Exclusive Excerpt: Learned Behaviors by Jayce Ellis

Welcome to the first in a new series! Here, JaQuan Reynolds—Jaq to nearly everyone—just dropped his daughter off at college, and is finally deciding what he wants with the rest of his life. Matt Donaldson, the liaison for his firm’s biggest contract, is not on the plate, except their paths keep colliding, in and out of the office, and Jaq’s resolve is wavering. Here, he’s decided to take Matt under his wings and help him find a present for his son’s upcoming wedding. But they’re alone, and not at the office, and, well… enjoy!

They walked down the aisle and around the corner, before Jaq pulled to a stop at a kiosk. “We should be able to pull their registry list here.” He typed in the names, found it, and grabbed a scanner. “Let’s go. When you find a gift, you can use this”—he held up the scanner—“and it’ll take it off the registry.”

“You know a lot about this.”

Jaq shrugged. “My mom went to a lot of weddings when I was younger. Dragged me along for a while trying to hook me up with the single men.”

Matt snorted and looked at him with wide eyes. “It work?”

“Absolutely not. Got some good lays out of it, but mostly on the curiosity tip.”

Matt huffed and took the list from Jaq. It took him a second to respond, and when he did, it was all business. “I want to get them something good.” He gnawed on his lip, his shoulders stiff, and Jaq wondered what the hell was going through his mind. “What do you think?” he asked, handing it back to Jaq.

He scanned the items and grinned. He’d be good for now. “Waterford Crystal. They’ve asked for a decanter and some tumblers. Do that.” He handed the scanner back to Matt, who stared at it.

“That’s not cheap.”

“Man, you work here. They’re going to assume you get a discount. Hell, you should probably get the Waterford and the Lenox, but I can’t call it.”

Matt glanced at him, then the list, then back at him. “My ex would love you,” he muttered, but there was no disdain in his voice. If anything, he looked amused, and Jaq liked that look on him.

Shoppers, the mall is closing in fifteen minutes. Please finalize your purchases now. Thank you for choosing Bernhardt.”

“Come on,” he said, “let’s get this and get out of here.”

They walked around the floor until they reached the kitchenware section, and he smirked when Matt got the decanter, tumblers, and the silverware, then had them wrapped. The decanter and tumbler set really was gorgeous, with crisscross striations and the heavy weight imparting a decadence Jaq didn’t often see. The silverware was simple, but it was a large enough set they shouldn’t have to worry about replacing it, maybe ever. Matt carried the wrapped boxes gingerly to the parking lot just after the announcer’s five-minute warning, but there was only one other car in the vicinity, probably an employee.

Matt got the bags situated, then stood and turned. The desire that had been temporarily banked roared back to life, a combination of weeks of biting politeness, seeing how lost Matt had been with Angela and actually feeling bad for him, and this—the way Matt looked at him in the store and now, the way he teased and made Jaq wait. A breeze gusted through and Jaq shivered, running his hands up and down his arms.

“Cold?” Matt asked.

He shrugged. He wasn’t, but he didn’t argue when Matt stepped forward, blocking off some of the wind. “JaQuan,” he whispered, and the ghosting of his breath across Jaq’s lips, the way Matt paused like he was waiting for permission, was more than Jaq could handle.

He wrapped a hand around the back of Matt’s neck and pulled him close, pausing when their lips were barely touching. Matt closed the distance and fused their lips together, cupping Jaq’s face in his hands and taking the lead.

He grunted and sank into the contact. Yes. That was what he needed, to be handled, controlled, comfortable enough to let someone else take charge so he could just…feel. He started to tighten his fists against Matt’s shirt but stopped, unsure if he’d welcome it.

“Stop thinking so much,” Matt rasped out, breaking apart just long enough to bite Jaq’s lower lip before soothing it with his tongue and plunging back in.

Jaq hummed at the words, letting his hands snake around to knead the muscles that rippled under Matt’s dress shirt. He traveled down to Matt’s belt loop and pulled him in, anxious to feel Matt’s erection against his own. Matt tipped his head up and took biting nips down his jaw and the side of his neck. His hands found the back of Jaq’s pants and squeezed firmly, inching closer to that place where Jaq needed him.

Two single dads meet at the office, where it’s hate at first sight in this new series from acclaimed author Jayce Ellis.

Sending his daughter off to college is the proudest day of single dad JaQuan Reynolds’s life. Everything took a back seat to raising her—including his career. He has no idea what comes next, but his newfound freedom is quickly curtailed by a crash deadline at work and the uptight, hovering presence of consultant Matthew Donaldson. He’s surly and insufferably sexy, and Jaq’s ready to check him out and write him off—right up until a work assignment forces them together.

Every day. From now until Thanksgiving.

Work and fatherhood have been Matt’s whole world for years now, ever since his marriage ended. His eldest son is getting hitched over Thanksgiving weekend, and he’s not going to let a work deadline get in the way of celebrating with his family—not this time. The hours aren’t a problem, but the executive assistant on the project might be. Jaq’s sexy voice makes Matt yearn for things he let go of a long time ago.

Lust isn’t on the schedule, and neither is longing. But as the weeks go by, Matt and Jaq are forced to reevaluate their plans…and discover that even the most tight-knit of families can make room for one more.

Release Date: November 9
Goodreads | Amazon

Jayce Ellis has three loves: her husband and her two turtles. Hubby loves her back. The turtles she’s not so sure about, but they do love their sports (Bay Area teams FTW!). She still hasn’t figured out why she lives in Northern Virginia, where there’s weather, instead of California, where she’s from, and where it’s just…pretty. Jayce spends her days divorcing happily-married couples (or so she’s been told), and her nights talking maniacally to herself. Thankfully the recorder catches her rumblings and magically turns them into words on a screen. Painting nails is way easier when you don’t actually have to type, and with well over 600 polishes to get through, there’s a lot of painting going on.

Notwithstanding her no-good, very bad, horrible day job, Jayce seriously believes that true love conquers all. Even Malificent said it. Sure, she was having an epic Mean Girls moment, but points were made. The only thing Jayce loves more than writing about true love conquering all, is hearing from readers who feel the same way.

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Genre: Contemporary Genre: Romance Orientation: Bisexual Pairing: M/M Publisher: Carina Press Tag: Forced Proximity Tag: Guest Post Tag: Office Romance Tag: Opposites Attract Tag: Part of a series

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