Catch a Falling Star (Second Chances Book 3) (5 page)

There wasn’t much point in thinking after that. They were both enjoying themselves too much. He repositioned her and himself so that he could pump into her and look at her at the same time. She gasped at the change in angle and let her arms fall to the side, lifting her hips so that he could take her more fully. Her nipples were rosy and tight, and her mouth relaxed in an open sigh. But it was her eyes that captivated him. She had them closed at first as she soaked in her passion. Then she opened them, meeting his.

She smiled. A tiny glimpse through the romance novel character she was playing and into her true self. She was winking at herself and the game they were playing. It sucked him under. His blood had never pumped so hard, and the rest of him thrust with abandon. He met her smile for smile, holding her gaze until he was too close to coming to focus. He shifted again so that his whole body rubbed against hers with his frantic thrusts. His orgasm crept up on him, firing through his entire groin and shooting through him like a volcano. He cried out with the force of it, pleasure doubling as she moaned as well. Maybe she was faking, maybe not, but damn, it felt good.

His exhaustion afterwards was ten times more powerful that second time than the first. He relaxed on top of her with a sigh, too sated to even pull out. She must not have minded. She curled a leg around his hips and squeezed to hold him inside. He could get used to this.

“Wow!” she panted, hands playing across his back. “Has anyone ever told you that you are absolutely amazing in bed?”

A sharp wince raced through him.
Only when they want something, love
. He forced himself to smile against her shoulder, rolling to his back but keeping her with him. That was it. He had to see her again, distant house in Maine or not.

“They might have.” He stroked her disheveled hair and straining up for a light kiss. He sank back and pulled the used condom off, discarding it so that he could cradle her against him.

She laughed and settled in his embrace. “Well it’s true. You’re superb. You’re amazing. You have all the passion and enthusiasm of a Regency buck.”

“I like the sound of that,” he growled.

She hummed, resting her head on the pillow beside him. It was far too hot to cuddle, but he didn’t want to let her go. She didn’t say anything else, didn’t get up to dress and leave, remembering some previously forgotten appointment or missed phone call. All she did was sigh and relax, as if understanding that what he really needed at that moment in time was a serious nap.

And, if he was being honest with himself, someone to hold him until the angst of the Pollards’ call went away.

His last thought before falling asleep was that he had to have Jo in his life, no matter what the cost.


Manhattan in the rain in January was one of the most glorious things that Jo could think of after all. She heaved a happy sigh as she opened her umbrella under the awning in front of Ben’s building and stepped out into the morning sleet. The rich scent of coffee wafted through the doors of the coffee shop as she passed. Best. Coffee shop.
. But their coffee couldn’t hold a candle to the simple cup Ben had made her that morning. With cream and sugar of several kinds.

She still couldn’t believe she’d spent all day and all night with a stranger. So that’s what a one-night stand felt like. Huh. Ben didn’t feel like a stranger passing in the night at all. They’d gotten along so well in every way—from the moment they’d met, through their passionate middle-of-the-night explorations, to a simple but delicious breakfast of coffee, bagels, and conversation. She’d never in her entire life had sex so many times in an eighteen hour span. She’d never had sex that good either. Romance novel sex indeed! She would be able to milk reams of stories out of her eighteen hours with Benjamin Paul, long after he became a treasured, faded memory.

The bittersweet thought brought reality crushing back on her as she dashed across the street and continued along congested Manhattan roads toward Diane’s office. Who was she kidding? Ben was gorgeous, talented, and charming. He was famous, had won the most prestigious directing award Broadway had, for gosh sake. Chances are she would never lay eyes—or hands—on him again. Dreams were beautiful things, but waking up after them was the pits.

Still, she considered as she skipped around a puddle and scurried past a pack of foreign tourists, she was glad she’d had that dream. She sucked in a breath and remembered how exquisite Ben’s arms had felt around her, how the vibration of his deep voice had buzzed through her body. The memory brought a wicked smile to her lips…and always would. Okay, maybe everyone was right. Maybe she
get out more often. But she would never find another man like Ben.

Diane’s office was like any other New York building trying to look unique and stylish. The glass and chrome door swung open, and a blast of heat hit her. She folded her umbrella, and accepted the plastic bag offered by a member of the maintenance staff to store it in. The lobby was crowded, and as she joined the crush waiting for the elevator, she sorted through her bag to find her phone.

She had a text message.

From Ben.

Her heart did somersaults in her chest, and she held her breath as she tapped to read it.

I had a really good time with you
.” He’d sent it ten minutes ago.

Her grin was so wide that she was sure the people waiting around her could read straight into her thoughts. Feeling like a thief for stealing one more moment with her fantasy lover, she typed a return message. “
I had a fantastic time too

The elevator doors slid open. A handful of people paraded out. Jo followed the herd in. She pressed 15. Others pressed 4, 8, and 11. For once, she didn’t mind. The car swooshed upwards and her phone buzzed.

I can still taste your skin

She giggled, certain she’d turned bright pink. Maybe this wasn’t going to end with a thud and a string of wistful memories after all. She bit her lip and typed, “
I can hear your voice as I read that

The elevator made its first stop. One person got out. Jo’s stomach lurched as they started up again. Two people got out at the next stop. Her phone vibrated and her pulse shot up.

I hope it’s a good sound

Her smile widened. “
It’s a delicious sound, like coffee and chocolate
.” The lady standing next to her smiled at Jo’s ear-to-ear grin.

