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Thorne Brother Series — Book 1
Beckett. Asher. Gray. Eli. Ryker. Wyatt. Five out of six very different brothers reunited—and working to make their construction firm a success. But oldest brother Beckett just found their major new project becoming one hard and sexy challenge . . .
A rough childhood tore Beckett and his brothers apart. It took everything he had to track them down and establish Six Brothers Construction. He only trusts them—and his drive to win. Now if SBC can build a billionaire team owner’s much-hyped new mansion, it will put them on the map—and finally fulfill Beckett’s promise to take care of his siblings. Too bad he’ll have to collaborate with hot new rival Samantha Devine, who’s throwing him curves on-site, out-the-box . . . and between the sheets.
Sam knows from experience that arrogant good-ole-boy Beckett is long, strong, and built to go the distance. But this is her only shot to prove she and her fledgling design company can succeed on her own terms. She’ll match Beckett’s expertise by day—and reignite the explosive heat between them by night. But when passion threatens to become real love, will this competition separate them for good . . . or make the sizzling collaboration of a lifetime?
Copyright © Lee Kilraine
Talk about a dream job. For sure my face looked like I’d just walked through a clearance sale of Jimmie Choo shoes, my smile flagrantly wide as I walked through the French doors of the sunroom to greet Lila.
That was where my dream turned into a nightmare. Because my gaze landed on a man in the room. Landed with a thud.
For the record, I’m not a man hater. I’m not. But I do have a hit list.
Not men I want to have killed. No. My hit list contained the men I wanted to hit. Right over their thick skulls.
Here’s my list:
Dear old Dad
Stepbrother #1 (Todd the bod. He seriously called himself that.)
Stepbrother #2 (Justin the jerk. He did not call himself that, but he was.)
But since I don’t believe in using violence to solve problems, I had to develop a different tactic. I called it “intelligent avoidance.” Margo said all I was doing was avoiding my problems. According to the twisting in my gut right now, I’d have to admit she was right again. I had some smart friends; if only I’d listen to them more often, then maybe I wouldn’t be standing here feeling flustered and hyper-aware of the boob sweat slicing down my cleavage and over my ribcage.
“There you are!” Lila walked to me, giving me cheek to cheek air kisses to not mess up her lipstick. My own Cherry Bomb lipstick was newly refreshed. Like extra armor before going into battle. “Sam, I think you already know Beckett Thorne.”
“Samantha.” He stood and reached out his hand, courteous and professional.
“Thorne.” I nodded, pretending I didn’t see his hand, bad-mannered and immature. His extended hand was a trick anyway. One I’d fallen for before. He tricked me into getting close enough to smell him. He smelled like cedar trees and hot sexy nights. It was subtle, but powerful. Like a breath-stealing punch that hit me right in the honey pot. Not kidding.
I’d learned to go into survival mode and protect myself around him. The problem was he was my sexual kryptonite. He could do things to my body with a simple look. And a touch…? I suppressed the shiver that wanted to rattle its way down my body with the thought of what his touch had done to me.
I’d met Beckett Thorne two years ago when I’d first moved to Raleigh. He’d come sauntering over at the Building and Design Expo, offering to show me around town. I’d been warned about him. Rumor was the offer to show me his bedroom would follow shortly after that. And then he’d show me the door even quicker.
I’m not saying it was easy to turn him down. In fact, I’m not saying that at all.
Because I didn’t. I couldn’t. Something about his blue eyes, his sexy smile, his work-hardened body, and his strong calloused hands had me saying yes. Only we skipped the tour around town.
That’s right. I’d taken my turn on the Beckett Thorne thrill ride. It was hot, mind-blowing, and everything a woman imagined when they looked at him. And more. Ride of a lifetime, but I was warned. Like most wild rides, a love affair with Beckett was said to be exhilarating but rumbled to an abrupt stop, before a woman could even catch her breath from the scream-inducing rush up and over the sky-high peaks. Nope. I’d had enough rejection from men in my life. My plan was to walk away after our one night together. And that’s what happened.
I’d one and done him.
That’s how I like to remember it went for the sake of my own dignity.
In reality, like an idiot, I’d waited for him to call all the next week. Not that he said he would. There was a vague mention of seeing me again, somewhere in the hot panting heat between round two and three. In my defense, I wasn’t exaggerating about the mind-blowing ride of a lifetime. Plus, I’m an optimist. And did I mention how amazing the sex was?
But when he didn’t call, I moved on. No big deal.
Luckily, even though the design world in Raleigh was small, we rarely ran into each other. Yet here we both were, and both, apparently, salivating for Lila’s job. Of course that was why I was salivating. Mr. Tall, Dark, and could-be-Bradley Cooper’s-stunt-double had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Nothing. Not his rugged looks, like a barely tamed tiger, almost too austere to call handsome. Not his dark blond hair, looking perpetually mussed like a woman had run her hands through it. Not the bump on his nose and jagged scar on his chin hinting at a wild past. And certainly not his electric blue eyes that gleamed with intelligence and cynicism. A dangerous combination.
So he could take his Southern manners and stick them where the—whoa, down girl. Sure our history was short—very short—but apparently it was seared into my memory. Possibly because I replayed that memory numerous times over the past two years. When I took a shower, or used my battery powered friend. Hey, those memories were mine fair and square. I was allowed to use them, especially when I was in the middle of a man-drought. It’s not my fault I hadn’t found a man I wanted to sleep with since my night with Thorne.
He stood staring across the room at me. God the man was too good looking for my own good. And far too cocky. I was just the woman to bring him down a peg.
What was he doing? Huh, what do you know… He was eye-fucking me. The man had some nerve. He couldn’t keep his gaze off my chest. I willed my nipples not to react. Don’t go perky. Don’t go perky. Don’t g—too late. Those damn eyes of his. Well, two can play at this game.
I let my gaze wander over his chest…and down. Down farther before dragging my gaze back up. His eyebrow quirked.
I quirked my eyebrow right back, making sure to roll my shoulders back, giving him an eyeful of my perky nipples. Both of his eyebrows rose.
That’s right, buddy. Suck it. I mean, no, there would be no sucking. None. Zero. No thinking about his lips at all. I had to exterminate that image from my brain before my pulse headed into defibrillation territory.
His eyebrows lowered from their sky-high perch on the ladder of cockiness. Looked like round one went to me. Ha!
“You’ve got a piece of lettuce on your…uh…top.” His face looked innocent but the laughter in his eyes was like a whipped cream pie to my face.
I looked down and sure enough a piece of lettuce clung to my chest like a bull’s-eye over my right nipple. Nice, Sam. Nothing said classy and professional like a lettuce leaf pastie!
I did what any crazy, trying-to-hold-on-to-her-dignity woman would do. I peeled off the lettuce and popped it into my mouth. I chewed and swallowed delicately. “One can never get enough fiber.”