Title: Rouse Me
Author: Crystal Kaswell
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Day: August 4, 2014
Alyssa Summers is not the kind of girl who cheats. Sure, she isn't in love with her fiancé, Ryan Knight, but she has no use for silly ideas like love or passion. She needs someone who can keep her from destroying herself. She needs Ryan. She's sure of it.
Then she meets Luke Lawrence.
He's handsome. And he's bold—he thinks nothing of flirting with her in front of Ryan. And he's smart, and articulate, and interested in what she has to say.
But she should be able to stop thinking about him.
So what if his big, brown eyes light up when he smiles? So what if his laugh completely disarms her? So what if his touch-- even his fingertips grazing her back-- makes her body hum?
She shouldn't feel so tempted. She shouldn't feel so desperate to know him. Luke is Ryan's business partner, for God's sake. She should be able to resist him.
But she can't. She wants Luke more than she's ever wanted anything.
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22699958-rouse-me?ac=1
A knock on the door interrupts us.
“That must be Luke. Ignore him,” Ryan says.
Luke steps inside. He's taller than I imagined. Younger too. In his late 20s probably. He's built like a runner—tall with long, lean muscles. And he's handsome. Very handsome. His coffee-colored eyes and messy black hair stand out against his light skin.
Okay, handsome was the wrong word. He's hot. Smoking hot.
“Sorry to interrupt,” he says. “You must be Alyssa. I'm Luke. Luke Lawrence.”
His eyes connect with mine. Jesus, his eyes are amazing—the darkest of browns, big and full of life. He holds my gaze as he shakes my hand. I nod. He's Luke. Luke Lawrence. Ryan's partner. Remember Ryan, your fiancé? He's standing behind you.
“Nice to meet you,” I say.
Luke brushes his fingers across my wrist, and I feel a rush of electricity flood my body. I gulp. It's nice enough when Ryan touches me, but it's nothing like this. Nothing so intense.
“What do you want?” Ryan asks, barely able to hide his hostility.
“We've been working together three years. Don't you think it's time I met your girlfriend? Excuse me, your fiancée.”
“You've had chances,” Ryan says.
“Aren't you going to offer her something to drink?” Luke asks.
“I'm fine,” I say.
“Are you sure? We have a bunch of crap. Water. Tea. Coffee.”
“Maybe a coffee.”
“Alyssa was just leaving,” Ryan says.
“She can leave after her coffee,” Luke turns to me and offers his hand. “I'll walk you out.”
Ryan frowns. Before I can make much of it, Luke leads me into the hallway, closing the door behind him.
The office kitchen is small, and the promised coffee is from one of those single-cup machines. Luke loads the machine, adding exactly the right amount of water. My heart beats faster and faster. I swear I start sweating. I shouldn't be alone with him. It's not appropriate.
Especially when he's so fucking handsome.
“You were amazing in that film, Mahogany,” he says. “You stole every scene you were in.”
“You must hear it all the time.”
“Only occasionally,” I say. It's not like I go anywhere where I would hear it. It's not like I go anywhere where anyone would recognize me.
“I remember when it came out. I think Ryan had just started dating you. And he was bragging about how gorgeous and talented you were. But he hadn't seen it. So I told him, and—fuck, you probably got the short end of the stick on this one. I told him that you do a strip tease in it.”
“Well, aren't you a fucking instigator,” I say with a laugh.
“Did he throw a fit?”
“He wasn't pleased.” Ryan is never happy about any love scenes. God forbid a role call for nudity.
“Sorry, but the look on his face... God, he was so jealous. I thought he might punch me.”
“Oh, please. You did it just to annoy him. You would have worn a black eye like a badge of honor.”
“Maybe.” He laughs. “Probably.”
“That's why you insisted on making me coffee, isn't it?” I ask.
“I've been dying to meet you for a while.”
“Are you saying that because he might overhear?”
Luke shakes his head. “I was hoping you'd be a bit more...”
“Show off.” He brushes his hand against mine for no particular reason, his eyes locked on mine, studying me for a reaction. I bite my tongue to keep from blushing. He's touching me on purpose.
“It's not because you're blonde,” he continues. “Or because you're gorgeous. And not because you played that slutty cheerleader.”
My heart beats faster. He thinks I'm gorgeous.
“And not because all actors are idiots.” I offer.
He nods. “I couldn't imagine Ryan being with someone smarter than him.”
“Than he is,” I correct him. I brace for an eye roll, but he smiles, his big, brown eyes lighting up.
“I'm jealous. I've never been with someone who corrects my grammar.”
“Ryan hates it.”
He hands me the cup of coffee and points me to the packets of cream and sugar. I dump one packet of sugar into my cup—one can't hurt—and take a long sip. His eyes are still on me, big and wide and full of enthusiasm.
I feel breathless again. My heart beats faster and louder.
“I should let you get back to work,” I say.
“You can stop by anytime. If Ryan won't see you, I will.”
“You're really after that black eye, aren't you?”
“Well, it would be a badge of honor,” he says as he walks me to the door.
His hand brushes against my back and, once again, my body surges with electricity. What would his hands feel like on my bare skin? What would they feel like on my ass or my chest or between my legs?
Crystal Kaswell is the author of Rouse Me, coming August 2014. She is a voracious reader, typically consuming books in only two or three days. When not reading or writing, she is typically playing board games, drinking tea, or riding her beach cruiser around Los Angeles.