Startled, she glanced up at him as he entered, and closed the magazine in a hurry. Her expression was a guilty one, as though she’d been caught out. Which he supposed she had. She smiled at him, a wary, hopeful little grin. Something odd happened in the pit of his stomach. He told himself it was the baby. He liked babies.
“Ah, you’ll be Mr Blake then. You’re early.”
“I am. Aidan Blake that is. As for early…”
“Mrs Mathers said you wouldn’t be back until late. Well, later.”
“Did she? Where’s George?”
“Yes. George, the plumber. His van’s outside.”
“I’m George. It’s my van. Is it in your way?”
She made to disengage the nursing infant but Aidan gestured for her to remain where she was. “Your van? But, I was expecting a plumber.” His heart sank. Cold showers beckoned.
“I am a plumber. It says so on my van.” A note of indignation had crept in.
Not sexist by nature, Aidan could have kicked himself for his hasty assumptions. “Yes, I apologise. But I was expecting a burly, beefy bloke, and you’re—well, you’re just not that. Even so, I had no business assuming…”
George smiled at him, a genuine expression this time which went beyond pleasant in Aidan’s view, definitely tending toward the breath-taking end of the scale. Dazzling even. He might have smiled back had he not been so stunned.
She shifted the nursing infant in her arms. “Look, I shouldn’t be doing this here. I wouldn’t have, not usually. But the job took longer than I imagined it would, and Lily was hungry, so… Anyway, I’ll go feed her in the van.”
“No, that’s fine.”
“It isn’t fine. I’m embarrassing you. I know some people can be squeamish about breastfeeding, so I’ll just…”
Aidan could be described as a lot of things, but squeamish was not one of them. Especially not where anything to do with female anatomy was concerned, though coming across a woman breastfeeding in his kitchen was not something he’d had to contend with before. Still, a first time for everything. He dumped his briefcase on the table next to the discarded magazine and turned toward the sink. “Please, stay where you are. Finish off… well, just take your time. Would you like a coffee?” He paused, turned to her, “That is, if I have water?”
“You do, and it even runs hot now if you want that. White please, no sugar.”
“Alleluia. You fixed the problem then?” He reached for his jar of instant.
Innocent until proven guilty … or until someone finds out.
Aidan Blake needs a plumber. Fast. His boiler is dead, his creaky old house crumbling around him. When his elderly neighbour recommends a local trader, George Mahon, Aidan jumps at the prospect of hot water and warm radiators.
But George, short for Georgina, is not exactly what he had in mind. He was expecting something else entirely. A man for one thing, not the gorgeous single mother he finds in his house at the end of a long day of work.
Aidan turns out to be full of surprises too. Who would have imagined the smart, geeky businessman would have a BDSM playroom in his attic and a collection of whips and canes to make George’s head spin. And her bottom clench, though that’s another matter entirely. Maybe she;s not such an innocent after all. What does a girl have to do to get to play with those toys?
Just ask, it would seem. As they enter into a professional and personal agreement which soon blossoms into a sultry, kinky relationship, George continues to be surprised by Aidan's kindness and generosity, not to mention his skill with a spanking paddle.
First impressions aside, the two begin to build something together. And while they peel back the layers to discover their hidden depths, the old house yields up the mysteries of its own secret past. They soon realise that at first glance, nothing is ever quite as innocent it seems.
Innocent was previously published under the title First Impressions, with different cover art.
USA Today Bestselling author Ashe Barker writes erotic romance and spanking romance in a variety of genres including contemporary, BDSM, paranormal, historical. ménage, gay romance and time travel. She is a #1 Amazon Bestseller and all her stories feature hot alpha males and sassy submissives, often with a lot to learn. Kink abounds, and there’s enough dirty talk to satisfy the most demanding smut lover. However dark and dirty the setting, love always emerges triumphant, and her stories never fail to deliver a satisfying happy ever after.
Innocent is all about not taking everything you see at face value. Both Aidan and George start out by making assumptions about each other, which turn out to be a long way from the truth. Still, that makes for some interesting discoveries as the story unfolds. Luckily they are both pretty adaptable people so manage to adjust their thinking somewhat, which is when the real fun starts. Even so, there are still some surprises waiting for them as George gets to grips with ripping Aidan’s rickety old house apart.
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