Mr. Fixer Upper
Paige pushed through the heavy metal door and took a deep breath, enjoying the pungent scents of sawdust and stain. Gannon’s workshop, a fiercely guarded section of the King’s Construction warehouse, was an endless fascination to her. Here, her husband escaped the demands of business and TV stardom and transformed raw wood into flawless pieces of furniture that bordered on works of art.
Her heels clicked on the cement floor as she maneuvered between stacks of rough cut boards and neat piles of wood shavings. The shelves that lined the walls buckled under the weight of stains and hand tools, a jumble that looked chaotic. But her husband had his own version of organization.
He didn’t hear her coming. Gannon was too busy forcing a board through the table saw. Paige hopped up on an empty work table behind him, arranged the skirt of her sundress, and enjoyed the view. Tattoos, ridiculous mouth-watering muscles, those tapered hips. Jesus, she was a lucky woman. She felt the all-too-familiar throb intensify between her legs and pressed her knees together to relieve the pressure that was already building inside her.
His hair was cut short. Gannon King had no desire or time to fool with an actual style, so he let her buzz it every few weeks in their master bathroom. And then inevitably he talked her into the shower with him afterwards.
The t-shirt he wore was plastered to his broad back with sweat. The August heat had gotten its sticky fingers inside, turning the vast workshop into a sweat lodge. He’d forgotten to turn on the AC again, she noted. When Gannon focused on a project, things like eating and air conditioning often fell by the wayside.
He pulled the cut board away from the blades, muscles flexing under the tattoos that now included a special, permanent homage to her, and frowned fiercely at it. Yanking the carpenter’s pencil from behind his ear, he looked around for the tape measure that he’d presumably lost yet again.
“Where did I put that motherfucker?” he muttered to himself, scouring the shop with his gaze.
He found her instead and dropped the board. Just like that, the intense focus he’d had for his project shifted to her.
Paige felt her pulse creep up. Even after three years of marriage, months of crisscrossing the country together on their parallel projects, and one beautiful, perfect baby girl, Gannon still made her feel butterflies.
“Hey, princess,” he said, sliding those big, callused hands around her hips and jerking her to the edge of the table. She opened her thighs for him and watched the sparks fire up in his eyes. Paige liked the way his jeans felt against her skin.
“Hey, Sexiest Man on Reality TV,” she grinned, referring to his latest embarrassing and oh-so-true moniker from Fame’s sexy issue.
“Funny, Ms. People’s Choice.” Paige’s documentary on women in Hollywood had snagged that title at the American Documentary Film Festival the year before. Given its success, she and her partner Becca were knee-deep in preparations for their second project.
“Aren’t we just Mr. and Mrs. Accomplished?” Paige teased.
He gave her a little slap on the hip and then that quick, dirty smile. “Speaking of accomplished, we got the warehouse over by the Marine Terminal.” King’s Construction was Gannon and his sister Cat’s family contracting business. Once on the brink of bankruptcy, their reality TV show had revived the company, and its crews were booked out for the next eighteen months.
“I knew you’d get it,” Paige said, trailing her fingers down his chest. “No one says no to Gannon King.”
“You did. Repeatedly,” he pointed out, tracing his finger tip down her nose before dipping it into her dress’s neckline.
“And I appreciate your patience and your tenacity.” She couldn’t imagine what her life would look like if she hadn’t taken that leap of faith into Gannon’s strong, capable arms.
His expression turned serious. “I think we need to talk about making this the last year for the show,” he said. “Cat’s got her own deal now with the network, and you’ve got enough going on with your new docu. It’s time to say goodbye to Kings.”
He wasn’t asking, but he was trying to give her a say in the matter. Something he’d been working on since ordering Paige around never worked out the way he wanted it to.
They’d spent four years together on the set of Gannon’s reality TV show going from hate to lust to friends to lovers. And Paige had gone from field producer to the network’s highest paid director. But she agreed that it was time to put the show to bed. They had a lot more to focus on these days.
She schooled her face into a blank expression. “Is that so?”
He squeezed her hips. “I really hope you don’t fight me on this one, Paige. We’ve got Gabby, now. I need to be here in Brooklyn for the business. You can’t keep dividing your time between your projects and the show. It’s time, princess.”
Paige rewarded him with a smile. “For once, I absolutely agree with you. Though, I am going to miss all those hotel rooms with you,” she teased.
He picked her up, swung her in a tight circle. And she realized the worry he’d carried about how she’d react. “I’ll take you out once a week to a shitty motel. Date night.” He settled her back on the work table and dipped his head to brush a kiss over her lips. But even that light touch hinted at the power, the need simmering just under his supremely sexy surface.
Paige put her hands flat on his chest. “You’re soaked.”
He solved that problem by yanking the t-shirt over his head and tossing it over a bandsaw. “And you’re fully dressed.”
“I was hoping you could do something about that.”
She heard the low rumble in his chest. She loved him like this. Intense. Broody. Hot.
“Where’s Gabs?” he demanded, running his hands up her sides, pausing on the curves of her breasts.
Gabriella Francesca King was the world’s most beautiful baby according to her parents and Gannon’s nonni, the original Francesca.
“Don’t get mad,” Paige warned. His fingers dug into her sides.
“Jesus, Paige. Where is she?” Panic chased the fog of lust from those hazel eyes.
“We had lunch with my mother, and she insisted on keeping Gabby for the afternoon.”
“Dr. Leslie ‘Stone Cold’ St. James is babysitting her granddaughter?”
Paige wrinkled her nose. “Do you really have such little faith in me? My mother’s housekeeper, Cheri—mother of three, grandmother of seven—is ecstatic about babysitting, and my mother is just showing Gabby off to her wine club.”
