PERFECT FOR YOU | LAUREL HEIGHTS

 

perfectforyouFreya Godwin’s muse has gone MIA.

With Freya just hired to redesign the top adult website company in the country, her creativity couldn’t have chosen a worse time to disappear. Determined to get her sexy back, Freya puts an ad online, hoping to find the right man to inspire her.

Unfortunately, all roads point back to her upstairs neighbor Greg Cavanaugh. He’s everything she doesn’t want: a playboy and scumbag lawyer. Except if he’s so wrong for her, why does being with him make her believe anything is possible?  { sneak peek below! }

 

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SNEAK PEEK
Perfect for You—Chapter One

Graphic designer looking for hot sex.

Freya Godwin shook her head and crossed out the sentence. Too blatant. That may be what she was looking for, but maybe she should be a touch more subtle. She didn’t want every freak in San Francisco to respond to her ad.

Doodling faceless lovers entwined in different passionate embraces, she thought about what she really wanted. Finally she scribbled:

Female web designer seeking inspiration in order to complete a very important project. Bring your muse to share.

Lame. Accurate, sure, but it sounded desperate.

Who was she kidding? She was totally desperate.

Her office door slammed open. Flinching, she looked up to find Charles scowling in the threshold.

Hell. She quickly flipped the notebook shut. If he knew she was spending her valuable time working on a personal ad instead of the Sin City redesign, he’d blow a gasket.

“What the hell is this?” He waved sheets of paper in the air.

Maybe he’d blow a gasket anyway. “I can’t see the pages with you flapping them around like that.”

He strode into her office and slammed them on her desk. “Here.”

Freya glanced down and mentally winced. The design was even more white bread than she remembered. She didn’t need Charles to tell her that Sin City wasn’t shelling out the big bucks for white bread—they were paying for buttery French pastry.

“Well? What the hell is this crap?”

It was the last throes of a web designer who hadn’t felt an iota of creativity in over a year. But she just shrugged. “They’re some initial ideas I had. They’re not the final mock ups to show the client.”

“Damn right, they aren’t. If they saw this”—he stabbed a blunt finger at the printouts—“they’d run out of the building in horror. This is crap.”

“Tell me what you really think, Charles.”

Ignoring her, he braced his hands on the desk and leaned forward. “Do you understand what a coup it was for them to choose Evolve to redesign their website and revamp their branding?”

Yeah, she did. Evolve was well regarded in San Francisco’s competitive web design field, but to call Sin City hiring Evolve a coup was understating matters. It was unheard of for a huge corporate entity like Sin City to go outside the biggie web design firms to a boutique shop like Evolve.

And Sin City was huge. They were Amazon and Facebook combined but for all things sexual. Store, blogs, chats, reviews, live video feeds—you name it. They even had their own publishing branch that put out several magazines in addition to a line of erotica for women. Compared to Sin City, the Playboy empire looked like a business run out of someone’s garage.

“They didn’t just choose Evolve, Freya.” Charles’s blue eyes burned with the zeal he was renowned for among his colleagues. His employees called it The Mania. “They chose you.”

Because of the site she’d designed for a local sex toy shop two years ago. Back before her creative juices had dried up. “I understand, Charles.”

“I’m not sure you do. If you screw this up, you’re out of here.”

Her mouth fell open. It took a couple tries before she could get any words out. “You can’t fire me for one bombed design.”

“I’m the boss. I can do whatever the hell I want. Especially if one of my employees blows the biggest opportunity this company has ever had.” His eyes sparked with dollar signs. “This is our opportunity to play with the big boys. Maybe even go public. I won’t let anyone screw it up.”

“But—”

“And your work over the past year hasn’t been up to your usual standards. I know Marcus bailed you out of the Accordiana job,” he said bluntly.

She cut off her protest. She couldn’t deny it—Marcus hadn’t just helped her out with the design, he’d taken the crap she’d come up with and turned it into gold.

“If you can’t perform, I can’t afford to keep you. Just because you’re Evangeline’s best friend doesn’t mean I’m going to make allowances for you.”

“I can’t lose my job.” Her stomach lurched at the thought.

“Then I suggest you produce a design they fall in love with.” He snapped his suit coat straight and turned to leave. At the door he looked over his shoulder. “I mean it, Freya. Fuck this up and you’re out of here.”

