The KISS Principle (Erotic Romance)

BOOK: The KISS Principle (Erotic Romance)
5.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

The K.I.S.S. Principle


By Karen Booth


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and
incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living, or dead, business establishments,
events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.


THE K.I.S.S. PRINCIPLE © 2015 by Karen Booth


Portions of this book were previously published by Ellora’s
Cave under the title For Keeps. Some editorial changes have been made to the
2015 release.


Published by Karen Booth. All rights reserved. No part of
this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written
permission of the author.


Contact Information:

[email protected]


Book Cover Design by Piper Trace


Chapter One


What a brilliant idea to bring home a mountain of
work, especially with the long, lonely Memorial Day weekend staring Allie Flynn
in the face. She grumbled, struggling with the banker’s box overflowing with files.
If only she’d packed lighter. Balancing the box on her thigh, she keyed into
her apartment building, wedging her knee between the door and jamb.

“Hey, Allie. Wait up. Let me help,” a familiar voice
sounded behind her.

She turned and her sights landed on Cooper Hale,
resident of 3B, the apartment directly above hers.
Here comes
Mr. Tall, Hot and Too Young for Me. And I look like crap.

Cooper, wearing navy basketball shorts and a ratty
gray t-shirt from Sweeney’s, a bar in Wicker Park, held the door. His aroma,
although a bit ripe, was achingly appealing, musky and masculine.

“Oh, thanks. No.” She straightened and adjusted her
grip on the box but her laptop bag slipped off her shoulder for what felt like
the fiftieth time. “I got it.” She stumbled into the vestibule where the
apartment mailboxes were, her heels clicking on the tile floor. Cooper followed
and the glass door whooshed shut behind him.

“Give me that.” He snatched the box from her grasp.
His face had a subtle sheen and his messy, sandy-brown bangs clung to his
forehead in spots. “Go ahead,” he said with a nod. “I’ll bring it up to your

Allie hitched her laptop bag and purse back onto her
shoulder. “Really. It’s fine.” She held out her arms, but the condescending
arch of Cooper’s eyebrows said that he wasn’t planning on handing over the box
any time soon.

Backlit by ribbons of sun streaming into the hall, his
tawny brown eyes turned a deeper hue. He tossed the box up onto his shoulder as
if it were full of feathers and Allie couldn’t help but notice the well-defined
contour of his biceps as he curved his hand over the cardboard lid. He nodded toward
the stairs again. “Shall we?”

She turned, now flustered, and started up the steps.
“I’m not helpless. My laptop kept slipping off my shoulder.” She glanced at him
when she rounded the corner to climb the next flight.

He grinned and rolled his eyes. “People complain
chivalry is dead, but you try to help a woman and she insists she can do it
herself. I’m just being a gentleman.”

 Allie sighed as they approached her door. “I’m
sorry. Thank you for carrying the box for me. I appreciate it.”

“I don’t really buy it.” He smirked. “That’s about the
lamest apology ever.”

Allie feigned a huff. “It’s been a long week, Cooper. I
don’t know what more you want.”

“A beer would be a start.”

“You want to come in for a beer? Now?” Her plan for
that night had involved wiggling out of her too-tight skirt and drinking most
of a bottle of merlot while playing Scrabble on the computer. Her vision
narrowed on Cooper’s face, his strong jaw shadowed with a day’s worth of
stubble, high cheekbones, the tempting swell of his lips. Too bad he wasn’t
wearing his glasses. Or maybe it was good that he wasn’t. She liked him even
more in his glasses.

“No time like the present.” He smiled yet again,
mesmerizing her with his teeth. “You haven’t had me over since the power went

The ice storm.
Mother Nature had
wreaked havoc on the city in March, a truly nasty bout of weather even for
Chicago. She and Cooper endured two days without lights or heat, occupying
themselves with gin rummy, endless conversation, and many bottles of red wine. Allie’s
middle-floor apartment stayed comparatively warm and she had food, unlike
Cooper. They’d been friendly before the storm—a few hundred frustrating glimpses
of innocent flirtation—but those forty-eight hours cemented their
friendship. It also set in motion her full-blown crush on the guy who spent two
nights snoring on her couch while she shivered under a heap of blankets in her

“It’s not like I have anything else to do,” she
muttered as she unlocked the door. “Fair warning, I’m not even sure I have any
beer.” Her keys clattered when she dropped them onto the glass-topped entry
table. The setting sun filtered through the towering windows along the far wall
of her apartment.

