Welcome to The Extra Shot where you’ll find an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Hook by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Gina L. Maxwell.
Exclusive Excerpt of Hook by Gina L. Maxwell
For the first time in my adult life, I might be out of my depth.
Not on the job. I’m confident in my abilities for this assignment. I have a good team behind me, and the background they created for me is solid. Croc can look all the way back to my kindergarten records, and he’ll find that John Dorian McRae was excellent at coloring in the lines but also had issues with authority.
No, it’s not the case that’s got me tossing and turning on these Egyptian cotton sheets (I guess he wasn’t kidding about enjoying the finer things in life). It’s the man on the other side of this wall. The man who sucked my sweat from the pad of his thumb and demanded I acknowledge his authority over me in this loft. And fuck if I didn’t want to agree before he even got all the words out. I would’ve done it on my knees if he’d pointed at the floor.
And that’s what has me so twisted up—this insane desire to please James, whatever it takes. I want to give him what he needs, to make him feel good, if only in the context of the bedroom. But while I’ve always been in relationships where we switched off physically as tops and bottoms, I’ve never had any kind of submissive tendencies. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’m very Type A. I like control and my routines, and the only time I ever take orders is from my superiors at work. Full stop.
But with James…f^*k, I don’t know what it is. Maybe there’s a part of me that’s still that little boy trying to impress the older kid and get him to like me or even notice me. Maybe it’s because I know he hasn’t had it easy in life and the idea of being an escape for him, however briefly, speaks to my protective side. Whatever the case, I can’t let it affect this assignment. Too much is at stake. I need to keep things strictly professional.
Growling at the ceiling, I kick off the sheet and get out of bed. All this thinking about James is making me thirsty, and since I’m not getting any damn sleep, I might as well get some water. I contemplate slipping on a pair of lounge pants over my boxer briefs, but that seems like a lot of work for a ten-second walk to the fridge, so I don’t bother as I leave my room and head for the kitchen.
His place is nice, understated and simple. But it might as well be a hotel suite—tidy and functional, with all the furniture and appliances one needs but without any of the personal touches that make it a home. No pictures, knickknacks, or anything that would give any clue as to who lives here. I have a small house in the middle-class area of London. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s homey. I worked hard to put my stamp on it and fill it with things that remind me of the people I love.
Opening the fridge, I grab a bottle of water and take note of the blender in the corner on my way out of the kitchen. Good, I’ll need that for my morning meal. I twist off the cap, drain half the water, and recap it as I pad my way across the huge living room.
I catch movement out of the corner of my eye and instinctively reach for the gun that isn’t there. The water bottle drops to the floor and rolls under the couch somewhere as I try to recover from the near heart attack.
“Jesus Christ, you scared the hell out of me,” I say to a very calm James who’s sprawled in the chair, bathed in the light of the full moon streaming in through the windows. He’s wearing only a pair of black lounge pants, his legs stretched out in front of him, his incredible torso on full display.
Holy s%*t, this is the first time I’ve ever seen Hook shirtless, and my eyes drink in every detail like a greedy sponge. He has another tattoo—a large, three-masted ship flying a pirate flag that takes up most of his right side—his nipples are pierced with hoops, and his chest is lightly dusted with black hair that disappears at his sternum and picks back up under his navel. He has the frame of a swimmer, broad at the shoulders and tapered at the waist, with plenty of defined muscles in between.
I feel like someone dumped water on my mental circuit board. I can’t think, can’t speak. And it’s not even the tattoo, the pierced nipples, the blocks of abs, or the dips of his V angling into his low waistband that has me completely tongue-tied. It’s the fact that he’s reading a worn copy of The Count of Monte Cristo and wearing black Clark Kent eyeglasses. He looks like a f#%kable, badass professor relaxing at home. Good goddamn, this part of the assignment is going to be one giant exercise in sexual frustration.
“What the hell are you doing over there?”
A single eyebrow rises above the rim of his glasses. “If you can’t figure that out, you might not be as good of a cop as you think.”
I roll my eyes. “I mean, what are you doing reading at nearly three in the morning? You have insomnia or something?”
His tone has a hint of bitterness, or maybe resentment. Combined with the elusive answer, the wheels in my cop brain start spinning. “Do—”
He lifts his book again and interrupts me with a forceful, “Go back to sleep, Darling.”
I’ve accepted that he’s going to keep using my last name as a way to get under my skin, so it no longer bothers me. But f%^k if I’m telling him that. “I wasn’t sleeping, either.”
He lowers the book to his lap, and his eyes take a slow perusal of my body. Everywhere his gaze lands feels like an intimate touch, making me burn in its wake, and if I don’t distract myself, I’ll be pointing due north in seconds. There’s a trick I’ve used in the past if I found my mind wandering down a path that might lead to an awkward reaction. If I catalog the details of the person’s face and mentally file them away like I’ll need them for a report later, it keeps my mind out of the gutter. C’mon, cop brain, don’t fail me now.
Jesus. How can someone with such a ruthless reputation be so goddamn beautiful? His features are an odd mix of harsh and lush that complement each other. Cold eyes are framed with thick lashes, his often-snarling mouth is made with sexy, full lips, and his granite-edge jawline is softened by his trim beard that looks like strands of black silk. My fingers itch to stroke it as my lips lay claim to his, then trail lower to where the silky strands fade into the top of his throat, kissing their way down…
F#%k. So much for that trick. There’s no hiding my reaction to him when the only armor I have is a pair of gray boxer briefs. His eyes drag back up my body to meet mine, his mouth twisting into a smug grin. “Insomnia?”
“Or something,” I answer huskily.
©Hook, Gina L. Maxwell 2019
Previously published review here.
Gina L. Maxwell is a full-time writer, wife, and mother living in the upper Midwest, despite her scathing hatred of snow and cold weather. An avid romance novel addict, she began writing as an alternate way of enjoying the romance stories she loves to read. Her debut novel, Seducing Cinderella, hit both the USA Today and the New York Times bestseller lists in less than four weeks, and she’s been living her newfound dream ever since.
When she’s not reading or writing steamy romance novels, she spends her time losing at games to her high school sweetheart, hanging out with their adult teenagers as they learn to fly on their own, and dreaming of her move to someplace warm once they finally do.
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