Titles: The Fight for Us & Inappropriate
Author: Elizabeth Finn
Series: The Bristol Island Tales #1 & #2
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Release Dates: May 12, 2014 & February 22, 2015
When Isaiah moves his teenage daughter Natalie to a new town, there is little doubt he’s running away from the past. But what should have been a fresh start for them ends up fraught with pain and heartache when Natalie becomes the victim of intense bullying at her new school.
When Joss is called to a meeting with the high school principal to discuss her daughter Harper’s involvement in the bullying of a new student, she’s shocked to say the least. Her daughter can’t possibly be that child.
It’s a rocky start for Joss and Isaiah as they try to set their daughters on the right path. But there is more to Joss’s and Isaiah’s connection than just two teenage girls. Joss’s and Isaiah’s attraction to one another is undeniable, regardless of their fractious start. But his soul is broken, and as much as he’s drawn to her, he’s equally terrified of what that means.
Is Isaiah strong enough to let her get close to him?
Life sometimes forces you to make those choices whether you’re ready to or not. And when Joss’s life is turned upside down, Isaiah has to decide if he’s ready to leave his past behind and live again, or if he’s going to watch what he’s come to care so much for slip away. Isaiah’s fight is profound. Joss’s is too. And their strength to withstand it all is brutally tested.
Sometimes the willingness to fight for another is all a person has left to give. And sometimes the fight is the most important gift of all.
Cohen is a man apart on Bristol Island—an outcast loved by all but separated by his position within the community. Dylan is the newest resident in town, but she arrives with a dark secret and a desire to keep it buried.
But when burning attraction is thrown into the mix, his job and her secrets are quickly forgotten—that is until one impetuous decision renders a relationship off-limits, unethical, and utterly inappropriate.
Living next door to one another on the island’s isolated peninsula guarantees their paths will cross time and time again. With fate tempting Cohen to ignore his conscience and, for the first time in his life, gamble with the rules, will he risk everything for Dylan?
And what happens when Dylan’s past suddenly catches up to her? Will she find the strength to bare her soul to him? Or will she let her secrets take them both down?
Sometimes the inappropriate relationship is the most appropriate of them all.
Isaiah was watching Joss as she pulled up in the driveway of house one—or house eight really since she’d flipped their original list on its head. Her heart was racing as she pulled into the driveway, and his focus followed her from his place in his car at the curb. When she stepped from her car, he did the same. She couldn’t tell at all what kind of mood he was in. She’d shot off a text message less than an hour before asking him to meet her there rather than driving together from the office. Errands, she’d said. She was full of shit. She didn’t have a single errand to run. She was simply terrified and having a panic attack. It was odd that he had such an effect on her given they’d never done anything even noteworthy to suggest such a connection. He’d not asked her out, not kissed her, nothing at all that could explain why exactly she felt like shit since he’d been honest with her nearly a month before.
He’d been a rush to her system since the day they’d squared off with one another in the principal’s office, and now, life was back to the same old hum-drum boring bullshit—aside from the fleeting moments when she got to see him. But then she was such a spaz she couldn’t seem to act normal to save her life.
“Hi.” It was the same polite and safe greeting she’d been giving him for a while now, and she hated the sound of her voice when she said it.
“Thought you had errands to run.” He studied her, refusing to look away.
“I did.” She forced herself to stare right back at him.
“Why do people always think they can sell a lie by holding eye contact?” He said nothing else for a moment. “I only just pulled up, and I drove by your office on the way. I’m well aware you were there.” He watched her, but he didn’t give her a chance to respond before he turned and headed toward the door. “Shall we?”
She let him in the house, but once they made it to the kitchen, she stopped. “I’m sorry I lied.” She owed him that much at least, and since he was a walking lie detector, there was no sense denying it.
“Relax. I expected you would.” He winked at her before he walked away to the living room.
She followed him, wandering around the room. She’d been so terrified about this meeting that she’d made a trip to a small boutique the afternoon prior just to buy a new shirt. Sadly, it likely wasn’t worth the money she’d thrown down, but after spending an hour on her closet floor nearly comatose from the exhaustion of trying on twelve lackluster ensembles she already owned, she decided it was worth whatever the price might be. The skirt was the same as she’d worn on their previous house-hunting-mission-gone-bad, and as she shrugged out of her black pea coat and left it on the kitchen island, his gaze trailed slowly over her, studying her new billowy satin shirt.