The elevator continued. One more stop, and one more person got off. Then she continued to swoosh up until the elevator stopped at her floor. She stepped out into the hallway. Her phone buzzed.

I’ve never been compared to coffee and chocolate before. I usually get compared to broken glass and nails

She laughed out loud, then glanced around to see if anyone heard her. Safe for the time being, she strode down the hall, pausing in front of the door to Diane’s agency to type.

I find that incredibly hard to believe. You’re far more delectable than glass and nails

This was happening. This was really happening. Here she thought the cord had been cut with Ben’s last, sultry kiss and that was the end. Could it be the beginning?

No. Don’t be ridiculous. He’ll get bored. You’ve got work to do, a house to save, a book to write. Time to wake up

She pushed the office door open, keeping her cell phone clutched in her hand and hope clasped to her heart.

“Miss Burkhart, I’m, um, so sorry about yesterday.” Diane’s assistant jumped up from the front desk to greet her. She was about twelve years old with eager, terrified eyes. “I’m Hannah, by the way. I don’t think we’ve met in person.”

“It’s okay, Hannah.” Jo shifted her phone to her left hand and reached out to shake Hannah’s with her right. Her phone buzzed. She completely forgot Hannah existed as she checked it.

Have you eaten glass and nails before

She giggled. Hannah sent her a curious glance.

“Sorry, one second,” she spoke aloud then typed, “
No, but I have eaten you

When she looked up—all blushes and smiles and flat-out shock—Hannah let out a breath of relief.

“I’m sorry about yesterday,” she apologized again. “Mrs. Glick said—” She pressed her mouth shut, unable to look Jo in the eye. “I’m still trying to get the hang of the scheduling software. I didn’t realize what day I was on. Mrs. Glick was so nice to hire me.” Her excuse was rehearsed.

“Diane is great, isn’t she?” Jo forgave her agent and Hannah for the brush-off. At that moment everyone on the planet was great, as far as she was concerned. Her phone buzzed. Her heart leapt. She checked her message.


It buzzed again.

And beautiful

Then again.

You taste like honey and dew, especially as you come

“Mrs. Glick told me to show you right in,” Hannah went on, no idea that Jo’s entire world was humming with excitement or that her flush had nothing to do with coming in from the cold. She led Jo down a short side hall to an office. Diane’s door was open.

“Jo.” Diane got up and crossed around her desk to greet her. “Sorry about yesterday. Thanks, Hannah. I hope you don’t mind.” Diane nodded to Hannah, who skittered out of the room.

“No, not at all. Do you mind if I ….” She waved her phone.

“Sure. Finish up and have a seat.” Diane gestured to the chair across the desk from her own as she closed the office door.

Jo typed, “
I’m going into a meeting with my agent. But like I said last night, don’t stop!
” She grinned from ear to ear and slipped her phone into her bag as she sat. She set the bag on the floor, out of sight but definitely not out of mind.

“What is that all about?” Diane fixed her with a knowing grin, crossing to sit at her desk.

Jo had no idea where to start. “I met someone yesterday.”

“Did you now?”

Her phone buzzed through the bag. The sound was as effective as Pavlov’s bell for making her…okay, salivate wasn’t exactly the right description for what her body was doing, but it was close.

“Yes.” She attempted to focus on Diane. “At the coffee shop.”

“What’s he like?” Diane ate it up as though Jo were pitching a new novel.

“He’s amazing.” It would have been easier to pitch a novel. For once in her life Jo was at a loss for words. Things were too fresh for her to blurt it all out, too special. “He does theater.”

“Uh-oh. He’s not an actor, is he?”

“He’s a director.” Jo flickered an eyebrow.

“Yum,” Diane cooed. Her gossipy grin faltered. “I really want to hear about him—like,
. But first we need to talk business.”

The fluttery feeling in Jo’s stomach swirled off in the wrong direction. “I’m not liking the way you said that.”

“Oh it’s nothing to worry about really.” She added a dismissive wave, but her expression remained suspect. “I got an offer for the optioned book from Frost Square Books. It’s not what we were hoping for.”

Jo’s heart sank. “Oh? What kind of not what we were hoping for?”

Diane sighed. “They’re offering an advance of ten thousand.”

“What?” Forget sinking, her heart plummeted off a cliff into the ocean. “I thought they were going to go with six figures, at least.”

“They were, but now they’re saying that your last book didn’t sell well enough to warrant six figures.”

“It did all right,” Jo argued. “It’s still doing all right.”

“Frost Square doesn’t want all right. They have enough midlist authors. They want a bestseller.”

“I want a bestseller too. This book is good. I know it can be a bestseller if they’ll put some marketing into it.” She gulped for breath.

“They say they haven’t made the profit they were hoping for, which means they don’t have the marketing dollars to give you.” Diane shrugged. “I’m sorry. I know it sucks. That’s why I think it’s time for us to consider—” Her phone rang. “Hang on.” She picked up the phone. “Diane Glick.”

Pulsing with bottled anger, Jo fished her phone out of her bag while Diane dealt with business. The thrill of getting a text from Ben was dampened by ranking second to whoever was on Diane’s call.

Enjoy your meeting. Try not to think of me taking you from behind while you’re agent is talking.”

Instead of turning her on, Ben’s text made her throat close up with longing. Talk about things she’d rather be doing right then.

Another text came through as she lowered her phone to store it.

“I’ve downloaded one of your books

A weak smile spread across Jo’s lips. She typed, “
Which book
?” then sighed and added, “
Meeting is bad

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