Dirty Stranger (The Dirty Suburbs Book 3)
Author: Cassie-Ann L. Miller
Release date: February 22nd, 2017
I'm paying alimony to my idiot ex-husband, my business hardly makes enough to keep the lights on and I'm literally holding my car together with duct tape.
Scratch that, I'm holding my life together with duct tape.
So I won't go on a date with the mysterious, new-in-town barista who makes my morning soy hazelnut latte just the way I like it.
He'd better stop trying to hypnotize me with those honey eyes and those bulging shoulders that stretch the jersey of his coffee shop uniform, because I have enough on my plate and the last thing I need is yet another liability.
The cinnamon-haired yoga chick who orders the soy hazelnut latte every morning won't give me a shot. She thinks I'm just some college boy with student loans trying to get in her pants.
Assumptions, assumptions, assumptions...
Well, she's right about one thing. From the moment she first sauntered into this coffee shop with her long legs and her sad eyes, I've wanted to toss her onto the polished wooden counter and show her just how much of a man I am. There's so much more to me than meets the eye.
I'm just trying to make her fall for me before my secrets make it to town.
"Dirty Stranger" is book three in the "Dirty Suburbs", a series of full-length, stand-alone romantic comedies about the residents of small town Illinois.
"Hello Reuben." I stand immobilized in the doorframe as I watch him snatch two paper cups from the small wooden table next to him.
He straightens and faces me, looking like he just finished a photo shoot for Levi's in his classic-cut dark jeans cuffed over beat-up brown oxfords, tanned leather jacket open down the front to reveal the distressed zip-up hoodie beneath and that casual swagger of a man who's used to getting anything he wants.
He moves toward me with panther-like grace, stretching one of the cups to me. "Medium hazelnut soy latte with two sugars on the side...and a dash of cinnamon, of course." Looking exceedingly proud of himself, he places two brown sugar packets with a stir stick on top of the plastic lid and winks.
I take the coffee, forcing back a smile. Why does he have to be so charming? "Thank you."
He walks right past me into the empty yoga studio where a couple of candles are still burning bright from the class that just ended. I watch silently as he goes to examine the Hindu deity statutes lining the windowsill. "How's your day going, Isla?" He focuses his intense, brown-eyed gaze on me and my nerve endings prickle with awareness.
Turning away to maintain my composure, I glance out at the heavy rainclouds. "I'm trying to keep an optimistic outlook. All things considered." I sit my latte on the ledge of the window and lift the lid off the cup, emptying the sugar packets inside.
"That's a good philosophy." He takes a long, purposeful sip of his own coffee.
A heavy silence fills the air and I watch the motion of his Adam's apple as he swallows. What a beautiful man. So chiselled and strong yet polished and sophisticated. And his confidence makes my heart race in a deliriously excited way. And don't get me started about his hands, those fingers that danced rhythmically inside of m—
"Aren't you going to ask how my day's going?"
I smirk, shaking my head determinedly. "Nope."
He laughs. "Well, that's just bad manners."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm fully invested in preserving your mystique."
"My mystique?" he questions with a hitched brow, his thumbnail rubbing along his dimpled chin.
"Yes, you're the handsome, enigmatic stranger who seduced me in my moment of vulnerability and gifted me with countless orgasms from which I have yet to recover," I muse in a playful but regally dignified tone. I take a sip of my latte. "Damn, this is good." Hot and sweet with just enough foam, the addictive taste of caffeine and the heavenly fragrance of hazelnut. This coffee boy's got skills. I lift the cup in salute to him.
He laughs again. God, I love the sound. "Y'know, I wouldn't be such an enigma if you'd just go on a damn date with me."
I shake my head, lust burning a path up my chest. "I'm sorry, Reuben. I just...can't."
His face steels with determination. He's not about to give up just yet. "You said it yourself; I'm handsome as fuck and the sex blew your mind. Plus, I make your froufrou coffee just the way you like it," he says smugly, "So what's the problem?"
My attraction to him definitely isn't the problem. He's gorgeous. Plus, he's funny and being around him just generally makes me feel good on the inside. But now isn't a great time for me to be jumping into a new relationship.
I brush tendrils of hair out of my face, exhaling roughly. "My divorce is messy. And my business is in trouble," I admit. "I really just need to focus on fixing everything that's broken in my life."
He seems to interpret that as a challenge. His shoulders straighten and arrogance lights up his eyes. "Maybe I can help you, Isla." Then he lowers his voice. "...I want to be friends...with benefits that aren't purely sexual."
My blood heats in my veins. "What does that mean?"
"I want to f*ck you some more," he says easily, "but I also enjoy your
company. I want more of that, too."
Cassie-Ann L. Miller writes steamy contemporary romance with a dash of angst and a sprinkle of humor. And if her toddler weren't rebelling against his bedtime right now, she'd have a minute to write her author biography, too ;)
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