Chapter 1

“THAT blond giant over there. The one with all the muscles. He’s checking you out.”

Louise looked up from her empty wineglass and smiled. Her best friend, Jill, had lowered her voice into almost a whisper but still managed to sound dramatic—it was her specialty. “So?” Louise shrugged. “That’s why we’re here, isn’t it?” She grabbed the rim of her empty glass, and raised it toward Jill in a salute. “To drink at this dingy Bay Shore bar, and flirt with all the local boys.”

“No, that’s why you are here.” Jill shook her head, and her brown eyes managed to look both disapproving and amused. “I still haven’t figured out why I let you drive me three hours north, to the middle of nowhere—”

“For a vacation—”

“For a vacation?” Jill gestured around them with a smirk on her pretty face. “It’s the middle of winter, and we are in the Thumb of Michigan. The Thumb, Louise! There is nothing in the Thumb but fish, deer, and birds.”

“And Lake Huron,” she pointed out, gesturing for the waiter to give her a refill. She needed more wine before Jill ruined her buzz completely, and just when she was starting to forget her mother’s betrayal.

“Lake Huron is frozen over.” Jill rolled her eyes. “When will you wake up, Louise? This is no vacation.”

“You didn’t have to come.” Louise tapped her fingers on the table with annoyance, but when the waiter came by with another glass of red wine, she couldn’t help but smile. One more glass of shiraz, and Jill’s negativity would be a distant echo.

“And let you drive up here all alone?” Jill gasped, looking outraged. “Your mother would never forgive me if I allowed you to do that.”

“My mother is a liar,” she grumbled, tipping her wineglass back. The red liquid burned her throat and set fire to her insides. It was a wonderful sensation, compared to the stress she had been carrying around all week.

“So what if your mother didn’t tell you about your grandmother’s will? It’s not the end of the world.” Jill leaned in, lowering her voice. “It’s no reason to drive to the middle of nowhere and slum it with some dirty local fisherman.”

“What was that?” she asked loudly, making a show of cupping her ear. “I didn’t hear you.”

“Oh never mind.” Jill’s face flushed pink with embarrassment. Her friend might be rich and snobby, but she prided herself on her excellent manners. Which was why Louise enjoyed teasing her.

“You know what I mean, Louise.”

“Do I?”

She in fact knew what her best friend meant, but didn’t care. It didn’t matter that both she and Jill were raised in the ritzy suburbs of Detroit, molded from birth to become wealthy future lawyers. It didn’t matter that both she and Jill were supposed to graduate from college in the spring, or that after, Louise would be expected to join her parents’ law firm and become a leading divorce attorney. That was before she learned the dirty little secret her mother had been keeping from her. Now she wasn’t so sure she wanted to graduate college. She wasn’t so sure she wanted to continue being her parents’ perfect little daughter. The only thing she was sure about was the fact that she wanted to drink away her worries, at this local dingy bar, in the middle of nowhere.

“We should be at school, studying for final exams.” Jill nodded, trying to look convincing.

“I’m sick of studying.” Louise sighed dramatically. “That’s all we’ve done for over five years. I need a mental break.”

“You’ll get one, after this spring—”

“And then what? Study for the bar exam nonstop?” She gestured with her wine, splashing the fluid over the rim. “Work at my parents’ law firm twelve hours a day? Where’s the payoff?”

“What do you mean where’s the payoff?” Jill looked back at her incredulously. “When you’re living in your own mansion, the one you bought with your own money. When you marry your rich and handsome husband, and have his perfect-looking kids.”

Louise took a long sip of her wine in response. Her friend sounded so ridiculous, it was as if she was joking, but Louise knew she was not. This was the type of world she grew up in—the privileged, rich life. Where all anyone cared about was work, money, and appearing flawless. Love and affection didn’t matter in her world; neither did true happiness. She might have money, a rich husband, and perfect-looking kids one day, but she knew she wouldn’t be happy. There would be no time to enjoy those things when she was always chasing the next dollar. Just like her parents had.