Cooper slid the box of files onto the black granite
center island in the open-concept kitchen. “May I?” he asked, opening the
fridge before Allie had a chance to respond. He leaned forward, rummaging
through the bottom shelf.

She leaned against the center island, appreciating the
view. Her thumb rode along her lower lip as she settled her gaze on his long,
muscled legs and the mind-blowing curve of his ass. The way his slightly sweaty
t-shirt draped over the defined plane of his back caused her to shudder.
Jesus. Don’t do this again. He’s way too young. He’s way too easy on the eyes.
Every woman he meets has to be thinking what you’re thinking.

“We have a winner, but you only have two,” he said,
tucking the amber bottles under his arm. “Bottle opener?”

Allie pulled herself out of the stupor brought on by
Cooper’s physique. She opened a drawer and handed him the metal church key.
“Sorry I didn’t have more of a selection.” She closed the cabinet with a bump
of her hip.

“Cheers.” He clinked his bottle with hers. “That’s
okay. We can switch to wine after this.”


“After this?” Allie asked.

“Well, yeah. Aren’t you making me dinner?” He watched
the smile creep across her face. The way her eyes lit up when she was even the
slightest bit coy put his entire body on alert. “And you’re the one who said
you didn’t have anything to do.”

“You weren’t supposed to hear that.” Allie yanked open
the fridge, planting her hand on the full curve of her hips. Her black skirt
hugged all the right places and as he’d noticed many times, Allie had all kinds
of right places. “I have some steaks. Sound good?”

“Better than good. I’ll be back in ten after I shower
and change.”

He took the stairs two at a time up to his apartment.
Dinner with Allie was a significant improvement over the original
plan—order a pizza, watch hours of mindless TV and jerk off before going
to sleep.

Striding through his kitchen, he slowed as he reached
the living room, shaking his head in dismay at his tired black futon couch, the
hand-me-down coffee table from his parents. Being in Allie’s perfectly
decorated apartment only brought out the ridiculous shortcomings of his.
almost thirty and this place is like a freaking dorm room. I make enough money.
I just need to find the time to shop for it.

He stripped off his clothes and cranked the shower
handle, stopping to study himself in the mirror as he waited for the hot water.
He’d gone two days without shaving and the scruff along his jaw was scratchy. He
wondered how Allie felt about facial hair.
I’m probably pushing it.

The warm spray beat against his back and his thoughts
drifted to Allie as they did most of the time when he was naked. It had been
impossible to get her out of his mind since the ice storm. Those two days had
shown him that she was more than beautiful and hot, she was smart, sarcastic
and funny as hell, a lethal combination. Every time he’d seen her in the
building since, he found idle ways to steal her time, asking her questions
about things like the weather and basketball, when he knew for a fact that she
didn’t really like sports.

Allie was out of his league, a career woman with her
shit together. But then, that was the challenge, part of the appeal. Women in
their twenties were so transparent, open books filled with agendas and mindless
chatter about things that were wholly unimportant right now.
I’m not ready
to get married. I don’t want to have kids. I just want someone who can carry
her end of the conversation and do it for me in bed.

Every day since their weekend together, he imagined
what it might be like with Allie, mentally undressing her whenever he had the
chance. She had a few more years of experience to her credit and that was
intriguing. There would be fewer games to play, no learning curve. Plus, he’d
read in a magazine that at forty, a woman was close to if not at her sexual
peak. No doubt Allie’s body was at its peak. Any guy who’d seen her in the
black skirt knew that.

To his chagrin, Cooper’s cock had responded to the siren
song of Allie and was now eager for his attention.
Shit. I told her ten
He gripped his rigid shaft, rubbing his thumb back and forth over
the tip as his chin dropped to his chest. The steam billowed around him,
warming his already overheated body. A primal breath escaped his lips and he
widened his stance, placing his other hand on his thigh while he arched his

He wanted to take his time, but all he could do was
pump furiously. The mental image of Allie materialized, lowering herself to her
knees and wrapping her luscious lips around his cock. The thought sent jagged tremors
through him. She sucked, swirling her tongue and flashing devastating glances
up at him. Her dripping, chocolate-brown hair clung to her shoulders, tendrils
trailing over the swell of her full breasts.

