Designs on the Carpet Layer

Designs on the Carpet Layer (MF)

by Gina Duncan

Siren-BookStrand, Inc.

Heat Rating: SCORCHING

Word Count: 60,492


[Siren Classic: Erotic Contemporary Romance, HEA]

Shyann Ellsworth is a beautiful, hardworking interior designer who believes her work is more important than love, passion, or a family, so she believes she’s met the perfect man until the one who really heats her blood comes back into her life. Now, all she has to do is manage to escape her crazy ex, who’s decided he doesn’t want to let her go. Will she be able to have the life she wants with the man she wants, or will her ex destroy all her dreams?

Jesse Hartley is tired of one-night stands and women who just want him for his money. When he starts a new job, he’s surprised to see the one woman who's turned him down at every opportunity and the one woman he wants more than anything. Just when he thinks life is going good, an old enemy decides to rear his ugly head.







Professional Reviews

4 STARS: "If you favor contemporary romances featuring a sexy hero, an independent-minded heroine, lots of pent up desire, and a dose of relationship jeopardy, Gina Duncan's DESIGNS ON THE CARPET LAYER is a sexual sizzler that will allow you to indulge your reading interests. Atlanta interior designer Shyann Ellsworth loves her job but not her boyfriend. She knows deep down that Bryce, the attorney she's been dating for a year, isn't a guy she could ever marry but the relationship is rather comfortable. When she starts a new design project while Bryce is out of town, she suddenly finds she's once again being pursued by carpet layer Jesse Hartley, whom she'd repeatedly rebuffed before she began seeing Bryce. Jesse is drool worthy and Shyann now can't seem to resist his magnetism no matter how hard she tries, but she won't consider going out with him until she ends things with Bryce. Unfortunately, Bryce is determined to marry Shyann and will do whatever it takes to get Jesse out of the picture. DESIGNS ON THE CARPET LAYER moves at a nice pace. The writing and dialogue are crisp, and the plot really held my interest. Jesse is a hero that could fulfill any woman's fantasies and the chemistry between him and Shyann really builds at such a tempo that it's hard to put this book down. Both Bryce and Jesse have a few secrets unknown to Shyann, but the author introduces them slowly so that they don't detract from the elemental want that's fairly singeing Jesse and Shyann each time they encounter one another. Gina Duncan gets good marks from me on this steamy romance with a happy ending and I look forward to reading more of her books." -- Angie Just Read..., The Romance Reviews





Shyann stepped through the front door of the new Prescott mansion Monday morning in a wonderful mood. That was until she stepped around the corner and stopped dead in her tracks when she spotted Jesse Hartley on his knees, laying the new carpet for the family room. There was a sheen of sweat covering his bare torso.

She’d met him a year ago on another job she’d been doing, and right before she’d agreed to a date with Bryce. Jesse had been sexy beyond words then, the way his jeans hugged his legs and ass, his black T-shirt hugging his torso, and man, he looked even better now. His muscles were even bigger than they were before. She worried her bottom lip between her teeth as she studied his profile. His long ebony hair tied at the nape still hung midway down his back. Jesse’s deep tan and muscular body flexed as he moved around the room, and yes, there they were, those big, brown, smoky eyes staring at her once again.

A year away from the man hadn’t changed anything. Neither had the time she had spent trying to fit into Bryce’s life, and she truly had tried to fit in. After all, Bryce had treated her like a princess when they had first started dating. Now she felt more like a possession. She’d often wondered what it would have been like to have gone out with Jesse Hartley, and thought she’d lost her chance. There was just something about Jesse. Maybe she’d done the right thing by avoiding him a year ago, but for some reason she had her regrets as well. She was a little afraid that this time Jesse would be able to charm her right out of her fancy panties.