“Maybe I don’t want those things, Jill.” Louise placed her glass down and looked into her friend’s eyes. “Is that so bad? What if I decided to take the inheritance my grandmother left me—”

“And live here?” Jill shouted. She was too shocked this time to lower her voice, and the results had every eye in the bar turned in their direction.

“Keep your voice down,” Louise whispered harshly.

“You want to give up all your hard work and dedication in law school,” Jill continued loudly, ignoring her. “To what? Own a stupid bakery?”

“It’s not a stupid bakery,” she said through clenched teeth. She suddenly felt the need to strangle her friend. “It was my grandmother’s—”

“I know, I know. You loved your grandmother.” Jill swatted at the air, as if this was old news. “But she’s dead, Louise. Do you really think she would want you to give up your dreams, just because she left you her small town bakery?”

“Becoming a lawyer was never my dream,” Louise grumbled under her breath. She was done with Jill’s voice. It was grating in her head and killing her buzz. She should have never allowed Jill to come on this trip.

“Not yet, but that is only because you haven’t made money—”

“Jill, please stop talking.” Louise held up her hand. She had enough. “I don’t want to talk about money, school, or my family. I’m trying to enjoy myself here.”

“Yes, she’s trying to enjoy herself, Jill,” a deep voice echoed from behind her. “Can’t you see that?”

Louise arched her head back to see the blond giant towering over their table—with his arms like tree trunks, and a chest so broad, it was hard to pull her eyes away. When she finally managed to, she noticed his hair looked tousled and dirty underneath his dark red baseball cap. The ends were golden, as if he spent countless hours in the sun. His eyes were the color of fire—amber, deep, and striking against thick, dark lashes and even darker eyebrows. He had a broad smile on his handsome face, and it was filled with mischief. In one hand he held a beer, in the other a glass of red wine. He handed the wine to her, and his smile broadened into something more seductive. She could no longer feel her toes. “I bought you a drink, beautiful,” he said, amber eyes traveling down her neck, and lower still. “I hope you don’t mind.”

“Not at all,” Louise responded when she found her voice again. Her mouth suddenly felt so dry. She reached out and accepted the glass from his hand. For a moment their fingers touched, and his eyes were back on hers—filled with heat. The type of heat that made her finally forget all her worries.

“Don’t you dare drink that!” Jill cried, reaching out to grab the wine from Louise’s hand. “You don’t know if he put something in it.”

Her cheeks blushed with heat as she contemplated this handsome stranger drugging her to take advantage. She wasn’t sure why that thought was appealing, especially seeing as she only had sex a handful of times with her college boyfriend, and none of those times were that great.

“Don’t be so dramatic, Jill.” She pulled the wineglass out of her friend’s reach and took a purposeful sip. “Tastes fine to me.”

“It tastes like wine, because that’s what it is.” The stranger sat down next to Jill and placed his arm around her shoulders. “Don’t worry, Jill, I don’t need to drug women to get them to come home with me.”

“I guess I’m just supposed to take your word for it,” Jill responded dryly, pushing his arm off. “A random dude from the bar.”

“Andrew,” he corrected, reaching out his hand in Jill’s direction. “Nice to meet you, Jill.”

Jill narrowed her eyebrows, but shook his hand anyway. Louise smiled into her glass and took another long sip. Andrew, if that was his real name, sure knew how to charm his way into their company—even managed to make Jill blush. He might be a dirty fisherman, but he definitely was a handsome one.

“Does your friend have a name?” he asked Jill, taking a sip of his beer. The way his long fingers wrapped around the neck of the bottle made Louise ache somewhere deep inside her sex. What would Andrew’s hands feel like wrapped around her waist, her hips, her breasts? Her nipples strained against her shirt just thinking about his touch.

“Her name is none of your business,” Jill clipped back.

“It’s Louise,” she said, reaching out her hand to Andrew’s. She wanted to feel his skin against hers again. She wanted to feel his gaze on her chest. Even worse, she wanted Jill to get lost.

Andrew swallowed her hand in his and offered her a devilish grin, one that made her heart skip around her chest. His eyes continued to explore the neckline of her shirt, as if he could see how sensitive her breasts had become. The wine is definitely going to my head, Louise thought, or to other places. Either way, the distraction from her stress was welcome. She had a feeling this stranger could distract her more if they were alone. Andrew’s eyes seemed to echo her thoughts as he finally pulled his hand away.

