First Chapter of Off Limits

Zach Purser stood at the edge of the dance floor and watched the woman in the cream-colored dress move to the music, hips swaying, arms twisting sinuously over her head. A cascade of reddish-brown curls tumbled around her shoulders, hair he would love to bury his face in while he cupped her hips and drew her back against him. He’d always been an ass man.

His best friend Adam Clark joined him at the rail overlooking the dance floor. “Surprised you haven’t hit on anyone already. Or that someone hasn’t hit on you.”

Zach’s lips twisted. “I have my eye on one.”

“The blonde? Because she’s married.”

Right. Adam knew more of the people here than he did, since this was his brother Matt’s engagement party to J.R., the man he’d been dating for years. Something to celebrate, no doubt. Zach could respect their joy, the difficulties they’d overcome. Zach tended to avoid any difficulties if he could help it.

“Not the blonde, though, damn.” Great body that Zach had already pictured against him.

“The little brunette? She’s a sweetheart but too young for you.”

“How young?” Zach scoped out the slender girl in the tight black dress, just in case.

“Twenty, I think. Maybe twenty-one.”

Definitely too young, too many romantic ideas. “No. The one with the great ass and the great hair.”

Adam chuckled. “Which one’s that?”

“The curls, the white dress.”

The chuckle died, and Adam straightened. “You haven’t seen her face.”

Zach frowned. How did Adam know that? “No, but—”

Adam punched his arm, hard. “That’s my sister, asshole. Don’t even think about going near her. I know your MO. Got it?”

Just then, the object of his fantasy turned, still moving to the music, and he looked into the heart-shaped face of Paige Clark, who he’d known since he was in high school and she was in, what, fourth grade? He should feel dirty, lusting after his best friend’s sister, for the fantasies he’d already had about her. But damn, she’d grown up nice, that gorgeous hair he could already feel beneath his fingers, full breasts—ah, God—and those hips.

Adam punched his arm again, harder. “Quit thinking about it. Christ. She’s too good for you.”

No doubt. But yeah, Adam was right. Living out that fantasy would be beyond weird. Not like there weren’t other women, available and willing. But his attention was drawn to Paige, her sexy movements, her beautiful smile, and Jesus, that body.

She lifted her gaze and met his. He took a step back at the sultry curve of her mouth. Did she recognize him? Because, damn, that was the smile of a woman who wanted to get laid.

His best friend’s baby sister.

He braced his hands against the rail, then spun away. “Right. You know, maybe I’d better head out.”

Adam’s smile was tight. “No self-control?”

“Not really one to celebrate commitments, no matter what form.”

Adam shook his head. “And you wonder why I want you away from my sister.”

“Okay, so I’ll catch up with you later.” He turned and made his way through the crowd with a wave at Matt and J.R., edging past eligible women who just didn’t do it for him, not tonight.

“Hey, where you going?” A slender hand on his arm stopped Zach on his way out the door.

He looked down into the sloe eyes of Paige Clark. He commanded his attention to stay on her face, though had she always had that full mouth that he could imagine fulfilling his fantasies? And just on the edge of his vision, he could see the swell of her breasts. Time to go. Adam’s sister. His best friend for half his life.

“I can’t believe you were going to leave without saying hello.”

He turned to face her, forcing himself to be friendly, but keeping his guard up. He was unaccustomed to watching himself around women—the more outrageous he was, the more they liked it.

“Hello, Rage.”

She laughed, delighted at his teasing tone. “You would remember that.”

“You had more temper tantrums than anyone I knew before or since.”

“But now I’m all grown up.” She swept her hands down her sides.

At least he thought she did, because he focused on her face. But not on her mouth. Too many wicked images came with that view. “You’re very lovely.”

“You look the same.” Something playful lurked beneath the smile that he wasn’t looking at.

“How long has it been? Five years?”

She cocked her hip, tilting her head so her hair tumbled over one shoulder. “Seven. I’m twenty-four now, graduated and working as a shopper, if you can believe it.”

He frowned. “You used to hate shopping.” That he remembered that about her surprised him.

“Because I couldn’t find anything that fit me.”

“You were a scrawny little thing.”

“I filled out.” Those sloe eyes dared him to see for himself.

He resisted. Barely. But the image of her moving on the dance floor was etched into his brain.

She tucked her hand in his. “Come dance with me.”

Not a good idea. He’d be touching her, at the very least watching her. Already, he was doing everything in his power to stop his arousal. Those skills were rusty, because he always gave in. The reason Adam wanted him far away from Paige. “I need to go.”

“One dance.” She tugged his hand, and he took a step toward the dance floor, resisting the urge to search the room for Adam. She gave him a look that said she wasn’t taking no for an answer.

He could manage a short time in her arms, then never see her again. Who knew where they would be in another seven years? He squared his shoulders and nodded. She wriggled in delight and turned to haul him close, his hand tucked in the small of her back. Right above that gorgeous ass.

Once she’d found the spot she wanted, she turned to him, moving with such sensual grace that for a moment he froze in place. He was a good dancer—at least he’d been told—but for the life of him, he couldn’t make his body move as he watched her, the sway of her hair, the undulation of her spine, every movement making his imagination work overtime. She laughed and pushed at his chest, as if that would jumpstart him.

She turned her back on him, and that did the trick. Without thinking, he gripped her hips and drew her against him, moving into her. She shivered and looped her arms behind his neck.

Too late, he realized his mistake. A hand gripped his shoulder and spun him around. He barely registered the cold anger on Adam’s face before the fist crashed into his eye.

Off Limits is available everywhere, and now in print!