Title: Joint Venture
Series: Venture #4
Author: Kristen Luciani
Release Date: Aug 29, 2016
Notorious celebrity playboy A.J. Morgan has more emotional baggage than notches on his well-used bedpost, but bleached blonde, silicone-enhanced three-ways and excess of whiskey are all the therapy he needs.
Live to indulge, indulge to fill the voids.
Those are his rules…. until he meets cunning financial analyst-slash-sexy club singer Lisa Embry, a woman whose heart is surrounded by more barbed wire than a high-security prison.
Rules? What rules?
One lust-filled romp with his female alter-ego turns A.J. into an addict in need of his next fix and he’ll pay any price for another hit.
But he soon finds out Lisa has her own rules… ones that can never be broken.
Lisa inched closer, swathed in an oversized fleece hoodie. Her eyes had regained their sparkle, though they held the question hanging between them, one he had yet to answer for himself: why the hell am I here right now?
Somehow, “you’re hot and I’m horny” didn’t cut it. It might have been his canned internal response, but not for her. Contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t a sex addict. Women were a means to an end… that end temporarily releasing him from the emotional burdens he carried day after day. Sex helped mask the wounds, but it never really healed him. How ironic he’d been sliced open protecting the one who made him want to feel something again. Talk about poetic justice.
“I wanted to make sure you were okay.” Pain shot up his forearm and his head throbbed. Christ, he needed those drugs to kick in fast. Everything hurt, but dammit, he wasn’t about to whine like some pansy ass.
“I’m fine. Much better than you, from the looks of it.”
“Yeah, well, I guess you could say I’ve done my civic duty.”
She smiled, exposing a row of perfectly straight, bright white teeth. They practically glowed. Or maybe that was the oxycontin finally taking effect. “I feel so privileged.”
A wave of nausea crashed over him. No, no, no… fuck, no. He squeezed his eyes shut until the feeling dissipated. An icy coldness snaked through his extremities, right down to his fingers. No longer were they itching to run through the waves cascading over her shoulders. Flexing them was futile. What the hell? The overhead light danced atop her golden hair. He squinted. It almost looked like a halo. And were those doves floating around her head? Somewhere in his increasingly foggy mind, he registered some kind of faint whistling. Was it the doves? Or was he just fucking insane? Numbness slowly crept over the stitched area and his mind grew cloudier. Christ, how much did Evan give him? No way was this a normal dose.
A warm hand grazed his arm. “Do you want me to call the doctor? You look a little, um, off.” Her brow furrowed. “How about some water?”
Four eyes stared back. Did she have a twin? Where had she come from? Mmm, that kind of threesome was right up his alley. “You two are so beautiful, you know that?”
“Who two?” She gnawed at her fingernail. “Maybe I should get someone. I don’t think—”
“No, don’t leave. Please. I feel great. I just want to keep looking at you guys, okay?” Voices echoed around him. How many more sisters did she have? And how did they all get into his room? So much for hospital security.
“Um, sure. You know we’re alone, right? Just you and me?”
“Yes, and your sisters. Stop biting your nails and hold my hand. The one that’s not sliced up.”
“Are you always this demanding?”
“I took a knife for you. So yeah, I think I earned the right.” He let out a deep sigh as their fingers entwined. Soft and warm. His eyelids were so heavy; forcing them to stay open was a near-impossible feat. “You like tattoos, huh?”
“Tattoos?” She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear, a smirk lifting her lips. “I’m not so sure we’re still on the same wavelength. What kind of painkillers did they give you?”
“I don’t know, but I can’t feel my legs anymore.”
“I’m kind of surprised your mouth still works.”
“Happy to say it’s not the only thing.”
“And here I was, thinking you weren’t as big a womanizer as the tabloids claim.”
“They don’t know me.”
“No.” He could barely even hear his own voice. It sounded so far away, like he was speaking from deep within a cave. A snicker escaped his mouth. Where did all the cotton come from? “I feel drunk and massively hung over right now.”
She leaned closer, the scent of her perfume wafting into the air. Recalling his own name was a struggle, but even with his weakened senses, he was acutely aware of her nearness. The sensation of slender fingers smoothing back his hair lulled him to sleep. Her touch was so gentle, like a soft breeze fluttering over his skin. His mind begged him to stay focused but the eyelids drooped in utter betrayal. Even her hands smelled amazing, like flowers and… jelly beans. Warm lips grazed his forehead. He squeezed her hand with the last of his rapidly depleting energy store, struggling to open his eyes one final time. A sea of smiling faces gazed back. “Promise you’ll visit tomorrow, okay? Bring all your sisters, too.”
Kristen Luciani is a self-proclaimed momtrepreneur, beauty product junkie, and romance author with a penchant for Christian Louboutins, Silicon Valley, plunging necklines and grapefruit martinis. As a deep-rooted romantic who prefers juicy drama to fill the lives of anyone other than her, she tried her hand at creating a world of enchantment, sensuality, and intrigue, finally uncovering her true passion. No pun intended…