“Well, it was nice to meet you, Andrew,” Jill said, giving Louise a knowing look. “But we better get going back to our hotel. Our husbands will be waiting for us.”

Louise shook her head. Her friend was desperate for Louise to escape this stranger. Jill didn’t want her to do anything dumb, like sleep with a dirty local fisherman. She was determined to make Louise return to her old, rich, and unhappy life, untouched and unaffected. Nobody in Louise’s life wanted her to make a decision on her own, not even her best friend, and she had had enough. Whether it was the alcohol talking, or the fight with her mother, or the stress of becoming something she wasn’t, Louise knew she had to make a decision so daring, so out of character, so adventurous that she would never forget it.

“You go back to the hotel, Jill,” Louise said, smiling at her friend. “Tell my husband not to wait up.” She tipped back her wine and swallowed the rest of the contents. The liquid burned her throat and filled her body with both fire and courage. She stood up and turned to Andrew. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Lead the way, beautiful.” Andrew smiled, grabbing on to her hand, and followed her out of the bar.

“Louise! You can’t be serious!”

She heard Jill’s cries and chose to ignore them. Tonight she would not be listening to her friend, to her mother, or to anyone. Tonight she was not Louise the future lawyer. Tonight she was young, impulsive, and free.

When the cool night air hit her face and the door to the bar closed behind them, she turned to Andrew and offered him a seductive smile. “Kiss me,” she demanded. Her voice sounded throaty in her ears, and she liked the sound. It was the sound of freedom.

Andrew’s eyes hooded as he lowered his gaze to her lips. His body moved with an easy grace that contradicted his size as he backed her against the building, linked his fingers with hers, and raised her arms above her head. She felt her pulse quicken as he leaned in, brushing his lips softly against hers, filling her with just a tease of his taste, earthy, masculine, and strong.

“Are you really married?” he asked. His gaze was on hers and filled with fiery arousal.

“No,” she whispered, raising her face up to his, aching for another kiss. His scent was so deep, so delightfully masculine and strong, she could not get enough. None of the men in law school tasted or felt like this—made her feel so feminine and small, so achingly hot.

“Good.” He covered her mouth with his and kissed her hard and long. He flicked his tongue against her lower lip, seeking entrance. She allowed him in with a heady groan and enjoyed the feel of his possession. His body pushed against hers and made her ache so hard, she could no longer think. It was only thirty degrees outside, and yet she wondered why she was still wearing a coat.

Andrew pulled back and pressed his lips against her ear. “Louise, come home with me.”

“I don’t know.”

Her lips felt bruised. She pulled her hands out of his grasp so she could cover them. She wanted this stranger, this fisherman…wanted him to touch her in a way she never cared for a man to touch her before. She wanted to live on the edge for one second of her life, and make a stupid decision, have a one-night stand. But could she really go home with a stranger? Wasn’t that an easy way to become a statistic?

She bit her lower lip, fighting the need to scream. How could she live on the edge when her upbringing was constantly slapping her in the face? Thanks to her parents, she couldn’t even enjoy this one moment.

“See that cabin?” He pointed across the street, where Lake Huron’s icy surface disappeared into the dark sky. There were small houses sitting on the shoreline. Tiny, one-bedroom log cabins all in a neat row.

“Which one?”

“The first one on the right,” he said, grabbing on to her hand and pointing with her finger in that direction. She shivered from the touch.

“Yes.”

“That’s mine,” he whispered against her ear. More shivers raced down her spine.

She turned to him, looking into his eyes. They had gone so dark, so intense, she saw his handsome face in a different light. Andrew was enticing, sexy, and filled with masculine heat that demanded a release.

“Come home with me, rich girl.” He cocked one dark eyebrow in a sensual manner, making her heart race. “I promise you won’t regret it.”

“How do you know I’m rich?”

“You look rich.” He ran his hands up the leather sleeves of her coat. When he got to her shoulders, he pulled her to him and ran his lips down the side of her neck. “You taste rich.”