The material was cold against her skin. It was every shade of gray, black, and white imaginable, swirled into a rather antique looking paisley pattern, but it was doing little to keep her warm in the rather cool house. She’d paired the outfit with her black boots that came nearly to her knees. They had a heel, and every step she took clicked and echoed off the cavernous empty walls and floor. It was only after she stopped, crossing her arms on her chest and returning his stare that he actually gave up his attention on her and started looking around. Odd, she’d worn the new shirt to attract his attention, and yet, when he’d given it to her, she’d instantly cooled and glared at him. Was this going to be her vengeance? Some pathetic immature power struggle?
His eyes kept shifting to her as he looked around. The living room was a decent size, and it had a beautiful stone fireplace that extended up to the vaulted ceilings above, but even that failed to capture his attention for longer than a second.
The house was a large two-story structure with four upstairs bedrooms, one of which was an impressive master suite that overlooked the water. Within minutes, he wandered off as she remained in the living room twiddling her thumbs and trying to calm the tremor in her hands. But ten minutes later, when she did catch up to him, she found him staring out the windows of the master bedroom upstairs.
“You know, you must be going for distraction gold wearing that skirt again today.” His voice had the warm seductive edge that instantly flushed her skin. “Can’t guarantee I’m going to be paying attention today any better than the first time.” He’d not bothered to turn to her as he spoke, but in the silence now, he slowly did round toward her, watching quietly and intently as he always did with his searing hazel green eyes.
“I chose my outfit unwisely, did I?”
His lips pulled up. And she forced a casual smirk even as her heart raced.
“No. You chose very wisely. You look beautiful. You always do.” He didn’t stop his attention from drifting down her figure. His face looked relaxed, and the tension was gone, but as she watched, he swallowed and his brow furrowed. “I don’t like the way things are with us.”
“Well, there it is—the truth as told by the one who made it so.” She instantly regretted saying it, as happened often to Joss.
His expression suddenly cooled, and his nostrils flared as he breathed. “Tell me, did you try to push me off on Randall?” He was back to smirking, seemingly having stowed whatever irritation may have been creeping in.
“I thought as much.”
She laughed quietly. He looked almost playful as he studied her ruefully. She could feel the warmth in her cheeks as she flushed.
“We should probably head to the next house.” But when she turned to leave, he quickly grabbed her elbow, spinning her to face the large windows that looked out to the shore in the distance.
She didn’t turn toward him, though. She just stilled in place, and before she could register his movements, she felt him closing in behind her body, letting his hand fall to her hip and pulling her into him. She started panting then. Her bottom was held snug to his groin, and she could feel the hardness of his arousal against her lower back. His lips tickled her earlobe as he leaned to her ear.
“I didn’t want you to leave that night.”
She whimpered as she felt the feather light movement of his lips against that most sensitive skin.
“I wasn’t asking you to. I understand why you did, but it wasn’t what I wanted.” His free hand gripped her other hip, and he held her tight to him, leaving not an ounce of space between their bodies. “I want you.”
She stopped breathing then, and he stilled, waiting behind her. She could feel his heart pounding against her back.
“Isaiah.” Her voice quivered as she whispered it out, and then he spun her again where she stood and pushed her to the window that was now behind her.
His hands gripped her cheeks, and his mouth closed in on hers, but he stopped short, leaving her breathless against his lips that were mere inches from hers. His eyes bore into her, and all she could manage to do was grip the sides of his waist, feeling his muscles tighten as she squeezed.
When his forehead sank to hers, she sighed and his grip on her cheeks loosened. Her face was flushing and warm, and coupled with the cool glass that touched and chilled the back of her body, her insides were left not having a clue what to feel at all. She was flushing, she was chilling, she was shivering and sweating all at once.
“Fuck, Joss. Why is this so hard?” His tone was desperate, and he shook his head as his thumb brushed gently over her cheek.
“It’s okay.” It didn’t feel okay at all. It felt like he was two seconds from rejecting her again. She should be thankful for the rejection, but she wasn’t—not at all. “I know you’re not ready for this.”
She pulled away then, trying to skirt around him, assuming there was little more to say, but he pulled back.