She winced as the door slammed shut. She couldn’t afford to lose her job. It wasn’t that she cared about herself—if she lost her paycheck she’d figure something out. But she wouldn’t be able to support her sister Anna through college, and that wasn’t acceptable. She’d vowed after the fallout from her parents’ accident that Anna would never have to compromise her dreams like she’d had to.

That meant she had to produce a kick-ass design.

In the pit of her stomach she felt a spasm of worry. She’d been off her game—she’d never felt such an utter lack of creativity.

She grabbed the notebook and opened it to her ad. She crossed it out and wrote

Artist in trouble. HELP.

The office door reopened and her best friend Evangeline poked her shiny blond head in. “You still alive in here?”

Freya slapped the notebook shut. “For the time being. Did you hear your dad?”

“Me and everyone else in the office.” Eve closed the door and perched on the desk’s corner. “I was just happy it was you and not me for a change.”

“Why do you let him treat you like that?” She shook her head. Charles loved Eve, but it was tough love. “He may be your boss but he’s your father too. If you stand up to him, he’ll respect you more.”

“I don’t want him to respect me. I want him to leave me alone.” She tucked her hair behind her ear. “Besides, you’re the fiery one. You stand up to him enough for everyone. Except for today.”

“I’m not fiery, and today was just strategic.” Everyone assumed that just because she had cinnamon red hair she had a temper to match. Not true. Not that much, anyway.

“Strategic?”

“I didn’t want to aggravate him any more than he was.”

“Hmm.” Eve gazed at her like she didn’t believe her. Then she picked up one of the discarded printouts. “Did you do this mockup?”

“Yes,” Freya answered cautiously.

“It doesn’t look like it.”

“What does it look like?”

“Boring.”

“It’s just a mockup.” She stretched to take the paper, crumpled it, and tossed it at the trashcan.

Eve leaned forward and picked up the notebook. “Interesting sketches.”

Freya groaned. “Give that to me. I was just messing around.”

“By drawing porn?” Her friend frowned as she flipped pages, faint parentheses lining the space between her eyebrows. “Artist in trouble? Are you writing a personal ad?” she asked in a hushed voice.

“Why are you whispering?”

“I wouldn’t put it past Dad—I mean, Charles to bug the place.”

Freya rolled her eyes. “Your dad is megalomaniacal but he’s not that far gone.”

“Did he or did he not threaten to fire you?”

“You heard that too?”

“Everyone heard. He’s a beast. Especially given how he knows you’re paying for Anna’s college and can’t afford to lose your job. I’d call him something worse but it’d be too disrespectful.” She tapped the notebook. “But let’s get back to this.”

“It’s nothing. A moment of insanity.”

“If it’s nothing, why are you blushing?”

“I’m not,” she said even as she felt her face burn hotter.

“Right.”

Eve stared at her with a narrowed gaze that was too much like Charles’s for comfort. Then she said, “I have ways of making you talk.”

“It’s really nothing.” Freya sighed. “I had the fleeting thought that if I found someone who made me feel like a sex goddess I’d be able to channel that newfound sexuality into the design for Sin City.”

“And to find a sex slave you decided to do a personal ad?”

“I didn’t say anything about a sex slave, and I haven’t decided anything.”

“Well, it’s brilliant.”

Freya blinked. “Excuse me?”

“It’s brilliant. It’s an inventive solution to a problem. You’ll find a guy who’ll help you get your sexy back so you can design something sensual and creative.” She nodded. “It’s just what you need. How long has it been since you’ve played footsy with a guy? The last one was Brad.”

Brad. She sighed. “He was a good kisser.”

Eve made a face. “He was boring. I rejoiced the day you broke up with him. You yourself said he didn’t excite you.”

True. She’d liked Brad, but once he proposed to her she’d realized she couldn’t spend her life with him. Something was missing. Sometimes she was afraid the something that was missing was her.

“You know what you need?” Eve leaned forward, her gaze intense. “You need spicy.”

“Spicy gives a person indigestion.”

“You used to love spicy.” She tapped the notebook. “Do the personal ad. It’s the answer.”

“It was only an idea in a second of desperation.”

