London Bound (London Lovers #3)
Release Date: May 14, 2015
***After falling in love with “us” in the first two installments of the London Lovers Series, now…it’s Leslie’s turn in this spicy series stand alone.***
When Leslie Lincoln, a spunky, red-headed American, suffers an awkward moment with an arousingly-sexy British man—she thinks her life can’t get any more pathetic.
She’s done with men.
She doesn’t need them.
She especially doesn’t need their muscular thighs.
No siree, she’s going to forget all about the brooding, complicated, and seductive “Theo” who captivated her on the dance floor of a London nightclub.
Keep telling yourself that, Lez…..
Immersing herself into a new type of romantic cleanse, Leslie thinks she’ll never lay eyes on Theo again. But somehow, he’s managed to bulldoze his way back in—her cheetah-print onesie pajamas be damned.
He wants more.
She wants to run.
But he can’t seem to let her go.
Both of them have a past—and neither want to share.
How can love possibly survive in darkness?
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“I think you need a spruce, Lez,” he states deadpan.
“A spruce? And what the hell does that entail?”
“Like a spa visit?” Angela asks excitedly.
“Not a spa exactly. More like…a cleanse.” Frank fixes a salacious grin on me as he appears excited for what he has in mind. I squirm, feeling nervous about where the hell this is going.
“I’ve done cleanses before, they are miserable,” Angela says, dramatically raising her glass and taking a drink.
“This is a different kind of cleanse. It could be miserable for Leslie, but I know many mates who would bloody love it.”
“What’s involved?” I ask warily. Why the hell would I agree to something that might make me miserable?
“It’s…what I would call…a seven-step program. You have to follow all of the steps in order to gain the maximum benefits and achieve full happiness. Do you agree to it?”
“Agree to what? To doing this crazy cleanse that I have no clue what’s even involved? Absolutely not! I can’t even drink black coffee, Frank. If this cleanse drink tastes disgusting, I can’t do it.”
“Nothing will taste disgusting on this cleanse, I assure you,” he replies cryptically.
“I don’t know.”
“You need this, Leslie. You’ve been in a funk ever since Finley got engaged to that sex monster, Brody.”
I blanch. Frank has a huge man-crush on Brody. It all started when he got a full-frontal Magic Mike image of Brody and Finley one morning at the house. Brody’s a good-looking guy, don’t get me wrong. But I see him more like a brother.
“So, this cleanse you’re suggesting will get me out of this funk?”
“Without question,” Frank says, and turns his wide brown eyes on me. He’s sincere. I can see it in his demeanor. He genuinely wants me to do this.
“I’m not interested in a boyfriend, Frank. I don’t want a relationship.”
“That’s not what this is about. I promise.”
I smirk sneakily and Frank jumps up thrusting his hands into the air in victory, knocking his chair down in the meantime. Several people gawk at his obnoxious display.
Holy balls. This is Frank. What have I gotten myself into?
I shake my head and turn toward the wall, feeling physically unable to face Theo. All I can picture is his lips on that blonde bimbo, and it’s nauseating. Not to mention, I’m certain I look like a hot mess of runny makeup and tears.
“Leslie.” He says my name softly. I brace my fingertips on the wall for support, just to give me something to focus on besides Theo’s face. “Leslie,” he utters again, reverently.
I laugh pathetically. “You showed me,” I croak in a high-pitched tight sound. “You said you’d show me ‘nice’ and boy did you.” I sniff loudly and try to clear my gravelly voice.
“I didn’t want to show you anything!” He presses his front to my back, mirroring my braced hands on the wall, encasing me. I can feel the intense rise and fall of his chest and I shiver at his close proximity.
“I just wanted to wake you the fuck up!” His breath tickles the hair on my head.
“I’m awake,” I giggle sadly, biting my lip. “Who is that girl?”
“You like kissing no ones, do you?” I roll my eyes even though he can’t see them.
“I like kissing you,” he says, slowly. “I more than like kissing you, Leslie.” He removes his hand from the wall and grabs my waist softly, turning me to face him. His rough hands on my exposed torso send intimate shooters through my core. I look sideways, unable to make eye contact.
“Can’t you see this, Leslie?” he pushes my bangs away from my eyes. “Can’t you see this as something more? Don’t you feel it?” I shake my head, willing my chin not to wobble. I’m scared shitless right now. Scared of what this could be. Scared of what it could turn into. Scared of letting myself have hope.
“You’re incredible, Leslie. You have to know that. You have to know how special you are.”
I swallow around a hard knot forming in my throat.
“I’ve never felt that before,” I whisper softly, my voice catching at my very raw and vulnerable admission. No hiding anymore.
“You’ll never feel anything less with me. I promise you.” He shakes his head disbelievingly. “You shine straight through me. You’ve brought me back.” He kisses me softly on the lips and murmurs against my mouth, “You’re impossibly special.”
In all my life, I’ve never felt what Theo’s managed to make me feel in a matter of seconds. Knowing my words will only pale in comparison to his, I return his kiss passionately, whispering a simple ‘thank you’.
I walk in and Finley is shoulders deep in their Jacuzzi tub with earbuds in. She must hear me because her eyes flutter open and turn to saucers as she sees me. Sitting up quickly, she splashes water all over the floor.
“Leslie, what? Oh my God! What?”
“I’m okay, Finny…I just need you,” I cry hard and she gestures for me to come over to the tub. I perch myself on the edge.