His hands held her by the cheeks again, and he watched her. “Shut up.” His words were murmured so close to her lips that she could feel his lips brush softly against hers as he spoke. And then he was silent. He let his mouth linger and touch hers without kissing her, and she waited. Whatever this hurdle was he was standing at, she couldn’t be the one to make him move past it.
When his lips parted against hers, she started to melt into him and whimper at the same time. The first kiss was gentle and slow, but before it even ended, he was pulling her lower lip between his. The smack was quiet and sweet, and then he was sucking on her top lip. His mouth was incredibly warm, and when his lips parted again, she felt that warmth push between her lips along with his tongue.
She could do nothing at all but grip the sides of his waist, her nails digging in harder and harder the farther his tongue delved and licked. She pulled him toward her as he held her firmly against the window. His hips met her body, and she felt his need hard against her stomach, demanding more, regardless of how much he’d fought against this.
“Fuck.” She murmured it between his tongue leaving her mouth and hers entering his.
He groaned, and then she was running her tongue along his as his groan loudened and the pressure of his body against the front of hers intensified. That cool hard surface behind her began to cover more and more of her backside as he pushed her harder into it, and then his hands were gripping her. As one ran down the front of her throat, their mouths continued to pull, lick, suck, and bite at each other’s lips. He slipped his hand easily past the loose billowy satin that sat along the low neckline, and then his fingers slid under the top of her bra, brushing quickly down over the hardened peak of her nipple. She cried out as his fingertips grazed the over sensitized and tight bud, and the moan he returned vibrated past her lips and down her throat.
When the door downstairs suddenly slammed shut, they both gasped, sucking the breath from one another’s mouths and pulling apart in unison. She was panting, taking lurching shuttering gasps as she tried to focus on what was happening. It was the most confusing moment in her life, trying to shift from the complete and utter sexual frenzy of what they’d been doing back to the real world, real life, and real slamming doors in one second flat.
“Joss!” Randall’s voice trailed up to them from the main level.
“Fuck.” She tried to talk through her panting breaths.
Isaiah pulled his hands from her body, letting his still groping fingertips gently brush across her nipple one last time. She gasped again, and he calmly watched her face. His rapid breathing and equally fast blinking said what his still body and expressionless face didn’t. He was freaking the fuck out just as much as she was.
“Randall?” His head cocked to the side as he questioned her.
She did nothing but nod in response, still struggling to breathe enough to talk.
“I think I hate him already,” Isaiah muttered as he turned from her, clearing his throat and waiting for her to lead him back downstairs.
She was as silent as he was as she led the way, and she forced herself to release a deep breath as she stepped off the last stair to the foyer floor. They found Randall in the kitchen peering into her purse without touching it. He was a snoop, and if it wasn’t her tits he was infringing on it, she couldn’t say she was surprised to see it would be her personal possessions.
“What are you doing, Randall?” Her voice was finally working again, and as she glared at him, he slowly turned around with a broad smile on his face.
“Ah, Joselyn. Good of you to show my listing for me.”
She sneered in response.
His eyes zoned in on her tits as he started to talk. “On my way to pick up a client—” he enunciated it strangely for some odd reason “—and I thought I’d swing by. I have an open house here this weekend. Just wanted to make sure everything was in order seeing as the owners are in Florida for the winter. Didn’t expect to see you—”
Isaiah’s snapping fingers over her right shoulder cut Randall off and made her jump. When Randall’s focus quickly pulled up at the sound, Isaiah spoke.
“What part of her are you surprised to see? Because you can’t seem to find anything but her chest.”
Randall laughed nervously but played off Isaiah’s comment as a joke. When Isaiah stepped up beside her, his arms were crossed on his chest and he was glaring. If Randall really thought there was anything about Isaiah’s demeanor that was joking, then he’d lost his damn mind.
“Have we met?” Randall was suddenly all charm, smiling ear to ear as he held his hand out to Isaiah.
Isaiah glanced to his outstretched hand before ignoring it and coolly looking back to the man’s eyes. When Isaiah reached past Randall to snatch her purse and coat from the kitchen island, he spoke over his shoulder to her. “We should go. This house is overpriced.” It was, frankly.
“This house has some amazing features. I’m guessing Joselyn just didn’t point them out—”
“Shut up,” Isaiah muttered as his attention returned to her.