“Does that mean—”
Paige looped her arms around his bare neck. “Oh, yeah, King. We have an entire afternoon to ourselves. And I’m not wearing any underwear.”
If he hadn’t been hard before, Gannon was now. Paige cupped his raging hard-on through those worn jeans and purred when he flexed against her palm. She loved how much he wanted her.
“Tell me you went to lunch at your mother’s without underwear,” Gannon begged her, sliding his palms down her legs to her knees where he let them slip under the hem of her sundress to explore.
She hadn’t. After all, she’d been raised a St. James, and old habits of appropriate behavior died hard. But she had shimmied out of them in the shop’s parking lot.
Paige nodded, fibbing just a little, and he yanked her against him until the only thing between them was denim.
“I like this dress,” he rasped. “I’m sorry about ruining it.”
Paige yelped as he gave a sharp tug on the bodice, snapping both spaghetti straps.
“What am I going to wear out of here?” she demanded, slapping at his bare chest.
He grinned and dipped his head to the upper curve of her breast. “We’ll worry about that in a few orgasms,” he promised.
She would have argued for posterity’s sake, but his tongue snaked out and lapped at her nipple. The rough texture, the wet heat, made her whimper.
“King, honey,” he corrected her.
“You’re such an ass.” She hissed the words out between her teeth as he closed his lips over her. “You’re my ass.”
“Mmm, and you’re so fucking sexy, Paige.” His breath was hot on her pebbled peak. “I’m not worthy, and I’m so glad you don’t care.”
“Shut up, Gannon,” she told him. She bowed back onto the tabletop and let him have his way. His hands roamed her skin until her dress was bunched around her waist.
“I think about you like this every time I’m here,” he confessed, his voice low and strained.
She had similar sinful fantasies whenever they were apart. Paige had thought it would dull once they were married and then again once their daughter arrived. But the need was as jagged as ever.
“I love you, Gannon,” she breathed. The word seemed so small for what she felt for the man. He had opened her to an entire world of feeling that she’d never known before him. One she could have so easily missed out on. Paige vowed never to forget that, never to take for granted what Gannon had given her. A partner, a home, a family. An insanely satisfying sex life.
“I never get tired of hearing you say that, princess.” His mouth worked its clever way to her other breast, teasing her until she writhed against him.
“I never get tired of your mouth on me.”
He gave her nipple one last taste before sliding down her body. Paige was strung taut like a bow and knew it would take nothing but his hot breath on her to send her over the edge. Gannon knew it too. Through hours and hours and hours of study, long nights of driving her out of her mind with pleasure, he knew her body better than she did.
He nibbled and bit his way up her inner thigh, teasing her sensitive flesh with grazes of his teeth.
Paige’s phone rang on the table next to them, and Gannon growled at the interruption. She sat up and grabbed for it. Cat’s name flashed on the screen.
“If you answer that, I’m going to have to murder my sister, and you’re going to have to explain it to Nonni,” Gannon said against her thigh.
“Nonni is terrifying,” Paige said of Gannon’s tiny Italian grandmother. “And I don’t think we can survive on conjugal visits alone.” She hit ignore.
“Mmm.” He wasn’t listening to her now. He was admiring her bare flesh, and she couldn’t quite catch her breath with the anticipation building fast and hot.
Another phone rang through the fog in her mind. This time it was the one in Gannon’s pocket. “Goddamn it!” He stabbed the answer button with violence. “If you call me again in the next hour, you’re fired.”
“Hi, Flynn,” Paige called out weakly to Gannon’s foreman and best friend.
Gannon didn’t give Flynn the chance to answer. He hung up and flung the phone down. “No more interruptions.”
“Better make it fast then,” Paige suggested, biting her lip. “And maybe a little rough.”
“Jesus,” he whispered, yanking off his belt and fumbling with the fly of his jeans.
She loved seeing him like this, edging toward out of control. He was temperamental. Always. Grumpy and sarcastic. Often. He was also playful and so generous it sometimes took her breath away. And when he held their daughter and made her laugh? Paige knew what love was with a certainty that branded her heart.
But there was something about this, right here. When it was just the two of them, too needy and desperate to be careful. Beyond love, beyond lust.
“Right here, Gannon. I want you just like this.” She worked his jeans down his hips with her feet, scraping the skin of his muscled thighs with the sharp points of her heels and delighting in the fact that she wasn’t the only one who’d gone commando today.
His erection sprang free, proud and ready. Always ready for her.
“Anything you want, princess. Anything.”
“How about a little brother or sister for Gabby?”
His hands froze on her, eyes boring into her. “You’re ready? What about your timetables and your ideal outcomes?”
It was true. She was an obsessive planner. But some things were so much bigger than exactly the right timing.
“I want more of everything with you,” she promised him. “More time. More kids. More of this.” She coaxed him closer until she could grip his thick erection in her hand.
Gannon said nothing, but she read everything in his face. Such fierce love. The desire to give her anything and everything she wanted. She stroked up from root to tip, running her thumb over the bead of moisture she worked out of the crown.
“You level me, Paige,” he whispered, dropping his forehead to hers and watching her hand as she continued to pump his shaft.
“Right back at you,” she breathed. He stopped her before she could take him too far. Paige watched in fascination as he fisted his shaft, pumping it once before guiding it to her sex.
She hitched her legs over his hips, ready to accept him. That was the end of the caution, the gentle teasing. Gannon lifted her off the table and thrust into her with one powerful surge, driving the breath from her lungs. Words and oxygen caught in her throat as she tried to relax around him, tried to take him as deep as possible. Every time he pushed her just past her edge.
“I fucking love you, Paige,” he growled, the threads of his control fraying. His eyes were glassy and dark, and Paige felt triumphant. She did this to him. They did this to each other. Trust kept them open and wondrous and hungry.
“I fucking love you, Gannon. Don’t stop.”