Of course, it didn’t help matters that Jesse’s eyes had started at her new high-heel pumps and slowly made their way up her body, pausing at her bare legs and then slowly up to her bosom. Shyann crossed her arms, waiting as she tapped her foot impatiently until his eyes finally met hers. She only stood five foot two in her stocking feet, but the four-inch heels made her feel a lot taller and more in control.

Shyann felt herself begin to melt into those chocolate depths as soon as she stared into them. She’d almost lost her mind last year and given into his charms. She knew men like him. He was only after one thing…sex, and she was better than that. Jesse was just arrogant enough to know he was handsome and sexy enough to get who and what he wanted, and then he’d toss them away like yesterday’s trash when he was finished with them. Shyann knew he’d wanted her the last time they’d worked together, and she’d hurt his pride every time she turned him down. She’d heard too many bad stories about the man, and she just made her mind up a year ago that she wasn’t going to be one of those women he threw away.

Then he spoke, his voice washing over her, so strong and firm just like his body. It almost felt as if he’d reached out and caressed his large, callused hand over her petite body as goose bumps rose to the surface.

“Well, hello again, beautiful. Long time no see. Is there something I can do for you?”

“Yes. You can get this carpet laid and get out of my way so that I may get started with my designs.” She knew she was being a sarcastic bitch, but it was her defense mechanism against men like Jesse. She turned away and started out of the room, pausing for a moment as she felt his eyes move over her. “And do stop staring at my ass,” she threw over her shoulder then walked through the door.

“Maybe if it didn’t look so yummy in that tight skirt or sway so much when you walk, I wouldn’t be so fascinated with it.”

A shiver came over her entire body as his laughter filled the room and air all around her. She leaned against the wall on the outside of the room trying to catch her breath. She knew then and there that this man would be dangerous to her tightly wound world, not to mention her senses of well-being. She’d hoped the last time that she’d never have to work with Jesse again, but fate wasn’t on her side it seemed. She was just going to have to do her best to avoid the damn sex god at all costs. If not, she feared she’d give in to his sex appeal at least once.

Shyann almost ran to get as far away from the sexy carpet layer as she could. She should have known the Prescotts would have hired his company to do their new home since they were the ones that laid the carpet in their first home. If she remembered right the Prescotts had liked the job the company had done then.

How was she ever going to be able to work with Jesse again? The man’s presence seemed to fill the whole house. It had taken everything she had to resist him last year. He could be quite charming when he wanted to be, not to mention persistent as hell.




Jesse placed his hand at the base of her head, bringing her lips back to his when she moved away slightly, his other hand kneading her breast. The awesome pleasure this man brought to her made her weak in the knees and had her heart racing. Why had she ever resisted being with him? Their clothes were strewn from the living room door to her bedroom. Jesse released her, pushing her down on the bed. He was walking around her bedroom in all his naked glory looking like a golden god. His cock standing at half-mast was still larger than most men fully erect. Shyann watched as his hand enclosed his cock, stroking it to instant life as he stared at her.

She knew that watching him like this was indecent, immodest, and immoral, and she loved every second of it. She wanted to push his hand away and replace it with her own. Jesse watched her with those intense almond-shaped eyes as she crawled to the end of the bed.

“You look very beguiling crawling across the bed that way. Do you know how badly I want to be buried deep inside the sweetest pussy I’ve ever known? Do you know how much I wish we could just stay in bed making love every day and night? I can’t get enough of you, Shy. I can’t keep my hands, or lips, off you. I want to touch and kiss you every time I’m near you, and when you’re away from me I dream of the moment you’ll be back next to me.”

The deep drawl of his voice lulled her into a sense of euphoria. The way he was looking at her only intensified the feeling. She moved off the bed as she made her way toward him. Rising up on her tiptoes, she kissed his lips, his cheek, and caressed down his chest, her lips following. She knelt down before him, pushing his hand away to replace it with her own as she smiled up at him, and then leaned in to suckle him hard and deep. He groaned deep in his chest as he threw his head back.

