“No Strings Attached” Excerpt

How about an excerpt from NO STRINGS ATTACHED, my novella in the upcoming LACED WITH DESIRE anthology?

Ella is a widow. Clay owns a construction company and is a good friend and peer to Ella. Ella hasn’t had sex since her husband died and she wants to get back in the game again. Clay offers up his services, and they both think a wild week in Hawaii with no strings is the key. But that no strings thing? Well, we’ll see about that.

Hope you enjoy! You can read more about NO STRINGS and the LACED WITH DESIRE anthology here.


(c) 2010 by Jaci Burton. All rights reserved.
Releasing February 2, 2010 from Berkley (HEAT)

Excerpt after the jump

He was teasing her. She liked it. He’d never once treated her with kid gloves—not even right after James had died. And that was exactly what she’d needed—someone to drive her to get in there and do the job. That was what James would have expected from her. That was what Clay expected from her. She’d adored him for that, for not coddling her and holding her hand other than showing her the ropes of the business.

She glared at him. “When we get back to work next week I’ll pony up my guys against yours, and we’ll see who can put in an honest day’s work without laying down on the job.”

“You’re on, cupcake.”

He was right in front of her now, all six foot five or so of him. Imposing, sexy, an expanse of tanned skin visible over the top button of his shirt. She wanted to reach in there and touch it—touch him. That she could now—where before she supposed it had been either forbidden, at least in her mind, or something that would never have occurred to her. It was unnerving. She swallowed and tilted her head back to look at his face.

His smile was devastating. How did women resist him?

Oh, yeah. They didn’t.

The dynamics had changed. They were no longer coworkers. They were friends, always had been, always would be. But tonight they were going to become lovers. This whole thing was surreal.

His smile shifted, became a little less wide. “You’re thinking about something.”



Funny he would think that. “No. Actually, I was thinking about you and me.”

“Yeah? How so?”

“About how our relationship will be changing.”

He slid his knuckles over her cheek. “Just for this week. Only while we’re here. After that, it goes back to the way it was.”

She reached up and wrapped her fingers around his wrist, needing the solid, warm touch of male flesh. It had been so long. “You make it sound so easy.”

“It can be, if we let it.”

“You’ve done this before.”

“If you’re asking if I’ve had sex with women in the business, you know as well as I do that there aren’t that many women in the construction business.”

She smiled. “Yes, but leave it to you to find them. Plus, you travel a lot. You have contracts out of state.”


“You have done this before.”

“Not with someone like you. Not with someone I’ve known so long. Not with someone I—”

She cocked her head to the side. “What?”

“Nothing. I just know you better than any woman. I don’t work with the women I date. So this is new territory for me, too.”

“But we’re not exactly going to be dating, Clay.”

“Oh, I think we are.” He slid one arm around her waist and pulled her against him. Her breath caught at being so close to him, at feeling his chest against her, the muscles of his thighs. “Did you think I’d strip you naked, chain you to my bed and fuck you nonstop for the entire time we’re here?”

Her stomach quivered, her mind filled with thoughts of the two of them naked. Of her tied, spread-eagled, to his bed. Of Clay doing . . . everything . . . to her. “Now, there’s a visual.”

“Well, if that’s what you really want, I’ll be happy to oblige. . . .”

She laughed, startling herself at the husky quality of her voice. She didn’t sound like herself, knew it was because she was nervous. She had no experience here; she wasn’t a flirt, nor was she trying to come across that way.
What was going to happen next? She had no idea what to do. With James, it had been easy. Familiar. She couldn’t even remember when they’d first met. It had been so long ago. How did two people . . . start?

Clay took her hand and led her to the leather love seat situated in front of the door. “It’s nice out. Let’s sit down. You want something to drink?”

“Water would be nice. I think I had enough wine at the club.”

She took a seat and Clay brought water for her and filled a short glass with amber liquid for himself.

“Whiskey,” he said, taking it down in one shot.

She half turned to face him. “Courage?”

His lips lifted as he set the glass down on the table. “I’m not a virgin, if that’s what you’re asking. And no, I’m not nervous.”

She nearly dropped her glass of water. She laid it carefully on the table. “Uh, I definitely didn’t think you were a virgin.” And she still couldn’t believe she was having this conversation with Clay.

He picked up a strand of her hair, sifted it through his fingers. “Yeah? And how would you know?”

“I don’t. I just . . . Come on, Clay. You’ve been around. You bring a different woman to every event. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you with the same woman twice.”

He studied her. “Really.”


“I didn’t think you were paying attention.”

“I wasn’t. I mean, I do. I mean . . . hell. For God’s sake, Clay. I don’t know what I’m talking about.”

“I think we’ve done enough talking.”