Misconduct, by Penelope Douglas
Publish Date: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Berkley Romance/NAL
Format: paperback, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books a Million | iBooks
Rating: 4.5 STARS
(Synopsis) Former tennis player Easton Bradbury is trying to be the best teacher she can be, trying to reach her bored students, trying to forget her past. What brought her to this stage in her life isn’t important. She can’t let it be. But now one parent-teacher meeting may be her undoing…
Meeting Tyler Marek for the first time makes it easy for Easton to see why his son is having trouble in school. The man knows how to manage businesses and wealth, not a living, breathing teenage boy. Or a young teacher, for that matter, though he tries to. And yet…there is something about him that draws Easton in—a hint of vulnerability, a flash of attraction, a spark that might burn.
Wanting him is taboo. Needing him is undeniable. And his long-awaited touch will weaken Easton’s resolve—and reveal what should stay hidden…
The best-selling author of the new adult Fall Away series is back with a brand new adult standalone, and one that is absolutely one of my most favorite in 2015.
Easton and Tyler meet at a masquerade ball. Not only did he not see her face unobscured, but he never even got her name. But that chance meeting pushed all the right buttons for Tyler, and he never forgot her. So, six months later, when he sees her again - this time as his 14-year-old son's history teacher - he knew it was his mystery woman. And, now she was completely off limits.
One of the best parts of Misconduct is how Easton and Tyler just could not stay away from each other no matter how hard they tried. Their chemistry was delicious and palpable. She is his son's teacher and he is running for a seat in the Senate - the timing could not be worse for them to get together. But, they Just. Couldn't. Help themselves. And I absolutely LOVED that about them.
That kind of chemistry also makes for some ridiculous passion. Of all kinds. In the beginning of Misconduct, after Easton and Tyler realize they can't be together, their frustration manifested in some very heated exchanges about her unconventional teaching methods. Honestly, Tyler was a total dick. But, Easton totally raised my girl power flag in how she handled him. I loved that she was so confident in her abilities when it came to her job.
That passionate anger soon turned to passionate lust as the two of them gave into what they just couldn't stop. But, there was always this edge of danger to their trysts. They didn't want Tyler's son finding out. Or anyone from the school. Or anyone in the general public really, since Tyler is running for office. It was dangerous for them to be together, along with a little sad, since you could tell they wanted to be out with their relationship, but couldn't.
There were two equally compelling side stories happening concurrently. The first was the sad state of Tyler's and Christian's relationship. Tyler has been nearly completely absent from his life for his first 14 years, and Tyler quickly learns that taking up for the past and learning how to be a dad, all while dealing with his demanding job and running for office, are both going to be ridiculously impossible.
The second side story involves Easton and the fact that she has a new stalker. It was a man obsessed with her that caused her to quit her professional tennis career early, and now a new one is threatening her hard won composure and sanity.
The forbidden romance, the angsty relationship troubles, the mystery stalker - all of those together with some crazy hot sex and characters I promise you will swoon over made Misconduct such an incredible read.
Attendees laughed and danced inside, while the two of us, alone in the cold night with only a few other people lounging around the large balcony, carried on with our stolen moment.
“I should really get back, though,” I suggested, pulling away.
My brother was no doubt looking for me.
But he reached out and grabbed my hand, narrowing his eyes. “Not yet,” he urged, looking behind me toward the ballroom.
I stopped, not making a move to take away my hand.
He stood in front of me, his chest nearly touching mine.
“You’re right,” he whispered, his breath falling over me. “I don’t really like a lot of those people, and they don’t really know me.” His voice turned hoarse. “But I like you. I’m not ready to say good night yet.”
I swallowed, hearing the soft trickle of a slow jazz tune drifting out from the ballroom.
“Dance with me,” he commanded.
He didn’t wait for a response.
Sliding a hand around my waist, he guided me in, and I sucked in a sharp breath, my body meeting his for the first time.
Raising my arms, I put my right hand on his shoulder and my left hand in his as I let him lead me in a small circle, remaining in our own small, private space. Chills broke out down my arms, but I didn’t think he noticed.
I let my eyes fall closed for a moment, not understanding what made him feel so good. My hands tingled and my legs felt weak.
There was rarely ever a time when I felt drawn to a man. I’d felt attraction and passion, and I’d enjoyed sex, but I’d never opened myself up to someone long enough to connect.
Now I found myself not wanting this evening to end any way other than in his arms.
That’s where I wanted this to go. I didn’t need his name, what he did for a living, or his family history. I just wanted to be close to someone and feel good, and maybe that would be enough to satisfy me for the next few months until I needed someone again.
Shaking my head slightly, I tried to clear my thoughts.
Enough, Easton. He was good-looking and interesting, but I didn’t see anything in him that I hadn’t seen in any other man.
He wasn’t special.
Looking up, I asked, “You’re not enjoying the party, so what would you rather be doing right now?”
He shot me a small, sexy smile. “I like what I’m doing right now.”
I rolled my eyes, covering up how much I also liked him holding me close. “I mean, if not this?”
He twisted his lips, looking me over like he was thinking. “I’d be working, I guess,” he answered. “I work a lot.”
So he’d rather be doing work than schmoozing and drinking at a Mardi Gras ball? I dipped my head, breaking out in a laugh.
“What?” He pinched his eyebrows together.
I met his eyes, seeing the confusion. “You prefer work,” I stated. “I can relate to that.”
He nodded. “My work challenges me, but it’s also predictable. I like that,” he admitted. “I don’t like surprises.”
I instantly slowed, nearly stopping our dance.
I said the same thing all the time. I never liked surprises.
“Everything else outside of work is unpredictable,” I added for him. “It’s hard to control.”
He cocked his head and brought his hand up to my face, running his thumb along my cheek.
“Yeah,” he mused, leaning in while his hand circled the back of my neck possessively. “But there are times,” he said softly, “when I like to lose control.”
I closed my eyes. Jesus.
“What’s your last name?” he asked.
I opened my eyes, blinking. My last name? I had kind of liked keeping specifics off the table. I didn’t even know his first name yet.
“Easton?” he pressed.
I narrowed my eyes. “Why do you want to know that?”
He stepped forward, charging me slowly and pushing me backward. I had to keep backing up so as not to fall. “Because I intend on getting to know you,” he said. It sounded like a threat.
“Because I like talking to you,” he shot back, his voice thick with a laugh he was holding in.
I hit the wall behind me and stopped, glancing over at the people sitting at the table across the balcony.
He closed the remaining distance between us and dipped down until his face was a couple of inches from mine.
I locked my hands behind my back, instinctively tapping the wall with my fingers and counting in my head. One, two, three—
“Do you like me?” He cut me off, a playful tilt to his lips.
I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. I turned my head, but I knew he saw it anyway.
“I don’t know,” I answered casually. “You might be too much of a gentleman.”
The corner of his lips curled, looking sinister, and he threaded his hand around the back of my neck and through my hair, gripping my waist with the other and pressing his body to mine.
“Which means I’m still a man, only with more skill,” he whispered against my lips, making my breath shake. “And there’s only one place I won’t be careful with you.”