Jesse pulled her up from the floor. He lifted her into his arms and moved them back to the bed. He eased her down on the mattress, and she watched with fascination as he rolled a condom on and then moved between her legs. She was still amazed that he actually found condoms to fit his huge cock. He pulled her legs up over his shoulders then held onto her hips as he plunged inside her wet pussy.

Jesse pounded into her without mercy and she loved each moment of it, her body quaking under his assault. She felt a tingling deep inside. Being this way made it feel as if he were so deep he hit her womb with each thrust, and then he slowed, moving in and out causing her to whimper. He surged back in suddenly when he was almost completely out, pile driving her as he wrapped his arms around her thighs, pulling her to him as he thrust forward. She took a gasp of breath, feeling as if all the air had been pushed from her body. She could feel him pulsating so deeply inside her channel, causing a tidal wave to rush over her. She called out his name, her orgasm erupting like a volcano. Jesse called out her name a moment later, and then he moved her legs from his shoulders and then collapsed on top of her, his breathing as ragged as hers. Every time they made love it was as if time didn’t exist. They lay there that way until their heartbeats and their breathing returned to normal.

Jesse moved to stand. Pulling Shyann up with him, he lifted her into his arms, carrying her with him to the bathroom. He sat her feet down on the cool tile floor as he turned the shower on, and then he removed the condom and threw it in the trash just before he took her hand and stepped into the shower. Shyann was so drained she wasn’t sure her legs would hold her up much less have enough energy to wash her body, but then Jesse poured her bodywash into his large hand, lathering them just before he ran his hands over her body, washing her. Shyann threw her head back with a moan at the sensual feel of his hands so warm and slick caressing over her. She didn’t know how her body could come alive so quickly under the circumstances, but she was moaning and moving against his hands as he caressed and kneaded her. When he finished washing her, he moved aside to let the water run down her body to rinse the suds away as he began to wash his own body. After rinsing he turned the water off. Stepping out of the shower, he wrapped a towel around his waist then took another off the shelf to dry her body.

“I can’t believe how badly I want you again,” he whispered, kissing her stomach as he knelt before her to dry her feet and legs.

“I know the feeling,” Shyann said, resting her hands on his shoulders as she watched him.

“I don’t know what you’ve done to me in such a short time that I can’t be with you without touching you.”

“It’s insane, isn’t it, but I feel the same way.” She sighed.

“We should go to bed and get some sleep. We have an early day tomorrow,” he said, laying his head against her abdomen as his fingers dug into her buttocks, holding her tightly against him.

“We should,” she agreed, fisting his hair in her hand.

Jesse stood. Lifting her off the floor, he carried her to the vanity and sat her on the edge of it. She spread her legs as he stepped between them and then impaled her with one quick, hard thrust.




Copyright © 2012


Chapter One


Atlanta, Georgia, 2012


Shyann Ellsworth liked her life just the way it was, simple and complete. She felt she’d accomplished just about everything she wanted to in her twenty-eight years of life. She was a top-notch, savvy interior designer with her own company, designing homes and offices for the wealthy of Atlanta, Georgia. She also enjoyed living life to the fullest. All of Shyann’s clients so far seemed extremely delighted with her work.

Shyann liked the city but loved her log home in the beautiful Cleveland countryside with its own large pond just out her back door. She loved the quiet serenity and peaceful nights. She’d tried living in an apartment in Atlanta when she first finished her degree at Savannah College of Art and Design, when she’d started her first job for a major designing firm. Two years later she’d made enough money to open her own design firm, and once it was established, she’d bought her home and moved away from all the hustle and bustle of the city nights.

She’d been dating what appeared to be a wonderful man, a little older than her at thirty-eight. He really didn’t look his age though. He was still a very handsome man with his immaculately styled sandy-blond hair and baby-blue eyes. Not to mention the body of a trainer, at six foot two and weighing about one-ninety. Bryce tried to keep his physique hidden beneath those dark business suits he wore every day. Why, she didn’t know.