She shivered. Her body was on fire from his touch. Her mind was lost in a sea of desires so deep, and so wicked. She knew if she didn’t have more of him she would regret it forever.

“You smell like a fisherman,” Louise teased, pushing out of his arms. She needed the upper hand. This was her fantasy after all, and she planned to stay in control.

“A dirty one too.” He scooped up her hand, smiling sinfully. “I can promise you that.”

“What else can you promise me?” she played back, batting her long lashes at her tall and handsome stranger.

“Come home with me, rich girl.” He pressed her fingers to his lips and grazed his teeth lightly against her knuckles, making it hard for her to breathe. “I’ll show you what this dirty fisherman can do.”

Louise couldn’t help but smile, and before she knew it, she was nodding in consent and allowing Andrew to lead her across the street. The man was beyond sexy. He was a lethal weapon. She could not resist his voice, his body, his charm. She could not fight the urge to taste his lips again and feel his hands explore her body. She had a feeling she would never forget this night for the rest of her life—a passionate, sizzling memory to remind her she had once made a decision that was entirely hers, and entirely reckless.

Her hand shook in his as he led her across the street. Adrenaline, hormones, and alcohol were all coursing through her body, messing with her head. She felt so naughty, so hot, so dirty. She wanted Andrew to teach her about herself, the part that no man had taught her yet. The part she could feel constantly aching. He made her burn for his touch.

Andrew let go of her hand and unlocked the heavy log door of his cabin. He walked inside and she followed. They stood in a tiny, dark room that contained a full-size bed, a miniature kitchen, and a small bathroom, all in a single space. Not much of a space, especially by her parents’ standards, but it would do. She was not here to live with him. She was here to have a one-night stand.

He drew back the curtains on his one large window. It displayed Lake Huron, and the moonlight in the sky, in a way that made the space look magical and better than it actually was. He turned and smiled at her as if he thought so too. “Do you want something to drink?”

“No,” she said, taking off her coat and dropping her purse to the floor. Drinks were the last thing on her mind.

“Where are you from?” he asked, pulling off his own coat.

In response, Louise began to pull off her shirt. She was not here to talk. She was not here to make a connection. As soon as the liquid courage left her bloodstream, she would be out of this cabin and running back to her old sheltered life. But first she had to gain her one rebellious memory. The one she could remember when she was working twelve hours a day, helping people divorce.

When she dropped her shirt to the floor, Andrew was no longer talking. His gaze was glued to the black, lacy bra that barely concealed the swells of her breasts. Louise was thankful she had an addiction to sensual bras and panties. It was her naughty little secret underneath her clothes, the one that said she was more than just a future lawyer. She was filled with passion.

“I didn’t come here for conversation, Andrew.” She swallowed hard when his gaze still did not come up to meet hers. “I came here for you to touch me.”

His eyes were on hers then, and the possessiveness in his gaze was ill-concealed. “If you want me to touch you, baby”—he made up the distance between them until she could feel the heat of his body against her chest—“all you have to do is ask.”

She swallowed hard, eliminating the nerves swimming inside her chest. Tonight she was not Louise. Tonight she would become something else, something out of her fantasies. “Will you touch me, Andrew?” She looked up into his eyes and offered him an innocent smile.

“Like this?” He dragged his hands up to cup both her breasts lightly. Her nipples instantly hardened against his heat.

“Yes,” she gasped out, pulse thundering against her chest.

“Or like this?” He tightened his grip firmly so that the swells of her breasts were pushed up, straining against her bra, aching to get out. Her peaks tightened with both shocking pleasure and light, alluring pain.

She groaned low and closed her eyes, inching her hips into his. “Both.”

Andrew chuckled deeply and leaned down to cover her lips. His tongue explored the recesses of her mouth with masterful strokes, as if he belonged there, as if her lips and tongue were his possessions. He lowered his lips down to her neck and chest, and didn’t stop until he had made a trail of kisses on her stomach. His mouth was hot and felt magical on her skin. He kissed her heatedly, and didn’t stop until her head had fallen back and her breaths were coming in low, sensual moans.

“I like how you taste, rich girl.” He raised his lips from her stomach, and his amber eyes found hers. There was so much intensity in his gaze; she felt her knees wobble.

