50 Hidden Desires


By Jessica Lemmon

Foreword by James Patterson

Read by Michael Crouch

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He can make her fantasies come true….

Holly Larson wants to step out of her family’s shadow and live her own life. Her mind is full of sexy fantasies, but she doesn’t have anyone to share them with — until she calls upon her gorgeous childhood crush, Dalton Thomas. Now, she’s ready to check every box on her list….

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Dear Reader,


I know that it can be hard to break free when something’s holding you back. Sometimes that something comes from the outside, whether it be time, age, or your family’s expectations. But sometimes it comes from the inside—from your own insecurity or self-doubt.

In Holly Larson’s case, it’s her family name. The Larson family runs the biggest company in town, and as a result, the heiress has been labeled “untouchable.” If that wasn’t hard enough, she’s in love with Dalton Thomas, her brother’s best friend and her coworker.

And she wants what she wants. Holly will do whatever it takes to make Dalton feel the same. But can she start fresh with Dalton when they have a whole lifetime of memories telling them they shouldn’t be together?

Holly’s desire for change and independence makes her a compelling character in this love story. Author Jessica Lemmon’s writing added some spice to Holly’s sweet, budding relationship with Dalton—and it made me enjoy reading about their romance even more. I hope you will, too.



James Patterson

Chapter 2

FOR AS LONG as Dalton had known Holly Larson, the girl sparkled. Glitter on her nails, her hair, her clothes. Tonight she wore a pair of tight gold glittery pants, reminding him of the sea of strings tied to her birthday balloons on her twenty-first birthday.

Even though he wanted her, Dalton didn’t so much as flirt with the idea of kissing her glossed lips. She was a no-go zone despite how badly he wanted to test the softness of her blond curls with his fingers. On the night of her birthday, she’d tucked herself against him when they danced, as if she’d been designed to fit there.…

Now, her golden shoulders peeked out from the holes in her black shirt. Her heels were so high that her jade-colored eyes aligned with his as she approached. Champagne in hand, she toasted him.

“Congrats on your promotion to Project Director. I’m so glad it’s you leading the Brownsboro Project with me.”

“Hey, Hol.” He tapped his beer glass against her flute. “Congrats on your promotion too, gorgeous.”

“Thank you.” She leaned in and kissed his cheek and he caught her scent—an expensive perfume he’d come to expect. He was glad to have her by his side in the project, as well. She didn’t land the position at LLM because of her last name. Holly had great instincts and a never-say-die attitude that guaranteed everything she touched turned to gold.

He smiled again at her glittery pants. Appropriate.

“You smell nice. Look better.” He pulled her into a hug, careful to only wrap one arm around her neck.

“Thanks.” Those green eyes sparkled. Maybe that wasn’t her first glass of champagne.

“You need me to get you a water?” he asked.

She scoffed.

“I’m just looking out for you.”

“I’m not a baby, Dalton.”

“Honey, I see that.” Clearly. Some days more clearly than others. He halted those thoughts. This was the Larson princess, and the last thing she needed was a guy from Slumville making moves on her. Especially one who didn’t plan on sticking around for anything more than the physical, Dalton thought with a dash of self-deprecation. He wasn’t worthy of the boyfriend role in any woman’s life, let alone this one.

“What if every time I looked at you, I saw an eleven-year-old?” she asked.

He made a disgusted face. When he was eleven, he’d been buck-toothed and skinny. Knock-kneed and kind of mean. He would never want Holly to see him as anything less than the man he was today. She knew he grew up rough, but she didn’t know exactly where he came from and he’d like to keep it that way. Let her see him the way she saw Jace: as a guy who’d take a bullet for her if someone took aim.

She shifted, popping her hip and resting a manicured hand there, her breasts shifting slightly in her shirt. Telling himself she was just another Larson didn’t make him blind, for God’s sake. There was no doubt she was sexy…but she wasn’t for him.