“I want to hug you but I don’t want to ruin your dress.”
“It’s ruined for me anyway.”
“No, Leslie! No! What happened?” She stands and grabs the towel on the shelf nearby, then steps gently out of the tub, wet bubbles cascading down her legs and onto the floor. Once she’s secured the towel tightly around her chest, she perches on the side of the tub next, wrapping one arm around me.
“I don’t even know, Fin. I just know he doesn’t want me anymore.” I cry even harder as I say the words out loud for the first time.
“How do you know that, Leslie?”
“There’s someone else, Fin. It’s this big secret that he won’t tell me.”
“That’s crazy. I’ve seen the way he looks at you. There is no way he’s ever looked at anyone else like that. That’s a one-time-only kind of love.”
“Love? Oh please, Fin. He doesn’t love me. He just liked me—and now that’s over. There’s no way someone like him can love someone like me.”
“Leslie,” she says, grabbing my cheeks in her hands and pinching me until it’s painful. I gape directly into her round eyes. “You stop that, right now! That man loves you like Brody loves me. He loves you.” She releases her tight grip and grabs my hand in hers. The pruneyness gives me the shivers.
“You didn’t see him tonight. He was aggressive and angry and scary. It’s all just gotten to be too much for me, Finley. I never wanted any of this to begin with.”
“And why is that?”
I shrug my shoulders, feeling the weight of the world pressing down on them.
“The cracks, Leslie. You’re keeping something from me. I know it.” I crumple over and my shoulders shake with silent sobs. “What is it, Lez? What have you not told me?”
Theo is quiet the entire drive. When we arrive at his house, he silently takes my hand and leads me into his flat and into his master bath. He flips on the shower and removes his glasses and all of his clothes, silently gazing at me the entire time. He strides over to me and pulls my t-shirt over my head and undoes the string on my cotton pants, pulling them down as he does. We’re both standing before each other completely naked and silent, the shower steam swirling around us.
He grasps my hand again and leads me into his glass walk-in shower. He proceeds to tilt my head back into the water and watches me quietly. Leaning in and pausing, he breathes heavily against my skin before dropping feather-light kisses along my neck, collarbone, and shoulders. I bring my head back down and stare deeply into his eyes. I’m trying to figure him out but the raw vulnerability that stares back at me brings tears to my eyes.
He bites his tongue to the side and grabs the soap, squirting some into a sponge. He turns me away from him and begins washing me, reverently—gently and protectively covering every inch of me with the soapy bubbles. It’s overwhelming. The intimacy of it all—it’s all too much. Tears bubble up and fall down my wet cheeks.
Theo feels my shoulders shuddering beneath his hand and he turns me around to face him again. His pale brown eyes flash quickly between my green ones. As if consciously choosing to use actions instead of words, he tilts my head sideways and presses his lips to mine. He moves us back so the water is pouring down over our faces and between our mouths. It’s a waterfall of lips, tears, tongues, and ragged breaths. Feeling everything he’s telling me without words, I pour every single tear and ounce of angst I have into this kiss. All my fear, anxiety, pain, grief…all of it is swirling deeply within this soul-shattering kiss.
He pushes me back against the wall and pulls my legs up onto his hips as our kiss grows frenzied and desperate. He slides into me in one languid push and holds himself there, just letting our bodies connect in the most carnal and natural way.
He stops kissing me and looks deeply into my eyes. The vulnerability there on display for me to see—to accept—to love. I can feel it. I can touch it. Every single part of him—physically, emotionally, he’s offering it to me. It’s all I can do to accept it all.
Can I possibly love this man?
“You are beautiful, Leslie.” He tucks a stray auburn lock behind my ear tenderly and moves my bangs off to the side, like he always does. “Your light, your smile, your playfulness.” I roll my eyes and look down, feeling horribly uncomfortable with all these compliments. This man is Superman, how does he even see me?
He crooks his finger under my chin forcing me to look him in the eyes. “I mean it. I never stopped chasing you because you are the light to my darkness. The one thing that just shines in my life. You make it all less horrible, Leslie. You…are worth every single millimeter I ran to catch you.” He swallows hard, glancing out the window briefly and then swings his gaze back to me, his expression turns urgent. “I said last night that it was all too much, that I was overwhelmed. I need you to know that I am overwhelmed—but only because I’ve been wanting to tell you something for a while now, but I didn’t want to scare you.”
About the Author
Amy Daws is a goof of epic proportions. She enjoys making dumb videos and laughing at herself…a lot. It gets awkward. She thinks she should have tried her hand at improv theater but figured she’d learn how life looks behind the lens of a camera first.
She also thinks talking about herself in the third person isn’t awkward at all.
Amy lives in South Dakota with her husband, Kevin, and their miracle daughter, Lorelei. The long-awaited birth of Lorelei is what inspired Amy’s first book, Chasing Hope, and her passion for writing.
Amy’s contemporary romance books are a part of the The London Lovers Series and currently have two installments out with more to come. Her writing style is emotional and self-deprecating with awkward humor sprinkled in. Basically, if she makes you cry happy and sad tears…she’s achieved her goal. Extra points if you have to blow your nose.
Amy’s inspiration for writing is and always will be her six precious angel babies and her daughter, Lorelei. On most nights, you can find Amy and her family dancing to Strawberry Shortcake’s theme song or stuffing themselves inside children’s-sized playhouses because there is nothing they wouldn’t do for their little miracle.