Suddenly Sexy

By: Kendra Little

CHAPTER 1




For Maddie Clarke, high school had been a blur of homework, bad skin, worse hair, raging hormones and a crush on Sam Hennessy. Being thirty wasn't much better. Work had taken over from homework and the bad hair days continued, but Clearasil had been replaced by a year's supply of chocolate on her 10 Things To Take To a Deserted Island list.

Until now, she'd thought the hormones and Sam Hennessy fixation were under control too, but apparently she was wrong. The tall, muscular man leaning casually against her sister's kitchen bench, ankles and arms crossed, definitely had a way of waking up long neglected body parts. And with that reawakening came all the symptoms of lust—sweating, churning stomach, erratic heart rate. It was like being fifteen all over again.

"Maddie? You okay?" her older sister, Linda, asked. "You don't look well."

"I'm fine. Must've been something I ate."

"You didn't swallow any chemicals at the lab again, did you?"

Maddie glared at her. She'd have to remember to thank her sister for making a fool of her in front of Sam later.

"I never realized being a scientist was so dangerous," said Sam, the corners of his mouth spiking upwards.

"She's joking. I've never swallowed any chemicals." Except for that one time when her lab partner accidentally spilled ethanol in her coffee. She'd driven the porcelain bus for days afterwards.

"Well, there was that one time—"

"Linda!" Her sister had the biggest mouth in Melbourne. If only she used it for good instead of evil. "Don't you have children to raise?"

Linda cupped a hand behind her ear. "I don't hear screaming coming from the living room, which means David and Emily have either killed each other or are up to mischief." She turned her attention to ten month-old Ronan in the high chair, smacking himself with his fist. "And he's doing fine without parental influence, so no, I think I'll stay here."

And embarrass the hell out of me.

"When did you say Pete would be home?" Sam asked, eyeing the kitchen door like he was waiting for his savior to walk in.

Maddie didn't blame him for wishing his old buddy would come home and rescue him. She often wanted to escape her sister, especially when Linda cooked up a storm. At meal times, she was like one of those circus plate twirlers, keeping everything spinning just enough so the plates didn't smash on the floor.

Yep, Maddie admired Linda, she just didn't want to be her. Of course she wanted kids, but not three with another on the way and a husband who worked long hours. To avoid chaos, Linda needed boundless energy and the organization skills of the Olympic Committee. Pity she had a penchant for leaving everything until the last minute.

Linda's life was more excitement than Maddie ever wanted. She could usually only cope for an hour before she had to escape to the peace and quiet of her own house.

"So how long are you here for, Sam?" Maddie asked, hoping to distract him from wishing he was somewhere else.

He shrugged impressively broad shoulders. Sexy shoulders. Bite-able shoulders. "Not sure yet. I'm on a wait-and-see basis. Go with the flow, see how things pan out. You know how it is."

Nope, she didn't have a clue. "Oh." Who ever heard of someone in his position taking an indefinite holiday? Surely the CEO of National Paints couldn't take more than a couple of weeks off work?

He was as much a mystery now as he had been back in school. Unfortunately that only added to his hotness. Like he needed any more.

Nope, Sam hadn't changed much in fifteen years after all. He was still gorgeous, still made her hormones jump and he still bucked the system and got away with it.

Two years older than Maddie, Sam had been her sister's boyfriend's—now husband's—best friend at East Waverley High. He'd also been the school's bad boy. Every girl in school dreamt of dating him. About half of those had lived out their fantasies. The other half, the group to which Maddie belonged, had been too far beneath him to get noticed.

He'd left Melbourne straight after graduation. Fifteen years later, he'd returned, wealthier and sexier than ever. That sucked. If there was any justice in the world, he'd be fat, bald and stuck in a dead-end job, or maybe in jail.

Somehow he'd managed to dodge premature aging and the law and wound up in charge of a multi-national company, which just confirmed her theory that crime and corporate Australia weren't all that far apart. Even worse than his stellar career, he hadn't put on an ounce—his lean body had gained muscle tone not flab—and he still had his own hair, thick and black. Life was so unfair.

At least he was still single. The Powers That Be hadn't smiled on him in the love department. But they would and Maddie just knew the lucky woman would be better than he deserved. Men like Sam Hennessy got all the breaks in life.

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