He took a sip of his beer. Then he noticed the party was…moving to the spot where he and Holly were standing on the patio. Most of the faces he recognized from work. Then everyone parted like the Red Sea. Mr. and Mrs. Larson came up the center, displaying broad smiles, and holding glasses of champagne.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Clark started. “I have a toast to make.”

“Ah, shit,” Dalton muttered to Holly, lightly wrapping his arm around her neck again and lowering his lips to her ear. “Ready to get embarrassed?”

“Not me,” she said. “They already took me out to a big dinner.”

It took a beat for that to sink in, and then his heart joined his stomach on a ride to his toes. “Oh, come on.”

“This is for you,” she whispered, giving his arm a squeeze and then bouncing over to stand with her parents.

“Now, Dalton…” Clark’s expression grew serious.

Dalton cleared his throat, feeling nervous about the amount of attention on him—especially now that Holly had left his side and he stood alone.

“We’ve known you since you were a poorly dressed kid who showed up to eat the roast chicken Wendy made every Sunday.”

A hand clapped Dalton’s shoulder and squeezed. He turned to find Jace.

“Now he’s a poorly dressed adult who shows up for chicken dinner on Sunday.”

The crowd chuckled and Dalton shot his elbow into his buddy’s ribs. When he first met the Larsons, they reminded him of some sort of strange Stepford family. Compared to his family and his buddies’ families in the old neighborhood, this was some straight-up Cleavers shit.

Accustomed to waiting for the impending shoe-drop, Dalton kept his guard up with them for years. It wasn’t until he’d witnessed an honest-to-goodness family argument that he could see they weren’t perfect. The Larsons were the real deal.

Jace backed off, loping over to join the crowd, and stirring them up with a “woo-hoo!” Embarrassed, Dalton put his palm on his neck and tried to accept the praise to which he might never become accustomed.

“We love you, Dalton,” Wendy said as the crowd’s applause died down. “You’re a quality human being. You work hard and never complain.”

“In fact you work harder than Jace, but we have to employ him,” Clark added, dodging a playful punch from his son. “To Dalton Thomas! Our new project director and honorary Larson!”

The applause erupted anew, Holly’s included. She came back to him, all smiles. The crowd turned away and Dalton accepted handshakes and hugs from Clark and Wendy. And then it was him and Holly again.

“I’m guessing you knew about this,” he said.

“I suspected. They like to celebrate,” she answered. “So. Are you going to have a problem now that you have to answer to a woman?” she asked, feisty glint in her eye.

The raise and title appointed both Holly and him directors of the Brownsboro Project, but she never hesitated to bust his balls. Still, he was proud as hell of her.

“Not if I want to keep both balls attached to my body.” He winked. Holly blushed. She couldn’t talk trash. Never could. The moment he mentioned anything slightly colorful, a rosy hue took her cheeks.

He liked that she was sweet. He liked to imagine she’d retain that sweetness forever. Not that he believed Holly Larson was a virgin—even if everyone kept her carefully protected. The idea of some guy getting her out of her pants made Dalton want to spit nails, and he could only imagine how her real family reacted to the thought.

That spirit had leaked over from Jace to him. How many boys had they run off when Holly was growing up? Too many to count. Once she even tried to sneak one in through her window. Jace chased the guy halfway down the block—in his bare feet.

“What are you grinning about?” she asked, moving closer to him. Her eyes darted away and for a moment he felt a palpable sadness waft off her. He rested a hand on her shoulder.

“Hey. You okay?”

“Just struggling to adjust.” She quickly tucked in her bottom lip, which had pushed itself out into a pout. He understood how she felt, though. Holly was juggling a new position at work—a position other people whispered about, saying she’d never earned it because her parents had “given” it to her. Plus, he and Jace recently helped her move into an apartment. She was living on her own for the first time.

