Apr 25 2017 11:02am

Helena Hunting Excerpt: Shacking Up

Helena Hunting

Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick.

Get a sneak peek at Helena Hunting's Shacking Up (available May 30, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Noise wakes me at 5:36 in the morning. It takes me a few seconds to orient myself to the unfamiliar surroundings. I’m not used to the mostly quiet, so the footsteps and the sound of a suitcase being wheeled down the hall seem louder than they probably are.

Bancroft must be leaving for the airport. We said goodbye last night, but I’m suddenly very awake, and alert. I won’t see him for five weeks. I stare at the ceiling while I listen to him tooling around in the kitchen, trying to decide if I should get up and say goodbye again or stay where I am. My vagina decides for me. She wants a visual hit of Bancroft before he leaves for the next month.

I throw off the covers and tiptoe to the bathroom, blind myself with the light and check myself out in the mirror. My hair’s pretty screwed and I have puffy sleep eyes, but otherwise I’m fine. Well, fine-ish. I rinse with mouthwash, and finger-comb my hair so it doesn’t look like I’m trying too hard, but I also don’t look like a troll, either. I clear my throat and find it doesn’t hurt anymore, and my stomach actually rumbles.

Opening my bedroom door a crack, I peek out. Light filters down from the kitchen. I shiver as I walk down the hall, the hardwood floor cool beneath my feet. I’m definitely not accustomed to the air-conditioning. Two black suitcases come into view as I approach the foyer.

And then there’s Bancroft. Holy sweet mother of one-hand-clapping material, is this man ever not hot? He’s standing at the kitchen counter, writing something on a piece of paper, dressed in a black suit, complete with jacket and tie. His broad shoulders and narrow waist make it look absolutely fantastic. His hair is styled, the dark curls tamed with some sort of product. I want to run my fingers through it and mess it up. He’s freshly shaven, unlike last night, and completely put together.

“Hey.” My voice comes out all gravelly, possibly from sleep, possibly because I’m thinking about how fun it would be to peel that suit off him. With my teeth. And get to all the good stuff underneath.

His head jerks and he glances up to where I’m standing at the edge of the hallway, half in the dark. I step into the foyer and his eyes flare, sweeping over me.

“I didn’t mean to wake you.” His voice matches mine in rasp. He reaches up and adjusts his tie. His hand smooths over the shock of electric blue fabric. I follow the movement, watching as he fastens the button of his jacket. He was dressed similarly at the engagement party, but I didn’t have an opportunity to appreciate it the way I can now.

I’ve been staring and he’s said words. I’m also biting my knuckle. I release it from my teeth. “Don’t worry about it. I’m used to hearing traffic, so the silence is going to take some time to get used to.”

His eyes keep darting down and then back up to my face. They seem to stay down longer and longer each time.

I follow his gaze trying to figure out what the deal is when I realize that my current attire isn’t all that appropriate. I’m wearing a white tank, which isn’t a problem, it covers all my important parts—aside from my perky nipples. What I didn’t take into consideration was the fact that my bottom half is covered only by a pair of underwear. At least they’re full coverage. They also happen to be lacy, since they were the only pair I could find in my semi-sleepy haze last night. I’ve worn less during dance competitions, but contextually, this isn’t awesome. Or maybe it is considering the way he doesn’t seem to be able maintain eye contact any better than me.

“Oh.” I drop my hands and cover my crotch, as if that’s going to help. “Uh. I’ll be right back.”

Bancroft’s eyebrows climb a little, and a half smile appears as I turn and rush down the hall, with my hands shielding my ass.

“Don’t feel compelled to put more clothes on for my benefit,” he calls after me.

I grab my kimono from the back of the bathroom door—one of the very few items I unpacked last night before I passed out—and shrug it on. On the plus side, my cheeks now match the color of the flowers decorating my robe, so at least I’m coordinated. I return to the kitchen where Bancroft is now sipping a cup of coffee. He regards me over the rim of his cup, his amusement apparent in the arch of his brow.

“Sorry about that. I’ve been living alone for a long time.”

“No need to apologize. Your wardrobe choices are you own. I’m certainly not going to complain.” He’s wearing a devilish smirk as he gives me another lingering onceover.

I prop a hip against the counter and cross my arms over my chest. “Hasn’t anyone ever told you it’s not polite to ogle?”

His gaze lifts to mine and he leans in close, voice dropping to a whisper as if he’s about to tell me a secret. “I’m not always polite.”

Oh God. I’d like to experience his not polite all over this condo. Right here on the kitchen island would be a good place to start. I go with snark rather than offering to be his breakfast. “You’re going to drop below a nine again if you keep it up.”

That sexy smile of his widens. “I guess it’s good that I’m leaving. I’d hate to bring myself down to a lowly eight-point-five again.” 

Copyright © 2017 by Helena Hunting.
Learn more about or order a copy of Shacking Up by Helena Hunting, available May 30, 2017:

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She's writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

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Laura Lee
4. Isalacroqueusedelivres
and you leave us there..... tease....
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