“I like when you taste me, dirty fisherman.” She brushed off his red baseball cap and ran her fingers through his tousled hair.

He stood up and recaptured her lips, kissing her hard. His hands slid down the swells of her breasts and landed on the waist of her jeans. This was where he wanted to go, his hands told her. This was where he needed to be. “Take off your pants, baby.” He raised his mouth from hers and recaptured her eyes. There was a sensual smile on his lips. “I need to see more of you.”

She did as she was told—slowly, holding his gaze, allowing him to see her willingness to follow his command. Her heart raced with desire. If she removed all her clothes, would he remove his? Would he touch her again?

By the time she was standing in nothing but her lacy black bra and matching black panties, the smile on Andrew’s face was gone. “Come to me,” he beckoned her, in a voice that battled for control.

Her heart pounded against her chest as she made her way slowly to his side. She liked this little game they were playing. She liked the desperation in his voice. As if he had to have her—had to consume her whole. It was a role so different from the control and discipline she was forced to heed her whole life.

Andrew waited until she was standing right in front of him and then circled her slowly, taking his time examining her body from the front to the back. He said nothing during his inspection, but his eyes said plenty. They spoke of his need to touch her, command her, make her his in every way. She shivered with anticipation. Her body grew soft and liquid. Heat poured down her spine. Her nipples strained against the lace of her bra, aching for his touch.

He lowered his pants and took off his shirt. His chest was broad and defined. His abs were cut and lean. His skin had a golden hue, giving him the appearance of a Greek god. She felt her mouth go dry. Her lips ached with the need to inspect his skin with her mouth. If Andrew noticed her need, he did not comment. He was too busy removing all of his clothes so that the hard length of his erection was soon revealed. She sucked in a breath. The man is blessed in more ways than one.

“Louise,” he said, pulling her to his side. The sexy smile was back on his lips. “Do you want to touch me?”

She nodded, not ready to trust her voice. Not only did she want to touch him, she suddenly wanted to taste his shaft with the tip of her tongue.

He raised his arms above his head, and closed his eyes as if anticipating her next move. She reached out a tentative hand and stroked her fingers slowly down his length. The mere touch had him bucking his hips as he growled low in the back of his throat. The sound filled her with power.

“How does this feel?” She ran her fingers down his shaft again, and this time didn’t stop until she was cupping other areas.

He bucked his hips again, growling in satisfaction. This filled her with more power, the kind of power she had never had in her whole life—a freedom to let her spirit run wild, and torture someone with her passion, all because she wanted to. It was an addicting, achingly pleasurable feeling.

Louise kneeled down so that her lips were inches from the tip of his shaft. With her hand still cupping him, she began to slowly feed his shaft into her mouth and back out. Her tongue stroked his salty skin and savored his masculine taste. “Do you want me to touch you like this?” she teased between strokes. “Or like this.” This time she grazed the edge of his shaft with her teeth and stroked the area with the tip of her tongue. In seconds Andrew was not only bucking his hips wildly but also moaning and fisting her long hair into his hands.

“Wicked.” He chuckled low, tugging her hair back gently so that she was forced to look in his eyes. “I like when you’re naughty.”

“Is that so?” She cocked one eyebrow seductively, enjoying his comment. This man made her feel naughty. Already her panties felt so wet she was sure they would slip off.

He took her hands in his, and pulled her to her feet. When they were eye to eye, he leaned in and kissed her heatedly. His hands ran up her back to fumble with her bra. In two snaps, her last piece of clothing fell to the floor. He raised his lips from hers and devoured her bare skin with his eyes.

“So damn perfect.” He reached down to cup her bare breasts in his hands, and groaned. After brushing a light kiss against her lips, he leaned down to explore her chest with his tongue. First his touch was light and sensual, but soon it became hard and demanding. His lips sucked around her nipples, and his fingers pinched them after, until she was shaking against him so hard, she could barely stand.

“Please, Andrew,” she begged, panting against his touch. “I’m losing control.”