There had been a guy she’d met at work just before she started seeing Bryce. He was a carpet layer for one of the jobs she’d been doing…a very sexy carpet layer and, oh, how many daydreams she’d had about Jesse Hartley slash carpet layer, lord only knew.

Shyann had thought about giving into lustful temptation on so many occasions. She wondered what ever happened to Mr. Sexy with an inner chuckle. Jesse had been a lot of the reason she gave into Bryce. He was safe and reliable, not just heart-stoppingly sexy.

Bryce Chandler was a prominent defense attorney with his own firm. Shyann had met Bryce when he’d hired her to decorate his beautiful new lakefront mansion. He’d asked her out several times, but she was too busy to even think about dating at the time. She finally gave into him a couple of months later, and now they had been dating for almost a year.

Bryce had mentioned marriage a time or two, but Shyann always managed to change the subject. She just wasn’t sure she was ready to be someone’s wife. She wanted to be married someday. She just wasn’t sure it was the right time, or if Bryce was the right man. The only thing she and Bryce had in common was neither one of them wanted children. Shyann was too afraid she’d have to give up on all the hours she put in working, and she just wasn’t ready to do that. Bryce never told her why he didn’t want children, and she guessed she never really cared enough to ask.

Shyann considered herself to be fairly pretty and quite healthy. Actually, fit would be more like it since she worked out at the gym whenever she wasn’t working. That was the main reason she didn’t want to have children. She didn’t want to give up her figure to have them. Then there was the matter of where to live. Yes, Bryce’s house was beautiful, but she loved her log home, and large pond.

No one knew she kicked her high heels off and stripped out of her suit jacket as soon as she was inside her car, not even Bryce. She hated to have to dress up all the time, but her clients expected it, so she did it every day. They also didn’t know she loved her nice, quiet swims in her pond on warm nights, skinny-dipping most of those times since her backyard was surrounded by its own natural privacy fence of trees. Or that she drank her coffee on the deck while she drew out designs for whatever house or office she was working on. Her best ideas came while sitting outside listening to nature. She never did like to work in a stuffy, closed-in office. Going to college in a city had almost been her downfall. Shyann liked living a private life, so no one had her home number or address except for family, Bryce, and a few of her closest friends, and she wanted to keep it that way.

Today she stopped off and bought a bottle of champagne on her way home. She’d just landed a large job overseeing and decorating the construction of the Prescotts’ sprawling mansion, and she couldn’t wait to get started Monday morning. She had so many thoughts and ideas for their new place. She’d worked for the Prescotts once before. They had been so delighted with her work that they hired her once again for their new home. She’d made a bundle the last time and this home was almost three times the size of their first one. She was pretty sure she was going to buy a new car this time around since hers was on its last leg.

She was also thankful that Bryce was off on a golf trip with his partner Terry, so she didn’t have to worry about him calling and asking her to go out tonight. Hell, she wasn’t sure she wanted to go out with him anymore after the way he’d acted and talked to her before he’d left for his trip. She had been a little frightened when he’d lifted his hand as if he was going to slap her, all because she’d refused to go with him. What was she supposed to do while he played golf, sit around sipping tea? Shyann smiled as she slipped out of her stiff clothes and pulled on a T-shirt and jogging pants. She grabbed a glass and the champagne bottle then padded across the lawn to the pond deck in her bare feet.

She sat down in her favorite lounge chair and poured her glass full. She took a drink, giggling as the bubbles teased her nose. She almost felt like doing a happy dance with the thought of all the money she was going to make, but decided a quiet celebration would work just fine. She looked out across the pond, the last remaining rays of the sun reflecting off the water. It was so serene and relaxing, she pondered staying out there the entire night, and the weather was certainly warm enough. Sometimes she dreamed of having someone at her side that enjoyed all this quiet beauty as much as she did. Shyann knew it definitely wouldn’t be Bryce. He liked to be seen and heard too much to laze around the pond enjoying nature.