When she brought up moving out of her parents’ house, the suggestion had gone over like a ton of shit. Jace had checked out security at the apartment complex, talked to the management, and paid for a building inspector to ensure the plumbing, structure, and electric were all in working order.

“You just wait, Hol,” Dalton told her now. “So much good is coming your way, you won’t have the space to store it all.” He gave her shoulder a squeeze.

Her features abruptly softened, her liquid green eyes zeroing in on his. “Dalton, I wanted to talk to you about something. I—”

“Dalt!” shouted Jace from over his shoulder. He elbowed him and pointed across the patio. “The redhead and the brunette.”

Dalton followed his buddy’s pointing finger and the brunette looked away, turning to the redhead and giggling.

“I told them I had a single friend,” Jace said proudly.

“You’re such a moron,” Holly snapped at her older brother.

“Well, that’s thoughtful, Jace,” Dalton drawled, stealing a look at the girls again. Cute. Both of them. “But Holly and I are chatting right now, so I’ll catch up with you later.”

“Your loss. Hey, Little.” Jace leaned in toward Holly and tipped his head to the side. “Aaron Nielson’s here if you want to ask him on a second date.”

“Idiot!” Holly gave him a shove.

“Seriously?” Dalton sobered, hardly able to believe Holly had attempted going out with a guy who A) worked for the Larsons and B) turned dorky into an art form.

“Yeah, but he was smart enough to back off.” Jace grinned like he was taking credit and then left for the other side of the patio.

Dalton turned to tell Holly he agreed that her brother was an idiot, but she wasn’t smiling. In fact, her sadness seemed to have returned tenfold.

“You were saying?” Dalton said.

“Oh. It was nothing.” But the way she looked at her shoes didn’t look like nothing. “I’ll catch up with you later.” She backed a few steps away. “I should say hi to Aaron. And you should”—she shooed in the direction of the girls, now being joined by Jace—“do whatever it is you do.”

Her sad smile paired with a swivel on one heel. Dalton watched those gold glittery hips sway, leaving him to wonder what she’d left unsaid.

Chapter 3

IF HOLLY STRIPPED off her clothes and cannonballed into the pool, she swore she wouldn’t turn Dalton’s head. The brunette across the patio was still sending him a “come and get me” look, making Holly regret walking away and giving the other woman a chance.

She pulled in a mouthful of champagne and scanned the room. Her eyes returned to Dalton Thomas like she was equipped with a damn homing device. He stood there, clueless and gorgeous next to her brother, wearing a smile for the brunette. Holly faced the other side of the patio instead, unable to watch Dalton flirt with the woman who was now twirling her hair. Ugh.

Ever since Holly was a teenager, she’d been in love with one guy. A guy who couldn’t see her as more than Jace’s little sister. Pain ate a hole in her heart like acid.

He looked as good in a T-shirt and denim as he did in a suit. And in a tux? Forget it. Devastating. Since her parents threw a charity event every year, she’d had the opportunity to see him in one several times. And because the heated pool kept them swimming even when the weather was slightly out of season, Holly had also had the privilege to witness Dalton without a shirt.

That was when he looked best. All rippling abs and broad chest. And no one could beat that smile. Not when it was buried under a day’s worth of whiskers, or when the flash of his straight white teeth gave way to a laugh that tumbled through her like electricity before a storm.

She had it so bad.

Hence the attempt with Aaron the Super Nerd. Sure, not her brightest move to attempt a steamy car make-out session with the Larson finance guy, but in her defense, she was eager to cross item number one off what she was calling “The Lust List.”

As of now, there were only three things on the list, the third being super-hot, sweaty, beautiful sex, but the three items she’d written down were enough to break any girl out of her life rut. The problem? There was only person she wanted…and she suspected he was the only one who would satisfy her.

And he was currently charming a woman who was not her.


“Ah, perfect.” She flagged down a waiter, taking a full champagne flute from his tray as she chugged down the rest of hers. Her liquid courage had allowed her to start to proposition Dalton, but then she hadn’t been able to follow through.