He chuckled in response, but after a few long, tormenting strokes of his tongue, he raised his head to recapture her lips. She fell back onto the bed, with Andrew’s weight on top. He crushed her with his kisses while his hand reached down between them to play with her sex. His thumb rubbed across her clitoris, massaging her, filling her body with shivers of delight. When one of his large fingers slipped into her heat, her body pulsated around him, welcoming him in. “Oh, yes. Just like that.”

He leaned down to run hot kisses across her breasts, while fingering her sex. Every movement of his hand created enticing friction against her clitoris. His tongue circled her nipples, increasing her arousal. She couldn’t seem to hold still as a magical sensation ran down her spine. Her hips lifted to meet the thrusts of his fingers, seeking a release. It was agony holding back when she felt so damn hot inside. A burning fire, aching to get out.

Just when she felt the first tremors of delight pulsating through her sex, he pulled his wicked fingers away and stood up off the bed. His body moved athletically in the darkness as he rummaged in the bedside table to find and pull on protection. His intentions were obvious. He wanted to take her completely. Meet their releases together.

They were strangers. This moment should fill her with dread. Instead she felt nothing but excitement as her eyes devoured his skin, learning his body. The body that would soon be so intimately entwined with hers. She searched her mind for any reservations and found nothing but burning-hot anticipation. She wanted this stranger. Wanted him so bad.

When he turned back to her, she stifled the need to moan. His body was so large, so muscular, so sexy. His skin seemed to glisten in the moonlight, adding to his strength. Take me, Superman.

“Do you want to continue?” he asked, running a hand down his erection. In his eyes was an intense yearning.

“Andrew,” she moaned, beckoning him forward with one finger. “Finish this.”

He growled in response but didn’t lower himself on top of her. Instead he picked her up and positioned her on her hands and knees. With a possessive hand, he reached around and covered her sex, running tantalizing circles across her clitoris with his palm. She moaned again, finding the sensation extremely pleasurable.

He placed his erection against her heat and pushed slowly in, filling her body with fire from her head to her toes. Louise cried out. Never had anything felt so amazing. Never had she wanted a release more.

As if reading her mind, Andrew began plunging into her again. With each thrust, he played with her sex, bringing her massive amounts of enticing pleasure. Then she was on the edge of ecstasy, the pressure spilling over. “I’m going to come!” she screamed desperately, feeling her body tighten around him, tugging him in.

“Come for me, baby,” he demanded, thrusting into her hard, bringing her over the brink of madness.

She screamed as her body crumbled around him into shattering pieces. She could hear Andrew yelling her name, plunging into her again and again, meeting his own release. She could feel his hands all over her backside, squeezing her possessively. But she was too lost in her own pleasure, her own freedom, to do anything but live the moment. This is the best sex of my life.

After their bodies stopped shaking, Andrew pulled her into his arms. He kissed her softly then, tenderly, his lips speaking how he felt. And it scared her to death. She could feel her heart slowing down to beat in time with his. He had grabbed her hand, and hers fit in his just right. His arms felt as if they were meant to hold her. It was confusing to feel this way, and yet completely understandable after what they had just shared together. She knew it was the alcohol talking and the emotion of finally being free for the first time. Doing something just because she wanted to. It put her life suddenly into perspective. Maybe she was living life all wrong. Maybe it was time to stop living for others, and start figuring out who she really was and what she really wanted.

His lips became lazy, and his arms tightened around her. She rested her head against his chest and listened to his heart. It was nice and soothing. He tried to speak to her, tried to tell her something about his name, but she pretended to have fallen asleep. She knew after what they just shared, Andrew would want to sleep himself. Louise didn’t want to talk. She wanted to take her memory and go. If she allowed him to make love to her body again, she would never leave. Her heart wanted to stay here in this little cabin. Her body ached for more of this stranger’s touch.

She waited until his breaths became even. When she knew he was asleep, she inched out of his arms and brushed a soft kiss against his mouth. “Thank you,” she whispered. Andrew had set her free. She would never forget this experience; she would never forget what tonight had done for her life. Whether they crossed paths again or not, Andrew would be locked in her memory forever.

She stood up and quickly dressed. In seconds she was pulling the heavy door of Andrew’s log cabin shut and rushing out into the dim morning light.