Thursday, February 27, 2014

GOING FOR FOUR by Erin Nicholas

Counting on Love, Book 4

It's either true love…or the biggest mistake they've ever made.

Hot firefighter Cody Madsen has stayed away from Olivia Dixon for almost two years-technically. Even though he talks to her every day and sees her every weekend. But there's no kissing, touching, or telling her how he really feels. Because they're just friends. Anything more than that would mean crossing the line that Olivia's older brother has firmly drawn between them.

Olivia wants what her three sisters have-true love. She could almost believe she's found it with Cody, if it weren't for the fact that he's her older brother's best friend and her brother won't have it. And he's never steered her wrong before. Her head is telling her to trust her brother, but her heart won't let go of Cody.

Her solution? A dating site where she and Cody can each find their "Perfect Pick" once and for all.

But when the site yields some unexpected results, their real feelings come front and center. And they have to decide if it's worth the risk to cross the line from friendship to love after all.

Warning: Contains a starry-eyed romantic, a wannabe knight in shining armor, and chocolate chip cookies. A lot of chocolate chip cookies.



Copyright © 2014 Erin Nicholas
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Cody Madsen had never seen Olivia Dixon naked. Until today.

And there was a very good reason for that.

Two, in fact.

She was his best friend. And her brother would kill him.

But damn, the sight was breathtaking.

Breathtaking enough that his entire system short-circuited and all he could think was Every day for the rest of my life.

“Cody! Oh my god! What are you doing here?”

She’d obviously just stepped from the bathroom. Her hair was wrapped in a towel, the scent of her favorite shower gel and lotion were strong in the air and, most significantly, she was as naked as the day she was born.

Which had to be why his brain and mouth would not connect.

Olivia crossed an arm over her breasts—her glorious, perky, perfect breasts—and put a hand over her even-more-private part—the mouthwatering, holy crap, light blond hair that was trimmed into a perfect V pointing the way home—and said louder, “What are you doing?”

But it wasn’t until another voice hit his ears that Cody was able to pull himself out of the Olivia-is-even-hotter-than-I-thought daze.

“Cody! I’m heading to the fuse box!”

Olivia’s eyebrows arched. “Is that Conner?”

It was. And Cody’s first spoken word on the matter was, “Crap.”

He grabbed her upper arms, backed her into the bathroom and kicked the door shut.

That proved to be the biggest mistake of all. Her skin was silky and warm and he should never have touched her.

“What’s Conner doing here?”

Cody was an idiot. When he’d first seen that she was naked, he should have turned around and gotten the hell out of here. Instead, what had he done? He’d touched her. Then he’d put himself in a closed room with her.

A tiny closed room.

“There’s a good reason we instituted the conservative-clothing-at-all-times rule,” he said gruffly.

She still had her arm and hand covering the most important parts, but that didn’t matter one iota. He was never going to be able to forget what he’d seen.

“That rule is for when we’re together,” she said.

“We’re together now.” Wow, were they. Her scent was imprinted on his brain. Now, standing submerged in a cloud of it between her and the bottles on the shelf behind her, he found himself taking deeper and deeper breaths—and growing harder and harder.

The naked-breasts-and-other-parts thing wasn’t helping.

“I didn’t know we were going to be together now,” she returned. “What are you—and Conner—doing here?”

“Fixing the outlet in the kitchen that’s not working.” He breathed deeply and concentrated on keeping his eyes on hers. “I texted you.”

“My battery died.”

“Why are you naked?”

“I took a shower.”

“You’re not in the shower now. Do I need to buy you a robe?”

“I don’t need a robe when I’m in my house, presumably alone.”

“You always walk around the house naked when you’re alone?”


He had nothing after that. He pressed his lips together and resolutely continued to focus on things above her shoulders. Like the two empty towel racks. “Where are your other towels?”

“In the dryer.”

He pulled the towel from her head, handing it to her. “God. Cover up.”

She wrapped the towel around her body, her wet hair falling past her shoulders, big blue eyes staring at him. “You okay?”

“Yeah, why?”

“You look…weird.”

“This is, apparently, how I look when I’m trying with every fiber of my being not to kiss you.”

She made a soft choking noise and her hand grasped the towel tighter against her breasts.

“I’ve never seen that look before.”

“Yeah, I saw a few things for the first time today too.”

And she grinned.

That was one of the things he loved most about his “friend” Olivia. She had a fantastic sense of humor.

“What I mean is,” she said, “I thought there have been times in the past when you’ve had to try not to kiss me. And I’ve never seen that face before.”

There sure as hell had been times he’d had to resist grabbing her and pushing her up against the nearest wall. Or the nearest desk. Or the nearest copy machine, car door, refrigerator…

He cleared his throat. “Those times I was trying to resist kissing your lips.”

“But wh—”

She broke off as understanding dawned. And her cheeks got pink.

“God,” she finally breathed. “The not-talking-about-sex rule we have is a good one too.”

So were the other three rules they’d established nineteen months, two weeks and three days ago.

First and foremost was no kissing.

Second was conservative clothing only when they were together. He didn’t go shirtless, even when he was cleaning out her rain gutters in ninety-eight-degree weather. She didn’t wear fitted tank tops or short skirts. He didn’t wear fitted tank tops either—she’d added that to the list after the last time they’d gone to a baseball game together. If swimsuits were required, he wore baggy trunks that reached almost to his knees, and she had a two-piece with bottoms that looked like shorts and a top that covered her stomach and chest completely.

Third was no talking about sex—with anyone specifically or the overall topic in general. No innuendos either.

Fourth was no getting drunk together—they’d made that mistake once and would have made all kinds of horrible choices if Olivia’s sisters hadn’t come home early.

Fifth was no avoiding each other. That wasn’t acceptable. They were friends. They enjoyed being together. They had an entire group of friends in common.

It didn’t matter that they were more attracted to each other than they ever had been to anyone else. They weren’t going to let it keep them from being friends, and they weren’t going to let it make things awkward between them.

In fact, their friendship was one of the barriers they’d put up in hopes of fighting their attraction. They’d become even better friends, entirely on purpose, after the one and only time they’d kissed.

Nineteen months, two weeks and three days ago.

The thing was, the friends-only deal worked. It had started off as “let’s go to a movie” or “want to grab a burger” here and there, but once they’d started talking and laughing together, it had grown. When they’d discovered a mutual love for baking and had started baking together—even when he sometimes wished baking together was a euphemism for other things—their friendship had evolved into something real. There was something very innocent and fun and, of course, sweet about baking together. And in the process of mixing up cookies, muffins, brownies and new inventions here and there, they’d talked and shared and bonded.

Now they both protected the friendship staunchly. He’d never survive if he lost having Olivia in his life, and if that meant never kissing her again, so be it.

Or so he typically thought.

When she wasn’t naked in front of him.

“You’re still making that face,” Olivia said, her voice soft and a little breathless.

He was sure that he was. “You’re still standing here in a towel.”

“I can’t fix that until you move out of the way of the door,” she said with a smile.

He nodded. “It would make sense for me to move then.”

She swallowed. “If you want me to get dressed, anyway.”


He didn’t move out of the way.

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