Well, screw that. She was following through. Tonight. As soon as she found the will to look into his paralyzingly gorgeous blue eyes and ask the question she’d tripped over in her mind at least a dozen times a day.

Dalton Thomas, would you do me the honor of being my temporary sex slave?

Or something like that. Saying anything resembling getting naked and horizontal with him was going to require a lot more alcohol. She drank down her refill, pausing for a less-than-ladylike burp and smiling demurely at a passing guest.

She backed toward the kitchen, opting to snag a few tapas from the counter. Putting something in her stomach other than champagne wasn’t the worst idea she’d had. She may need liquid courage, but she didn’t want to be completely sauced when she approached him. She wanted him to take her seriously.

As she took her third backward step, two warm hands grasped her waist to steady her.

“Hey now,” came a low timbre so familiar her teeth ached. Eyes closed, she turned slowly. Dalton’s hands remained loose, skimming along her waist. Torture. “Where are you rushing off to?”

“Dalton,” she started, her tongue going dry and sticking to the roof of her mouth. “You’re not over there anymore.”

His eyes flicked across the patio and then back down to her. “Nah. I went over to say hi. Didn’t want to be rude, but I’d rather hang with you.”

He would? She swallowed, her throat thick. Now was her chance. He wanted to spend time with her.

“Do you…want to…um…”

One eyebrow cocked, he waited for her to finish.

Curl my toes?…Draw me like one of your French girls?…Take me to pound town?

God. Say something! Anything! But she couldn’t. She’d gone mute and now she was imagining all the ways he could tell her no. And no wasn’t an option.

“Do I what?” he asked, interrupting the panic in her brain.

“Do you…want to join me in the kitchen?” Lame. Super lame.

“Hell yes.” His hands left her waist and covered his own stomach. “I’m starving.”

“You’re always starving,” she mumbled, her courage wilting.

“True story.” He walked with her, still clueless. Still gorgeous. Still seeing her as Jace’s asexual younger sibling.


The catering staff had left trays of cheese and finger foods as well as quite a few half-empty champagne bottles. Jace had been palming the caterers money to leave the “mess,” but in all actuality, he was saving the “mess” for their after-party.

Since then, her brother had vanished with the tray of crab puffs, a half-empty bottle of Moët, and the redhead he’d been schmoozing all evening.

“What was her name?” Holly asked, tipping the champagne and drinking directly from the bottle. “The girl Jace took off with? He sort of mumbled it.”

Holly had given up her tall shoes and was now sitting on the sparkling tile floor in the massive kitchen, Dalton by her side. He had one leg bent, one wrist resting on his knee, and his collar was open, revealing his bitable neck.


And here she sat, too chicken to ask him if he’d like to take her home tonight.

“You want to know what I need, Hol?” Dalton asked instead of answering her. He accepted the bottle of champagne. She watched his lips meet the bottle, wishing that pucker was for her. Hoping his next words would be You, right now, on this floor.

“What’s that?” she asked, her voice reed-thin.


“Nothing?” The word stabbed her in the chest, the end of the “g” snagging her heart like a hook. Especially since she wanted something so bad she couldn’t see straight—and he was sitting directly next to her.

“I have it all.” Dalton licked a drop of champagne off his top lip and handed over the bottle, a satisfied smile on his face. His broad chest expanded with a breath. “I have friends, a great job. I have you guys.”

You guys. The collective Larsons. Would he ever see her as separate?

“Your family’s awesome.” He confirmed her assumption. “A little creepy in a Stepford way, but overall, awesome.”

After another drink, Holly frowned. “I’m not a Stepford.”

“You’re not. I’m kidding. You know I love you guys.”

Wow. That hurt. All he had to do was add a teasing jaw-punch and she’d go ahead and curl up on this floor and sleep here tonight. Being rejected before she had a chance to ask was demoralizing.

