EXCERPT FROM

THE ARTIST'S PROVOCATEUR

The Next Book In The Serano Brothers Series

EXCERPT HERE

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“You’ve been getting on every single nerve I have.” Jamming her thumb into the release for the seatbelt, Marie tore the thing off and flung open the passenger door. “You ask me about my art and when I tell you about it you, as usual, have to find some way to get under my skin and insult me. I should have waited outside the garage for that damn cab.”


Without waiting for him to comment, she got out of the car and slammed the door behind her. She made it the whole way inside the building and to the elevator bank when Adam finally caught up with her, for once, looking semi-contrite. Though, she could still see that smirk of his fighting to pop up on the corner of his mouth.


“I’m sorry, don’t be pissed at me,” he said as the little bell rung to announce the elevator had arrived. The doors swung open and they entered. She refused to look at him as she punched the button for their floor. “Was it the nerd comment that sent you over the edge?”


That earned him a glare, but she didn’t speak. Any words she might have for him were venom laced and ugly, so she didn’t say anything. As the elevator doors closed, she backed into the corner trying to make herself small, willing the thing to move faster.


He moved forward, and though he shoved his hands into his pockets, he crowded her space, making her feel caged in. Despite her anger, she could feel her traitorous libido sit up and take notice of his proximity. “If it was the nerd comment then I think it’s only fair if you know that you’re the proverbial ugly duckling that turned into a swan.”


Rolling her eyes, she couldn’t suppress the snort that left her. “You are so full of shit.”


Once again, the soft bell of the elevator dinged as the doors slid open on their floor. She made a hasty exit and he quickly followed as she made her way to her apartment door. He got in front of her and blocked her path with his back to her door as she dug out her keys.


“No, I’m serious.” He reached out to take a lock of her hair and tucked it behind her ear. “I swear, contrary to all the things we’ve been throwing back and forth at each other, you really are an attractive woman, Marie.”


She stopped fiddling with her keys to look up at him. While his words had sounded so earnest, the devilry in his eyes spoke volumes. She decided to play along, if for no other reason than to make him move out of her way.
Stepping into him, she placed her hand on his chest for balance, ignoring the strength and heat under her palm, and got to her tiptoes. She leaned into him until their lips almost touched. “You’re still full of shit and I’m not inviting you inside, so you might as well forget it.”


He chuckled as she sank back onto her heels, but he placed his hands on her hips before she could back out of his reach. “I am sorry, please don’t be pissed.”


She moved away from his touch and put her own hands on her hips, trying to sooth the tingles left in his wake. “If I tell you I’m not pissed, will you let me go inside?”


Cocking his head to the side, he smiled and said, “Yes, but you have to prove you mean it.”


“And how am I supposed to do that?”


“Give me a hug while you say it.” He spread his arms out to the side, welcoming her into his embrace.


Good grief, she thought taking a mental picture of how adorable and simultaneously hot he looked in this moment. She supposed she could think of worse ways to end this strange day. “Fine, come here.”


As his arms circled her waist and her cheek rested against his shoulder, she couldn’t help but notice how well they fit together. The light, sweet scent of his cologne filled her lungs and she had to suppress the sudden urge to snuggle deeper into his warm strength. She got so lost in the moment that she almost forgot to say the magic words. “I’m not pissed at you, Adam.”


Her pulse picked up speed when she felt his soft lips move against her neck as he placed a kiss just below her ear. “Good. You gonna invite me in now?”


With an exasperated sigh, she pushed him away from her and moved to unlock her door as he laughed behind her. She turned back to face him before she went inside. “Goodnight, Adam.”


A sinful smile spread his lips as those dark eyes danced down at her. “Goodnight, Marie. Sweet dreams.”

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