Posted by Lexxie Couper on Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
And an official excerpt. Check ‘em out…
Blowing it Off
Stimulated, Book One
A fire has destroyed the studio of glassblower Phoebe Masters. And she knows what that means—a visit from the arson investigators. The two men who reduced her heart to cinders. Men she’d hoped never to see again.
One wild weekend with Phoebe overwhelmed Will Bradley and Damon Hunt. Like wankers, they blew it off, burning any chance for a future with the talented beauty. The investigation gets them back in her life, but now they have to prove the three of them were meant to be together. Their strategy?
A body-blazing inferno none of them will ever be able to extinguish.
“Head’s up, Tiny, we’ve got a job.”
William Bradley spun on his desk stool to glare at the tall man crossing the room toward him. “How many times do I have to tell you not to call me Tiny?”
Damon laughed, dropping into the low, beat-up couch sitting in the middle of their cramped office. “Well, seeing as it’s been eight years now since I first met you, I’m guessin’…” he affected a pensive expression, crossing his ankles on the cluttered coffee table and lacing his fingers behind his head, “a lot. Besides, you’re a short-arse. What else am I going to call you?”
Will shook his head and rolled his eyes, giving his partner an exasperated look. “I’m two inches shorter than you.”
Damon held out a hand. “There you go. Short-arse.”
“You’re six foot three!”
Damon grinned. “My point exactly.”
Will threw a tennis ball at him. “Yeah, yeah, Stretch. Tell me about the job.”
“You’re going to love this. It’s in Morpeth.”
Every muscle in Will’s body tensed. He drew in a slow breath, leaning forward on his stool. “Morpeth?”
Damon gave him a single nod, his brown gaze steady.
Will pulled in another breath. Morpeth. The village pretending to be a town north of Newcastle was populated by entrenched, born-in-the-blood locals and artisans inspired by the timeless beauty of the place. Not the kind of place an arson investigator usually found himself. But then, he’d felt an almost palpable urge to jump in his car and drive north more than once since a particular artisan took up residence.
Damn, his heart shouldn’t be thumping as hard as it was.
He narrowed his eyes, refusing to acknowledge how dry his mouth had become. “What’s the job?”
If possible, his partner’s eyes grew mischievous and intense. “Investigating a suspicious fire that destroyed an art studio.”
Will’s heart thumped harder. “What kind of art studio.”
Damon’s lips curled. “A glassblower’s art studio.”
“I take it by the smile on your face the artist wasn’t in the studio when it went up?”
Damon shook his head. “Not according to the report from one Captain Keith Kilgour of the Morpeth Bush Fire Brigade. The owner of the studio was, to quote Captain Kilgour, ‘extremely agitated and reluctant to notify the Newcastle Arson Investigation team’, end quote. Reading between the lines, I suspect Kilgour wonders if the artist is pulling an insurance job.”
The wind left Will’s lungs in a gush. He slumped back on his stool, dragging his hands through his hair. Fuck. He’d spent the last six months doing everything to convince himself what he and Damon had shared with a certain glass artist now living in Morpeth was nothing more than a weekend fling. He’d tried his hardest but now, here he was—palms sweaty just thinking about the possibility of seeing her again, of more than seeing her, when he should be thinking of nothing else but a fire scene.
Easier said than done when Phoebe Masters was involved. Bloody frustrating pain-in-the-arse woman. Knowing her, the moment they walked into her studio she’d walk out the other door.
But what if she’s happy to see you? It’s been six months since she left. Six months to forget how monumentally you and Damon fucked-up the last time all of you were together. What if she’s calmed down? Changed her mind?
Damon cocked an eyebrow at him. “You’re thinking one of two things, Tiny, and both are going to send you crazy.”
Will’s own eyebrows rose up his forehead, his gut churning. “What are they exactly, Stretch?”
Damon returned his feet to the floor and leaned forward on the couch, resting his elbows on his knees. “One, the second we cross the threshold of Phoebe’s studio, she’s going to throw herself at us and beg us to pick up where we last left off—in bed together, fucking each other senseless.”
