May 29 2017 12:01pm

Cathryn Fox Excerpt: House Rules

Cathryn Fox

House Rules by Cathryn Fox

What happens in London, doesn’t have to stay there...

The last thing I expected to find in my dossier was sexy stockings, a plane voucher to London and an invitation to dance at a gentleman’s club. I’m a quiet museum curator for God’s sake. No way, no how am I going to slide down a pole for a bunch of over privileged, narcissistic men—until I see Sean Fraser, my childhood crush, enter the establishment. Since I’m no longer that overweight teen with braces and mousey hair, there is no way he’ll recognize me. Hmmm… Maybe I’ll give him a fake name—and a private dance. That ought to make him finally notice me, right?

What the hell is Kennedy Lane doing sliding down a pole in a private Gentlemen’s club? I’m not sure, and while I know she’s hands off, I want her. I’ve always wanted her. She might have been too young for me back in the day. Now, not so much. Hands off leads to hands on after a private dance, and while Kennedy spends the weekend pretending to be someone she isn’t, I know full well who she is. And I’m not quite ready to let her hang up her stockings when the show is over.

Get a sneak peek at Cathryn Fox's House Rules (available June 5, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

I make a move to turn, but she places a hand on my chest to stop me. Her eyes narrow. “This is really important to you, isn’t it?


She nods. “Then it’s important to me, too.” Her teeth flash in a smile, and she takes a deep breath. “Let’s go win him over.”

As I stand there staring at her, I have no doubt she’ll win Cochrane, as well as every other male in the place, over. Hell, without even trying, she wound herself around my heart. Unease moves through me because suddenly I don’t want to share her with a room full of men. As possessiveness takes hold, my mind races back to this morning, and how close I was to kicking the shit out of the guy hitting on her. But hell, how could I blame him? She’s a beautiful woman with no ring on her finger, which means she’s fair game, right?

Shit. Shit. Shit.

I slide my hand around her waist and guide her inside. The place is bustling, and I search the crowd to find Dawson chatting with Cochrane over a glass of champagne. A waiter walks by, and I grab two glasses of the bubbly stuff from the tray he’s carrying. I hand one to Kennedy, and we clink glasses.

“Let’s do this,” I say. I guide her through the throng, and when we reach Cochrane, his eyes widen when he sees Kennedy on my arm.

“Cochrane, Dawson,” I say, greeting them. “Good to see you both again.” I nod at Dawson. “This is Kitten, my fiancée.”

“Nice to meet you both,” Kennedy says. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“Well, well. Where have you been hiding this beautiful woman, and why have I not heard about her before?” Cochrane asks, lighting up as he turns to Kennedy.

“Wasn’t ready to share her,” I say between clenched teeth.

Cochrane takes her hand to his mouth and presses a kiss to the inside of her wrist, and it’s all I can do not to knock his front teeth out.

Kennedy gives a flirtatious laugh as she lets him hold her hand longer than I like. “Aren’t you a charmer?” she asks.

“Maybe I could charm you away from my boy, Sean.”

“No such luck,” she says, and moves in close to me. “Sean is the best guy I know.” As she looks up at me with those big blue eyes, my heart misses a beat. Fuck, I’m in trouble.

Cochrane laughs then winks at her. “That’s only because you haven’t gotten to know me yet.” He gives a tug on her hand, urging her away from me. “We have all night to rectify that, now, don’t we?”

 I’m happy that Kennedy is hitting it off with Cochrane, but I want to punch the guy in the face for acting like a total fucking douche. Does he think I’m going to let him sleep with my girl for his business? Or maybe he’s testing me somehow? Testing my loyalty and commitment to my fiancée? To him? Fuck that. Honestly, Kennedy shouldn’t have to put up with this kind of bullshit from a dickhole client. I never should have put her in this situation. No account is worth it. I open my mouth, about to drag Kennedy away, but she plants her hand on my chest, hard.

Her eyes lock with mine, and she says, “Why don’t you go get us a real drink.” She presses the champagne glass into my hand and looks back at Cochrane. “Brandy?”

