Not Her – Julia Bright

Jason Delany Baxter-Scott…the fifth. What a terrible name to have to live up to. There is no question in his mind that he’ll never live up to his parents’ expectations. Baxter, as he is known to his friends, is trying, but when his fiancée dumps him, he has less than an hour to find someone to stand in to meet his demanding mother and father. He knew Heather in college, and she recently sent a note, saying she’d moved to New York. It was a dick move, but he invited her for drinks, only to introduce her to his parents as his fiancée.
Heather is still the same free-spirited woman who challenged him to be his own man in California. She’s nothing like the women his parents’ think he should marry, and that makes her forbidden fruit. He admires her for standing up for herself and never backing down. She’s got spunk and a whole lot more that turns him on and leaves him wanting.

Heather Burke doesn’t put up with BS. She’s worked hard to develop a clothing line that sells in her own high-end boutiques. Her style may be quirky, but she’s business savvy and worldly. When Baxter contacts her, she’s in for a drink or two, but when she arrives, and his parents think she’s the fiancée, the night is turned on its end. Baxter told her story after story about how horrible his parents were so she can’t abandon him, but going along in this ruse may just be the end of her.
Back in California, she lost her heart to Baxter, and this fake fiancée stuff may just take her mind too. When he’s not bowing to his parents’ pressure, Baxter is a decent guy, someone she could see herself with for the rest of her life. She just has to convince Baxter he doesn’t need their approval to be a good man.
When the stakes get high, they both are challenged. Can Heather walk away from Baxter, or will she stay and teach him to fight for himself?

When I’d first stepped into her apartment, I’d paid attention to the size, but not much else. Now, as I sit drinking wine, I notice a few small statues; red, blue, and green vases; photos from around the world. I get up and move to a photo taken in China in front of the Forbidden City. Heather is smiling, her dimples showing. She’d always been quick to smile. I can’t remember a time my mother had smiled like that. I feel Heather beside me. When I look, she’s studying the photos which gives me time to observe her.
Her head turns just a little, but then her eyes meet mine. All those long years ago I’d wanted to kiss her. I’d told myself she was too good for me. She blinks, her lashes resting against her cheeks and I can’t hold back. I angle myself a little and place one hand behind her head, letting my fingers dive into her thick hair. With my other hand, I cup her cheek and move closer. She doesn’t back away.
I hesitate, wondering how muddy I’m making the waters? We were pretending to be engaged, but there wasn’t anything pretend about this moment. My lips slide over hers, and it sucks the air from my lungs. I’m unprepared for the impact and lean in because I can’t stand up on my own.
She’s got some magic over me because I’m ready to do whatever she wants. My hand drops low and rests on the sexy curve of her ass. My cock hardens, and I wonder how difficult it would be to convince her to take this further.
Heather pulls away. I’m thinking she’s about to suggest we head to the bedroom, or maybe have a fun little romp on the couch. Again, she surprises me.
“You should go.”
Her words hurt. I’d thought we had a connection. We were pretend engaged, but she is asking me to leave. I step away and tug at the cuffs of my shirt. It was a move I made when I had no clue what to do. I knew this about myself and yet I still did it.
“Sure. I need to head home anyway. I’ll call you tomorrow and tell you when to show up for dinner.”
Heather’s eyes grow darker with anger. I feel bad since I’m being a dick. It comes so naturally.
She moves to the door and gives a stiff smile as I pass by. There is no goodbye kiss, no hug, no kind words, just a door shut behind me. I must be getting sick. Nothing that has happened this afternoon was natural.

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