She could feel her eyes bulging. Isaiah reached to her chin, pushing it up to close her mouth, and smirked. Of course, Isaiah was blocking Randall’s view of her, so the man missed her shock.
He helped her into her coat and handed her purse to her as well. Randall remained quiet the entire time, and they spoke not a word to the man as they turned and left the house. But the moment the front door was closed, Isaiah spat out, “Prick,” on an irritated sigh.
She followed him, but when he suddenly stopped and rounded on her, she nearly walked into his chest.
“The man is aware you have a face, right?”
She balked. “You’re one to talk.” It slipped out. She’d not forgotten the trouble he had the first time she’d shown him homes.
He glanced slowly to her chest, not hiding the attention at all, before letting his gaze slowly move back up to her eyes. “Oh, no. I’m well aware you have a face—quite a lovely one, in fact. Lips too, warm ones.” He stepped toward her, looking down at her. “And an exceptionally delicious tongue.” He inhaled slowly.
She stared in a stupor at him. “You kissed me.”
His suddenly rapidly blinking eyes and creased forehead said he wasn’t expecting that response. Hell, she wasn’t either. It was literally the only thing that had popped in her head, and naturally, she’d said it.
He shook his head, chuckling for a moment. “Yes. I’m aware.” And then as he reached for her mouth, running his thumb along her lower lip, he continued. “Might have gotten a little carried away given how swollen and pink your lips are.” His thumb lingered as his eyes followed the path his thumb ran, and then he cleared his throat as he pulled back.
She could tell it was him by nothing more than the silhouette of his body through the opaque glass of her front door. She stopped five feet from the door, pausing as a tremor ran through her. But when he reached up to knock again, she managed to get her feet moving. She pulled the door open just as his knuckles touched the wood frame surrounding the window in the door.
His hand froze in mid-air as he stared at her. “Hi,” he said quietly. His eyes slowly moved down her body, stalling over her breasts. He made no attempt to hide what he was looking at, and her nipples hardened at nothing more than the invasive way his eyes studied her.
“Did you come to parade your girlfriend around in front of me again?” she asked rudely. It was unfair, and she regretted the comment immediately.
But he ignored it and stepped into her entryway, shutting the door behind him. He walked to the dining area that sat off her open kitchen, turning around and staring at her as she followed him. “I’ve now been slapped twice in the past eight days alone, so maybe you can cut me a little slack.” And then he took a deep breath. “She’s not my girlfriend, and I didn’t invite her or want her here.”
Dylan turned to the table, saying nothing as she gripped into the side of the table with her hands. She was at once relieved and confused as hell at the same time. She stared down at her table top. “It doesn’t matter, Co.” She shook her head. “Haven’t we already established that?”
But she felt his hand on the back of her arm, and she froze. When his other hand gripped gently into her other upper arm, a rush of breath left her lungs. And then he was against her body, his chest touching her back, her bottom brushing against the front of his dress pants. But it was his breath on the side of her neck that put her over the edge, and she whimpered quietly as she felt his warm exhalation against her skin.
“I like this song,” he said quietly. “I’m pretty sure I was dancing with another woman while wishing I was dancing with you the last time I heard it.” He nuzzled against her neck, letting his whiskers brush her skin. “You looked so beautiful tonight.” She could feel his lips brushing just under her ear, and her chest shuddered as she tried to inhale. His hands trailed down the backs of her arms, gently moving over the soft sweater fabric. They settled at her elbows. “We both know this matters,” he whispered against her ear this time, just slightly higher than his mouth was the last time.
Her chest was rising and falling quickly, and her knees were shaking. But it was nothing compared to the violent trembling that took over her entire body when his hands left her arms and found her waist. She sucked in a deep breath, and his hands squeezed gently, his thumbs running along her lower back, and his fingers wrapped around to the sides of her belly.
She could see his reflection behind hers in the window on the opposite side of the table. It was dark out, and with the pendent lights over the dining room table lit up, it was nearly like seeing it all in a dimly lit mirror. She felt his lips and his nose brush along the back of her neck as he moved from one side of her head to the other. He was a good many inches taller than she was, but he was angling his head down to her neck, getting his mouth and nose against that most sensitive skin.
