McKenzie Cousins, Book 3

Charlotte McKenzie has always been the one her siblings and cousins turn to when their love life goes south. She’s always there with ready advice to help them move on. So why is she finding it so difficult to move on after the night she spent with Tanner Jackson? It was wrong on so many levels, but she couldn’t have stopped that night for anything.

Months later, and struggling to get into the spirit of Christmas, she travels to Montana to finally face the man who holds her heart in the palm of his hand.

Tanner Jackson is engaged to be married to his high school sweetheart, who he discovered months before isn’t as sweet as everyone thinks. It was at his lowest point that he met the beautiful Charlotte McKenzie at her sisters wedding to his godfather. Since then he’s been preoccupied with remembering the night they’d spent together. Now though, he finds himself in a quandary; does he go ahead with the wedding to the woman he’s known since he was fifteen, or does he go after the woman that his heart and soul crave?

Winter comes quick and hard in Montana, and with Christmas around the corner, Tanner finds himself snowed in with a beautiful houseguest.

Catch up with the McKenzie family in this third installment of the McKenzie Cousins Series by NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author, Lexi Buchanan.

Cover Design – Robin Harper, Wicked Cool Designs

Prologue ~ Charlotte

Even though I’m trying to act oblivious, I’m well aware that Tanner Jackson’s deep brown eyes are following me as I move around the garden. I’m aware because my body hums—my skin feels tight, my breasts heavy, and there’s a gentle throb between my legs.

We only met a few hours ago, just before my sister, Sirena, said ‘I do’ to her new husband, Garrett. It’s my sister who I should be thinking about and seeing to, but all my thoughts are on the delicious man whom Garrett had introduced me to.

Tanner is taller than I am, with broad shoulders and a trim waist. My hands itch to rub his close-cropped, dark brown hair or slide over his light beard, which gives him a sexy look. His thighs in slacks make my fingers twitch to touch and stroke.

The heat coming off of him toward me is scorching, and I can’t stop imagining what it would feel like to be tangled between the sheets with this sexy man.

He actually has no right to be looking at me the way he is because he’s engaged. His fiancée, back home, is expecting her man to stay true to her. Tanner isn’t though. His eyes track me again as I leave the main table and head toward the large garage. I need five minutes alone…away from the gaze that is branding me. That’s all. Nothing more. If I don’t get this break, I’m afraid I’m going to self-combust.

Slipping through the door into the dark space, I wrap my arms around my stomach while trying to catch my breath now that I can breathe. It shouldn’t be so difficult but Tanner has me on edge and jittery. I’m sure my siblings and cousins noticed. I’m aware my mother did. She doesn’t miss anything to do with her family.

My hands tremble as I concentrate on inhaling and slowly exhaling, but that feeling of arousal, of need, won’t leave me alone.

“Charlotte,” my name is whispered through the crack in the door, and I know whose voice it belongs to.

My heart beats erratically in my chest as I watch him slip inside the garage. There’s no escape with him filling the doorway, even though I’m not sure that’s what I truly want.

Tanner captures my gaze and I feel his longing, which should be ridiculous considering we don’t know each other. But this feels so right.

“We shouldn’t be in here together,” I mumble. “People will talk.” I try to brush past him—afraid of what will happen if I stay here.

The minute he sees me move for the door, he steps in front of me, resting his hands on my bare shoulders. A ripple of pleasure hits me and I close my eyes, inhaling his scent. His hands tremble as his fingers spread and he rubs circles against my skin with his thumbs.

“You feel this too?” he asks me, surprise in his voice. “I didn’t want to feel this. I never asked for this. But I can’t stop.” He dips his head and nuzzles into my neck as one of his arms curls around my waist. “Tell me to stop, Charlotte…make me back away from you…I will if you want me to…”

I feel his words more than I hear him as his breath caresses along my skin. I close my eyes, fighting every sensation, but my body has taken control and is overruling my brain on what I should do. I should run past him and never be near him again. Even as I’m giving those commands to my body, my fingers slide into his hair.

Tanner shudders under my touch and slowly moves his mouth along my collarbone, his tongue dipping between my breasts.

My body is alive for the first time in forever, and his touch alone, has my breasts swollen in arousal with the beads of my nipples throbbing for his touch. Between my legs, my panties are soaked with my need for this beautiful man. I shouldn’t even be looking at him, but I don’t have it in me to care right now. Not when I’m feeling things that I’ve never felt before.

“What are we doing, Tanner? You’re engaged.” I question him…question myself.

“What we crave more than our next breath.”

I totally agree.

Tanner…

He groans and his lips brush against mine as he begs, “Say my name again.” His eyes blaze into mine, and I know I’ll spend the rest of my life being haunted by the memory of him and the heat for me that’s currently alive on his face. Only me.

I whisper, “Tanner,” seconds before his mouth claims my lips, his arms crushing me against him.

Whatever calm I had is shattered with the hunger of his kisses as his tongue plunges into my mouth, sending shivers of desire racing through me.

My hands cling to him while I try to get closer still, feeling his arousal against my belly when I do.

His tongue continues to explore the recess of my mouth while I give myself freely to the passion of his drugging kisses.

I feel his hand gently outline the circle of my breast through my silk dress. When his thumb scrapes over the swollen bud of my nipple, I loudly moan, throwing my head back.

He moves his large hand from my breast to the slit in the side of my dress, and grabbing my thigh, he brings it up to his hip, allowing his arousal to settle against my panties. His other hand holds me tightly against him while his hips rock.

His lips latch onto my neck and quickly move toward my sensitive breasts. His teeth nibble on a hard bud through the thin fabric and that’s all it takes.

Groaning, I shudder against him, feeling heat rush into my cheeks at how easily he brought me to climax. The blush soon disappears when I glance down and see just how hard and swollen his penis is. It’s arousing seeing him fully clothed like this while he throbs against my panties.

“That must hurt,” I mumble, unable to catch my breath.

His eyes close while he breathes deeply through his nose, and then he tenderly brushes a kiss across my forehead. “It aches to be inside of you. I ache for you,” he confesses, letting my leg drop to the floor as he steps slightly away to straighten my dress.

Unhappiness clouds his face before it’s gone, his voice firm as he says, “I can only offer you one night, Charlotte.” He covers my mouth with a quick kiss. “I wish I could offer you everything, but I can’t.”

I bury my face into his neck and breathe a kiss there. “I’ve never had a one night stand before, and I wish that wasn’t going to happen now…except I want you more than I’ve ever wanted anyone.” I hesitate before I admit, “That scares me because I’ve never felt this way before.” I hold his gaze and see the relief crossing his features, following closely with sorrow.

He brushes a gentle kiss across my forehead—our fate is sealed.

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