“What about girls?” she forced herself to ask, knowing she’d never forgive herself if she didn’t.

“I like girls.” Dalton chuckled, the low tumbling sound rocking her insides. “Girls like that brunette and her friend, whose name was Bette by the way, are fun for a few hours. Nothing wrong with a few hours of fun, but the most important things in life are family and friends. A future you can count on. No offense, but girls are a pain in the ass.”

Worse than the jaw-punch came the elbow-jab.

Yep. She might as well finish the champagne and pass out on the kitchen floor. At least she’d be close to the coffee pot come morning.

“Not all girls.” She pulled on her heeled shoes and stood. “I should probably go.”

“Hey, I didn’t mean—sorry.” Dalton stood next to her and plunged his hands into his front pockets. “Easy to forget you’re one of ’em.”

Oh yeah, this kept getting better and better.

“Well. Congrats again,” she said. “Thanks for hanging out with me.”

“Anytime, Hol. I should get going, too. I have a busy weekend.” He ate one more croissant-wrapped cocktail wiener off a silver tray before heading for the exit.

“Me, too,” she lied. Maybe she’d reorganize her books. Sort them by spine color instead of alphabetical. Big, big plans this weekend.

“You good to drive?” he asked, hand on the doorframe.

“Sober as a nun,” she answered. He waved and left while she stood in the kitchen listening to his car engine turn over.

Sober as a nun and every bit as adventurous, she thought with a sigh. Now that he’d gone, there wasn’t any reason for her to go anywhere. She found another bottle half-full of champagne, slid down the wall, and reclaimed her seat on the floor.

Chapter 4

THE ALARM ON Dalton’s phone pinged, and he looked up from the plans for the Brownsboro District. His meeting in Holly’s office was in five minutes.

He packed up the papers and shoved his phone into his pants pocket. He was so damn proud of her for moving up the ranks to this position. Despite what everyone thought, she’d earned her way here. He knew it better than most, since he’d earned his slot right alongside her. This would be their first project together.

Working with her would be more fun than working with her dad. Clark may be a hell of a guy at a party, but he kept his nose down and his mind on business when he was here. With Holly, Dalton could relax. He didn’t have to sweat over screwing up every thirty-five seconds. He’d like to have this position for a good long while.

Until retirement would be nice.

“Come in!” she called through the door after he knocked lightly. He popped it open to find her standing behind her desk in a simple black skirt and white blouse. Her blond hair was in a knot at the back of her head, a curl falling over one eye. She looked professional, and since he was a red-blooded male with functioning eyesight—hot.

“A departure from your usual, but I like the outfit.”

“Usual?” She blinked long lashes at him, her mouth forming a tempting O.

“No sparkles.”

“Ah. Well.” Her glossed lips parted into a smile and she stepped out from behind her desk. At the end of her long, bare legs were a pair of high heels, shiny pink matching her mouth.

God in heaven.

“I stand corrected.” His voice was laced with gravel. And misplaced lust. He cleared his throat and refocused. “Okay, so. The plans you asked for.” He unrolled the drawings on her desk, aware of her slinking over to him. Had she ever walked toward him in a slink?

“I need to talk to you,” Holly said, her voice hard. He looked up to find her mouth a firm, flat line. “Sit.”



He palmed a chair on the guest side of her desk, his hand sweating. This situation had felt off since he’d stepped in here. The air crackled with a weird sort of tension.

“No, wait. Don’t sit.”

“Oh-kay.” He let go of the chair.

“Wait. Do sit. But…” She pointed at the couch against the far wall. “Over there.”


On Sale
May 2, 2017
Hachette Audio

Jessica Lemmon

About the Author

Jessica Lemmon is a contemporary romance writer, artist, dreamer, wife, and den mother to a rescue dog. You can learn more about her sexy heroes and the women who fall for them at jessicalemmon.com

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