And when he reached the other side of her neck, he spoke again. “Does your skin tingle and prickle when I’m around like your entire body is desperate to be touched?”
That was a damn good way to explain it. She nodded.
“Do your fingers tremble, your heart race, your throat tighten up as though it’s going to suffocate you if you don’t get what you need?”
“Yes,” she whispered. It was more than a damn good explanation.
“Does the thought of losing this make your insides turn black and your soul feel like it’s shattering into a thousand pieces?”
She whimpered quietly as she nodded that time.
His hands trailed low along her hips, slowly descending. He watched her in the reflection of the window as intently as she studied him over her shoulder. His palms smoothed over the curve of her hips, taking their time. They didn’t have far to go. The hem of the short sweater dress clung to her thighs more than halfway up—the bottom hem even tighter than the marginally looser body of the dress. And when his fingers passed over the hem to her tights, he hummed quietly.
“I’ve lost track of the reactions I have to you,” he said as his fingers brushed along the hem, taunting her. “I don’t know how to stop wanting you,” he whispered, and then he let his forehead drop to the top of her shoulder. His fingers peeled the hem of her dress up higher on her thighs, stopping just under her bottom. When he pushed up under her dress, rounding the cheeks of her bottom with his palms, she moaned.
He lifted his head, watching her in the reflection again as he slipped his fingers under the top of her tights and pulled them slowly down. He swept under the top of her underwear as well, peeling them down with the tights, and soon, she could feel the cool air on her bottom. He stopped when her tights hit her mid thighs. One hand glided over her naked bottom gently before gripping hard into her butt cheek.
She let out a quiet grunt as he squeezed her skin. His free hand reached up and around her shoulder, and he clutched at her lower jaw, his fingers along one side of her face, and his thumb anchored along her opposite jawline. He turned her face toward his as he leaned over her shoulder. She was suddenly face to face with him, rather than seeing him in the darkened reflection of the window eight feet away. He was there—his breath touching her lips, his blue eyes searing into hers. She could see the stubbly hair she’d come to expect on his face, and after taking all that in, her eyes settled on his lips. He was so close, surely he was going to kiss her. But he didn’t.
“I’ve wanted to touch that soft, sweet place between your legs, really touch it, from the first moment I saw you naked.”
She gasped, and he watched her closely his nostrils flaring. There was only one time he’d ever seen her naked, and they both damn well knew when it was.
“I want to feel your wetness on my fingers. You’re hot enough to give me that right now, aren’t you.” It wasn’t a question.
She nodded rigidly as his fingers still held her face in place. His other hand released its grip on her bottom.
“Bend over the table.” He let go of his hold on her chin.
She stared straight ahead again, watching him in the window once more. She focused on the music, letting her eyes close and trying to calm her nerves as she listened to the words of the song. When she opened her eyes again, he was studying her patiently in the reflection. She leaned over. She watched his hand disappear behind her body in the window, and then she felt it. His fingers ran up the back of her thigh, and then moved between her legs, slipping between the exposed lips of her sex. He delved, sliding through her wetness, and as he did his body seemed to crumple to the table beside her as he groaned.
He planted his elbow just above where her head was rested to the hard surface, and his breath came in ragged lurching moans as his fingers stroked. He didn’t push inside her, but he slipped between her lips, brushing over her clit every time.
“Look at me,” he demanded, and as she turned her head to the side, he brushed some loose strands of hair away from her face. He pushed a finger slowly into her. The penetration was agonizingly drawn out, and he watched her eyes with every inch. “You feel so hot,” he whispered, still brushing his other fingers along her hairline.
He started plunging in and out of her slowly as she gasped for air. Nothing he did exceeded the tempo of the music, and his every breath, stroke of her hair, penetration into her body followed the lulling melody. His face was so close to hers, and he watched her as he brought her close with every deep slow thrust. When he pushed a second finger in with the first, she cried out. For half a second, she thought it might be pain, but he slid easily and deeply in, stilling at her depths as her sheath trembled around him. He studied her eyes as she tried to relax. It was intense. Her legs were barely parted, and the tight set of her thighs left little room for more, but when he pulled from her, she was still ready to beg for it.
“Please,” she pleaded on a whisper.
“That’s it. Beg for it, Dylan.” His brow was flinched as though it was painful for him to watch.
