Warning from Lynda: This book contains elements that won't appeal to everyone. As the title suggests, the beginning of the relationship is based on money. But it is a love story, and Jessica and Connor deserve a fairytale ending which I'm happy to have supplied.
Can love come from a sinful beginning?
Jessica Conway is at the end of her rope. She desperately needs a few things that her moral values can't buy: food, shelter, a chance for a better life.
Connor Montgomery is tortured with guilt from the past and wants only one thing from Jessica, something he's very willing to pay her for. Setting her up as his mistress seems like the perfect idea. But how long can a situation continue that was a mistake from the very beginning?
Connor flipped her to her back on the middle of the bed, where Jessica promptly scrambled to a sitting position. His gaze locked on hers where she sat, and as he continued to stare into her eyes, he began stripping. He made quick work of it, and came to stand at the foot of the bed. "Clothes . . . off."
A sharp spiral of heat rushed through Jessica at the brusque command so like the ones he'd given her a month ago. But unlike the dread and trepidation she'd felt then, now arousal and anticipation coiled in her stomach. Containing a tremble of need, she slipped her shorts and panties down her legs and let them fall to the floor. Still unsure about displaying her body so boldly, she grabbed a pillow and pulled it around to hug in front of herself, hiding herself from him.
He growled a low warning in his throat, and the heat she felt slid down her spine and coalesced into a knot of arousal that landed in licks of fire between her thighs.
As he looked down at her, he adjusted his stance and his pectoral muscles came into bold prominence as his eyes narrowed and his gaze became more pointed. "I want the shirt off, Jessica."
Her heart began pounding in her chest, arousal humming below the surface, trying to break free. She wanted to give him what he wanted, but there was still too much between them. "What about what I want?"
His eyes became hooded, his body held in inflexible bands of steel. "What do you want?"
What she wanted above all else was to know him, to get close to him, but he always kept that invisible line between them. "If I have to be naked, then you--you need to start moving in that direction to."
His brows pulled down in a frown, and he motioned to himself with one hand, sharply and impatiently, indicating his nude body.
She shook her head. "That's not what I mean."
"What then?" he asked, edginess rumbling from his voice as his shaft jerked and throbbed.
She inhaled deeply. "I'll take my shirt off, if you answer a question for me," she negotiated softly.
His eyes dropped to the pillow that hid her lower torso from him, and then slid up to her breasts hidden beneath her t-shirt. His nostrils flared and he hissed out through gritted teeth, "What question?"
Jessica steeled her nerves and asked, "You know what forced me into our relationship, so I'd like to know why you wanted it, as well."
For a moment, she thought he would answer her. He inhaled sharply and his eyes left hers to settle somewhere to the left of her.
As the moment wore on and it became apparent he wasn't going to say anything, heartache joined the arousal bleeding through her veins, and she wanted more than anything to soothe away the tormented look in his eyes. As he stood in silence, she almost gave in to him; she knew she was only seconds away from coming to her knees and lifting her shirt over her head. She wanted to say, 'never mind', and take away the condition she'd put on the gift of her body.
But she never got the chance.
His eyes fell back on her, and the accusation she read in them rendered her completely still. His voice when he spoke was primal, his intentions coming out loud and clear. "Leave the damn shirt on, then.