires and dry up her panties.
“Sounds good to me.” Ann dipped her fork into the creamy confection and took a
“You got it.” Joe rose and winced.
Alarms rang in her head. The last time he’d showed any sign
of discomfort he’d ruptured a nut lifting a barbell off some dumbass who
thought he could bench press more than the world-record holder. “Are you all
“I’m fine,” he said, turning toward the pantry.
“Did you move the wrong way and pull something?”
“I’m fine.” He grabbed the tequila and lime mix. “It’s
nothing some time in the shower won’t fix.”
Concerned now, Ann rose and hurried the short distance to
Joe. “The last time you moved like that I had to rush you to the ER and you
Her head spun at the memory. “Oh God, Joe, you need to sit.”
She snatched the bottles from him and set them on the counter. “Did you overdo
it at the gym again? Did you aggravate your hernia?” Ann took his arm and
tugged him to a kitchen chair.
He flushed, gripped her shoulders and gave her a little
shake. “If you don’t take a breath you’re going to faint like you did in the ER
when they were wheeling me off to the OR.”
The warmth from his hands seeped into her bones, reassuring
her. Ann sucked air between her clenched teeth and stared at the bright-red
blotches over Joe’s chest. “I’m sorry. I promise not to pass out. Tell me
“If you must know, my cock is chafing against my fly and it
Heat exploded inside her. “What? Were you watching porn
while I was out and I got home before you could finish?”
Joe tugged her to him and kissed the tip of her nose. “It’s
no wonder you turn me on.”
Shock and longing raced through her. She couldn’t be hearing
Why would he play with me like this?
Anger mixed with all the swirling emotions turning inside
her. Ann’s heart squeezed painfully in her chest. “What the hell are you
He fingered the v-neck of her dress. “I’ve had a raging
hard-on ever since I saw you sashay out the door for your date.”
The light brush of his knuckles sent stabs of pleasure to
her center and her body trembled. “Joe, I—”
Soft as a whisper, Joe swept his mouth over hers. “Shh, let
me finish. I sat here trying to watch football and all I could think about was
what you were wearing under this dress.”
Joe pulled at her collar and smiled. “Black lace, nice.” His
finger dipped into her cleavage and traced over the edges of her bra. “Every
time you wear this clingy black dress and those gold fuck-me pumps I get hard
as a rock. Now that I know what you have on under it I may die.”
“Joe, stop.” She stepped back from his intoxicating touch.
He grabbed her hands. “Why?”
Panic flooded her. “Why?” She wrenched away from him.
“Because we’re friends.”
“That’s my point. How much longer do you think we can tiptoe
around each other before we destroy our friendship?” Joe folded his massive
arms over his chest. “You are the most important person in my life and I don’t
want this tension building between us to destroy what we have.”
Every cell in her body wanted to jump into his arms, but her
brain kept her feet planted on the floor. “How many woman have you slept with
that you are still friends with?”
“That’s different.” He shoved his hands into his pockets.
Blood rushed in her ears as the kitchen spun around her in
slow motion. She gripped the corner of the counter to keep from falling. “How
is it different?”
“They’re not you. I would never do anything to hurt you.”
“You’re—” She stumbled to a chair and fell into it.
“Changing everything between us.”
“I know.” Joe reached over and brushed a stray hair behind
She allowed herself to lean into his touch. She couldn't
help it. He was everything to her. Stars floated in front of her eyes and
everything went hazy.
“Ann, you need to breathe.”
“Stop telling me to breathe. I’m not one of your yoga
students.” She sucked in a deep breath and pushed out trapped air.
Her body ached for him. She’d spent too many nights dreaming
what it would be like to feel Joe inside her.
Ann raked her hands through her hair and let herself go back
to that sunny day ten years ago. She could almost smell the spring flowers in
the air. Her heart pinged as the girl she was watched Joe leave her behind. It
wasn’t his fault he hurt her—she’d never told him she was in love with him.
Besides, as the years went by, they had become more to each other then she
could have ever imagined.
Folding her arms over her chest, she straightened her
shoulders. It was about time she let her body call the shots. When it came to
the bedroom, her heart would have to stay out. She just needed some rules was
“What’s going on in that head of yours?”
Looking up into his stunning eyes she forced herself to
smile. “If we’re going to have sex we need some ground rules.”
His full lips twitched. “Do I get a say in the rules?”
“Depends.” She swallowed back the urge to run her tongue
over his mouth.
“On what?” he asked and sat in the chair across from her
“If I like your suggestions or not.”
Amusement lit in his eyes, making them sparkle like summer
light glinting off emeralds. “What are your conditions, madame?”
“I can’t believe I’m going to do this.” She stood and did
her best to build a wall around her heart. “For the time frame we’re having
sex, we are not sleeping with anyone else.”
“Okay. What else?” he said.
“We’re always open with each other.” She paced the kitchen
like a caged tiger. “And when this stops working for either of us, we’ll tell
the other person with no hard feelings.”
God, he loved her. Joe would do anything to make it work. He
blew it once before and he wouldn’t do that again. “That’s fair.”
Ann stopped mid-step and fisted her hands on her hips,
eyeing him. “You’re being awfully agreeable. What’s the catch?”
“There’s no catch. You haven’t asked anything I wouldn’t
have insisted on anyway.” His hard-on pulsed as he stood and moved to her.
“I’ll let you know when I have a problem with anything you’re suggesting.”
She rested her palm against his chest, halting him.
“I’m starting to have issues.”
Her forehead creased and she frowned. “When you touch me I
lose my train of thought and we need to get things straight.”
Doing his best to hide his smile, Joe took a step back. “How
many more rules do you have?”
Anticipation pulsed through him in hot, greedy waves. “Lay
it on me.”
“We are friends with benefits. That’s it. Nothing else in
our relationship changes. We will not do any of that dating bullshit.”
A chuckle erupted from his chest. They already had the most
intimate relationship he’d ever had. The only thing missing was the sex.
Fury colored Ann’s beautiful face. “What’s so funny?”
He swallowed his smile. “Nothing. Can I touch you now?”
If she didn’t act soon the lust burning inside him would
consume him. “You’re killing me.”
“Am I now?” Her full lips twisted into a way too sweet
smile. “I think it’s time I do the touching.”