“Please,” she whispered again.
His two fingers started to sink into her, slowly stretching and invading—
Rap rap rap!
She squealed, covering her mouth as the sound escaped her. His fingers stilled, and he stared at her. She turned her face to the table, resting her forehead to the hard surface and breathing against it as she tried to recover from this. The music still surrounded them, but it seemed to have faded to the background now—almost out of place after the interruption.
“Come on, Co. I know you’re in there,” Caleb hollered.
Dylan turned back to him. Cohen froze, his lips parted, and he stared at her. “Fuck,” he muttered quietly as he stood up, and he ran a hand through his hair.
“Your car is in the driveway. So stop arguing with your sweet neighbor and open the door! I’m locked out of your house!” Caleb hollered.
Dylan stood quickly, inching her underwear and tights up her legs, and as she wriggled them back into place, he reached for the hem of her dress and pulled it back down into place. He said nothing to her, and his expression was unreadable. She was still trying to remember how to breathe and think at the same time, and he shook his head subtly as she turned and walked toward the door. She felt him tug the back hem of her dress down just a bit further, and she glanced back at him.
“Hey, Dylan,” Caleb said as she pulled the door open. “He’s not being a dick again, is he?”
Cohen’s hand touched her lower back as he stepped up beside her, and his thumb ran a gentle arc down her spine.
“I’m not sure what he’s being right now,” she replied under her breath.
“Asshole’s supposed to come to L.A. over Christmas, but you say the word, Dylan, and I’ll uninvite his ass and you and I can go to Disneyland instead.”
She laughed awkwardly.
“We’re not going to Disneyland,” Cohen muttered as he stepped by her and through the door.
When he turned back, he tried to smile, but it seemed just as awkward as her pathetic laugh. They ended up staring at each other for a moment, and when she glanced down along his body, her focus caught on his hand. It was his right hand, and his thumb was running absently over his index and middle fingers that still glistened. She glanced back up to his eyes, just catching him following her line of sight to his hand. He cleared his throat awkwardly as he looked away.
Caleb stood there with a wrinkled confused brow. “Well… This is fun,” Caleb muttered. “I can’t tell what’s happening right now.”
Cohen finally rolled his eyes and glanced at Caleb.
“Jim dropped me off,” Caleb commented blandly. “Doors locked. I’m bored. Let’s go.”
Cohen followed Caleb down the steps to his SUV, but he glanced back once. His tongue was pushed into his cheek, and as he watched her for a moment, his forehead furrowed, and he shook his head again.
She walked back into her kitchen, and she rested her elbows on the counter in front of the speaker doc. She scratched her head. He’d seemed confused when he was leaving. She was pretty sure he’d instigated this … thing, so she wasn’t sure she understood his confusion. Hers? That was easy.
“What the hell just happened?” she said to Mazzy, who was still singing to her. She reached out, stopping the song, and then she stood up and reached for her abandoned glass of wine on the kitchen counter. Her cell phone rang from the dock moments later, and she snatched it up.
“He came back looking for you,” Joss’s voice hissed out quickly. “He only left to take that gal to the ferry landing and stick her on the last wind sled back to the mainland.” Joss was speed talking. “He didn’t even know she was coming. She just called as she was getting off the wind sled early this evening. But she’s gone now, and he left like thirty minutes ago.” And then silence.
“Huh…” was all Dylan said in response.
“I bet he feels bad for what happened tonight.”
“Umm…” She scrambled to find the word. “…yeah,” was what she settled on.
“Honey, I know you don’t want to see him right now, but I’d say there’s a better than good chance he might be on his way to see you. You just pull those knickers up and give him hell.”
Dylan stared down at her dress that was sitting a bit sideways on her body and perhaps slightly stretched out. She’d not managed to keep her knickers up at all. And giving him hell? Nope. That’s not quite what she gave him at all.
“Uhh… Yep. I’ll do that.” She said with mock confidence. “I’ll give him more hell than he can handle.”
Elizabeth Finn is a multi-published contemporary romance author. Her passion is creating stories packed full of believable conflicts, characters who leave you rooting for them, and romance that might just short-circuit your e-reader. She likes her characters flawed, but they always find the best part of themselves on their journey. And her readers find themselves devoted to her honest and heartfelt voice.
The Fight for Us #1
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