It wasn’t just Will’s stomach that reacted to Damon’s first scenario—his balls and dick tightened, the image his friend painted affecting him with the subtle blow of a sledgehammer.
“Or two,” Damon went on, his stare locked hard on Will’s face. “She’s going to tell us to fuck off.”
The sledgehammer slammed into Will’s gut again. Damn Damon and his keen insight into the human mind. Made for a bloody brilliant arson investigator, a great boss; made for a bloody annoying best mate.
The man studying him hadn’t started out his best friend but somewhere over the last eight years of working together, that’s exactly what he’d become. Which meant Damon knew just about everything going on in Will’s life, and was involved in just about everything going on in his life as well. Sometimes Will had to wonder if that was a good thing. He bit back a curse. “And how did you arrive at those options, boss?”
Damon gave him a wry grin. “’Cause I thought the same fucking things the second I read Phoebe’s name on the report.”
The confession jerked a humored snort from Will. “So much for being the detached wankers Phoebe accused us of being the day she left.”
Damon laughed. “No, she accused you of being a detached wanker. She called me a flippant, indifferent arsehole.”
Will scrubbed at his face with his hands. “She’s not going to be happy to see us, is she?”
Damon laughed again. “After the way we behaved? Not at all.”
“So what do we do?”
Damon flashed him a broad grin. “Hope to fucking God we can change her mind.”
“You better believe it.”
“She told us what we did together was never going to happen again.”
“That after the pair of us blew it off as a simple been-there-done-that fuck-fest instead of acknowledging what it really was, the pair of us could kiss her arse goodbye.”
Damon laughed a third time, the sound far more deprecating than any Will had heard from his friend before. “Be our charming, lovable selves?”
Will rolled his eyes. “Yeah, that’s going to work.”
“It worked the last time.”
“Until she accused us of being indifferent arseholes and detached wankers the night before she moved to a whole other town.”
Taking my heart with her.
A heavy pressure squeezed Will’s chest at the thought. That’s exactly what had happened. None of them—neither he, nor Damon nor Phoebe—had anticipated a night out for drinks to celebrate Phoebe’s new, dedicated studio in Morpeth would turn into a weekend in bed together. But it had. Three years of knowing each other, of relaxed flirting, friendly banter and good-humored mocking over other boyfriends or girlfriends had unexpectedly and surprisingly led them to a situation so unbe-fucking-lievable, the shock had sent them all for a spin.
A bloody big spin. Because Will knew after two mind-blowing days and two equally mind-blowing nights of watching his mate fuck Phoebe, of fucking her while his mate watched, of all three of them fucking each other at the same time, that two days and two nights wasn’t enough. He’d had no idea what Phoebe expected after the weekend ended, but he knew what he wanted—more. And he knew Damon wanted more as well. Not just sex, but…more.
It had scared the shit out of Will, big time. The knowledge that he was prepared to commit to a relationship society deemed unacceptable with his two best friends left him reeling. And even though Damon hadn’t admitted it at first, it had scared the shit out of him as well. So they’d acted like it was nothing, like it was just a bonk to say adios. By the time he’d seen the truth in Phoebe’s eyes, the proof that she wanted more than just a goodbye fuck, that her silence was wounded embarrassment, it was too late. They’d brushed off something incredible and swept Phoebe’s heart away with it. Dickheads.
“We were chicken-shit cowards the last time.”
For a second time, Damon’s unexpected confession made Will snort. “Ain’t that the truth.”
“So this time, we’re not. We don’t pretend otherwise. We don’t pretend the whole thing is just a same-old, same-old.”
“And how are we going to do that? Considering she doesn’t want jack-shit to do with us?”
Damon flashed a grin—the same grin Will had seen him use more than once when on the scent of an arson, the grin that said I have you in my sights, buddy, and you are going down.
“We hit her with both barrels and let her know without doubt what we want…
What do you all think?
As soon as I have a cover and a release date I’ll let you know. Oh, and did you notice the Stimulated Book One thingy at the beginning of the blurb? Is now a good time to tell you there are FIVE books in the Stimulated series in total? And the next one is called Revving it Up? More about that later…