One Time Only by Lauren Blakely


Prologue





Stone



Some men are just hot.

The kind of hot that’s hard to look away from. The kind that stops you in your tracks.

That makes your mouth water.

That’s so damn hard to resist.

Like, say, off the top of my head, the man next to me when my concerts end. The man waiting to walk me offstage. The man by my side nearly every day.

I swear someone is trying to test me by putting him next to me.

Oh, wait.

That’d be me, since I hired him.

So it’s a damn good thing I’m the king of resistance. I can stay strong in the face of plenty of life’s temptations, and I frequently do.

When a man is hands-off, you keep your damn hands off him.

Case closed.

Eyes though? That’s a whole other story.

It’s too damn hard not to check the man out or steal furtive glances at him. Or maybe not-so-furtive glances.

Fine, fine. Some of my stares are shameless.

But I’m not the only one enjoying the view.

The whole freaking internet is.

Hell, I’ve seen the pics the paps snap of us. Shots of him walking next to me on the streets of Manhattan, Paris, London, and Madrid. Images of the guy standing by a limo as I step out of it. Cell phone shots of us in airports, heading past security.

Because that’s how it goes when your bodyguard is a stone-cold fucking fox.

But like I said, he’s off-limits.

Because of the job.

And also because of, ya know, the fact that I don’t think he’s into that. Into dudes.

So I keep things fun.

Light. Breezy.

We shoot the shit. I give him a hard time because it’s fun AF to wind him up. But I never cross the line, even in my fantasies, since what’s the point? The world is full of beautiful men and women, and I don’t need to salivate over someone who’s not rolling the bedroom dice the same way I am.

Until the night I discover I’m wrong.

And I learn he’s so into all the things I’m down for.

Every. Last. One.

That’s when I have to learn a whole new meaning of the word “resist.”

Only, I’m not so sure I can.





Prologue





Jackson



Nobody would ever accuse me of being laid-back.

The word “chill” has never been applied to yours truly.

But that’s okay. There’s not really a thriving job market for an easygoing, laid-back, relaxed . . . bodyguard.

“Easygoing” is the opposite of the job qualification.

Words that people use to describe me would be more like “intense,” “focused,” and “dedicated.”

That’s what clients want.

They don’t want someone who’s all “water off a duck’s back,” and “no big deal.”

Everything in my line of work has the potential to be a big deal, and my job is to be vigilant.

That’s why I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff.

Shit that would irk me years ago doesn’t even register as a blip on my radar anymore.

I don’t get worked up about everyday annoyances like slow Wi-Fi, stalled traffic, people canceling on you, or people not canceling when you want them to.

Life’s little irritations aren’t worth obsessing over.

But . . . there’s one thing that’s driving me crazy.

One thing I desperately want to let go of.

It’s like a fever.

Give me the pill, the antidote, the IV solution stat.

Hell, give me the goddamn vaccine, and I’ll inject it myself right now.

Because there’s one inconvenience I simply can’t shake, and it’s this—being unfairly, ridiculously, insanely attracted to the guy who signs my paychecks.

That’s the problem I want to solve. That’s the riddle I must unravel. Because, dammit, I need to find a way to extinguish this irresistible pull toward my boss. The tall, tatted, tempting man who pays my bills. The guy with the sexy-as-sin stubble, the athletic build, and the magnetic smile.

I would like to find any way out of this desire that doesn’t involve pinning him up against the wall, kissing the breath out of him, and having my way with him.

Anything.

The golden rule of my profession is this—never ever fall for your client.

I never have. And I never plan to.

Because any kind of physical connection between us, any foray into this unexplored terrain of dangerous lust, could push me to my breaking point.