IT’S NOT EASY BEING RIGHT
Vanessa Campbell is a CPA by day and a perfectionist by night. She’s fit, successful…and decidedly lonely. She can’t stop thinking about the youngest McCauley brother, Cameron. He’s just like her: smart, attractive, and usually right-except when dealing with her.
…BUT SOMEONE’S GOT TO DO IT
Cameron McCauley likes Vanessa a little too well. She’s a blond goddess with a razor-sharp tongue. She hates to be wrong, just like him. But she can hold a grudge and is stubborn to a fault-also like him.
A past misunderstanding has them rubbing each other the wrong way. Cam is dying to shake Vanessa up-get her to let loose. But if he succeeds, can his heart handle it?
Ten minutes later, Colin sat fat and happy with her and the girls as they watched an old Godzilla movie. It was as if the corner had never happened. Man, to be that young and innocent. But innocent was a relative term. Vanessa had once been six, but she’d never been so carefree. She’d never eaten cookies with her parents or watched television with them. Not unless the program could be classified as educational.
“So who’s our green lizard fighting?” Maddie asked as she munched on processed popcorn. “Mega-somebody?”
“Not Mothra, I don’t think.” Abby frowned. “Megaguirus, maybe?”
Vanessa cringed. “That you even know which monsters he fights is a bit frightening.”
“You’re so smart, Abby.” Colin continued to consume sugar at a frightening rate. But since Vanessa would soon be returning him to Mike, and the kid had owned up to his issues, she figured he deserved it.
“Yeah, smart at B-movies and how to handle blondes—myself excluded.” Vanessa smirked.
Abby stuck up her hand and peeled down all her fingers but the middle one, then put her hand back before Colin observed the profane gesture.
“Crude but effective. On that note, I’m getting something to eat. How you guys can shovel that crap in your mouths is beyond me.”
“Everything is ‘beyond you,’” Maddie muttered. “Including fun.”
“I heard that.”
Colin laughed with the others.
Vanessa laughed with them as she walked away, but deep down she had to wonder if Maddie was right. So many people saw her as this robotic, cold woman. Just because she enjoyed something as dry as accounting and didn’t take shit from losers, she was labeled the un-fun roommate. Well, numbers didn’t lie. Numbers delivered the same thing to everyone. No playing favorites, no changing rules. Once you had a formula, it stuck and made sense.
She’d spent enough time with her cousins to know that her parents had borderline personality disorders. Neither of them could tell her they loved her, if they felt it at all. She’d never hurt for food or a roof over her head, but their affection they doled only on their studies. Geniuses in their respective fields of mathematical and physical research, yet complete dumbasses when it came to celebrating a birthday, holiday, or kissing a boo-boo.
Fortunately, Vanessa had grandparents and cousins, and good old Aunt Michelle—Maddie’s mom—who loved to hug and kiss and play the doting aunt. Still, life with her parents had taken its toll. While Vanessa knew why she at times behaved too rationally or emotionlessly, she was helpless to stop being herself.
More truth. Sometimes she hated her overwhelming need to be honest with everyone.
As she rummaged in the cabinet for her organically grown corn kernels and oil for popping, the backdoor rattled. She turned to see Cameron’s face in the window, and her heart raced.
Exhaling a long breath, she forced herself to be calm and crossed to unlock the door. “Yes?”
It was either move back or be walked over, so she stepped back while he entered and shut the door behind him.
“Just checking on the little guy,” Cam said in a low voice. “Mike can be such a hoverer—”
“Where’s the boy?” Mike asked from behind him.
She pointed to the hallway. “Living room.”
Mike left, and she and Cameron stared after him. Mike returned moments later, gave Vanessa a nod and a grunt—of approval?—and left.
“Told you he’s mental about the kid,” Cam reiterated.
She frowned. “Did he really need to check on me? What? He thought I might beat Colin for taking my candy?”
“Nah. I kind of hinted he might want to see what you guys were up to so I could come with him. To see you.” Cameron smiled at her.
How she’d ever called him average with a straight face, she didn’t know. The man was her every fantasy made flesh. A great body, handsome face, and amazing mind. And God, he could kiss. As much as she wished she didn’t continually replay their embrace, she hadn’t forgotten that kiss at Christmas.
“Oh?” Damn, she sounded out of breath.
Cameron stalked her until she realized he’d backed her into a corner of the kitchen, away from the view from the hallway.
He planted his hands on either side of her on the counter. What the hell?
“The guys are on break while we order pizza. The crap kind from a chain.” He sighed. “What can you do?” He glanced at her popcorn and grinned. “Oh, that’s my favorite. Just a bit of oil and it pops up a storm.” He looked back at her mouth. “Great taste.” Pause. “I just came over to say what a good job you did being firm with Colin.”
He moved in closer.
“Cameron?” she squeaked on a whisper, for some odd reason not wanting the others to know he was here with her.
“Your lips are so red. So pretty. Do you wear lipstick?” He leaned in and kissed her before she could answer or even think to refuse.
Vanessa stood still, letting him control the kiss, his lips soft yet firm, his tongue sipping then penetrating slowly. No rush, but a leisurely exploration that turned her knees to jelly.
He moaned low in his throat and deepened the kiss. Not enough to overpower her, but enough that she felt a raging lust to wrap her legs around him and hold on until the storm passed.
Instead she remained frozen, her hands gravitating to his waist, her mouth under his.
He eased back. His blue eyes looked cloudy, his lips slick from their kiss. He smiled, and the curl of that grin shook her foundation, made her want with a passion that shocked her.