Authors: Jasmine Haynes
|The Principal's Office|
Desire is in session. Rachel Delaney, divorced mother with two boys, isn't complaining. Her life is fine. Really. There is one thing that could make it better, though: a strong, warm, male body to help her make it through the occasional lonely night. No strings, and no relationship, thanks. Just a little fun with a perfect stranger. And there's no more perfect a stranger than Rand. He's tall, blond, unattached, smokin' hot, and looking for the same thing Rachel is: wild, abandoned sex with no limits, no last names, and no complications-until Rachel's eldest son gets in trouble in class. Only then does Rachel discover that her down-and-dirty, dangerously sexy mystery lover is also the new school principal. They're not exactly the ideal role models for a troubled student acting out his own frustrations. With Rachel's life turned upside down, Rand's the only one who can make it right-by maybe taking their hot-bodied hook-ups into a warm-hearted new direction...
Praise for the novels of
“Deliciously erotic and completely captivating.”
New York Times
“An erotic, emotional adventure of discovery you don’t want to miss.”
—Lora Leigh, #1
New York Times
“So incredibly hot that I’m trying to find the right words to describe it without having to be edited for content…extremely stimulating from the first page to the last! Of course, that means that I loved it!…One of the hottest, sexiest erotic books I have read so far.”
Romance Reader at Heart
Sensual Romance Reviews
Midwest Book Review
“More than a fast-paced erotic romance, this is a story of family, filled with memorable characters who will keep you engaged in the plot and the great sex. A good read to warm a winter’s night.”
“Bursting with sensuality and eroticism.”
In the Library Reviews
“The passion is intense, hot, and purely erotic…recommended for any reader who likes their stories realistic, hot, captivating, and very, very well written.”
Road to Romance
“Not your typical romance. This one’s going to remain one of my favorites.”
The Romance Studio
“Jasmine Haynes keeps the plot moving and the love scenes very hot.”
Just Erotic Romance Reviews
“A wonderful novel…Try this one—you won’t be sorry.”
The Best Reviews
Berkley titles by Jasmine Haynes
THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DARK
MINE UNTIL MORNING
HERS FOR THE EVENING
YOURS FOR THE NIGHT
LACED WITH DESIRE
(with Jaci Burton, Joey W. Hill, and Denise Rossetti)
(with Jaci Burton, Joey W. Hill, and Denise Rossetti)
SHOW AND TELL
THE FORTUNE HUNTER
(with Susan Johnson)
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
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 publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright © 2012 by Jennifer Skullestad.
Cover photograph: “Tied Feet” (#2496578) Shutterstock.
Cover design by Diana Kolsky.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
HEAT and the HEAT design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Heat trade paperback edition / February 2012
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The principal’s office / Jasmine Haynes.
1. Divorced women—Fiction. 2. Mothers and sons—Fiction. 3. School principals—Fiction. I. Title.
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
To Rita, for all her enthusiasm
Thanks to my special network of friends who support me, brainstorm with me, and encourage me: Bella Andre, Shelley Bates, Jenny Andersen, Jackie Yau, Ellen Higuchi, Kathy Coatney, Pamela Fryer, Rosemary Gunn, and Laurel Jacobson. And of course, to my agent, Lucienne Diver, and my editor, Wendy McCurdy.
THE PRETTY BLONDE STARED INTO THE REFRIGERATED JUICE
section, like a child in front of a candy store window seeing the very thing she wanted and knew she couldn’t have.
She was perfect.
Rand was relatively new to the area, having moved here to start a job last fall, five months ago. But even so, he didn’t prowl grocery stores early on Saturday mornings looking for women. He’d needed a couple of items and didn’t like waiting in line, so he’d stopped after his run along the canal.
Then he saw her. It was fortune smiling down on him, the law of attraction at work.
Her blond hair fluttered just past her shoulders. Her pretty profile showcased full ruby lips and long lashes several shades darker than her hair. The tight white T-shirt outlined mouthwatering breasts that were more than even his big hands could hold, and her jeans hugged the delectable curve of her ass. She wasn’t too thin, yet was well taken care of. Best of all, there was no ring on her finger. He never amused himself with married women. He
came from a long line of players, marriage being no barrier whatsoever between them and the objects of their desire. He wasn’t about to be like any of them.
She was no sweet young thing, but closer to his age—forty—or possibly a couple of years younger. He preferred his partners to be older, seasoned, more sure of themselves, of who they were and what they wanted. Women who were old enough to appreciate trying something new, something daring.
He was as staid as they come during work hours, with a position that required a quiet, unwavering authority, steadfast diplomacy, and a hell of a lot of psychology. But after hours, his life was his own business. After hours, anything goes.
He smiled as she finally made up her mind and reached for the fridge door. Her breasts plumped with the movement.
Oh yeah, he’d love to get daring with her.
RACHEL STARED AT THE ROWS AND ROWS OF JUICE BOTTLES. SHE
was a frugal shopper, buying only what was on sale, because in her mind, the sale price was the real price, and anything else meant you were overpaying. She lived for coupons. Penny-pinching was the only way she could make ends meet. Sure, her ex paid half the boys’ expenses since they had dual custody, but the cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area was astronomical, gas prices had once again skyrocketed, and cable TV and high-speed Internet, not to mention the boys’ cell phones, just might bankrupt her. She had a full-time job she enjoyed, with excellent medical benefits, but she was a receptionist. Her salary barely covered standard monthly expenses. Her ex, an accountant, was the real breadwinner. Their house was underwater so they hadn’t been able to unload it during the divorce settlement, and they were still waiting for the market to recover. In the meantime, she lived in it. The boys were with her every other week;
teenage boys could eat you out of house and home. For the most part, she made healthy home-cooked meals and only occasionally brought home fast food. It would have been cheaper to buy soda for the boys to drink, but she did her damnedest to make sure they learned good eating habits.
So she wanted that juice, which was on sale at half off, plus she had a coupon. Wouldn’t you know, though, the last bottle had twisted at the top of the rollers, stuck fast, and there wasn’t a grocery clerk in sight to help her out. Well, she was
going to be bested by a damn juice bottle. Yanking open the refrigerator door, she put a foot on the rubberized track, grabbed the edge of the shelf, hauled herself up, and stretched until her fingers just brushed the plastic bottle. If she could knock it a little, dislodge it…
“Let me help.”
The male voice was deep enough to send a delicious shiver down her spine. She would have gotten out of his way, but she felt him along her side as he leaned into the fridge door with her. His hand on the small of her back set a flame burning low in her belly. She couldn’t have moved if her life depended on it. Oh no, this was too good to miss. With barely a stretch, he straightened the bottle and set it rolling down the tracks to her waiting hand.
She was breathless when she turned to look up, and up some more. He was close enough to make her eyes cross, and she couldn’t focus sufficiently to take in more than cropped blond hair, piercing blue eyes, and a square, smooth-shaven jaw.
“Thank you” was all she could manage. She didn’t want him to move. It had been so long since she’d felt a man this near, breathed in his pure male scent, musky with testosterone and clean workout sweat.
He stepped back out of the fridge slowly, his body caressing the length of hers for what seemed like an eternity, until his heat was replaced by the cool blast of refrigerated air.