She knew eventually she was going to have to break up with Bryce. They were just too different and separate people. Bryce needed a woman who would enjoy all those fancy nights out on the town or traveling to Paris for fancy dinners and as for her, she could be alone for a while, or maybe she’d find someone more like herself. She and Bryce would have a lot to talk about when he got back, and if he didn’t change then they would be through.

Shyann sat there thinking about her and Bryce’s first date. Bryce had shown up exactly on time. He was dressed immaculately in a charcoal, herringbone-striped suit, crisp white dress shirt, red tie, and black dress shoes. She learned quickly that was the way Bryce dressed most of the time. He had to look perfect just in case he was seen. He looked gorgeous standing in her door holding a bouquet of pink roses and white baby’s breath in his hand.

He offered her his arm, walking her to the passenger side of his navy-blue 1969 Corvette Stingray. He opened the door for her and waited until she was seated then shut it before moving to the driver’s side to slide behind the wheel.

Bryce took her to the most expensive restaurant in Paris on his private jet, and the place knew him by name. They had been seated immediately in a very private and secluded part of the place. Fancy white tablecloths covered the tables. Their table had a candle surrounded by flowers for the centerpiece and their own violin player standing by them to play romantic music for the whole meal. He ordered their most expense bottle of wine and then ordered their meals, telling her that he knew what food was the best there.

Of course, Shyann felt completely out of place, not to mention nervous as hell that she’d mess up. She had never been treated that way before and wasn’t sure how to react or behave in such a place as this. She’d rather be listening to some classic rock at a pizza or hamburger joint where everyone just sat around talking and discussing the day’s events. She might have enough money now for places like this, but she was still just a farmer’s daughter at heart. She almost couldn’t wait for this date to end and she wasn’t sure she’d ever want to go on another one with Bryce.

The only things Shyann found out about Bryce that night were that he’d been married once and was now a widower because his wife had been killed in a car wreck. They didn’t have any children, and he didn’t really have any plans of having any in the future. Which was fine with Shyann because she really didn’t want any either. Didn’t that make him a perfect match for her?

Mostly, Bryce wanted to know about her. Why she chose to be an interior designer? Where she’d gone to school, all the places she’d worked, when she’d bought her own design firm and home? Did she enjoy living in Cleveland, and why not Atlanta? Had she ever been married? Did she have children or want them? Shyann almost felt as if she were in some sort of an interview instead of on a date. She just knew she had no intention of making this a permanent relationship.

Bryce said very little about himself when she asked except that he enjoyed working out at the gym in his office building to keep in shape since he sat behind a desk most of the time. He also loved playing golf and horseback riding, which he informed her that he tried to do as often as he could. Apparently he went riding pretty often since he owned a few thoroughbreds of his own.

Bryce walked Shyann to her door and gave her a chaste kiss on the lips good night before leaving. He had been the perfect gentleman. So, what was wrong with him? Shyann just knew there had to be something. No one was that perfect. She was sure she’d find out soon enough. He was just too good to be true. When she’d agreed to go out with him she’d thought it would be a onetime thing. She still wasn’t sure how Bryce managed to work his way into her life, besides being nice to her and not taking no for an answer, even though she tried to say it. She just knew it didn’t have anything to do with his money or his influence in the community. Maybe it was just that he was comfortable to be with, and he didn’t complain about her long work hours since he worked a few of his own.

Shyann wasn’t sure that was still the reason though. Their relationship was no longer comfortable. It was still as dull and as boring as it was the first night. Bryce had become obsessive over time, refusing to let her spend much time with her friends, insisting she would be in better company around his friends. Somehow, she’d just gone along with that. She still saw her friends when she was at work with them, so it wasn’t like she wasn’t seeing and talking to them every day anyway. Shyann’s assistant and best friend Traci informed her that she didn’t like Bryce, so it didn’t bother her that they didn’t hang out together when Bryce was around.