“A woman after my own heart,” Cochrane says.

Kennedy gives me a warning look, and as much as I don’t want to leave her with Cochrane, it’s clear she can take care of herself—and that she’s trying to stop me from fucking this whole thing up.

I step away and walk up to the bar, my glance constantly flipping back to Kennedy. Her smile is bright as she chats with my client. I have to hand it to her, she is impressive, and if it weren’t for her, I’d likely have blown the deal. I gesture for the bartender, who is run off his feet, and wait forever for the drinks to come. As the minutes tick by, I grab a stool and plant myself on it. A woman sidles up beside me and gives me a once over.

“Here on business?” she asks as she takes in my suit.

Her hand goes to my tie to straighten it, even though it’s already straight, and when I feel her put something into my shirt pocket, I look past her shoulder to see Kennedy casting a quick glance my way. Her smile falters for a moment, then it’s back in place as she gives her attention to Cochrane. I have no idea what they’re talking about, but from the intent look on my client’s face I can tell she’s holding his interest, no doubt engaging him in an intelligent conversation.

“So that’s a yes?”

“What’s that?” I ask, unable to keep my thoughts focused.

“You here on business?”

“I am.”

“I thought so. I saw you at Hotel Royal last night, and again this morning. I’m staying there, too. On business.” She moves closer until our legs are touching. “Nights get lonely away from home, though, don’t they?”

“They can,” I say when the waiter brings me my three drinks. But my nights are anything but boring, or routine. Sex had gotten bit mundane lately, but Kennedy has breathed new life into me.

She twirls her empty glass, a ploy to get me to refill it.

“Please pour her another of whatever she’s having,” I say to the bartender, and stand. “I have to go. I’m here on business.”

“I’ll see you later, then?” she asks.

I just nod, not wanting to be rude but not sure why she thinks we’ll be seeing each other later, either. I make my way across the room with the three drinks.

I step back up to Kennedy and Cochrane, and they are immersed in conversation about the local museum. Cochrane seems impressed with her. And why wouldn’t he be? She’s beautiful, intelligent, fun, and sexy. Everything a guy could ever want.

“Hey,” Dawson says. “Kitten, huh?”

“Yeah, Kitten.”

“You find her at the club?”

“Yeah, something like that.” I’d found her many, many years ago, when my sister brought her home. I couldn’t do anything back then about how I felt. I’d sure done something about it this time, but the problem was one weekend with her wasn’t going to be enough.

I break into their conversation, and after a while, Kennedy excuses herself so Cochrane and I can talk business. The whole time, I keep casting Kennedy glances to make sure she’s okay, but the only one in the room who isn’t okay is me.

As the business meeting closes—and I have a damn good feeling about this relationship with Cochran Industries—I find Kennedy and lead her outside, back to the limo.

She slides in and a soft moan catches in her throat. I smile at her. Despite the sexy toy she’s wearing, she managed to pull off the fake fiancée act and impress my client. My heart squeezes.

“Come here.”

Her eyes widen as I slide my hand around her neck and draw her mouth to mine. I kiss her, enjoying the taste of bourbon on her tongue. She leans into me, and I deepen the kiss. Fuck, I could spend the rest of the night kissing her, but we have a concert to get to. First, though, I want to take a drive through the park. I lean forward and instruct the driver, and tell him to go slow.

I roll the window up for privacy and turn to Kennedy, aching to bury my mouth between her legs. I must have one hell of a look on my face because her eyes widen and she asks, “What?”

Instead of answering, I press a button and the moon roof overhead rolls open. I pat the seat. “Stand. Look out.”

“Isn’t that kind of dangerous?” she asked.

“Driver’s going slow. You’ll be fine.”

She gives me a dubious look, like she knows I’m up to something else. “If you say so.”

“Up, now,” I say, eager to get my mouth on her. 

Copyright © 2017 by Cathryn Fox.
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New York Times and USA today Best selling author, Cathryn is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Cathryn can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter and tries to write page-turning books that her readers will love.

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