There’s nothing quite like a new Christina Lauren book. The way it makes you laugh, makes you quake, and makes you just feel better about life, love, and all the world has to offer.
And there’s nothing like publication day–when you get to grab a book first, then tell all your friends about it, and reign your having-just-read-this-or-that superiority over them (until they read it, we suppose). So call off of work (because this stuff is sosososososo NSFThatPlace), grab some coffee, some merlot, or just your comforter, because TODAY IS PUB DAY for Beautiful Secret, book #8 in their Beautiful series — and it comes wrapped in a sexy British accent!!!! (That of Niall, the brother of Max from Beautiful Stranger.) He’s a little bit shy at first, but–trust us–Ruby manages to pull him out of his shell. And how!
To get you in the mood, we have an excerpt from Secret here, and then options for how to get more below!
“I fear Burger Joint has a bit more experience with cheeseburgers than I do.”
“Then bring your mad seduction skills, Mr. Stella,” she teased.
Dinner had been good, but I hadn’t paid much attention, moving mostly on autopilot. I knew without a doubt that I didn’t want to move too fast, and given her honesty with me tonight, I wanted to be particularly careful with her emotions, too.
I moved the table away from the side of the bed and returned to her, maneuvering so that I lay beside her, hovering above.
“Good start,” she whispered, hands moving to begin unbuttoning my dress shirt. Again.
My fingers played with the button at the top of her silk shirt.
“Are you having second thoughts?” she asked, perhaps after I lingered too long on my action.
I shook my head, thinking. Her green eyes scanned my face, patient but intense.
“I suppose I just want it to be clear what we’re doing tonight,” I admitted at length. “I’m a bit thrown by what you’ve told me.”
Her forehead relaxed in understanding and she pushed her head back into the pillow a bit to see me better. “About Paul.”
“And your reaction after of running headlong into sexual relationships.”
A flash of hurt crossed her face but she hid it away quickly. “I haven’t done that in a long time.”
I smiled at this. She was twenty-three. A long time was such a relative thing. “I’m not trying to judge you, Ruby. Perhaps it’s a good reminder for me, as well, to take this slow.”
“No sex, you mean.”
Looking into her eyes, I nodded. “I’m old-fashioned, I realize, but that’s something I do want to do only when I’m in love.”
Her face registered some unrecognizable emotion and she looked like she was going to say something but instead, she simply nodded.
I wanted to clarify my words, knowing how she may have interpreted them—that ours wasn’t that kind of relationship, that we weren’t headed in that direction—but how was I to know whether or not we would? In my lucid moments near her, it occurred to me that all of this seemed so impossibly easy. I wanted to enjoy her for whatever this was, and not expect too much. My default always seemed to be so bloody sincere about it all. Maybe this was just meant to be something lovely, and easy but, ultimately, primarily sexual.
Most people had several relationships in their lives; I liked the idea that Ruby could be something more permanent, but I’d known her just two weeks.
“I can practically hear you thinking,” she whispered, pulling my head down so she could kiss me once, sweetly. “Why does being alone with me in this hotel trip your panic button? No one is labeling this.” It was as if she read my thoughts. “I like you. I want to be close to you, whatever that means right now.”
Whatever that means right now.
The words liberated me, and I leaned into her touch, relishing the feel of her hands sliding up my neck and into my hair. I loved the tugging, the nails scratching. I loved the signs of passion that had always been absent from my romantic life.
Ruby’s lips were full, and warm, tasting of Sprite and the little chocolate mint that had been placed beside our dinner plates. Her mouth opened, tongue sliding out across her lips to mine, dipping into my mouth and letting me feel the small, sweet vibrations of her moan.
I was thinking too much; I was always thinking too bloody much. I slid my hand up her ribs, over her breasts, and back to the button that had made my entire brain hit pause.
I slipped the first one free, and then the next, and the next, until Ruby was shrugging out of her shirt and lying beneath me in a pale yellow bra.
Sweet Lord, I could lay my face on that skin and never need for anything more.
“You have the most perfect breasts I’ve ever laid eyes on.”
She stilled beneath me and then brought her hands to her face, hiding.
I stared down at her. What had I said? That she had perfect breasts? Were we meant to do this without comment?
“I’m having a moment, just give me a second,” she said, her voice muffled by her palms.
“Was I too forward?”
“No,” she said, dropping her hands and looking up at me with these crazy, beautiful eyes. “I just had an out-of-body experience. Niall Stella just took off my shirt and admired my chest.”
“Do you need to text someone?” I said, stifling a laugh.
I traced the straight line of her collarbone, across to the middle and over to the other shoulder.
She arched beneath me. “Niall.”
I made a faint tsking sound before saying, “Patience.”
Her bra strap was silky and thin, a wisp of fabric holding up such plump, perfect breasts. I almost didn’t want to reveal them; the anticipation was too sublime.
“You’ve seen me completely naked,” she reminded me.
“But I haven’t touched you when you were completely naked.” Looking up at her face, I smiled. “I have never been directly responsible for making you completely naked.”
She gave me a playfully exasperated look, but behind her eyes I could see her urgency and it set a fire inside me. “Can you make me completely naked now?”
“You aren’t something to rush through.” I bent, smelling her neck. “Your skin is meant to be savored. Your pleasure is meant to be drawn out, stretched thin, seduced from within you.” Looking up at her I told her, “I’m not making love to you tonight with anything but my hands—but I want you to come so violently on my fingers that you’ll wake in the middle of the night, desperate to re-create it . . .” I kissed her shoulder, murmuring, “only to fail.”
Her mouth fell open.
“You won’t have the right angle, you see.” I ran a finger along her jaw. “Or the right size of finger, or depth. But mostly you’ll fail at making yourself feel as good as I will because you won’t be patient.”
And if that’s not enough Niall for you, you can check out Chapter One (and more) of Beautiful Secret on Christina Lauren’s website, or catch his first appearance in the $1.99 novella Beautiful Beloved (below).