Perhaps Allie knew some blowjob techniques that he’d
never experienced. The mystery of what that might involve was too much and
Cooper felt his balls draw tight against his body. Pressure came, quickly
doubling and then doubling again. A hum buzzed through him until the force
could no longer be contained and it surged in steady pulses. He convulsed with
the final wave.

He turned and rinsed off his body, washing away the
evidence before toweling his chest and legs. He’d whacked off dozens of times
to the visions of the Allie that resided in his head
. I’m acting like a damn
kid. I need to man up.

After shaving, he threw on a clean pair of dark wash
jeans and tucked in a mostly wrinkle-free white dress shirt. He even took the
time to put on a belt and find his Italian leather dress shoes at the back of
the closet. Any guy with half a brain knew that women were impressed by good
footwear. Allie wore killer shoes, often sky-high and always dead sexy, making
the already appealing shape of her legs even more tempting.

When Allie answered the door, the air was knocked from
his lungs. She’d changed into jeans, formfitting and worn and…dangerous. A
white V-neck t-shirt hugged her curves and her feet were bare, accentuating her
petite stature. At six-foot-four, he felt like a giant towering over her, but there
were worse things. He had a mind-blowing view down into her ample cleavage.

“Oh, wow. You look nice,” she said. “Sorry if I’m not
quite up to muster. I had to get out of those work clothes. That black skirt is
so tight. It had to come off.”

Nobody was stopping you earlier. I would’ve
volunteered for zipper duty.
“I think you look perfect.” He
lost all sense of time and place as he sank into the mystifying blue-green of
Allie’s eyes, rimmed with dark, feathery lashes.

“Perfect, huh? Careful. You’re going to give me a big
head,” she said, with more than a hint of flirtation. A winding jazz
instrumental, John Coltrane if memory served, played in the background. “Come
on. I have bruschetta in the oven.”

He trailed an extra step behind, savoring the motion
of her ass as she traipsed into the kitchen. The hypnotic sway of her hips was
enough to send him careening off a cliff. He reminded himself how miserable he’d
be if he was a wimp about it and had to go sleep in his own bed tonight, alone.

 “Your kitchen is so much nicer than mine,” he
commented. “I should’ve upgraded to the six-burner when they rehabbed my unit.
Guess it would’ve been a waste, though. It’s not like I cook or anything.”


Allie forced a smile at the mention of the stove.
She’d gone with the upgrade because her boyfriend at the time, Ian, loved to
cook as much as she. It was one of the few things they did well together. The
rest of their relationship had been anything but a partnership, especially in
the bedroom. Six months without him, and his cooking was the only thing she

She slid a sheet pan of sliced French bread from the
oven. “You okay with tomatoes?” Two cut cloves of garlic sat on the cutting board.
She rubbed the raw sides over the surface of the hot bread.

Cooper came up behind her and placed his hand on her
back, startling her. “Smells good. What are you doing?”

She swallowed back the pleasurable hum that came from
his touch but it took considerable effort. “This gives you the flavor of the
garlic, but without giving you the world’s worst breath.”
After placing
the last of the bread on a serving plate, she began topping the slices with a
mixture of chopped tomatoes, basil and olive oil.
Like he cares about garlic
breath around me.

“Interesting.” He took a piece of bruschetta before
she’d had a chance to offer it to him. “Wow. This is good,” he said, holding
his hand over his mouth. “Hot, too.”

She poured a glass of red for him before topping off
her own. “Thanks. Most people wait a minute for it to cool before diving in.”
She settled back against the counter.

“Wait too long and you miss out.” Cooper stepped
closer and his smell was more evident—clean and fresh. His scrubby hair
was still damp from his shower and the vision made Allie feel as if she could
benefit from a cold one. He took a second piece of bruschetta as he held his
glass out to hers. “Cheers.”

BOOK: The KISS Principle (Erotic Romance)
5.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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