Eve shook her head. “No, it’s a creative solution to a problem. It’s old Freya shining through. It’s exactly what I’d do in your place.”

“Yes, but you have a habit of coming up with crazy schemes that backfire. Like that time you and I went to Napa for a day at the spa—”

“I just wanted to see what tipping a cow was like. How was I supposed to know that guy was out patrolling his pastures?”

“And when you decided we should take a road trip the summer after we got our drivers licenses even though we didn’t have money or parental consent—”

“You have to admit it was a genius idea picking towns where the fire stations were holding free ice cream socials and spaghetti feeds. We saved so much money. And we met all those cute firemen.”

“Yes, but we still ran out of money for gas and had to call our parents to wire us enough money to get home. Which only sucked because you said we should tell them we were spending the week at each other’s house so they didn’t know we were on a road trip.”

Eve wrinkled her nose. “We did get busted that time.”

“We got grounded for the rest of the summer,” Freya corrected.

“That was unfortunate, but you can’t deny you loved every minute of it. And I may have had the ideas, but you were the gung-ho one who acted on them.”

True, and she did love those times. But that was before she had to take care of Anna.

Eve frowned for a brief moment before she lifted her determined chin. “No one’s going to get grounded this time. The fact of the matter is you aredesperate, and desperation requires drastic measures. Also, I’d like to point out that this was originally your idea, not mine.”

“It’s years of your bad influence.” Freya sat back in her chair. “People always assume you’re the angelic one, with your cherubic looks. But it’s the innocent looking ones who’re the most diabolical.”

“I know,” her friend said with a proud smile. “But I try to use my powers for good.”

Freya sighed. “I don’t know, Eve.”

“Remember how you always wanted to be a bohemian artist? After high school, you planned to go to Paris, live in an attic, wear lots of scarves, and smoke Gauloises. But when your parents died, it all changed.”

“I remember.” Familiar sadness filled her chest, and Freya rubbed her heart to try to ease it. It’d been years since her parents’ accident, but she still missed them every day.

Eve took her hand. “You had to be responsible because you had to take care of Anna, so you started to play it safe. Somewhere along the way, you lost yourself. You’ve dried up.”

“It really is that bad, isn’t it?”

“Freya, you’re turning into a human Sahara. You’ve become as bland as your designs.” She waved at the trashcan.

“Ouch.” She winced, but she couldn’t dispute that bland was exactly how she felt.

“Don’t get me wrong. You don’t look bland. You’re hot. The programmers eye your butt every time you walk through the office. Those pencil-thin cords are great.” Eve sighed in longing. “I wish I could wear pants like that. If only I were tall like you.”

“5’5” is tall for women. You shouldn’t compare yourself to me. 5’11” is abnormal.”

“I wish I could be abnormal like a supermodel too. At least your chest is flatter than mine. It’d be terrible if I had to hate you for that too.”

“Thank God for that.”

“I’m just saying you need to shake things up before you’re tempted to buy white cotton underwear.”

“I’m not that far gone.”

“You’re one step away from it.” Eve waved the notebook. “This is what’s going to save you. Do it.”

Freya sighed. “I’m a visual artist. I suck at writing.”

Eve flipped the notepad to a fresh page and extended a hand. “Pen.”

Handing one over, she watched Eve frown at the blank page before scribbling a few lines. Then her friend held out the notebook. “Here.”

Taking a deep breath, Freya looked it over:

Fiery goddess in search of the perfect god. Soar with me through clouds, frolic under the stars, hand me the moon for my own. Mortals need not reply.

She blinked and reread it. Not a blatant I want you to give me hot sex but it hinted that she wanted to share sensual pleasures, sex or otherwise, without sounding desperate.

More than that, reading it stirred something inside her. It took her a moment to pinpoint that the feeling was excitement. “This is actually kind of good.”

“I know,” Eve said modestly. “It’s perfect for you. Promise me you’ll use it.”

Nerves set her stomach lurching again. But Eve was right—instinctively she knew she had to do something big to move out of the corner she’d backed herself into. “I’ll do it.”

“Then my work here is done.” Her friend hopped up.

“What would I do without you?”

“That’s too horrible a fate to even contemplate.” Eve tugged one of Freya’s curls. “Good thing for you you’re stuck with me.”

“Yeah, good thing.”

 

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